The first-ever World Poker Tour Asia Online Series has crowned its final five champions on the GGPoker Network (GGPN), of which Natural8 is one of the lead operators. Among the final five were also two Natural8 players, who each took home an additional HK$10,000 (~$1,290) LiveX sponsorship for their efforts.
Kicking off on October 25th, the HK$600 Turbo Poker Open took fewer than five hours in total to whittle down a field of 575 entries to an eventual champion. A total of 80 players took home a portion of the HK$317,400 prize pool, with Hong Kong’s “AKKAdian” ending up as the bubble boy.
Among those to min-cash for HK$1,296.25 were Chi Chung “chipuker” Ho and Hen “GeorgeTheVet” Rosilio, while Kunal “JacKKingOff” made the first pay jump. Natural8 ambassador Pete Chen also made a run for the trophy but came up short in 19th place for HK$2,030.39.
China once again dominated the final table line-up with five contenders; Event #13 champion “bigwhailie” made it the furthest, bowing out in 4th place for HK$21,961.69.
The podium featured two players from Japan and one from Hong Kong. “uta-nob” took home HK$29,961.49 in third place, while “ian66666” turned their fourth entry into HK$40,875.29.
Motoyoshi “falcon8808” Okamura became the third player from Japan to win a trophy this festival, banking HK$55,765.08 and the LiveX live event sponsorship.
The final tournament to feature a Chinese Yuan buy-in drew a total of 661 entries. The CN¥486,496 prize pool was split among the top 98 finishers, while “jahexotic” and “qingxiaji” received their buy-in back thanks to Natural8’s Early Bird bubble protection feature.
Some notables to finish in the money were Arsh Grover, “DoctorPK”, Gaurav “Haversham” Sood, Vincent “Peleus34” Li, and Yu Chung “WNCouple” Chang. In the end, five players from China and three from Japan made the cut for the final table.
India’s “Petesampras” reached the podium, and eventually cashed for CN¥44,284.69. “succhan627” was responsible for the eliminations of “LproPokerTV” (5th place for CN¥23,793.46) and Kazuhiro “propofol-san” Shirasawa (4th place for CN¥32,460,57), but was still trailing by a lot when entering heads-up play.
They faced WPT Taiwan champion “Loris51”, who clinched victory once more when queen-jack flopped two pair and rivered a full house to beat pocket kings. For “succhan627”, 2nd place came with a payday of CN¥60,415.91.
“Loris51” also became the only two-time champion of the entire festival, taking home CN¥82,423.54.
Four-card aficionados entered the fray in the HK$1,000 PLO Finale, attracting 220 entries. This ensured a prize pool of HK$202,400, with the top 31 spots paid.
The Early Bird bubble protection feature ensured “FacelessMan” got their buy-in back. “gOATz” then bubbled in 32nd place to secure the min-cash of HK$2,140.35 for all remaining hopefuls.
The hunt for a WPT winner’s badge and trophy by Anson “Tara@0z” Tsang ended in 13th place, as his 4th bullet was rewarded with HK$3,296.37. Fellow WSOP Online 2020 winner and Team Bling member Paul Teoh fired as many entries, en-route to a 4th place finish worth HK$16,354.96.
Che Li “32bo” Lin was also among the final nine and finished in 7th place for HK$6,820.10.
In heads-up, Turkey’s “rumuzum_1” (HK$34,116.01) and Gaurav “Haversham” Sood (HK$34,405.60) cut a deal. Sood then flopped an eight-high straight to leave his opponent drawing dead, securing the second title of the festival for India. Along with the trophy and top prize, he also claimed the exclusive Natural8 HK$10,000 LiveX sponsorship.
The final National Championship event of the festival turned out to be the biggest of all, as the HK$3,500 WPT Macau Championship saw a field of 752 entries emerge. This resulted in a HK$2,474,080 (~$319,222) prize pool.
“jahexotic” once again received his buy-in back, thanks to the Early Bird bubble protection feature. Their elimination also ensured at least HK$8,268.39 would be awarded to the remaining 97 contenders.
Jinho “Jinho YellOw Hong” Hong and Sung Joo “ArtePokerTV” Hyun min-cashed, as did Harry “Harry1403” Duong. Wai Kiat “Mr Lee” Lee fired six entries to receive the same payout, while Natural8 Team Hot ambassador Kosei Ichinose fell in 82nd place for HK$8,268.39. Ravid “jerbi9999” Garbi then bubbled just before the final table.
China and Taiwan dominated the final line-up of contenders with six out of nine players. This also included Natural8 Team Hot ambassador Kitty Kuo, who even held the lead with three players remaining.
Fellow Taiwanese player Yu Chung “WNCouple” Chang bowed out in 3rd place for HK$225,210.04, and Kuo then narrowly missed out on the trophy when she finished in 2nd place for HK$307,245.72.
Yet another trophy was awarded to China, as “aixin2020” took home the biggest slice of HK$419,163.85 as well as the ninth trophy for their home country.
The event most looked forward to was the HK$10,000 WPT Asia Main Event. This multi-flight tournament surpassed its guarantee thanks to 1,256 entries. Only 191 players made the cut out of all the starting days, to battle for a piece of the HK$11,932,000 prize pool.
The bubble burst with the elimination of “yao yen liang” in 151st place. Event #10 champion “BetAddict” was among those to min-cash for HK$17,169.77, while Johan Haugen made the first pay jump to HK$19,556.80 as he finished just outside of the top 100.
Two-time champion “Loris51” was in the next batch to claim HK$22,743.84, as did Shyngis “somebodyelse” Satubayev. Kartik “Mandovi” Ved fell outside of the last four tables, and Sriharsha “Upswinger” Doddapaneni missed out on their third final table appearance when they succumbed in 18th place for HK$55,789.31.
Daniyar Aubakirov and Dicky “Floatinworld” Tsang fell in 12th and 11th place respectively, while China’s Hao “GambleMan” Shen entered the final table as dominating chip leader ahead of “ming13”.
Shen remained in the driver’s seat and knocked out three opponents in a row, including Sumit “rung00se” Sapra (6th place, HK$383,075.29). India’s Alok “P@tP@tP@nd@” Birewar (4th place, HK$815,923) also sent his chips to Shen, and a Chinese victory was secured when Malaysia’s “Goldig” bowed out in 3rd place (HK$1,190,781.45).
At the start of the final table, the two chip leaders faced off in the duel for the biggest prize of the festival and no deal was cut. Shen had built a 5-1 lead over “ming13” and came out on top with king-eight versus ace-trey when the river brought a king.
He claimed the top prize of HK$2,536,280.42, leaving his compatriot with the consolation prize of HK$1,737,858.88.
And that wraps up this exciting geo-restricted festival! The next big poker tournament on Natural8 will be the Battle of Malta, with $30 million in guaranteed prizes. With its interesting medieval theme, it will be open to poker enthusiasts from all over the world as of Sunday, November 1st.