PASAY CITY, Philippines—Poker in the Asian region is about to get an additional shot in the arm as the Asia Poker League (APL) is set to rejuvenate the game on a major scale starting this August in Beijing, China.
With tournament poker already recognized globally as a sport in many sectors, the APL aims to enhance the competitiveness of the game and bring back the entertainment factor that has slowly waned in recent years.
Bringing local poker communities in the continent together
It also aims to bring local poker communities in the continent together in a showdown of national superiority with clubs from Korea, China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Mongolia already part of the project. These countries are the initial members of the league with Malaysia, Japan and Australia indicating that they will also be on board very soon.
The APL had simple beginnings just last year based on a community site founded by Judic Kim in Korea, whose more than ten thousand members had him thinking about a new brand of tournament poker in a grand scale.
“(Judic) called me up last year and said ‘I think we can start doing something now about being a brand for a tournament,’” said James Kim, the APL Operations Director. “So I listened to his plan and when I learned that the Chinese market was involved (I figured) that the numbers would be very, very good.”
The Beijing Poker Club—the largest in the country—has officially partnered up with the APL and hence the opening salvo will be on its home soil.
“What distinguishes us from the other brands is that the members that are involved in the APL (all) have their own poker rooms,” Kim explained. “What the APL is providing is a platform for these communities to come together and play.”
This is part of the globalization of the game and with it growing steadily in Asia, it won’t be long before nations like Japan, India and the rest of Asia become full pledged members of the APL and with the initial sortie taking place in China, the competing clubs will have their first taste of competition with a scintillating prize pool on hand.
APL Beijing Leg: Aug 12- 18
The APL Beijing leg offers a $500,000 prize pool for a buy-in of $1,100 and Kim has been busy getting the word out and has in fact organized a series of Mega Satellites to the four-day event with one re-entry allowed.
The club competition will be introduced as a side event and could be the precedent of it being the main thrust of the undertaking.
There are speculations that the Chinese authorities may descend upon this endeavour once it begins, but Kim is quick to point out that the APL has coordinated with the Beijing Poker Club and the strict guidelines of having the re-entries monitored and the disallowing of cash games during the entire event ensures that this compliance will make this first effort fly.
Kim also stressed that one of his visions is to bring back the entertainment value to the sport and this is going to be manifested in the opening party with K-Pop stars gracing the event with Club Modo being the venue for this affair.
Four events per year across Asia
The mandate of the league is to host at least four events per year across the Asian region and the Beijing leg is seen to be the true acid test.
Somuchpoker will be closely following the APL, starting with the Mega Satellite to be held on the Final Day of the “2M for 2K” tournament in MIKES ROOM here in the Philippines.
Article by Noel Zarate