At final tables in fast structured events, you’re used to seeing chips flying and the chip leaders changing. So tonight’s final table was a little out of the ordinary.
Malaysia’s Michael Christopher Soyza came into the finale as chip captain, and it was a title he never relinquished, courtesy of some great play, creative moves…and a little luck at the right times, as you’ll find out.
Soyza has had some tournament success in the past, taking down two Aussie Millions side events and finishing second in the Poker King Cup in May this year. But this is his first flagship title: MPC27 High Roller champion.
He cut a heads-up deal that guaranteed him the lion’s share of the prize pool, and ultimately banked him HK$2,037,000. And his opponent? Turns out he’s a regular around here.
Less than two weeks ago while at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona, I interviewed Team Pro Jake Cody about his experiences playing in Macau. He said that the only European pros he sees often out here were Sergio Aido (February’s MPC26 Single Day High Roller champion and cash game grinder), and one other: Martin Finger.
This was news to us at the time. While we’d heard that Aido lived here in between big tournament stops, we didn’t know of Finger’s Macau exploits. But he’s certainly showed us this week, finishing fourth in the Single Day High Roller on Monday for HK$880,000, and now this: HK$1.7 million.
Heads up Finger was at a huge chip disadvantage, but he wasn’t afraid to make some moves. In the final hand, Soyza limped his button and Martin Finger checked to see a 6♦10♦2♦ flop. Finger led out for 600,000, and that got a call to see the 7♣ turn. Action didn’t slow down as Finger fired again for another 600,000. Soyza didn’t budge.
The river was the 9♣ and Finger put in a triple-barrel all in for 1.86 million. Soyza snap-called with a very good reason: he’d flopped a flush with the Q♦7♦.
The two guys, who had become quite chummy throughout this final table, shook hands, and the champ was crowned.
But let’s rewind back and see how we got here. This event attracted a healthy crowd as it always does. With registration open until after the early Day 2 levels, there was plenty of opportunity for players to late-reg and re-enter, and when the drawbridge was closed we had 119 total entries (including 25 re-entries).
That created a massive prize pool of HK$8.86 million, which was to be split between the final 17 players. There was HK$2.23 million set aside for the champ, while a min-cash would bank you HK$139,000.
The headline going into today and rightly so was two-time MPC High Roller champion James Chen. Chen has won this very event right around this time for the past two years running at MPC23 and MPC25 for a combined ~$425,000.
Remarkably, Chen returned with the chip lead when things kicked off today and was chasing a miraculous trilogy of titles. But it wasn’t meant to be, when a three-way all in saw his ace-king fall to Michael Soyza’s pocket queens just before the final table. Chen finished in 12th tonight.
Also making a return on Day 2 was PokerStars Team Online Randy Lew and while he started slow yesterday, the lone Red Spade had a good start on Day 2, almost tripling up in the first couple of levels. Unfortunately for Lew he eventually ran pocket kings into aces and his day was done.
— Randy Lew (@nanonoko) September 9, 2017
When we got down to our final table we had several other familiar faces including MPC4 Red Dragon winner Zhong Wang and the man who placed eighth in this same event, Canlin Chen.
Here’s how they stacked up:
1. Ivan Seng Yee Leow – 1.54 million
2. Shan Huang – 708,000
3. Michael Christopher Soyza – 3.53 million
4. Martin Finger – 780,000
5. Canlin Chen – 785,000
6. Qi Luo – 715,000
7. Mauro Francolini – 1.195 million
8. Zhong Wang – 1.39 million
9. Wing Cheong Chong – 1.22 million
Ivan Seng Yee Leow was the first to fall, when he moved all in with the 3♣3♥ on a 2♣8♣Q♣ flop, only to be called by Canlin Chen’s 9♣9♥. The turn brought a club to bring an end for Leow.
After a slow final table start things really went crazy from here.
Qi Luo jammed with the J♦8♦ and Mauro Francolini isolated him with the A♦K♠. Francolini hit a king on the K♥Q♣J♠ flop, andf Luo couldn’t take the lead on the turn or river.
In the very next hand, though, Francolini would fall too. Michael Christopher Soyza opened under the gun and Francolini jammed. It folded back to Soyza, and he made the call with the A♥Q♦. It was a flip, as Francolini had the 9♣9♦.
The dealer put out a J♠K♠5♥ flop which kept the nines in front, and the 5♠ changed nothing. But the A♦ sure did, giving Soyza a bigger pair and busting Francolini in 7th.
Just a hand or two later and had another casualty: Shan Huang. After jamming for 885,000 with the A♥K♥, Soyza made the call with the 7♥7♠ and the pocket pair held up on the 3♣4♣8♣4♦9♦ board.
Soyza played executioner yet again when Canlin Chen fell in 5th after a brutal bad beat.
Chen open-jammed for more than 2 million and it folded to Soyza in the small blind who made the call. Soyza had the 9♦9♠, but that was way behind Chen’s K♥K♦, whose rail were going crazy.
The 5♦8♦10♣ flop was great for the pocket kings, as was the 2♥ turn. But then out of nowhere the 9♣ landed on the river, muting Chen and his rail, and eliminating him in the process.
Just a hand or two after Canlin Chen’s departure, Wing Cheung Chong jammed with the K♥9♥ and was called by Michael Christopher Soyza who had min-opened under the gun. Soyza had Chong in bad shape with his A♥K♣, and the 7♣3♦5♠J♣A♠ never posed a threat to Soyza.
Soyza had 8.355 million three-handed, to Finger’s 1.33 million and Wang’s 2.215 million, but a quick double up for Finger left Wang the most vulnerable.
He couldn’t find a double of his own, eventually shoving for 1.72 million over Soyza’s 250,000 button open with the A♦2♠. Soyza made the call with the 4♦4♠, and the K♥J♥5♠8♦4♣ ultimately give him a set…and even more chips.
Heads up counts were 8.3million plays 3.5million, and it was here they cut a deal. Soyza locked up HK$1,987,000, Finger got HK$1,700,000, and they kept HK$50,000 and the trophy to play for.
It only took a couple of hands for Soyza to capture his first major title. And that brings an end to our MPC27 coverage.
Thanks for reading this week, we’ll see you next time!
|Place||First Name||Last Name||Country||Prize (HKD)|
|4||Wing Cheong||Chong||Hong Kong||$810,600|
|9||Ivan Seng Yee||Leow||Malaysia||$222,000|