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The Singapore Poker Championships XIII: Event Report

Posted by : DM101 on Friday, June 21, 2019 permalink

The M/V Aegean Paradise once again played gracious host to the quarterly fiesta which is the Singapore Poker Championships, which ran from June 14-16. In a weekend which saw close to record-breaking numbers for both the Main Event and the High-Roller, we witnessed the red-hot Benjamin Chew ship the SPC High-Roller barely 6 months after taking down the Main Event at SPC XI. We also crowned a new ME champion in Samson Yu, a name that will definitely grace these pages again before long. By way of new champions, the SPC also welcomed Desmond Yow to its pantheon when he pillaged and plundered his way to the heart-stopping Short Deck event title.

The SPC High-Roller

The weekend kicked off in fine fettle when 63 runners threw their hats in the ring for June’s edition of the twice-yearly High-Roller. Numerous local and regional champions had shown up, including Jaden Lim, Benjamin Chew, Terence Lai, and KK Liew. Also in attendance were the tough-as-nails and trophy-laden BFIS crew, as well as the swashbuckling high-rollers Team BT.

Just about half of the field returned for Day 2 of the event for the business of getting to the final table, with the bubble bursting in the early evening. Still in the hunt for the vaunted title were familiar faces Thomas Po, Lim Yan Ming, KK Liew, Benjamin Chew, and Henry Hoo; none of whom was a stranger to a final table. Rounding off the 8 were Jerry Tay, Koh Junxiong and Lim Jenn Fei, who were most certainly not at the final table by accident.

Leading the charge from the outset was Koh Junxiong, who was wielding a stack of 360,000 chips from the fresh eliminations of Soh Chye Wei and Stanley Teo. It was Benjamin Chew however, who drew first blood. An all-in pre-flop confrontation saw Lim Jenn Fei QQ with a mountain to climb against Benjamin’s KK. No nasty shocks for Benjamin came on any street however, and Jenn Fei was sent to the rail in 8th.

Another cooler would shortly follow when, on a board of A 2 6, both Thomas Po and Jerry Tay both get all their chips in the middle. Thomas find his AQ drawing to 3-outs when Jerry turns over AK, the former needing a miracle to stay alive. Unhappily for Thomas, the turn 6 and river 3 would send him packing in 7th.

Play tightened up considerably 6-handed, with nothing more than a few positional skirmishes and flop check-folds by way of action for some time. Abruptly, the tempo of play swung dramatically when Benjamin Chew slew two players in consecutive hands. On a board of Ac5c7c, both players moved their chips into the middle, with Jerry’s As2s in terrible shape against Benjamin’s AdKd. The turn 8c gave Jerry more outs for a chop, but it was not to be as the dealer slapped a 8s on the river. Jerry’s maiden SPC FT would end in 6th place.

On the very next shuffle, with play folded around, the short-stacked Lim Yan Ming found AJ in the hole and wasted no time in getting it all-in. Unfortunately for him, Benjamin Chew woke up in the BB once again with AK. The J T 5 flop brought momentary elation to Yan Ming’s quarters, hopes which were quickly dashed when the dealer burned and turned a Q to give Benjamin the nut straight. Drawing to 3-outs for a chop is never easy, and so it proved when the river 2 eliminated Yan Ming in 5th.

Having been responsible for three of the four busts thus far, Benjamin was sitting pretty with 650,000 in chips, and was by some distance the chip-leader 4-handed. Koh Junxiong, who had the wind in his sails from the start of the final table, had been bleeding chips from the absence of cards and opportunities. The beginning of the end was set when he doubled the short-stack Henry Hoo during 4-handed play. Not long after, he found himself in a massive pot with KK Liew. Both players stared down a board of A T Q A, and with action on Junxiong, he moved all-in on a stone-cold bluff with 59os. KK made the call after the slightest of pauses, and was by his own admission, never folding there. A great 4th place run from the quiet, unassuming Junxiong, who’d navigated a tough field with some aplomb.

Massively out-chipped and short once again, Henry Hoo got his chips in the middle, and must have feared the worst when both KK and Benjamin called. Both men checked through the 7 2 9 J 5 board, and Benjamin’s bottom pair was enough to send Henry to the rails in 3rd, his best ever finish at the SPC.

The stacks of both players were extremely competitive going into heads-up, with KK holding a negligible advantage. Benjamin was doing his best to deflect some polite but pointed old-school table talk from the wily KK, and within ten hands had wrestled away the chip lead. He soon extended that advantage to 2:1. The end came when Benjamin got it in on the river of a 2 T K 9 J board. KK made the call with Q3, but Benjamin had him with AQ for the higher straight. The unfortunate KK, who would have been the SPC’s second Triple Crown winner, had to make do with 2nd place, and a tidy runner’s up purse. Congratulations to man-of-the-moment Benjamin Chew, newest recipient of the SPC High-Roller trophy!

Natural8 Main Event

Some 319 runners took their seats for the Main Event (just two shy of the SPC’s record), with Flight 1A wait-listing 30 alternates. A capacity field clawed its way through two brutal Day 1flights, winnowing to 90 by the end of regulation time. Day 2 dawned with 36 ITM places up for grabs, a $22,800 first place prize, and Zhang Changjie leading the pack with 145,000 in chips.

As always, the short stacks set a frantic pace from the get-go in Day 2, looking to double for a serious shot at a deep finish. Once the early flurry of eliminations had worked themselves out, play carried along at a gentler pace till the bubble, where players tightened up to a crawl.

The bubble was eventually burst by two men. Jaesh Balachandran and ex-ME champion Lew Yin How were desperately short, and were victims of a hand-for-hand concurrent elimination. The players would share the 36th place prize, and amidst generous cheering and applause, the rest of the field were in the money.

The final nine was assembled several hours later, and many new faces were in with a shout to be crowned new SPC Main Event Champion. The man to watch was Abhishek Kapoor, an SPC first-timer who’d arrived at the final table with more than 1 million in chips, his intimidating towers of clay dwarfing the rest of the players’ stacks.

Abhishek’s fiery run showed no signs of abating when play resumed. Abhishek put Cham Yong Wee to the test with an overshove on the river sending the latter deep into the tank. Yong Wee finally makes a crying call with his rivered set, and Abhishek turns over AT suitedfor a turned nut flush. Yong Wee heads to the rails in 9th position.

Abhishek’s next victim was Tan Cheng Kwee, who was making his first final table appearance at an SPC event. Short and fast running out of options, Cheng Kwee finds AQ UTG and gets all his chips in the middle. Abhishek checks his stack, and obliges with 66. A 6 on the flop was about enough to get Cheng Kwee to start assembling his personal effects, and a drama-less turn and river sealed his fate in 8th place.

Alex Lee, who these days seems to be a fixture at the Main Event final table, had been enjoying yet another deep run. Having recently been crippled in a big hand, Alex was looking for a quick comeback, and found occasion to do so with 9dTd. Abhishek, the man who could do no wrong, made a quick call with with AcJs. A 9 on the flop brought some hope, but this was quickly dashed when a J appeared on the turn. Alex exits in a very respectable 6th place.

Kenneth Anthony, whose decision to graduate from crew to contestant has been well justified, was also making another FT appearance, having already gone several better than his previous 8th place finish. Card dead and running short on chips, Kenneth made his stand with AcTs. The ice-cool Samson Yu made the call with a dominating AJ suited. Neither player connected with the board, and Kenneth was sent packing in 6th.

The jovial Ong Yee How had been crippled quite early at the FT, but had the experience and wherewithal move numerous spots up the money ladder. Having already dodged numerous bullets, he found himself with a terrific opportunity against Eric Soh., his AQ dominating Eric’s A9 in an all-in preflop confrontation. A flop of 99T however, swiftly had Yee How clutching his hair in dismay. The turn K brought Yee How a slender four outs, but a bricked river saw the plucky Malaysian’s run at an end. Yee How bags 5th place and a very nice chunk of change.

Samson Yu began to assert himself four-handed. He and Abhishek got involved in a couple of bruising scraps, with echoes of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Bobby Zhuo and Eric Soh meanwhile, were perfectly content to watch the chip-leaders duke it out. Samson soon took a couple of pots off Abhishek. Determined to not let Samson have it all his own way, Abhishek led heavily on a 2 3 5 flop, which Samson called after some consideration. Abhishek put Samson all-in on the T turn, only for Samson to snap call with A4 for a flopped straight, leaving the former needing some pretty specific runner-runners. No miracle transpired, Abhishek was crippled, and Samson took and enormous chip lead.

With a chip lead so pronounced that a stiff breeze would have knocked his opponents over, the inevitable was quickly taking shape when Samson despatched Eric Soh in 4rd. Eric’s Ks2h preflop all-in was called by Samson’s 33. Merely spiking bottom pair though, was not sufficient to keep Eric’s hopes alive, and he was consigned to the rails in 4th. Not terrible for a man who had no plans on attending, only booking his ferry ticket on a last-minute whim.

Now with not much left behind, Abhishek got his chips in with AQ, and was unfortunate to find Bobby Zhuo with AK in the hole. Neither player caught the J J T 9 6 board, and Abhishek was eliminated in 3rd. A great outing for the young man at his first SPC.

The quiet and earnest Bobby Zhuo, who’d been nursing a short stack throughout the final-table, had maneuvered with some deftness to get to heads-up. Unfortunately for Bobby, the stars were aligned for his opponent. On the first all-in hand, we were off to the races when Bobby’s AcTc was tabled against Samson’s 33. The Qc5h3c flop gave Samson bottom set and Bobby the nut flush draw. The 9c turn was an act of otherworldly mischief, completing Bobby’s nut flush. The river 9d however, completed Samson’s full house. Had the stacks been even and the hand played out post-flop, all the chips would arguably have gone in as well. Huge kudos to Bobby Zhuo for a well-fought contest, and congratulations to our new Main Event champion Samson Yu!

Full Results -

High Roller:

1. Benjamin Chew - $20,600
2. Liew Kok Kong - $13,400
3. Hoo Bai Ming Henry - $10,000
4. Khor Jun Xiong - $7,500
5. Lim Yan Ming - $6,000
6. Tay Bin Chiat - $4,700
7. Po Xiang Jun Thomas - $3,600
8. Lim Jenn Fei - $2,800
9. Teo Choon Ming Stanley - $1,150*
10. Soh Chye Wei - $1,150*
*Joint 9th

Natural8 Main Event:

1. Samson Yu Jinda - $21,800**
2. Bobby Zhuo Xin Hua - $16,000**
3. Abhishek Kapoor - $11,000
4. Soh Teck Hwee Eric - $8,600
5. Ong Ee How - $6,900
6. Kenneth Anthony - $5,500
7. Lee Cheng Long - $4,300
8. Tan Cheng Kwee - $3,300
9. Cham Yong Wee - $2,500
10. Lester Wee Yong Xiang - $2,000
11. Zhang Chang Jie - $2,000
12. Rahul Chalkar - $2,000
13. Jason Ng Tze Wei - $1,600
14. Ng Chang Gim - $1,600
15. Terence Lai - $1,600
16. Peck Jun Yang - $1,300
17. Goh Kai Yang - $1,300
18. Robin Thadathil - $1,300
19. Viknesh Balakrishnan - $1,000
20. Chiew Wei Loong Adrian - $1,000
21. Chua Tiong Hong Robin - $1,000
22. Rodney Trevor - $1,000
23. Teo Hwei Ming Justin - $1,000
24. Ranganathan Hemagiri - $1,000
25. Soh Weng Lee Ivan - $1,000
26. Foo Kok Peng Jaime - $1,000
27. Wong Chong Huan Jonathan - $1,000
28. Tan Chee Ray Waltson - $700
29. Lim Chor Heng - $700
30. Lim Siow Long Louis - $700
31. Ng Kok Wei Adrian - $700
32. Yau Shiu Chee - $700
33. Liew Teck Wee - $700
34. Desmond Yun Jiawei - $700
35. Poon Khai Loon - $700
36. Jaesh Balachandran - 350*
37. Lew Yin How - $350*

*Joint 36th
**Deal made

Short Deck NLH:

1. Desmond Yow Jia Wei - $3,900
2. Timothy Goh Jun Long - $2,550
3. Tham Zhi Chao Benson - $1,700
4. Lim Chor Heng - $1,000
5. Liew Kok Kong - $700

The SPC congratulates all winners and thanks everyone for attending SPC XIII. See you all again in September!

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