By Lisa Yiasemides
Today has not been short on action. From start to finish, there have been ups, there have been downs…and after all the drama of the last few hours, it is Chinese national You Zeng (pictured above) who reigned Supreme, beating a field of 452 runners. He goes home with the title, the trophy and is $69,451 better off after three days of poker here at the Emperor’s Palace Hotel Casino.
Let’s rewind back to the beginning of the day, when there were 11 hopefuls still in the running. Michael Hahn was the first person to be eliminated. Despite great runs during Days 1 & 2, Day 3 was a different story and the poker pro left us in the first level of the day. Shortly afterwards, Emile Adams (pictured below) joined him at the rail, after getting his short stack in with ace-five and running into Nawal Jaftha’s ace-king.
Once the nine players had all taken their seats at the final table, the pace of eliminations didn’t slow down. First to fall was Riyad Khan. Khan came unstuck after losing two hands back-to-back. The first was a flip against Paul Mantzios’s pocket-tens, which left him short and then the next hand he pushed ace-jack suited all-in from under the gun but ran into Zeng’s ace-queen. It was the first elimination for our future champion and saw Khan leave in 9th place for R82,500 ($5,728).
Then it was Neville Govender who fell next, taking 8th place for R100,800 ($6,998). All the chips went in pre and again it was You Zeng who was involved in the pot, making a good call with pocket-sixes against Govenders’ underpair of fives. It was nail-biting stuff as Govender hit a set on the flop only to see Zeng redraw with a higher set just a few seconds later. Govender takes home R100,800 ($6,998) to console himself with.
Michael Cupido was the next player to bust, after falling on hard times at the final table. Despite a promising start when there were 11 left, Cupido lost two big pots, the first was a flip, the second he ran pocket-queens into pocket-aces. He was left down to the felt and after laddering a little, he got the remainder in with another flip but unfortunately lost that too. He hit the rail in 7th for R122,500 ($8,505).
Levi Dare went out in 6th place for R148,000 ($10,280) after failing to survive a three-way all-in against Zeng and Pereira. He made the first move, going all-in with his short stack with ace-four suited but he couldn’t find any help against Pereira’s ace-queen that held through to the river.
Next to hit the rail was Paul Mantzios , he got it in against Pereira on the flop with top pair and an open-ended draw but found himself up against the made straight and had only three outs to chop. It wasn’t to be though and again Pereira knocked out an opponent. Mantzios takes home R178,000 ($12,364) for his 5th place finish.
Last woman standing, Nawal Jaftha (pictured above), fell in 4th. Jaftha has had an incredible week, with this her second final table in the last three days. The first was in the High Roller Supa Stack and now she has done the double. Jaftha will take home R228,000 ($15,837) for her deep run after getting it in behind with ace-seven vs You Zeng’s pocket-jacks. She four-bet all-in preflop and couldn’t find an ace to save her.
Then there were three. Gideon Scheepers (pictured above) was the shortest stack by a long way at this point and it was always going to be difficult to come back from that spot. Scheepers defended his big blind vs an open and a flat and got it in with second pair on the flop. Pereira held with top pair and Scheepers shook his opponents’ hands before heading to the payouts desk to collect his R350,000 ($24,311) prize money for finishing in 3rd place.
After a short break heads up play began and not wanting to break with tradition, it lasted a mere 15 minutes. There were a couple of big pots that were both won by Zeng, including a four-bet all-in postflop by Zeng that took down the pot without showdown. With only around ten heads up hands played at this point, Zeng had managed to move into the lead and had roughly four times the chips that Pereira had. Pereira got it in good though, making a big call with top pair on a seven-high board for his all in. Facing two overcards from his opponent, he was a long way ahead but sadly for him, the turn card paired for Zeng and Pereira finished as runner-up. He goes home R544,000 ($37,787) better off.
That only leaves us with the job of congratulating Zeng. Taking down the Main Event is a great result in itself but on top of that Zeng just secured his biggest score to date, with only one other live result recorded.
You can see some of the best moments from the Main Event final table, by viewing our highlights video below.