Poker players around the world continue to descend upon Sin City for the biggest event of the year. Mixed in the crowd are Asian pros hoping to return home with gold bracelets and fatter wallets. The past week has been extremely dramatic as Taiwanese pros Yen Han “Pete” Chen, James Chen, and Ting Yi “Eric” Tsai made their presence felt on both the live and online fronts. Earning success was Pete Chen with his first gold bracelet and first Wynn Classic title. For James Chen, he missed his second career bracelet by one spot, and for Tsai, his series debut kicked off with a 4th place finish. Here’s a look at their current accomplishments in Las Vegas.
Yen Han “Pete” Chen wins a WSOP bracelet and the Wynn Mystery Bounty
This past summer, Yen Han “Pete” Chen packed up for Las Vegas to get in some early practice for the WSOP, a decision that has been paying off quite handsomely. Just two weeks in, he has dazzled his fans by locking up his first career gold bracelet at Online #3: $400 NL Hold’em Ultra Deepstack, becoming only the second player after James Chen to win a bracelet for Taiwan. During that event, he outlasted a field of 1,023 runners and earned his first big score of the year worth US$ 82,560. Several days later, Chen’s continued pursuit landed him a second victory, this time at the popular Wynn Classic Mystery Bounty after a three way deal. Chen topped the 2,333 entry field, claiming the title and the largest cash prize of US$ 289,193. This was his first ever victory at the Wynn.
Prior to the second win, Chen was in a bit of a pickle. He reached Day 2 of Event #26: Freezeout No Limit Hold’em and Day 2 at the Mystery Bounty. With both events running simultaneously, the bracelet event was given priority. Chen went on to finish in 20th place then quickly rushed to the Wynn. Although his chips had dwindled, it was still a decent stack; and after a couple of double ups he was chip leader which he carried to the final table. At three handed, a deal was struck with Argentina’s Ezequiel Waigel and USA’s Kevin Klunder that awarded Chen the title and the biggest cut of the pot.
In addition to those deep runs, Chen has two other series cashes. On opening day, he kicked off the hunt with a 17th place finish at Event #3: $1,000 Covid-19 Relief NLH Charity Fund becoming the first Asian to cash at the series, then followed it up with a small return at Event #4: $500 The Reunion NLH where he placed 713th. This fall, Chen has already collected US$ 381,580 in winnings in Las Vegas. Aside from deep runs, Chen is chasing down the WSOP Player of the Year title. He is currently ranked 9th with 1,253.09 points. At the No Limits Velo Leaderboard, Chen is ranked 3rd.
Wynn Classic Mystery Bounty
Date: October 13 to 14
Buy in: US$ 2,200
Prize pool: US$ 4,666,000
ITM: 255 places
Final table payouts
1st Yenhan “Pete” Chen – Taiwan – US$ 289,193
2nd Ezequiel Waigel – Argentina – US$ 263,627
3rd Kevin Klunder – USA – US$ 261,440
4th Daniel Rezaei – Austria – US$ 125,160
5th Florian Duta – Romania – US$ 96,404
6th Onur Unsal – Cyprus – US$ 73,778
7th Matthew Zarcadoolas – USA – US$ 60,131
8th Ray Medlin – USA – US$ 49,918
9th Johan Martinet – France – US$ 41,563
Runner up finish for James Chen at the Seven Card Stud Championship
Every year since 2016, James Chen has been making his pilgrimage to the poker mecca and in 2019, his pursuit turned bountiful. At the summer series, he finished runner up at the $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller for a massive score of US$ 1,000,253 which he then followed up with a victory at the WSOP Europe €250K Super High Roller NL Hold’em for € 2,844,215. This gave him his first career gold bracelet and he became the first player to bring it home for Taiwan.
At the ongoing series, Chen continued to impress. He nearly clasped a second career gold at Event #19: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship, falling just one spot shy. For his efforts, he was awarded a sizable US$ 113,024. He was also the first Asian player to reach the final table in this series. Skilled in multiple poker variants, Chen’s other cashes were 36th place at Event #18: $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) and 86th place at Event #25: $5,000 6-Handed NL Hold’em. With plenty of events yet to be played, more deep runs are expected from this fine player.
Ting Yi “Eric” Tsai reaches final table in series debut
Ting Yi “Eric” Tsai is on his first ever WSOP visit and already the young pro has made waves at the felt. After picking up two small cashes, he stormed up the ranks at Event #25: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em 6-Handed, taking the chip lead at the end of Day 3. Returning to action with six remaining, Tsai found himself up against a couple of WSOP decorated pros. He went on to finish 4th for his first series final table debut and a US$ 161,756 payout. This was only his second ever six figure payout. In 2019, Tsai placed 2nd at the Jeju Red Dragon for a career high KR₩ 290 Million (~US$ 250,410). With a solid bankroll built, we will likely be seeing more of Tsai in the coming days as he hunts down that first gold.