Zhihao Zhang from the land of the dragons has been coronated as the final table of PokerStars LIVE Asia Red Dragon Main Event, 2019 ₩2,500,000 Main Event. It came to a conclusion within only 5 hours of play. He had entered the final day with 45% of chips and didn’t relinquish the top spot. Nevertheless, he cut a deal with Ting Yi Tsai before the first heads-up duel.
The tournament has set a record as South Korea’s biggest live poker event because of a field with 869 entries. This led to the prize pool of ₩1,896,592,500 (~$1,626,470). The event paid 108 top spots and Zhang banked the lion’s share as the top prize was ₩345,370,000 (appr. $295K). Tsai, the runners-up is the only player from Mainland China on the final table who had to settle for ₩290,000,000 (appr. $247K).
The 869 fields had been made of 487 exclusive entries attracting players from twenty different countries with China making a significant portion of the field with 373 exclusive entries. Japan has been the nation that was best represented as it had 34 entries, followed by 4.3% that had 21 entries.
Winner of Pokerstars Live Asia Red Dragon Gets Rolex
For Zhang, this was the second Red Dragon Main Event. He is from Xi’an in northwestern China where he worked for the family business. In January 2014, Zhang had finished in 33rd place for HK$ 38,000 payday and primarily in the Chinese poker tournaments. Zhang had said in an interview, “hen playing Texas Hold’em you still need some luck, we all made it this far so I believe we all had similar levels of skill, it’s just because of my big chip advantage from Day 3.”
Apart from the six-figure money and Red Dragon trophy, Zhang has also been awarded Rolex Submariner Date watch worth USD$20,000, sponsored by the official partner of PokerStars Asia, 6UP. When Zhang had been asked about the strategy he had for the final table, he said, “For my strategy coming into the final table, you must play aggressively and try and gain an advantage.”
The primary advantage he had from the very beginning from the commanding lead with almost half of the chip in the game following his domination in the late action the previous day to be the odds-on favorite to win the tournament. As he stayed focused and secured spots in the early stages of the game which surely changed during short-handed play. Zhang said when they got down to the last three he played loosely but aggressively and when he was heads-up against the Taiwanese player, he still played loosely and aggressively, just as he played in the last hand.
The duel for trophy, glory, and title lasted only for 7 minutes as a 3 bet pot saw Zhang with gunshot against the top pair and he had hit the perfect turn card which left Tsai drawing dead as all chips when in. The final table also featured Rongshan Li, Yifan Cao, and Zhenhua Lu.