2024 APT Jeju Day 2: Hong Kong and Japan Shine; China Dominates Early On


After a seven year hiatus, the Asian Poker Tour is back at the island of Jeju in South Korea. Several grinders who were successful back then are still around to hunt trophies but besides that, a lot of things have changed.

APT jeju
Photo by APT

Under the new ownership, the APT has unleashed a new era with record numbers seen at nearly every stop. On just its second day, the 2024 APT Jeju festival is shaping up to be no different. With the series coinciding with Japan’s Golden Week, many Japanese players have already made the short trip to the tourist island next door and many more are expected. Likewise, it is a very popular destination for gambling aficionados from China and they make up around half of the contenders in the early stages.

The 2024 APT Jeju is currently ongoing at the Landing Casino in Jeju Shinhwa World Resort with games underway on April 26 and running through May 5. Highlighting the series is the stunning KR₩ 5,000,000,000 (~USD 3.76 Million) festival guarantee across its 90-game lineup. Two days have already been completed. Have a read below on the early action. 

APT Jeju – Player Highlights

Yuji Watanabe at APT Jeju
Yuji Watanabe – Photo by APT

Among the early APT Jeju player highlights, Japan’s Yuji Watanabe earned back-to-back trophies in consecutive APT stops. He came out on top of 53 entries in Event 15 Hyper Turbo – NL Single Draw 2-7 to claim a top prize of KR₩ 4,274,240 (~USD 3,100) after defeating Taiwanese ace Chi Jen Chu in heads-up. It was another early victory for Watanabe, as he also topped Event #2 PL Omaha High 5-Card 8-Max during the previous stop in Taiwan.

Wei Zhao at APT Jeju
Wei Zhao – Photo by APT

China’s Wei Zhao finished in third place in that very event and narrowly missed out on his second win of the series. Just one day prior, Zhao defeated a 39-entry strong field in Event 5: Turbo – NL Omaha for a top prize of KR₩ 4,984,480 (~USD 3,600). Runner-up was fellow countryman Xixiang Luo, who usually carries a small pyramid as card protector on the live poker circuit.

Hong Kong and Japan Shine; China Dominates Early On

Ki On Chan at APT Jeju
Ki On Chan – Photo by APT

In the first two days of the series, a total of 13 trophies were awarded and players from China earned six of them. However, the largest individual prize so far was earned by Hong Kong’s Ki On Chan, who defeated All Star Showdown wild card  Hao-Shan Huang in the Korea National Cup for a payday of KR₩ 55,786,600 (~USD 40,500).

Chan was second in chips after Day 1A and made it count all the way, as he was the last man standing among the 58 hopefuls who returned for the final day. The entire KR₩ 282,153,600 (~USD 205,150) prize pool was distributed on the final day with Alan “King Lun” Lau as the first casualty. It was a rapid affair as only eight levels of 30 minutes each were needed to reach the nine-handed final table according to the APT live reporting team.

Among those to fall along the way were Joshua Tan (48th), 2024 APT Taipei Mystery Bounty winner Kiwanont Sukhum (45th), Alexandre Viard (43rd), Tae Hoon Han (36th), 2019 APT Incheon Main Event champ Dicky Tsang (22nd), and Edward Yam (15th).

Jin Zhou at APT Jeju
Jin Zhou – Photo by APT

Hong Kong nearly made it two wins for the day as the 2023 WSOP Europe 5k PLO bracelet winner Wing Po Liu lost heads-up in Event #4 Single Day High Roller to settle for a consolation prize of KR₩ 25,234,000 (~USD 18,290). Jin Zhou was the first winner from China on the opening day in a field of 41 entries to claim KR₩ 36,508,000 (~USD 26,460) for his efforts.

Also earning a slice of the KR₩ 107,379,000 (~USD 77,840) prize pool were notables Anson Ewe and Austrian-based grinder / 2021 WSOP Online bracelet winner Daniel Smiljkovic. Smiljkovic recently finished third in the 2023 WSOP Paradise Event #3: GGMillion$ High Roller Championship for seven figures. Among those missing the mark were Taiwanese stars Yu Chung Chang aka Nevan Chang, Chih Wei Fan, and Sam Hung. 

Yang Lu, Jun Weng, Zejin Liu at APT
Yang Lu, Jun Weng, Zejin Liu – Photo by APT

The next four events in a row were all won by players from China including Yang Lu, Boxin Jin, Jun Weng and Zejun Liu. Second on the trophy leaderboard so far is Japan with three victories, as Watanabe was joined in the winner’s circle by Kaoru Kishimoto and Ryosuke Aihara. The Philippines follow thereafter with two winners in as many days: Marc Rivera and Charles Ed Pansoy will bring extra weight on their hand luggage.


Asian Poker Tour Jeju, South Korea 2024 sets the bar high with over KRW 5 Billion (~USD 3.76M) in prizes to be awarded

*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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