2024 APT Jeju Concludes With Multiple Records; Eric Tsai Takes Down Coveted High Roller Title

APT Jeju
APT Jeju

After ten days of non-stop live poker action at the Landing Casino inside of Jeju Shinhwa World, the 2024 Asian Poker Tour stop in Jeju has officially concluded on May 5, 2024. It was once again a record-breaking edition for the hottest live poker tour in Asia, which has raised the bar ever since unleashing the new era in 2023.

APT Jeju In Review

At the forefront of APT Jeju was the flagship Main Event, which set a new Jeju record for field size and a new APT country record for prize pool. The marquee tournament on the schedule cost KR₩ 2.5 Million to enter (~USD 1,820) and came with a KR₩ 2 Billion (~USD 1.5 Million) guarantee. Thanks to 1,089 entries, the figure rose to KR₩ 2,376,742,500 (~USD 1,726,125) and that amount represented around 19% of the overall festival prize pool.

Another nine tournaments out of the 90 trophy events set at least one new APT country event record in either field size, unique entries, prize pool or first place prize to showcase the thorough success of the series. In total, the 2024 APT Jeju attracted 8,626 total entries from 954 unique players for a total prize pool of KR₩ 12,331,911,624 (~USD 9,098,270).

Eric Ting Yi Tsai Headlines Winners on Final Day

Eric Ting Yi Tsai at Poker Dream
Eric Ting Yi Tsai

Ten events determined a winner on the final day, and the most notable one was certainly Event #76, the APT High Roller. With an elevated buy-in of KR₩ 7 Million (~USD 5,095) and a guarantee of KR₩ 650 Million, it was certain to attract many notables and generated 191 entries for a gargantuan  KR₩ 1,204,255,000 (~USD 886,500) prize pool.

Day 1 brought the tournament with the new APT country event record for prize pool and first place prize all the way down to 35 hopefuls and only 27 of them were guaranteed at least KR₩ 12,040,000 for their efforts. Among those to come up short of cash prizes were Zhendong Li and Natural8 ambassador Phachara Wongwichit. Ting-Yi “Eric” Tsai then burst the bubble when turning a higher straight against Yong Zhao to see a flurry of eliminations follow thereafter.

Justin Chi Jen Chu, Calvin Lee, Nevan Yu Chung Chang, Jieming Xu and Svetlana Aubakirova all came up short of the nine-handed final table, which was set with the elimination of China’s Chun Qing Wang. Eric Ting Yi Tsai was among the shortest stacks thereafter while Mongolia’s Tsolmon-Erdene Oredene-Ochir led the way, but Tsai scored a double on the very first hand to pull away from the bottom of the leaderboard.

APT Jeju High Roller Final Table
APT Jeju High Roller Final Table

Former APT Main Event champion Dicky Tsang was unable to spin up his eleven big blinds and became the first final-table casualty (KR₩ 26,980,000 / ~USD 19,870), followed by Leo Pang. Tsai then earned another double, this time courtesy of  Oredene-Ochir before Jingjun Xia departed. Shortly after, the field was down to five as Tsai finished the job against  Oredene-Ochir.

The fireworks for Tsai culminated in a double knockout when he sent Kai Yu and Ivan Hon Cheong Lee to the rail in the same hand. He had jammed with eight-seven and was called by Lee with ace-king while Yu held pocket tens according to the APT live updates. Lee flopped best with a king but Tsai went runner-runner for a flush.

Chongxian Yang from China bowed out in third place for KR₩ 123,920,000 (~USD 91,175) and Yisha Chen was denied a victory for a female contender in this high-stakes contest after Tsai dominated heads-up play. She earned KR₩ 180,040,000 (~USD 132,470) for the efforts while Tsai won the title, trophy, and top prize of KR₩ 266,735,000 (~USD 196,255). It was his second victory of the series and he joined the fray of multiple winners in style.

He is the third Natural8 ambassador to lift the APT High Roller trophy for the winner shots and it is his third APT triumph so far. Tsai’s third-biggest cash prize on the live poker scene lifts the content creator known as “SixPoker” above $2.6 million on The Hendon Mob and he firmly sits in fifth place of Taiwan’s all-time money list with plenty of momentum to move up further.

More Side Event Winners on the Final Day

Xixiang Luo at APT Jeju
Xixiang Luo

Main Event champion Xixiang Luo almost added a third title to his resume for 2024 APT Jeju but was denied in the heads-up of Event #86 Turbo Short Deck Double Chance when Chao Wei topped a field of 35 entries for KR₩ 5,577,750.

French poker player Alexandre Viard earned his first trophy of the stop in Event #83 Micro Main Event after topping a field of 124 entries. Viard cashed for KR₩ 12,530,000, Hao-Shan Huang from Taiwan had to settle for second place and KR₩ 8,500,000.

Event #74 Mini Main Event attracted 327 entries across two starting days and a winner was crowned on the final day of the series as well. Yuchao Huang was the last man standing after denying Dutchman Tom Verbruggen the title with the former scooping KR₩ 49,008,000 and bringing yet another title to China.

The last one-day High Roller of the stop then brought 97 entries in Event #85, which came with a price tag of KR₩ 3 Million (~USD 2,183). With KR₩ 254,043,000 in the pot, the top 13 finishers earned a slice of it and notable finalists included Manig Loeser, Terry Nguyen as well as  Justin Chi Jen Chu. The final three all hailed from China and Kun Wang collected the top prize of KR₩ 66,693,000.

Pak Ho Ma from Hong Kong, Hung Hsiang Wu from Taiwan, and the two Chinese players Qian Rong Shen as well as Yang Feng earned their first title on the last day.

Edward Yam at APT Jeju
Edward Yam

Last but not least, Edward Yam also became a two-time champion after taking down Event #89 Hyper Turbo High Roller. It featured a buy-in of KR₩ 1.5 Million (~USD 1,092) and drew 50 entries of which the top seven split the KR₩ 65,475,000 prize pool. Those who cashed feature a list of well-known Asian pros in Hung Hsiang Wu, Phachara Wongwichit, Sparrow Park Yu Cheung, Wing Po Liu, Pete Yen-Han Chen, and Chao-Ting Cheng but Yam was the one to take the trophy and KR₩ 20,615,000 top prize.

Multiple Winners During the 2024 APT Jeju Series

As previously mentioned, Luo, Tsai and Yam won two titles during the series and especially Main Event champion Luo would have likely won an overall leaderboard if there was a Player of the Series ranking as he also notched up multiple other final table finishes.

Marc Rivera has two titles under his belt as well from early in the series and the same also applies for Zejun Liu as well. Taiwan had another two two-time winner during the stop in Jeju as well. Yu Sheng Lin topped fields of 47 and 51 entries respectively on back-to-back days and Teng Kuei Hsu achieved the same feat on April 28 and 29, too.

Phuong Ngoc Nguyen at APT Jeju
Phuong Ngoc Nguyen

On May 3 and 4, Japan’s Suguru Nogi earned consecutive victory in Omaha tournaments to double his tally in Jeju. The victories came in Event #70 Turbo PLO 5 Card (36 entries, KR₩ 4,601,520 top prize) and Event #75 PLO Omaha Hi-Lo 5 Card (28 entries, KR₩ 5,436,400 top prize).

New-found Hyper Turbo specialist is Vietnam’s Phuong Ngoc Nguyen with victories in Event #53 and Event #71 for a combined score of more than KR₩ 18 Million. Lei Li earned two titles, as did Aussie player Antonio Seremet in the middle of the series.

Three Trophies for Yang Lu

Yang Lu at APT Jeju
Yang Lu

The one player in need of more space for the hand luggage is however Yang Lu from China, as he won three trophies during the series. His first vicrtory came in Event #10 PLO Hi-Lo 5 Card, followed Event #38 Mix Game Masters 9 Game. Last but not least, the third golden lion trophy came from Event #72 Hyper Turbo NL Single Draw Mix.

Three titles in as many consecutive APT stops were earned by three-time WSOP bracelet winner Anson Yan Shing Tsang, who had to wait until the penultimate day of the series to pose for winner shots again. He took down Event #81 Hyper Turbo NL 8-Game in a field of 27 entries for a top prize of KRW 2,904,160.

That wraps up a very successful APT stop on Jeju Island and the hottest live poker operator in Asia has now the eyes set to the APT Taipei Poker Classic from September 27 until October 7,

*All photos by APT; Article by Christian Zetzsche

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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.

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