Punnat Punsri wins record breaking APT Taiwan Main Event for US$ 364,000

Backed by an enthusiastic and anxious rail, Thai pro Punnat Punsri made them proud by clinching the richest and largest APT Main Event in history. Punsri battled his way through a field of 1,434 entries, defeating Korea’s Soo Bum Kim at heads up to emerge as the champion. For his incredible achievement, Punsri pocketed a huge NT$ 11,210,400 (~US$ 364,300) and became the first owner of the newly designed APT Main Event trophy. 

APTTaipei2023 Event16 APT MainEvent FinalDay 296

SMP: How does it feel to win the biggest event in APT history?

Punsri: I am totally over the moon. It’s actually the biggest achievement of my poker career alongside winning the Triton Main Event in Cyprus last year, both representing very different but very difficult challenges. I always wanted to have success in large field main events, and the APT is actually a series I hold high sentiment for, considering the APT Championships Event in Seoul is the first major title I ever won. It was a spontaneous participation, as I planned a trip with my friends to Ultra Korea Music Festival. Since APT Seoul 2019 coincided on a similar timeline, I decided to participate in some events and similar to this series, I won the biggest event of the series, both being my last event also.

SMP: What was your biggest challenge or toughest moment during the main event?

Punsri: It was definitely when my opponent took the chip lead heads up after starting as a 10-1 underdog. I realized I was on the verge of a monumental collapse, so decided to alter my strategy by playing pure RFIs from the button and using my experience to maintain composure. Thankfully, my rail that consist of two of my closest friends in poker didn’t allow me to tilt, and card distribution started to fall in my favour at the most crucial time.

SMP: How special is this win?

Punsri: It means the world to represent Thailand at this first series of the new APT era, in a team represented by many friends, celebrities promoting the sport, in addition to new upcoming talents. To be able to accomplish this feat in front of an overwhelming Thai rail is invaluable memory that will definitely last a lifetime. Super grateful for all the support and run-good I’ve had not just in this tournament, but my entire career.

SMP: What’s next for you?

Punsri: I have two biggest series of the year coming up – Triton North Cyprus where I made my mark last year, and the World Series of Poker, where I’ll be attempting to win the first gold bracelet for Thailand. The latter was an aspiration since I started playing poker as a teenager, and having come very close on two occasions last year; I am hoping to go one better this year, in order to finally achieve a historic feat for my country in an era where poker as a sport is booming so much in popularity and acceptance. I really hope one day we can make poker tournaments legal in Thailand, using the predecessor models of poker legalization in Taiwan and Japan.

APTTaipei2023 Event16 APT MainEvent FinalDay 276

Prior to this win, Punsri was already recognized as a dominant force in the Asian poker scene. Last year, he achieved remarkable success, crushing numerous PokerGO high roller events in Las Vegas, and came very close to locking up WSOP bracelets at the 50K High Roller 8-Handed (3rd place) and at the Poker Hall of Fame (2nd place).

Despite the disappointment, he later went on to win the Triton Cyprus Main Event, beating some of the best poker players in the world to pad up his career earnings a whopping US$ 2.6 Million. Punsri closed the year as Asia’s top Global Poker Index (GPI) point earner by a wide margin.

Kicking off this year, Punsri had already been making waves, having cashed at five final tables, including a victory and a 2nd place finish at the PGT PokerGO Cup. With his relentless drive to succeed, he took on the biggest field in APT history, the largest field of his career, and came out golden. 

APTTaipei2023 Event18 SuperstarChallenge 015 1

The Asian Poker Tour (APT) Taipei Main Event advertised a one million dollar US guarantee and with 1,434 entries at NT$ 50,000 (~US$ 1,650) each, it exceeded all expectations as the prize pool soared to NT$ 62,594,100 (~US$ 2,034,185). This was the largest prize pool amassed by any brand exclusively touring the Asian region. The event took place at the newly built CTP Asia Poker Arena in Taipei City, Taiwan.

While many notables found their way into the 203 player money list, running deep were decorated Asian circuit champions Feng Zhao (23rd), Kitty Kuo (16th) , Joshua Tjan (9th), and Lester Edoc (6th), each one cashing out five-digits in US currency. The final table was an international affair with nearly every player representing a different flag.

Buy in: NT$ 50,000 (~US$ 1,650)
Guarantee: NT$ 30,000,000 (~US$ 977,500)
Entries: 1,434
Prize pool: NT$ 62,594,100 (~US$ 2,034,185)
ITM: 203 places

Final table payouts

1 Punnat Punsri Thailand NT 11,210,400
2 Soo Bum Kin Korea NT$ 6,375,500
3 Tung Wong Hong Kong NT$ 4,503000
4 Long Lam Vietnam NT$ 3,311,900
5 Teng Hsu Taiwan NT$ 2,595,400
6 Lester Edoc Philippines NT$ 1,982,700
7 Chih Wei Fan Taiwan NT$ 1,517,100
8 Ben Loo Malaysia NT$ 1,074,500
9 Joshua Tjan Malaysia NT$ 823,500

*Photos by APT 


Getting to know Thailand pro Punnat Punsri, 2022 Triton Poker SHR Cyprus Main Event champion

Avatar photo

Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Special EmailTwitterFacebookFlickrYouTube