Judic Kim is the man behind the recently launched Asia Poker League, which will feature a 500k GTD tournament. Somuchpoker took the time to chat with him in order to discuss his journey in the poker industry, the APL and also the Chinese poker scene.
1) Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your journey in the poker industry?
Sure, I’ve been playing poker for 30 years and once Texas Holdem got popular in Korea, I started a poker business in 2014. I just really love to play poker, so I was bit confused whether I should live as a player or focus on poker business. The problem was that even now, operating a poker room is illegal here, and I also thought a poker business in Korea wouldn’t really grow much.
So I strived to create a poker community and focus on it. Lately, a lot of illegal things were solved and the poker business is now in the process of being legal here. I still work hard at sharing a lot of poker information to Korean players and enjoy helping to educate them.
2) What exactly is the goal of the recently formed Asia Poker League?
While playing numerous poker tours overseas, I realized that many talented Korean players didn’t post noticeable results due to the environment of poker in Korea and the fact that they couldn’t play a lot of those events.
Playing live poker is illegal here, so the only way Korean players can play is online. So I had the thought that if players can play tournaments with less expenses via ‘Pokerlife’ which is the poker community that I operate, this would be a great idea.
When I was searching for a tournament that can do the above, realised that there were so many tournaments running in China and I had great conversations with leaders of poker business in China, which meant I could finally send Korean players to those big events.
3) APPT, APT and WPT are already hosting a lot of successful events on Asian soil. How are you planning to make a difference?
What we pursue isn’t really different to any other series, but my main goal is to create a poker event for a variety of people who are from different countries, so that they can play each other and have fun together.
For example, in this APL series, players not only play poker, but they enjoy a k-pop star concert and tour the country of the host so that they enjoy the culture, along with other things. That’s our goal.
4) Your first event will be hosted in Beijing. Can you give more details about it?
Obviously China is a very attractive country. As you probably know, playing cash games is illegal in China, but many underground poker rooms are running.It has been only 5 years since Texas Holdem got popular in China, but I personally believe that they have the potential for the biggest poker tournament fields outside of the U.S.
Though China is a really big country, there are so many local tournaments running, and local players easily share the information. Tournaments in China will be gigantic.
5) From a legal point of view, Is it complicated to organise an event of this size in China? What are the challenges?
If we look at running a tournament from a legal view in China, it is just an event that has the same aspects as sports.
So poker is not legally black or white in China. Once I visited China and looked over all of the country, I saw that there are so many different types of sizable tournaments which are running. When we think about a big tournament, it actually isn’t that big in China.
There are so many USD$100K guaranteed tournaments running everywhere. The problem is that in the past, the Nanjing Millions was cancelled by the Chinese government.
It makes a lot of foreign players ask questions about our events. There are a couple of facts that created that problem. Once a tournament is running in China, a host must give all the information to the government such as tournament schedule, buy-in, etc.
What happened was, so many players came to play the Nanjing Millions, and organizers didn’t expect that many, so they broke the rules and made the tournament an unlimited re-buy tournament.
Anyway, the interest of poker in China is just massive, and the business is growing steadily. So this series will be the starting point of booming poker in Asia, and the purpose of hosting the event is that we want to make a combined community.
6) Can you introduce us to your local partners in Beijing?
Our partner, Beijing Pokerclub is the biggest poker room in China, and is located in the centre of Beijing.Also, it is the only poker room that has been given permission by the Beijing Athletic Association. The poker room can accommodate more than 800 people and so many types of tournament & SNG are running there. They have hosted numerous events in the past, so dealers and floor managers are professional.
Tournaments that they host are well respected. Awards ceremonies are done in Beijing Olympic Centre.
7) What will be your next scheduled event after Beijing?
I have searched a few places in different countries. To be honest, Philippines is the best place to enjoy tournament poker in Asia, but we, APL, want players to not only play poker, but enjoy the culture of the host country.
If we do so, we can provide better tournaments & highly guaranteed tournaments.Also, there are big poker rooms in China wanting to compete with each other for foreign players, so they want to host big events.
More: Asia Poker League