Poker has been on the rise in Asia pacific region in last few years since the start of big tournaments like Asian Poker Tour (APT) and The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT). The latter climaxes every year with Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) and the latest to join this years party was The World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC). These prestigious tournaments with their rising prize pools have drawn thousands of players not only from Asian countries but also from the western part of the world towards Asian poker rooms.
Highlighting the poker carnival is the 2014 ACOP underway at the city of dreams, Macau with 14 title events. The tournament is witnessing the highest turnout this year on its poker tables with HKD $15,000,000 guaranteed Main Event. The big names of the industry coming in for this poker battle include the Australian poker pro Joe Hachem having $11,865,859 under his hood in live poker earnings, 2 WSOP bracelets winner Greg Merson and Bertrand Gospellier ElkY having both European Poker Tour (EPT) and World Poker Tour (WPT) titles along with the 2011 WSOP Stud championship bracelet. The 2011 APPT Main event winner, Randy Lew ‘Nanonoko’ will present a stiff competition to them. Coming in with 2 APT and 1 ANZPT titles in his name this year, Diwei Huang ‘Bryan’ will be leading the Asian poker community from the front.
Several other maestros of poker have marked their presence on Asian shores and won huge prizes in previous years. The bright picture of Asian poker destinations was painted in 2013 by this year’s WSOP Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu winning WSOP Asia Pacific Main Event bracelet and one of the biggest ambassadors of the game in current times, Phil Ivey taking down the Mixed Event gold bracelet. Eyeing the popularity, the WSOP organizing board doubled the number of bracelets to 10 in 2014 which finished recently at Crown Casino, Melbourne. Drawing over 2000 entries, 2014 WSOP APAC saw a higher degree of poker fever with Scott Davies winning the Main Event with AU$850,136 and the German poker pro, George Danzer clinching his 3rd WSOP bracelet this year along with the WSOP Player of the year title.
Taking about the poker destinations which attract the players from world over, Macau dominates over all other poker hosting cities. Going by the annual revenue, Macau’s casinos combine for nearly $29 billion in annual revenue while Las Vegas casinos add up to around $10 billion per annum. While poker players are landing in the city of dreams from every nook and corner of the world to play in remaining 12 days of 2014 ACOP, these numbers tell the rest of the story. Few other thriving poker destinations in Asia include Manila, Singapore and Vietnam out of which Manila comes to the top with the Resort World Casino hosting WPT events.
India and Sri Lanka are in nascent phases of growing poker market with a few good poker hosting casinos but will surely evolve out in the international arena with better policies and infrastructure. Who knows, we may see Negreanu, Danzer and Shack-Harris hitting the poker tables at any poker destination in these nations in coming years.
Update from the 2014 ACOP
Poker action continued in ACOP 2014 after the first two titles were taken down by Indian poker players.
Event 3: 6-Max Championship
Venezuela got its first Spadie with Jose Rivas outplaying the field of 120 players to claim the title with HK$252,600 in cash. The $11,000 buy-in 2-day event kicked off on 27th October wherein an immense tussle set off on the poker tables to make it to the list of 2nd day. Day 2 saw players like Tor Anton Welo, Kevin Nettles, Song Wang, Dean Blatt and Beng Hooi Beh in the race to the title but it was Rivas who took down Nettles in the heads up to claim the title. However Nettles bagged $ 247,900 which is only 5K less than the first prize as the two made a deal in heads up match.
Event 4: PLO Championship
The first and the only Omaha event of 2014 ACOP saw 79 players coming in for the game which generated a prize pool of HK $1,031,505. Klaus Pautrot of France triumphed the ultimate battle on Day 2 of the event taking home HK $279,300. 3 players who finished over HK$ 1 million in cash were Ka Cheong Wong ($ 103,500) of Hongkong, the Russian player Andrei Kaigorodtcev ($ 124,100) and the runner up David Yuan Jan Wang ($ 186,200) of Australia.
Event 5: KO Big Bounty
India’s Kunal Patni finished 4th in this event which was won by Orjan Skommo after defeating Akira Ohyama.