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The Asian poker circuit has seen high-octane action these past few days at the 2018 Asia Poker League (APL) Road Series Vol. 3 that opened at Pro Poker Club, Ho Chi Minh City on November 15 and is fast moving towards the finale. Fresh off his win at the Hyper Turbo Event for VND 34 Million (₹1.05 Lakh) Abhishek Paul was among the few Indian`s in the hunt for the VND 8 Billion GTD Main Event title alongside Sumit Sapra and Amanpreet Singh.
The event saw 587 entries over the three starting flights. After three more days of furious action, Quang Nguyen (cover image) has captured the winner’s trophy along with the top prize of VND 1,618,750,000. Nguyen was quite the aggressor on the final day and single –handedly knocked out three players, namely Jack En Ching Wu, Cao Ngoc Anh, and Duy Ho from the final table. Despite coming into the heads-up match against SJ Kim with a poor stack, he remained unfazed and beats the odds to claim victory.
The Indian run in the Main Event kicked off on Day 1D as all the three Indian pros entered this flight. While Sapra busted out early, both Singh and Paul managed to progress to Day 2 with respectable stacks. Shockingly, Singh who was second in chips with a stack of 247,900 coming into Day 2, had a rough beat and fell out empty-handed, leaving Paul as the only Indian in the running. Paul`s deep run ended on Day 3 with the Indian making a 27th place finish for VND 53,470,000 (~₹1,61,712) payout.
Straight off after busting the Main Event, Sapra entered the VND 33,000,000 buy-in High Roller that drew a total of 141 entries across two starting flights. A prize pool of VND 4,103,100,000 was created and 18 players will take home at least a min-cash of VND 1,146,820,000. While Malaysia’s Sam Ng bagged the chip lead with 1,096,000 among 69 players advancing further, Sapra who held 648,000 was sixth in stacks going into Day 2.
Sapra has several notable High Roller scores to boast of. In July 2012, Sapra shipped the PokerGuru Tour Season 2 Six Max High Roller. He finished fourth in the 2017 WPT India ₹100K High Roller for ₹11.54 Lakhs and this year in June he finished 15th in the ₫11M NLHE MonsterStack at the 2018 APL Vietnam for $2,683.
Even as further results of the High Roller are awaited, Sapra is looking primed for another deep run.
With a buy-in of VND 16,600,000, the Main Event saw the prize pool hit VND 8,540,850,000, surpassing the guarantee. A total of 147 survivors from the three starting flights returned for Day 2. When the day concluded, only 29 remained. Day 3 was as eventful, and the field narrowed down to the eight-handed final table.
Indian challengers – APL Hyper Turbo champion Abhishek Paul and Amanpreet Singh joined the action on Day 1D. Interestingly both Paul and Singh were seated at the same table on Day 2 and even played a few hands with each other.
For Amanpreet Singh who came into Day 2 with the second-largest stack of 247,900, the journey ended in Level 17, when he ran his pocket nines into Nguyen Thanh’s pocket kings. Singh failed to connect on the board but Thanh improved to a three-of-a-kind on the river to win the pot and eliminate Singh.
Abhishek Paul had started Day 2 on a high note with the fifth-biggest stack i.e. 206,600 and even orchestrated the elimination of Apu Weo. Weo’s ran into Paul’s . With the board running , Paul hit a pair of kings on the turn, sending Weo to the rail. However, towards the fag end of Day 2, Paul lost a big pot to Cao Ngoc Anh and ended up with only 311,000 in his bag. Day 3 saw the two clash again and this time Paul’s went up against Cao’s . With the board drawing a blank, Paul was eliminated in 27th place for VND 53,470,000 (₹1,61,667).
Railing out on the bubble was German pro Johannes Felix Hoeld. Hoeld who had lost to Minh Le in the 2018 APT Vietnam HCM Main Event to score a 14th place finish, once again fell prey to Le after running his ace-ten against Minh’s ace-king. With Hoeld getting eliminated on the bubble, the remaining 74 places earned a minimum of VND 21,610,000, and only 29 among them carried a bag to Day 3.
We also saw many prominent players leave with nothing to show for and these included Lim Yohwan, Linh Tran, Tetsuya Tsuchikawa, Bobby Zhang, Iori Yogo, Hai Chuot, Mel Judah, Men “the Master” Nguyen, and Norbert Koh.
Among notables who scored in the event were Willy Portier ‘Doorman’ (10th for VND 134,690,000), Tran Van Quan (11th for VND 134,690,000), Alex Choi (12th for VND 134,690,000), Nguyen Nam Duong (15th for VND 89,680,000) and Edmund Eng (20th for VND 75,670,000).
Sao Bac Dau (9th for VND 161,930,000) bubbled the final table and his elimination saw the final eight bag up for the final day.
1. Minh Le – 3,450,000
2. Cao Ngoc Anh – 3,030,000
3. Quang Nguyen – 2,145,000
4. Nguyen Thanh – 1,695,000
5. SJ Kim – 1,395,000
6. Thien An – 975,000
7. Duy Ho – 945,000
8. Jack En Ching Wu – 875,000
Right as the final table kicked off, fireworks were at play on the felts. SJ Kim first won a monster pot through Nguyen Thanh, with his pocket queens proving superior to Thanh’s pair of jacks. Thanh was knocked out in the very next hand by Duy Ho. Down to 300K, Thanh moved all his chips in from the big blind after small blind Ho moved all in for 1 Million. SJ Kim folded and Ho tabled against Thanh’s . Though Thanh improved to a pair on the flop, Duy hit a winning ace-high straight on the turn and the river, enough to score Thanh’s elimination in eighth place.
The final table then saw its next elimination in a hand where the action folded to Thien An who shoved for 900,000 from the small blind and found a called in big blind Minh Le. Thien held versus Le’s . The board ran out and Thien was looking to double up but the river brought and Le hit a pair of aces. Thien was relegated to the rail in seventh place.
Shortly thereafter, action folded to Jack En Ching Wu who moved all in for 700K from the small blind and was called off by big blind Quang Nguyen. Nguyen tabled against Wu’s . The board ran out and Nguyen paired his king to dominate Wu’s turned pair of tens to send Wu packing out of the game in sixth place.
Cao Ngoc Anh who had on Day 3 eliminated India’s Abhishek Paul, lost a big pot Minh Le and soon headed to the payouts desk. In the hand, Nguyen raised to 185K from the cutoff on which SJ Kim called from the small blind, and so did Anh from the big blind. The flop fell and the blinds checked to Nguyen who bet 280K. Kim folded and Anh raised to 600K, while Nguyen called. After the appeared on the river, Anh pushed all his remaining 1.1 Million in the middle, prompting Nguyen to make the call. Anh tabled against Nguyen . Nguyen stayed ahead on the river with a higher kicker, sending Anh out in fifth place.
Nguyen scored another elimination when taction folded to small blind Nguyen who moved all in and Duy Ho called for his tournament life from the big blind. Nguyen tabled against Duy’s that improved to a one pair on the flop. Duy didn’t see much help coming in from the turn or the river and was eliminated in fourth place, leaving only three players in the race for the title.
The chips exchanged hands for sometime before Minh Le was eliminated in third place. The epic hand saw Le opening for 360K on the button and SJ Kim defended his big blind. Both players checked on the flop and after the appeared on the turn, Kim bet 250K and Minh called. On the river, Kim led out for 585K and Minh moved all in with 2Million, prompting Kim to snap call. Minh tabled for a full house but Kim had the superior quads with [d0] in his hand.
Heads-up, SJ Kim began with a huge margin in chips i.e. 11,640,000 against Nguyen’s 2,870,000 but Nguyen doggedly worked to close the gap. The play lasted a couple hours before the final hand was dealt. Nguyen shoved with and Kim called with . The board came down and though the gave Kim more outs, he got bricked on the river and Nguyen won the pot and the title with his two pair.
1. Quang Nguyen – VND 1,618,750,000
2. SJ Kim – VND 1,134,820,000
3. Minh Le – VND 729,730,000
4. Duy Ho – VND 521,080,000
5. Cao Ngoc Anh – VND 399,970,000
6. Jack En Ching Wu – VND 328,400,000
7. Thien An – VND 270,660,000
8. Nguyen Thanh – VND 215,830,000
Image and Content Courtesy www.somuchpoker.com.