Over the first quarter of the year, the size of the newly branded PokerStars Championship Main Events were a hot topic in the poker world. The first two installments of the new series, held in the Bahamas and Panama, were relatively smaller than expected but no one could make those claims about the series that just concluded in Macau. PokerStars made their first trip to the Far East and after a grueling, over ten and a half hour heads up battle, Canada’s Elliot Smith became the third player to hoist a PokerStars Championship Main Event title.
That grueling battle came after Smith and Terry Tang, a Chinese professional, negotiated an even chop of the prize pool, guaranteeing each just more than HK$2.5 million and left close to HK$300,000 for the ultimate champion. If you don’t want to do the conversions at home, Smith’s victory was worth $370,246, of an over $2,500,000 prize pool.
Tang earned $331,000 for his runner-up finish, meaning that the ten-plus hour heads up battle was for close to $40,000 but all the bragging rights. Smith, who does a majority of his tournament damage in Australia and Asia, has come dangerously close to major tournament victories in the past, including a podium result in the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event.
“It was a grueling, grueling battle,” Smith said to the PokerStars Blog after the event and it was evident that no matter how long he had to play, he would not be denied this time around.
Smith navigated the over 535 player field that boasted some of the world’s best, including reigning GPI Player of the Year David Peters, who finished 37th, and High Roller extraordinaire Sergio Aido, who finished 48th.
The rest of the results sheet was filled with many Asia-based cashers, with players from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan making deep runs, as well as some well-known Europeans. France’s Fabrice Soulier fell in 9th, while Sweden’s Sofia Lovgren recorded her first score of 2017, with a 44th place effort.
Europe is where the next few PokerStars Championship series are heading, including this month’s Monte Carlo event which begins on April 25th. More information on the PSC Monte Carlo series can be found here and a complete update of everything PokerStars Championship Macau can be found on the PokerStars Blog.