WSOP: Runner-up for Pete Chen and deep runs for Naoya Kihara, Vivian Im, Richard Zhu

While the 48th annual World Series of Poker continues to bring ear-to-ear smiles to all of the latest bracelet winners, there are also plenty of players just as happy at having gone deep for a profit. In the Asian contingent, the latest big money-maker was Taiwanese pro Pete Yen Han Chen for his thrilling runner-up finish at one of the NLH events. Also in the money – though not as deep as Chen – were Naoya Kihara, Richard Zhu, and Vivian Im. Read below for their impressive achievements at the series.

Taiwanese pro Pete Yen Han Chen finishes in 2nd place at the $5K NLH event

Pete Chen - Photo Drew Amato , Courtesy of WSOP
Pete Chen – Photo Drew Amato , Courtesy of WSOP

To say that Pete Chen is having a great poker year is clearly an understatement. The young pro has just moved up to 2nd rank in the Taiwan All Time Money List after an incredible performance at Event #56: US$5,000 No Limit Hold’em where he finished in 2nd place to Argentina’s Andres Korn. Chen pocketed a whopping US$382,122 making this his largest-ever live tournament score. He also surpassed his previous record of three WSOP cashes in a single year with five already in the books at the ongoing series.

Taking a look at Chen’s impressive stats this year, he now has 33 total cashes, 21 of which were final table berths, and of course we cannot forget his huge victory in April. Chen championed the WPT Beijing Main Event and shipped in nearly US$300K. Adding up his entire bag of 2017 tournament cashes, Chen has amassed nearly seven figures – a total of US$952,416 – and the year is only halfway through.

Read more: First major victory for Pete Chen at the inaugural WPT Beijing

Since 2014, Chen has been hot as a pistol. He tallied 14 cashes, 9 final table berths, and two victories. He also won the PokerStars Asia Player of the Year 2014 title. In 2015 he performed even better with 29 cashes, 10 final table appearances, and two victories. Last year, was a massive one as he continued to pile in the stats. He cashed 51 times, had 26 final table berths, and 6 new titles.

Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Andres Korn $618,285
2 Pete Chen $382,122
3 Thomas Boivin $264,306
4 Marton Czuczor $185,794
5 Mike Sowers $132,767
6 Simon Lam $96,472
7 Andrew Spears $71,300
8 Mark Zullo $53,615
9 Sergio Cabrera $41,031

Naoya Kihara 10th in the Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Mix

Five years ago, Naoya Kihara brought home the first-ever bracelet for Japan and since then, he has been a frequent flyer at the WSOP. Last year, he posted 11 cashes with his furthest at 19th place.

At the ongoing series, Kihara has already profited in five events with his latest score at Event #57: US$2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Mix. Kihara finished 10th out of 405 players for a US$13,662 payday. USA’s Smith Sirisakorn took down that event. This is a sweet scoop for the Japanese pro who hasn’t seen a five digit earning since 2015. He has accrued over US$27K at the WSOP 2017.

South Korea’s Vivian Im earns her first-ever WSOP cash

Vivian Im
Vivian Im

Just a few days ago, South Korea’s Vivian Im got on the board of the WSOP. Im joined a field of 1,763 players at Event #58: US$1,500 No Limit Hold’em and finished in a respectable 17th place. This awarded her a ten-fold profit of US$15,250, which also happened to be her first-ever WSOP cash.

Several years ago, Im emerged into the Asian spotlight after her victory at the APPT 2010 Main Event in Cebu, Philippines. She earned her largest winnings of US$134,142. The following year she nearly captured another title, finishing 2nd at the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Event for another big wad of US$97,629. While she continues to boost her live earnings, posting an average of five cashes a year, nearly all of them are Asia-based events.

Seeing her at the ongoing WSOP may be a rare sight but nonetheless, it is a treat to witness her tackle the most prestigious poker festival clear across the other side of the globe.

Richard Yueqi Zhu bags 3rd in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud

Chinese-American Richard Yueqi Zhu is another player most often seen slugging it out at the WSOP tables, and with ample success. Since 2000, he has reached the money round in at least two events per year, and in 2016, he upped it into double digits with 10 cashes. By the looks of it, Zhu is gunning to surpass that record this year as he currently has 7 cashes under his belt.

Out of all his current marks, Richard Yueqi Zhu  took it very deep at Event #55: US$1,500 Seven Card Stud, finishing in the top 1 percent. He placed 3rd out of 298 players for US$41,349, his largest pay at the ongoing series. Prior to that, he also picked up a five-digit payout of US$28,375 at Event #32: US$1,500 Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo Limit Omaha Hi/Lo for his 6th place finish.

Despite his all his visits to the WSOP, he is still hunting for one of those coveted gold bracelets, having been within reach several times throughout his career.

Article by Triccia David


Triccia David

Triccia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits. She spent a year working part time with Poker Portal Asia and later became the editor and 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 blogger for several other major events in the Philippines. Currently, she is in charge of events reporting for Somuchpoker.

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