2018 has come to a close and what an incredible year it was for players from the Asia-Pacific region. While there are many to acknowledge, here’s our list of top 10 player achievements for the year:
Michael Soyza tops Asia GPI ranking
Malaysian pro Michael Soyza turned up the notch this year accumulating over $2.65M in live tournament earnings and rising to top rank of the Asia GPI standings with 3,112,36 points. This also placed him 13th in the overall GPI ranking.
Among Soyza’s numerous deep cashes and victories were six payouts in the six-figure range. His first one was $148,629 for his triumph in April at the APPT Korea Main Event. Two months later, this was easily usurped by his victory at the DeepStack Championship Poker Series in Las Vegas for a massive take of $588,249. With half the year passed, he was not only cashing in big but was also raking in the GPI points.
In August, Soyza padded up another fat chunk of points for his wins at the APPT Manila High Roller BB Ante event and at the EPT Barcelona €10,300 NLH event. This also added another $400K combined to his live earnings.
At the end of October, Soyza placed 3rd at the largest buy-in event we’ve seen him cash in, the €100,000 NLH Leon’s High Roller event at the WSOPE in Rozvadov. Though the GPI points he earned for this event didn’t make the tally, he still shipped $592,594 for his largest live career payout. Just before closing out the year, Soyza collected a combined $500K in two high roller events at the Jeju Red Dragon Series.
Michael Addamo wins bracelets at the WSOP and WSOPE
For the past two years, Australian pro Michael Addamo has come very close to clasping one of those coveted WSOP gold bracelets. That all changed in 2018. Not only did Addamo win a bracelet, he won one at the WSOP in Las Vegas and another at the WSOPE in Rozvadov.
After piling in deep runs in Australia and Hong Kong, Addamo took to the 2018 WSOP in June and bested a field of 1,637 at the $2,620 NLH – The Marathon event. He claimed $653,581 and the first WSOP gold bracelet of his career. Four months later, he was in Rozvadov, Czech Republic for the 2018 WSOPE. He won the €25,500 NLH High Roller event for his second WSOP bracelet. He overcame a field of 133 and earned his largest live career payout of €848,702 which is roughly around $980K.
Alexander Lynskey WSOP Main Event Final 9 + WSOP Sydney Main Event Champion
In July, Australian pro Alexander Lynskey navigated through a crowd of 7,874 players to reach the WSOP Main Event final table of nine. He went on to finish in 7th place and scored a deserving payout of $1,500,000. This was his first seven-figure win.
In December, the WSOP was hosting its International Circuit in Sydney, Australia. The Main Event attracted a large field of 1,191 players. Lynskey won the event for A$422,796 to claim his first WSOP ring.
Ivan Leow’s Super High Roller run
Seng Yee Leow “Ivan” took the felt by storm this year going from just $123K in live tournament earnings to amassing over $5.8M. The bulk of his winnings came from Super High Roller events starting in May at the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series in Montenegro. Though he didn’t champion any events there, he scooped up a combined $450K for his two 6th place finishes.
The month of July was when it all broke open for Leow. He cashed in three events at the Triton Poker series in Jeju, one of which was a victory at the HK$500K NLH – Short Deck Only event. This awarded him over HK$8,470,000 which was just over US$1M. That leg earned him a combined US$1.53M.
Immediately after, he set off for Sochi, Russia for the Triton Super High Roller event at the partypoker MILLIONS. He powered over the 29 entrants for his second SHR career victory and second seven-figure payday of approximately US$1,133,555. The streak continued in September at WPT Korea in Incheon where he won a Super High Roller event for approximately US$118K and placed 2nd at another SHR event for US$156K.
In October, Leow championed the €100,000 NLH Leon’s High Roller at the WSOPE in Rozvadov, adding around US$1.4M to his insane list of SHR winnings. His last score was at the end of November. He finished 4th at the Jeju Red Dragon Series SHR event for over US$250K.
Mike Takayama brings home the first WSOP bracelet for the Philippines
Filipino pro Mike Takayama is a very well-known figure in the Philippines poker circuit with a long list of achievements earned in his home country since 2014. This year however was a particularly big one. Takayama took on the world stage for the first time, trekking to Las Vegas, Nevada for the annual WSOP.
For his debut visit, he impressed his fans with a victory at the US$1K NLH Super Bounty event. He became the first Filipino to win a WSOP bracelet. He also earned $198,568 which is his largest live score to-date. At the series, Takayama also placed 32nd at the Double Stack Event for $17,814 and 421st at the Main Event for $29,625.
Iori Yogo wins three APT major titles
APT Player of the Year 2016 champion Iori Yogo had another strong year in the APT circuit. Among his numerous deep runs were victories in major events. In March, he won the P110,000 APT Championships Event after overcoming several close calls against runner-up Lester Edoc. He won roughly $45,800. In August, he won the APT Main Event in Korea, Incheon for around $36,100; then in December, he won a second APT Championships Event, this one with a much higher buy-in of P165,000. He became the first player to win two APT Championships Event titles. Yogo pocketed roughly $54,700. This year saw the Japanese pro cash 17 times at the APT.
Wei Guo Liang wins the Little One for One Drop
One of the most popular events in the WSOP lineup is the $1,111 NLH – Little One for One Drop. This year saw another big field of 4,732 entries for a prize pool of $4,258,800. Several Asian players ran very deep here but none as deep as Chinese pro Wei Guo Liang. Wei championed the event to capture his first WSOP bracelet and $559,332. He became the fourth Chinese national to win a WSOP gold.
Tetsuya Tsuchikawa adds an APT Main Event title to his portfolio
One of the Asian Poker Tour’s biggest supporters / promoters is Japanese pro Tetsuya Tsuchikawa. Through the years, the number of Japanese players attending the APT circuit has grown due to his efforts. Tsuchikawa is a highly accomplished poker player with stats dating back to 2011. He has won a WPT Main Event, a PokerStars Manila Main Event, and after two near APT Main Event victories – one in 2012 and another in 2014 – finishing runner-up in both, Tsuchikawa finally secured a win at the APT Main Event in Vietnam this past October.
Lester Edoc collects 1st places in his home country
Up until this year, Filipino pro Lester Edoc only had one major title under his belt which he won at the International Poker Open Main Event in Manila back in 2015. As of today, he now has another four, all of them won on home turf.
In February, Edoc won the Asia Poker League Road Series Philippines Main Event besting a field of 276 entries. This was immediately followed up with a win at the PokerStars Manila Super Series Main Event in March topping a field of 1,118 entries.
Later that same month, Edoc won the APT Philippines – Main Event and nearly captured the APT Championships Event of the same series. He fell in runner-up to Iori Yogo. In September, Edoc attended the APT Philippines II and took down the Main Event once again for back-to-back series victories. These major wins plus the 2nd place against Yogo earned him nearly $190K combined.
Philip King Chun Wang most cashes in 2018
Taiwanese player Philip King Chun Wang overtook Chinese player Xing Biao Zhu in the final stretch of the Hendon Mob 2018 Number of Cashes. He closed the year with 64 cashes, earning most of them in his home country and in the Philippines. His largest score though was at APPT Macau in January. He finished 2nd at the HK$55K NLH Megastack for HK$250,000 ($31,971).
As for Xing, he too had a commendable run. He led the race back in April and closed with 61 cashes. Interestingly, from January to April, Xing was very active in the scene. He cashed numerous times on each of those months to put him at the top of the list.
Then from May to September, it was zero activity. Xing did not post a single cash. When October rolled in, Xing was back on attack raking in the ITMs once again. At the AJPC Asian Circuit in Korea, he earned in 10 events, five of which were wins. To close out the year, he scored at another AJPC Korea event in December cashing in 9 events.
Article by Tricia David