APPT Seoul: Korea is no banana republic

At last year’s APPT Seoul main event, Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem scoffed down enough bananas to send a troop of monkeys into frenzy (keeping a certain PR manager on her toes over the course of the event).

It seems the staff at the Paradise Walker-hill Casino have picked up on the 2005 WSOP champion’s choice of mid-event snack for this year’s visit of the region’s best poker players.


Who could refuse?

We’re not sure of the benefits that B-group vitamins, carbohydrates and potassium offer to the modern, health-conscious poker player, but we’ll keep an eye on those hoovering up the bananas to see how they fare over the next two and a half days.

Jimmy Cha certainly seemed to enjoy his banana. For the second year in-a-row, Korea’s most famous poker export has returned to play in his ‘home’ event


Cha MinSoo, better known as Jimmy Cha.

A consummate professional across his many interests (from poker to martial arts, classical music, or Baduk), Jimmy Cha made his name in Las Vegas during the late 1980s and early 1990s as one of the world’s premier cash players (in a period dominated by Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese). He even provided the inspiration for the lead character in the locally produced TV series All-in.

Cha has survived the first four levels of the day, but PokerStars Sponsored players JJ Liu Will Cheong, APPT High Roller runner-up Andrew Scott and two of the three travelling West Australians, Michael Pedley and Kent Hunter have been eliminated.

We’ve also lost the man who reached the final table of both APPT events in Macau, Charles Chua. Short-stacked, he moved in with Q-8 from the button and Eddie Sabat (the player who defeated Chua in the APPT Macau main event) made the call in the small blind with pocket fours.

Chua looked set for a double up when the flop came 6-8-Q but a 4 on the turn gave Sabat a set and sent the Chuck Truck to the parking lot.


Wooka Kim is climbing the chip count midway through day 1.

The chip count resembles the United Nations early in level 4 – the leader is Jan Van Dyk from Oman (45,000), with the Korean-based Frenchman and Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand ElkY Grospellier close behind (36,000), with Canada’s Larry Pashak (34,000), Japan’s Wooka Kim (28,000) and American Eddie Sabat (24,000) filling out the top five.