The APT Kickoff Vietnam 2018 was bursting at the seams with players pouring in for the season’s opening day festivities at the Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh. There were two events lined up with the NLH Welcome Event amassing 183 entrants. This was later followed by the Ante Up for Charity event with 46 in the field. While the games were underway, there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting to officially open the games.
NLH Welcome Event recap
The NLH Welcome Event kicked off with many locals warming up the seats. Among them were past APT Main Event Champions Huy Pham (APT-RWM 2014 Poker Finale), Ha Duong, (APT 2012 Asian Series Cambodia), and Huu Dung Nguyen (APT 2017 Championships Philippines). Representing his heritage as well was Men “the Master” Nguyen, one of the most highly recognized poker professionals in the world.
Of course there were other decorated players and APT circuit regulars scattered all around the room. The Japanese contingent came out strong with Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (APT 2017 Player of the Year), Iori Yogo (APT 2016 Player of the Year), and Katsuhiro Muto (APT 2017 Korea Main Event) among the many attendees on the felt from their country. One player back on the APT green was quadruple crown APT POY 2012 – 2015 champion Samad Razavi.
With 183 entrants in total and each one putting up the VND 4.4M entry fee, the prize pool grew to a very healthy VND 710,040,000. Out of that big pot, the eventual champion will pocket a hefty VND 145,560,000. 31 players in total will see a profit.
This event will resume tomorrow, Saturday, January 20 with the Final 8 players remaining in the field. It is a local heavy table with Hoang at the helm with 422,000 in chips. He earned over half of those chips in a double hand against Tan Van Nguyen. Tan Van held K♦ K♣ andHoang with A♦ 10♣; the board felted an ace on the flop, 3♠ A♠ 8♣ 10♠ J♥ and it held to the end. Tan Van eventually busted in 9th place and that closed the night with the Final 8.
Here are the Final 8 players and their chip counts:
Seat 1: Zhanh Tung Pham – Vietnam – 65K
Seat 2: Huynh Duc Tai – Vietnam – 214K
Seat 3: Thi Xoa Nguyen – Vietnam – 49K
Seat 4; The Cong Luu – Vietnam – 122K
Seat 5: Aivaras Bardaukas – Lithuania – 233K
Seat 6 Hoang – Vietnam – 422K
Seat 7: Erwin Ng – Singapore – 349K
Seat 8: Benedict Koh – Singapore – 377K
Yu Dang wins the Ante Up for Charity
The second event of the day was the Ante Up for Charity event and though the numbers were lighter than the opener, the 46 entries generated VND 46,000,000 for the Saigon Children’s Charity organization. The remaining VND 92M prize pool was divvied up among 8 players with Japan’s Yu Dang taking home the largest share for his victory. Dang went heads up against Korea’s SJ Kim and defeated him with J♥ 10♦ straight against 8♣ 8♠ set on a board of A♥ Q♥ J♣ 9♦ 8♦. He claimed the first trophy of the festival and VND 29,990,000.
APT POY program retired with one final awarding
Today also saw the APT officially retire the APT Player of the Year program to be replaced with the more rewarding APT Player of the Series.
APT Executive Tournament Director, Lloyd Fontillas stated, “We’ve decided to retire the APT Player of the Year because we wanted to reward more players. So for the APT Player of the Series program, we are giving cash prizes to the top three winners.”
All the past APT POY winners were recognized on stage today along with special awards given to the APT POY 2017 runner-up Yoichi Uesugi and 3rd placer Iori Yogo.