China’s Liuheng Dai came out on the winning side of the ₩5,000,000 High Roller event at the ongoing 2019 PokerStars LIVE Asia Red Dragon Jeju at the Landing Casino in Jeju Island, South Korea. Dai’s victory has further established China’s dominance in the legendary Red Dragon tournament series which is now on its eleventh season.
The ₩5,000,000 High Roller event attracted a field of 155 entries to generate $590,366 in total prize pool. A total of 23 players finished in the money, with the top 5 spots all occupied by Chinese players.
The top prize of $137,270 went to Dai after defeating fellow Chinese pro Yang Zhang in an exciting heads-up match. This is Dai’s biggest career cash thus far, and follows on from his victory in the PokerStars-sponsored 2019 APPT Korea ₩6,000,000 High Roller in June which also took place at the Landing Casino.
No Cash for Cheung, Tayakama
Some of the biggest names in the Asian poker circuit took part in the ₩5,000,000 High Roller event, hoping to win a slice of the prize pool, however they ended up with nothing as the nine-handed final table was set.
Among those who walked away empty-handed were 2018 APPT Korea Main Event champion Sparrow Cheung, WSOP bracelet winner Mike Tayakama, 2019 APPT Philippines winner Phachara Wongwichit, EPT Barcelona Main Event champs Michael Soyza and Andre Lettau, as well as popular Asian poker pros Ben Lai, Victor Chong, Hiroyuki Noda, Guoliang Wei, Pete Chen, Carson Wong, Quan Zhou, Lester Edoc, and Alex Lee.
Final Table Recap
The nine-handed final table kicked off with Dai and Zhang among the shorter stacks. The first three players to hit the rail were Bawoo Yun of the United States who finished ninth for $13,700, China’s Lei Yu who finished in eighth place for $17,180 and Vietnamese player Duc Trung Vu who finished seventh for $23,380.
Japan’s Kazuhiko Yotsushika, who entered the final table as the chip leader, failed to sustain his dominance and eventually busted in sixth place for $31,585. Subsequent action saw five Chinese players battling it out for the top prize, with Bin Sun being the first to leave in fifth place for $40,735.
Sun lost all of his remaining chips after flipping twice against Zhang who managed to take over the chip lead with four players remaining. Bin Wang was eliminated in fourth place earning $50,775, while Feng Chen immediately followed Wang to the payout desk in third place for $61,990.
During heads-up play, Zhang almost had it after flopping top two pair against Dai’s jack-high flush draw. However Dai picked up another club on the river and since then the battle had become more intense, with the chip lead being passed back and forth several times between both players.
The deciding moment came when Zhang called Dai’s five-bet jam with tens against the eventual winner’s pocket trey. But a trey on the turn ended Zhang’s bid in second place for $92,990 with Dai finishing as the winner.
Impressive Year for Dai
Liuheng Dai entered the ₩5,000,000 High Roller with just $135,551 in total live earnings, paling in comparison with his heads-up opponent Zhang who already earned more than $1.5 million in the live circuit before taking a shot at the event. Even so, Dai managed to climb his way to the top, mainly thanks to his passion and determination to defend his title as High Roller champ.
The Chinese player said sticking to his plan and strategy and being consistent all throughout the final table played a vital part in winning his latest High Roller event. He also add a cheering squad who egged him on and stayed with him until the end of the game.
Dai’s results so far this year have been impressive, considering that he has only been playing multi-table tournaments for just one year and just playing poker as a hobby. The 32-year-old software company owner has cashed five times since June, all of which took place in Incheon and Jeju, including a 3rd place finish in the KRW 500,000 No Limit Hold’em – 500K Finale during the Korean edition of the World Poker Tour back in September. Dai’s total live earnings now sit at more than $250,000.