2023 APT Incheon: Singapore’s Jun Hao Wu takes down record-breaking Superstar Challenge; China’s Hong Ru Zhang clinches two trophies; Fourth APT title for Dicky Tsang; Milos Petakovic and Bastien Joly emerge victorious

Asian Poker Tour Trophy
Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Almost a week in, the fifth running of the Asian Poker Tour festivities in Incheon, South Korea has been a full fledged international affair with players hailing from various parts of the globe coming down to the tournament tables at Paradise City Casino. The esteemed festival covers a ten-day schedule through September 3rd featuring 69 trophy events and KRW 3 Billion (~US$ 2.3M) in prize pool guarantees. 

To date, several series highlights have played down to its corresponding winners with yet another APT record shattering event in the books. The tour’s Superstar Challenge which posts the most expensive buy-in in the lineup, was met with an exceptional story last Monday as the event saw its largest-ever field and prize pool to the tune of KRW 873,000,000 (~US$ 657,970). Singapore’s Jun Hao Wu locked in the title following a three-way ICM deal for a career best score of KRW 177,660,000 (~US$ 134,130). Joining the latest list of APT champions are China’s Hong Ru Zhang, Hong Kong’s Dicky Tsang, Serbia’s Milos Petakovic, and France’s Bastien Joly, to name a few. 

Event #26: Superstar Challenge – 8 Max: Jun Hao Wu – KRW 177,660,000 (~US$ 134,130)

Jun Hao Wu
Jun Hao Wu, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Posting the heftiest buy-in in the series, the KRW 13,000,000 (~US$ 9,750) price tag for this year’s APT Incheon Superstar Challenge left little hesitation for a number of high rollers and built up even more excitement judging from the record entries. The largest 72-entry field for the said tournament saw its prize pool swell to a massive KRW 873,000,000 (~US$ 657,970) where Thailand’s Thanisorn Saelor bagged the biggest payout of the day following a three-way ICM deal. However, after 26 levels of play, it was Singapore’s Jun Hao Wu who topped the ranks and defeated Hong Kong’s Kevin Choi in heads up play for the APT glory.

On the bubble, I ran pretty hot; I got in a four-way all-in and I woke up with kings on the big blind so I think other than skill I think I have to… It’s not all about skill, the luck factor involved is also very important.“, Wu commented following his win.

The pivotal hand mentioned by Wu delivered three eliminations at once, drawing the field down to its remaining ten players and boosting Wu’s stack right to the top all at the same time. With only nine making the money, Timothy Heath served as the day’s bubble after the Australian was left with no choice but to risk his tournament life with AsKh after Daniel Lee moved all-in from the small blind. Lee’s 10h5h was behind but tabled a board of 6s10c5c9c5d, enough to deny his opponent a minimum payout of KRW 26,190,000 (~US$ 19,740).

Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier
Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

With the final table set, Wu held a commanding lead of 70BB followed by second in line Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier, shy of 35BB. Action showed no sign of slowing down with Germany’s Julian Kleiber managing to double up his micro stack right on the first hand but unfortunately succumbed to his demise only three deals later. Eight place finisher Jeffrey Lo in hindsight, would have scored two pay jumps had he waited to jam one hand later. In a double elimination by Kevin Choi QsQh, a three way all-in preflop ensued which left Grospellier 10s10d and Wing Po Liu AhJh packing in 6th and 7th place respectively after the runout saw four spades on board, awarding Choi the better flush.

Aggression was paying off big for Saelor with five left in the running, most especially after he dusted America’s Lee with a KsJs four bet jam preflop. Lee made a good call with Ac10h but was unable to dodge the Jd on the river which gave the Thai runner top pair. Saelor continued his momentum picking up chips and stealing pots postflop to become the table chip leader. 

Thanisorn Saelor
Thanisorn Saelor, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

After short stacked Abraham Ceesvin was eliminated in 4th place, the three locked up an ICM deal, securing Saelor the lion’s share of the prize pool while leaving an additional KRW 19,949,000 (~US$ 15,060) and the trophy for the eventual winner. Right after the deal was struck, Saelor lost his lead quickly after he pulled a river bluff against Wu who called off with top pair on a ten high board. Wu’s one pair hand was good enough to beat Saelor’s ace high for a full double up. Saelor, unable to recover, busted not long after by the hands of Choi on ironically another ten high board. 

Moving to heads up, Choi held almost a 2:1 advantage against Wu but the Singaporean managed to even out the stacks and edge slightly only four hands in. It didn’t take long for the final hand to come up with Choi calling off with Qc10c against Wu’s As7d. The flop instantly favored Wu giving him a pair of sevens and none of his opponent’s outs on the turn and river to emerge as the record-breaking APT Superstar Challenge champion. A worthy fight by Choi, the Hong Kong runner exits with KRW 177,510,000 (~US$ 134,020) in prize money for his second place finish.

Date: August 28, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 13,000,000 (~US$ 9,750)
Prize pool: KRW 873,000,000 (~US$ 657,970)
Entries: 72 (57 unique)

Superstar Challenge Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW) Prize (USD)
1 Jun Hao Wu Singapore 177,660,000* ~$134,130*
2 Kevin Choi Hong Kong 177,510,000* ~$134,020*
3 Thanisorn Saelor Thailand 201,800,000* ~$152,360*
4 Abraham Ceesvin Singapore 89,920,000 ~$67,760
5 Daniel Lee United States 69,840,000 ~$52,630
6 Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier France 54,130,000 ~$40,790
7 Wing Po Liu Hong Kong 42,780,000 ~$32,240
8 Jeffrey Lo Hong Kong 33,170,000 ~$25,000
9 Julian Kleiber Germany 26,190,000 ~$19,740

*Denotes deal was made

China’s Hong Ru Zhang clinches two trophies

Hong Ru Zhang
Hong Ru Zhang, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

A good start to Hong Ru Zhang’s experience at the APT Incheon festival was in the works after he successfully claimed the first trophy event on schedule – Event #1: APT Kickoff. The Chinese runner bested the 288 entry field and collected KRW 29,360,019 (~USD $22,170) in winnings after defeating Japan’s Shogo Kimura in heads up play. While this victory put Zhang well in the green, his heater wouldn’t stop there as he carried on to take down the following day’s Single Day High Roller tournament. Two wins in the bag, Zhang collected an even bigger KRW 59,515,500 (~US$ 44,936), serving as his career best score according to The Hendon Mob

Following this, Zhang also made another final table appearance in Event #35: Single Day High Roller – Mystery Bounty – 8 Max (50/50 Bounty), recording a notable third place finish for KRW 17,210,000 (~US$ 12,999). With four more days of action left on schedule, it looks like Zhang is likely to add in more to his already sizable KRW 106,085,519 (~US$ 80,124) in APT Incheon 2023 cashes.

Event #1: APT Kickoff: Hong Ru Zhang – KRW 29,360,019 (~USD $22,170)

Date: August 25-26, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 600,000 (~US$ 460)
Prize pool: KRW 175,000,000 (~USD $132,050)
Entries: 288
Flight A: 151 entries / 22 advanced
Flight B: 137 entries / 20 advanced
ITM: 42 players

APT Kickoff Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW) Prize (USD)
1 Hong Ru Zhang China 29,360,019* ~$22,170*
2 Shogo Kimura Japan 28,000,000* ~$21,140*
3 Koichi Saeki Japan 16,720,000 ~$12,620
4 Shen Syu Ho Taiwan 13,530,000 ~$10,210
5 Zhangxin Zhao China 10,660,000 ~$8,040
6 Jung Hwan Shin Australia 8,140,000 ~$6,140
7 Xuefeng Huang China 5,980,000 ~$4,510
8 Guang Guo Piao China 4,400,000 ~$3,320
9 Takashi Taniguchi Japan 3,600,000 ~$2,710

*Denotes deal was made

Event #16: Single Day High Roller – 8 Max

Date: August 27, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 3,500,000 (~US$ 2,625)
Prize pool: KRW 247,495,500 (~USD $186,871)
Entries: 81
Winner: Hong Ru Zhang (China) – KRW 59,515,500

Event #8: Mystery Bounty Hunter Sponsored by Natural8: Dicky Tsang – KRW 42,961,200 (~USD $32,440)

Dicky Tsang
Dicky Tsang, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Donning four APT titles following his latest win, Hong Kong’s Dicky Tsang is no stranger to claiming APT gold with his clever antics earning him the moniker ‘Tricky Dicky’. The former APT Incheon 2019 Main Event champion displayed his prowess at the felt once again and claimed this season’s Mystery Bounty Hunter event KRW 42,961,200 (~USD $32,440) top prize. Tsang secured an additional KRW 10.4 Million from the bounty pool to bring his collective winnings to a KRW 42,961,200 (~US$ 32,440) high.

Tsang’s journey to the trophy was not an easy feat, seeing as Japan’s Shiina Okamoto commanded the final table from almost start to finish. Chip leader Okamoto appeared unstoppable as she continued to pile her stack high, delivering four eliminations across the final table to make it to heads up play against Tsang with a 9:1 advantage. However, after two crucial double ups and 30 minutes later, Tsang was able to overcome his deficit and seal the win entirely. Runner up finisher Okamoto on the other hand, did not go home empty handed and emerged as the event’s biggest winner after her additional KRW 12.7 million in bounties brought her total haul up to KRW 33,300,000 (~US$ 25,145) in prizes.

Date: August 26-27, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 800,000 (~US$ 620)
Guarantee: KRW 225,000,000 (~US$ 174,000)
Prize pool: KRW 165,011,200 (~USD $124,610)
Bounty pool: KRW 92,000,000 (~USD $69,475)
Entries : 368 (243 unique)
ITM: 52 players

Mystery Bounty Hunter Sponsored by Natural8 Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW) Prize (USD)
1 Dicky Siu Hang Tsang Hong Kong 32,561,200 ~$24,585
2 Shiina Okamoto Japan 33,300,000 ~$25,145
3 Tae Hoon Han New Zealand 18,290,000 ~$13,810
4 Ryosuke Mitsuhashi Japan 12,040,000 ~$9,090
5 Joon Hee Park South Korea 9,530,000 ~$7,195
6 Kyosuke Nagami Japan 8,940,000 ~$6,750
7 Tung Wing Wong China 6,260,000 ~$4,725
8 Daichi Tsuji Japan 23,950,000 ~$18,085
9 Yuta Morikawa Japan 5,600,000 ~$4,230

Other Highlights

Event #9: APT Super High Roller 8-Max: Milos Petakovic – KRW 145,650,000 (~USD $109,990)

Milos Petakovic
Milos Petakovic, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Date: August 26-27, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 7,000,000 (~US$ 5,400)
Guarantee: KRW 250,000,000 (~US$ 192,000)
Prize pool: KRW 529,620,000 (~USD $399,950)
Entries: 84 (63 unique)

APT Super High Roller Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW) Prize (USD)
1 Milos Petakovic Serbia 145,650,000 ~$109,990
2 Shimizu Nozomu Japan 103,540,000 ~$78,190
3 Thanisorn Saelor Thailand 67,790,000 ~$51,190
4 Yu-Chung Chang Taiwan 52,170,000 ~$39,400
5 Wing Po Liu Hong Kong 41,310,000 ~$31,200
6 Yan Shing Tsang Hong Kong 32,310,000 ~$24,400
7 Calvin Sungwon Lee United States 25,420,000 ~$19,200
8 Tsz Him Chan Hong Kong 19,860,000 ~$15,000
9 Asa Gregory Smith United Kingdom 15,090,000 ~$11,400

Event #15: Sunday Super Stack: Bastien Joly – KRW 29,107,500 (~USD $21,975)

Bastien Joly
Bastien Joly, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Date: August 27, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 700,000 (~US$ 540)
Guarantee: KRW 100,000,000 (~US$ 77,000)
Prize pool: KRW 137,497,500 (~USD $103,820)
Entries: 225 (191 unique)
ITM: 31 players

Sunday Super Stack Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW)
1 Bastien Joly France 29,107,500
2 Ryota Kataoka Japan 19,580,000
3 Ta Wei Tou Taiwan 13,800,000
4 Toshiya Tamaru Japan 11,190,000
5 Kunimasa Takahashi Japan 8,850,000
6 Yang Zhang China 6,720,000
7 Yohei Katsuragawa Japan 4,910,000
8 Hattori Masato Japan 3,590,000
9 Takashi Takahashi Japan 2,970,000
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Janette Dee

Graduated from De La Salle University, Janette works as a full time teacher in Manila, Philippines. She has long joined the local poker community as a recreational player for the last decade. Having a natural love for the game, she decided to branch out into a different avenue of poker. Currently, Janette works for Somuchpoker as a content writer reporting local and international news for the site.

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