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History has been written in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Korea chapter. The introductory Global Teams Event that brought 14 country-based poker teams together on the felts wound down towards its finale on September 21. Team China that was at the helm right from Day 2 proved its mettle yet again, and claimed a sweeping victory in the event after defeating Team Hong Kong SAR in the heads-up match.
The winning four comprising the Chinese team were Yang Zhang, Xixiang Luo, Guoliang Wei captained by Dong Guo (cover image). The Guo-led team dominated the field right from the beginning and stormed into the final table with the biggest stack.
Team India’s journey in the tournament was very swingy but despite a tough day on the felts on Day 2, the team of Kunal Patni, Dhaval Mudgal and Amit Jain led by World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Nikita Luther managed to reach Day 3 with 144 points. While Mudgal and Jain busted out early on, Luther and Patni kept the flame of hope burning for Team India as both players made the final tables in Shootout A and Shootout B respectively for Event 5 but eventually, Team India collected only 186 points and placed 11th. Since only the top nine teams were to make it to the Teams Final, Team India, along with Team UK and Team Norway were eliminated.
Meanwhile, the winning Team China has collectively banked the top prize of KRW 27,475,000 (~US$24,500) while each member also earned a KRW 1,100,000 (~US$3,950) entry to the second starting flight of the WPT Korea Main Event, scheduled to begin today.
Since the top three teams made the money, the runners-up Team Hong Kong SAR banked KRW 16,485,000 (~US$14,775), while Team Netherlands were third place finishers and pocketed KRW 10,990,000 (~US$9,850).
The Teams Final kicked off with nine teams in the field led by Team China (232 points) that picked up KRW 13,737,640 (~US$12,250) for scoring maximum points in the five preliminary events.
However, Team Taiwan SAR (4th), Team Malaysia (5th), Team Korea (6th), Team Singapore (7th), Team New Zealand (8th) and Team Japan (9th) missed out on finishing in the money.
Teams Final Official Point Counts
1. Team China – 232
2. Team Hong Kong SAR – 229
3. Team Singapore – 224
4. Team Netherlands – 218.5
5. Team Japan – 206.5
6. Team Korea – 202
7. Team Taiwan SAR – 202
8. Team New Zealand – 199
9. Team Malaysia – 197.5
The Teams Final kicked off with teams being assigned seats randomly and each team receiving 1,000 in chips for every point they earned. The team captain chose the order of of their four-player rotation.
Interestingly, each team had the secret option of starting with only half their stack. The team captains wrote down their choice and conveyed it to the tournament director, without being informed of other teams’ choices. Teams that started with half of their chips in play received the other half when they were eliminated, or after two hours of play.
Team Korea was the only exception among the nine teams, choosing to start with their entire chip stack, rather than keep some in reserve.
1. Team Korea – 202,000
2. Team China – 116,000
3. Team Hong Kong – 115,000
4. Team Singapore – 112,000
5. Team Netherlands – 110,000
6. Team New Zealand – 100,000
7. Team Japan – 104,000
8. Team Taiwan – 101,000
9. Team Malaysia – 99,000
The Teams Final kicked off with Team New Zealand rising to the top within the first 30 minutes. Team Taiwan was seen using the first Team Timeout in a hand where they clashed with Team Hong Kong. Leon Li-ta Hsu (Team Taiwan) discussed the hand with his teammates for two minutes, before they returned to the table and announced their decision to fold.
As the teams engaged on the felts, Japanese musician Gakuto Oshiro, popular by his moniker ‘GACKT’ (Team Japan) lost a crucial pot to Team Malaysia to become severely short-stacked. In the very next hand, GACKT moved all in from middle position and Vincent Kwun Ngai Li (Team Hong Kong) called from the big blind with . GACKT tabled . The board didn’t help GACKT and Team Japan was eliminated by Team Hong Kong.
However, while Team Japan managed to stay in contention with the remaining half of their starting stack, it didn’t help them survive in the field for long. Soon, GACKT raised from the hijack to 12,000 and Luigi Knoppers (Team Netherlands) called from the button, with Victor Chong (Team Malaysia) moving all in from the small blind for 138,000. GACKT called all in for 134,000 and Knoppers folded. GACKT tabled against Chong’s . The board ran and Chong flopped a spade flush to collect the pot, eliminating Team Japan from the tournament in ninth place.
Shortly thereafter, Xixiang Luo (Team China) busted Vincent Kwun Ngai Li (Team Hong Kong) and Team Hong Kong was forced to use their reserve chips. Level 4 got underway then where all reserve chips were brought in play.
Team New Zealand was eliminated in eighth place in a hand where after a flop of , Paul Hockin (Team New Zealand) checked and Guolian Wei (Team China) bet 22,000 from early position, prompting Hockin to check-raise all in for 125,00. Wei tank called with a slightly bigger stack and tabled against Hockin’s for a pair with an open-ended straight draw. Wei’s pocket aces held on through the turn and the river winning Team China the pot, while Team New Zealand was eliminated in eighth place.
Next up, Team Singapore was eliminated in seventh place by Team China when Calvin Tan (Team Singapore) moved all in from the small blind for 100,000 with . Yang Zhang (Team China) who was at the cutoff tabled . Team Singapore’s tournament life was at risk unless Tan improved, but the board didn’t bring any relief and Team China won the pot, sending Team Singapore to the rail.
Team Korea clashed with Team Netherlands to make their way out in sixth place. In the hand, Daniel Lee (Team Korea) raised from the cutoff to 25,000 and Knoppers (Team Netherlands) moved all in from the small blind for 320,000. Lee thought for a short while before using one of his two-minute Team Timeouts. Lee left the table to discuss his hand with teammates, and soon returned to call all in for 260,000 with . Knoppers tabled and it was a tricky situation for Lee who clearly needed help on the board. However on the runout, Knoppers flopped a set of eights, winning the pot while Team Korea bowed out of the tournament.
The chips exchanged hands over several hands before Team Malaysia faced risk of elimination. Martijn Gerrits(Team Netherlands) moved all in from the small blind, and was called by Webster Lim Chin Wei (Team Malaysia) from the big blind. Wei decided to use one of his two-minute Team Timeouts. Wei’s teammates advised him to call and he did so, for 85,000 with . Gerrits tabled and flopped a pair of kings on the board, sending Team Malaysia out in fifth place.
With four teams left in the fray, there were now two-player teams, with each team member tagging in and out every time the button made a complete circuit.
Team Taiwan was eliminated next on the money bubble by Team China. After a flop, Team Taiwan moved all in from under the gun for 185,000 with for a pair of aces. Team China then turned over for a club flush draw putting Team Taiwan at risk. The appeared on the turn and the on the river, completed the club flush for Team China that sent Team Taiwan out in fourth place.
The next team to exit the tournament was Team Netherlands. They moved all in from the big blind for 535,000 with but they were trailing Team China`s in the small blind. On the board, Team Netherlands turned a gutshot straight draw, but Team China rivered a full house to collect the pot ending Team Netherlands’ run in third place.
Two teams remained for the heads-up and Team Hong Kong comprising of Sparrow Cheung, Edward Yam, Danny Tang and Vincent Kwun Ngai Li gave a tough fight to Team China with two back-to-back double ups to take the chip lead. However, Team China’s Dong Guo, Xixiang Luo, Guoliand Wei and Yang Zhang got it all back the next hand with a massive double up, and took over a commanding 8-to-1 chip lead against the former. In the final hand, Team China moved all in and was called by Team Hong Kong for 306,000.
Team Hong Kong:
The board came and Team China paired its jack on the flop to win the hand, as well as the tournament!
Final Results (KRW)
1. Team China – KRW 27,475,000
2. Team Hong Kong – KRW 16,485,000
3. Team Netherlands – KRW 10,990,000