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ACOP Warm-Up: Jian Yang Cruises to Victory

The Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) HK$25,000 Warm-Up has concluded with Jian Yang carrying the chip lead from start to finish on this final day to be crowned the newest champion here at PokerStars Live at the City of Dreams.

Nine players returned on this final day of play with dreams and aspirations of capturing the title and heading home HK$1,700,000 richer. However from one of the final hands yesterday that saw China's Jian Yang catapult to the chip lead, many sensed that it would be Yang's day to rule them all once play recommenced. Having 40% of the chips in play doesn't just give you a huge leg-up over your fellow final table combatants but it also brings about all the pressure in the world as it is your tournament to lose. Amazingly Yang would fight that pressure head on as he all but once relinquished the chip lead and never slipped below the 2 million-chip mark - or 30% of the chips in play.

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The final table started with Paul Cheng all-in with the best hand but not finishing with it as Wei Hsiang Yeu - the other big stack - rivering a better pair to take it down to eight. As double-after-double occurred it wouldn't be late into the second level of play that Saehoon Lee was halted in seventh when his A♠J♠ was outdrawn by Tom Alner's Q♦8♦. Alner however would be the next to fall when he was all in with K♠2♠ against Yeu's 8♠7♠ on a 9♥3♠5♠ flop. Unfortunately there would be no second title for Alner today as Yeu binked the 6♣ on the turn to complete the Malaysian's gutshot. A series of eliminations would then occur as Yibo Zhou lost pocket nines to pocket jacks and then Roger Spets couldn't improve with K♦T♥ against the very same jacks as four players entered the second break of the day.

Billy "The Croc" Argyros had been riding an amazing run of luck at the final table. After beginning the day as the second shortest stack, Argyros stayed alive over-and-over again with the worst of it - one of which was cracking aces with A-4. However the Australian and recent APPT Melbourne Champion's luck could only last so long as he headed out the door in fourth. Just several hands later it would be Ireland and PokerStars Live Qualifier David Foran being dealt a cooler when his Q♥9♦ ran into Yang's K♦T♦ on a Q♠J♦9♣ flop. No queen or nine fell for Foran as the both Yang and Yeu would head on short dinner break before battling heads-up.

Poker tournaments can be so unique for players, tournament staff and media, but at the end of the day people just want to see action. Once Yang and Yeu both returned a few minutes were spent chipping up some of the smaller denomination chips before a few more minutes were taken so that the photographers could snap some pics. Then with Fred Leung ready to introduce the players and kick off the heads-up match, not a single microphone could be found in the entire room. Eventually however we would see action. Not just normal action, but BADA-BING action!

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On the first hand of heads-up play Yang raised the button to 150,000 before Yeu three-bet to 350,000. Yang responded by making 1,150,000 and Yeu moved all in with K♥8♥ with Yang calling the 2,565,000 shove with A♣4♣. The metal barricade held 20-plus people from getting a closer look, but they let their voices do the talking as they chanted for cards they each wanted to see. The K♠Q♠3♠ put Yeu's rail into a state of euphoria as he was now in the lead and set to take a big chip lead as the meaningless 7♦ fell on the turn. With now 40 people crowded all sides of the final table the dealer dropped the A♥ on the river which set Yang's rail into a state of hysteria as they leaped the barricade and wrapped Yang up to celebrate as the ACOP Warm-Up title was heading back to China!

Final Table Results
1st: Jian Yang (China) - HK$1,700,000
2nd: Wei Hsiang Yeu (Malaysia) - HK$1,170,000
3rd: David Foran (Ireland) - HK$695,000
4th: Billy Argyros (Australia) - HK$547,000
5th: Roger Spets (Sweden) - HK$434,000
6th: Yibo Zhou (China) - HK$358,000
7th: Tom Alner (UK) - HK$283,000
8th: Saehoon Lee (Korea) - HK$208,000
9th: Paul Cheng (Hong Kong) - HK$170,000

Complete list of ACOP Warm-Up payouts

Although having an overwhelming chip lead heading into a final table gives you the best chance of converting it into a 1st place, it is still a tough feat to keep calm, balanced and aware of your table dynamics on your way to finishing first. Today we saw Jian Yang possess all those traits in navigating this final table that featured some great players, lots of luck and the pressure to be crowned the second ACOP Warm-Up Champion.

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The PokerStars Blog would like to congratulate China's Jian Yang on winning the ACOP HK$25,000 Warm-Up event for HK$1,700,000 as well as the other eight final table players and everyone that featured in-the-money.

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