APPT Seoul: Tournaments Kicks Off

By Sean Callander

Having celebrated a highly successful debut in Manila last month, the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) has rolled into the South Korean capital, Seoul.

We’re at the Paradise Walker-Hill Casino, located in the Sheraton Grande Walker-Hill – a magnificent setting that overlooks the Han River. And appropriately for a historic moment in Asian poker history, the property is also the site of the ancient A-Cha fortress, which dates back to the Shilla Dynasty almost 2000 years ago (or so I was told).
What a week for poker – the EPT London event is in full swing, the World Championship of Online Poker has been attracting record numbers and prize pools while here in Korea, we’re about to kick-off the first televised poker tournament ever held on mainland Asia.

The impact that poker is starting to have in the region was reflected at yesterday’s press conference, which attracted media representatives from China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

APPT president Jeffrey Haas, who hosted the conference along side Asia/Pacific director of marketing Sarne Lightman, also welcomed players and qualifiers from more than 30 countries, continuing the international flavour established by the APPT in Manila.

Team PokerStars Pros are again out in force, headed by 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem. Other Team PokerStars Pros to make the long trek include Vanessa Rousso (who also played along side Joe in Manila), Isabelle Mercier, Masa Kagawa, Lee Nelson and Tuan Lam, the Canadian who finished runner-up in this year’s WSOP main event.

APPT Seoul: Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier and reporters

Adding some local flavour to the field is Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, who lives here in Seoul. We’ll catch up with the members of Team PokerStars in coming days.

APPT Seoul: Jeff Haas, Sarne Lightman, Michael Kim (KPPT) , A representative of Walkerhill

Other Team PokerStars’ names to watch in the $2500 main event include well-known high-stakes player Yosh Nakano, Korean legend Jimmy Cha, Japan’s Hiroshi Shimamura, Manlee Wan and a pair of locally-based young guns, Canadian Guillaume Patry and American Dan Schreiber, who won the 2007 WSOP $5000 Heads-up bracelet.

Keep an eye on for regular updates over the next three days from the first major poker tournament ever held in east Asia.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in