It took only 4 days for China to get their first ever WPT champion and there was definitely many reasons for celebrating after Zheng Hua won. The final day of the event started with 41 players, including McLean Karr and Sam Razavi. It was a very quick day as the players were busting out almost every minute. More than half of the field was gone by 3 PM and everyone was gathering around for the final table. It took another 2 hours to get to the final 10, unfortunately, Karr busted in 12th. He held 44 vs. other players’ AJ. An Ace hit the flop, but nothing saved Karr – the 6 on the river he needed for the backdoor straight did not show up. The short stack exited a few moments later and the final table was set. Checkout Tatjana’s WPT China Day 1A, 1B and Day 2 summaries.
When the action came down to 3 players, Phil Hellmuth joined by commentating and interacting with the rail and the players, accompanied by a local female player as a translator. Everyone was sharing laughs as Phil cracked jokes and explained the hands.
The HU game seemed like it will finish fairly quickly after Razavi busted in 3rd and left the table with Zheng and You battling it out with 9 million vs. 2 million chips. However, it still took a couple of hours before we saw the last hand played out and Zheng Hua Lei joined the WPT Champions club and claimed $192,406.
Here are the top 10 payouts:
- Zheng Hua Lei – 1,200,000 ($192,406)
- You Jia Wang – 600,000 ($96,203)
- Sam Razavi – 300,000 ($48,101)
- Yue Cao – 200,000 ($32,067)
- Lei Xu – 150,000 ($24,050)
- Li Fu Liu – 120,000 ($19,240)
- Xue Yi Lin – 95,000 ($15,232)
- Zhi Yong Li – 80,000 ($12,827)
- Ji Wei Deng – 70,000 ($11,223)
- Jia He Li – 60,000 ($9,620)
In the break from the action, I spoke to Jay Tan about what this tournament means for poker in China and the world.
Tatjana Pasalic: How was the WPT experience for you?
Jay Tan: It was a really fun tournament to play, if I could replay it again, I would do it, even though I knew I will bust, I would still do it. I just had so much fun playing, this was the first WPT in China, I was so excited! Actually, I started playing about 40 minutes into the action, because there was a mix-up with my registration so I missed out on a lot of it, but you what? I caught up and my table was a dream table! Let’s just say that the players did not want to play me post flop, there was a lot of no showdown going on. I almost doubled my stack without a single showdown. That was great! Unfortunately, there was a pot that I lost that was really big and then, in my last hand, I got it in with AK, the guy turned 2 pair on me so that was unlucky but it was a great adventure and so much fun!
Tatjana Pasalic: You said earlier that you are looking forward to coming to Sanya, that it is such a wonderful place. Tell us more about this location.
Jay Tan: This is my second time in Sanya, first time I was here was in March for the CPC and it was really hot then so this is a great time to come, the weather is perfect but it is cooler at night, there is a breeze. It is really wonderful and this is my favorite poker stop in Asia, by far. It’s really nice here, as you can see, the resort is really fantastic.
Tatjana Pasalic: What does this tournament mean for the poker world and for poker in China?
Jay Tan: This is a phenomenal beginning for poker in China. Because they tried to introduce it with CPC China which was like the beginning, kind of paving the way for other great companies like WPT to come and to try and make a bigger impact. I think the WPT has successfully done that. This is creating a lot of publicity for the people in China who are interested. I really think the future of poker in China is going to be amazing.
Tatjana Pasalic: How much has the mainstream Chinese media picked up on the WPT in China?
Jay Tan: From what I know, people were consistently updating WEIBO, which is the Chinese version of Twitter. There were lots of updates, photos. Everything was live. When I sat down, there were cameras on me, on the other girls, foreign players. It seems like the media team is working hard at promoting this.
And, with the thoughts on the event from the beautiful Jay, I am packing up and leaving Sanya.
It was a great experience, very exotic and different. The tournament was very well run, the event seemed like a lot of fun and I will definitely sit down and play it next time.
The MGM resort is fabulous – one pick from 5 different restaurants, dinning by the beautiful pool with an ocean view of the sunset, bubble bar with special drinks effects, a night club, shopping, an ultra-modern gym supplied with fresh fruit and a pick of international news and documentary channels to watch while doing your daily cardio…it was a real pleasure to work in such an environment.
Congratulations to Zheng Hua Lei on winning the WPT, everyone else for participating and thanks to the WPT for hosting this event.
It is time to hop on a plane and join Jay, Kenny and McLean for dinner in Hong Kong – they are taking me out for a traditional Chinese crab feast. Updates to come!