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SPC IX:  Three New Champions; Season 3 Natural8 POTY Heats Up!

Posted by : DM101 on Friday, June 15, 2018 permalink

The Aegean Paradise once again played host to the Singapore Poker Championships last weekend, as Season 3 roared into full swing with SPC IX. The series crowned three new champions in the High-Roller, Main Event and Head-Hunter, all of whom were picking up their first SPC trophies. Community favourite Cheng Cher Whey beat out some extremely stiff competition in the High-Roller to prevail. Lim Choon Koh, playing in his first ever poker tournament, outlasted 283 other candidates to win the SPC Main Event, while Dillon Lim, coming off an ITM finish in the Main Event, hopped into the Head-Hunter and found a way to triumph against a star-studded final table.

The SPC IX High-Roller

An illustrious, much be-medalled field took to the felt to contest the SPC High-Roller. After a brutal Day 1, 19 players had bagged chips overnight, with Le Thai Loc, defending HR champion Lim Min Soon, 2018 POTY Mark Wong, and Aaron Lam all in the mix. The field was led into Day 2 by Joey Soh, with just about 112,000 in chips, closely followed by Liew Teck Wee and defending ME champion David Soin.

An experienced field meant that soft spots were truly few and far between, and the final two tables danced elegant games of post flop for approximately 6 hours, before David Soin dramatically exited the tournament on the bubble. Having had his chip stack whittled down in the most crucial of times, David moved his remaining chips into the middle from UTG+1. The table folded around to big stack Cheng Cher Whey in the BB, who found the price right and made the call with KJ. Cheng spiked the flop and David was unable to find his two outs on the turn and river.

Also short on chips and looking to pick up some blinds was defending HR champ Lim Min Soon. From the hijack, he found a reasonable spot with A2, and was dismayed to find a quick call from Cheng Cher Whey in the cutoff. The latter’s dominating AJ had Min Soon drawing very slim. The A K 7 board brought no help to either player, while the turn 5 increased the prospects of a chopped pot. An 8 on fifth street however, effectively ended the chance of a HR two-peat for Min Soon.

With only five players remaining, former Main Event champion Liew Teck Wee was next to fall. His spirited run came to a grinding halt when, holding Ah9h with his chips all in preflop, he found himself up against Eric Soh’s 8h9h. His stranglehold on the hand was reversed in an instant when the flop delivered 8d 2c 9d, leaving him drawing to either an ace or running hearts. A 7c on the turn put paid to the flush, and the Ace Teck Wee needed failed to materialise on the river.

With the big stack Cheng Cher Whey picking up multiple small pots in 4-handed play, the pressure was on the remaining players to chip up to compete. Reigning POTY Mark Wong, who recently doubled after his A8 had outflopped Eric Soh’s AK, soon found his tournament life at risk once again when his steal attempt from the SB with K2 was snapped off by Joey Soh, who’d awoken with AK in the BB. On this occasion, there was to be no reprieve for the plucky Mark, as the dealer tabled J 4 9 9 T, sending him to the rails for 4th place finish.

With both Joey and Cheng outchipping him by some distance 3-handed, Eric found an opportunity to resteal from Joey’s button open, especially with Cheng calling from the SB. A sinking feeling must have overcome Eric when Joey immediately re-shoved to isolate him. His worst fears were confirmed when Joey turned over QQ for a plus-sized lead over his KT, the bricked board eliminating Eric for an excellent 3rd place finish.
Now heads-up, the Chengster and Joey then put on arguably the best heads-up contest the SPC has seen. Cheng held a 2:1 advantage at the start of play and must have smelled the finish line when he made it 3:1. Joey however, began to get some measure of his opponent, and through a succession of well thought-out moves, clawed his way back to almost even. The momentum was shifting and a couple of medium-sized pots saw Joey take the chip lead, at one point to a ratio of 3.5:1. Just when the tables looked like they had effectively turned, Cheng began to bite back. Calling upon his years of experience, Cheng managed to swing the contest back to par, while eking out a slender lead.

With the railbirds riveted, both players took a board of 9 Q 4 after Cheng had called Joey’s preflop raise. Joey laid out a continuation bet, and Cheng moved all-in. Joey made the call with minimal hesitation, and to Cheng’s alarm, tabled AA, leaving Cheng’s JT in an awkward position with 8 outs. An incredible turn K however, altered the complexion of the tie, effectively despatching the unlucky Joey in 2nd place. Congratulations to Joey for a superb tournament, and to the new HR champion Cheng Cher Whey, whose well-deserved first SPC title has been a long time coming.

The Natural8 Main Event

With the 2019 Natural8 Player-of-the-Year Challenge now approaching the half-way mark, 284 runners unsheathed their swords for the Main Event battle of SPC IX. Just about 140 entries piled onto each flight, with all players looking to nab the lion’s share of the $98,000 prize pool. 36 runners would make the money, and a champion’s purse of $18,200 was on offer; in addition to many precious POTY points.

75 players made their way back to the tables on Sunday for Day 2, many worse for wear from the previous night’s free flow, and in some cases, from attempting ‘to teach the casino a lesson’; endeavours which almost never end joyfully.

Leading the charge on Day 2 were Teo Zi Sheng and Robin Khoo, both boasting six-figure chip-stacks. There were closely pursued by Liew Ming Xuan, consistent ITMer Calvin Tan, and Charles Lesmana, who had taken down the Main Event title last September. Also still in the hunt were recent Pokerstars Platinum Pass winner Ignatius Ee, the deadly Chainani brothers, Vijayarengan Visvalingam, Deric Lee, Lew Yin How, and Norbert Koh.

The tournament lost two players on the bubble, to the relief of the remaining field who had seen a lot of the early Day 2 favourites fall by the wayside. Now assured of at least a min-cash, the serious jostle for the final table began.

The road to the final table was paved with pitfalls for many a seasoned campaigner, with Calvin Tan, Vijayrengan Visvalingam, Terence Lai and Zhang Changjie all finding Day 2 hard going. Deric Lee, Tan Hai Shien and Mark Wong also came up just short, assembling a final table of many fresh faces.

Dhanesh Chainani, a well-known figure on the Asian circuit, and who making his second consecutive final table at the SPC, drew first blood when his AK made short work of the short-stacked Foo Kok Peng’s T7, sending the latter to the rails in 9th position.

Next to exit was Adrian Ng. Adrian, one of the pioneering group of players for the LWPS days of yore, seized upon an easy all-in spot from the SB when the table had folded round to him. Jeremy Wee wasn’t having it and made an equally easy call with A6. The A Q 5 board put Jeremy in an almost unassailable position, and the 2 turn had Adrian drawing dead.

Emboldened by the scalp and with his stack still slightly below average, Jeremy picked another spot with K8, in the hopes of dragging another uncontested pot. Charles Lesmana however, has been sniffing out steals from miles away for many, many years. He duly obliged and made the call with A8 for a dominating lead. Jeremy was drawing thin, and already out of his chair at the ready for a congratulatory handshake. Both players bricked the flop, turn and river, and Jeremy was eliminated in 7th place.

The hitherto coasting Dhanesh Chainani soon ran into some trouble in a showdown with Mahdi Rasouli. The latter was facing almost certain elimination when he ran his 99 into BigDC’s overpairs, but he spiked a 9 on the flop and successfully evaded the resuck on the remaining streets, finding himself a big double through, while crippling Dhanesh in the process.

With just about three BB remaining, Dhanesh had little choice but to call off ATC, and Mahdi, with AQ in the hole, pounced with a reshove to isolate. Both players missed the K 6 J flop, while the turn gave Mahdi a pair and Dhanesh a glimmer of hope with the up and down draw. Unfortunately for Dhanesh, the river K dashed his hopes of going one better this time, and he was sent home in 6th.

5-handed play saw the experience of Charles Lesmana really make a difference, and for a sustained period it appeared that he had complete control of proceedings, picking up numerous pots to establish chip dominance. He soon added even more to his stack when Mahdi went all in-pre with As5h. Charles deliberated briefly before making the call with Qc9c. Both players connected with the A 9 T flop, with Mahdi in a terrific position to find another vital double through. A cruel 9 on the turn immediately turned the tables, before the 8 river sealed Mahdi’s fate. Great run from Mahdi Rasouli, who records his best ever SPC finish.
Charles was now poised to become only the third player to win two SPC Main Event titles, and would clearly take some stopping. Charles next victim was Yu Jiahang. Making his first SPC final table, Yu had played an excellent Day 2 and had gotten deep without ever seeming to get himself into unfavourable situations. He too however, was eventually felled by the Charles Lesmana juggernaut, his Q9 overmatched by Charles’ ducks on a K Q 2 board. Yu caps of his superb run with a 4th place finish. We’re sure we’ll be seeing more of him.

Matters were now down to three players, and Kevin Teng and Lim Choon Koh were looking to give the overwhelming chip leader a run for his money. A defining hand emerged soon after, when Kevin and Choon Koh both got their chips in the middle. A cruel three-outer gave Choon Koh a critical double-up, while Kevin was effectively left with a chip and a chair.

Kevin, who’d finished runner-up in the Main Event a year ago, had little choice but to call off the rest of his chips on his next BB, cards unseen. He still found live cards against Charles’ 97, but the K 9 T flop quickly found his 82 requiring running cards. A queen on the turn meant he could still draw to a chopped pot, but an Ace on the river meant Charles’ solitary pair would hold. Another deep and remarkable run for the affable Kevin, who bags third place and a lot of spare change for his troubles.

Despite having taken all of Kevin’s chips, Choon Koh still found himself staring down the barrel of a 4:1 chip deficit at the start of heads-up play; testament to just how dominant Charles had been over the course of the FT. After a few small pots had come and gone, Choon Koh found a big double-up by prevailing in an all in-preflop contest. Any nerves Choon Koh may have felt at the outset of his first heads-up battle were certainly non-existent at this point, as he clawed his way back to 1:1. With both players at 1.6m in chips and change, the defining hand began with Charles opening preflop from the SB. Choon Koh had a look at his cards before announcing himself all-in, leaving Charles with a big decision on his KJ holdings. Charles paused briefly before making the call, finding himself an underdog against Choon Koh’s AT. The A 4 8 board thrust Choon Koh into a commanding position, leaving Charles requiring running cards. The turn 6 left Charles drawing dead, with Choon Koh’s vociferous rail already in full voice. When a count revealed that Choon Koh had less than 15k more chips than Charles, the SPC had a brand-new ME champion! Kudos to Charles for yet another sterling run, and a big runner-up finish

Congratulations to our newest SPC Natural8 Main Event Champion Lim Choon Koh for bagging his first ever title, and for accomplishing the feat in his first ever poker tournament!

Full Results


1st – Cheng Cher Whey - $18,200
2nd – Joey Soh - $12,000
3rd – Eric Soh - $8,100
4th – Mark Wong - $6,000
5th – Liew Teck Wee - $4,500
6th – Lim Min Soon - $3,200

Main Event:

1st – Lim Choon Koh - $18,200
2nd – Charles Lesmana - $12,700
3rd – Kevin Teng - $10,000
4th – Yu Jiahang - $7,300
5th – Mahdi Rasouli - $5,900
6th – Dhanesh Chainani - $4,800
7th – Jeremy Wee - $3,800
8th – Adrian Ng - $3,000
9th – Foo Kok Peng - $2,400
10th – Tan Hai Shien - $1,900
11th – Deric Lee - $1,900
12th – Teo Zi Sheng - $1,900
13th – Russell Leong - $1,600
14th – Terence Yeo - $1,600
15th – Mark Wong - $1,600
16th – Pamela Ang - $1,300
17th – Vijayarengan Visvalingam - $1,300
18th – Liew Ming Xuan - $1,300
19th – Maximilien Lim - $1,000
20th – Sharine Chew - $1,000
21st – Terence Lai - $1,000
22nd – Tai Chen Lye - $1,000
23rd – Calvin Tan - $1,000
24th– Hou Kai Jia - $1,000
25th – Prashant Chainani - $1,000
26th – Samson Yu - $1,000
27th – Chen Wei Jie - $1,000
28th - Jackie Tan - $700
29th - Zulkifli Zulkarnain - $700
30th - Dillon Lim - $700
31st - Lim Yan Ming - $700
32nd - Ignatius Ee - $700
33rd - Zhang Changjie - $700
34th - Chua Boon Seah - $700
35th - Edwin Ji - $700
36th* - Yong Chee Heong - $350
36th* - Lim Kun Cai - $350
*Joint 36th

The SPC Head-Hunter:

1st – Dillon Lim - $2,150*
2nd – Ricky Foo - $1,600*
3rd – Daniel Chua - $1,600*
4th – Li Hang - $800
5th – Anton Wijaya- $550

*Adjusted deal payouts
The Singapore Poker Championships congratulates all winners, and thanks all participants for making SPC IX the massive weekend it was. See you all in September!

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