Next stop: Seoul

Filed by Sean Callander

We’re down to 46 players at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila in the race for the APPT Manila crown, with Roger Spets still leading the chip count. It’s worth noting the excellent performance from the Korean contingent, which is particularly relevant given Seoul is the next stop on the APPT schedule.

Junhee Yea was among the pacesetters yesterday, while Se Jin Lee has been a big mover on day two – just two of the highlights among the 22-man contingent from South Korea.

So what’s the poker scene like in 대한민국 (sorry, I’m just showing off, thanks to one of our PokerStars Korean bloggers). Dan Park, the CEO of Bluff Events in South Korea said while poker is new to his home country, it’s quickly making an indelible mark.
“Asia being the final frontier for poker, I think it’s a great opportunity for the poker business to be coming to Asia at this time,” Dan said. “The domestic poker market used to be mainly seven-card stud but slowly everyone’s migrating to hold’em. It’s a pretty big range of age groups, but mostly players in their 20s and 30s.”

Dan Park

A huge ‘underground’ poker scene is fuelling the growth in South Korea,
which currently is home to just one legal poker room at the Walker Hill
Casino (the venue for the APPT Seoul tournament).

“I’d say there’s more than 100 underground clubs going 24/7. The Walker Hill
Casino is only open to foreign ex-pats but it’s the underground games that
are fuelling the growth. It’s completely organic growth, just word of
mouth,” Dan said.

Dan, who is assisting in the PR and marketing of the Seoul event said the
APPT would be a massive boost for poker in South Korea.
“It’s huge, to have an internationally recognised event coming to Seoul will
only act as a catalyst for the future growth of poker in Korea. We hope to
see everyone there,” Dan said.

There’s a big APPT Seoul satellite running here tomorrow, and hopes are high
that a capacity field will converge on Seoul next month.
Remember, PokerStars' online satellites for APPT Seoul run until September
16, 2007. Daily qualifiers start from as little as $22, giving players the
chance to win an APPT prize package worth $5000 - including the $2500
tournament buy-in, four nights' hotel accommodation (from September 27-31)
and $1900 spending money to cover transportation expenses.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in