APPT Seoul: Final table updates

12am: Yoshihiro Tasaka wins the APPT Seoul main event (KRW 148,896,000; USD 128,248.89). Hidenari Shiono eliminated in 2nd place (KRW 93,060,000; USD 80,155.56)


Yoshihiro Tasaka, the 2008 APPT Seoul main event champion.

Why would things be any different in the final hand of the tournament! With Yoshihiro Tasaka starting to dominate the heads-up match, Shiono opened the betting with a raise to 60,000, Tasaka bumped it up to 196,000 and Shiono moved all-in for 436,000.

With a wicked grin, Tasaka said he was holding his favourite hand, and yelled call. Shiono couldn’t believe his eyes when Tasaka showed 2c-9h, which was way behind Shiono’s As-4c.


9-2? No problem for Tasaka.

The flop came 8h-6d-9d, underlining the genius of Tasaka. Nothing was going to spoil this fairytale – the board ran out Jd 3h and Yoshihiro Tasaka was confirmed the 2008 APPT Seoul main event.


Team Japan celebrates with the first Japanese player to win an APPT event.

Check back later tomorrow for our complete wrap-up of the event, including a chat with the man who may be the catalyst for poker to shoot for the stars in Japan.

11.30pm: How’s this for a start to heads-up play? With Yoshihiro Tasaka serving a penalty, Hidenari Shiono took down the blinds and antes uncontested. “Yoshihiro and Hidenari don’t know it, but they’ve just entered the Twilight Zone …”


After a short delay, we're heads-up for the APPT Seoul main event title, and assured of a champion from the Land of the Rising Sun.

11pm: Brian Kang eliminated in 3rd place (KRW 51,183,000; USD 44,085.56)

It’s truly been one of the more unusual final tables in APPT Seoul main event. The last hand before the most recent break again underlined that fact. It started with a raise to 36,000 from Yoshihiro Tasaka, Brian Kang re-raised to 120,000, Hidenari Shiono folded, then Tasaka again signalled for the all-in button. Kang asked for a count, but Tasaka misheard him and slammed down his Ah-Qs.

The Canadian then requested that Tasaka’s hand be declared dead but Danny McDonagh ruled Tasaka’s cards live but penalised him one-round (three hands) at the conclusion of the hand. What a dilemma – armed with all the information he needed, Kang agonised for five minutes before eventually calling. He showed Ks-7c.


Brian Kang feels the heat despite knowing what cards are being held by Yoshihiro Tasaka.

But the drama hadn’t ended there. The flop came 6d-4c-9d, then the Kh hit on the turn. The Japanese fans roared “ace, ace, ace”, and sure enough, down sailed the Ac.


Raw emotion as Yoshihiro Tasaka cripples Brian Kang.

That left Kang with just 75,000, and with Tasaka sitting out his penalty, he pushed all in for his last 70,000 but Shiono wasted little time made the call.


"Tell me it's a dream" – sorry Brian.

Kang held 10c-3c, trailing Shiono’s Ks-4s. The board fell 6d-9d-7c-Kc-7d, pairing Shiono’s king and, unbelievably, sending Kang to the rail. Saab, Schreiber, Kang – all big chip leaders, all eliminated on the road to the title. Tasaka leads Shiono 965,000 to 700,000 as they prepare to go heads-up.


It's mighty hard to earn a spot on Team PokerStars, and despite final-tabling in both events at the APPT Macau tournament (including a runner-up finish in the main event), Charles Chua will have to wait a bit longer before he gets the call-up. But could Charlie and Chad be related, there's an amazing likeness happening there!

10.15pm: Players from Japan have flocked to Walker-hill this weekend not just for the APPT Seoul main event, but for side events as well. One of those events was the APPT Auckland one-table satellite.

This morning, the Japan Poker League (JPL) hosted a tournament that took five hours. Yasuki Shino played in this, but also found the strength to play in the afternoon’s KRW 500,000 APPT Auckland satellite.

Where most players would be begging for a nap, Shino showed amazing stamina and concentration to seal himself a seat in Auckland. He has only been playing poker for one year and until now worried more about making sure everyone had a good time at the table than he did about winning tournaments

However, he had his fill yesterday when he dropped out of the APPT Seoul main event with no prize or status to show for it. It was then that he decided to play winning poker.

With that mindset Shino went over his play during the past two days and came into the JPL event with a new-found confidence. This time he made it to the final table and finished in fourth place. Still not satisfied, he spent his free time between the two events once again reflecting on his game. This time it paid big. He made it to heads-up on the one-table satellite and had more fun than he ever has on the felt.


Yasuki Shino on his way to victory in today's APPT Auckland satellite.

“There were a lot of Japanese players at this event. I really think that this will be a big turning point in the Japanese poker boom," Shino said, his excitement obvious. You can find him playing in regularly in JPL and on When he’s not playing poker, you can be sure he’s at the arcade playing Mahjong Fight Club (which features our very own Japanese blogger, Jenn Barr).

Shino works a desk job in a company, but after work turns his eye to the growing poker culture in Japan. After winning this tournament, he’s voiced his gratitude to PokerStars for holding events like APPT. His final comment was, “PokerStars, please spread the joy of poker throughout Japan.”

9.30pm: The Japanese are starting to cut away at Brian Kang’s stack as the former chip leader stumbles to about 300,000. Kang has already cautioned his table-mates about speaking Japanese at the table and is raising more than his share of pots to stop the steady flow of chips across the table.

But it isn’t working that well – Kang just raised to 36,000 pre-flop and Yoshihiro Tasaka matching it from the big blind. The flop came Qd-Qh-10c, Tasaka checked, Kang bet 40,000, Tasaka check-raised to 120,000 and Kang got out of the way (perhaps for the best as Tasaka flashed the Qs. Tasaka (560,000) is now only marginally behind his countryman Shiono, who leads with 620,000.


Why do the work when the dealer can do it for you?

And we’ve just discovered that Hidenari Shiono isn’t the only player at the table with some interesting quirks. Rather than pushing all his chips into the pot in a recent pot, Yoshihiro Tasaka indicated that the dealer should throw the all-in button in his direction. That could catch on. One time, Yoshihiro!

9pm: The pattern of raise, re-raise, fold was broken in stunning fashion and, as a result, there’s a new chip leader – Hidenari Shiono. He’s an interesting character to watch at the table – the 39-year-old counts out his chips in his hands before committing them to the pot with both hands; he contorts himself into a myriad of shapes and methodically looks at his cards and the flop at each round of betting.


The world according to Shiono is working quite nicely.

It’s obviously working – Shiono just called a raise to 30,000 by Brian Kang and they saw the flop come J-8-3 (all clubs). Shiono bet 50,000 and Kang called. The turn was the 6s, Shiono again checked, Kang bet 85,000 and instantly Shiono announced he was all-in for a total of 265,000.

Kang inquired whether he could show his cards, but was warned he would incur a hefty penalty by APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh. Kang agonised before making the call and showing As-Jh. But Shiono was ahead with pocket queens, and the 3s on the river ensured him a pot worth 700,000.


There's no such thing as a sure thing in poker, as Brian Kang is discovering at this final table.

After amassing a huge stack at the expense of Dan Schreiber, Kang is now down to 400,000 while Yoshihiro Tasaka holds 450,000.

7.30pm: Finally an update without an elimination! With Brian Kang content to sit back and watch the two Japanese players go after each other’s stacks, Yoshihiro Tasaka has picked up the baton and pushed all-in three hands in-a-row.


Japan's very own version of the 'Unabomber', Yoshihiro Tasaka.

The move finally paid dividends when he reraised all-in for 174,000 over the top of a raise from Hidenari Shiono. After a long deliberation, Shiono made the call and showed Ah-10h, but Tasaka was ahead, holding As-Qh. And that’s where he stayed as the board fell 9s-5c-5d-Jc-3s.

Players are just about to head to enjoy their final taste of the sumptuous Walker-hill buffet with the chip count reading Brian Kang on 770,000, Yoshihiro Tasaka 418,000 and Hidenari Shiono 375,000. With the blinds at 5000/10,000 (1000 ante), there’s still plenty of poker to be played.

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7pm: Fam Yat eliminated in 4th place (KRW 37,224,000; USD 32,062.22)


"I can't look," but it didn't matter for Singapore's Fam Yat.

The final table may have started slowly, but players have made up for it in the past hour, with Fam Yat the latest to join the exodus. Yuji Masaki was still being congratulated at the rail when Fam Yat pushed all-in under-the-gun for 85,000. Hidenari Shiono thought long and hard before making the call with pocket sixes, while Fam Yat showed Ad-Ks. But the board stayed low – 8d-8h-3h-9d-8c – and that was that for Fam Yat.

6.45pm: Yuji Masaki eliminated in 5th place (KRW 30,244,500; USD 26,050.56)


A gritty display of short stack poker delivered Yuki Masaki a top-five finish.

The short stack entering the final table, Yuji Masaki had scratched his way into the top five before the massive stack of Brian Kang put an end to his tournament. His last 22,000 went in with Qh-6h, which wasn’t in a great spot against Kang’s Kd-6c. Masaki picked up a flush draw on the flop of 7h-10d-4h but the turn (Ac) and river (2d) brought no joy for the PokerStars qualifier from Hiroshima.

6.30pm: Dan Schreiber eliminated in 6th place (KRW 23,265,000; USD 20,038.89)


Dan Schreiber: a shock elimination in sixth.

The rail is still in shock after the dramatic elimination of PokerStars Sponsored player Dan Schreiber in a huge pot against Brian Kang. Schreiber called Kang’s pre-flop raise of 18,000 and they saw a flop of Jd-9h-8c. Schreiber checked, Kang bet 25,000, Schreiber added an extra 45,000, Kang pushed it up another 100,000, Schreiber moved all-in and Kang called. What the hell??

Schreiber showed 10c-7c for a flopped straight while Kang showed pocket jacks for top set. But Schreiber’s hopes of going all the way after finishing eighth in last year’s APPT Seoul main event evaporated when the 8h landed on the turn, giving Kang a full-house.


Top set wasn't good enough for Brian Kang ...


... until he filled up on the turn, taking his stack to almost 1 million.

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6.15pm: David Horvath eliminated in 7th place (KRW 18,612,000; USD 16,031.11)


The end is nigh for Hungary's David Horvath.

After a quiet start, play is becoming more aggressive with the short stacks feeling the pinch. PokerStars qualifier David Horvath was the latest victim when he pushed all-in for 31,500 and Brian Kang thought for a moment before calling, and finding himself well placed with As-10h against Horvath’s 10d-9h. There was no help on a board of 5c-7d-6c-7c-2c for Horvath.

6pm: Dan Williams eliminated in 8th place (KRW 13,959,000; USD 12,023.33)


Dan Williams bows out in eighth.

Sam Faqiryar hadn’t left the tournament area when Dan Williams was all-in for 13,000, with calls coming from Yoshihiro Tasaka and David Horvath. They checked it all the way as the board ran out 6c-10c-5s-Kd-Qc. Williams missed everything with Ad-7c with Tasaka’s pocket eights the winning hand (Horvath mucked).

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5.30pm: Sam Faqiryar eliminated in 9th place (KRW 9,306,000; USD 8015.56)

The writing was on the wall for the young Canadian PokerStars qualifier after he lost a massive pot to Dan Schreiber. Faqiryar opened for a raise to 16,000 from early position, Schreiber made it an extra 23,000 and Faqiryar called.


Even APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh couldn't save Sam Farqiryar from elimination.

The flop showed 2s-2h-5h, Faqiryar bet just 5000, Schreiber raised it 48,000, Faqiryar declared he was all-in and Schreiber called, showing pocket jacks. Faqiryar held Ah-Jh for a flush draw but the 9d and Kd brought no joy. That pot took Schreiber to more than 400,000 while Faqiryar was down to just 25,000.


Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer is an interested spectator at the final table.

To rub salt into the wounds, Schreiber then KOed Farqiryar when he made a straight with As-7s on a board of 5d-9h-4c-8s-6c against Farqiryar’s 4h-6s. It was great to see Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer chatting with the downcast Farqiryar for several minutes after he was eliminated.


The magnificent APPT Seoul trophy.

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4.45pm: Apologies for the delay in updating the final table action – at all other APPT events, the final table has been recorded for TV. For the first time in APPT history, this event is not being filmed so there wasn’t much of a break between Wooka Kim’s elimination and the start of the final table.


The cozy APPT Seoul main event final table set-up.

The final table has been set-up in an intimate enclave between the poker room and the main gaming floor. It’s easy to forget that there are some parts of the world that allow smoking, but there’s a pipe smoker in the audience that is adding a distinctly unique flavour to proceedings.

As to the action, it’s been incredibly quiet given the carnage of the past three days. Only Yuji Masaka has been noticeably active – with 13,500 in chips coming into the final table he had only one move and made it with pocket kings against David Horvath’s Kh-Qh.

The sizeable Japanese contingent leapt to their feet and cheered Masaka as the board ran out 9c-2s-9h-8c- Jd, which helped his stack improve to 34,500.