APT Summer Series Hanoi, Vietnam 2023 Main Event Final Table Player Profiles
Ben Wilson / 2 Jun 2023
After three grueling action-packed days of tournament poker, the 581-strong Asian Poker Tour (APT) Summer Series Hanoi, Vietnam Main Event field has been whittled down to the final nine players.
All nine finalists are already guaranteed a pay day of VND 289,400,000 (USD $12,385), but all will be going for glory and have their sights set on claiming the VND 3,401,355,000 (~$145,500) top prize and the coveted golden lion APT Main Event trophy.
To see how we got to this point, you can check out the coverage on the APT Blog.
You can also view all the action as it played out via the APT Live Stream:
The stage is set, the curtains are raised, all that remains is to introduce the players, so let us take a look at the lucky few and examine the poker credentials of our potential future champions-in-waiting:
Seat 1: Nguyen Duc Cuong
Chip Count: 1,770,000 – 35 big blinds
Vietnam’s Nguyen Duc Cuong will be returning sixth in the counts with a stack of 1,770,000 – worth 35 big blinds – and is already guaranteed his largest career cash. A relative new-comer to the game, Cuong boasts just over USD $7,600 in live tournament winnings with four previous cashes on his poker resume, all coming this year, with his best result a fourth place finish in the Event #1 Kickoff this Series – which was good for VND 135-million ($5,770). Cuong returned for Day 3 as one of the top 15 stacks out of 48 and remained near the top of the counts all day, so should not be counted out.
Seat 2: Dinh Duc Linh
Chip Count: 2,565,000 – 51 big blinds
Returning on the button in seat 2, Dinh Duc Linh is the second of three Vietnamese finalists and is sitting fourth in the overall chip counts with a stack of 2,565,000 – valued at 51 big blinds. Linh has just over USD $55K in live tournament winnings with 13 cashes on a poker resume dating back to 2017 and boasts two live titles – including an APT title, which came during February’s APT Hanoi where he won the Mystery Bounty Hunter for a career-best score of VND 473,750,000 ($20,211). A seventh-place finish or better will see Linh top his previous best and the Vietnamese player is gunning for his first major tournament title.
Seat 3: JongWook Kim
Country: South Korea
Chip Count: 4,160,000 – 83 big blinds
Sitting second in the chip counts with a stack of 4,160,000 – worth 83 big blinds – JongWook Kim is one of two South Korean finalists and his on the hunt for his first live title. Kim boasts ten results – including three APT cashes – on a poker resume dating back to 2022 for total live tournament winnings of just over $42K, with his best result a third-place finish In Event #24 Single Day High Roller at the recent APT Taipei 2023, which was good for TWD $817,100 (USD $26,554). A sixth-place finish or better will see Kim make a career-best score and should the cards fall his way he could well walk away with his first major title.
Seat 4: Van Sang Nguyen
Chip Count: 1,440,000 – 29 big blinds
Returning in seat 4 as the second-shortest stack with 1,440,000 – valued at 29 big blinds – Vietnam’s Van Sang Nguyen is one of the more experienced players at the final table with over USD $380K in live tournament cashes on a poker resume dating back to 2014. Nguyen boasts eight live titles – including four APT titles – with his best result coming in a Hanoi-based tournament back in April, which was good for VND 2.6 billion ($110,800). Only a win will see Nguyen beat his previous career best, but with the Vietnamese player topping the Day 2 chip counts with his wild aggressive style, should he manage a double-up Nguyen will be a danger to all who stand in his way.
Seat 5: Takumasa Uemura
Chip Count: 1,475,000 – 30 big blinds
The lone Japanese player at the final table, Takumasa Uemura will be returning in seat 5, and sits seventh in the overall chip counts with a stack of 1,475,000 – valued at 30 big blinds. Uemura returned in the bottom third of the chip counts at the start of Day 3, but an early double-up at the expense of Australia’s Julien Warhurst brought the Japanese player back into contention, with Uemura cementing his place in the final nine at the expense of Victor Em after his all-in with pocket nines improved to a set on the flop to eliminate the Vietnamese player in 12th place. Something of a dark horse Uemura has no results on his poker resume; this is either because he doesn’t want anyone else to see how good he is, or because this is the best result of his poker career. Either way, Uemura is in with a shout of becoming the latest APT Main Event champion.
Seat 6: Chun Chieh Liu
Chip Count: 2,205,000 – 44 big blinds
Taiwan’s Chun Chieh Liu is returning in seat 6 and sits fifth in the chip counts with a stack of 2,205,000 – which is good for 44 big blinds. With only one previous cash on his poker resume, which came in Event #19 Short Deck Turbo, Liu is already guaranteed a career-best score. The Taiwanese player ousted several of the field’s more notable players, busting India’s Kunal Patni and Vietnam's Ngo Van Dat on his way to the final table and could well cause an upset if the cards fall his way.
Seat 7: Jeong Ho Hwang
Country: South Korea
Chip Count: 680,000 – 14 big blinds
The second of the two South Korean finalists, Jeong Ho Hwang is returning in seat 7 as the shortest stack with 680,000 – valued at 14 big blinds. Hwang has just over USD $20,000 on a poker resume dating back to 2020 that includes five APT cashes, and three WSOP online cashes. The South Korean is already guaranteed a career-best score, with his previous top result from a monetary perspective a 4th place finish in Event #9 Mystery Bounty Hunter right here at the APT Summer Series Hanoi. Hwang has his work cut out for him if he wants to lift the trophy, but this being tournament poker, anything can happen.
Seat 8: Akshay Nasa
Chip Count: 6,275,000 – 126 big blinds
The outright favorite at the final table, India’s Akshay Nasa will be returning in seat 8 with the chip lead and a stack of 6,275,000 – which is worth 126 big blinds. Boasting a wealth of poker experience, this is not Nasa’s first rodeo and the Indian player is the sole remaining former APT Main Event champion in the field having taken down the APT Ho Chi Minh 2019 Main Event for VND 1,486,560,000 ($64,334). Nasr’s poker resume dates back to 2017 and boasts over $398K in live tournament winnings, and he holds five live tournament titles – including his 2019 Main Event win. A third-place finish or better will see Nasa make a career-best score, and improve his postion on India’s All Time Money List, where he currently sits at #21.
Seat 9: Emmanuel Derecho
Chip Count: 2,640,000 – 53 big blinds
Sydney native Emmanuel Derecho is the field’s only remaining Antipodean and the Australian will be returning in seat 9 sitting third in the overall chip counts with a stack of 2,640,000 – valued at 53 big blinds. Derecho has already showcased his fearlessness by picking off a Nasa bluff with just jack-high – and being correct! The Aussie has results dating back to 2012 on a poker resume boasting three live tournament titles and over USD $197K in live tournament winnings, and he also cashed the 2017 APT Manila Main Event, where he finished in 32nd place for a $2,570 payday. Derecho’s career best score stands at $67K for an Australian title win back in October 2022 and the Aussie needs to finish in second or better to improve on this.