2023 APT Incheon wraps up with KRW 8.56B (~US$ 6.49M) in prizes awarded; Thanisorn Saelor, Riku Mieda, Craig Anthony Cooper, and Daiki Shingae lift trophies

A global affair indeed, the recently concluded Asian Poker Tour Incheon stop was nothing short of successful with KRW 8,567,468,300 (~US$ 6,498,715) in total prizes awarded across its ten-day schedule. The brand’s biggest lineup consisting of 67 trophy events was met with a field of 6,967 entries, representing 40 flags which undeniably showcases the premium tour’s strong following extending past the Asian region. 

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Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Looking at this year’s festivities, Japan’s band of runners fared the strongest out of the player pool, having collected a whopping 25 wins throughout the series. That record includes APT Incheon Main Event champion Shoichiro Tamaki, who took home the biggest payout of the season amounting to KRW 271,447,000 (~US$ 206,030) in winnings.

While it seemed chances of APT glory were drawing slim, players Thanisorn Saelor, Riku Mieda, and Daiki Shingae bested the festival’s concluding highlights, lifting trophies and top prizes to end their APT Incheon experience. United Kingdom’s Craig Anthony Cooper for one, locked in one of the last few events on schedule, Event #63: Mini Main Event to join this year’s list of multi-champions.

Festival Review

Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Grand prize pool: KRW 8,567,468,300 (~US$ 6,498,715) – 67 trophy events
Field: 6,967 entries (1,127 unique)
Record breaker: Main Event – 930 entries (564 unique), KRW 1,867,347,000 (~US$ 1,411,975) prize pool, Double Stack – 335 entries (272 unique), KRW 233,964,000 (~US$ 178,218) prize pool
Main Event Champion: Shoichiro Tamaki – KRW 271,447,000 (~US$ 206,030)
Series Multi-champions: 

  • Bao Qiang Ho – Event #21: Super Hold’em (3 Hole Cards, Use 0,1,2,3 Cards) – Hyper Turbo, Event #30: Turbo
  • Craig Anthony Cooper – Event #4: NL 2-7 – Single Draw – Turbo, Event #63: Mini Main Event
  • Hong Ru Zhang – Event #1: APT Kickoff, Event #16: Single Day High Roller 8-Max
  • Jun Hao Wu – Event #26: Superstar Challenge, Event #51: Midnight Tick Tock
  • Martijn Johannes Gerrits – Event #13: Midnight Tick Tock – Win the Button, Event #32: Midnight Tick Tock
  • Shion Ogawa – Event #10: PL Omaha, Event #68: Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
  • Sparrow Cheung – Event #45: Single Day High Roller 8-Max, Event #54: Rivers – Hyper Turbo

Wins by flag: Japan (25), Hong Kong (11), Taiwan (8), China (7), Singapore (6), Thailand (3), United Kingdom (3), Netherlands (2), Serbia (2), France (1), Russia (1)

Event #64: APT High Roller 8-Max: Thanisorn Saelor – KRW 171,939,500 (~US$ 130,420)

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Thanisorn Saelor, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

The biggest guaranteed highlight aside from the Main Event, APT Incheon’s Event #64: High Roller 8-Max saw 207 entries vie for a piece of the KRW 813,199,500 (~US$ 616,930) prize pool. The unexpected boost from the event’s initial KRW 350,000,000 (~US$ 270,000) guarantee was enough to deem the high roller tournament the second-largest in APT’s fifteen year history. By the end of the Final Day, Thailand’s Thanisorn Saelor emerged victorious, claiming a smooth sailing and well-deserved win for KRW 171,939,500 (~US$ 130,420) in prizes. Third time’s the charm as they say with this being Saelor’s third final table appearance in the series, the first two being third place finishes in the APT Superstar Challenge and Super High Roller event.

Saelor came into the final table with an overwhelming lead amongst his remaining eight opponents and delivered the table’s first casualty to signify his momentum. The Thai runner dominated the game, continuing his hot run all the way to the end. After scooping up much of Uzbekistan’s Veleriy Pak’s stack four-handed, Saelor widened the gap even more so and proceeded to hold roughly 80% of the chips in play just moments later.

Following that roller coaster of a run, Pak managed to secure a seat in the heads up duel against Saelor with a 3:1 disadvantage. While that itself is an amazing feat considering he was down to 1.5 big blinds from the previous preflop race, Pak fell right into Saelor’s trap by the second hand in. Facing a limp on the button from Saelor, Pak jammed his stack in the middle with Ks9c and was snap called by his opponent with AcQh. An Ace high board was tabled in front of the two which meant Saelor’s top pair garnered him his maiden win and this APT High Roller’s bronze lion trophy.

Date: September 2-3, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 4,500,000 (~US$ 3,400)
Guarantee: KRW 350,000,000 (~US$ 270,000)
Prize pool: KRW 813,199,500 (~US$ 616,930)
Field: 207 entries / 40 advanced
ITM: 31 players

APT High Roller 8-Max Final Table Results

Place Name Country Payouts (KRW) Payouts (~USD)
1 Thanisorn Saelor Thailand KRW 171,939,500 $130,420
2 Veleriy Pak Uzbekistan KRW 115,800,000 $87,840
3 Hua-Wei Lin Taiwan KRW 81,650,000 $61,935
4 Jeffrey Lo Hong Kong KRW 66,190,000 $50,210
5 Milos Skrbic Serbia KRW 52,370,000 $39,725
6 Wataru Kosugi Japan KRW 39,770,000 $30,165
7 Wing Po Liu Hong Kong KRW 29,030,000 $22,020
8 Kokwai Sim Malaysia KRW 21,220,000 $16,100
9 Hiroshi Nishiyama Japan KRW 17,570,000 $13,330

Event #58: Double Stack: Riku Mieda – KRW 45,604,000 (~US$ 34,530)

Event 58 Double Stack champion Riku Mieda 5d6c9bb298 1
Riku Mieda, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Following two days of play, the highlighted Double Stack event awarded Japan’s Riku Mieda his maiden APT cash and career first title after topping the record breaking 335 entry field. Mieda bagged the lion’s share of the KRW 233,964,000 (~US$ 178,218) prize pool and cashed KRW 45,604,000 (~US$ 34,530) in payouts for an impressive run. 

The Japanese runner fought tooth and nail in the heads up play against fierce competitor Bao Qiang Ho in contention for the title. Ho, who had already had two titles in the bag – Event #21: Super Hold’em (3 Hole Cards, Use 0,1,2,3 Cards) – Hyper Turbo, Event #30: Turbo, was in search of a third one. However, Mieda would successfully deny him another trophy, leaving him to settle with KRW 28,960,000 (~USD $21,930) as his sixth series cash after almost two levels of play.

Date: September 1-2, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 800,000 (~US$ 620)
Guarantee: KRW 150,000,000 (~US$ 113,500)
Prize pool: KRW 233,964,000 (~US$ 178,218)
Field: 335 entries (272 unique)
ITM: 49 players

Double Stack Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW)
1 Riku Mieda Japan 45,604,000
2 Bao Qiang Ho Singapore 28,960,000
3 Aleksei Varashev Russia 21,710,000
4 Bojan Berberovic Serbia 17,570,000
5 Shiina Okamoto Japan 13,850,000
6 Shun Tanno Japan 10,580,000
7 Tsubasa Kamei Japan 7,770,000
8 Kazuaki Fukagawa Japan 5,710,000
9 Shotaro Mitsuishi Japan 4,680,000

Event #63: Mini Main Event: Craig Anthony Cooper – KRW 44,784,700 (~US$ 33,970)

Event 63 Mini Main Event champion Craig Cooper e8fabd8fca
Craig Anthony Cooper, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

With the Main Event having wrapped up its action, APT Incheon’s Mini Main Event gave players a downsized version of its crown jewel for a more modest KRW 700,000 (~US$ 525) buy-in. A total of 377 entrants took advantage of this offering and tried their luck on the felt to claim a share of KRW 230,384,700 (~US$ 174,750) pot. 

The concluding day of the festival saw United Kingdom’s Craig Anthony Cooper collect all the chips in play for his career best cash of KRW 44,784,700 (~US$ 33,970) and third APT title. Interestingly, Cooper’s record of ten live tournament earnings according to The Hendon Mob, all consist of APT results, 100% of which are final table finishes all around.

Date: September 2-3, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 700,000 (~US$ 525)
Guarantee: KRW 200,000,000 (~US$ 154,500)
Prize pool: KRW 230,384,700 (~US$ 174,750)
Field: 377 (249 unique)
ITM: 54 players

Mini Main Event Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW)
1 Craig Anthony Cooper United Kingdom 44,784,700
2 Nip Rakrattanatrai Thailand 28,480,000
3 Zeyu Chen China 20,580,000
4 Shudong Guo China 16,640,000
5 Chun Hu Gong China 13,170,000
6 John Tech Philippines 10,140,000
7 Yoshiko Azuma Japan 7,550,000
8 Hideaki Ohashi Japan 5,470,000
9 Cheuk Him Tsang Hong Kong 4,420,000

Event #53: Zodiac Classic Sponsored by Natural8: Daiki Shingae – KRW 46,826,000 (~US$ 35,540)

Event 53 Zodiac Classic champion Daiki Shingae c8a86b0383
Daiki Shingae, Photo Credit – Asian Poker Tour

Another highlight of the APT Incheon festival is the Zodiac Classic hosted in partnership with Asia’s largest online poker room, Natural8. The two-day event went down with a total of 189 entries collected for a generated prize pool of KRW 247,495,500 (~US$ 186,713), more than enough to crush the tournament’s initial guarantee. Only half of the Final Day’s field bagged a minimum payout of KRW 2,470,000 (~US$ 1,865) starting with the elimination of Hong Kong’s Kwok Chun Yip in 27th place.

After nearly twelve hours of play, the field drew down to its last two players – Japan’s Daiki Shingae and Yuta Morikawa, set to battle for the title. The two agreed on taking an ICM deal with both players ensured a payout of KRW 45,039,500 (~US$ 34,150) while leaving an additional KRW 1,786,500 (~US$ 1,350) and the trophy for the eventual champion. Less than a level in, Shingae secured his maiden win and was awarded the title along with KRW 46,826,000 (~US$ 35,540) in total winnings. This sweet payday comes in following of Shingae’s noteworthy third place finish in last July’s APT Summer Series Da Nang Main Event for a career best score of ₫ 1,736,590,000 (~US$ 73,387).

Date: Aug 31 – September 1, 2023
Buy-in: KRW 1,500,000 (~US$ 1,150)
Guarantee: KRW 200,000,000 (~US$ 154,500)
Prize Pool: KRW 247,495,500 (~US$ 186,713)
Field: 189 entries / 54 advanced
ITM: 27 players

Zodiac Classic Sponsored by Natural8 Final Table Results

Place Name Flag Prize (KRW)
1 Daiki Shingae Japan 46,826,000*
2 Yuta Morikawa Japan 45,039,500*
3 Suparerk Totsaponvisad Thailand 25,470,000
4 Yan Li China 20,760,000
5 Xingbiao Zhu China 16,560,000
6 Yoshitomo Ishii Japan 12,720,000
7 Yang Zhang China 9,260,000
8 Kensuke Yamamoto Japan 6,710,000
9 Shogo Morishita Japan 5,540,000

*Denotes deal was made

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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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