APL Ho Chi Minh City Main Event: Meet the Final 8

After six days of competition that witnessed a field of 587 entries at Pro Poker Club, the APL Ho Chi Minh City Main Event is down to the Final 8. All of these players reached this marker in different ways but only one of them will lift the trophy and the VND 1,618,750,000 (~US$69,300) first prize. Here’s a look at the finalists:

Minh Le – 3,450,000

Minh Le

Rising Vietnamese player Minh Le will enter the Final 8 race with the largest stack of 3,450,000. Minh is looking to surpass his largest live score of US$19,667 earned last year at the Macau Poker Cup. He is also well on his way to a better result in Vietnam with his deepest of 8th place at the APT Vietnam Main Event last month.

Cao Ngoc Anh – 3,030,000

Cao Ngoc Anh

Hailing from Hanoi, Vietnam, Cao Ngoc Anh is having a strong year with 16 out of his 17 live tournament career cashes earned in 2018. His largest payout was at the APT Vietnam Championships Event earning over US$56K for his victory. Prior to that, he nearly championed the National Poker Championship 4 Da Nang finishing runner-up to Quang Nguyen (below).

Quang Nguyen – 2,145,000

Quang Nguyen

Quang Nguyen is a well-known poker pro in the Vietnam poker scene. His long list of achievements dates back to poker’s early days in Asia in 2008. Last year he championed the National Poker Championship Da Nang 2017 Main Event and did the same this year at the National Poker Championship 4 Da Nang. Last month in Vietnam, he missed his first APT Main Event title finishing runner-up.

Nguyen Thanh – 1,695,000

Nguyen Thanh

Nguyen Thanh is a new face in the live tournament arena. He amassed a big stack in Day 2 after railing numerous players to give him the chip lead for a time. In Day 3, he sent out two players, one of them was the defending champion Yin How Lew.

Soo Jo Kim – 1,395,000

Soo Jo Kim

Soo Jo Kim is a famous Asian player from Korea and is one of the most decorated pros at the Final 8. Since his emergence into the live tournament circuit in 2010, he has participated in nearly every Asian festival from Macau, Manila, and now Vietnam. He has accumulated over US$600K in winnings. Back in 2016, he won his first Main Event title at the APT Finale Macau. He also has a Manila Megastack High Roller title. He is hunting down his first major title in Vietnam.

Thien An – 975,000

Thien An

Playing in small tournaments around Ho Chi Minh, Thien An has a couple of small live tournament cashes under his belt. Wherever he places at the APL Vietnam Main Event will be his deepest and largest career payout.

Duy Ho – 945,000

Duy Ho

Duy Ho is an American poker player from Hawaii with roots in Vietnam. He has been attending the WSOP for over a decade and got close to a WSOP bracelet in 2012 and 2014. In 2010, he placed 2nd at the Red Dragon event, and in 2016, he nearly won the ACOP Platinum Series Main Event falling only to Jack En Ching Wu (below). Duy started 2018 very strong with a 40th finish at the Aussie Millions Main Event.

Jack En Ching Wu – 875,000

Jack En Ching Wu

Hailing from Taiwan, Jack En Ching Wu is another pro in the Final 8 lineup. He has over US$500K in live tournament winnings with his largest cashes earned mostly in Macau. In March 2016 he won the ACOP Platinum Series Main Event; then in September of the same year, he championed the MPC NLH event to pocket six-digits. He was crowned PokerStars 2016 Asia Player of the Year.

The hunt for the APL Vietnam Main Event title and the VND 1,618,750,000 (~US$69,300) first prize begins at 1pm. The event will stream live in the Pro Poker YouTube channel. Action resumes at Level 29 with blinds 30K/60K ante 10K. Total chips in play is 14,510,000. Average stack is 1,813,750.

The Main Event drew 587 entries for a prize pool of VND 8,540,850,000 (~US$366,300). 74 players paid. Here are the final 8 payouts:

1st VND 1,618,750,000
2nd VND 1,134,820,000
3rd VND 729,730,000
4th VND 521,080,000
5th VND 399,970,000
6th VND 328,400,000
7th VND 270,660,000
8th VND 215,830,000

Day 3 recap

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APL Main Event Day 3

Although there were only 29 players in the field, it seemed like Formula 1 out there with players on a mad dash for the finish line. Within minutes, players shoved, players doubled up, players fell. First to drop was Jiang Yuan (29th) whose 3 bbs couldn’t take the heat. The next two fell to hot-handed Cao Ngoc AnhDang Van Hien (28th) and Abhishek Paul (27th) – for Cao to momentarily take the chip lead.

Huy Pham (26th) exited next but not before two costly hits to his stack. Short stacks Pham Thanh Dat (25th) and Xiaosheng Zheng (23rd) followed, both of them unable to lift themselves out of the hole.

Quang Nguyen delivered three crushing defeats today. His first one sent Nguyen Duc Hoang (22nd) to his knees with pocket queens on a jack-high board dominated by pocket twos turned set.

As blinds increased, short stacks couldn’t keep up. Hiu Chieh Chang (21st), Edmund Eng (20th), Phuong Xu (19th), Erik Billgren (18th), Nguyen Quang (17th), Mark Zhang (16th), and Nguyen Nam Duong (15th) all took a stand with mediocre hands that didn’t produce.

Since Day 2, defending champion, Yin How Lew, had difficulty getting out of the short stack zone and despite making it to Day 3, he couldn’t ladder up any higher than 14th place. On the flip side, Sim Jae Kyung (13th) was able to get out of the red but Quang sent him nosediving out of the tournament with pocket queens turned set cracking pocket aces.

The highly active Alex Choi hoped for a better placing than his 8th finish at the APL Philippines in February but it was not to be. He fell short in 12th place. Tran Van Quan (11th) followed; and missing the official final 9 table was Willy Doorman(10th). To close out the day, short stacked Sao Bac Dau (9th) fell to Quang.

You can read up on the action in the Day 3 Live Updates post.

More: Day 3 Live updates

Day 3 In Video

High roller

Sam Ng

The VND 33,000,000 buy-in High Roller event attracted a combined total of 141 entries over two starting days. This created a prize pool of VND 4,103,100,000 (~US$175,700). 18 players will earn a piece with VND 1,146,820,000 (~US$49,100) reserved for the champion. Leading the 69 remaining players is Malaysia’s Sam Ng with 1,096,000.

More:  High Roller Day 2 Chip Counts & Seat Draw


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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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