2024 APT Jeju Main Event Continues Record Hunt With More Than 1,000 Entries

APT Jeju
Photo by APT

The final two starting days of the 2024 Asian Poker Tour Jeju Main Event have concluded yesterday and continued the smashing success of the flagship tournament of the stop at Landing Casino, Jeju Shinhwa World. Along with the Onlive entries on Natural8 and GGPoker, the tournament has reached four figures and the final numbers will be confirmed once the cards are back in the air for Day 2 at 11 a.m. on May 2, 2024.

“APT Jeju has been a smashing success so far and we are thrilled with the response we have received from the players on our return to Jeju in the “New Era”. In regards to our $1.5M GTD Main Event, we have surpassed the guarantee and have eclipsed the previous APT Incheon Main Event prize pool in 2023 with registration still open at the start of day 2,” APT co-owner Michael Soyza told Somuchpoker.

APT Jeju
Photo by APT

Expectations were high for the marquee tournament, which features a buy-in of KR₩ 2.5 Million (~USD 1,820). The KR₩ 2 Billion (~USD 1.5 Million) guarantee was surpassed at the start of the fourth and final live starting flight thanks to 207 entries on Day 1C. The later Day 1D then attracted another 156 entries to bring the total tally to 1,043 entries.

This new record on South Korean soil once more confirms the leading role of the brand in the new era since 2023, which has seen attendance figures skyrocket across the board. And this dominating trend in a highly-contested Asian live poker market is set to continue thanks to the dedication and determination of the new owners including Malaysian poker pro Soyza.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support and for making the trip out, and we will continue to strive to organize the best and richest poker tournament festivals in Asia for everyone to enjoy.”

APT Jeju Main Event – Day 1C and Day 1D

Daisuke Ogita at APT Jeju
Daisuke Ogita – Photo by APT

None other than reigning APT Main Event champion Daisuke Ogita topped the 207-entry strong field of APT Jeju Day 1C, which reeled in 177 unique players. When the flight had completed the ten levels, only 100 hopefuls advanced and Ogita held the most chips in 206,000. He was very closely followed by two countrymen in Kenichi Takarabe (205,300) and Naruyasu Ota (199,700) as the golden day in the Golden Week in Japan continued.

Three players from China followed on the leaderboard ahead of Hong Kong’s Tsk Him Chan (141,600) and PSparrow Park Yu Cheung (137,200), Lance Goh from Malaysia also finished in the top ten with 137,000 as well. Other notables to make it through via Day 1c were the WSOP bracelet winners Dong Chen (112,600). Pete Yen Han Chen (93,400) and Kevin Weiran Pu (93,000), former APT Main Event winner Feng Zhao (91,200), Natural8 ambassador Kitty Kuo (86,800) on her return to Asia and Singapore’s Vincent Wong (83,500).

Ryo Shishido at APT Jeju
Ryo Shishido – Photo by APT

Poker players from Japan also occupied two of the top three spots for Day 1D as well, which drew another 156 players (124 unique entries) of which 71 players survived. Ryo Shishido (224,800) and Takuma Endo (186,100) were among the top stacks while Zhendong Li (211,000) from China was sandwiched in between.

Other notables to punch their ticket for Day 2 though the last live flight were Jia Long Ho (183,400), Ziwen Liu (173,400), WSOP Online bracelet winner Daniel Smiljkovic (160,800), Di Lu (113,500), Terry Tianyuan Tang (89,000), Ben Loo (85,500), Jason Lau (68,600), Christian Harder (55,000), and Eric Ting-Yi Tsai (31,100), the latter of which finished second in the 2023 WSOP Europe Main Event.

Upon completion of the four online and three live starting days, the field size has reached 1,043 entries and the prize pool ahead of the Day 2 start was KR₩ 2,276,347,500 (~USD 1,643,820). This figure smashed past the 930 entries of the previous APT Incheon Main Event, the last time the tour visited South Korea nearly one year ago in August and September 2023.

From the four live flights, 396 players bagged up chips and will try to reach the money stages. A total of ten levels of 60 minutes each are scheduled with the bubble expected to burst in the evening. Once that is the case, the online qualifiers will join the action as well.

APT Jeju Day 6 Side Event Winners

It wasn’t just about the Main Event on May 1 at the Landing Casino on Jeju island though. Labour Day also featured several other Side Events as well in which the APT golden lion trophies were awarded.

All those who had no luck in the Main Event or already secured a stack in the days prior had several tournaments to pick from on a diverse schedule. The most expensive buy-in belonged to Event #46 Single Day High Roller, which cost KR₩ 3.5 Million (~USD 2,547) to enter. A huge turnout of 154 entries created a prize pool of KR₩ 470,547,000 and the top 23 spots were paid.

Qi Feng Duan at APT Jeju
Qi Feng Duan – Photo by APT

Many notables such as Chih Wei Fan, Hao Tian, Dicky Tsang, Punnat Punsri and Natalie Teh cashed but bowed out before the final table. Thailand’s Phanlert Sukonthachartnant finished in fifth place for KR₩ 32,470,000 followed by WSOP bracelet winner Wing Po Liu (KR₩ 40,470,000) and Man Lok Chan (KR₩ 49,410,000). Heads-up was a Chinese duel in which Qi Feng Duan (KR₩ 109,387,000) prevailed versus Wenguo Lin (KR₩ 74,110,000).

Xixiang Luo at APT Jeju
Xixiang Luo – Photo by APT

The next two events also had winners from China. Tianhao Zheng took down Event #48 NLHE Bounty in a field of 161 entries for KR₩ 23,853,000. Xixiang Luo finally joined the winner’s circle in Event 47 PLO High / Hi-Lo Mix 5 Card, topping a field of 32 entries for the top prize of KR₩ 6,211,600. This was Luo’s seventh final table cash which included two runner ups. 

Daiki Aoki and Yukako Hioroi notched up the next two victories for Japan during Golden Week before Kojiro Fujimoto made it three wins for the country in Event #52 NL Omaha High Lazy Rivers. Only the second win for Vietnam during the series was recorded by Phuong Ngoc Nguyen in Event #53: Hyper Turbo Double Stack.

Xiaohui Tan at APT Jeju
Xiaohui Tan – Photo by APT

Another larger field also emerged in Event #51 Turbo with a buy-in of KR₩ 900,000 (~USD 655), which attracted 169 entries for a prize pool of KR₩ 132,783,300. The Chinese flag appeared in the winner’s list once more as Xiaohui Tan (KR₩ 30,883,300) defeated fellow countryman Jianfeng Jiao (KR₩ 20,910,000). David Wang and Nevan Yu Chung Chang were among the notable finalists.

The 2024 APT Jeju festival has another four busy days ahead with most eyes set on the conclusion of the record-breaking Main Event. However, many other APT golden lion trophies are up for grabs  until the series concludes on May 5.

*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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