A total of 337 players returned today to the Salle Des Étoiles here at Sporting Club Monte-Carlo for Day 2 of the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event. Of everyone in the room, nobody had fewer chips than Sio Hong Si. But that didn’t bother him in the least.
Just as Si’s short stack set him apart from the rest of the field, his journey here was unique among the competitors here in Monaco. Si lives in Macau, where he works as an activity coordinator and enjoys playing basketball. A year ago his friends got him into poker through a home game. He took to it quickly and began watching live streams from every EPT stop.
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Soon enough Si had opened an account on PokerStars, where he began playing as “Michaelsi1031.” And then, last month, he made a fateful decision: he played in a $3 Spin & Go. Nothing too out of the ordinary there, but the result certainly was: Si won a package to play in the €5,300 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event.
That was just the beginning. An arduous 35-hour journey took him from Macau to the other side of the planet. He played Day 1B of the tournament and survived with the smallest stack of any player from either starting flight, but he displayed no obvious sense of disappointment.
“I feel so excited that I can make it to Day 2, even with 7300 chips,” he told PokerStars Blog as he emptied his bag and placed his chips — one blue 5K, two yellow 1Ks, and three black-and-white 100s — on the table in front of Seat 3. “Now it’s only all-in! So I maybe double up.”
Team Pro Celina Lin arrived a moment later and sat directly to Si’s right. The rest of his table was a real murderer’s row. Mustapha Kanit, Nicolas Chouity, and Vlad Darie were all behind him in the rotation — the kind of players you expect to watch on TV, if not necessarily the kind you expect to sit down and play against. And yet here Si was.
Si and Lin chatted for a bit until he found himself under the gun with pocket kings. He made his one move: all-in. Darie called with Q-T and flopped two pair. It looked likely that Si would begin his walk for the exits right there, but another king on the river made him a set to take the pot.
The rest of the table cheered Si on as he stacked up, including Team Pro and new arrival Fatima Moreira De Melo, who arrived in the middle of the hand from a broken table and took her seat to Si’s left.
Si survived his big blinds and then found himself in the small blind with A♠7♥. He moved all-in again, and Moreira De Melo called in the big blind with K♠8♦. A king hit the flop and that was the end of the line for Si — at least in this tournament. He still gets to enjoy Monaco for the rest of the week.
Though Si’s story didn’t end in glory, he was thrilled just to be here. And why not? For just $3, he had the experience of a lifetime.
“I feel excited,” Si said. “It is a dream come true, I feel very good. Thank you PokerStars to make me come here!”