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The Asian Poker Tour (APT) is back with its season opener APT Kickoff Vietnam 2018 which is currently being hosted at the Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh. The series kicked off on January 19 and is slated to conclude on January 28. Headlining the action is the six-day long APT Main Event that boasts of a whopping VND 3,000,000,000 ($132,300) in guaranteed prize money. The Main Event champion will also receive the solid silver APT Championship Ring.
Quite a few big names are in attendance at the series including 2017 APT Player of the Year (POY) Tetsuya Tsuchikawa, Japan’s Yoichi Uesegi, and Iori Yogo (APT 2016 Player of the Year) along with celebrated players from the Philippines such as John Tech, Czardy Rivera and Martin Gonzales.
Former APT Main Event Champions Huy Pham (APT-RWM 2014 Poker Finale), Ha Duong, (APT 2012 Asian Series Cambodia), Huu Dung Nguyen (APT 2017 Championships Philippines), Men Nguyen and quadruple crown APT Player Of The Year (2012 – 2015) champion Sam Razavi are all present at the series.
Notably, this year, the APT officially retired the APT Player of the Year program which has now been replaced with a more rewarding APT Player of the Series.
Coming back to the series, four winners have been crowned so far in the Main Event Warm Up, NLH Welcome event, Head Hunter Bounty event and Ante Up for Charity events.
The Main Event Warm Up attracted a total of 167 entrants and a winner emerged in Japan’s Sano Mitsuru who pocketed the VND 239,930,000 (~$10,556) first place prize. The NLH Welcome Event amassed 183 entrants with Aivaras Bardaukas winning the title and VND 145,560,000 (~$6,404). The Head Hunter Bounty event attracted 130 players with Vietnam’s Jimmy Diep outlasting them all to win the title and VND 85,400,000 (~$3,757) in prize money. Rounding up the winners list is the Ante Up for Charity event that was taken down by Japan’s Yu Dang for VND 29,990,000 ($1,319).
Meanwhile, Main Event’s first starting flight (Day 1A) played out yesterday and registered a total of 138 entries with 70 players making it to Day 2. The second starting flight, Day 1B is presently underway.
Also underway is the NLH Two Day event,which saw a field of 168 entries in total, with each entry ponying up VND 11,000,000, to take the prize pool to an enormous VND 1,629,600,000. A winner will be crowned today.
The Main Event Warm Up
The Main Event Warm Up registered 167 entrants on the first day, with each player ponying in VND 7,700,000.
38 players made it through to the second day and after nine grueling hours of poker action; Japan’s Sano Mitsuru closed it out to capture the title and the VND 239,930,000 (~$10,556) first prize.
At the unofficial final table of 10, Vietnam’s Do Long knocked out two players simultaneously – Ngo Thuy Linh (lone female runner in 10th place) and Oleh Hanilin in the ninth place to set up the official eight handed final table.
Final Table Recap
Long continued his elimination spree on the final table as he eliminated half the players starting with Wilson Lim Chong (8th place).
Soon thereafter, Tetsuya Tsuchikawa busted David Luong in seventh place.
Long took out the next three players starting with Dang Van Hien who busted in sixth, Maxim Kuznetsov who exited in fifth, and Mustafa Erzincanli who settled for a fourth place finish.
However, Long’s rampage was not enough to take him all the way as the eventual champion Sano claimed a lucky double up to take control. The hand in question saw Long check on a flop of and Sano called. Long was ahead with to Sano’s but with the turn and river completing the board and Sano took down the pot and with that the chip lead.
From thereon, Long continued to tumble and lost two big pots to Tsuchikawa to settle for a third place finish.
This left Tsuchikawa and Mitsuru to battle it out in the heads up round. Tsuchikawa toiled for the title with the lead switching sides a few times but Sano gained momentum by winning three good pots and soon ended it all.
The final hand eventually arrived when both players were all-in on the flop . The final showdown saw Tsuchikawa with for an open ended straight draw against Mitsuru’s . The turn and river favored Mitsuru who took down the title.
Final Table Results (Vietnamese Dong)
1. Sano Mitsuru – VND 239,930,000
2. Tetsuya Tsuchikawa – VND 159,870,000
3. Do Long – Vietnam – VND 110,890,000
4. Mustafa Erzincanli – VND 80,060,000
5. Maxim Kuznetsov – VND 60,210,000
6. Dang Van Hien – VND 47,960,000
7. David Luong – VND 38,210,000
8. Wilson Lim Chong – VND 32,320,000
NLH Welcome Event
The NLH Welcome Event had 183 entrants in total with each one pooling in the VND 4,400,000 buy-in, so the prize pool grew to a very healthy VND 710,040,000 with 31 players in total seeing a payday.
Once the last hand was dealt, it was Aivaras Bardaukas who had all the chips in play and pocketed the hefty VND 145,560,000 (~$6,404) top prize.
The final table was played out between the top eight players.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Hoang – 422,000
2. Benedict Koh – 377,000
3. Erwin Ng – 349,000
4. Aivaras Bardaukas – 233,000
5. Huynh Duc Tai – 214,000
6. The Cong Luu – 122,000
7. Zhanh Tung Pham – 65,000
8. Thi Xoa Nguyen – 49,000
Final Table Recap
Bardaukas was in the middle of the pack while Nguyen Huy Huong was leading the way.
Huynh Duc Tai (eighth), Thi Xoa Nguyen (seventh), The Cong Luu (sixth) were the first ones to exit.
After two hours of play, Tung Pham Thanh busted in fifth place and was taken out by Hoang. Following the elimination, Huong’s stack rose over to 1,00,000, which was more than half the chips in play.
Huong could not hold onto his chip-lead for long and lost a sizable pot to Singapore’s Erwin Ng. Bardaukas then picked up several good pots to eliminate Singapore’s Benedict Koh in fourth place while Huong went out next in third place, setting up heads-up match between Bardaukas and Ng.
The final hand of the event saw Ng’s against Bardaukas‘. The board ran dry and just like that Bardaukas was crowned champion!
Final Table Results (Vietnamese Dong)
1. Aivaras Bardaukas – VND 145,560,000
2. Erwin Ng – Singapore – VND 97,040,000
3. Nguyen Huy Huong – VND 67,320,000
4. Benedict Koh – VND 48,600,000
5. Thanh Tung Pham – VND 36,510,000
6. The Cong Luu – VND 28,530,000
7. Thi Xoa Nguyen – VND 23,210,000
8. Huynh Duc Tai – VND 19,640,000
Head Hunter Bounty
The Head Hunter Bounty event attracted a total of 130 entries to create the VND 374,400,000 prize pool. After two days of poker action, Vietnam’s Jimmy Diep outlasted them all to bank the VND 85,400,000 (~$3,757) top prize.
Final Day Recap
The final ten survivors returned for the final day to play down to a champion and action picked up right from the start with the three shortest stacks quickly hitting the rail. All three local-ites namely Nguyen Thi Xoa (10th place), John Pham (9th place) and Tran Anh Dung (8th place),fell in quick succession with USA’s Nick Gorman following them next in seventh place.
Minh Trung Tran exited in sixth place and soon thereafter, Thuy Pham Duong fell in fifth place.
Tony Khoang became the fourth-place finisher and the heads-up battle between Diep and Le Hoai Nam was set up after Pham Hong Quan busted in third place.
Nam entered the heads up match with 85% of the chips in play, however, Diep scored his first double up to slowly climb up. After another series trading chips back and forth, Diep doubled up again and took the lead.
Nam too battled vigorously and doubled up to re-claim the lead by a very small margin. But soon he was left crippled, down to a mere small blind and eventually lost the title to Diep.
Final Results (VND)
1. Jimmy Diep- VND 85,400,000
2. Le Hoai Nam- VND 56,950,000
3. Pham Hong Quan- 39,500,000
4. Tony Khoang -VND 28,490,000
5. Thuy Pham Duong- VND 21,420,000
6. Minh Trung Tran- VND 16,740,000
7. Nicholas Gorman – VND 13,630,000
8. Tran Anh Dung – VND 11,530,000
9. John Pham – VND 10,150,000
10. Nguyen Thi Xoa – VND 8,870,000
Ante Up for Charity
The Ante Up for Charity event drew a field of 46 entries to collect a total VND 46,000,000 in donations for the Saigon Children’s Charity organization and the remaining VND 92,00,000 prize pool was divided among the top eight players.
In the end, it was Japan’s Yu Dang who defeated Korea’s SJ Kim heads up to seal the deal. The final hand of the event saw Dang’s straight against Kim’s set of eights on the board and Dang collected VND 29,990,000 ($1,319) for his first place finish.
Keep following the latest updates from APT Kickoff Vietnam 2018 right here on PokerGuru!