As impressive as last year’s turnout was for the annual World Poker Tour Japan festival, this year’s events saw even better results. The fifth season of WPT Japan, in partnership with Japan Poker Union, similarly featured only three tournaments on schedule: the Main Event, U-23, and a concluding freeroll. Recently crowned WPT champion Kimijima Shoki bagged the biggest score across the short lineup of events, taking home $30,270 in WPT Passport along with a signature WPT trophy. Local players Keishi Kawato and Ohira Ayumu also claimed the festival’s side events, U-23 and Freeroll respectively.
Last year’s Main Event winner Charlie Ryuta secured $13,000 in winnings, relatively less than half of what Shoki claimed in this year’s games. With the WPT Japan series attracting more and more players each year, it would be safe to say that the 2022 events could likely grow to see a more extensive lineup of great value tournaments as well as bigger prize pools.
2021 WPT Japan Main Event – Kimijima Shoki ($30,270 WPT Passport)
An additional two starting flights were added in this year’s lineup of events, with the Tokyo games railing in much of the recorded Main Event entries. A total of 1,291 runners (a huge increase from 2020’s 726 entries) competed for this year’s $91,680 prize pool, 1,160 of which played through Day 1’s A and C in Sammy Inc. Headquarters, Tokyo. Only 281 players made it through Day 2, and 43 successfully headed to Day 3 with player Endo Shingo carrying the chip lead to start the final day.
With 31 places qualified for a minimum payout of $680, that meant 12 of the players who made the final day were going to go home empty handed. Eight players filled up the final table with Kimijima Shoki and Furihata Jumpei bringing in two of the biggest stacks. Shoki and Jumpei expectedly, were also the last ones standing due for the final heads up play. In the end, it was Shoki who emerged victorious and claimed the $30,270 top prize while runner-up Jumpei settled for a $14,220 payout.
Date: August 22, September 12, 18-20, 2021
Entries: 1,291 players
Prize pool: $91,680 (WPT Passport)
ITM: 31 places
Final Table Results
1st Kimijima Shoki – $30,270
2nd Furihata Jumpei – $14,220
3rd Okada Ken – $8,070
4th Mine Kota – $5,770
5th Kashiwagi Norie – $4,120
6th Homma Sho – $3,210
7th Tsuchida Ryuichi – $2,560
8th Karatsu Hiroki – $2,110
— World Poker Tour (@WPT) September 19, 2021
Date: September 19-20, 2021
Entries: 172 players
Prize pool: $1,630 (WPT Passport)
ITM: 3 places
Winner: Keishi Kawato – $910, Phoenix Seagia Resort/ 1 night accommodation voucher
Date: September 20, 2021
Entries: 307 players
Prize pool: $3,190 (WPT Passport)
ITM: 4 places
Winner: Ohira Ayumu – $1,370