USOP Taiwan Day 1 highlights: Mystery Bounty Flight A draws 95; four first time winners emerge

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The highly awaited U Series of Poker (USOP) season opener made landfall today, January 5, 2024, with a crowd of players – both locally and internationally – quickly firing up the Asia Poker Arena in Taipei City, Taiwan.


Among the many familiar faces getting an early start were first ever USOP Taiwan Main Event champion Edwin Dela Cruz (Philippines), newest USOP brand ambassador Kyle Bao Diep (Vietnam), French poker team Cimitarra, Hong Kong’s Alan King Lun Lau, Australian high rollersBert Perry, Yita Choong, Anton Lu, and a sizable local force that included Chen An Lin, Chi Jen Chen, Jia-chi Li, Patrick Liang to name a few.

Day 1 closed with 12 players advancing and four players lifting their first ever USOP trophies. Here are the highlights.

Mystery Bounty – Flight A recap


The Mystery Bounty set the pace with Flight A first on the floor. 95 runners pulled up seats throughout the ten rounds of registration with a further 12 reaching the money round. Seen on the felt was Le Ngoc Minh, attending his first international tournament outside of Vietnam. He survived the day with 75,000 (9 bb).

Le Ngoc Minh

Also on his first international festival outside of home soil was South Korea’s Jae Won Choi who impressed by closing as heat leader. Choi racked up a hefty 435,000 (54 bb).

Date: January 5 to 7, 2024
Buy in: NTD 16,500 (~USD 528)
Guarantee: NTD 3,000,000 (~USD 96,450)
Flight A: 95 entries / 12 ITM

Chips in play: 2,375,000
Average stack: 197,916
End of Flight A blinds: 4000-8000 ante 8000

Player Flag Stack
Jae Won Choi South Korea 435,000
Yong Jie Syu Taiwan 408,000
Calvin Kean Wei Tan Malaysia 385,000
Hsien Lee Chiu Taiwan 273,000
Tsu Lin Tsao Taiwan 212,000
Patrick Liang Taiwan 157,000
Po Yuan Huang Taiwan 124,000
Fan Yu Tseng Taiwan 116,000
Chieh Chi Liu Taiwan 115,000
Le Ngoc Minh Vietnam 75,000
Chi Jen Chen Taiwan 40,000
Tao Chu Taiwan 36,000

The 12 survivors have a day break before returning for Day 2 on Sunday, January 7, 2024. While each one is guaranteed a cash return, they will all be hunting the biggest mystery bounty reward of NTD 400,000 (~USD 12,860). 

Flight B and Flight C up next

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Weekend warriors and those that missed the mark at Flight A have two more chances to qualify into the money round. The last two flights run on Saturday, January 6, 2024 at 12pm and 4:30pm. For a buy in of NTD 16,500, players can turn it into big money with the pot certain to surpass the NTD 3,000,000 guarantee.

Starting stack: 25,000
Level 1 and Level 2 blinds: 100-100
*Big blind ante kicks in at Level 3: 100-100-100
Registration: ends at the start of Level 11

Players that sign up at the very last second will still enter with a decent 20 big blinds. Flight blinds increase every 25 minutes then a lengthier 30 minute intervals for Day 2.

YITA CHOONG wins first USOP trophy at the Mini High Roller

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The Mini High Roller event saw a complete Australian takeover, as all four payouts were secured by players hailing from the country. Yita Choong closed it out to lock up his first ever USOP win and trophy plus a cool NTD 412,200 (~USD 13,250).

Date: January 5, 2024
Buy in: NTD 35,000 (~USD 1,120)
Guarantee: NTD 500,000 (~USD 16,075)
Entries: 30
Prize pool: NTD 916,700 (~USD 29,474)
ITM: 4 places

Rank Player Flag
Payout in NTD
1 Yita Choong Australia 412,200
2 Anton Zhen Zhao Lu Australia 247,500
3 William Jia Australia 156,000
4 John Perry Australia 101,000

KUANYU LIN wins maiden title at the Deepstack


Maiden victory for local player Kuanyu Lin at the Deepstack. Lin outlasted the 42-entry field to capture the trophy and a career high NTD 171,600 (~USD 5,517) top prize. Among the finishers was Edwin Dela Cruz with a 5th place cash.

Date: January 5, 2024
Buy in: NTD 12,000 (~USD 385)
Entries: 42
Prize pool: NTD 440,000 (~USD 14,150)
ITM: 6 places

Rank Player Flag
Payout in NTD
1 Kuanyu Lin Taiwan 171,600
2 Yu Yong Lin Taiwan 101,200
3 Hang Chi Taiwan 61,600
4 Kuowei Kao Taiwan 44,000
5 Edwin Dela Cruz Philippines 35,200
6 Xing Jie Chew Taiwan 26,400

CHANG XIANG GUANG wins first USOP title at 8-Max Turbo


The fast paced 8-Max Turbo was the favored side event on opening night attracting 74 runners for a prize pool of NTD 502,500 (~USD 16,150). At three-handed, a deal was struck and Malaysia’s Chang Xiang Guang went on to win it to record his first ever USOP win.


Date: January 5, 2024
Buy in: NTD 8,000 (~USD 255)
Entries: 74
Prize pool: NTD 502,500 (~USD 16,150)
ITM: 10 places

*Three way deal

Rank Player Flag
Payout in NTD
1 Xiang Guang Malaysia 129,000*
2 Naoyuki Tohyama Japan 104,900*
3 Seo Hojin South Korea 96,300*
4 Yashiro Naoki Japan 41,500
5 Herry Lian Germany 31,400
6 Yoon Young Jae South Korea 25,600
7 Chia Hao Lin Taiwan 22,100
8 Tan Ong Kwan Malaysia 19,600
9 Chih Wei Chen Taiwan 17,100
10 Kuo Chen Hung Taiwan 15,000

CALVIN KEAN WEI TAN wins Short Deck – Hyper Turbo


After bagging up a healthy 48 bb at Mystery Bounty Flight A, Malaysia’s Calvin Kean Wei Tan jumped in the last event of the day, Short Deck Hyper Turbo, and finally captured his first ever USOP trophy. Last year, Tan nearly won two USOP side events, finishing runner up both times. Looks like the third time was the charm!

With blinds increasing at an uber fast ten minutes, the event clocked in under three hours. Tan outlasted the light 13-entry field, defeating decorated Taiwanese player Philip Wang at heads up.

Date: January 5, 2024
Buy in: NTD 5,000 (~USD 160)
Entries: 13
Prize pool: NTD 55,500 (~USD 1,785)
ITM: 2 places

Rank Player Flag
Payout in NTD
1 Calvin Kean Wei Tan Malaysia 36,100
2 Philip King Chung Wang Taiwan 19,400

USOP Taiwan 2024

Following a booming 2023, USOP opens the new year with a bigger and richer Taiwan festival. Compared to its launch last year, the schedule has increased from 23 trophy events to 45 trophy events. This ensures players plenty of chances to become a USOP champion. Buy ins range from NTD 5,000 (~USD 160) up to NTD 50,000 (~USD 1,590).

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In partnership with the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association (CTP), the festival runs from January 5 to 15, 2024 at the Asia Poker Arena. It is headlined by the NTD 15,000,000 (~US$ 478,270) guaranteed MAIN EVENT with buy in set at NTD 33,000 (~USD 1,075).

U Series Of Poker heads back to Taiwan to start the year


USOP Taiwan – Coverage
USOP Taiwan – Player Guide

*All photos by USOP

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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