APPT8 Seoul: Redemption for last year's runner up Chane Kampanatsanyakorn
This is the story of redemption. The story of how twelve months ago one man got oh-so-close to tournament glory, but couldn't go all the way. And he didn't let that keep him down. He got straight back on the horse and ultimately went one place better than last year's bittersweet runner-up finish.
This is the story of Chane Kampanatsanyakorn - the man with perhaps the longest name in the poker and the man who will go down in history as the Season 8 APPT Seoul champion.
When the final day began there were 24 players alive and in contention for the ₩185,000,000 (~US$175,000) top prize. With 23 eliminations needed before crowning a victor, players, dealers, tournament staff and media alike were getting ready for a long day.
It took just a few minutes for Japan's Takahisa to go home in 24th place with the ₩5,485,000 minimum payout on the final day. From there a steady stream of eliminations would see players like Bian Hong Yan (23rd), Toan Nguyen (20th), Tsun Ming Chan (18th), Kelvin "aces_up4108" Beattie (17th), former Macau Poker Cup Championship victor Raiden Kan (15th) and 2012 ACOP runner-up Ying Kit Chan (11th) all fal short of making the final table.
One of the big storylines heading into Day 3 was that overall chip leader Jeff Holbrook's wife is currently very pregnant. If push came to shove and Holbrook's wife went into labour then Holbrook would have had to make a decision to leave or play out the tournament and a chance at life changing money. In the end Holbrook didn't have to make that decision as he was sent home in 10th place.
Holbrook's final hand saw him all in preflop holding T♠T♣ against the A♠K♦ of prominent US player Sam Cohen. The board brought Cohen and ace and enough to send Holbrook home and with that, secure the final table chip lead.
As mentioned, Cohen was the chip leader of the final nine and that was certainly no exaggeration. Cohen's stack of 1,294,000 put her a long way in front of fellow North Americans Christian Haggart (779,000) and John Marshall (739,000), while prominent high-stakes regular Winfred Yu (512,000) had the fourth largest stack.
Japan was well represent at the final table as they made up four of the four of the five lowest chip stacks, with Keiichiro Umano (396,000) in the best shape, followed by Shinya Umano (389,000), Makoto Yoshimichi (371,000) and the short stack of the final nine Kosaku Akashi (209,000).
At this point the eventual champion Chane Kampanatsanyakorn was right in the middle of the pack with 323,000 in chips, just waiting unsuspectingly to swoop through and the steal the victory from his eight opponents.
The final day had been going for a little over six hours before reaching the final table, but it would take less than six minutes to see Japanese players Kosaku Akashi and Makoto Yoshimichi sent home after a double-elimination blow.
It was Akashi's and Yoshimichi's fellow Japanese national Shinya Umano who would do the deed as he woke up with A♦A♠ when Akashi moved his short stack all in holding A♥5♣ and Yoshimichi did the same with 6♦6♣. The board spread out safe for Umano as Askashi was deemed the official 9th place finisher and Yoshimichi claimed 8th.
Winfred Yu was starting to struggle during seven-handed play, but found a timely double when he held pocket queens against Umano's pocket tens and was able to steady himself. Yu watched on as another Japanese player found the rail, with Keiichiro Sugimoto eliminated in 7th place, collecting ₩25,700,000.
Sam Cohen still had the chip lead when six players remained, but one-time short stack Yu was building a stack and was creeping up. Then Yu stole the lead when he eliminated John Marshall in 6th place. Marshall had moved all in preflop holding A♦J♣ and had ran into a dominated A♣Q♠ as the Q♣8♥T♦7♥7♦ board kept Yu in front and sent Marshall home with a ₩32,550,000 score.
Despite having sent Marshall packing, Winfred Yu wasn't able to hold onto his chips, losing a few to almost every competitor remaining at the final table before eventually being eliminated in 5th place, collecting ₩41,120,000.
Wu's final moments at APPT Seoul was a one-two blow. Wu first doubled up a short-stacked Kampanatsanyakorn and then got the rest of his chips in preflop holding Q♥J♦ and having to come up against Christian Haggart's A♥J♠. No help for Wu and we were down to four players.
It would literally take just a few moments for four to become three as Shinya Umano moved all in preflop holding 8♣8♥ and received a call from Haggart with K♠T♠. Umano was in front, but the J♥J♠9♠ gave Haggart a huge amount of outs. One of those outs was the T♥ turn and with no held on the 6♣ river, Umano was eliminated in 4th place with a ₩49,690,000 score.
With so much money on the line the three remaining players opted to pause the tournament and discuss making a deal. Haggart was the leader at this point with 2,655,000 in chips, while Kampanatsanyakorn (1,965,000) was in second place and Cohen (900,000) was the short stack.
Eventually all three players agreed on the deal, with Haggart locking up ₩130,000,000 (~US$123,240), Kampanatsanyakorn collecting ₩120,000,000 (~US$114,000) and Cohen pocketing ₩86,610,000 (~US$82,000). Those amounts left over ₩30,000,000
(~US$28,500) for the winner, which incorporated a HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event seat.
As is often the case after a deal is struck, the action picked up considerably as Cohen would quickly get her stack in holding K♠T♠ against Kampanatsanyakorn's A♠Q♠. The 6♦8♦2♣8♥4♥ board were the last five cards of Cohen's tournament as she was sent home in 3rd place and ushering in the heads-up battle.
Having dealt the fatal blow to Cohen, it was Kampanatsanyakorn who had the chip lead over Haggart at the beginning of heads-up. It wasn't a massive lead though, with Kampanatsanyakorn having 2,950,000 to Haggart's 2,100,000.
Kampanatsanyakorn drew first blood, increasing his lead before the two players went on what would become the final break of the night. Then, when the players returned, it would take just a few moments for the tournament to be all over.
With blinds at 30,000/60,000, Haggart had the button and raised it up to 200,000. Kampanatsanyakorn quickly three-bet to 450,000 and Haggart then moved all in for around 1,350,000. Kampanatsanyakorn snapped it off and tabled his hand...
"And its pocket aces for Chane!" came the announcement over the microphone.
Haggart turned over his Q♥J♦, which looked meek on the felt next to
Kampanatsanyakorn's A♦A♥. The J♥5♥8♣3♣2♠ board were the final five cards to be spread on the felt of the entire tournament as Haggart was eliminated in 2nd place, while Kampanatsanyakorn was deemed the champion.
And so, just like that, twelve months after he was in Haggart's position, Kampanatsanyakorn was able to claim the trophy and all the glory, along with the ₩150,000,000 (~US142,200) first-place prize.
"I'm so grateful...I never gave up." said an emotional Kampanatsanyakorn, who also
happens to be the first player from Thailand to win an APPT title.
Final Table Results
1st: Chane Kampanatsanyakorn - ₩150,000,000 (US$142,200)*
2nd: Christian Haggart - ₩139,000,000 (US$123,240)*
3rd: Samantha Cohen - ₩86,610,000 (US$82,000)*
4th: Shinya Umano - ₩49,690,000 (US$47,155)
5th: Winfred Yu - ₩41,120,000 (US$39,022)
6th: John Marshall - ₩32,550,000 (US$30,889)
7th: Keiichiro Sugimoto -₩25,700,000 (US$24,389)
8th: Makoto Yoshimichi - ₩20,560,000 (US$19,511)
9th: Kosaku Akashi - ₩15,433,200 (US$14,646)
*denotes three-handed deal
Well, that's a wrap from APPT Seoul! It was an exciting event with an even more riveting finale. Congratulations go out to Kampanatsanyakorn. Not too many people make back-to-back final tables of major poker tournaments and even less are able to finish runner-up one year and win it the next.
Thanks must go out to Kevin Song and the Paradise Walkerhill Casino for running such a terrific event and of course to APPT President Danny McDonagh, APPT Media Coordinator Fred Leung and the rest of the PokerStars team for continuing to run some of the best tournaments in the world.
The next stop on the tour is APPT Macau, which runs from May 14th - 25th!