Taehoon Han Ships PokerStars Festival Korean Main Event Against More Seasoned Opponent

Earlier this week, New Zealand’s Taehoon Han won the PokerStars Festival Korean Main Event to capture a ₩83,130,000 ($74,651) first-place prize. It was a surprise upset for the player, who faced off against fierce skills in heads-up play.

No deal: Taehoon Han’s decision to keep on playing turned out to be a good one. He took home the top prize in the PokerStars Festival Korean Main Event, trompling the more experienced Yuki Ko heads-up. (Image: PokerStars)

Deal or No Deal

The PokerStars Festival Korean Main Event drew 285 players to Paradise City Hotel & Resort in Incheon, including Team PokerStars Pros Randy Lew and Celina Lin. However, it was a little-known player from New Zealand, one who had moved to South Korea just days earlier, who prevailed over the pros.

The 26-year-old Han, with just $8,000 in live earnings on his poker résumé before the event, began the heads-up match holding a slight chip lead against the aggressive Yuki Ko, who had nearly $300,000 in earnings and had finished as the overall chip leader from the two starting flights.

Han initiated chop talks, but they fell through when Ko asked for more than half the remaining prize pool. After that, it was game on, and Han maintained his lead for the next two hours against his more experienced foe.

In what turned out to be the final hand of the tournament, the blinds were 30,000/60,000/10,000 when Ko shoved with the J♥10♥ and Han called him holding the Q♣J♠.

The 10♠ in the window looked good for Ko, but unfortunately for him it was followed by the 2♣ and Q♦ to give Han a pair of queens. Neither the A♠ turn nor 4♦ river changed a thing and Ko exited in second place for ₩55,280,000 ($49,641).

“This is my first big tournament cash,” Han said after the win. “It feels unreal … Good money, good result, that’s good enough for me.”

Final Table Results

1 Taehoon Han (New Zealand) ₩83,130,000 ($74,651)
2 Yuki Ko (Japan) ₩55,280,000 ($49,641)
3 Weikuo Hsiao (Taiwan) ₩40,430,000 ($36,306)
4 Mitsuru Sano (Japan) ₩32,635,000 ($29,306)
5 Harunobu Kojima (South Korea) ₩25,600,000 ($22,989)
6 Scott Janik (USA) ₩19,400,000 ($17,421)
7 Jwahyoung Kim (South Korea) ₩14,220,000 ($12,770)
8 Dmitrii Kovalevskii (Russia) ₩10,450,000 ($9,384)

Boyuan Qu Goes Wire-to-Wire in High Roller

The inaugural High Roller event attracted 34 unique players who accounted for 28 re-entries, which created a ₩240,560,000 ($215,000) prize pool. That was distributed to the final table of eight, and it was Elia Gutierrez who fell as the bubble boy. He got it in holding ace-king against the ace-ten of Team Online’s Randy “nanonoko” Lew. A ten spiked and that was all she wrote for Gutierrez.

Meanwhile, China’s Boyuan Qu began Day 2 as the chip leader and never relinquished it on his way to taking down the title and ₩72,160,000 ($64,500) top prize. He was responsible for eliminating Lew, who had shoved all in from the small blind with the 9♦7♦. Qu called from the big with the K♦J♥, and despite flopping a flush draw, Lew came up empty to exit in fifth place for ₩19,730,000 ($17,600).

Qu entered the heads-up match against Japan’s Kazuhiko Yotsushika holding a 3-1 chip lead, though the latter did nearly even out the stacks. But Yotsushika ended up running a bluff into Qu’s three of a kind, and paid for it with his tournament life.

The next PokerStars Festival will take place July 28 through August 7 in Manila, Philippines.

Final Table Results

1 Boyuan Qu (China) ₩72,160,000 ($64,500)
2 Kazuhiko Yotsushika (Japan) ₩52,200,000 ($46,600)
3 Takayuki Iwamoto (Japan) ₩33,680,000 ($30,100)
4 Horzuchi Yutaka (Japan) ₩25,500,000 ($22,800)
5 Randy Lew (USA) ₩19,730,000 ($17,600)
6 Daniel Demicki (Poland) ₩15,400,000 ($13,800)
7 Xiangbiao Zhu (China) ₩12,270,000 ($11,000)
8 Sparrow Cheung (Hong Kong) ₩9,620,000 ($8,600)

Chad Holloway
Written by
Chad Holloway
Splitting his time between his native Wisconsin and Las Vegas, Chad Holloway gave up a potential law career to follow his passion and play and write about poker. His background includes a long stint as a senior writer for a major poker news site. Long well-known throughout the poker community for his incisive and in-depth commentary and reporting, we are proud to have Chad on board as part of our CardsChat writing team, where he will be covering everything from the World Series of Poker to interviews, features, and more.

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