At the turn of the year, Richard Yong was the man sitting on the Malaysian All-Time Money List throne with $11.3m in live tournament earnings. Yong is an entrepreneur first, and a poker player second, but he would have been as proud as a newly minted alpha wolf, and it would have hurt to see his Triton co-founder, Paul Phua, win more than that in a single calendar year, to replace him.
There’s some fight in the old wolf, yet.
Yong has taken down an ultra-competitive $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em at the partypoker MILLIONS World in the Bahamas. Sixty-three entrants (20 re-entries) ripped off their muzzles and snapped at people in this one, creating a $3,055,500 prize pool, and Yong banked a portion worth $850,000.
It’s Yong’s third live tournament win in 19 cashes giving him a healthy 15% win rate when cashing. His first tournament victory came during the 2015 Aussie Millions, winning the AUD 100,000 Challenge for $1.4m. His last title came last year, taking down the HKD 250,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Max at the Triton Super High Roller Series in Montenegro for $388,024.
Eight of the finest No-Limit Hold’em players in the game flocked to the final table, including three of the four front runners in the race to be crowned the 2019 Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year (POY).
Rainer Kempe is the outside bet for that award. Kempe finished in eighth place for $150,000. The German star also finished 112th in the $25,500 No-Limit Hold’em MILLIONS World Super High Roller and finished seventh in the MILLIONS Vegas Main Event in June.
Sean Winter is the second of three looking for GPI honours. Incredibly, Winter decided to shorten his schedule as his partner is expecting a baby. It hasn’t stopped him piling on the points. Winter had a superb Poker Masters finishing ITM in four events. He also cashed in the $25,500 MILLIONS World Super High Roller, in 14th place.
Leading the GPI POY race is Kahle Burns. The Australian also performed well in the Poker Masters, cashing in three events, including winning a $25,000 game. Burns was one of the stars of the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE), winning two bracelets, and earning close to a million bucks, and he finished third in this one.
Sam Soverel deposed Ali Imsirovic as the Poker Masters champion a few weeks ago, and both players made this final table. Imsirovic finishing seventh and Soverel claimed the fourth prize. Soverel’s placing almost certainly ensures he retains his Poker Central High Roller of the Year crown.
There was also a place for a revigorated Phil Ivey. The former card-for-card best in the business finished sixth for $220,000. Ivey has rarely been seen on the live tournament circuit in recent years, but had a sterling WSOPE, cashing for close to $1.7m. He also finished fourth in the $25,500 MILLIONS World Super High Roller.
All great players, but none of them made it through to the heads-up phase. Yong’s final opponent would be Orpen Kisacikoglu. The London-based entrepreneur had reached the heads-up stage of live tournaments on four occasions, only losing once. Yong had a 50/50 record from six ventures past the great wall.
Yong would win the match-up to take first prize. Kisacikoglu’s great run continues after finishing 15th in the $10k and 7th in the $25k.
Here are the final results.
- Richard Yong – $850,000
- Orpen Kisacikoglu – $550,000
- Kahle Burns – $400,000
- Sam Soverel – $320,500
- Sean Winter – $260,000
- Phil Ivey – $220,000
- Ali Imsirovic – $180,000
- Rainer Kempe – $150,000
- Michael Zhang – $125,000