The APT Philippines 2017 II wrapped up another thrilling day at the felt in Resorts World Manila with the featured tournament, the USD 1,650 buy-in Main Event, compressed down to the Final 8 players. Ruling the charts with the largest stack amassed was Korea’s Sung Ho Kim with a roaring 1,703,000 in chips.
Day 3 picked up right where the game left off last night, with 22 players back at their seats and the money round approaching. As soon as the cards were flipped, it was full blown action with three quick eliminations –Yoichi Fujiya, Junichi Nakagiri, and past APT champion Iori Yogo. This left 19 players, signaling the start of the critical hand-for-hand bubble round.
If it only took minutes to reach this stage, getting to the money was quite the opposite. It took nearly two hours for the bubble to burst. Before it did, heavy action took place with most of it coming from the table of Korea’s Gyeong Byeong Lee, the day’s entering chip leader. Lee was tabled with Filipino players William Ysmael and two-time APT champion Mike Takayama, both of whom took big chunks out of Lee’s stack.
The money was finally reached when another past APT champion fell, Japan’s Shinichiro Tone. Tone three-bet all in with 8♥ 8♦ and was eliminated by Korea’s Jae Hyun Lim with 9♣ 9♠.
With 18 players left, the money began to flow starting with Malaysia’s Jin Yong. In Day 2, Yong avoided elimination by cracking Ysmael’s pocket kings with his pocket queens turned quads. Similar to that hand, but in reverse, Ian Yen Lee eliminated Yong with A-K improving to quad kings against Yong’s Q-Q turned full house as the board ran K-K-2-Q-K.
This brings us to Gyeong Byeong Lee who entered Day 3 with a monstrous stack and looked primed for a possible Final 8 berth and a second APT title. However, his performance in Day 2 could not be duplicated, and after suffering multiple hits to his stack, he was eliminated in 14th place.
Out next was the current 2017 APT Player of the Year race leader, Japan’s Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (13th). This was Tsuchikawa’s fourth cash of the festival. He was later joined to the rail by USA’s Ian Yen Lee (12th) who spiraled down after doubling up the eventual chip leader, Sung Ho Kim. If there were a turning point moment for Sung, this would have been that moment. The unofficial final table of the Main Event was reached when Co eliminated Malaysia’s Sun Tan.
Last hurdle to the Final 8
With ten remaining, it was down to one table with past champions Takayama and Korea’s Soo Jo Kim in the driver’s seat fueled by 1M in chips. Prior to the next elimination, their stacks – especially Takayama’s – would see heavy action with Takayama falling out of the range and SJ climbing higher. The next two eliminations arrived with Sung Ho delivering both of those blows. Sung Ho railed Ysmael in 10th place by cracking A♥ A♦ with his 10♠ 10♥ turned set on the flop. He then rose straight to the top after shipping in all of Lebanon’s Michel Ghanem’s chips with K♣ K♦ unbeaten by A♦ Q♥.
Final 8 Chip Counts
Sung Ho Kim – Korea – 1,703,000
Soo Jo Kim – Korea – 1,433,000
Eugene Co – Philippines – 869,000
Mike Takayama – Philippines – 741,000
Jae Hyun Lim – Korea – 702,000
Hanna Khalife – Lebanon – 512,000
Daiki Kohagi – Japan – 347,000
Zentaro Nakayashiki – Japan – 288,000