Jeju Red Dragon 2018: Yuechun Shi crowned Champion in record breaking Main Event

December 09, 2018

The inaugural Jeju Red Dragon 2018 tournament has concluded after Yuechun Shi made light work of the final table, eliminating five out of a possible eight opponents to bag the title, the best-looking trophy in poker and a life-changing ₩266,060,000 (~US$237,700) top prize.

Red Dragon Champion Yuechun Shi

The event exceeded what were already high expectations, attracting a 613-strong field – more than any other Main Event in Korean poker history – and it all happened here at the Landing Casino, Jeju Island, South Korea.

Today began with nine players all hoping to go the distance and over the course of ten hours of play, nine became one. Shi began the day sixth in chips and struggled to make headway to begin with. Shi explained that he had originally had his flight home booked for 10pm and didn’t expect to make it to the end, so adopted a go-big-or-go-home strategy. As it turned out, that strategy was the turning point for Shi and shortly after, he knocked out the first of five players that set him on course for the win.

Shortly after, he doubled through Qi Wang when he flopped a set of jacks against Wang’s pocket kings and he didn’t look back after that. The defining hand of the tournament was in a monstrous clash with former Red Dragon Champion, Zhenru Xie. Shi refused to back down with 10♠9♥ on a 10♦8♣4♥5♣8♦ board and rightly so, with his opponent bluffing the river with two missed draws. Following that hand, he had 7.3 million of the 12.65 million in play.

Former Red Dragon Champion, Zhenru Xie

Next he took out Tae Hoon Han. Shi opened the button and called Han’s less than ten big blind shove from the big blind. Han was unable to hold with A♥2♠ against Shi’s Q♥9♣ and the PokerStars Festival Korea 2017 Main Event winner finished in third place (₩102,370,000) for the biggest score of his career.

Tae Hoon Han finished in third place

Then there were two and Shi still had the chip advantage when heads up play began. In a hand that broke the camel’s back, Shi found himself on the right side of a cooler, hitting the nut-flush versus Bin Di’s trip jacks. That left Di on about 16 to Shi’s 110 big blinds and it would have taken something remarkable to stop Shi from taking the crown.

Runner-up Bin Di

Sadly it wasn’t to be for Di, who fell at the last just a few hands later. Shi set him all-in and he made a quick call. He had the advantage with Q♠J♦ to Shi’s Q♥10♣ but it was as if nothing could stand in Shi’s way by now, with the J♥K♣7♥9♠5♦ runout netting Shi the win with a straight.

Speaking of his win, the 47-year old Logistics Manager said “It’s amazing!” immediately after taking booking his largest-ever tournament win.

Yuechun Shi celebrating following his victory

“It feels great. I’m not a professional, so am maybe not as skilled as some of the other players in the tournament, so when I came into Day 3, for me that’s enough,” he continued via the aid of a translator.

“Then when I made the final table, that was an advantage – a bonus – and today, playing on the Final Table felt amazing, it feels incredible to win!”

A huge congratulations go to Yuechun Shi on becoming the newest Red Dragon Champion.

Date: Dec 5-9, 2018      
Buy-in: ₩2,200,000 (2,000,000+200,000)      
Players: 613      
Prize Pool: ₩1,226,000,000      
         
WINNERS        
         
Place First Name Last Name Country Prize
1 Yuechun Shi China ₩266,060,000
2 Bin Di China ₩164,900,000
3 Tae Hoon Han New Zealand ₩102,370,000
4 Zhenru Xie China ₩78,100,000
5 Zhibin Zhang China ₩53,940,000
6 Qi Wang China ₩42,910,000
7 Guangliang Xiao China ₩34,940,000
8 Ho Yuen Kwok Hong Kong ₩29,420,000
9 Christopher Young Park USA ₩24,520,000

10pm: Yuechun Shi is our new Jeju Red Dragon 2018: Main Event Champion!
Level 28: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Following a super speedy heads up match, it is Yuechun Shi who has beaten 613 runners to become the new Red Dragon Champion. The last hand played out as follows…

Shi set Di all in and the latter made a quick call. It was the correct choice, with Di holding the best hand.

Bin Di: Q♠J♦
Yuechun Shi: Q♥10♣

The J♥K♣7♥ flop paired Di’s jack but also brought out an open-ended straight draw for Shi. The 9♠ turn meant that Di could only be saved by a chop with one of the three remaining tens. The 5♦ river wasn’t one of them and he finishes a fantastic run as runner-up and will return home ₩164,900,000 better off.

A full wrap of the event will follow shortly.

9:50pm: Shi dominating after hand clash
Level 28: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Yuechun Shi has just won a significant pot against Bin Di, in what turned out to be a cooler for the latter. It began with a button limp from the chip leader, who then called a raise by Di.

The dealer placed 2♣9♠J♠ on the flop and Di opted to check. After Shi checked it back, the J♣ hit the turn. Di bet 750,000 at this point and Shi matched the bet. The final card out was the 10♣ and Di check-called the sizable 1.5 million bet. Di showed ace-jack for trips but it wasn’t good enough to beat Shi’s A♣8♣.

After that hand, Shi has 11 million of the 12.65 million total chips in play and Di needs something really special to spin up from 1.65 million.

9:40pm: Heads up gets underway
Level 28: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Following a quick break, Yuechuan Shi and Bin Di are heads up for the title, trophy and the all-important ₩266,060,000 payday. Shi has 3.4 million lead over Di, with 7.75 million to Di’s 4.35 million.

9:30pm: No comeback for Han who is eliminated in 3rd place
Level 28: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Tae Hoon Han has not had the best of runs today, with several hands not going his way. The player with the most experience, and the chip lead, coming into the final, has just played his last hand.

Yuechun Shi raised 210,000 from the button and Han three-bet all-in for 945,000. When Shi called, both players flipped their cards on their backs and Han was slightly ahead with A♥2♠ to Shi’s Q♥9♣. Shi had plenty of outs to give Han a sweat though.

Shi paired on the 5♥10♥Q♦ flop and the K♠ turn and 6♠ river, couldn’t swing it back in Han’s favour. After a great result, he will finish in third for ₩102,370,000. The latest pot put Shi up to 7.755 million, with two players left.

Tae Hoon Han heads out the door

9:15pm: Han finds a double
Level 28: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

After failing to chip up with pocket rockets recently, Tae Hoon Han just found a double after flopping the world against Yuechun Shi’s pocket pair.

Shi opened the button and Han defended. The flop came 8♥J♥10♦ and though we missed the prescise action, all the money went in at this point.

Tae Hoon Han: 9♥7♦
Yuechun Shi: K♠K♥

Shi was drawing extremely thin but the 10♦ saw his hopes increase to four outs, – two kings and two tens. The 9♣ river didn’t oblige him and he passed over the chips. Han is up to 2.45 million and Shi is down to 5.5 million.

8:50pm: Han and Di get it all-in
Level 28: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

The two shorter stacks got it all-in pre with very good hands just now. Having said that Bin Di was on the wrong side of a cooler that put him in terrible shape against Tae Hoon Han.

Bin Di: A♠Q♠
Tae Hoon Han: A♣A♥

By the river the board read 5♥3♦9♣2♥4♦, meaning a chop with the wheel straight. This means both are still a long way behind Yuechen Shi who remains the runaway chip leader.

8:35pm: Huge pot between first and second chip leaders sees Xie hit the rail in 4th
Level 27: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The hand you are about to read about is by the far the biggest one of the tournament. The only Red Dragon Champion still in contention has hit the rail after clashing with Yuechun Shi for an absolutely enormous pot.

Shi had opened from the button to 175,000 and Xie defended the big blind. The dealer laid 10♦8♣4♥ on the flop and Xie opted to lead for 200,000 and called Shi’s raise to 520,000. Onto the 5♣ turn and the action followed the same pattern, this time Xie’s lead was for 300,000 and he called Shi’s raise to 1.3 million total.

By now Xie had 1.25 million or so left and the pot was roughly four times that and he committed them all on the 8♦ river. Shi looked uncomfortable and got out of his seat whilst he went into the tank. Ultimately he found a call and it was the right one.

Yuechun Shi: 10♠9♥
Zhenru Xie: 9♣6♣

Shi’s one pair beat Xie’s missed draws and the former Champion hits the rail. He will take ₩78,100,000 with him.

Zhenru Xie

8:20pm: Nope, that didn’t take long at all
Level 27: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Running back to the final table in time to see an all-in situation between Tae Hoon Han and Bin Di. Han was kind enough to fill us in on the preflop action. He told us that Di open limped the button and Zhenru Xie made up the small blind, before Han stacked 1.08 million. Di called and Xie got out the way and it was our all-in player who was ahead.

Tae Hoon Han: A♣9♥
Bin Di: J♦9♦

The flop was Q♠A♦J♣, making a pair for each player. Han’s was higher though, meaning Xie couldn’t hit a nine – only a jack or running diamonds would do. His odds went up on the 7♦ turn, giving Han a sweat. The 8♣ was safe though and Han is back up to 2.2 million or so, whilst Di has slumped to 2.9 million.

8:10pm: Not a lot to note
Level 27: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

There haven’t been any big pots recently but we don’t expect this lull to last very long.

7:55pm: Di stepping up the aggression
Level 27: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Di has been wielding his big stack and has taken chunks out of both Zhenru Xie and Tae Hoon Han.

First, he raise-called Xie’s 500,000 small blind three-bet versus his button open. When Xie checked the 9♦7♥8♠ flop, he promptly moved all-in. Xie was the shorter stack with 1.8 million behind and folded.

A couple of hands later, Di defended his big blind against an open by Han. The flop fell 4♣K♦3♥ and Di checked to the New Zealander, who continued for 155,000. Di raised it up to 425,000 but Han wasn’t done yet and four-bet to 865,000. Di asked for a count (Han had 1.1 million behind) and Di declared his all-in, then rose out of his seat. Han made a quick fold and it was the first time he has shown the slightest sign of frustration. He is now bottom of the counts.

Bin Di

7:40pm: Chip counts
Level 27: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Here are the latest chip counts:

Bin Di – 4.43 million
Zhenru Xie – 3.33 million
Tae Hoon Han – 2.75 million
Yuechun Shi – 2.75 million

7:30pm: They are back
Level 25: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

7:20pm: Break time
Level 26: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The players have decided to play through to the end, so there will be no dinner break today. Instead our final four will return in ten minutes.

7:10pm: A new chip leader emerges
Level 26: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Bin Di has been in the middle of the pack or near the bottom but, for the first time today, he is now leading the field.

There was a massive pot against chip leader at the time, Zhenru Xie that played out all the way to the river, with a Q♣8♣9♦10♦3♣ board on display. Di got his last 960,000 at this point, which he bet into a 2 million pot (give or take).

Xie took his time before making the call and turned over J♣J♦ for the straight but it wasn’t enough to beat Di’s flush with K♣10♣. Di has ascended to 3.9 million, whilst Xie is still in very good shape with 3.6 million.

6:55pm: Zhang down to the felt has been eliminated in 5th place
Level 26: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

In what we believe is the first family pot of the day, Zhibin Zhang was down to less than one big blind. Bin Di opened under the gun to 180,000, Zhang put his last few chips in, then Zhenru Xie called the button and Tae Hoon Han and Yuechun Shi called in the small and big blinds respectively.

The dealer laid 3♠4♠6♣ on the flop and Han chose to lead for 300,000. Shi isolated to 2.1 million and no one liked the price enough to call.

Zhibin Zhang: 10♥9♣
Yuechun Shi: 8♠5♠

Zhang needed to dodge a lot of outs, with Shi holding an open ended and a flush draw, plus two live cards. The 3♣ turn looked good but the 6♠ river was a different story, making Shi a flush.

Zhang leaves us in fifth place for ₩53,940,000 and Shi has moved up to roughly 2.75 million.

Zhibin Zhang

6:45pm: Wang unable to recover, finishes in 6th
Level 26: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It had been a tumultuous day for Qi Wang and after losing kings to a set of jacks, he found himself short. Just now he got the last of it in preflop with A♥Q♥ against Tae Hoon Han’s Q♦J♦. The board ran J♥4♣5♣3♥9♠ and Wang knocked the table conceding defeat, when the last card had been dealt. Although the end didn’t go his way, it is still a great run and he will collect ₩42,910,000.

Qi Wang took his exit well

6:30pm: Shi on the rise
Level 26: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It has certainly been a productive 20 minutes or so for Yuechun Shi. After knocking out Xiao a few hands ago, Shi has just done it again, this time getting a full double up.

It began with a 150,000 open from Shi, followed by a 375,000 bet by Qi Wang. Everyone else folded and Shi made the call, taking them heads up to the flop.

It came J♥3♣5♦ and Shi check-raised Wang’s 350,000 bet all-in. It was 815,000 total and Wang snapped it off, tabling pocket K♥K♦ but finding he was up against top set of J♦J♣.

The turn and river dodged a king and it has set Shi soaring up to almost 2.5 million, which is four-times what he had less than half an hour ago. Wang is in trouble now with 675,000 – little more than 11 big blinds left.

6:15pm: Xiao eliminated in 7th place
Level 26: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Guangliang Xiao and Yuechun Shi have got it all-in against one another in a late position, short-stack clash.

Xiao moved all-in for 450,000 and Shi three-bet all-in over the top for approximately 600,000 and it turned out to be pair vs pair, with Xiao needing to come from behind with 7♥7♣ to Shi’s 8♦8♥.

The runout came 10♥Q♠2♣Q♦10♣ and Shi has chipped up to 1.2 million, whilst we say goodbye to Xiao, last seen heading towards the payouts desk to collect ₩34,940,000.

Guangliang Xiao (wearing sunglasses) loses to Yuechun Shi (celebrating)

6pm: Short stacks shove
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

There have been numerous all-ins from the shorties but no calls…yet. With ten-twelve big blinds apiece for Zhibin Zhang, Guangliang Xiao and Yuechun Shi, that could change at any moment.

5:50pm: Chip counts
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Here are some updated counts:

Zhenru Xie – 4.57 million
Tae Hoon Han – 2.1 million
Bin Di – 2 million
Qi Wang – 1.53 million
Zhibin Zhang – 615,000
Guangliang Xiao – 575,000
Yuechun Shi – 525,000

5:35pm: Wang gets lucky
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Qi Wang, still reeling from his loss a few hands ago, moved all-in for 14.5 big blinds from under the gun. Hae Hoon Han called from the cutoff and despite looking interested for a while, Guangliang Xiao folded in the end, as did the blinds.

Wang needed some good fortune as he’d run 2♣2♥ into Han’s K♣K♠. The 7♦A♥8♣ flop looked good for Han but the 2♠ turn was the opposite, when the river brought an A♠ instead of a king, the chips were shipped Wang’s way and he is back up to 1.55 million. Han remains in second place with 2.15 million.

5:25pm: Di and Wang tussle in the blinds
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Bin Di opened from the small blind and Qi Wang defended the 120,000 bet. The flop fell 2♥4♦6♥ and after a continuation and a call, they headed into the turn.

It was the 7♥ and Di didn’t mess around, moving all-in for 480,000 into a half a million chip pot. Wang looked distraught and thought about it for a few minutes before making the call.

Bin Di: Q♥3♥
Qi Wang: A♥6♣

It was flush versus a higher flush draw but fortunately for Di, he managed to fade another heart on the Q♣ river. He moves up to 1.45 million and Wang one of the shortest left now with 750,000.

Qi Wang (right) with a decision to make against Bin Di

5:10pm: Xiao doubles
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

It folded round to Tae Hoon Han on the cutoff and he moved all-in, covering all three short stacks to his left. Guangliang Xiao called on the button and the others moved out the way.

Guangliang Xiao: A♥9♥
Tae Hoon Han: 4♦4♥

It was off to the races as the dealer put Q♥A♠K♠ out on the flop, making a pair for our all-in player. With no four on the 7♠ turn or 6♦ river, Xiao lives on and has doubled to 905,000.

5pm: Han moves up, Zhang drops
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Tae Hoon Han has taken down a couple of pots back to back, that see him boost up to 3.25 million.

Zhibin Zhang lost a medium-sized pot versus Zhenru Xie and has dropped to 685,000.

4:45pm: Seven return to their seats
Level 25: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Blinds are up and the seven finalists are ready to play some more poker.

4:35pm: Break time
Level 24: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The first break of the day begins and will last for ten minutes.

4:25pm: Xie takes from Zhang
Level 24: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Zhenru Xie has been putting his big stack to good use and won a decent pot against Zhibin Zhang just now. The two players were in the blinds and on the A♠J♥7♥ flop, Zhang led for 100,000 and Xie called behind.

The J♠ turn paired the jack and this time Zhang checked. Xie bet 150,000 and Zhang called. It was a Q♠ on the river and following another check, Xie set Zhang all-in. He thought about for a bit but decided to pass and is left with 850,000 in play.

Zhenru Xie

4:10pm: Xie extends his lead by knocking out Kwok in 8th place
Level 24: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Zhenru Xie has been running hot for the last 20 minutes or so. Just a few hands after busting Christopher Park, Xie has eliminated another oppenent, this time it is Ho Yuen Kwok’s chair that is empty.

Yuechun Shi had opened to 110,000 and Xie called in the small blind. Kwok upped it to 280,000, which pushed out Shi but Xie liked the price and peeled.

The flop fell 6♠Q♥8♥ and when Xie checked, Kwok moved all-in. Xie couldn’t call fast enough and turned over 8♠8♣ for a set. Kwok held K♠K♥ and had two kings or running hearts to stay in the game. The 7♠ on the turn meant only a king would do but the river bricked a 3♠.

After an early double with underpair vs overpair that allowed Kwok to advance one more place, he couldn’t progress past eighth and will go home with ₩29,420,000.

Ho Yuen Kwok

3:55pm: Xie new chip leader after eliminating Park in 9th
Level 24: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The only Red Dragon Champion left in the comp, Zhenru Xie has just taken the chip lead for the first time. The hand began with an under the gun open from Xie and a flat by Yuechun Shi, before Christopher Park squeezed all-in from the small blind. Only Xie called and Park had his tournament life on the line with the best of it.

Christopher Park: J♠J♥
Zhenru Xie: K♣10♣

The 4♣K♥2♣ flop brought a pair of kings and a flush draw, leaving Park with only the case jack to hit. The turn and river were the Q♥5♥ and it means an early exit for Park who takes home ₩24,520,000.

Christopher Park

3:45pm: Han and Xie coming out on top
Level 24: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

So far there has been, it is fair to say, pretty tentative play going on. The result is that the two players who started at the top of the counts have pulled further infront, with Tae Hoon Han and Zhenru Xie both sitting on around 2.7 million. Between them they have over 40 percent of the total chips in play and this is putting increasing pressure on the shorties.

3:30pm: We have a showdown
Level 24: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There really haven’t been many of those so far today, with players taking it steady. Just now we had a four-handed pot that was opened by Tae Hoon Han in early position. Bin Di called from the cutoff, Qi Wang from the button and Zhibin Zhang in the big blind.

The 10♥5♦6♠ flop was checked all round. There were two further checks on the 10♦ turn, before Di made a small bet of 110,000. Wang called behind but the other two passed and the last card out was the 9♥. It went check-check and Di showed 4♥4♠. His pair was good with Wang sending his cards into the muck.

3:10pm: Kwok gets help against Zhang
Level 23: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

With a little under nine big blinds, Ho Yuen Kwok moved alll-in from under the gun. There were folds all round, until the action reached Zhibin Zhang in the small blind, who called. Zhenru Xie passed from the big blinds and we had our first all-in and call of the day.

Ho Yuen Kwok: 3♠3♣
Zhibin Zhang: 10♣10♦

Kwok was in very bad shape with an underpair to Zhang’s pocket tens. The 3♥4♠2♥ changed everything and Zhang was the player who needed to hit a ten or running straight cards for a chop. The Q♥ turn and 7♥ river bricked and Kwok gets a fortunate double up to 560,000. Despite the loss, Zhang is still in good shape with 1.5 million.

2:55pm: Han applies pressure
Level 23: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

Yuechun Shi has been left with around 400,000 after losing a pot to Tae Hoon Han. The chip leader opened the button and Shi defended the big blind. The flop came J♦4♥8♥ on the flop and after a check from Shi, Han continued for 100,000. Shi called and the turn was the A♠. This time when Shi checked, Han set him all-in. Shi spent a minute in the tank before electing to fold.

2:40pm: Xiao gets involved
Level 23: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

Bin Di has been active through the first two or three orbits played today. Just now he opened to 75,000 and Guangliang Xiao peeked at his cards before three-betting small to 195,000. Di peeled and the dealer put out 3♠4♣Q♦ on the flop.

Xiao continued for a smaller sizinng of 135,000 and Di let it go. Xiao has increased his stack to 860,000 and Di is on 1.5 million.

2:25pm: The first few hands
Level 23: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

The players have settled in a bit after their first few hands and no major pots have taken place. We have only seen one showdown and the pot went to Bin Di, after betting the turn and river with K♦Q♥ with top pair and taking it down against Tae Hoon Han.

Then Christopher Park opened in middle position, getting two callers. He continued on the all-spade flop and everyone else passed. Park then opened the next hand but folded when Han three-bet on the button.

2:10pm: The final table is underway
Level 23: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

The Red Dragon Main Event final table has begun. Blinds have been rolled back to Level 23, this is due to the schedule guaranteeing a 40 big blind average stack.


The wait is almost over. After five days of Main Event action, 613 players battled it out, and only nine have emerged from the dust. The player to catch is Tae Hoon Han. The PokerStars Festival Korea champion is no stranger to final tables and will bring a host of experience through with him as well as a 2.55 million stack. He is in the strongest position to win the title, the trophy and the ₩266,060,000 (~US$237,700) top prize.

The Jeju Red Dragon Final Table is set. Back row (l-r) Ho Yuen Kwok, Zhenru Xie, Bin Di, Qi Wang. Front row (l-r) Zhibin Zhang, Tae Hoon Han, Christopher Park, Guangliang Xiao, Yuechun Shi

The closest contender is the last of the Red Dragon title-holders in the field, Zhenru Xie. Xie is hot on Han’s heels with 2.4 million. The only other player to hit the two-million mark is Qi Wang. Wang was the chip leader at the start of the day and he managed to continue building throughout four hours of play yesterday. He starts with 2.16 million. For more information about our final nine, click here to read the final table player profiles.

The tournament will begin shortly, starting at 2pm. The schedule promised a 40-big-blind guarantee a the final table. As a result, the clock will be rolled back to Level 23 with blinds restarting at 15,000/30,000 (4,000 ante) and level length increasing from 60 to 75-minutes. There will be live updates following all the action from the moment cards are in the air until a winner has been crowned. See you back here in an hour.

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