Last Friday, a field of 73 poker players, including wealthy businessmen and poker stars, entered the first ever Macau High Stakes Challenge for HK$2,000,000 each (US$260,000) and created poker history. In total, 21 players made a rebuy and brought the prize pool to insane HK$182,360,000 (US$23,511,000). Plenty of big names hit the rail early due to the fast-moving 30-minute levels, and it didn't take many hours of play until the field had been narrowed down to only 8 players (picture), including notables such as Phil Ivey, Sam Trickett and John Juanda.
Juanda was the last of these 3 players to get eliminated (5th) on the final table, which left 4 relatively unknown players fighting for the title. After Tang Zheng, who started the final table with a big chip lead, hit the rail in 4th place, Stanley Choi had just about half of the remaining chips. It didn't take long before Choi busted Nicholas Wong in 3rd place to take a massive 3-1 chip lead into heads-up play against Zhu Guan Fai.
After a short pause to set up heads-up action, the match started and Fai raised on the button to 400,000 and Choi went all in from the big blind. Fai quickly called and turned over two sixes - 66. Choi showed 1010 and the dealer prepared to put out the 3 first cards...
The flop came out 984 and Fai needed either a 6 or runner-runner flush/straight to stay alive. The turn brought the 4 and Fai needed 1 of the last 2 sixes on the river to stay alive. But the river card was the 7 and Choi's pocket tens had successfully held up, giving him the title and the first place prize of amazing US$6,465,746! Zhu Guan Fai didn't seem too disappointed either with US$4,349,735 for finishing second.
Place, Player, Prize (HKD), Prize (USD)
1 Stanley Choi 50,149,000 6,465,746
2 Zhu Guan Fai 33,737,000 4,349,735
3 Nicholas Wong 25,530,000 3,291,601
4 Tang Zheng 17,324,000 2,233,596
5 John Juanda 12,765,000 1,645,800
6 Lap Key Chen 9,574,000 1,234,383
7 Sam Trickett 7,750,000 999,213
8 Phil Ivey 6,383,000 822,965