There is no disputing this one! Alan “Kinglune” Lau has won the Asia Player of the Year 2017 and will be the first player in history to have his name engraved on the trophy not once but twice! The Hong Kong pro sealed the title after his spectacular victory at the Main Event of the Asia Championship of Poker. With this latest accomplishment, Lau became the first player to win both the Red Dragon and the ACOP Main Event in the same year.
2017: A huge year for two-time APOY winner Lau
Scan Alan Lau’s statistics on Hendon Mob and you’ll notice he is one dedicated PokerStars player. Since 2015 – the year that saw Lau win his first APOY, though with some controversy – he has attended nearly all of their events in Macau, Philippines, and Korea. This year his efforts came with huge rewards, earning well over US$1.2M largely due to his two huge victories, the Red Dragon for US$420,802 and the recently concluded ACOP Main Event for HK$5,500,000 (US$704,931).
In comparison to winning the APOY 2015, Lau dominated a majority of the 2017 APOY race. Then in August he had a bit of a scare; he was overtaken by Sparrow Park Yu Cheung at the PokerStars Festival Manila. However, Sparrow’s lead didn’t last with Lau turning out six deep showings at the Macau Poker Cup 27 plus three more at the PokerStars LIVE Manila Super Series 4. Lau resumed his reign at the top and from there, ensured himself all the glory by cashing in four ACOP events that included his monstrous victory at the Main Event.
In addition to both the Red Dragon and Lau’s recent main win, the other highlights of his stellar 2017 APOY year comprise of 34 cashes, four of them in the five-figure range, 20 final table appearances which also meant, that many finishes with 7th place or better, and a total of 8 titles.
For his APOY victory, Lau will be awarded a 1-year sponsorship with PokerStars LIVE!. With his strong loyalty to the PokerStars Asian circuit, that prize couldn’t be more perfect.
Apart from the APOY, Lau has now accumulated over US$1.5 million in live earnings. He jumped from 10th to 5th in the All Time Money List for Hong Kong. He surpassed Sparrow in 9th place.
ACOP Main Event recap
The Main Event ran from October 23 – 28 at City of Dreams Macau with a record-breaking 308 entries, each one ponying up the HK$100,000 buy-in. This created a prize pool of HK$28,674,800 (US$3,674,631 approx) which smashed the HK$25M guarantee.
After five days of action, the final table was formed with six world class players at the elliptic. The most decorated was England’s #2 ranked player Stephen Chidwick with his very thick bundle of US$9.5M in live earnings; another heavyweight was chip leader of the main’s Day 2 and Day 3, Germany’s 11th ranked Dominik Nitsche, backed by nearly US$7M in live scores; USA’s Brian Altman with his US$2M in live scores earned mostly from his home country; and Spain’s 12th ranked David Laka, another seven figure player to complete the millionaire-men. The two remaining players were Aaron Been from USA, who entered as the final table’s chip leader, and of course Alan Lau, one of the most well-known Asian pros.
The first two players to go were Laka (6th) and Altman (5th), both given the boot by Nitsche fairly early. What followed was the longest round of the game, the four-handed bout. This saw the rise of Lau to the leader’s berth then the fall of both top dogs, Chidwick (4th) and Nitsche (3rd). Both players were dusted by Been. Chidwick’s pocket nines fell to a nut flush, and Nitsche’s ace-two did not improve against Been’s pocket tens.
With those two eliminations, Been reclaimed the chip lead though not by much. An ICM deal was struck guaranteeing Been HK$5,500,000 and Lau HK$5,400,500. The eventual winner would collect an additional HK$100,000, a seat to next year’s ACOP Main Event, and of course, the gold Spadie trophy.
By Lau seizing this monstrous event, he collected a grand total of HK$5,500,500 (US$704,931). This huge payday instantly bumped off his reigning Red Dragon score of HK$3,265,000 (US$420,802) right out of the top spot. With Been earning the same, this too became his highest payout to-date. Both Lau and Been joined the millionaire earners club after this event.
1st: Alan Lau – Hong Kong – HK$5,500,500 (deal made)
2nd: Aaron Been – USA – HK$5,500,500 (deal made)
3rd: Dominik Nitsche – Germany – HK$2,714,000
4th: Stephen Chidwick – UK – HK$2,142,800
5th: Brian Altman – USA – HK$1,571,700
6th: David Laka – UK – HK$1,285,800
In addition to the final tableists, the event paid out a total of 36 players. Among them were Atanas Kavrakov (7th), Tom Alner (8th), Wei Guoliang (9th), past ACOP champion Gabriel Le Jossec (10th), Billy Argyros (14th), Dan Smith (18th), Daniel Dvoress (19th), Yuan Li (21st), Jack Wu (27th), Weiyi Zhang (32nd), Yang Zhang (34th), and Vladimir Geshkenbein (35th).