There have been an increasing number of tournaments hosted across Asia in recent years, and some attract more interest than others. When we look at recognised global poker brands, the WPT is right up there. Couple this with the uncertainty surrounding poker in China and the Nanjing Millions situation not so long ago, and it is easy to see why WPT National China is an important event for poker in Asia today.
To add an extra layer of intrigue, the WPT brand was taken over by ‘Ourgame’ for USD$35 million just a few months ago. Naturally, there is a lot of interest in how Ourgame will be moulding the brand into something new and exciting.
Wet opening party
Before they get to sit and enjoy this exciting of the Main Event though, players had the chance to enjoy and impressive party with fashion shows filled with beautiful models, surrounded by a pool, which then inevitably becomes a pool party in the fashion show aftermath. Players will remember that Ourgame CEO Frank Ng and WPT CEO and President Adam Plisk have been sent fully clothed to the bottom of the pool by the Royal Flush Girls.
Adam Pliska – WPT CEO (Photo WPT)
882 entries in the Main Event
The restrictions on gambling in China have not stopped locals from being a part of proceedings here, as in order for Chinese nationals to play the event, they simply must have won their seat as a prize on the Ourgame social gaming platform rather than buying in directly. For those who buy in directly, the entry fee was USD$1,600.
Day 1a of this event saw an impressive 388 players turn out, but that was surpassed by the 494 who bought in on day 1b. This created a total field size of 882, which amounted to an excellent showing, in a tournament that had capped the field size at 888. There were a number of high profile players to be found amidst the day 1 action. Bryan Huang and Celina Lin were accompanied by WSOP luminary, David Chiu, who has 5 bracelets, along with a WPT title to his name. Also in the field were Poker King Club CEO Winfred Yu, former Main Event and High Roller winner at the Macau Poker Cup, Yuguang Li, and other notable names like Raiden Kan.
176 players survived the day 1 action. The eliminations slowed in day 2, and after another day battling at the tables, just 109 remained.
WPT National China Main Event
Alex Xiang Wei Lee leading the field at the end of Day 3
As day 3 came to a close and players bagged up their chips, it was Alex Xiang Wei Lee who stood atop the leaderboard. He has numerous final tables in APT and APPT events, along with a side event win in each, and a 1st place in Pokerstars Live Manila Megastack 3 just over a month ago. He will be accompanied by 38 other players heading into day 4.