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Oct 21, 2016

Elton Tsang Wins €11.1m in One Drop – See His Comments Here

By RTR Dennis

665x200 oct16 elton tsang

Elton Tsang has emerged victorious at the €1 million (£890k) buy-in Big One for One Drop high roller.

Tsang topped a 28-player field (2 re-entries) to win this prestigious tournament along with €11,111,111 (£9.93m).

Born in Canada and living in Hong Kong, Tsang has cashed in some Asian and Australian poker tournaments. But nothing to the degree of what he earned in the Big One for One Drop. Tsang now has over $12.75 million in live winnings, which places him 21st all time.

Let’s continue discussing his big victory by looking at the final table, highlights from the One Drop, and what Tsang said afterward.

2016 Big One for One Drop Final Table Results

  1. Elton Tsang (Hong Kong) – €11,111,111
  2. Anatoly Gurtovoy (Russia) – €5,427,781
  3. Rick Salomon (US) – €3,000,000
  4. James Bord (UK) – €2,100,000
  5. Cary Katz (US) – €1,750,000
  6. Andrew Pantling (Canada) – €1,500,000

No Poker Pros Allowed

Held at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Big One for One Drop was an extravagant affair that drew 26 players, 2 of which re-entered after busting out.

The big news before this event was that no pros would be allowed because the businessmen weren’t conformable competing against them. Specifically, the businessmen complained that pros buy pieces of each other and can be more aggressive without having their full buy-in on the line.

Nevertheless, the lines between pros and amateurs were blurred when skilled players like Andrew Pantling, Talal Shakerchi, James Bord, and Paul Newey entered the field. Other pros like Daniel Negreanu and Mustapha Kanit had to settle for coaching the participants.

Tsang’s Path to Victory

Guy Laliberté had quite a show planned for the One Drop final table. All 8 finalists were introduced as they made their way to the table, with guitar riffs playing in the background.

With a €1,500,000 bubble, action was intense on the final table. Pantling came in with the chip lead, but Tsang wrestled it away while taking two-thirds of Pantling’s stack on the third hand.

Voulgaris entered the 8-player final table as the short stack and quickly busted out in eighth place.

Despite the €1.5 million bubble, action didn’t slow down with seven players remaining. Brandon Steven, Cary Katz, and Pantling – the three shortest stacks – made several bold moves to stay in the tournament.

Katz burst the bubble when his A-K combo dominated Steven’s K-Q, sending the latter to the rail in seventh place.

Pantling, who had a disastrous final table, was the next to go, as Tsang’s ace-high was good enough to beat his king-high.

Katz went all in with A-J, but Tsang (K-J) called and flopped a king to send Katz out in fifth place. This extended Tsang’s lead over Bord, Rick Salomon, and Anatoly Gurtovoy, who all had stacks between 15 and 25 big blinds.

Gurtovoy and Bord would clash on a pot worth 30 million chips. Both landed top pair, but Gurtovoy’s kicker was better, sending Bord out in fourth place. Tsang’s lead would extend even further since he has over 100 million of the remaining 140 million chips in play.

Three-handed play lasted almost 70 hands, before Salomon 3-bet shoved with Q-J, only to be called by Gurtovoy’s A-Q hand. Salomon paired his jack on the flop, but Gurtovoy landed an ace on the river to win.

Tsang vs. Gurtovoy Heads Up

When heads-up play began, Tsang had 93.7 million chips compared to Gurtovoy’s 46.3 million chips. Action heated up quickly on the third hand, with both players going all in on a 9-6-5 rainbow flop.

Gurtovoy had top pair, while Tsang had a two pair. The turn and river created a straight and both players chopped the pot.

From this point on, Tsang started winning hands and grinding Gurtovoy’s stack down. With 12 big blinds left, Gurtovoy (A-5) shoved on a turn of Q-3-4-2 since he had a wheel straight.

But Tsang (6-5) called with a better straight. The river card blanked, giving Tsang the hand and tournament victory. This set off a celebration between Tsang and his coach, Kanit, who earned a small percentage of the €11,111,111 payout.

“We Did More than the Others”

Following the victory, Tsang talked about his performance on the final table.

"I was feeling good, feeling comfortable," he said. "I was hitting cards, my bluffs were working, I was getting a good read on the table and everything was just going my way."

One thing that’s impressive about Tsang’s performance is that he doesn’t play many tournaments. But he’s an experienced player nonetheless.

"I don’t play tournaments that much these days, but I used to. I knew some strategies, but it was good to have someone to talk to in between hands. I think it helped a great deal."

Tsang added, “I'm pretty used to playing high stakes so it’s OK. It’s kind of normal for me.

"[Kanit] was telling me to just put the pressure on since it was bubble time. I was just loosening up and just started raising, raising, raising, raising, raising."

Kanit discussed his prodigy and how they focused on taking Andrew Pantling down on the final table.

"We discussed Andrew and his playing style a lot because he was one of the guys I knew the best," Kanit explained. "I know he’s a really tough opponent. He’s really aggressive and he pushes back a lot. We had a lot of information and that worked to our advantage."

One thing that really helped Tsang and Kanit win is that they’ve been friends long before the One Drop.

"We worked hard, we put in a lot of hours," said Kanit. "In the end, we were more prepared. We did more than the others.

"We were in Asia together and we would do reviews. I would send him videos, I would send him hands, we would talk about strategy, we talked a lot about poker. Every single break we spent together. We put a lot of work in."

With this big victory under his belt, Tsang will no doubt be more encouraged to play high rollers in the future. But for now, he’ll get back to his day job, which includes managing his investments in IT firms, travel agencies, money lenders, and more.