Inaugural WPT Cambodia Championship sets $2.4M record prize pool in Asia; Nozomu Shimizu tops Day 1B


Setting ambitious goals for its inaugural Main Tour in Southeast Asia, the World Poker Tour (WPT) exceeded expectations, accumulating a staggering prize pool of USD 2,432,760. This standout achievement set a new benchmark as the most lucrative prize pool by the brand in Asia and solidified its flagship event as one of the most coveted on a global scale.


In partnership with Connaissance Management, the five-day WPT Cambodia Championship kicked off on January 25, 2024 at NagaWorld Integrated Resorts in Phnom Penh. The buy in was set at USD 3,500, which was three times more than the WPT Prime events previously held at the same location. After two starting days, an impressive 760 entry field materialized,the largest for an event of that buy in Asia.

Day 1A: 373 entries (283 unique)
Day 1B: 387 entries (158 unique)
Total entries: 760 (441 unique)
Prize pool: USD 2,432,760

The largest turnout was witnessed at Day 1B, with a long list of notables littered among the 387 entries. Among them were four time WSOP bracelet champion Adam Friedman, 2022 WPT Cambodia Prime champion David Erquiaga, WPT Australia 5K Challenge winner Gavin Best, and WPT Slovakia SHR champion Andrej Desset to mention a few.

Nozomu Shimizu 2
Nozomu Shimizu

At the end of regulation time, 113 players bagged up led by Japanese heavy-hitter Nozomu Shimizu with 519,500 (173 bb). This earned him second rank in the overall Day 2 chip counts just 3 bb behind Day 1A leader Punnat PunsriOther heavy stacks were Korea’s Choi Hun Tae and Hyeonho Shin both with 154 bb. Back from missing the mark at Day 1A, this time 2x WPT Champion Hoyt Corkins made the cut.

Day 1B – Top 10 in chips

1 Nozomu Shimizu Japan 519,500
2 Hun Tae Choi Korea 462,000
3 Hyeonho Shin Korea 460,500
4 Phachara Wongwichit Thailand 445,500
5 Quang Huy Nguyen Viet Nam 422,500
6 Steeven Vargas Tan Philippines 391,500
7 Danh Tuan Luu Viet Nam 370,500
8 Chee Keong Teng Singapore 359,500
9 Joshua Kai En Tan Singapore 341,000
10 Mr. Fendy Indonesia 340,000

WPT Championship – Chip counts
WPT Championship – Live Updates
Punnat Punsri bags WPT Championship Day 1A lead

Championship by the numbers and Day 2 info

When the 231 players return (118 Day 1A, 113 Day 1B) for Day 2 on Saturday, January 27, 2024, it will be a long grind with the money starting at 95th place. The minimum payout is USD 6,054 and up top is an enormous USD 431,146, the largest first prize cash to be paid out by any touring brand in the region.

mik sexton cup trophy 2

Additionally, the champion will also be awarded a seat worth USD 10,400 to the 2024 WPT World Championship in Wynn Vegas, the champion’s  name will be immortalized on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup, and become a member of the exclusive WPT Champions Club. 

Day 2 cards in the air: 11:30am
Day 2 blinds: 90 minutes
*One hour dinner break at end of Level 15
Bagging time: end of Level 18

Buy in: USD 3,500
Guarantee: USD 1,000,000
Entries: 760 (441 unique)
Prize pool: USD 2,432,760
ITM: 95 places

Top 10 in chips

Punnat Punsri Thailand 528,500 T-20 [07]
Nozomu Shimizu Japan 519,500 T-10 [09]
Trung Ha Nguyen Viet Nam 489,000 T-45 [07]
Hun Tae Choi Korea, Republic Of 462,000 T-09 [08]
Hyeonho Shin Korea, Republic Of 460,500 T-11 [05]
Phachara Wongwichit
Thailand 445,500 T-15 [01]
Quang Huy Nguyen
Viet Nam 422,500 T-05 [02]
Amit Kaushik India 403,000 T-19 [05]
Steeven Vargas Tan
Philippines 391,500 T-08 [01]
Danh Tuan Luu Viet Nam 370,500 T-19 [08]

Top 10 payouts

Place Payout in USD
1 $441,546*
2 $287,255
3 $211,819
4 $157,858
5 $118,906
6 $90,532
7 $69,678
8 $54,215
9-10 $42,647

*1st place includes a seat worth $10,400 to the 2024 WPT World Championship in Wynn Las Vegas. WPT will value-add accommodations. 

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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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