Asia Player of the Year Debate

The end of the ACOP series in November would normally herald the end of the Asia Player of the Year (APOY) Race, with the trophy being awarded, the winner congratulated, and the poker world then looking ahead to next year. The 2015 race has not quite followed that path however, as a certain controversy has surfaced since the ACOP Main Event concluded.

Alan King Lun Lau crowned

Alan King Lun Lau did not win the most titles in 2015, or make the most final tables, or come anywhere close to winning the most money, but by the formulas applied to this title for the last few years, he is the champion, with 6,270 points, just 30 ahead of Wong. He proposed to his girlfriend during the awards ceremony, and she accepted, making for a truly special year for the poker pro.

Porposal APPT

Alan Lau (Photo Kenneth Lim courtesy of PokerStars)

KC Wong runner up

The most serious challenge was mounted by KC Wong who was leading the race before the ACOP festival. He fought his way through the ACOP Main Event field and threatened to reach the final table, which would have put the title within his grasp. Unfortunately for KC Wong, the Main Event awarded APOY points the top 10 finishers, and his 11th place finish saw him fall short, by the smallest of margins (30 points)

KC Wong claims the win

In the morning of 14 Nov 2015, KC Wong raised his objections to Danny McDonagh, APPT President and stated that based on the explanation of the point system on the PokerStars Live Macau website; he should have been leading APOY leaderboard.  The Hong Kong Poker Player Association support KC Wong's position, and asked APPT to reconsider the awarding of the title to Alan King Lun Lau. (Details of the claim here). 

Closer examination of the website reveals that it does in fact give imprecise information that could lead to the conclusion that KC Wong should have been crowned champion.

APPT president, Danny McDonagh, was asked by KC Wong to give his thoughts on how the information was presented on the PokerStars Live Macau web page, and its accuracy. He stated the following on facebook: The description on one of the sections, which when asked for my impartial view by KC, I agree does not define the formula accurately. If this was found out earlier then the change would have been the wording and not the formula. The winner of the 2015 APOY is Alan Lau based on weighting of the formula. Changing this result because of a poor description of the formula application feels wrong in every way.”

With that in mind, several professional players agreed in saying that the APPT are at least partially guilty of a poor formulation of the rules.


Iori Yogo view on the issue

Iori Yogo shared publicly his view on the question

A new wording around the number of entrants for the 2016 APOY

Contacted by Somuchpoker Danny McDonagh confirmed that” the formula will stay as is and the wording around the number of entrants will be made more clear for the 2016 APOY as follows”: 200-205 is 4.1 points. Then each grouping of 10 entries increases the number of points by 0.1 points. For example 205-21 entries is 4.2 points, 215-224 entries is 4.3 points and so forth. The maximum for Entries factor is 10 (which occurs at grouping 785-794 points)

Recent debate shouldn't do anything to detract from the fact that both players had a great year and either player would have made a fine champion.

KC Wong reaction (edited at 7pm – 11 /19 /15)

Contacted by Somuchpoker about this clarification provided by Danny McDonagh KC Won stated that: 

– (I) the pointing system shows that 200-205 (a chunk of 6 players) get 0.1 point basis incremental, but the subsequent 0.1 point basis increments are in chunks of 10 players. There is no sound mathematical sense nor common sense behind this formula. And once again, this pointing basis calculation is different to the published rules for 2015 APOY points.

– (ii) given point (i) above, it is in doubt whether applying this (not making much sense) pointing system from 2016 is really just a re-wording of the rules to truly reflect the intent of the pointing system OR it is just a measure to make-up for the incorrect (i.e. deviates from the published rules) APOY points calculations in the previous years, including year 2015.


Final Standings for 2015 season





Winnings (HKD)

Final Tables



Alan King Lun Lau

Hong Kong






KC Wong

Hong Kong






Yang Zhang







Yuguang Li







Pete Yen Han Chen

Chinese Taipei






Leon Li-ta Hsu

Chinese Taipei





Article by Craig B. Cover picture by PokerStars

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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