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The biggest poker tournament in terms of prize money and participation ever hosted in Vietnam, the APT Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Main Event VND 6 Billion GTD Championship is now down to its final eight players. Young Gun Devesh Thapar ended his run on Day 3 of the event in 13th place for a payday of VND 115,410,000 (~₹3.40 Lakhs).
The marquee event pulled in a record participation of 499 players generating a prize pool of VND 9.68 Billion (~₹2.87 Crores) with a top prize of VND 1.63 Billion (~₹48.40 Lakhs). In total 203 players made Day 2 from three starting flights.
“It was an amazing feeling, playing the APT for the first time in Vietnam and it was my second time here, so I was pretty confident about it. It was a long grind with eight levels everyday for three days and a roller coaster ride,”Thapar said after his elimination.
“I was among the top 10 stacks after Day 1C, later in Day 2, I started good and finished among the top three stacks. This gave me a lot of confidence,” Thapar recalled, adding, “I need to work hard on my game as I know where I was wrong. But I loved how I managed to grind for all this time and went deep again!”
Thapar’s journey in the tournament saw him enter the Day 1C flight and he advanced to Day 2 with a stack of 105,100. He entered Day 3 with 547,000 in chips, which was the third biggest stack in the 53-player field. Two other Indians, Sumit Sapra and Ravi Priya had entered the event on Day 1B but busted short of the money.
Eliminations came briskly on Day 3 and among the players to fall before the final table was formed were Nguyen Hoanh Trang (9th for 184,850,000), Choong Kian Weng (10th for VND 157,990,000), Nguyen Thanh Nha (11th for VND 135,030,000), Oeyestein W.B. Nordii (12th for VND 135,030,000), Johannes Felix Hoeld (14th for VND 115,410,000), Nguyen Trung Hieu (16th for VND 98,640,000), Nguyen Tien Son Putin (17th for VND 98,640,000) and Alex Lee (18th for VND 98,640,000).
Day 3 Recap
After an early double up by Nguyen Hoanh Trang whose three-of-a-kind aces won against Ang Kai Boon’s pocket eights, several players were eliminated in quick succession, even as Kian Weng who had returned to the felts with the second maximum chips continued to beef up his stack.
With only 36 players remaining, Thapar was seen in action in a hand where the board was open and there was 80,000 in the pot. Thapar pushed all-in and Nguyen Hoang Trangtank-called. Thapar tabled for a gutshot straight draw while Nguyen showed for a flush draw. Both players held drawing hands and with the completing the board, Nguyen’s king high held up and he doubled up through Thapar.
Few hands later, Thapar doubled up through Johannes Felix Hoeld. The two players went head-to-head for a pot that kicked off with a raise from Thapar in late position. Hoeld 3-bet to 61,000 from the button and Thapar 4-bet to 134,000. Hoeld slowed down with a call. On the flop , Thapar bet 85,000, Hoeld shoved and Thapar snap-called. He held for a set while Hoeld tabled for a pair and a flush draw. With the turn and the river completing the board, Thapar’s set got him a big double up and he was later heard saying, “Such a sweat with top set!”
Immediately after this, Thapar raised to 24,000 and Trung Hieu 3-bet to 67,000. Thapar called to see the flop open . Hieu led out with a bet of 50,000 and Thapar called. No bets were fired on the turn, Hieu checked down the river, Thapar bet 125,000 and won the pot as Hieu mucked his hand. Thapar was now over 1 Million in chips!
Soon, another flurry of eliminations narrowed the field down to the last 27 players.
Tzu Chieh Lo chipped up after taking a pot off Thapar in a hand where preflop action saw a lot of chips in the middle. The flop opened , Lo bet 125,000 and Thapar called. Both players checked down the and rundown and Lo won the sizeable pot with as Thapar mucked.
By now there were only 18 players left, with Son Putinin the chip lead holding 1.25 Million in chips while the average stack was 692,000.
The start-of-day chip leader Nguyen Van Dung was eliminated next by Dang Xuan Canh in a hand where Dung held ace-queen and was called by Canh with pocket jacks. Van Dung found no support on the rundown and hit the rail in 15th place.
German player Johannes Felix Hoeld was eliminated next by Minh Le. Hoeld moved his remaining chips in with Thapar and Minh Le looking to send him out. On a flop, Le checked and Thapar bet 48,000, Le raised to 133,000 and took the side pot after Thapar folded. Hoeld tabled and Le showed . The turn and the river confirmed Hoeld`s exit in 14th place.
Hoeld’s elimination was followed by that of Thapar, who exited in 13th place. Thapar`s final hand saw him all-in with queen-jack vs. pocket rockets and his opponent clipped a set on the ace-high board, ending Thapar’s dream run.
The only former APT champion competing in the tournament, Choong Kian Weng was sent packing next in 10th place. Right after he doubled up from Vu Duct Trung, Chung shoved from the small blind and was called by an opponent from the big blind. Choong tabled while the opponent showed . The board ran drawing blanks for Choong whose deep run came to an end here.
With the fall of Nguyen Hoanh Trang in ninth place, the final eight players bagged their chips on the penultimate day of play. Trang, who was short-stacked for a majority of the last few hands, found his his ace-four up against Vu Duc Trung’s straight and the former exited the event on the final hand of play on Day 3.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Tzu Chieh Lo – 2,810,000
2. Dang Xuan Canh – 2,490,000
3. Hai Chuot – 1,675,000
4. Vu Duc Trung – 1,665,000
5. Lien Kang Feng – 1,195,000
6. Minh Le – 1,150,000
7. Tran Duc Phuong – 1,145,000
8. Le Duc Anh – 320,000
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