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SPC VII: The Season 2 Finale Report

Posted by : DM101 on Thursday, December 21, 2017 permalink

The Singapore Poker Championships closed out its second season aboard the MV Aegean Paradise last weekend, in a thrilling instalment that saw the Series’ biggest ever High-Roller event and another whopping Main Event sell-out crowd. A former champion cemented his place in SPC folklore by bagging a trophy in the toughest field the SPC has seen, while a seasoned campaigner, having come mighty close in a few events regionally of late, finally nailed his first title. The weekend also crowned a spanking new Natural8 Player-of-the-Year, a fearless 19-year old star with iced-water in his veins. Trailing the field at the start of the weekend, he picked up one side-event trophy, in addition to a deep finish in the High-Roller to romp home.

The SPC VII High-Roller

69 players anted up for the SPC’s largest ever buy-in event, amongst them numerous SPC Main Event Champions, and multiple players who have bagged titles in Macau or the Philippines.
After a gruelling Day 1, thirty-4 contenders took their seats for Day 2, with chip-leaders Haresh, Tan Yong Hui, Calvin Tan, and Sivakumaran leading the charge. Defending High-Roller and Mini-Roller champs Neo Zhi Han and Le Thai Loc had found the going tough in Day 1, and both were unceremoniously dispatched enroute to the final table.

The bubble was burst tragically, by crowd favourite Bobby Cheong, who played his image and ran a stone-cold bluff against a made hand. No miracle transpired on the turn and river, and the remaining 9 players were in the money.
Now safely assured of a profit, players now began to change gears, looking to accumulate some chips for a run at the juicy $25,800 champion’s purse.

The impressive Sean Tay - in the first of what would be his two final tables of the weekend - was earliest to get his chips in when he found a pair of sixes in the hole. Unfortunately, Mark Wong was lying in wait with AA, and Sean was unable to find his two outs on the 2 5 5 flop. The turn 4 brought Sean another 4 outs and a glimmer of hope, but a 4 on the river put paid to the deeper run he deserves.
Sivakumaran, one of the overnight chip leaders but now one of the shorter stacks, found himself in a bit of a sweat when he got the lot in with AA against Mark Wong’s 77. Fortunately for Siva, the bricked board gave him a big double through and moved him back up amongst the contenders.

Siva would soon put those chips to good use against Poh Leng Wee. In another all-in preflop confrontation, Poh got all his chips in the middle with AQ, only to discover with dismay that Siva had him dominated with AK. The K T 7 board left Poh drawing to 4 outs. The turn 6 had Poh drawing mighty slim, and the river 5 duly dispatched him in 8th place.

Soon to follow was Zhang ‘CJ’ Changjie, a man with numerous deep finishes in SPC events. Short and badly in need of some chips, CJ moved in with 55 from mid-position and found an immediate caller from late position in Siva. The rest of the table got out of the way, and Siva tabled JJ for a dominating hand. Both players missed the 7-high board, and CJ would crash out in 7th.

Mohd. Zefirelli, fresh off a title at the Manila Megastack, was looking to cap off an excellent competitive month, and was pretty close to making it happen. With an above average stack, he tried to pick Jan Sin off with AQ, only for the latter to turn over AK with all his chips in the middle. Neither player improved across five streets, and Zef, was suddenly crippled. Thereafter short, he called off a steal attempt from Mark Wong with AT, and was ahead of Mark’s J5. Unfortunately for Zef, Mark caught a 5 on the flop, and when the rest of the board bricked out, he was sent to the rail in 6th position.

Another defining hand occurred soon after, when Siva ran a big bluff on the river of a 9-high board, which Mark had little difficulty calling with TT. That gave Mark the chip lead, ballooning his stack to just north of 800k.

Ng Jiunn Yang, another study in steadiness and consistency, was next to fall. With opportunities few and far between, Jiunn Yang couldn’t find the hands to make any sort of impression since the final table began. Desperately short, he was obliged to call off the rest of his chips with 74, and must have been reasonably pleased to have found himself with live cards against Mark Wong’s 85. The flop and turn brought no help to either player, and the river five cemented Jiunn Yang’s fate. An excellent showing from Mr. Ng.

SIvakumaran, who’d not been able to claw himself back to equilibrium since that big pot against Mark, was next to get his chips in the middle, with a standard A4 move from the SB. Mark Wong, now holding the majority of the chips in play, called from the BB with Q9, after a quick count of Siva’s chips. The 6 7 T board gave Mark an additional 4 outs, and an improbable 9 on fourth street turned the tables abruptly, leaving Siva drawing to 3 outs. The river queen consigned Siva to the rail, and a very creditable 4th place finish.

Jan Sin, the sole survivor of his 12-man strong BT group, had been adroitly working his way through the final table, having never seemed to have gone to showdown with the worse hand. Soon entangled in a flip for his tournament life, he got his remaining chips in the middle pre-flop with 55, with SPC veteran Lim Min Soon making the call with A7. The K 3 7 flopped propelled Min Soon into commanding position, leaving Jan drawing mighty slim. Running tens on the turn and river would eliminate Jan in 3rd; hitherto his best showing at the SPC. Jan bags a hefty 12,100 gold coins for his efforts.

The railbirds buckled in for an exciting heads-up contest, and the contenders would not disappoint. With stacks almost even at the start of play, it was anyone’s game. Lim Min Soon, the expressive and seasoned campaigner with multiple accolades under his belt, up against the 19-year old Mark Wong, the expressionless killer who only broke character with a warm smile when shaking the hands of a vanquished opponent.

With both players holding just enough chips to take their time, but not enough chips to be foolhardy, play was cagey from the get go. Deciding to seize the bull by the horns after about 20 hands, Mark took down a 3-barrel pot, eliciting a fold from Min Soon on the river. Having eked out a slender chip advantage, Mark was unable to capitalise, with Min Soon clawing back to level terms soon after.

It was Min Soon who soon had the wind in his sails. Taking down a series of small-to-medium pots soon gave him the upper hand. Keeping up the pressure, he quickly seized a 4:1 chip lead. The ultimate hand saw both players all-in on a 6 8 5 rainbow board. Min Soon held Q8 for top pair, but Mark held 97 for the flopped nuts. The jubilance of Mark’s rail turned to a soft moan when another 8 materialised on the turn, abruptly giving Min Soon 10 outs. An implausible 6 on the river was accompanied by a roar from the railbirds, and Mark was eliminated in 2nd for a tidy 21,000 shekels.

Congratulations to Mark, and above all to our newest High-Roller Champion Lim Min Soon, who adds this sweetest of titles to his already long list of accomplishments on the felt, in addition to 22,500 in Christmas presents.

The Natural8 Main Event

The last Main Event of Season 2 saw 287 runners pile on across two flights, with all players looking for some pre-Yuletide cheer in the $98,700 prize pool. With 36 players paid, a $19,000 champion’s purse, in addition to those vital Natural8 Player-of-the-Year points, no one was going quietly into that good night.

Day 2 welcomed back 82 runners after a furious final two Day 1 levels, which saw a flurry of eliminations in each flight. Top of the pack when cards went in the air were Mervyn Lee, Zheng Han, and former Main Event champion Freddy Kwek, all with approximately 120,000 in chips. As it turns out, the dreaded curse of the overnight chip leader has no currency on the high seas, as both Freddy and Mervyn swashbuckled their way into the final table, while Zheng Han just found himself edged out in 12th position.

The final-table bubble was an anxious affair, except for seasoned exponents and then short stacks Freddy Kwek and Aaron Lam. Aaron spent a large portion of ten-handed play good-naturedly begging opponents to bust Freddy, banter Freddy enthusiastically returned in kind. In the end, it was Aaron Lam, one of the most beloved figures in the community, who made his exit in 10th.

He was joined on the rail shortly after by Lucius Chua, who was knocking on the door of a title for a third occasion, having final-tabled this event twice previously. Once again, he found precious little by way of luck, when his 3-bet shove of Andrew Lee’s preflop open was snapped off by the latter’s pocket rockets. The board brought no help to either player, and Lucius was sent packing in 9th.

Cao Lei was next to fall, when, short stacked, he found his chips in a sufficiently precarious position to three-bet shove with QJ. Keith Seah wasted little time in making the call, and his AJ had Cao dominated. Neither player connected with the board, and Cao’s hopes of a first title were derailed for an 8th place finish.

Making his debut at the final table, and indeed the SPC was the affable Columbian Fernando Arevalo, who’d carved his way through Day 2 with poise and adroitness. Having already bested 279 players thus far, he soon found his deep run at an end when his K7 was cut down by the chip leader Keith Seah - whose QT had turned an unassailable straight.

Another table defining hand occurred soon after during 6-handed play. The talented Sean Tay, who was playing his second final table in 2 days, soon found himself in a terrible spot that left him crippled. He 3-bet shoved Syed Ubhaidilla’s preflop raise with QQ, only for the latter to snap call with KK. On a day when all the best hands were holding up, Sean’s QQ found no joy on the board.

Shortly after he moved his remaining chips into the middle with J8, and found a quick caller in Mervyn Lee with KJ. The A 3 9 5 9 board hit neither player, and Sean was dispatched in 6th.

SPC legend Freddy Kwek looked all but down and out when he lost a colossal 3- way pot earlier in Day 2, but had bounced back with some well-timed plays, putting himself in terrific position to become only the third player to win two Main Events. During five-handed play, he seemed all but certain for a big double through when his K9 spiked a K on the flop, leaving Keith Seah’s 44 drawing to 2 outs with two streets to come. A bricked turn gave Freddy reason for jubilance, but an improbable 4 on the river elicited an audible moan from the crowd, eliminating the crestfallen Freddy in 5th.

The ice-cool and bearded Andrew Lee, who was hitherto an invaluable member of the SPC crew, had discarded his dealer’s bow-tie for a plunge into the unforgiving, cut-throat world of competitive tournament poker. Many others had gone before him, with wholly tragic outcomes. Andrew however, would buck the depressing trend of staff to player conversions by coasting with some aplomb into the final table.

Come 4-handed however, he too would find his tournament at an end. With Keith Seah the overwhelming chip leader at 1.6 million chips and deep enough to call anyone light, Andrew picked his spot with 44 and got it in against
Mervyn Lee’s J8. The K 7 5 board augured well for Andrew, while a 9 in the turn gave Mervyn an additional four outs. Andrew’s worst fears were realised when the river brought an 8, eliminating him in 4th for a tidy $7,400.

With Mervyn now holding a slight chip advantage of Keith, all the pressure was now on the short stack Syed. On a flop of 6 3 4, Syed could have done a lot worse than get in his chips with 69 here, and he did, only to find himself up against Mervyn’s 34. The turn and river were of no help to Syed, and he was sent home on the next ferry for an excellent 3rd place finish, and a consolation purse of $9,700.

Mervyn was now holding a 2:1 chip lead going into heads-up play, and in the driving seat. As multiple SPCs and recent regional results have shown however, Keith is no pushover. Keith quickly retook the chip advantage, only for Mervyn to counter-punch and regain the advantage. Mervyn’s wide hand range was unsettling Keith, but the latter soon adjusted and gradually had Mervyn on the ropes with a 6:1 chip lead. Mervyn had all his chips in the middle behind soon enough, and was saved by the board, which restored some chip parity.

The ultimate hand came in another all-in preflop confrontation. Q7 was Mervyn’s weapon of choice, and he was desperately unfortunate to discover that Keith had woke up with KK. Some glimmer of doubt crossed Keith’s brow when Mervyn spiked the Q 2 8 board. The inconsequential turn 6 left both players with one more card to sweat, and a brick J on the river had both players shaking hands on a tournament well played. Congratulations to Mervyn Lee for an outstanding runner-up finish, and a tasty 13,000 Christmas cookies.

Above all, congratulations to our newest SPC Natural8 Main Event Champion Keith Seah for bagging his first ever title, and the $19,000 champions purse!

Full Results


1st – Lim Min Soon - $22,500*
2nd – Mark Wong - $21,000*
3rd – Jan Sin - $12,100
4th – Sivakumaran - $9,500
5th – Ng Jiunn Yang - $7,600
6th – Mohd. Zefirelli - $5,900
7th – Zhang Changjie - $4,600
8th – Poh Leng Wee - $3,600
9th – Sean Tay - $2,900

*Adjusted pay-outs from heads-up deal.

Main Event:

1st – Keith Seah - $19,000
2nd – Mervyn Lee - $13,000
3rd – Syed Ubhaidilla - $9,700
4th – Andrew Lee - $7,400
5th – Freddy Kwek - $6,000
6th – Sean Tay - $4,900
7th – Fernando Arevalo - $3,900
8th – Cao Lei - $3,000
9th – Lucius Chua - $2,300
10th – Aaron Lam - $1,900
11th – Jerald Sam - $1,900
12th – Zheng Han - $1,900
13th – Haugestal Gunnar - $1,600
14th – Ong Choon Hau - $1,600
15th – Vijayarengan Visvalingam - $1,600
16th – Daniel Ho - $1,300
17th – Eugene Lee - $1,300
18th – Peck Xuan Qi - $1,300
19th – Jason Chin - $1,000
20th – Calvin Tan - $1,000
21st – Mark Yeow - $1,000
22nd – Terence Liew - $1,000
23rd – Peck Jun Kang - $1,000
24th– Tai Wei Liang - $1,000
25th – Tan Jian An - $1,000
26th – Cheong Wai Yang - $1,000
27th – Jeremy Khiang - $1,000
28th - Edwin Ji - $700
29th - Lim Yan Ming - $700
30th - Hou Kai Jia - $700
31st - Johnson Lim - $700
32nd - Chua Koon Yuan - $700
33rd - Phua Si Yang - $700
34th - Alexander Goh - $700
35th - Kong Jian Qiang - $700
36th - Guo Jiarong - $700

The SPC Head-Hunter:

1st – Mark Wong - $3,200
2nd – Tan Hai Shien - $2,100
3rd – Ho Bao Qiang - $1,400
4th – Hou Kai Jia - $800
5th – Li Hang- $550

The Singapore Poker Championships congratulates all winners, and thanks all participants for making SPC VII absolutely incredible. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and see you all again next season!

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