Beijing – Asian Capital of Poker for the Week

Only few days after the end of the massive PokerStars Macau Championship, serious tournament action has now started in Beijing with two major events running simultaneously: The World Poker Tour (WPT) Beijing and the Asia Poker League Reloaded.

WPT Beijing

Photo WPT

The WPT has decided to open this XVI season in Beijing. The event is hosted in NUO Hotel Beijing.

For the past 5 years, the WPT in China only ever stopped on the island of Sanya. The decision made by the WPT to host an event in Beijing for the very first time is a special moment in their history. Talking about this decision, WPT CEO and President Adam Pliska said:

“The World Poker Tour is proud to kick off Season XVI with WPT Beijing and add a second major poker tournament to the burgeoning Chinese region. It is without question that Asia has an ever-increasing demand for major poker events, as evidenced by WPT National Sanya selling out each of its first five years. Alongside our parent company Ourgame, the WPT looks forward to hosting the best players from the region and around the world as we kick off Season XVI with WPT Beijing.”

Action in the Main Event started yesterday – the event has a buy in of $3,500 and participation numbers were limited to 400. The event was sold out so prize-pool and prize repartition is already known. The total prize-pool is worth CNY 9,600,000 (~US $1,393,324). The final 50 players will finish in the money, with the minimum payout set at CNY 43,875 (~US $6,368) each.

Wenling Gao (Photo WPT)

Several poker pros are involved in the action. Team PKC pro Wenling Gao managed to pass through day 1 with a large stack. Guo Dong didn’t have the same fortune and could not survive the first day. The same fate befell Sixiao Li. CEO of Poker King Club Winfred Yu, managed to reach the second day but, he will begin the day with a below average stack.

Asia Poker League reloaded

Yesterday also saw the kick-off of the Asia Poker League. This is the second edition of this festival in Beijing.

Asia Poker League Main Event

While the WPT is offering a $3,500 buy-in Main Event with an entry number that is capped, the Asia Poker League is featuring a CNY 5,500 (around $800) buy-in Main Event along with a multitude of side events (PLO / High Roller / Team event).

More: Asia Poker League Reloaded – Schedule

The two events have a complementary offer, with organisers managing to work together to offer shuttles between the events at their two separate sites.

For Judic Kim, founder of this League, this return to Beijing for the APL has special meaning. Talking to Somuchpoker he said:

“When we decided to launch last year the Asia Poker League one of our goals was to connect the Mainland Chinese poker scene with the rest of the Asian poker world”.

He went on to say: “With this second event in Beijing we are giving the opportunity to international poker players to jump into the Chinese poker scene and the opportunity to Chinese players to compete against international poker players. Hosting events in China can be very challenging – but we have a great partner the Beijing Poker Club and we strongly believe in the importance of this market in the future”.

The first day of the Main Event saw 127 players enter. With four more starting days for the Main Event, the field and prize pool will progressively grow in the coming days. The number of competitors at the last Beijing edition was 465, and so this is the mark to beat. After a strong start yesterday, this goal is more than achievable.

A large contingent of international players has already arrived in Beijing, with many deciding to wait before buying into the Main Event. High on the list of expected players are: Japanese pop star Gackt and WPT National Philippines Champion Tetsusya Tsuchikawa. Korean players are also expected to make an entrance in the coming days, with several big names taking part in the event: SJ Kim, Steve Yea are only two names among an important delegation.

Somuchpoker is in Beijing and will update you all week about both festivals!

Article by Craig Bradshaw