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Japanese poker pro Iori Yogo won 8 APT titles, cashed in a total of 34 events, and earned the highest number of points to become the overall APT Player of the Year 2016 champion. He was awarded US10,000 worth of APT Main Event buy-ins of his choice, a customized APT jacket, and the APT POY Trophy.
History of the Yogo and Razavi duel
For the past four consecutive years, UK’s Samad Razavi dominated the APT POY race winning seasons 2012-2015. While the first three years saw him dust the field, last year was a tougher one as it came down to the wire with Yogo putting the heat on thick.
The battle between these two pros began in December 2014 at APT Prague with both players getting a look at each other and cashing in. A year later, they were both at the top of the APT POY 2015 race with Razavi winning by a small margin.
Early this year, both players picked up right where they left off, dominating the top of the charts once again. Razavi held a slight lead but in May, Yogo overtook the English pro at the APT Experience Manila event. From then on, it was a nail-biting race. Yogo gunned to maintain his lead while Razavi played catch up, a position he hadn’t faced in a long time.
Race to the Trophy
With the APT staging numerous events for the rest of the year, there was plenty of time for the race leaders to accrue more points. Razavi picked up some ground after running deep at the APT Cambodia Main Event but Yogo won the opening event to keep Razavi on the chase.
This duel continued with both players running neck to neck. Razavi captured his second APT Main Event title at the APT Cruise, but Yogo continued to set the bar high with deep runs.
At the APT Manila festival, Razavi jumped out with one trophy and several cashes, but it still wasn’t enough. Yogo surged during the latter part of the event to widen his lead further putting some major sweat on the English pro’s brow.
Entering the last event of the year, the APT Finale Macau 2016, Yogo was ahead with Razavi still within the realm of catching up. However, he was unable to attend and the battle for the title ended abruptly. Yogo dethroned the four-time titleholder and emerged as the newest APT POY champion.
APT Regional POY winners
Along with the APT POY overall race, the APT also awarded regional winners to players leading respective countries at the end of the year. There were five pools, Korea, Japan, Philippines, Greater China, and International (for countries not mentioned). Winners received US$2,000 worth of APT buy-ins.
Under the Korea race, Soojo Kim claimed the title. Kim entered the APT Finale Macau 2016 with a slight lead over Lim Yo Hwan but after his dominating wins, taking down two side events and capturing the APT Main Event title, he sealed the win for Korea. Kim boasted of the most APT titles throughout the year with 10 events under his belt.
With Yogo winning the overall race, he also earned the victory for the Japan regional bracket. Razavi may have lost his title to Yogo this year but he did pick up a win for the International bracket. For the Philippines, it was pro Mike Takayama who earned the top spot, and for greater China, it was Hung-Sheng Lin.
Article by Triccia David