Early side event winners: Yo Hwan Lim, Ha Duong, and Li Qiang

The second day of the Asian Poker Tour Macau 2016 was cause for much celebration with a few players winning the festival’s early side events at the Crystal Palace of the Casino Lisboa. Among the winners were a couple of notable pros decorated with past APT triumphs and deep runs. Below is a review of today’s exciting events.

Korea’s Lim Yo Hwan wins the opening event

The two-day Poker King Cup HKD 300,000 Guaranteed opening event saw 155 players take to the felt with only 47 returning today for the race to the first trophy. And what a race it was. With many players determined to capture the title, some of them newcomers to the APT arena and some of them well known pros, it was truly one difficult race to reach the finish line.

The day began in a turtle’s pace with only a few players taking an early fall. It took quite some time before the bubble burst, and when it did, it was Hong Kong’s Anthony Mak who delivered the blow. Immediately after, the field quickly whittled down to one table with Korea’s Chang Rak Choi heavily dominating the felt. Day 1b chip leader, China’s Sun Wei Xiong fell out of the running in 9th place followed by Mak in 8th place falling at the hands of Korean pro Lim Yo Hwan.

Poker King Cup Champion, Lim Yo Hwan a.k.a. Boxer

It was at this stage when the momentum shifted away from Choi as he doubled up two players back-to-back, Korea’s Jung Wang Kim and Singapore’s Feng Zhao. Shortly after, Kim was forced to put all his chips in the middle upon a ruling that he couldn’t take his chips out of the betting line without making a call or a raise. That costly mistake sent Kim to the rai in 7th place with Yo Hwan’s A K outdrawing his J J. Falling next was Day 1A’s chip leader, Korea’s JK Kang in a respectable 6th place. At five-handed, Choi couldn’t handle the heat and Zhao sent him packing in 5th place, followed by Hong Kong’s Chan Pak Kwan Justin in 4th place leaving three heavy-hitting pros at the felt, Yo Hwan, Zhao, and Norway’s Kai Paulsen.

The three-handed match was impressive with each one highly skilled and unwilling to give an inch. The chip lead bounced back and forth several times from Yo Hwan to Paulsen until Zhao took a big chunk off Paulsen’s arsenal with a double up holding a winning 10 8 flush against A K on a board of 9 Q Q 4 7. Paulsen had to settle for 3rd place when yet another A K failed him, losing to Yo Hwan’s A 5 one card flush on a board of 8 J 10 2 Q.

The heads up round began with Yo Hwan holding a 3:1 chip advantage against Zhao. Despite that, Zhao was unfazed, winning multiple pots with his uncalled raises and three-bets. Their stacks evened up when Zhao won a big pot with his 6 7 straight on a board of 3 K 5 4 9. Using his added chips, he continued to attack Yo Hwan’s stack and stole the chip lead momentarily. Yo Hwan retaliated with his 5 7 straight on a board of A 3 2 2 4 sending Zhao spiraling back down to a 3:1 deficit. Yo Hwan attempted to deliver the final blow with his K-10 against Zhao’s Q-8, but a queen showed up on the board, and they evened up once more with Zhao holding a slight lead.

With the blinds increasing, it took two big hands to finally finish the job. Yo Hwan doubled up with his Q 10 against 10 8 with the push happening at the flop of 10 J 6. The turn of 3 and river of K avoided the flush and Yo Hwan climbed back up. Shortly after, Yo Hwan shoved with 5 5 and Zhao called for his tournament life with A 5. The board drew blanks for Zhao and Yo Hwan heaved a big victorious exhale as the battle was finally over. Yo Hwan was awarded the first place purse of HKD 76,800 and the hard-earned first event trophy.

Vietnam’s Ha Duong takes down the Head Hunter event

Head Hunter Champion, Ha Duong

The Head Hunter event attracted 45 players for a prize pool of HKD 129,600. While there were several notable players in the field, it was a decorated APT champion who rose to the top, Vietnam pro Thanh Ha Duong. The final hand saw China’s Bin Sun all in with Q J and Duong with A 4. The board ran 6 6 5 A 9. Duong not only kept his head, and his own bounty, but also won the first place cash of HKD 50,300 and the event trophy.

China’s Li Qiang wins the Charity event

Ante Up for Charity Champion, Li Qiang

At the Ante Up for Charity event for the benefit of Caritas Macau, there were 38 entries for a donation of HKD 19,000 to the charity outreach and HKD 38,000 as the event cash prize pool. After Australia’s Anthony Hope was delivered an ugly defeat in 4th place with his pocket queens losing to Li Qiang’s set of eights, the three remaining players were all from China. Xian Xiao burned out next, eliminated by Qiang with 8-4 two pair, then the final hand saw Qiang spike a pair on the river with 10 9 against Zhen Zhang’s K 9 on a board of 5 7 3 5 10. Qiang is a newcomer to the APT and impressively captured his first ever APT trophy.

1st Li Qiang – China – HKD 15,200
2nd Zhen Zhang – China – HKD 9,500
3rd Xian Xiao – China – HKD 5,700
4th Anthony Hope – Australia – HKD 4,200
5th Kevin Choi – Hong Kong – HKD 3,400