Xing Zhou keeps getting hands. And they keep holding up. And his opponents keep falling. And his chip stack keeps growing.
Two more eliminations have swiftly come here in Level 24, and both again featured Zhou picking up hands at opportune moments, and winning.
Jacques stacked in fourth
Jacques Zaicik nursed a short stack since late yesterday, surviving to the final table, then continuing to remain alive to move several steps up the pay ladder today without ever having that much more than the 191,000 he had to start Day 5.
The Frenchman finally saw his run come to an end, however, when he pushed in his last 287,000 with A♠K♦ and was called by Zhou sitting in the big blind with 9♦9♠.
No ace or king came among the community cards, nor any other saving combination for Zaicik, rolling out 5♣8♦8♣2♦10♦. Zaicik was out in fourth, good for a $1,384,000 payday (HKD).
Kanaan cut down in third
Shortly after Zaicik’s elimination start-of-final-table chip leader Michael Kanaan pushed his remaining 440,000 in the middle from the button, and Zhou quickly called from the big blind.
Kanaan remained seated as he tabled his 8♦8♠, but Zhou stood to reveal his hand, and with a loud grunt slammed his cards onto the table — K♥K♠!
Another big hand for Zhou! The crowd on the rail inched closer to the table, with supporters of both players shouting their encouragement. The dealer burned a card and spread the flop… 8♥9♠5♠! A set for Kanaan!
The rail exploded with shouts. But Kanaan remained seated, faintly smiling but reserved, clearly still focused on the remaining cards to come.
And given how Zhou has been running, such might have been the more reasonable response by everyone.
Because the turn brought what has seemed almost inevitable here at this final table… the K♣! Zhou had the better set, and after the 9♦ river he’d claimed yet another final table victim.
Kanaan picks up $1,731,000 (HKD) for his finish.
Zhou has 4,865,000 to start heads-up play versus 664,000 to Ying Kit Chan. They’ve already played a couple of hands, and Chan doesn’t appear impatient to put his stack at risk just yet.
Of course, against Zhou — today — anyone should be hesitant to do so.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.