Season XV of the World Poker Tour (WPT) just finished, but there is no rest for WPT staffers, as Season XVI has already begun. Beijing serves as the host of the kickoff event for the Tour’s sixteenth season, the first time an event on the “main” tour has even been held in China. Miraculously, the tournament, hosted by NUO Hotel Beijing, is a single-entry event. It is a true freezeout, unlike most WPT events nowadays, which allow re-entries into different starting flights. Registration was open until the beginning of Level 5, but the field was also capped at 400 players, so it was possible that registration was cut off early. It looks like the timing worked out, as just before the end of Level 5, the cap was nearly hit and the end registration numbers show that the field is 400 players strong.
With the entry limit hit, the total prize pool is set at CNY 9,600,000 (about USD $1,393,324). Payouts will go down to 50th place with the winner receiving CNY 2,063,454 (about USD $299,485).
Leading the charge into the final table is Chen Yanhan. And by “leading the charge,” I mean sprinting to the final table miles ahead of everyone else. Chen had 6.310 million chips, more than the other five players have COMBINED. The closest competitor is Zhang Wenbin, nearly five million chips behind.
Chen got to where he is through very aggressive play, swinging his big stack around very effectively. On many occasions late in the day, he raised over the top of players after they put in a large bets, forcing folds and scooping up pots without the need for a showdown.
For example, with seven players remaining, Chen called a 115,000 pre-flop raise by Tan Yancheng. On the flop of J-5-7, the two players checked (yes, the aggressiveness is coming). When a 2 was dealt on the turn, Chen led out for 145,000 and Tan called. Then, with a 7 on the river, Chen bet 450,000, Tan raised to 1 million chips, and Chen then decided to move all-in. Tan cut his losses and folded, falling down to about a million chips while Chen grew his lead significantly.
As the tournament is in China, the timing is going to be a bit nutty for poker fans in the rest of the world who would like to follow the action. The final table will commence at noon in Beijing on Wednesday, April 19th. Beijing is exactly half a day ahead of the eastern time zone in the United States, so the final table start is at midnight ET. Further conversions: 9:00pm in Las Vegas, 5:00am in London.
2017 World Poker Tour Beijing Final Table Chip Counts
1. Chen Yanhan – 6,310,000
2. Zhang Wenbin – 1,410,000
3. Tan Yancheng – 1,300,000
4. Chen Ke – 1,255,000
5. Lu Yingqi – 875,000
6. Bryan Huang – 820,000