After being grounded for one year, the Asian Poker Tour returned to the live stage with games running from February 19 to March 8 at two locations in Taiwan. The first weekend of APT Taiwan 2021 was held at the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association (CTP Club) branch in Taichung, you can read up on the recap here, then moved to the more popular CTP Club location in Taipei.
With travel restrictions still in place around the world, the turnout was expectedly low however it didn’t dilute the excitement as seasoned pros came out to join the fun and rock the tables. In the end, there were many first time winners, among them was Taiwanese pro Hui Chen “Kitty” Kuo who shipped her maiden APT title at the Main Event. Another big winner was local player Ping Hao Huang at the Championships Event. The festivities closed with Kun Han Lee crowned APT Player of the Series champion. Lee was also the only player with two event titles at the series. We’ve got those stories for you below including the biggest winners of the side games.
APT Main Event: HUI CHEN “KITTY” KUO – NT$ 724,200 (~US$ 25,980)
Taiwanese pro Hui Chen “Kitty” Kuo lifted her first ever APT title and first on home soil at the tour’s featured Main Event. Kuo bested a field of 196 entries to claim the NT$ 724,200 (~US$ 25,980) first prize. Prior to the win, Kuo placed 3rd at Event #1 High Rollers Single Day to collect NT$ 96,700 (~US$ 3,470) for a combined NT$ 820,900 (~US$ 29,454) in winnings, making her the largest earner of the series.
Kitty Kuo is one of Taiwan’s highly recognized pros with over US$ 2.3 million in live tournament earnings collected from around the world. Her largest payout was in the summer of 2018 in Las Vegas where she finished 2nd at the US$ 10K WPT Bobby Baldwin classic for US$ 248,380. Earlier that year, she also pocketed six figures at the Aussie Millions 25K No Limit Hold’em finishing 4th for A$ 246,240. In 2016, Kuo reached the final table of the Aussie Millions Main Event, eventually taking home a large sum of A$ 270,000. Going back even further, Kuo came into the radar in 2009 when she won the PokerStars Macau Poker Cup Main Event for HK$ 557,230. She has also taken her game to Europe where she has cashed big at numerous events. Her largest score was in 2016 at the EPT Barcelona € 10,300 No Limit Hold’em, finishing 6th for € 101,500.
Main Event review
Dates: February 26 to March 3
Buy in: NT$ 16,500 (~US$ 590)
Guarantee: NT$ 2,000,000 (~US$ 71,500)
Total Entries: 196
Prize pool: NT$ 2,851,800 (~US$ 102,320)
ITM: 20 places
Final Table payouts
1st Hui Chen “Kitty” Kuo – Taiwan – NT$ 724,200
2nd Chi Ying Tsai – Taiwan – NT$ 482,200
3rd Po Cheng Yang – Taiwan – NT$ 335,600
4th Kun Yu Chiang – Taiwan – NT$ 242,400
5th Yu Sheng Lin – Taiwan – NT$ 181,300
6th Zhi Hao Huang – Taiwan – NT$ 139,900
7th Chen Yi “Serina” Liu – Taiwan – NT$ 111,100
8th Kar Wee Chee – Malaysia – NT$ 90,500
A recap of the action, the featured event drew 196 entries across four days to exceed the NT$ 2 million guarantee for a larger NT$ 2,851,800 (~US$ 102,320) prize pool. By Day 3, the money reached eager hands with Chen Yu Hung (20th) first to dip in followed by Day 1C chip leader Te Wei Chung (15th), Day 1B chip leader Li Su Chi Kwon (14th), WSOPC ring winner Chi Jen Chu (12th), entering chip leader Cheng How Pan (11th), and Ping Hao Huang in 9th place.
At the final table Kitty Kuo was the most decorated player however she entered as second to the shortest stack with 23 bbs. Up top was Po Cheng Yang with a healthy 85 bbs. Malaysia’s Kar Wee Chee was first to the rail after suffering two unlucky draws. Just behind him was shortest stacked Chen Yi “Serina” Liu (7th), one of three women in the round. Taking 6th was Zhi Hao Huang for his second featured event final table. Huang placed 2nd at the series opener APT Taichung Mini Main Event.
After the fall of Yu Sheng Lin (5th), the final four players took turns up top. For Kuo, her stay was very brief. She lost two big pots to send her stack way down to 6 bbs. However, in a wild cooler, Kun Yu Chiang ran into Chi Ying Tsai’s to crash out in 4th place. Tsai zoomed to be at par with the leader Yang while Kuo was still at 6 bbs. Kuo proceeded to ship two double ups then grinded to second rank whereas Yang was on a downfall. He was retired in 3rd place by Tsai for a female duel at heads up.
With a commanding 68 bb stack, Tsai shoved on the first hand with , Kuo called for all her 12 bb stack with and doubled up. Kuo continued her ascent then took the lead on a failed bluff by Tsai. Kuo went on to win it wth trips over missed draw on a board . Tsai shoved on the flop and Kuo called.
APT Championships Event: PING HAO HUANG – NT$ 603,300 (~US$ 21,647)
Running back to back with the Main Event was another one of the tour’s popular tournaments, the APT Championships Event featuring a NT$ 2 million guarantee. Its higher buy in of NT$ 25,300 (~US$ 908) attracted 89 entrants with only 9 of them reaching ITM. Capturing his first ever APT title and largest career cash was local player Ping Hao Huang who took home NT$ 603,300 (~US$ 21,647). In addition, Huang profited at four other events, including the Main Event in 9th place, to amass a combined NT$ 773,800 (~US$ 27,764) in winnings. He was the second largest earner of the series.
Prior to the series, Ping Hao Huang’s young poker career has rewarded him with over US$ 38K in live tournament earnings. He had several wins at local events held at CTP Club Taipei; his largest was at the Megastack event in June 2020 for NT$ 133,000 (~US$ 4,479). In December 2020, he ran deep at three WPTDeepstacks Taiwan events for a combined NT$ 136,100 (~US$ 4,825).
Dates: March 4 to 7
Buy in: NT$ 25,300 (~US$ 908)
Guarantee: NT$ 2,000,000 (~US$ 71,500)
Total Entries: 89
Prize pool: NT$ 2,000,000 (~US$ 71,500)
ITM: 9 places
1st Ping Hao Huang – Taiwan – NT$ 603,300
2nd Zhi Hao Huang – Taiwan – NT$ 402,200
3rd Chao Ting Cheng – Taiwan – NT$ 279,600
4th Chung Chie Kuan – Taiwan – NT$ 202,000
5th Yun Hsiang “Terry” Fan – Taiwan – NT$ 151,000
6th Hang Chi – Taiwan – NT$ 116,600
7th Wei Chen Liu – Taiwan – NT$ 92,600
8th Po Wen Fang – Taiwan – NT$ 75,400
9th Chen Yu Hung – Taiwan – NT$ 62,800
Brief rundown of the race, 15 players battled on Day 3, among them were WSOPC ring winner Chi Jen Chu and highly decorated Taiwanese pro Yen Han “Pete” Chen. Chen championed this event last year at the APT 2020 Online Championships 2nd Edition and was the only player in the lineup seeking a second win. However, for both Chu and Chen, it was an early departure. Yu Chung “Nevan” Chang bubbled while Chen Yu Hung cashed first just as he did at the Main Event.
Leading in the final table was hot running Zhi Hao Huang who was three for three in featured event final tables appearances at the series. Right at his heels was another Taiwanese superstar, Yun Hsiang “Terry” Fan, who started the day as chip leader. First to go was Po Wen Fang in a cooler against Chao Ting Cheng with pocket Queens dominating pocket Jacks. Out 7th was very short stacked Wei Chen Liu to Fan, then Hang Chi was eliminated by Ping Hao. Next all in called was Fan who risked it with pocket sixes however Cheng had pocket Aces to knock him out. Following to the rail was Chung Chie Kuan with Zhi Hao emptying him out.
At three handed, Cheng began to lose steam while Ping Hao began to pull away. As the gap widened, Zhi Hao outdrew Cheng in two hands to siphon off all of Cheng’s chips. Cheng’s final hand was against on a board . This brought about heads up with Ping Hao ahead by just 2 bbs. Despite Zhi Hao’s attempts, he wasn’t able to overtake the leader. The final hand saw Ping Hao shove with , Zhi Hao called with , the board was .
APT Player of the Series: KUN HAN LEE
The battle for the APT Player of the Series title kicked off at the opener APT Taichung Mini Main Event and concluded at the completion of the series at CTP Club Taipei. In total, 20 events were point generating. Local player Kun Han Lee came out on top. He accrued the most points of 1,316.62 to claim the title, the APT POS Trophy, Ring, luxury watch, and US$ 800.
Detailing his achievements, Lee won the APT Taichung Mini Main Event and Event #2 High Rollers Single Day to become the only player with two victories at the series. He also finished 2nd at Event #5 High Rollers.
Taking 2nd place was Zhi Hao Huang with 1,071.45 points. Huang finished 2nd at the APT Taichung Mini Main Event, 2nd at the APT Championships Event, and 6th at the APT Main Event. In 3rd place was Ping Hao Huang with 902.63 points. Huang cashed at five events which included a victory at the APT Championships Event. He placed 9th at the Main Event, 2nd place at two turbo events, and 27th at the series opener.
Side Event results
Alongside the featured tournaments were 17 side events to tackle. The larger buy ins were the High Rollers events which attracted known pros. Coming out victorious were Kun Han Lee, Yu Chung “Nevan” Chang, Po Wen Fang, Yi Wei Peng, and Chen An Lin. For Peng, he was the largest single side event winner, pocketing NT$ 327,300 (~US$ 11,745) at Event #8 High Rollers Single Day. For Lin, he closed the last High Rollers Single Day event of the series. He defeated Yen Han “Pete” Chen at heads up for NT$ 286,000 (~US$ 10,262).
Despite the loss for Pete Chen, he too won a gold at the series at Event #6 Monster Stack. Chen overcame the 37 entry field for a score of NT$ 148,000 (~US$ 5,310). The largest side event turnout was 47 runners at Event #13 Monster Stack. Hua Wei Lin shipped it for NT$ 171,600 (~US$ 6,157).
Up next for APT Taiwan 2021
The APT wrapped up its ten day run at CTP Club Taipei however the series is not yet over. One event remains – APT Taichung Special Event – which takes place back at CTP Club Taichung. The final event comes with a NT$ 1 million (~US$ 35,890) guarantee. It runs from March 12 to 15. Buy in is NT$ 10,000 (~US$ 359). Two starting days are scheduled.
APT Vietnam Phu Quoc postponed
At the conclusion of APT Taiwan 2021, the tour was scheduled for a twelve day festival at the Corona Casino & Resort in Phu Quoc, Vietnam from March 17 to 28, however, per APT announcement, that event has now been postponed for a later date.