We have become somewhat accustomed to poker tournaments in Europe that constantly break all sorts of records, but poker is a favorite pastime and profession of many people around the globe. The recently concluded Pokerstars-sponsored Beijing Millions tournament stands as proof of this.
Featuring a buy-in of approximately $480, the Beijing Millions (July 18-27) event gathered the outstanding number of 2,732 players. This turnout made the event the biggest-ever tournament to take place outside of the United States. This goes to show that the Asian poker market is growing by the day and is becoming increasingly more significant in the global poker economy.
The big turnout naturally resulted in a big prize pool with the winner set to walk away with more than $100,000 – not a bad return on an investment less than $500. It took six Day 1 flights to cater to all the interested players who wanted to have a shot at the championship. Of the huge number of entrants, only 188 of them returned for Day 2 and included three Team PokerStars Pros – Celina Lin, Bryan Huang and Vivian Im. None of them made it to the final table, but Lin did go quite deep, finishing in 24th place.
Danny McDonagh, the APPT President who oversaw the event, expressed his delight with how everything went down. He stated that a big turnout was anticipated, but no one really expected the field to reach 2,732 players.
Probably just as amazed was Chen Quin, who not only found himself at the final table after outlasting more than 2,700 players, but was able to close the deal and claim the title in the record-breaking tournament. He started heads-up play with more than a 2 to 1 chip advantage over second place finisher Yang Zhang. He was able to turn that lead into a victory after connecting on a full house against Zhang’s two pair.
However, it was Zhang who walked away with the most money in his pocket. The players made a deal when only four remained. The deal guaranteed Zhang ¥700,000 (around $113,000), while Quin got ¥675,000 ($109,000). Tong Shen, who finished in third, walked away with ¥650,000 ($105,000), while fourth place finisher Feng Bai received ¥587,000 ($95,000) for his efforts.
Should poker continue to develop in this direction in Asia, we will be seeing many more tournaments with big fields. This will likely attract more and more players due to desirable prize pools and the challenge involved in besting a the huge field. And as there is nothing better for poker than the massive assembly of players in one venue, this will only help grow and strengthen the industry as a whole.