GPI Asia rankings mid-year update: Paul Phua leads GPI, Pete Chen top spot for player of the year

We are officially halfway through the year despite the circumstances brought about by the current pandemic that put an unavoidable pause for multiple live poker events across the world.

In this article, an update for the Global Poker Index (GPI) for the year is presented for the Asia region presenting the top tournament poker players in the world. Though a bit different from the usual past years wherein only live poker was the focus, only minimal series events were recorded for 2020 given the present status of the live scene. Live tournaments however, are slowly making their way back running cautious post-covid festivals in a few locations.

In Asia, tournaments catering to only locals at the moment are evident providing opportunities for live players to be back in the field.

Despite the limitations and restrictions imposed, prominent poker icons such as Paul Phua, Michael Soyza and Pete Chen were able to bag noteworthy winnings for the first half of the year to propel them to the top of the leaderboards for the mid-year update.

Paul Phua tops GPI Asia’s overall rankings

Wei Seng "Paul" Phua
Wei Seng “Paul” Phua – Photo

Wei Seng “Paul” Phua has garnered recognition both in the Asia region as well as internationally for his poker skills and his business investments in the industry.

The Malaysian professional can usually be seen in high stakes cash games in Macau or in Triton Poker events, a brand which Phua co-founded back in 2015. Triton, exclusively marketed for affluent businesspeople and high-end professional poker players, set the biggest buy-in poker tournament in history back in August 2019 where the £1.05 million (~USD 1.306 million) entry generated a £54 million (~USD 67.181 million) prize pool.

Aside from his poker related business achievements, Phua is also a regular participant in notable events all over the world. The last live festival he joined was the partypoker MILLIONS Sochi Super High Roller Series held in Sochi, Russia wherein he made a total of five final table appearances, two of which he emerged victorious. In this week-long series alone, the Malaysian pro profited roughly USD 2.3 million earning him close to a thousand points for the GPI rankings. The huge profit at the same time, boosted Phua’s impressive all time money record to a whopping USD 18.5 million.

Another Malaysian crusher, Michael Soyza falls runner up to Phua short by a mere 30 points to land the top spot. He appeared in two final table events recently in both the partypoker MILLIONS Sochi Super High Roller Series and the 2020 Aussie Millions Poker Championship back in March and January respectively. Short of sealing a victory, the additional points earned was only enough to land him the second place spot for GPI Asia’s overall rankings.

Mid-year GPI Asia Overall rankings

GPI Asia Player Team Score
#37 #1 Paul Phua 2,369.72 pts
#41 #2 Christopher Michael Soyza Natural8 2,339.12 pts
#59 #3 Pete Yen Han Chen 2,191.28 pts
#65 #4 Thai Ha 2,168.78 pts
#69 #5 Daniel Chi Tang Natural8 2,147.48 pts
#73 #6 Quan Zhou 2,108.53 pts
#84 #7 Yang Zhang 2,070.78 pts
#106 #8 Chin Wei Lim 1,998.43 pts
#111 #9 Yake Wu 1,977.47 pts
#123 #10 Jack En Ching Wu 1,935.05 pts

Pete Chen leads Player of the Year race

Pete Chen
Pete Chen

The Player of the Year title is somewhat different with the overall rankings leaderboard as the former only accounts for the present year’s accomplishments while the overall rankings factors in past winnings calculated vs a respective aging factor giving more value to recent exploits.

The yearly award however, receives an equal amount of prestige and a tremendous boost to the individual’s overall reputation.

Taiwanese pro Pete Yen Han Chen currently holds the top spot for the GPI Asia PoY race after making a series of final table appearances despite the occurring public health emergency. It was a great start for the year when Chen bagged an event in the Red Dragon Manila 2020 series back in January and continued on to travel back and forth within the region to take on the live tournament poker scene.

When travel restrictions arose beginning last March, Chen was fortunate to be situated in Taipei, Taiwan where live poker continued to run despite certain setbacks. During these months where live poker was on a hiatus in the majority of the world, Chen was dominating the smaller-field tournaments in his home country, enabling the pro to make five final table finishes enough to land the top spot for the GPI Asia PoY rankings.

In the past, Pete Chen has been awarded the PokerStars Asia PoY Trophy back in 2014 and has a record of over 300 cashes and almost $3 million in lifetime earnings. Close to a decade in the industry, Chen made his first substantial cash when he picked up USD 7,279 for second place at an Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau side event. The Taiwanese crusher also just recently cemented his skill set in the online poker scene when the Natural8 ambassador took down the GGPoker Asian Poker Tour (APT) 2020 Online Series $200 Mini Main Event $75K GTD for $40,058.92 in winnings.

Mid-year GPI Asia PoY 2020

PoY 2020 Asia Player Score
#20 #1 Pete Yen Han Chen 1,118.34 pts
#35 #2 Quan Zhou 1,001.20 pts
#53 #3 Paul Phua 924.20 pts
#62 #4 Sang-Yeon Hwang 909.37 pts
#79 #5 Chi Chung Ho 836.88 pts
#84 #6 Tony Tran 820.70 pts
#85 #7 Jack En Ching Wu 819.96 pts
#89 #8 Soo Jo Kim 810.90 pts
#107 #9 Eric Ting Yi Tsai 775.38 pts
#117 #10 Cheng Hsu Hua 756.89 pts

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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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