The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau should have rolled out the red carpet for this recently concluded festival. Stars were born, four players earned a trip to paradise, and huge wads of cash flowed from start to finish. Below are some of the biggest winners of the event.
Lin Wu denies Team PS Pro Aditya Agarwal the Main Event title and Platinum Pass
The APPT Main Event drew in 356 players each one coughing up the HK$40,000 buy-in to produce a jaw-dropping HK$12,984,032 (~US$1,654,700) prize pool. The event ran for a full week from March 19-25 with the money flowing in Day 3 starting at 41st place. By the end of Day 4, with 13 remaining and the final table near, fans from all over the world had their favorites pegged.
Among the contenders were chip leader Phanlert Sukonthachartnant – the #1 ranked player from Thailand, Indian pro Aditya Agarwal, Taiwan’s Pete Chen, Malaysia’s Victor Chong, Philippine’s Martin Gonzales, Belgium’s David Kitai, Germany’s Maxi Lehmanski, and even world class player, John Juanda, whom many wanted to see take it the distance. With all these players in the lineup, it was going to be an epic race to the top.
However when the final six was formed, several of the pros missed the mark including Juanda. He bubbled to the final day in 7th place. Instead, getting in ample time in the spotlight were underdogs China’s Lin Wu and Taiwan’s Jen Chen Chiu. Both players had stats nowhere near the pros but a seat at the final elliptic was all that really mattered.
The final six battle saw the fall of Lehmanski (6th) and France’s Alexandre Chieng (5th) followed by the tumble of Sukonthachartnant from top dog to 4th place. Rising fast and with determination was Agarwal. He finished off Chiu in 3rd place to accumulate a substantial lead for the heads up round against Wu.
By this time, all eyes were on Agarwal. The Indian pro was on a mission. He was a breath away from seizing the APPT Main Event title and the coveted Platinum Pass. He had the chip lead against Wu and he had the experience. But ultimately, it was not to be. Not even a made straight at the flop could give him the victory. Instead, Wu persevered. Wu won much needed flips and was even miraculously saved by the river to deny Agarawal the title. Wu earned the HK$3,095,000 (~US$394,400) first place purse and the coveted ticket to the Bahamas in 2019.
Additionally, for the top three finishers, this was their largest takedown yet. For runner-up Agarwal, he is at the cusp of breaching US$1M in live earnings.
Final Table payouts
1st Lin Wu – China – HK$3,095,000
2nd Aditya Agarwal – India – HK$1,900,000
3rd Jen Chen Chiu – Taiwan – HK$1,192,000
4th Phanlert Sukonthachartnant – Thailand – HK$933,000
5th Alexandre Chieng – France – HK$675,500
6th Maxi Lehmanski – Belgium – HK$546,532
Jian Chen captures a Platinum Pass at the PokerStars Asia Open
The PokerStars Asia Open was another sizzling ticket at the APPT especially with its enticing low buy-in of HK$6,000 and PSPC Platinum Pass top prize. The event ran for three days, from March 21-23, drawing in the third largest festival field of 494 entries for a HK$2,587,572 prize pool.
With this big turnout, there certainly was no lack of Asian pros at the felt. Among those that reached the money were Yunsheng Sun (5th), Alex Lee (7th), Wai Kiat Lee (8th), Bobby Zhang (11th), Alan King Lun Lau (13th), Raghav Bansal (28th), Celina Lin (30th), Chen An Lin (36th), Czardy Rivera (42nd), Sparrow Park Yu Cheung (47th), and Dong Guo (53rd). However, ruling them all was a player not nearly as high in status as the pros, China’s Jian Chen.
Chen achieved greatness at the race. He claimed his first-ever APPT title in this event and captured the coveted pass to the Bahamas next year. He also shipped in a career high payout of HK$575,700 (~US$73,400). Before basking in his laurels, Chen shipped in another event, the HK$20,000 Deepstack besting a field of 99 entries. This second title added an extra HK$466,700 (~US$59,400) to his bulging pockets.
A platinum smile for James Chen at the APPT High Roller
The last Platinum Pass went to Taiwanese pro James Chen after he took down the APPT High Roller for HK$4,021,000 (~US$500,000) This event saw 195 players dish out the HK$100K entry fee to bring about a hefty HK$18,154,500 prize pool. Among those that vied for the coveted pass and earned a profit were recent big winners, Justin Bonomo – champion of the Super High Roller Bowl, he finished in 10th place, and APPT National High Roller champion Kristen Bicknell, she finished 4th.
Of course other big names graced the tables as well such as Stephen Chidwick. He finished 3rd and is still on the hunt for his first title in Asia. Then there was Dominik Nitsche (8th), Jan-Eric Schwippert (12th), Sam Greenwood (19th), Michael Addamo (20th), Daniel Dvoress (22nd), and Manig Loeser (26th).
1 James Chen – Taiwan – $4,021,000*
2 Xin Fan – China – $2,714,000
3 Stephen Chidwick – United Kingdom – $1,868,000
4 Kristen Bicknell – Canada – $1,523,000
5 Wenling Gao – China – $1,215,000
6 Albert Paik United States $933,000
7 Javier Gomez Spain $678,500
8 Dominik Nitsche Germany $492,000
Takashi Ogura and Rainer Kempe bag High Roller victories
Stellar performance for Japanese pro Takashi Ogura at the APPT winning the HK$200K Single Day High Roller event. Ogura bumped elbows with 43 players, many of them high-ranking pros worldwide. Interestingly, at the final six, with everyone secured a profit, Ogura was the only player not yet in the seven-digit live tournament earnings range despite being ranked 4th in Japan. However that all changed after he won this event. Ogura shipped in HK$2,751,000 (~US$350,700) which was nearly double his largest-ever live score.
Ogura also reached the money at the APPT High Roller event finishing 23rd out of 195 entries for a HK$200,000 payout. With these deep finishes, Ogura moved two places up the all time money list for Japan. He bumped off Naoya Kihara out of 2nd position and most importantly, he is now in the millionaire group with over US$1.2M in live earnings.
1st Takashi Ogura – Japan – HK$2,751,000
2nd Isaac Haxton – USA – HK$1,901,000
3rd Luc Greenwood – Canada – HK$1,214,000
4th Bryn Kenney – USA – HK$930,880
5th Wayne Zhang – China – HK$728,000
6th Manig Loeser – Germany – HK$566,000
At the last APPT High Roller, only 38 took to the felt and paid up the HK$100K entry fee. Coming out on top was Germany’s Rainer Kempe who finally bagged a victory after cashing in two earlier events, the APPT National High Roller and the Super High Roller event. He earned the lion’s share cut of HK$1,203,000 out of the HK$3,537,800 prize pool.
1st Rainer Kempe – Germany – HK$1,203,000
2nd Manig Loeser – Germany – HK$831,000
3rd Marius Gierse – Germany – HK$531,000
4th Lander Lijo Bereciartua – Spain – HK$407,000
5th Benjamin Tollerene – USA – HK$318,000
6th Jinghui Ying – China – HK$247,800