APPT Auckland: All the way from Japan

By Jenn “Yes I speak Japanese” Barr

Last month Yasuki Shino busted out of the APPT Seoul main event and vowed to change the way he thought about poker.

A modest businessman from Tokyo, Shino used to always want to make sure that the people around him were having a good time on the table and never cared about winning or losing. His upbeat personality hasn’t changed, but his attitude about the game certainly has. His result in the Seoul main event was so disappointing to him that he spent the whole night reviewing his game and preparing for side events to be held next day.

He played in a Japan Poker League event at Walker-hill Casino and got 4th place. Still not satisfied with this improved result, he spent the afternoon reviewing his game again and then entered in a 500,000won satellite to the APPT Auckland main event. This time he got the result he wanted.

After making it heads-up, he agreed to a deal to give the runner-up their entry fee back. This he had to pay out of pocket after he won the satellite, a chance to represent Japan in New Zealand and accommodations for the trip. He also fronted the cash for a plane ticket and made the 14-hour flight down here yesterday (actually on the same plane as me!).

Now he is on the table with the APPT Macau champion, Eddie Sabat. Shino humbly admits his good fortune with nice starting hands in the first few levels of this event. He has voiced his respect for his opponents’ games, saying that everyone is much stronger than himself, but everyone else can see that he himself is a force to be reckoned with.

In one hand he actually got chips from Sabat by raising pre-flop and getting 2 callers. He hit top pair on the flop, kept Eddie in with second pair, checked Eddie’s 2-pair on the turn and out-drew him for a better 2-pair on the river, calling Sabat’s final bet and turning over the better hand. In another pot he had the nut-straight with A-Q on a straight-flush broadway board, but somehow got his opponent to put chips in with the 9-7 bottom straight to chip-up even more.

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Yasuki Shino, glad to be stacking chips.

Sitting on $26,000 chips at the start of Level 5, Shino is ahead of World Champion and Team PokerStars Pro, Greg Raymer, as well as a number of other well-known players including David Saab and Tony Hachem. We are expecting more great things from the sole Japanese competitor on Day 1a.