The Asian Poker Tour crowned its newest champion with Korea’s John Kim overcoming a very grueling final day at the APT Poker Weekend Series Manila 2016 Main Event to seize the PhP1,132,000 first place prize money, the APT Championship Trophy, and the APT Championship Ring.
Kim entered the final day running a close second in chips to weekend series defending champion, Japan’s Gerard Bringley. With both players in top form all day, they seemed destined to meet at the heads up round. But before we get to the final duel, there was plenty of thrilling poker action that led to that moment.
The day began with the final 16 players out of the 216 total entries returning to the Main Event arena. The most active players in the first two levels were the short stacks looking for boosts at every orbit. While several of them fell in the first two rounds, it was Japan’s Takeshi Sasaki who scored it big with a double up out of the short stack range with K♦ K♣ prevailing over Japan’s Kiyoto Kuroda’s A♦ Q♠. Another short stack finding success in the early rounds was Singapore’s Jaivin, connecting with a flush on the river with his K♥ 9♥ to cripple an APT Main Event champion, Japan’s Hisashi Ogi.
When the field downsized to ten players, Bringley crossed the million mark with a gorgeous nut flush hand holding A♥ 10♥ on a completed board of 9♣ J♥ Q♥ 8♥ K♠. Despite Bringley’s intimidating artillery, Malaysia’s Ming Ken Thoo moved into the second spot in the chip count when he claimed two big pots, a double up through Kim with his pocket kings over pocket tens, and the other against Bringley. The Final 8 was set when Singapore’s Tan Jian An won a coin flip against Japan’s Oyama Masaharu.
Final 8 players
The Final 8 began with lots of fireworks on the first three hands with A-J as the culprit. On the first hand, Kuroda was eliminated in 8th place holding a losing A-J against Jaivin’s A-K; Sasaki doubled up with A-6 winning against Japan’s Aso Seitaro’s A-J when a six spiked on the board; then on the third hand, Seitaro was eliminated in 7th place with A♠ J♠ losing again, this time against An’s A♣ 10♣ on a board running 9♣ 3♥ 7♠ 6♣ 5♣.
Despite chipping up more with pocket queens, the next to fall was Jaivin in 6th place in a wild hand against Bringley. On a board of A♠ 8♦ 5♥ 5♦ 3♦, Bringley set a trap and Jaivin took the bait. Jaivin went all in with 4♦ 6♦ flush but Bringley had 5♣ 3♣ full house.
With five remaining, players displayed more aggression. Kim won two big pots, one against An and the other with a higher two pair against Thoo to cross well over the million range. Next was An who took on Bringley to come close to a million chips. Short stacked Sasaki wanted in and eliminated Thoo with A♠ J♣ ahead all the way against Thoo’s A♣ 3♣. While Sasaki worked hard to climb up the ranks, Bringley crossed over the 2M chip range with a winning straight against Kim. Kim continued to lose more, giving up chips to An.
Kim on fire
Those two losses were just what Kim needed to shift gears as he quickly recovered by shipping in a majority of the next pots. It started with a winning straight against Bringley (for a big pot), won a few more with uncalled shoves and uncalled raises against Sasaki and An, then earned another big one with his K♥ J♥ against the leader on a board of 3♥ 5♦ J♠ 9♣ 10♣. The most intense moment was when he four-bet shoved preflop against Bringley. This tanked the leader for quite some time then folded. Kim slipped into the leader’s seat when Bringley doubled up Sasaki, and distanced himself further ahead by eliminating An in 4th place with 10♠ 10♣ over 6♦ 6♥. Not long after, Bringley won a coin flip with A-K eliminating Sasaki with 6-6 to enter the heads up round slightly ahead in chips against Kim.
Kim dominates the heads up round
It was fairly even at the start of the heads up round with both players winning small pots back and forth but once Kim won with his A♥ 4♥ by pairing up his lower card on the board against Bringley’s A♠ 3♠, he soared to 2.8M, which was two-thirds of the chips in play. He climbed even higher, to 3.2M chips, with his K♠ 10♣ pairing up the king on the river, then continued to grind down Bringley on the next hands. But as we said, these two players were in top form so Bringley was not going down that easy. He won the next series of hands, got close to par with his A♣ 10♠ two pair, but again, Kim retaliated and won two big pots, one of which was a flush with 7♥ 4♥ on a board of 9♥ 6♥ 2♠ 9♦ 10♥. Several hands later, it was all over, Bringley was all in with 7♣ 7♥ and Kim with 2♠ 2♣. The board ran 5♣ A♠ 9♥ 2♦ 6♥ for a winning set and the Main Event title.
Congratulations to John Kim for reigning victorious at the Main Event! You can watch the Final 8 action in the APT YouTube channel. You can also read up on all the action of the final day and view the payouts in the Live Reporting section of the website.