Looking back at 2015, the year was truly a big one for poker in the Asia-Pacific region with the game doing nothing but booming all year. As the year comes to a close, we reflected back on some of the year’s incredible moments and compiled a list of 10 great accomplishments from the live poker of scene.
Third Aussie Million High Roller title for Phil Ivey
In early February, American poker pro superstar Phil Ivey won the $250,000 LK Boutique Challenge. By the cost of buy-in, this event was known as the no limit hold ‘em super high roller event at the Aussie Millions. Out of the five times this event was offered at the Aussie Millions, Ivey impressively dominated the category by claiming the title three times- 2012, 2014, and 2015. Although the past two victories saw bigger fields with bigger payouts, his win this year still earned him a massive $1.7M making it his biggest takedown since he last won it last year.
Phil Ivey ( Photo Kenneth Lim Courtesy of PokerStars)
Back-to-Back Victories for Yuguang Li at the Macau Poker Cup
China’s Yuguang Li was the talk of the town at the Macau Poker Cup in early March, and rightfully so, Li seized two big titles in back-to-back fashion -the highly coveted HK$12K No Limit Hold ‘em Red Dragon and the HK$80K No Limit Hold ‘em High Roller event. At the Red Dragon, Li overcame a massive field of 987 entries and at the High Roller event, he rose triumphant over a very tough field of 67 players. With these wins, Li padded up his back pocket an extra US$500K making these the largest payout he has ever been awarded.
Yuguang Li (Photo Kenneth Lim Courtesy of PokerStars)
WSOP Deep Runs for Taiwan’s Terry Fan
Ranked second in Taiwan’s All Time Money List, poker pro Terry Fan had an incredibly deep run at the WSOP 2015 $3,000 No Limit Hold ‘em event in mid-June. Fan placed 5th out of 989 entries and earned $113,452. On top of that, he reached the money five additional times during the festival. A month and a half later, he was back in Asia for the APPT 9 Manila Main Event where he finished in 4th place out of 585 entries and cashing out $34,803.
Terry Fan: WSOP 2015
Read Interview: Interview with Terry Fan
Wally Sombero Wins the PokerStars Live Manila P1M Guaranteed
After a three-year drought, “The Godfather” of poker in the Philippines, Wally Sombero, emerged victorious by dusting a field of 311 entries at the PokerStars Live Manila P1M Guaranteed. This is a very symbolic win for the Filipino poker scene because in 2006, Sombero pioneered the game for its acceptance into the country. With poker seeing a second awakening this year in Asia, it is good to see Sombero still out there living his dream, enjoying the sport, and taking down some young-uns along the way.
Wally Sombero (Photo PokerStars Manila)
Read Story: Wally “The Dream” Sombero
Aaron Lim Becomes the First Two-Time APPT Main Event Champion
The APPT 9 Manila Main Event drew in 585 entries making it the largest draw the event had ever seen in the country. Rising above for the victory was Australian poker pro Aaron Lim, and by doing so, he also broke a record of being the only player who has ever won the APPT Main Event twice. Lim first championed this event in the APPT Seoul in 2103. Lim earned nearly $134,000 and currently ranks 12th in the Australian All Time Money List.
Linh Tran Tops the Vietnam All Time Money List
Vietnamese poker pro Linh Tran is a familiar face in the Asian poker circuit who has gone deep in many Asian Poker Tour Main Events for several years. His patience and persistence finally paid off at the APT Cambodia 2015 in late October. Tran defeated a field of 341 entries to claim his first-ever Main Event title plus $26,130. Following that accomplishment, Tran climbed to the top-dog spot in the Vietnam All Time Money List. A week later, Tran continued with that momentum and placed 4th in an APPT 2015 ACOP Event in Macau earning himself a nice sweet pot of $42,501.
Read Article: Linh Tran Wins APT Cambodia Main Event
Filipino player Edilberto Gopez’s Incredible Run
Up until mid-November, Filipino player Edilberto Gopez was just another aspiring poker player looking to catch a break. From November to December, he got exactly that and more during the last four events of the year in the Philippines. He placed 2nd in the RVS Cup Main Event, 7th at the IPO 3 Main Event, 4th at the Manila Megastack Main Event, and 3rd at the APT Finale Welcome Event. Impressively, he earned over $35K in a matter of one week.
Read Story: Edilberto Gopez: Rising Star of the Philippines
Lester Edoc Claims His First Main Event Title
Back in October 2012, Lester Edoc placed 2nd at the APT Asian Series Manila Main Event, and since then, has continued to battle for that elusive first place spot. In early December 2015, Edoc finally bagged it after winning the International Poker Open 3 Main Event. In addition to the title, Edoc took home $59,400, his highest tournament payout to date.
Read Story: Lester Edoc Captures the IPO Main Event Title
A Breakthrough for Adrian Brion
A bright future is on the horizon for the Asian poker scene with some of the top poker players in the region banding together to form Team Poker King Club (Team PKC). One of the members of Team PKC Philippines is Adrian Brion, a highly active and dedicated poker player in the Asian Circuit. Brion may not be as decorated a player like his other teammates but his consistent cashes and passion for the sport can truly be seen at the felt. His biggest win-to-date was in mid-April where he placed 3rd at the APT Asian Poker Series Philippines Main Event and took home $40,100. In mid-August, Brion placed 7th at the APT Asian Poker Series Cebu 2015 and earned just over $6K.
Ian Brion (Photo APT)
Read Interview: Seven questions to Filipino Poker Pro Ian Brion
A Fourth APT POY Title for the Amazing Sam Razavi
Closing out the year with one of the most incredible accomplishments the Asian poker scene has ever seen was the crowning again of UK’s Sam Razavi who claimed the APT Player of the Year title for the fourth consecutive year. Razavi has had a stellar year at the APT boasting his highest marks ever with 7 titles and 27 point-generating cashes. He also ran deep at the WSOP 2015 $3,000 No Limit Hold ‘em event, (coincidentally the same event where Terry Fan came in 5th), placing 4th and cashing $153,682.
Sam RAzavi (Photo APT)
Read Story: APT POY Sam Razavi Wins 4th Title