This week saw an incredible achievement by a very young man at the Macau Event of the Asian Poker Tour. At just 18 years of age, the extremely talented Zhang Dan Peng, who hails from Guangzhou in China, defeated 160 participants (a prolific field that included the likes of Phil Ivey and Johnny Chan) to win HK$1.678 million. This works out at roughly US$215,000.
The story of Zhang Dan Peng is one of a very modest background. He qualified for the Macau Event through one of the satellite events. Not in his wildest dreams could he have imagined finishing top of the pile.
The event took place in the City of Dreams Complex in Macau, China. With a buy-in of HK$35,000 it was deemed to be quite a prolific tournament and attract players from across the globe. The participants had to endure play from 6th of November, 2010 until the main event final table on 14th November, 2010. Over the course of the nine days, players would take part in 11 events plus the main event, including 7 handed, 8 handed, Battle of the Nations and High Rollers.
It was all about the main event and the history that was being made. Last year it was an unknown $6 satellite qualifier called Adrien Allain from France. This year, the winner rocked the poker world again.
As the tournament progressed some of the big names fell out and coming down to the final 20 players, it became apparent that someone new would have their name carved into APT folklore. Players from China, Australia, USA, England, South Korea, Singapore, Germany and many other nations were all vying for glory.
Eventually it came down to a heads up between the fearless 18 year old Zhang Dan Peng and the slightly more experienced German player Bjoern Wiesler. Zhang Dan Peng clearly wanted this over and done with as soon as possible. With a statement of intent, Zhang Dan Peng went all in with his first hand, Ace and a two. Wiesler showed a pair of sevens. Zhang Dan Peng hit what he needed and Wiesler was shown the door in second place, earning HK$920,000. It was amazing how such a young player had disposed of his heads up opponent so easily.
Zhang Dan Peng claimed he had just come along to support his friend but found himself progressing further and further. He had no expectations and no fear. Maybe that is the secret to playing brilliant poker? Whatever the secret is, it seems Zhang Dan Peng certainly knows what it is.