For most poker players – even those that are at the top of their profession – making a final table and getting heads-up for a championship is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Rarely does a player get the opportunity to come back and get the chance for redemption in the very event where he or she loses heads-up.
Just one year ago, Chane Kampanatsanyakorn came up short at the Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Seoul Main Event. This year, Kampanatsanyakorn was able to redeem himself, as he took down this year’s Season 8 APPT Seoul Championship.
Fierce Day 1 Action in Seoul
Played this past weekend at the prestigious Paradise Walkerhill Casino poker room in Seoul, South Korea, the APPT Seoul Main Event promised a solid turnout. With Day 1a bringing 118 players and Day 1b offering 138, the total field for the event ended up being 256 players. The event cost ₩3 million to enter, which translates to approximately $2,850 USD. Given the player pool, the overall prize pool size was ₩685,363,200 ($649,724 USD). The top 28 grinders would end up cashing in the event.
At the end of Day 1b, the day’s 138 runners were shrunk down to just 47, with two players from this day accounting for the biggest two chip stacks heading into Day 2. It was Hong Kong pro Raiden Kan who held the chip lead with 156,400 in chips, with United States player Timothy Palace in a close second with 155,400 chips. Day 1a chip leader Masato Yokosawa with 146,800 chips was in third place.
Two notable pros played on Day 1b of the APPT Seoul Main Event this year, but didn’t last to Day 2. Popular Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Raymond Wu couldn’t survive the field, nor could Asia Pacific champs Shaq Lin, Terry Fan, Kenny Leong, Paul Hocklin, or Michael Kanaan.
92 Players Whittled Down to 24 on Day 2
While the original plan for Day 2 for tournament organizers was to play eight hour-long levels to see who the top 28 players would be, the field ended up a bit smaller than planned. The defending champion, Aaron Lim, was eliminated early on Day 2, as was Day 1a chip leader Masato Yokosawa. PokerStars Team Online’s Naoya Kihara, as well as Sam Razavi and APPT POY candidate Hao Chen, were also taken out before Day 3. Sid Kim ended up being the Bubble Boy by being ousted in 29th place, and in the next 30 minutes after that happened, four more players were eliminated.
Day 3 Sees Kampanatsanyakorn Take It Down
Day 3 – played last Sunday – started with 24 players and played down to a winner. Jeffrey Holbrook entered the day as chip leader, but ended up being eliminated in 10th place. Once play whittled down to three players, a deal was struck after a ten minute conversation. The deal broke down as the following:
Christian Haggart with 2,655,000 chips received ₩130,000,000 ($123,240 USD)
Chane Kampanatsanyakorn with 1,965,000 chips got ₩120,000,000 ($114,000 USD)
Samantha Cohen with 900,000 chips got ₩86,610,000 ($82,000 USD)
After the accord was struck, there was still ₩30 million ($28,500 USD) to be played for, including a prize package to the ACOP Main Event in November for the winner. Cohen, shortly after the deal was struck, was eliminated in third place.
The stage was then set for heads-up play for Kampanatsanyakorn to find redemption after losing the same tournament heads-up just one year ago. With a chip lead of 2.95 million versus 2.1 million, Kampanatsanyakorn held a lead and was able to hang on.
On the fateful final hand (which took 90 minutes of heads-up play to get to), Haggart was on the button and made a raise. Kampanatsanyakorn went into the tank and then three-bet, with Haggart then four-bet shoving. Kampanatsanyakorn insta-called with pocket aces, leaving Haggart in bad shape holding QJ off. The board ended up pairing Haggart on the flop with a Jack, but did not improve him, giving Kampanatsanyakorn the victory.
In a press release sent by PokerStars, Kampanatsanyakorn was quoted as saying, “I’m so grateful… I never gave up,” when asked to recall his journey from last year’s heartbreak to this year’s triumph.
Final Table Payouts
1. Chane Kampanatsanyakorn (Thailand) — ₩150,000,000 ($142,200 USD)
2. Christian Haggart (Canada) — ₩130,000,000 ($123,240 USD)
3. Samantha Cohen (USA) — ₩86,610,000 ($82,106 USD)
4. Shinya Umano (Japan) — ₩49,690,000 ($47,106 USD)
5. Winfred Yu (Hong Kong) — ₩41,120,000 ($38,981 USD)
6. John Marshall (USA) — ₩32,550,000 ($30,857 USD)
7. Keiichiro Sugimoto (Japan) — ₩25,700,000 ($24,363 USD)
8. Makoto Yoshimichi (Japan) — ₩20,560,000 ($19,490 USD)
9. Kosaku Akashi (Japan) — ₩15,433,200 ($14,630 USD)