ACOP 2017: Main Event final table live updates

October 28, 2017

The 2017 Asia Championship of Poker Main Event is over. Read a full recap and relive the action with our CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS | PLAYER PROFILES
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9:20pm: Lau is the champ!
Level 36 – Blinds: 150,000/300,000 (ante 30,000)

Alan Lau is the ACOP Main Event champion! There was time for two more hands, both of which went to Lau. The first was by far the biggest–full details coming–but victory was secured when Lau got a chunk in with 3♦3♠ and Been called off his last 1.4 million with 3♥4♥.

The board ran A♣6♦8♣Q♥A♥ and, with that, Lau was crowned champion. Full details of the (much larger and more complicated) penultimate hand to come. And also stay tuned for a full tournament report.

9:15pm: Massive double for Lau
Level 36 – Blinds: 150,000/300,000 (ante 50,000)

Aaron Been is down to the wire after losing a massive pot versus Alan Lau.

It all went in pre with the action starting with a limp from Been. Lau made it 1 million to call and Been went all-in over the top. It was snapped off by Lau and they turned over their cards:

Lau A♣Q♠
Been A♥J♥

Been was smiling as the cards were dealt: [KS]4♠6♣6♦8♠. That is a whopping pot for Lau, who has 14 million to Been’s 1.4 million. -LY

9:10pm: Been doubles up
Level 35 – Blinds: 120,000/240,000 (ante 30,000)

Things have evened right up again now with Aaron Been scoring a lucky double to keep the Main Event running. Been limped in on the button and when Alan Lau announced all in from the big blind, Been called off for 3.8 million with the worst of it.

Lau: A♥10♥
Been: Q♠J♦

Been had live cards and he hit one on the J♥9♠5♦ flop. That pair of jacks held through the 3♣ turn and K♦ river and Been doubled to 7.7 million – basically dead even with Lau. — BK

8:50pm: Lau takes the lead
Level 33 – Blinds: 90,000/180,000 (ante 30,000)

The previous hand took the entire last level, so even though the clock has been speeded up significantly, our final two don’t seem to be in any rush when making their decisions.

After a 430,000 open from Alan Lau, Aaron Been called and the duo saw a 3♥5♦6♣ flop.

It was a check from Been and Lau bet 450,000 this time. Been spent a long time in the tank and raised it large, to 2.15 million. It was Lau’s turn to go into the tank. Once he’d done thinking, he clicked to 3.4 million, prompting a quick all in from Been and Lau snapped him off.

Been, with 6♠7♣, was looking for a six, seven or four to win the tournament, all the other outs belonged to Lau’s K♣K♦.

It was a Q♥ turn and a 9♦ river and the pot belonged to Lau. He has doubled to over 10 million now. -LY

8:45pm: Lau doubles
Level 33 – Blinds: 90,000/180,000 (ante 20,000)

News of a huge double up for Alan Lau is imminent.

8:40pm: Lau lifts a little
Level 33 – Blinds: 90,000/180,000 (ante 20,000)

It’s been a slow level but we did just see Lau win a reasonably sized pot that went to the river.

Lau button-raised preflop to 400,000 and Been defended to see the flop spread 10♥J♥10♦. Both of them checked to the 7♦ turn where Been check-called Lau’s bet of 400,000.

The river was checked through and Been tabled K♣8♣ for king high, no good against Lau’s K♦7♥ for two pair. Lau now has 5.4 million to Been’s 10 million. — BK

8:10pm: Been has heaps
Level 33 – Blinds: 90,000/180,000 (ante 20,000)

They’re back from the break with Aaron Been in a commanding chip lead. He has 11.635 million to Alan Lau’s 3.765 million. — HS

8:10pm: Been chipping up
Level 32 – Blinds: 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

In a hand spanning much of Level 32 and a fair amount of the break too. Aaron Been took a chunk out of Alan Lau’s stack and added it to his own.

There was a 300,000 open from Lau and Been peeled his big blind. It was an action heavy K♥10♦9♥ flop, though both players opted to check.

The turn was where it got really interesting. The dealer laid out a J♠ and Been led for 420,000. Lau took his time and clicked it to 1 million exactly. Been wasn’t put off and he made 2.5 million total. This put Lau in the tank for a couple of minutes but he finally made the call.

It was a third heart 3♥ river and Been put a relatively paltry 1 million in. Lau had 3.765 million left and he didn’t take long to fold.

Our chip leader now has over 11.5 million to play with when they return from their break. -LY

7:55pm Lau pushes on
Level 32 – Blinds: 70,000/140,000 (ante 30,000)

Here’s another pot for Alan Lau, who is putting together a decent string of wins.

Aaron Been opened to 300,000 from the button and Lau called for a J♣K♥Q♠ flop. Check, check.

The K♠ appeared on the turn and Lau bet 200,000. Been called.

The 7♥ completed the board and Lau bet 420,000. Been called and Lau showed Q♦7♠. Been mucked. — HS

7:50pm: Lau rallying
Level 31 – Blinds: 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Alan Lau is fighting back after taking down a pot to climb to 5.7 million. He button-raised to 260,000 preflop and Been defended before a flop of 10♠J♥K♦. Both players checked and the 8♦ appeared on the turn.

Been led at it for 420,000 and Lau flatted to take them to the Q♦ river card. Been checked it but Lau sized down and slid 250,000 into the middle. That was enough to make Been fold and fall to 9.7 million. — BK

7:45pm: Lau pulls a chunk back
Level 31 – Blinds: 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

After four pots that didn’t even get as far as the flop, the pattern suddenly changed.

Aaron Been raised to 260,000 and Alan Lau called in the big blind.

The flop came: 2♥2♣10♣

Lau checked it to Been, who continued small for 140,000. Lau called. On the 8♣ turn, Lau changed it up and led for 500,000, which Been called behind.

Finally on to the river, the K♥, Lau paused before he announced all in. It was around 2.8 million for Been to see his cards but the bet priced him out and Lau took the pot.

He is now sitting behind 5.1 million in chips. Been is still out in front with 10.3 million. -LY

7:40pm: Been trips his way into the lead
Level 30 – Blinds: 50,000/100,000 (ante 20,000)

Aaron Been is now the substantial chip leader after flopping trips and getting a lot of value from Alan Lau. Lau opened to 230,000 on the button and Been defended to see a flop of 7♠4♠7♦.

Been then check-raised from 160,000 to 560,000 which Lau called before the 8♠ arrived on the turn. That prompted Been to fire for 1.05 million and again Lau called which took them to the 2♦ river.

Been cut out a big bet again and led for 2.5 million on the end. Lau deliberated for over a minute and finally tossed in a single chip to signify a call, only to see Been reveal A♠7♣ for three of a kind. Lau mucked it and dropped to 4 million, while Been now has 11.4 million. — BK

7:30pm: Lau putting the pressure on
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Aaron Been opened to 175,000 from the button and Alan Lau called for the 7♣10♣J♦ flop. It went check, check.

The turn was the 9♥ and Lau bet 300,000. Been called. Then the 3♣ came on the river.

At this point, Lau started counting out heaps of green chips before sliding towers worth a total of 1.7 million over the line. Yeah, that’ll do it. Been folded.

The clock moved into Level 30, the first of our 15-minute levels. — HS

7:25pm: Lau kicks at showdown
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Alan Lau opened to 180,000 on the small blind and Aaron Been defended in the big.

It was a 10♥10♠5c] board and, when Been checked, Lau continued for 130,000. The 3♣ turn saw Been check again and Lau upped the price to 450,000.

Been wasn’t going anywhere, taking us to a 6♥ river. With another check from Been, we wondered if Lau had another barrel in him.

He didn’t and so with two checks, the players went to showdown.

Lau K♣5♠
Been 9♦5♦

With both holding two pair, it was the kicker that decided it and Lau scooped a decent pot. -LY


Our heads up players

7:20pm: Back and forth
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The chips have gone back and forward in the early stages of this heads up match.

Firstly, Aaron Been defended his big blind to see a flop of J♠8♣3♣ and checked it over to Lau who continued for 200,000. Been made the call and the A♠ hit the turn.

Another check from Been prompted Lau to fire for 1.25 million which was enough to get the job done.

In the next hand, Lau defended his big blind against a button-raise of 175,000 from Been and the dealer spread a flop of 10♣J♠Q♠. Lau check-called 185,000 but on the 6♠ turn he checked and gave up to another one of Been’s barrels for 700,000.

Lau now has 7.2 million to Been’s 8.1 million. — BK

7:15pm: Dinner scrapped
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

This just gets better. Dinner has now been scrapped too. The only way they could conspire to make this any quicker is if they opted to go all in blind. It’s my duty to say that they’re not doing that. At least not yet. — HS

7:05pm: Deal plus!
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Well, well, well. Players have agreed to a reduction in the level duration to 15 minutes! That should speed things up.

There’s 10 minutes left on Level 29, then they have arranged a one-hour dinner break. And then we’re playing a turbo for heaps. — HS

7pm: Deal delivered
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

After some negotiations and advice from others in the room (Ike Haxton played a big part), Aaron Been and Alan Lau have agreed an ICM chop, with what looks like HK$100,000 to play for–and the trophy. We’ll have confirmation of that soon, then coverage of the heads-up battle.

Actually, here is that confirmation:

Aaron Been: HK$5,500,500
Alan Lau: HK$5,400,500

They are playing for HK$100,000, plus the seat into next year’s ACOP Main Event, plus the gold Spadie Trophy.


Aaron Been and Alan Lau

6:30pm: Deja vu?
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

With two players left, and stacks now essentially 100 big blinds deep (officially 100 vs. 92), there is a sense of deja vu creeping along media row. The last time a major tournament got heads up with so many chips in play was at the PokerStars Championship Main Event here in May. It took about 13 hours of heads-up play, a new record, before Elliot Smith was named champion. Gulp.


Deal discussions

6:30pm: Heads up stacks, and a deal?
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The heads-up stacks look like this:

Aaron Been 8.03 million
Alan Lau: 7.37 million

With everything so even, the last two have asked to look at the numbers and are discussing a deal. — HS

6:25pm: Just like that: heads-up
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The trophy has been placed on the table, and our final two head off for a quick break…

But what happened, I hear you ask?

Well, it happened quickly. On the hand after Stephen Chidwick’s elimination, Aaron Been opened, Dominik Nitsche pushed and was quickly called by Been.

Nitsche: A♥2♣
Been: 10♦10♥

Nitsche, who was now under threat, was looking for an ace but the 3♥5♥6♠ flop didn’t help him, though it did bring a wheel draw.


Dominik Nitsche: Misses and out

The turn paired 5♦ leaving Nitsche’s seven outs with only one chance to hit.

Sadly for him it was a brick on the river and the pot was shipped to Been. Congratulations to Nitsche for finishing in third. Chip counts to follow. -LY

6:20pm: Stephen Chidwick eliminated in fourth place (HK$2,142,800)
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Four-handed play has finally finished with the departure of Stephen Chidwick. The end of his tournament came down to a flip with Aaron Been.

Alan Lau opened to 200,000 first before Chidwick three-bet jammed from the small blind for around 1.75 million. The action then fell on Been in the big blind and he moved all in over the top with enough to cover. Lau mucked his hand and the cards went on their backs.

Chidwick: 9♠9♣
Been: A♥Q♥


The end of Stephen Chidwick

It was a fair fight but the 4♥8♥A♠ flop was a death knell for Chidwick. With Been improving to top pair and the nut flush draw Chidwick was down to just one out. The 6♥ turn, however, took that glimmer of hope away as Been spiked the flush to lock up the pot.

Following Chidwick’s departure Been now has 5.85 million in play. — BK

6:15pm: Chidwick doubles
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The blinds and antes are so big now that after only a few hands, Stephen Chidiwick was back to 700,000 again.

He had to get it in and this time he open jammed on the cutoff and got a call straight away from Aaron Been on the button. Alan Lau and Dominik Nitsche moved aside and they were heads up. This time Chidwick needed to get there with his A♠9♣ behind Been’s pocket 9♦9♥.

To the flop then 2♣4♥4♠ and all was as it mathematically should be after the first three cards were out. After the Q♣ turn, Been was the massive favourite now but it was one of the three aces, an A♦ and Chidwick wasn’t going anywhere just yet.

He now has around 1.6 million stack. -LY

6:10pm: Nitsche jams on Chidwick twice
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Chidwick’s short stack has dropped even further after Dominik Nitsche shoved on him in back to back hands.

On the first, Chidwick opened under the gun before Nitsche moved all in from the big blind with enough to cover Chidwick. The latter folded taking them to the next hand where it folded around to Nitsche in the small blind and he moved in on Chidwick in the big blind.

Chidwick let it go and was left with 800,000 to Nitsche’s 2.1 million in chips. — BK

6:05pm: Chidwick doubles back
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

After calling 180,000 from the big blind versus Alan Lau and folding to a continue on the flop, Stephen Chidwick gave Aaron Been a walk from the small blind. This left him with less than 600,000 in play.

The next hand he was on the button and Dominik Nitsche opened to 160,000. Chidwick declared all in and Nitsche was getting too good a price to fold. Chidwick was the favourite with A♠K♥ against Nitsche’s K♠9♠.

The Q♥6♣8♣ flop kept Chidwick in the lead but Nitsche still had his live nine and had picked up a couple of backdoor straight draws.

It was all over on the turn though. The A♥ secured the much-needed double for Chidwick and the 7♣ on the river was irrelevant.

Chidwick is back on 1.2 million. -LY

6pm: Another one to Lau
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Alan Lau continues to extend his lead after taking some more chips from Dominik Nitsche.

Lau raised to 280,000 in the small blind and Nitsche called in the big blind before the flop was spread 2♥9♦3♥. Lau continued for 180,000 and Nitsche called to take them to the A♥ turn.

Both players checked and the 6♣ completed the board. Lau loaded up again and fired for 550,000 which Nitsche ended up paying off. Lau showed A♠4♦ for top pair and raked in the pot to reach 7.7 million in chips.

Nitsche was left with 2.4 million. — BK

5:55pm: Been at the double
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Aaron Been has just doubled up after an enormous pot against Stephen Chidwick.

Chidwick opened to 275,000 from the small blind and Been made the call from the big.

The flop ran out 5♠J♣8♠ and Chidwick put another 200,000 over the line. Been didn’t want the betting to stop there and upped it to 550,000. After thinking for some time, Chidwick peeled.


Stephen Chidwick and Aaron Been: Huge pot

There was no betting on the 10♦ turn and the dealer put out the 5♦. After a minute’s pause, Chidwick set Been all-in and Been looked a little confused at first. But that didn’t stop him making the call.

Been put his remaining 1.35 million chips in with J♠9♣ and it was good. Chidwick showed A♠K♦ and started counting the chips to pass to Been.

Been has ascended to 4.3 million, while Chidwick is left with 830,000. -LY

5:45pm: Lau putting the pressure on
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

It’s been relatively quiet for the last few orbits but we did just see Alan Lau wielding his big stack effectively.

Aaron Been limped in the small blind but Lau raised it up to 280,000. Been made the call and the flop came down 3♥A♦5♠. Been checked it over to Lau who continued for 180,000.

Been gave it some thought but decided to let it go as he dropped to 2.3 million. Lau on the other hand has now pushed his stack to over 7 million. — BK

5:35pm: Turn bet gets it done
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Play has slipped into that comfortable rhythm again with most pots remaining relatively small, preparing perhaps for a big collision. Or perhaps not.

Here’s the only notable-ish encounter of the most recent orbit or so. It went to Stephen Chidwick after a turn bet.

Chidwick opened the cutoff to 160,000 and Aaron been called on the button. Alan Lau folded his small blind, but Dominik Nitsche paid the extra from the big.

The flop of 6♥K♠9♠ brought three checks, then Nitsche also checked the 7♦ turn. Chidwick didn’t. He bet 450,000. Fold, fold. — HS

5:20pm: Lau takes from Chidwick
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The first of two consecutive hands featuring Alan Lau and Stephen Chidwick saw a cutoff raise to 175,000 by Chidwick. Lau raised it up to 430,000 and took it down pre.

The next hand Lau had position on Chidwick and made an open of 180,000. Chidwick peeled from his big blind and a 2♠10♥Q♦ flop ran out.

When Chidwick checked, Lau continued for 160,000 and he got a call, taking them to a 10♦ turn. An interesting card, as it made middle pair on the board. Chidwick checked, so too did Lau.

On to the river then and it was 5♣. A third check from Chidwick and then Lau counted out some greens.

The 460,000 got him a second fold in a row without having to turn over his cards. -LY

5:15pm: Lau loses one to Been
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Alan Lau still has a commanding lead after giving a few chips to Aaron Been.

Been limped in the small blind and Lau checked his option in the big blind before a flop of 7♣5♠Q♦. Been led out for 80,000 and then called when Lau popped it up to 220,000.

The 2♦ turn was met with two checks and the 2♥ arrived on the river.

Been led at it for 525,000 and that persuaded Lau to relinquish his hand. Been now has 3.2 million at his disposal while Lau loses a little to sit with a touch over 6 million. — BK

5:05pm: We get to see a flop
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

After a steal for Stephen Chidwick and a walk each for Dominik Nitsche and Chidwick, the fourth hand into Level 29 went to a flop.

It was a 165,000 open from Nitsche on the button and a peel from Aaron Been in the big blind. It brought the: Q♥6♦Q♣

Been checked to Nitsche who made it 125,000 and Been was happy to come along. There was a 2♣ turn and with another check from Been, Nitsche opted to check it back this time.

After the 5♥ river, Been led out 325,000 and Nitsche didn’t like his hand enough to make the call. Been took it. -LY

5pm: Break time
Level 29 – Blinds: 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

They’re back.

4:50pm: Break time

Away they go on a 15-minute break, leaving the following stacks behind them:

Name Country Chips BBs
Alan Lau Hong Kong 6,465,000 81
Dominik Nitsche Germany 3,700,000 46
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 2,385,000 30
Aaron Been United States 2,825,000 35


Alan Lau: Leading the last four

4:45pm: Play slows in last five minutes before break
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

We’re at the end of Level 28 now, with players heading off for 15 minutes of break.

The last few hands were played very tentatively and we barely saw a flop. Perhaps it will be a different story when Level 29 gets started. We’ll keep you posted. -LY

4:40pm: Lau leading the charge
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Alan Lau is establishing himself as the table captain here after taking down another big pot. This time it was from Stephen Chidwick.

Chidwick button-raised to 150,000 before Lau three-bet to 500,000 from the big blind. Chidwick called and the flop was spread 7♠3♦6♥. Lau bet 550,000, Chidwick called, and the K♥ landed on the turn.

Lau bet 700,000 and was called again as they went to the A♦ river card. Lau moved all in with enough to cover Chidwick’s 2.2 million behind and he snap-folded to award Lau the pot.

Lau has now solidified his spot out in front with 6.4 million. — BK

4:35pm: Lau takes the lot
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Aaron Been clearly didn’t believe Alan Lau in a recent hand, but ended up paying the price for his scepticism.

Lau opened the pot from the button with a raise to 150,000. Been called in the big blind and there was plenty of paint on the 10♠Q♣J♦ flop. But they both checked it.

The K♥ hit the turn and Been checked. This is where Lau began to build a pot. He put 130,000 out there. Been called.

The 2♦ completed the board and Been checked again. Lau upped it, with a bet of 420,000. Been didn’t contemplate too long before tossing out a chip to call.

Lau turned over his A♠8♦ and he maybe thought he was due a chop. But Been mucked and Lau scooped.

That put Lau up to 4.8 million and left Been with 3.05 million. — HS

4:30pm: Chidwick wins a couple of small pots
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

We’ve just seen a couple of pots that both involved Stephen Chidwick as the pre-flop aggressor.

He opened button to 150,000 and Aaron Been and Alan Lau called in the small and big blinds respectively. The Q♦8♦K♥ flop saw no action and so it went to the turn. It was the Q♣, pairing the middle card, and after two checks from Been and Lau, Chidwick decided to delay no further, placing 425,000 over the line. He took it down there.


Chidwick on the charge

The next hand Chidwick was in the cutoff and he raised 150,000 again. With only one call, this time from Dominik Nitsche in the big blind, it was heads up to the 5♠Q♣3♥ flop.

Nitsche checked and Chidwick continued for 125,000, which Nitsche called. The 3♣ turn paired the bottom card and when Nitsche checked once more, Chidwick decided to up the price to see the last card to 325,000. His barrel worked, scooping him the chips. -LY

4:25pm: Deep and even
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Want to know what a deep and even four-handed poker tournament looks like? It looks like this one.

Here are the stacks:

Name Country Chips BBs
Aaron Been United States 4,200,000 70
Dominik Nitsche Germany 4,000,000 67
Alan Lau Hong Kong 3,900,000 65
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 3,400,000 57

4:20pm: Been lets it go
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Aaron Been raised to 150,000 and Stephen Chidwick defended his big blind before a flop of 5♣2♥3♦. Chidwick then check-called for 185,000 and the A♥ landed on the turn.

Both players checked to the Q♣ river where Chidwick led out of 500,000. Been gave it some thought but ended up deciding on a fold as the pot was pushed to Chidwick and he climbed to 3.4 million.

Meanwhile Been dips a little to 4.2 million. — BK

4:15pm: Lau barrels into Chidwick
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The action was on Alan Lau first and he opened for 150,000. There was just one call, from Stephen Chidwick in the small blind and the flop came A♦6♥10♥.

Chidwick checked and Lau continued for 140,000, which Chidwick called. There was a third heart with 4♥ turning on the ace-high board and, after another check to Lau, he made it 450,000 to play.

It was a no-goer for Chidwick and Lau barrels himself a decent pot. -LY

4:10pm: Been gives back to Nitsche
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Aaron Been raised to 150,000 on the button and Dominik Nitsche defended his big blind to see a flop of 3♣10♦6♥. Nitsche then check-called for 185,000 and they were off to the 6♠ turn.

Nitsche took over the betting lead with a bet of 200,000 and Been made the call. The 9♠ river was met with two checks and Nitsche tabled A♣3♥, behind Been’s K♣10♠.

That means Been drops to 3.75 million while Nitsche builds to 4.5 million. — BK

4:05pm: Been straightens Nitsche
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Two hand, two losses for Dominik Nitsche. The second, in particular, took a dent, but it might easily have been even more.

Nitsche opened from the small blind to 160,000 and Stephen Chidwick called in the big blind. Nitsche bet 100,000 after the 5♣A♥8♦ flop, which Chidwick called. It earned them a look at the J♠ on the turn. They both checked.

The 9♠ fell on the river and they both checked that too. Nitsche nodded to Chidwick suggesting he had not much. Chidwick had a better not much, with his K♦5♦ beating Nitsche’s queen high.

The next hand, Nitsche opened the button to 130,000 and Aaron Been called in the big blind. This time the flop seemed a bit more dangerous. It was A♣K♥Q♠. They both checked it.


Aaron Been: Chipping up again

The turn brought the 7♦ and Been bet 110,000, which Nitsche called. Then the river was the 2♣ and Been bet 250,000. Nitsche threw in a one-chip call, but soon learned he’d have to hand over a few more.

Been tabled J♠10♠ for a flopped straight, and that was good. Nitsche mucked. It brought Been up to 4 million. — HS

3:55pm: Nitsche wins at showdown
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Dominik Nitsche opened under the gun, which is also the cutoff now that we’re four handed. Alan Lau peeled the 130,000 bet from the big blind and so they went to the flop.

It came A♣K♠5♣ and when Lau checked, Nitsche continued for 150,000 and Lau made the call. Play slowed on the 2♠ turn, with a check apiece.

On the 7♥ river, we had seen all our betting with two more checks. Lau turned over his K♣9♦ first, for second pair kings but Nitsche had him kickered with K♦J♦. -LY

3:50pm: Lau takes a chunk from Chidwick
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Alan Lau just scooped a huge pot after moving in on the river versus Stephen Chidwick.

Preflop, Chidwick defended his big blind to Lau’s button-raise and the two of them saw a flop of 10♣A♦Q♥. Both players checked and the 10♠ turn paired the board. Chidwick then check-raised from 150,000 up to 425,000 before Lau called and the 6♣ river rolled off.

Chidwick went for 750,000 on the end but Lau came back over the top with an all-in jam for 2.345 million. The bet was for a huge portion of Chidwick’s stack and ultimately he opted to let it go.

That clash sees Lau move up to 4.25 million and Chidwick drop to 2.75 million. — BK

3:40pm: Check it down
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Following an open of 160,000 blind-versus-blind from Dominik Nitsche, Stephen Chidwick peeled and the dealer fanned out the flop.

There were hearts all over the place with 5♥Q♥K♥ showing. No player fancied betting on any street, with it being checked all the way through the A♣ turn to the 8♠ river. When Chidwick checked back the last card, Nitsche announced a queen and Chidwick mucked. Nitsche takes it with Q♠7♦. -LY

3:30pm: Lau unafraid
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Alan Lau has assumed the (relative) short stack duties now Brian Altman and David Laka have been knocked out. But one suspects the Asia Player of the Yea won’t be intimidated into any reckless moves.

He took a few chips from Stephen Chidwick in a recent pot, when Lau called from the small blind after Chidwick’s cutoff open. It was 135,000.

Lau checked the flop of 8♦4♦4♥ and Chidwick bet 100,000. Lau called. Then both players slowed to a check on the 7♣ turn.

The 9♥ river led to a bet of 180,000 from Lau and Chidwick was no longer interested.


Alan Lau, with his shadow, Jack Wu

Lau has been railed in the early stages today by Jack Wu, the present Asia Player of the Year, whose title he will be taking at the end of this festival. — HS

3:25pm: Chidwick takes chips from Been
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Steven Chidwick raised to 250,000 from the small blind and Aaron Been called in the big blind to see the flop land 2♣9♠J♣. Chidwick continued for 180,000 and Been called to take them to the 2♠ turn card.

Chidwick fired again, this time for 600,000, and Been slid out another call before the 3♠ river completed the board.

The action was quickly checked on the end and Chidwick turned over A♦Q♣ for just ace high which turned out to be the best of it. He now has 4.5 million while Been is set back to 3.5 million. — BK

3:20pm: Once, twice, three times a button
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Our four remaining players are back and we’re heading into Level 28.

As play resumed, there were just a couple of small pots to note and all of them involved the player on the button.

First Dominik Nitsche opened to 130,000 and Stephen Chidwick made the call from the small blind. After a 4♠7♣10♣ flop, both players checked and in the absence of a continuation from Nitsche, Chidwick lead on the K♥ turn, making it 200,000. He took it down.

Then it was Chidwick’s turn to open his button on the next hand. Making it 150,000, Aaron Been wanted to take a look and the two of them went to a 3♠9♥A♦ flop. When Been checked, Chidwick took it down by betting 125,000.

And finally there was a steal from Been who raised to 150,000 on his button and got it through. -LY

3:15pm: Nitsche re-takes lead
Level 28 – Blinds: 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

That incredibly profitable first level, in which he took two players out, has sent Dominik Nitsche to the top of the counts. Here’s how they stack coming back to play Level 28.

Name Country Chips BBs
Dominik Nitsche Germany 4,900,000 82
Aaron Been United States 4,750,000 79
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 3,160,000 53
Alan Lau Hong Kong 2,750,000 46

3:05pm: Altman out in fifth for HK$1,571,700
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

With the clock ticking down to the end of the level, and no break scheduled, players put their heads together and requested that, yes, they did want a 15-minute breather. Tournament officials agreed.

However for Brian Altman, who was one of those involved in the discussion, his break will be significantly longer. He busted on the last hand before the break.

He opened the pot to 110,000 from the cutoff and Dominik Nitsche three-bet to 380,000 from the small blind. With 1.8 million back at this stage, Altman didn’t want to make any rash moves. He pondered, but then moved all-in.


Brian Altman: Gets the chips in

Nitsche’s wasn’t the snappiest of snap-calls, but it didn’t take long in coming. Nitsche put the chips in and was a dominating favourite with A♦Q♠ to Altman’s A♥J♠.

Nitsche’s position in the hand strengthened massively after the Q♥7♦4♠ flop and Altman was drawing dead after the 2♦ turn. The 3♠ river meant nothing.

Altman’s tournament, in which he was so frequently at the very top of the counts, has ended in fifth for HK$1.571 million. — HS


Altman bids farewell

3pm: Been bullies Nitsche
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Aaron Been raised to 100,000 from the cutoff and Dominik Nitsche defended his big blind to see a flop of 7♣K♣8♠. Nitsche checked it over to Been who continued for 130,000. Nitsche made the call and the dealer burned and turned the 10♥.

Nitsche checked again and Been sized up with a wager for 500,000. That was met with a quick fold from Nitsche as Been moved up to 4.7 million. — BK

2:55pm: Blind v blind
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Aaron Been made up his small blind and Brian Altman didn’t add anything else to the pot, so the two of them went to the flop: 5♦5♠8♥

Been lead for 50,000 and Altman came along. Then it was a 6♥ turn and Been checked it to Altman, who made it 120,000 to go further.

Finally the river card was dealt and it was 10♠. Been checked one last time and called the 240,000 bet made by Altman. Altman showed his 7♠8♠ and it was good enough. -LY


Five handed at ACOP Main Event

2:50pm: Lau and Nitsche in another four-bet pot
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Alan Lau took down another pot, very similar to the one reported on earlier. First he opened to 120,000 on the cutoff, which brought a three-bet of 350,000 from Dominik Nitsche, sat in on the button.

The big difference is that when it was Lau’s turn to act again, he moved all in this time, to the tune of around 2 million. It was too much for Nitsche and he folded. -LY

2:45pm: David Laka eliminated in sixth place (HK$1,285,800)
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

David Laka is the first to fall today after a blind on blind confrontation with Dominik Nitsche.

It folded around to Nitsche in the small blind and he limped before Laka raised it up from the big blind to 150,000. Nitsche took his time before playing back at him with a re-raise to 450,000.


David Laka and Dominik Nitsche get the chips in

Laka had a total of around 1.65 million and he piled it in only to be snapped off by Nitsche with the better hand.

Laka: K♣6♦
Nitsche: 10♥10♦

Laka needed helped but failed to find it on the 3♣Q♣5♠Q♥Q♠ runout. Nitsche’s tens held to take him up to 3.8 million and end Laka’s day. — BK


Laka bids farewell

2:40pm: Been consolidates
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

These are still only early days at this final, but the general trend has been the rich getting richer. Aaron Been has consolidated his position at the top, with David Laka nosing ahead of Brian Altman at the bottom. — HS

Name Country Chips BBs
Aaron Been United States 5,400,000 108
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 2,850,000 57
Alan Lau Hong Kong 2,125,000 43
Dominik Nitsche Germany 2,025,000 41
David Laka Spain 1,625,000 33
Brian Altman United States 1,275,000 26

2:35pm: Chidwick defends big blind
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

With a 120,000 open from Alan Lau in the cutoff, only Stephen Chidwick wanted to see a flop. He called from the big blind and the cards came out 7♦3♣K♦.

After Chidwick checked, Lau continued for a slightly smaller 110,000, which Chidwick called. On to the turn next and it was 2♥. This time both players checked and so the final card was dealt. It was the 10♣ and Chidwick lead for 350,000. Lau called pretty sharpish but mucked when he saw Chidwick table K♠Q♠ for top pair. -LY

2:30pm: Back to back three-bets
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The action seems to be ramping up early with two three-bets from different players in quick succession.

The first one was Brian Altman three-bet jamming over an open from Stephen Chidwick. He got it through and it was straight on to the next hand where Dominik Nitsche was ready to play for more.

After Alan Lau opened on the button for 120,000, Nitsche came over the top with a reraise to 380,000 from the small blind. That was good enough to make Lau lay it down and Nitsche scooped the pot. — BK

2:20pm: Pressuring Altman
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Brian Altman was one of the two shortest stacks coming back today (although he still had 30 BBs) and he was put under immediate pressure from two opponents. On what looked to be only the second hand of the day, Aaron Been open jammed from the small blind on Altman’s big. Altman looked at his hand and said, “I don’t think I can continue.” In answer to requests for specifics, he said, “Four high. Four-three suited.”

Not long later, Altman opened from late position to 110,000 and picked up calls from David Laka and Stephen Chidwick in the blinds. After the flop of A♣4♦7♠ and two checks, Altman continued for 100,000. But that was met by resistance from Laka, who raised to 325,000.

Chidwick folded after a stare-down. Then Altman, his chest heaving, also tank-folded allowing Laka his first pot of the final. — HS

2:10pm: Raise it up and raise it up some more
Level 27 – Blinds: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We are back in action and the final day kicked off with no less than a four-bet.

Alan Lau and Dominik Nitsche got tangled up in pre-flop action. Lau opened with a raise of 120,000 in middle position and Nitsche, who was sat on his direct left, played back at him with a three-bet of 350,000.

With all the other finalists out of the way, it was back to Lau and he wasn’t done there. He started counting out his green chips into stacks of 100,000 and, when he placed a large stack of them over the line, he’d made it 710,000 for Nitsche to continue.

Nitsche didn’t fancy it and the first pot of the day goes to Lau. -LY

2:05pm: Play begins
Level 27: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Players are seated, photographs and introductions have been done, and there’s 48 minutes left on Level 27. Play is now under way again. — HS


Last six at ACOP: (From top right: Brian Altman, Alan Lau, Dominik Nitsche, David Laka, Stephen Chidwick, Aaron Been

1:45pm: Familiar faces
Level 27: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We’ve been writing about some of these players for quite some time, during which time–how can we put it?–they have grown. Here are two of our ACOP final table players as we encountered them previously.


The teenage stylings of Dominik Nitsche and Stephen Chidwick

1:30pm: Final table time

Good afternoon all and congratulations for starting your weekend with us. We’re coming to you from the PokerStars LIVE card-room at the City of Dreams, Macau, where it’s final table time at the Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) Main Event.

From 308 players, we’re down to our last six. Everyone is now guaranteed at least HK$1.285 million (US$167,000 approx) but they will be fixating on the HK$6.715 million first prize, which is getting on for US$875,000. Full schedule is on the payouts page.

One thing is certain: with players from the United States, the UK, Hong Kong, Germany and Spain still involved, we are guaranteed a champion from a country never before honoured in the ACOP winner’s role.

The race now begins to see who will join the following as champion:

2012: Xing Zhou (China)
2013: Sunny Jung (Korea)
2014: Gabriel Le Jossec (Canada)
2015: Jimmy Zhou (China)
2016: Vladimir Geshkenbein (Switzerland)

Here’s how our last six will begin action at the final. We’re still in Level 27, where blinds are 25,000/50,000, so they remain deep.

Name Country Chips BBs
Aaron Been United States 4,805,000 96
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 2,790,000 56
Alan Lau Hong Kong 2,760,000 55
Dominik Nitsche Germany 2,330,000 47
Brian Altman United States 1,495,000 30
David Laka Spain 1,245,000 25

Play begins at 2pm local time and we won’t be going anywhere until they find a winner and the new owner of the prestigious Gold Spadie.


PokerStars Blog reporting team on the HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event: Brad Kain, Howard Swains and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Kenneth Lim Photography.


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