Han Feng takes the title in Moneymaker Houston Main Event after heads-up chop

Jeff McMillan
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Posted on: January 23, 2024 7:08 am EST

The Moneymaker Tour’s first stop in Houston came to a climax on the final day of the Main Event, as the final six players returned to play it out on the tour’s live stream. After about five hours of final table play Brad Ruben and Han Feng opted for a chop rather than to play heads-up, with Feng taking the official top spot to claim his first career trophy and tournament win.

Feng, now a Houston local, had never booked a major tournament victory despite some strong results. This win for $54,100 is the third biggest cash of his career.

The stuff of dreams…sort of

Feng could feel the win coming, as he explained soon after the tourney concluded. “I think I played excellent. I was telling everyone on Day 1 I was going to win it. I literally told everyone, ‘I’m gonna win this, I’m gonna win this’, and it happened.”

A win like this is the stuff of dreams for many players, and not just metaphorically. Feng continued, “Last night I didn’t sleep well and I had, like, six poker dreams…Stuff just doesn’t make any sense: you have the nuts…and you lose, your hands warp in the dream. I had all these nervous dreams about losing, but when I sat here today I didn’t feel any nerves.”

Feng spoke to PokerOrg following his victory:

This Moneymaker Tour Main Event was notable for its deep structure, meaning the average chip count for much of the final table was as much as 60 big blinds. “It was really interesting because I’ve never played in a tournament with 60bb average stack,” Feng shared, “I didn’t really know what I was doing so I had to spend a lot of time last night figuring out how to navigate…the land mines. That’s basically what it is: land mines.”

The story of the final table

The day began with six players, with five of them being very close in chips with one significant short stack. But for a while the biggest story was all about that shortie, Juan Tejeda, as he won multiple all-ins to stay alive and claw his way back into the mix from a stack of just five big blinds.

Juan Tejeda, king of the double-up (almost)

Instead it was Gabriel Andrade who became the first victim of the day, losing a flip holding Q-Q versus A-K to finish in sixth place for a $12,705 payday.

Venkat Chivukula was the main victim of Tejeda’s doubles, losing flip after flip even when ahead. At one point Chivukula went on a run to take the chip lead, but it proved to be a short-lived stay at the summit of the chip counts and his inability to win all-ins proved his eventual downfall. Chivukula won $16,670 for his fifth place finish.

Tejeda’s spin-up story eventually ended to send him out in fourth place, happy to have laddered up a few spots, but ultimately frustrated as he had managed to build his stack up to the point where he considered himself back in contention to win.

David Shaw began the day as chip leader and was near the top for most of the final table, but was dealt a brutal blow during three-handed play. Feng hit the river hard to come from behind and end Shaw’s run in third place, good for a little over $30k.

That ended up being the final hand of the tourney, as Brad Ruben and Feng immediately stopped play to discuss a deal. Feng held a significant 2:1 chip lead but agreed to a deal closer to an even chop, taking an extra $5k and the trophy. Feng banked $54,100 while Ruben took second place and $49,095, bringing a quick end to the Moneymaker Tour in Houston.

Han Feng poses for cameras after his victory in the Moneymaker Tour Houston Main Event

Moneymaker Tour Houston final table results

1Han Feng$54,100*
2Brad Ruben$49,095*
3David Shaw$30,050
4Juan Tejeda$22,210
5Venkat Chivukula $16,670
6Gabriel Andrade$12,705
*denotes heads-up deal

From difficult weather conditions to a dramatic sweat to make the guarantee, this Moneymaker Tour stop at the Texas Card House had its challenges. But despite it all, it was a successful stop as all the guarantees were hit and a plethora of new players tried their hand at the tour in a new location in the Lone Star State.

The next Moneymaker Tour stop will be back where it all began, at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida, from February 15-27.