After eight hours of final table action, the Asian Poker Tour Finale Main Event awarded its champion, and it was Joven Huerto from the Philippines. Huerto overcame a field of 169 entries and five days of international heavyweight poker battles to claim the championship title and the big kahuna first place purse of P1,927,000.
Throughout the event, Huerto was very visible on the main event radar. He qualified into day 2 ranked third in chips, and coming into the final table, he was again ranked third. At the final 8, Huerto won two big pots, both of them against eventual runner-up Filipino poker pro Andrew Gaw, which brought his stack to the million mark. Later, he eliminated Korea’s Lee Jong Yeol in 5th place and Guofu Chen in 4th place. At that point, he was the overwhelming chip leader at three-handed.
Not long after, Gaw joined in the million mark by crippling UK’s Ben Martin, which Huerto then finished off in 3rd place. Entering the heads up round, Gaw had a 500k chip lead over Huerto but this deficiency would not faze him. He proceeded to win multiple hands and he escalated to 2.3m chips. The final hand saw Huerto capture the title with K♥ K♣ against Gaw’s Q♥ 4♠ on a board of 9♦ 8♥ 10♣ 6♠ 2♠.
Overcome with joy, Huerto took the time to have a quick chat with us about his experience at the final table.
APT: Congratulations Joven! How does it feel to win your first-ever APT main event?
Joven: (With a huge ear-to-ear smile) I am overwhelmed, and so so happy. I have been trying for five years! I am so happy.
APT: We’ve been watching your progression throughout the main event and you’ve kept yourself consistently up in the rankings at the qualifying rounds, and entered third in chips today. Did you have a strategy coming into today?
Joven: Not really. I just played my game. Sometimes honest and sometimes bluffing when I see good spots.
APT: Did you experience any difficulties?
Joven: The player to my left, Chen, he had as much chips as me at one point so it was hard to play him. I decided to avoid getting mixed up in hands with him because he had position over me. Also Andrew, he is a really good player so I was sometimes worried on how to play him. I bluffed him several times so at heads up I felt a bit more confident.
APT: Having had a taste of an APT main event title, especially with a field mostly comprised of international players, will you travel to other APT events outside the country?
Joven: I would like to but my wife does not like me playing poker (he laughs). I also have a job so it will also depend on that.
APT: Ok, last question so you can celebrate. How will you be treating yourself with your prize money?
Joven: Oh, maybe buy a car. Treat my friends. Celebrate. (Big smile on his face)
APT: Ok, I won’t hold you up. Congratulations again Joven!
We have a feeling that he will be looking for a nice spot in his home for his first-ever APT Main Event Trophy.
Head to the Live Reporting section of the website for a detailed read on the big action at the final table. See who busted who, and how each player fared in the end.
Final Table Payouts:
1st – Joven Huerto – Philippines – P1,927,000
2nd – Andrew Gaw – Philippines – P1,127,000
3rd – Ben Martin – UK – P780,000
4th – Guofu Chen – China – P569,000
5th – Lee Jong Yeol – Korea – P471,000
6th – John Sayo – Philippines – P388,000
7th – Jeremy Giam Jian Hui – Singapore – P320,000
8th – Kyungrok Kim – S. Korea – P268,000