The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) launched its second season on September 1st in Macau, and the record-setting tournament was only a sign of things to come. The 538 players who entered the Macau main event made it the largest poker tournament ever held in Asia. On the heels of that success, the APPT headed to its second stop of the season - the Walker-Hill Casino in Seoul, Korea.
The main event began on September 26th with 165 players paying the $2,870 buy-in to compete in the three-day tournament. The PokerStars.net sponsored tour brought a number of PokerStars pros to the Asian country, including Greg Raymer, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, and Hevad Khan. Other well-known pros in the field included JJ Liu and APPT Macau champion Eddie Sabat.
Day 1 consisted of a short day with only six levels played, and only 83 players survived the field. Sabat was one of them, glad to see another day in pursuit of a back-to-back title. And of the three PokerStars Pros in the pack, Khan was eliminated early, Raymer was taken out on the last hand of the day by David Saab, and Grospellier lived to play on the second day.
When the clock stopped after the sixth level, it was Jan Van Dyk in the lead with 51,375 in chips, with David Saab in close pursuit with 47,850. Rounding out the top five were Hidenari Shiono, Justin Jung, and Tim Davis, respectively.
The 83 players who returned on Day 2 were scheduled to play down to the final table but halted play after a long day when 16 players remained. But amidst the playdown, there was quite a bit of action.
Grospellier was one of the first to go, as he had come into Day 2 with a relatively short stack. And though Sabat made a grand effort early in the day, he lost some significant pots to end up on the rail halfway through the day. Van Dyk and Saab also looked solid as the day began but failed to sustain that momentum through the end of the day. Saab, in fact, was the 17th place finisher, being eliminated in 17th place just before play stopped by Brian Kang…and just before the money.
It was Kang who led the pack of 16 players with 302,000. Yoshihiro Tasaka was a bit behind in second place with 245,000, followed by Sam Faqiryar, Hidenari Shiono, and Diwei Huang. Only one additional player, Daniel Schreiber, sat above the 100K mark.
Day 3 began on September 28th with those surviving 16, all assured of taking home some portion of the prize pool for their Day 3 efforts. And on the very first hand of the day, Robert Campitiello took that honor with a 16th place finish at the hands of Kwok Yeung. Terry Gardiner and Michiyuki Kondo then accepted 15th and 14th place, respectively, both courtesy of Fam Yat. And Diwei Huang was busted in 13th place by Brian Kang. All four finishers received the equivalent of $4,006 for their finishes.
Heading toward the final table, a few more had to go. Hori Katsiyoshi took 12th place, courtesy of Daniel Schreiber, and Kwok Yeung finished in 11th place via David Horvath. And despite a double-up by Wooka Kim to stay in the game, she was finally eliminated on the final table bubble in 10th place by Sam Faqiryar. All three spots were worth $6,010.
The final table was then set with the nine remaining players, with chip counts as follows:
Seat 1: Daniel Williams 42,000
Seat 2: Daniel Schreiber 253,500
Seat 3: Yoshihiro Tasaka 226,500
Seat 4: Fam Kai Yat 66,500
Seat 5: David Horvath 124,000
Seat 6: Yuji Masaki 13,500
Seat 7: Sam Faqiryar 185,000
Seat 8: Brian Kang 394,000
Seat 9: Hidenari Shiono 269,000
Short-stacked Yuji Masaka made his move on the third hand of the final table and doubled up to 34,500 through David Horvath. But after that bit of action, play slowed tremendously, as the final nine all seemed hesitant to move past the flop on any particular hand.
But as the blinds went up and the players found their spots, action resumed. Dan Schreiber doubled up through Sam Faqiryar with pocket jacks against the A-J suited of the larger stack. It was then Farqiryar who was short and moved all-in preflop against Schreiber. Farqiryar had only against the , but the looked good for him. But the and on the turn and river gave Schreiber the runner-runner straight to win, and Farqiryar was eliminated in 9th place with $8,013 in prize money.
Action continued as Daniel Williams then pushed all-in preflop for his last 13,000 with . Yoshihiro Tasaka called from the button with pocket eights, and though David Horvath called, he and Tasaka checked to the river where Horvath mucked without showing. The board ran out , and Williams was ousted in 8th place with $12,020.
Horvath was the next to take a chance with his 31,500 by moving it all-in preflop from the button. Brian Kang called from the big blind with , and Horvath showed his underdog hand of . The board came , and with no one holding clubs, the pot went to Kang’s ace-high. Horvath left in 7th place with $16,027.
The next big hand was a bit of a shocker to those in attendance, as the two chip leaders clashed in a monster hand. Kang began the action with a raise to 18,000, and Schreiber simply called from the small blind. Upon seeing the on the flop, Kang bet 25,000. Schreiber check-raised 45,000 more, Kang reraised an additional 100,000, and Schreiber moved all-in. Kang called immediately with for top set, but Schreiber showed the for the flopped straight. The on the turn gave Kang the full house, and the inconsequential on the river sent Schreiber home with a bad beat story and a 6th place finish worth $20,033.
Yuji Masaki was continuing to work his short stack until Kang finally put an end to it. Masaki was all-in preflop with , and Kang called with . The board came , and Masaki was sent on his way in 5th place with $26,043.
Shortly thereafter, Fam Yat pushed all-in preflop with , and it was Hidenari Shiono who considered for awhile and finally called with pocket sixes. The dealer gave them for Shiono’s full house, and Yat was gone in 4th place with $32,054.
A change to the final three chip counts soon came when Tasaka became ultra-aggressive with his all-in moves. Finally, he was able to double through Shiono. Even so, Shiono held the chip lead and climbed far ahead of the others after winning a 705,000 pot from Kang.
Kang began to fall apart, and finding himself suddenly with the short-stack was clearly uncomfortable for him. He stayed aggressive and took a pot from Shiono to stay around 300,000 in chips, and he doubled through Tasaka to get close to the 500,000 mark. But Tasaka wasn’t comfortable as the short stack either, so he got involved with Kang again.
The hand began with Tasaka raising to 36,000 from the button, which brought a reraise from Kang. Shiono folded, but Tasaka raised again, this time all-in. Tasaka thought Kang called and turned over his , but Kang had not called the 316,000 raise. Kang requested that Tasaka’s hand be a dead one because of the violation, but the tournament director instead left the cards live but assessed a three-hand penalty to Tasaka to begin after the hand was over. Kang thought for a long time and finally called with , knowing that he was dominated by the two cards of his opponent. The board came , and Kang was left with only 75,000.
Kang’s remaining chips went in on the next hand with , and Shiono called with . The board produced , and Kang was gone in 3rd place with $44,074.
Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
Yoshihiro Tasaka 870,000
Hidenari Shiono 700,000
Play didn’t exactly result in action for the first two hands, as Tasaka was sitting out due to his aforementioned penalty. But when both players were back at the table, it didn’t take long for a winner to be declared.
Hidenari Shiono opened with a raise to 60,000, and Tasaka reraised to 196,000. Shiono pushed all-in for 436,000, and Tasaka thought about it before calling with . Shiono showed , and the board ran out , and the pair of nines were good enough for the win. Shiono finished the tournament in 2nd place with a $80,135 reward.
Yoshihiro Tasaka won the APPT Seoul main event and the prize that translated into $128,216.
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour continues on to Auckland, New Zealand on October 9th, where the third stop on the APPT will play out over the course of four days. Further stops on the Season 2 tour will be Manila in the Philippines and Sydney, Australia, though exact dates for those tournaments have yet to be announced. Check with PokerStars for chances to win seats into the APPT live events through numerous satellites opportunities by downloading PokerStars now. Use the bonus code “First2008” and marketing code “POKERWORKS” where indicated, and $25 extra will be awarded new customers in addition to a 100% bonus on deposits up to $50.
(Thanks to PokerStars blog updates and PokerNews live updates for hand and chip count information.)