The power dynamic seems to have shifted slightly in Ma’s favour and despite constant aggression from his opponent Ma has managed to edge slightly in front over the last few hands.
Zhang has won the last three hands on the trot, but only because Ma has been folding to his aggressive play pre-flop so he hasn’t relinquished his lead but it’s still a pretty close affair. Of course, generally that’s when we have a train wreck which is exactly what’s just happened…
It all starts off fairly innocuously with Ma limping the button and Zhang checking his option from the big blind before check-calling a 150,000 Ma bet on the J♣ 10♥ 8♥ flop.
Things begin to get real interesting on the A♠ turn, which completes a possible Broadway straight and Zhang leads into Ma for a hefty 500,000-chip bet. Ma carefully counts out the call and the dealer sweeps the chips into the middle before burning and turning the river card, which is the A♦.
It’s a pretty scary looking board and Zhang thinks this is the perfect card to up the pressure and he immediately declares himself all in. Just as quickly Ma announces the call and from the way Zhang stands up and walks away from the table you can tell that he does not think that this is a good thing. He’s right to be afraid and Ma proudly tables A♥ J♥ for the full house – a monster that just kept improving as the hand progressed.
Zhang is in a great deal of trouble as he was bluffing with Q♦ 4♥ and after a brief count down it looks like he is covered. Wow! What a hand, we certainly didn’t see that coming, and by the look on his face neither did Zhang. It’s all over and we have our CPC champion – a rather pleased looking Chao Ma celebrates his hard won victory with a fist pump, he’s now CNY 300,000 better off and Zhang can console himself with the CNY 150,000 on offer for second place.
Well that’s all the poker we have for you folks, Ma’s fans on the rail are rushing up to congratulate his win and we’re signing off.
With all the aggression from Zhang it was only a matter of time before Ma chose to make a stand. Sitting on the button Ma pops it up to 350,000 and Zhang decides he wants to see a flop and makes the call.
The flop comes down 3♠ Q♥ 5♠, first to act Zhang checks his option and Ma opts not to c-bet and checks behind. The 8♠ turn prompts another check from Zhang and Ma takes a stab for 400,000. Zhang calls pretty quickly, which seems to catch Ma by surprise so when Zhang checks the 3♦ river Ma checks right behind.
Ma needn’t have worried though, his A♠ 8♥ is good – Zhang has made a rather thin call on the turn with K♥ 9♣. Both players are now back to even after the hand so there’s still not much in this.
With all the hubbub of the player introductions for the heads up end to this CPC Main Event over, it’s now down to the business of finding out who will be crowned its champion.
With both players starting with such even stacks, we had thought we might be here for a while as the war of attrition slowly grinds away, but from the first few hands it looks like this isn’t in Mengmeng Zhang’s gameplan. He seems to have adopted a strategy of big over-bets to rattle Chao Ma.
In one hand he raised it up seven times the blind to 700,000 after a limp from Ma on the button. Ma let that one go and two hands later limped on the button again.
This time around Zhang checked his option and the two went to a flop of 3♦ 6♥ J♥. Zhang then check-raised Ma’s 150,000 bet to 600,000. Ma decided to stick around on this occasion. At the turn 3♣ Zhang kept up the aggression and pushed all in. It’s too much for Ma and he makes the laydown.
No sooner had we just lost Hui Wen in fourth then we had another player’s destiny with the rail fast-tracked. The man doing the damage this time around was Chao Ma, who laid a trap for Jubin Xu by just limping in the small blind with 9♦ 9♠. Xu checked his option in the big blind with 7♦ 6♣ and the two went to a flop of 4♣ 8♦ 6♦.
Ma continued the deception with a check and Xu dug his grave with a 200,000 bet. Ma responded with an all in and Xu made the call to be the player at risk of elimination.
The turn 8♠ and river 4♦ meant Xu was on his way out in third place for CNY 110,000 and we are down to our final heads up contest.
Hui Wen’s short stack finally crumbled under the pressure of the blinds and antes when he was forced to push from the small blind with J♣ 5♦ for 410,000 and the big-stacked Zhang made the call in the big blind with 6♠ 4♠.
When the flop came down 8♣ 6♥ 3♣ to pair up Zhang it was looking like the overnight chip leader of Wen was on his way out the door. The turn and river fell K♠ 10♦ respectively and it was indeed goodnight for Wen who takes home CNY 90,000 for fourth place.
We have a third consecutive all-in in as many hands when the now short-stacked Hui Wen shoves the button for his last 310,000. Chao Ma calls instantly, though this is due to the fact that Wen’s raise is only three big blinds rather than the quality of Ma’s cards as his 2♣ 8♥ is unsurprisingly behind to Wen’s K♣ K♥.
The 3♦ 6♠ K♦ leaves Ma needing runner, runner to send Wen packing and the 2♥ turn guarantees Wen a much needed double-up. He’s now up to a more respectable 650,000 while Ma drops to 1.7 million.