“I still can’t believe it!”
Those are the only words Korea’s Soojo Kim could exhale after having an incredible run at the Final 8 of the Asian Poker Tour Finale Macau Main Event and capturing his first-ever APT championship title.
Throughout the 2016 calendar year, Kim was running very hot. Prior to the finale, he already won an impressive seven APT side event titles and added one more to his collection after winning the No Limit Hold’em 1 event several days ago.
Entering the Final 8 of the Main Event, Kim was running second-in-chips with all the big stacked Chinese pros, including the leader Lu Yunye, sitting to his left. Still, Kim came out firing, quickly earning a sizable amount of chips very early. But with short stacks also looking to get a boost, Kim was their ticket. He doubled up China’s Xie Wei Jian when his A♦ K♠ lost to A♣ Q♠ after a queen showed up on the board, then moments later, he pumped up China’s Yifan Zheng’s stack with his K♥ Q♦ that failed to improve against A♥ J♠. By this time, one player was already eliminated, India’s Praveen Dwarkanath in 8th place.
In a quest to climb back up the chip ladder, Kim delivered the next elimination, railing China’s Yuan Hang Zhong in 7th place. But as quick as it came, his stack took a beating again with Zheng raking it in multiple times. After China’s Xi Xiang Luo was ousted in 6th place, Zheng and Kim returned to slugging it out until Kim landed a big game-changing double up with his 3♣ 3♥ set over Zheng’s A♦ 10♥ on a board that ran 7♦ 3♦ 2♣ 9♣ 5♣.
The table eventually downsized to four players when Yunye eliminated Jian in 5th place. This win sent Yunye’s stack soaring to a big chip advantage, but several orbits later, Kim snatched that lead from Yunye when he snap-called the leader’s four-bet shove and doubled up with J♣ J♦ over 5♠ 5♥.
With nearly half the chips in play backing Kim up, the railbirds were on edge. Little did they know, they were about to witness the biggest showdown of the day. The hand began with Germany’s Steffen Endres all in with his short stack. Kim called and action moved to Yunye who also shoved. Zheng folded and instantly Kim tossed in a chip signaling the call. Endres opened up 7♣ 7♥, Yunye had K♣ K♥, and Kim with a dominating A♦ A♠. When the board completed, it was a wild double elimination, and excitedly, Kim ran to the rail in celebration. When asked how he felt, “I had so many chips, I was so happy, I felt I was going to win it.”
And win he did. The heads up round began with Kim holding a towering 8:1 chip lead against Zheng. Although Zheng managed to double up once, the final hand came just moments after with Kim securing the championship title with 10♥ 10♦ over 5♦ 5♣.
Congratulations to SJ Kim for his big victory at the APT Finale Macau Main Event! Kim claimed the HKD647,300 first place purse and the APT Championship Ring.
Final 8 Payouts
1st Soojo Kim – Korea – HKD647,300
2nd Yifan Zheng – China – HKD369,500
3rd Lu Yunye – China – HKD249,000
4th Steffen Endres – Germany – HKD175,600
5th Xie Wei Jian – China – HKD141,500
6th Xi Xiang Luo – China – HKD112,700
7th Yuan Hang Zhong – China – HKD89,100
8th Praveen Dwarkanath – India – 70,800
The HKD11,000 entry fee Main Event drew in a total of 273 entries at the Crystal Palace in Casino Lisboa for a total prize pool of HKD2,620,800. This was the largest APT Main Event field recorded for 2016. For a read on all the Main Event action including the chip counts and payouts, head to the Live Updates page.
Main Event Recaps
APT Player of the Year Party
Join us in celebrating a fantastic year of poker! The APT Player of the Year Party begins at 10pm on Thursday, December 15th at Divino. We will be crowning the APT Player of the Year 2016 champion, and awarding prizes to all the APT Regional Player of the Year winners.