APPT Seoul: Chinese Poker, it's anyone's game

By Sean Callander

The Asia Pacific Poker Tour is breaking new ground in this emerging poker region, but it’s a case of back to the future in Seoul thanks to a unique addition to the tournament schedule.

Although Chinese Poker is one of the most popular forms of the game – especially among poker’s top players – the addition of Chinese Poker to the list of events on the APPT Seoul schedule has set tongues wagging all over the poker world.
So why is Chinese poker (sometimes called Russian Poker or 13-card Poker) so popular? Well, it’s easy to play, the rules are basic, luck generally overrides skill (although there is still a significant component of skill to the game) and it’s a great game to play heads-up.

They’re just some of the reasons that you’ll often see a gaggle of pros huddled in the corner of a poker room, in a hotel room or just about anywhere there’s enough space to deal the cards.

Legend has it that Team PokerStars Pro Barry Greenstein provided Phil Ivey with the excuse to attend the 2005 Monte Carlo Millions after agreeing to play Chinese Poker with him high above the Atlantic. Ivey went on to win the tournament and the $US1.6 million first prize. Greenstein is also said to have dropped $US1.5 million to high-stakes rival/friend Ted Forrest in a month-long game of Chinese Poker.

While Chinese Poker returns to the tournament spotlight here at the Paradise Walkerhill Casino, the game experienced a moment in the sun during the mid-1990s. At the 1995 and 1996 WSOP tournaments, two Chinese Poker events were held in each year ($1500 and $5000 buy-ins).
Let’s hope that Chinese Poker is back to stay, thanks to the APPT.

Meanwhile, it’s chaos in the main event with players still dropping at an astounding rate. Jozef Berec looks almost assured of a final table berth after taking a massive pot against Singapore’s Zhiwei Ang. The Australian said he had a great read on Ang, who pushed all-in after the turn on a queen-high board with A K. Berec called and showed K Q, and made two-pair when a king hit on the river.

Ang has been one of the stories of the tournament. The quietly-spoken but fiercely competitive young student was among the chip leaders at the end of day one before walking into Berec.

APPT Seoul: Zhiwei Ang

However, his countryman Beng Hong Ker, who qualified for this event via a $109 buy-in event on PokerStars, remains in the hunt with more than 45,000 in chips.

APPT Seoul: Beng Hong Ker Michael Collins
at right Beng Hong Kerr

Another player to make a move is Seval Hægeland. Amazingly, the Norwegian player earned his trip to Seoul in a special $1 buy-in tournament for players in the Nordic region. He’s sitting above 100,000 in chips. Just 21 players remain, an agonising five spots short of the money with less than an hour until the dinner break.

APPT Seoul: Seval Hægeland

Chip count, day 2 (approximate)

  • Jozef Berec (Australia) 220,000

  • Daniel Schreiber (USA) 158,000

  • James Honeybone (NZ) 142,000

  • Seval Hægeland (Norway) 115,000PokerStars Qualifier

  • Cory-Ann Joseph (Australia) 79,000

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