With cards now flying at the 48th World Series of Poker 2017, the excitement continues to heighten with players and pros from all over the world trickling in for this annual pilgrimage. Scheduled to run from May 30th – July 13th at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino, the 45-day festival will surely have everyone’s calendars and planners filled to maximum with a wide variety of events offered daily.
But before we jump into the action, it’s always enjoyable to reflect on some of the greatest accomplishments by the Asian contingent within these past two years. Despite their low numbers, they still snagged a couple of those coveted bracelets and ran deep in several heavy-fielded events.
With poker continuing to invade Asia, and the market on a constant growth, we may just see more players representing the region this time around.
For now, here’s a look at some of those top-notched Asian performances during the past two WSOP festivals.
WSOP 2016 Asian achievements
1) Yue Du wins a second bracelet for China
After an eleven year gap, Yue “Alan” Du became the second Chinese national to win a WSOP bracelet after besting a field of 863 entries at the US$5K NLH event. The first bracelet winner was Jiang Chen way back in 2005. While there are well known Chinese-descent pros that have also captured bracelets in the past, namely Johnny Chan and David Chiu, their American citizen status discounts them from fully representing their homeland flag.
2) Naoya Kihara tops the WSOP POY rankings for Asia
After his first cash in 2011 and then following it up with a bracelet in 2012 – becoming the first Japanese national to win a WSOP bracelet – the number of times Naoya Kihara has walked over to the WSOP cage since then has only increased year after year. In 2016, Kihara added another achievement to his already high status. He boasted an 11 impressive cashes to recognize him as the highest ranked WSOP POY for Asia.
3) Deep runs for Terry Fan and Sparrow Cheung
Other notable Asian pros that also ran well at the WSOP 2016 were Taiwan’s Terry Fan and Hong Kong’s Park Yu “Sparrow” Cheung. For Fan, the highest ranked WSOP POY for Asia in 2015, he picked up right where he left off, running deep in a number of events. In the aftermath, he cashed in 7 events which included a final table berth at the US$1K No Limit Hold’em (30-minute levels). He finished 6th out of 1,397 participants for over US$38K in earnings.
As for Sparrow, the player who cashed a remarkable 48 times last year, he too had an incredible run at the series. He racked up a total of 9 cashes which included a 6th place finish out of 1,247 entries at the US$1K No Limit Hold’em WSOP.com Online event. This year, Sparrow has already cashed 19 times and with the WSOP just getting started, we may just see him add more stats to his impressive portfolio.
WSOP 2015 Asian achievements
1) Takahiro Nakai wins Japan’s second WSOP bracelet
Three years after Naoya Kihara won the first ever bracelet awarded to a Japanese national, Takahiro Nakai represented the country well by bringing home another golden wrist strap in 2015. Nakai topped a massive 2,497 field at the US$1K No Limit Hold’em event and pocketed nearly US$400K.
2) Chinese Taipei’s Terry Fan tops the WSOP POY rankings for Asia
2013 Red Dragon champion Terry Fan demonstrated his superb poker skills after cashing in 6 events at the 2015 WSOP. While five of them combined to a total earning of US$39,011, one of them was a six digit score of US$113,452 for his 5th place finish out of 989 entries at the US$3K No Limit Hold’em event.
3) India’s Aditya Agarwal WSOP Main Event cashes
Aditya “Intervention” Agarwal has been revered as one of the top ranked pros from India with a WSOP record that dates back to 2007. With the exception of years 2009-2012, Agarwal has cashed six times at the WSOP Main Event with his first one in 2007 finishing 450th out of 6,358 players. His largest take of US$96,445 was earned in 2015 for his 71st berth out of 6,420 players. In 2016, Agarwal slipped into the money round of the Main Event with a 621st finish out of 6,737 players.
4) Filipino player Andrew Gaw close to victory
The WSOP 2015 saw a near victory for the Philippines with Andrew Gaw running deep at the US$1,500 No Limit Hold’em Mix Max event. There were 873 players in contention with Gaw finishing in 3rd place for a US$109,015 payday. Two weeks after, a little more wad was added to his wallet for his 91st place at the US$2,500 No Limit Hold’em event and 499th at the Main Event that saw 6,420 players.
5) Several cashes for Japanese pro Tetsuya Tsuchikawa
One of the most highly recognized players in the Asian circuit today is Tetsuya Tsuchikawa. This Japanese pro has shipped in many titles and many cashes since he first emerged into the Asian scene in 2010. At the WSOP, Tsuchikawa may not yet have made his mark however in 2015 he secured himself a profit in five events with his first score at the US$1,500 No Limit Hold’em Millionaire Maker event for his 268th place finish. His furthest reach was a 62nd place berth out a field of 1,655 at the US$1,500 No Limit Hold’em event.
While it is still too early to make any predictions on the Asian force attending the WSOP 2017, Somuchpoker will continue to be on the lookout, tracking the events and posting updates on all the top performers.
Article by Triccia David