All year the Asian Poker Tour has been prepping for its biggest player incentive of the year, the APT Game of Champions. Yesterday, the exclusive tournament opened the APT Finale Macau Championships 2017 at Macau Billionaire Poker in Babylon Casino. In the aftermath, Norway’s Kai Paulsen emerged victorious. Also winning an event trophy today was Japan’s Hiromi Sato at the Ladies of Poker. Recaps below.
Kai Paulsen wins the APT GOC
18 APT trophy winners went in hard pursuit of the APT Game of Champions title and after two days of slugging it out on the felt, Kai Paulsen outlasted them all and was crowned the APT champion of champions. Paulsen is one of the APT’s loyal followers; he earned two qualifying entries to this event. For his huge triumph, he was awarded HKD 66,300 and the gorgeous one-of-a-kind glass trophy.
Final Day recap
Among all the players that participated in the APT GOC, only four of them were decorated with APT Main Event titles but only two, Sam Nee Aik Chuan and Soo Jo Kim, made it into the final day bout. While Kim entered with a very healthy stack, big enough to earn him the second-in-chip rank, Chuan tied for the bottom spot with Yoichi Uesugi – ranked 2nd in the APT POY 2017 leaderboard. In kingly position was Hung Sheng Lin, one of last year’s APT Regional POY winners; and to complete the six finalists were two players right smack in the middle, Stephen Nathan (APT Philippines 2017 Player of the Series champion) and of course, the eventual winner, Kai Paulsen.
Action kicked off with Uesugi dusted within minutes. Entering the next level, things began to go south for Kim, and it got worse after he suffered a huge loss against Paulsen on an all in showdown. Paulsen had K♠ K♦ and Kim with A♠ K♣. With no hits for Kim, he was crippled down then eliminated by Nathan. This then signaled the start of the crucial bubble round.
With stacks fairly deep compared to the blinds, it took some time before the money was reached. The player missing that by one spot was Chuan who took successive hits to his stack until Nathan finally put him out of commission. On his final hand, he three-bet shove preflop and Nathan made a “brave” call with 6♠ 6♦. Chuan had A♥ 10♠. While the board favored Chuan up to the turn 7♥ 2♠ 10♥ 9♥, the river 6♣ ended his run with Nathan improving to a set.
With the last three players now in the money, it was a race for the biggest chunk and the title. Nathan continued his stellar performance and won five pots in a row to create an even larger gap between him and his two opponents. As he increased, the battle between Paulsen and Lin for second rank was very tight. Lin settled for 3rd place after doubling up Paulsen then getting the boot from Nathan with K-9 unable to improve against Q-Q.
Heads Up Round
Just a quick trivia before the rest of the recap; both Paulsen and Nathan were the last two players to sign up for the event and ironically they were the last two remaining. Now on with the final round.
With Nathan shipping in almost everyone’s chips, he had a lead of over 4.5:1 against Paulsen. The Norwegian was able to cut the gap with a double up but remained behind until a deal was discussed. With the new figures now agreed upon, the first hand saw all the chips in the middle. Paulsen had Q♣ J♣ and Nathan with Q♦ 10♣. No nuggets fell on the board and for the first time, Paulsen took a slight lead over Nathan. Nathan recovered some of the lost chips to retake the top spot but it went plunging down after he shoved with 8♥ 3♦ preflop, only to run into Paulsen’s A♥ A♥.
Paulsen closed the event with 2♣ 2♥ besting A♥ 3♠ on a blank board of 5♦ 6♦ 10♥ 7♦ 7♥. Congratulations to Kai Paulsen for his victory! Due to the deal, Nathan ended up with the higher payout of HKD 73,100. That concludes the exciting APT Game of Champions.
1st Kai Paulsen – Norway – HKD 66,300 (deal made)
2nd Stephen Nathan – UK – HKD 73,100 (deal made)
3rd Hung Sheng Lin – Chinese Taipei – HKD 34,900
Buy-ins + Add-ons = HKD 96,800
USD 10,000 added = HKD 77,500
Total prizepool = HKD 174,300
Hiromi Sato becomes the APT’s year-ending Queen of Poker
The Ladies of Poker event drew in 10 entries for a prize pool of HKD 19,400. With only two paid, the heads up round was very lopsided with Hiromi Sato holding a 9:1 chip advantage against Nuttaya Shinawatra. The final hand came fairly quick with Sato pushing with 9♦ 8♠ and Shinawatra risking it all with A♦ A♠. Though very happy to show her pocket rockets, the board was unforgiving as it spread 4♠ 9♣ 8♥ 5♦ 7♦ for a victorious two pair to Sato. Upon losing, Shinawatra exclaimed, “second again! I was also second in APT Cambodia.”
1st Hiromi Sato – Japan – HKD 12,600
2nd Nuttaya Shinawatra – Thailand – HKD 6,800
Games on Friday, December 1st
For all you weekend warriors, bring out the hatchet! We have one side event for you on Friday, December 1st, the Head Hunter Bounty tournament. This is one of the most popular and thrilling games offered with action always aggressive from the get-go due to the bounty reward of HKD 1,000 for every player you scalped. Buy-in is HKD 4,400. Cards in the air at 2pm.
At 5pm, there will be another Main Event Mega Satellite. Earn your Main Event seat for only HKD 1,200. One seat awarded per ten players.
The two-day Warm Up event will also be back on the floor from an overnight break. The final race to the finish starts at 1pm. We will have a recap on that as soon as it concludes.