APT Incheon, South Korea 2023

APT Kickoff - KRW 175,000,000 GTD - Final Day




Hong Ru Zhang


China's Hong Ru Zhang Wins The APT Incheon Kickoff Event for KRW 29,360,019 (~$22,170)

PostedJust nowby Life of Poker - Joris

APTIncheon2023_#1 APT Kickoff - Final Day-404465.jpg

The APT Incheon Kickoff Event has been won by Hong Ru Zhang. The Chinese player beat a field of 288 entries to take home KRW 29,200,000 (~$22,045) after making a deal heads-up with Japan's Shogo Kiruma. It was Zhang's first-ever tournament at the APT, and he walked away with an all-new APT Lion, a career-best score and only his second ever live tournament cash.

Players from China and Japan dominated the final table, with payouts for the final nine as follows:

PlaceNameCountryPrize KRWPrize USD
1Hong Ru ZhangChinaKRW 29,360,019~$22,170*
2Shogo KimuraJapanKRW 28,000,000~$21,140*
3Koichi SaekiJapanKRW 16,720,000~$12,620
4Shen Syu HoTaiwanKRW 13,530,000~$10,210
5Zhangxin ZhaoChinaKRW 10,660,000~$8,040
6Jung Hwan ShinAustraliaKRW 8,140,000~$6,140
7Xuefeng HuangChinaKRW 5,980,000~$4,510
8Guang Guo PiaoChinaKRW 4,400,000~$3,320
9Takashi TaniguchiJapanKRW 3,600,000~$2,710

* Heads-up deal was made

Day 2 started with 42 players, all of whom were guaranteed a min-cash of KRW 1,030,000 (~$780). Japan's Takahisa Watanabe was our top dog for most of the first levels of the day, but saw his tournament turn to ashes at the last three tables. He would bust out eventually in 16th place.

Other notable players who cashed but did not make the final table are Philippines' all-time money list leader Marc Rivera (23rd), Thailand's APT Taipei Mystery Bounty champion. Kiwanont Sukhum (21st), 16-time APT champion Lester Edoc (18th), and Malaysia's Joshua Tjan (12th), with the latter departing after Shogo Kimura cracked his aces.

In one of the first hands of the final table, we lost Japan's Takashi Taniguchi in 9th place (KRW 3,600,000 (~USD $2,710) after Guang Guo Piao's jack-eight called his all-in with ten-nine. If you think this would be a good start to the final table for Piao, you are wrong. The Chinese player hit the rail in 8th place after losing two big pots in a row. Piao would collect KRW 4,400,000 (~USD $3,320) for his 8th place finish.

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Guang Guo Piao

After the elimination of Xuefeng Huang in 7th place for KRW 5,980,000 (~$4,510), it would take a while before we saw the next bust out.

Hong Ru Zhang and Shogo Kimura were the big stacks at the final six, and they kept all the other players under pressure. Jung Hwan Shin was one of our many APT debutant's and he was able to survive several times miraculously. In the end, his run would end in 6th place when his king-six lost against Shogo Kimura's nine-eight suited. Shin earned himself KRW 8,140,000 (~$6,140).

The final table's bad beat would occur at the final 5 when Zhangxin Zhao got his chips in good against Hong Ru Zhang. Zhao showed pocket jacks in a massive pot and dominated Zhang's pocket tens. The rail of Zhao went nuts, and they even celebrated after the river hit the board. A few seconds later, they realized that the jack on the river made Zhang's straight to bust out Zhangxin Zhao in a brutal fashion in 5th place for KRW 10,660,000 (~$8,040).

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Zhangxin Zhao

The rollercoaster day of Shen Syu Ho ended in 4th place when his last chips were lost with pocket fives versus Zhang's ace-four. Ho grinded himself to a top stack at the final two tables, but the boards didn't run out in his favor on numerous occasions. His deep run in the first event of this series must have felt bittersweet as he ran into several tough beats along the way, but still was able to cash for KRW 13,530,000 (~$10,210).

The battle at the final three players was unfair for Koichi Saeki as his two opponents had piles of chips at their disposal. When Kimura limped his small blind Saeki went all-in with jack-six in hopes of pushing his countryman off his hand. To the disgust of Saeki he saw Kimura trapped him with pocket nines. This was Saeki's first live tournament cash, and it will be a memorable one as he will walk away with KRW16,720,000 (~$12,620) for his 3rd place finish.

A heads-up deal was made pretty swiftly, as both players had around the same stack size. They decided to chop and play for the trophy and leave KRW 1,360,019 in the middle for the winner. The deal ensured both players were trigger-happy, and after several big pots went Zhang's way, he decided the heads-up battle in his favor when his pocket fours won the race against Kimura's ten-nine.

Join us tomorrow for another live reporting blog from Incheon. We will be following Day 2 of the Mystery Bounty, which will start at 12:15 PM local time.

This live reporting blog is brought to you by Life of Poker.

Level 31: Blinds 80000-160000, 160000 ante

Shogo Kimura Eliminated in 2nd Place KRW 28,000,000 (~$21,140)

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After our two finalists made the deal, not many pots went the way of Shogo Kimura. The Japanese, now sitting in the big blind, had eight big blinds behind and pulled the trigger when Hong Ru Zhang shoved all-in.

Kimura was desperate and called the all-in from Zhang with T♦ 9♥, but was still flipping against the 4♠ 4♦ from Zhang.

The A♣ 4♣ 5♥ flop made Zhang stand up from his chair as his maiden APT title was now very near. Kimura looked down to the board in an accepting manner. The K♣ on the turn made sure it was all over, another K♦ on the river only meant Zhang finished the tournament in style.

Shogo Kimura has nothing to be disappointed about, however as he made an ICM deal before the heads-up started and will pick up a massive prize of KRW 28,000,000 (~$21,140) at the cashier.

NameChip Counts
Hong Ru Zhang9,400,000
Shogo Kimura0
Level 30: Blinds 60000-120000, 120000 ante

Kimura Stays Alive

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Shogo Kimura lost several pots in a row and was down to only 8 big blinds. He pushed all in and received a call from Hong Ru Zhang.

Kimura was holding 5♥ 5♦, while Zhang showed A♥ 8♣. We were off to the races!

The board ran out: 3♥ 3♠ 4♥ 2♦ J♠.

Kimura stayed alive but still has a mountain to climb.

NameChip Counts
Hong Ru Zhang7,800,000
Shogo Kimura1,700,000
Level 30: Blinds 60000-120000, 120000 ante

Blinds set at 15 minutes

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The blinds are halved to 15 minutes per level as the dealer agreed to a deal.

Level 29: Blinds 50000-100000, 100000 ante

ICM Deal Has Been Made

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An ICM deal between Shogo Kimura and Hong Ru Zhang has been made.

Both players will take home KRW 28,000,000 (~$21,140) and they left KRW 1,200,000 and tropthe hy in the middle.

Level 29: Blinds 50000-100000, 100000 ante

Koichi Saeki Busts in 3rd Place KRW16,720,000 (~$12,620)

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Koichi Saeki was the clear short stack of the final 3 players. The moment Shogo Kimura limped in from the small blind Saeki took a shot a moved all in. Kimura snap-called and Saeki's face was bitter.

Saeki: J♣ 6♣.

Kimura: 9♠ 9♦.

A very well-executed trap by Kimura who was on the verge of eliminating his countrymen. Saeki needed some luck one more time to stay in this Kickoff Event.

The 3♣ 2♠ 4♦ gave Saeki a small lifeline as he now had 7 outs to stay alive. In an ultimate Japanese showdown, it was Kimura who battled his way to the heads-up as the T♦ and A♣ were of no help to Saeki.

Koichi Saeki was eliminated in 3rd place banking KRW16,720,000 (~$12,620).

NameChip Counts
Shogo Kimura4,300,000
Koichi Saeki0
Level 29: Blinds 50000-100000, 100000 ante

Rollercoaster Day Ends in 4th Place for Shen Syu Ho KRW 13,530,000 (~$10,210)

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Koichi Saeki jammed all-in preflop from the button and received a fast call from Shen Syu Ho in the big blind. The Taiwanese is having the biggest rollercoaster of all the players that came into Day 2. He was sitting on the second stack at the final 15 players, but several coolers crippled him to less than five big blinds. He recovered and was now on the verge of sending Saeki to the rail.

Saeki showed K♦ 4♣, while Ho tabled A♦ 8♥. The Q♥ 4♠ 8♣ flop did not change much as Ho was still in the lead. Only a miracle run out would save Saeki. Miracles however sometimes come through, and this time it surely did as the 4♦ popped up on the turn. The Japanese went to top dog all of a sudden, and the 4♥ river made Saeki quads!

"I can't win from you. You beat me all day.", said Ho while he shipped half his stack to the other side of the table.

On the next hand, Ho was all-in again with 5♠ 5♦ against the A♥ 4♣ of Zhang. The rollercoaster came to an end for Ho who to his massive disappointment saw an ace hit in the window. The runout was 3♥ A♣ K♥ 2♠ 3♣.

Shen Syu Ho collected KRW 13,530,000 (~$10,210) for his impressive run.

NameChip Counts
Hong Ru Zhang6,000,000
Koichi Saeki1,200,000
Shen Syu Ho0
Level 28: Blinds 40000-80000, 80000 ante

Zhangxin Zhao Hits The Rail After Massive Bad Beat 5th KRW 10,660,000 (~$8,040)

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In the last hand before the break, the action went really fast but it resulted in a preflop all-in between Zhangxin Zhao from China and the chip leader Hong Ru Zhang. The speed at which the chips went into the middle was clear we facing a cooler situation and a cooler we saw.

Zhang: T♥ T♣.

Zhao: J♥ J♣.

The dream scenario for Zhao who was on the verge of becoming the second biggest stack in the field after Zhang.

The board however decided differently: 5♠ Q♦ A♦ K♣ J♦. Zhao's rail did not notice it at first and was jumping up and down and cheering the run-out. Zhang pointed out that he rivered a straight and they looked at the board in disbelief. Zhao and his rail walked out in disappointment but will have to walk by the cashier first to pick up Zhao's 5th place finish for KRW 10,660,000 (~$8,040).

NameChip Counts
Hong Ru Zhang5,100,000
Zhangxin Zhao0
Level 28: Blinds 40000-80000, 80000 ante

Players On a 15-minute Break

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The players are on a 15-minute break.

Level 28: Blinds 40000-80000, 80000 ante

Jung Whan Shin Busted in 6th KRW 8,140,000 (~$6,140)

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The blinds are killing for the short stacks, and Jung Whan Shin was one of the short stacks who saw his stack tumbling due to the blinds. In his last hand, he was put to the test by Shogo Kimura who put Shin all-in from the small blind after the other players folded to him. Shin only had 3 big blinds behind and made the call.

Kimura: 8♠ 9♠.

Shin K♠ 6♥

The flop hit Kimura in a massive way 9♥ A♠ 3♠. Shin was down to 3 outs. The 5♣ on the turn and Q♠ on the river meant we lost Shin from this tournament. The Australian had a blast as it was one of his first-ever live tournaments. He will take home KRW 8,140,000 (~$6,140) for his 6th place finish.

NameChip Counts
Shogo Kimura2,400,000
Jung Whan Shin0