Another incredible year of poker has come and gone. Once again, players from Asia – Pacific outshined around the globe. For some, their wallets weighed down with large scores, for others dreams were fulfilled. Many definitely deserve acknowledgment.
Here’s a look at just some of the year’s top achievers.
Daniel Tang’s stellar year brings him among the world’s elite
Daniel Tang will close out 2019 with plenty to boast of. He is ranked #1 in THM Hong Kong All Time Money List with over US$ 8.4M in live earnings, is currently ranked 16th at the GPI standings, the highest among all Asia Pacific players, and about a month ago he was playing poker with Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and Tony G inside Paul Phua’s private jet.
For Tang, this year was nothing short of incredible. His pursuit for glory around the world earned him several four and five figure scores until the Triton Super High Roller Series in Montenegro where he banked his first-ever career seven figures. Two months later, he added a first-ever WSOP gold bracelet to his achievements by winning the Final Fifty US$ 50k High Roller event. Along with that was another seven figure payout. In total, Tang cashed 37 times in 2019 amounting to over US$ 6.1 million.
Tang’s 2019 biggest achievements:
1st place: WSOP $50K Final Fifty for US$ 1,608,406
2nd place: Triton SHR Main Event Montenegro for HK$ 14,100,000 (~US$ 1.796M)
3rd place: EPT Barcelona € 100,000 Super High Roller for € 847,570 (~US$ 944,800)
4th place: EPT Prague € 10,300 High Roller for € 197,720 (~US$ 223,619)
31st place: WSOP US$ 10K Main Event for US$ 230,475
Robert Campbell wins WSOP Player of the Year 2019
After a corrected error at the World Series Player of the Year race that nearly crowned Daniel Negreanu, it was Australian player Robert Campbell lifting the distinguished title. Campbell posted 13 times – 9 in Las Vegas and 4 in Rozvadov – of which two were victories.
1st place: US$ 10k Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better for US$ 385,763 (largest career live score)
1st place: US$ 1500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw for US$ 144,027
Campbell has been cashing at the series since 2013 and came one spot shy of a bracelet in 2015 at the US$ 1500 HORSE event. His deep runs at the series this year brought him well over US$ 1.3M in live career earnings.
$7M Year for Chin Wei Lim
Malaysian national Chin Wei Lim has been attacking the High Roller felt since last year and it finally paid off. This year, Lim cashed in 17 events around the world accumulating over US$ 7.3M in live tournament winnings. Of his achievements, six were six-figure payouts amounting to US$ 1.8M combined, and three payouts worth seven figures each. This put him in 5th rank at THM Malaysia All Time Money List overtaking Ivan Leow and Michael Soyza.
Lim’s largest payouts of 2019:
1st place: WSOPE € 100k NLH Diamond High Roller for € 2,172,104 (~US$ 2,416,241)
2nd place: WSOPE € 250k NLH Super High Roller for € 1,757,857 (~US$ 1,942,426)
10th place: £ 1,050,000 Triton Million for Charity for £ 1,000,000 (~US$ 1,339,193)
Marc Rivera finishes 3rd at PSPC for over $2.1M
2018 was a very good year for cash game specialist Marc Rivera. 3 of his 9 payouts were 5-figures and he won a coveted PokerStars Players Championship Pass. To kick off 2019, Rivera headed to the Bahamas and was one of the 1,039 players looking to score a large piece of the PSPC US$ 26.4 million prize pool. He finished in 3rd place for US$ 2,168,000 and became the first Filipino to earn seven figures in a single event. For his achievement, Rivera catapulted to the top of the THM Philippines All Time Money List.
Abhinav Iyer claims WSOP bracelet and APT Main Event title
Abhinav Iyer opened 2019 capturing his first-ever live tournament career title at the APT Kickoff Main Event Vietnam along with a cool US$ 98,000. This was his largest live score until the summer at the World Series of Poker. Iyer cashed in only one event and it was a victorious one. He overcame a field of 2800 entries at the US$ 1500 The Closer to bring India its fifth-ever WSOP gold merchandise and US$ 565,346. In total, Iyer cashed in 22 events this year, his most in a single year, amounting to US$ 775k.
Aaron Shu Nu Zang wins biggest buy in tournament ever hosted
Chinese recreational player Aaron Shu Nu Zang was the envy of every elite poker player attending the richest tournament ever hosted, the Triton Million – A Helping Hand for Charity £ 1,050,000 buy-in. The event attracted 54 entrants for an enormous prize pool of £ 54,000,000 (~US$ 65.7M). After a heads up deal that guaranteed Zang US$ 16.7 million and Bryn Kenney US$ 20 million, Zang went on to win it for his first-ever live tournament victory. This was also his only cash of 2019. It sent him straight to the top of the THM China All Time Money List. That single win sent him soaring past Elton Tsang who is nearing US$ 13M.
Hong Kong Edward Chun Ho Yam crushes record ITM in a single year
Taiwan became the hottest destination in 2019 with nearly every poker outfit making a visit. For Hong Kong pro Edward Chun Ho Yam, this was the place where he would rake it in and crush the 2019 Most Number of Cashes race. Yam closed the year with 215 cashes amounting to ~US$ 260k. 167 of those payouts were claimed in Taiwan. This was a huge jump from his 28 ITMs of last year. He denied defending champion Philip Wang a back to back. Wang finished 2nd with 182 cashes.
Yam’s 2019 biggest achievements:
1st place: Paradise Poker Series 3 Incheon NLH ₩ 5M High Roller for ₩ 24,674,000 (~US$ 21,961)
1st place: Paradise Poker Series 5 Incheon NLH ₩ 5M High Roller for ₩ 15,130,000 (~US$ 13,092)
1st place: Japan Highroller Festival 7 Busan ₩ 2.5M Opening High Roller 6 Max for ₩ 13,750,000 (~US$ 11,546)
2nd place: AJPC Asian Circuit Deep Stack ₩ 1.1M Main Event for ₩ 12,800,000 (~US$ 10,814) in Incheon, Korea
3rd place: APT Taiwan NT$ 65K High Rollers for NT$ 442,600 (~US$ 14,370)
5th place: WPT Vietnam ₫ 50M High Roller for ₫ 450,520,000 (~US$ 19,467)
Breakthrough year for Vincent Chauve
French player Vincent Chauve made our list for his impressive accomplishments in the Asian circuit. Prior to 2019, Chauve only cashed a total of 6 times from 2008 to 2018 for US$ 27,764. In 2019, Chauve was on fire accumulating US$ 897,913 in earnings. He won the WPT Deepstacks Main Event Vietnam and was proclaimed WPT Asia Pacific Season XVII Player of the Year. In mid-year, he nearly won a bracelet at the WSOP in Las Vegas, then to close out 2019 he ruled the felt at APT Vietnam.
Chauve’s 2019 biggest achievements:
1st place: WPT Deepstacks Vietnam ₫ 25M Main Event for ₫ 2,777,360,000 (~US$ 119,955)
2nd place: WSOP $1500 NLH Monster Stack – 6,035 entries for US$ 623,211 (largest live score)
2nd place: APT Vietnam ₫ 22M Main Event for ₫ 1,544,200,000 (~US$ 66,829)
1st place: APT Vietnam ₫ 38.5M Championships Event for ₫ 1,576,810 (~US$ 68,223)
Jinho Hong successful first year on the live circuit
Following in the footsteps of Yohwan Lim aka BoxeR, this year witnessed the arrival of StarCraft pro Jinho Hong aka YellOw. Hong has joined the live poker circuit in the past with two cashes earned since 2015. However, 2019 would be very different. Hong attended numerous events in Taiwan, Philippines, China, and Prague, bringing home winnings amounting to US$ 294,301. Out of his 14 cashes, he reached the final table 9 times and won three events.
Hong’s 2019 biggest achievements:
1st place: J88Poker Tour Shanghai ¥ 3,000 Main Event for ¥ 420,000 (~US$ 59,324)
1st place: APT Taiwan NT$ 49.5K Championships Event for NT$ 1,697,300 (~US$ 55,402)
2nd place: APT Taiwan NT$ 33K Main Event for NT$ 1,299,700 (~US$ 42,220)
2nd place: APT Philippines PHP 107,500 High Rollers #2 for PHP 1,387,600 (~US$ 26,701)
2nd place: J88Poker Tour Taiwan NT$ 25K Main Event for NT$ 1,348,500 (~US$ 43,700)
Kahle Burns more than doubles his live earnings
Big year for Australia’s Kahle Burns amassing a total of US$ 4,364,908 in live tournament earnings. This more than exceeded his combined earnings from 2009 to 2018 of US$ 3,460,328. Burns is a well known pro worldwide. In 2017, he earned his first-ever million payout for finishing 3rd at the Triton Super High Roller Series Macau Main Event.
For 2019, Burns cashed 25 times, 12 were six figures and two were WSOPE triumphs. He nearly won a third bracelet in Las Vegas. Burns’s largest grab was at EPT Barcelona for a combined total of € 877,120 (~US$ 976,593). He jumped several spots up to 2nd rank in THM Australia All Time Money List just below Joe Hachem.
Burns 2019 biggest achievements:
1st place: WSOPE € 25.5K Platinum High Roller for € 596,883 (~US$ 667,035)
1st place: WSOPE € 2500 No Limit Short Deck Hold’em for € 101,834 (~US$ 113,263)
1st place: US$ 25K No Limit Hold’em Poker Masters for US$ 416,500
2nd place: WSOP US$ 10K No Limit Hold’em Championship for US$ 389,832
3rd place: partypoker Millions World US$ 50K No Limit Hold’em for US$ 400,000
4th place: EPT € 100K Super High Roller for € 639,560 (~US$ 712,919) – largest payout of 2019
Jiyoung Kim wins WSOP bracelet
Korea’s Jiyoung Kim may only have four cashes in 2019 but one of them earned her a WSOP gold bracelet. Kim topped the 968 entry field of the US$ 1000 Ladies Championship and shipped US$ 167,308 in winnings. This was the largest live score of her career. She became the third Korean to win at the annual series. Another deep run this year was 9th place at the WPT Cambodia Phnom Penh US$ 1,100 Main Event for US$ 13,146.