The first MAIN EVENT of the Asian Poker Tour 2019 calendar season is over! Congratulations to Abhinav Iyer from India! Iyer entered the Final 8 round with a commanding stack and proceeded to rail six of his seven opponents. He seized the title, the wicked new APT Main Event trophy, the APT Championship Ring, and a pocketful VND 2,269,092,000 (~USD 97,000).
A quick chat with the champion
APT: Congratulations on your win Abhinav! How does it feel to win the Main Event which I believe is your first major international win?
Abhinav: It feels great. It feels like an achievement. I’ve been putting focus into live tournaments for the last year and a half. I think this win has been coming. I’ve had a few deep runs in the last year where things didn’t go my way then the last couple of months I came close so It feels good and ecstatic to close out this tournament. I ran really good.
APT: Throughout the entire tournament, what were some of your key moments?
Abhinav: First, I thought the structure was really good. It suited my style of play. I could start accumulating chips at at the beginning of the tournament. I got a really good start. I jumped in really late at 100-200 blinds on Day 1B. I got a good double up early. I felt that was a key moment coz that really made a difference. I could just grind out the day. I built up a good stack at the end with around 95k which I thought was very good for coming into Day 2.
I started Day 2 really good but then I was down to 30 bbs a couple of times which is rare in general in tournament poker. I had to fight my way back. But the structure is so good that I only went that low. So running good in the beginning was really key. Then coming back to Day 3 with 275k was a great feeling as well.
There was a big crucial flip in Day 3 when a player jammed on utg+1 for like 650k and I had pocket nines on the big blind. I called and he turned over K-7 and lost. That was big hand coz that just built up my chip lead. Because I had more chips than the others, I could now exert more pressure and there was no fighting back.
The real turning point for me was when it was down to the final two tables and the redraw happened. I had a million chips and I just ran over the table. There was no real pressure. I was in the position where I could just open up alot. I was just looking to play solid poker and build up my stack taking good spots. That worked out really well because I bagged up 4.8 million. I chipped up 3.8 million so that was really good. I could have bagged up half the chips in play if I won the last hand. I called for an ace, I got it, but it was the wrong suit so I lost some chips to a flush. I should be more specific when I call out next time.
APT: With such a massive lead, I couldn’t imagine you to be too concerned about any players at the Final 8, but were there any?
Abhinav: I was of course concerned coz it is still poker and it could come down to a flip and I could still lose a couple of hands. The guy who finished third on seat 8, I heard from someone that he’s a solid player. But still because they all had smaller stack sizes, they couldn’t really play post flops and they couldn’t afford to lose to me. I was the only one that could bust them out. They really didn’t have maneuverability. Even the guy second in chips only had around 30 plus bbs.
APT: You had a fantastic game and pretty much railroaded everyone today. Having an incredibly big stack helps but did you also do some mental preparation before coming in today?
Abhinav: No not really. I was out until 130 in the morning then I slept around 530am or so. Got a good six hours sleep and woke up feeling good. I came in today and just played my game. It’s like a natural instinct. I don’t think too much of what I have to do at the start.
APT: What does this victory mean to you?
Abhinav: It means alot. I thought and I believed it was gonna come. I felt it coming. I’m not shocked or surprised because I know it had to come someday or the other coz I was playing good. I’ve been consistent enough so I felt it was coming. Last year was a good year and this year boom. To start the year this way. The first bullet I come in, ya it’s been a good start to the year I have to say.
APT: Thanks for the chat Abhinav and congratulations on your victory!
Main Event recap
The APT Kickoff 2019 Vietnam – Main Event – ran a course of six days from January 10 to 15 at Pro Poker Club. It drew 576 entries to easily surpass the 8BN guarantee for a much richer VND 11,174,400,000 (~USD 481,000). Out of that, 58 were paid with the top three becoming billionaires.
Today saw the return of the Final 8 players.
Leading the pack was India’s Abhinav Iyer with 80bbs. Just to emphasize how large Iyer’s stack was, his closest challenger was China’s Mai Te with 35bbs. Iyer’s first victim was Malaysia’s Sim Kok Wai (8th) with 10♥ 8♥ connecting on the board to defeat A♠ 2♠. Several hands after, he amassed half of the chips in play with still seven players remaining.
Bowing out next was Ming Yang Liu who took a beating against Mai Te with K♥ Q♥ unable to improve against K♦ K♠. Ming was crippled down and Iyer sent him packing in 7th place. Out next was the short-stacked Hak Do Kim in 6th with Te sending the axe.
The Iyer show
From there, it was all Iyer. He railed every single player in his path just gobbling up their chips one by one. Mark Gruendemann defended his big blind with K-10 but fell to A-2. Huu Tuan Nguyen had it all in with A-9 and was ahead of Iyer’s A-5, but a five came down for a pair to Iyer. At three remaining, Te tried to push out Iyer from taking his big blind and shoved with 8-2, but Iyer had K♠ K♦ and wasn’t going anywhere.
This led to heads up between Iyer and Horikawa.
Iyer had a 6:1 advantage. It took all of three hands to finish the job. The final hand saw Horikawa with Q♦ J♦, Iyer with 2♦ 2♣. The board ran Q♣ 7♣ 10♣ to give Horikawa hope with top pair but the turn 2♥ quickly switched up for a set to Iyer and Horikawa was drawing dead.
Final 8 payouts
1st Abhinav Iyer – India – VND 2,269,092,000
2nd Daiki Horikawa – Japan – VND 1,512,731,000
3rd Mai Te – China – VND 1,051,629,000
4th Huu Tuan Nguyen – Vietnam – VND 759,571,000
5th Mark Gruendemann – Ireland – VND 568,039,000
6th Hak Do Kim – Korea – VND 438,408,000
7th Ming Yang Liu – China – VND 348,137,000
8th Sim Kok Wai – Malaysia – VND 283,642,000
Dafabet APT Survivors
Online betting giant Dafabet offered a special promo to players of the Main Event called the APT SURVIVOR. The last three players wearing the Dafabet patch were awarded one seat each to the APT Tokyo Main Event in February. Congratulations to the winners Daiki Horikawa, Abhinav Iyer, and Huu Tuan Nguyen!