APPT Korea: Yuki Ko clinches National Championship title in rematch against Taehoon Han

It felt like, déjà vu, a glitch in the Matrix or a weird sort of poker-themed Korean groundhog day. We'd seen this scene before, Taehoon Han and Yuki Ko heads-up for a PokerStars title in Korea.

But things were a bit different this time. First of all, it was 2018, not 2017. Second, it wasn't a PokerStars Festival, they were fighting for the APPT Korea National Championship title and a $30,000 Platinum Pass. Finally, Yuki Ko took the title this time.

Yuki Ko's the champ

Han started both matches with a slight lead, but ran away with it last year. This time, Ko took over early on and hammered away at Han. Han did fight his way back up to nearly 40 big blinds, but that's when things came to an end.

Hand moved all-in with A♣6♥ and Ko snap-called with A♥K♣. Ko hit two-pair on the flop and Han was left drawing dead after the turn.

While these two battled for some time, most of the eliminations came in wild bursts.

Ko vs. Han V2.o

First Genki Nakano and Masakazu Okamoto fell within minutes of each other early on. Both players moved all-in with a weak ace and got called by dominating hands. Neither player improved and Nakano was eliminated in ninth while Okamoto hit the rail in eighth.

Then we had a massive hand that left one player short, another out of the tournament and the third with a massive lead. It was a three-way all-in with Sheng Li, Kunimaro Kojo and Taehoon Han. Kojo wsa the short stack with K♣6♣, Li was second in chips and had the second-best hand with Q♠J♠. Han led in the counts and in the cards with A♦K♠.

Li got a flush draw on the flop, but couldn't complete it and the 8♠2♦2♠9♣8♥ board kept Han in front. Han took a massive lead while Kojo exited in seventh.

Kunimaro Kojo

Han kept rising while the other players started struggling to stay afloat. Then there was another massive burst and we lost three players in four hands. First Jaebok Ryu tried to double up after hitting top pair on the flop, but Yuki Ko called with an overpair. Ryu couldn't improve and was out in sixth. There was an uncalled shove the hand after that and then Li went all-in with A♦2♥. Li felt good after Taehoon Han called and showed K♠Q♠, but Han hit a king on the river to send Li packing in fifth.

Then a short-stacked Pete Chen went in with Q♣5♥ and Simon Burns called with K♦J♥. The board tiptoed around both players and Burns stayed in the lead. Chen was out in fourth and Burns followed him soon after.

Burns was the shortest of the three and tried to double up with pocket fives, but Yuki Ko woke up with pocket kings. Ko improved to a full house on the A♣2♦K♦4♥4♣ board and brought the tournament heads-up.

Ko vs. Han V1.0

Déjà vu with a different outcome.

The two are now 1-1 for APPT Korea titles, maybe we'll get a tiebreaker next year. For now though, Han won about $20,774 while Ko took the title, $31,804 and the $30,000 Platinum Pass. --AV

APPT National Results
Event 4: Unlimited Re-Entries - KRW 80,000,000 Guarantee
Date: April 8-11, 2018
Buyin: ₩700,000 (630,000+70,000)
Players: 226
Prize Pool: ₩138,108,600

*Winner also receives a PSPC Platinum Pass worth US$30,000

PlaceFirst NameLast NameCountryPrize
1YukiKoJapan₩33,835,000*
2TaehoonHanNew Zealand₩22,100,000
3SimonBurnsUK₩14,225,000
4PeteChenTaiwan₩11,053,600
5ShengLiChina₩8,980,000
6JaebokRyuKorea₩7,250,000
7KunimaraKojoJapan₩5,870,000
8MasakazuOkamotoJapan₩4,490,000
9GenkiNakanoJapan₩3,455,000

For more details on today's action, check the live update archive below:

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5:45pm: The takeKover is complete! Yuki Ko wins National and Platinum Pass
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Well, the back-and-forthing has truly come to an end as all the chips (and a Platinum Pass) now sit in front of Japan's Yuki Ko

Taehoon Han had opened the button to 110,000 only for Ko to raise it to 325,000. Back to Han, he jammed for 1.9 million and Ko couldn't have called quicker, slamming a chip down on the table.

Han - A♣6♥
Ko - A♥K♣

Han was all in, at risk and dominated by Ko, whose hand improved immediately on the A♠K♥9♦ flop to top two pair. Only running sixes would do it for Han, and that tall order wasn't to be after the 2♠ turn and 2♣ river.

For his second-place finish, Taehoon Han wins ₩22,100,000 (~US$20,774); a fine result after his Main Event win last year.

And while Ko was last year's Main Event runner-up, he now gets his turn in the spotlight with a win for ₩33,835,000 (~US$31,804) and the PSPC Platinum Pass worth US$30,000.

We'll be back with a full re-cap of this tournament and today's action shortly. --JS

5:30pm: Back-and-forthing
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There's a poker term coined by our very own esteemed colleague Martin Harris: 'back-and-forthing'. It applies when there has been some pre-flop action that us reporters missed (because we turned up on the flop, not because we weren't paying attention. That never happens.)

It also applies to this heads-up match for the past ten minutes though, as neither player has managed to make much happen, with the same few hundred thousand chips being shipped back and forth between their stacks.

Taehoon Han won the latest meaningful one, so we'll tell you about it. He min-opened the button to 80,000 and Yuki Ko called to see a 7♠4♣5♠ flop. Check check.

The turn was the J♥ and when Ko checked a second time, Han led for 75,000. Ko wasn't done though, and raised it up to 280,000. Han thought for a good half a minute before announcing all in, to which Ko quickly folded.

After the back-and-forthing, Han has 1.8 million and Ko has 3.85 million. --JS

5:16pm: Han making some moves but still short
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Taehoon Han still has some space to maneuver and he even took down a pot at showdown. Han raised to 80,000 that hand and Yuki Ko called. Both players checked the 6♦4♠5♦ flop and a K♥ came on the turn. Han bet 75,000 when checked to and Ko called. There was a J♦ on the river and another round of checks.

Ko showed 5♣3♣ for a pair of fives, but Han tabled A♦J♥ for the rivered pair of jacks. Han chipped up to 900,000, but Ko kept the pressure on. With 40,000 big blinds, Han quickly found himself back down to about 700,000. --AV

5:07pm: Han getting short
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Taehoon Han has fewer than 20 big blinds (715k) after Yuki Ko got trappy with a monster.

Han raised to 80,000 and Ko peeled from the big blind. The flop spread J♠3♦Q♦ and both players checked. Ko checked again on the 3♠ turn and called Han's delayed 75,000 c-bet. The J♣ completed the board and both players checked once more.

Ko tuned over Q♣J♦ for a full house and Han mucked. --MC

5pm: Han needs a hand as Ko's on the go
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

This heads-up match has been all Yuki Ko so far. He's managed to build a massive 4.5:1 chip lead, mostly courtesy of these two hands.

Ko opened the button to 90,000 and Taehoon Han defended to see a K♦5♣K♥ flop. Han checked it, and Ko opted to check it back and see the T♣ turn for free. Han would opt to lead here for 55,000, which Ko called.

The A♣ completed the board, and Han continued down the aggressive line for 200,000. Ko thought, and he thought some more. Eventually, he pushed out a raise to 950,000, which sent Han into the tank. Last year's Main Event champ gave it a lot of thought and ultimately called, but we'd never see his hand. He mucked when Ko flipped over the A♥A♠ for a rivered full house.

That hand took Han down to 1.4 million and Ko up to 4.25 million, but there was another decent pot just after.

Ko opened the button to 90,000 again and once again Han called, bringing a K♦6♦J♣ flop. Han check-called 75,000 and then check-called a bigger 255,000 bet on the 3♥ turn.
The A♣ arrived on the river yet again, and when Han checked a third time Ko set him all in. He gave it up.

Han now has 1.07 million while Ko is up to 4.58 million. --JS

4:45pm: Even more Ko
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Yuki Ko has added even more to his stack since level 25 began, moving up to 3.55 million.

Taehoon Han won a two pair over two pair pot against Pete Chen earlier but this time he was on the wrong end of a similar set-up.

He bet 165,000 on the turn and 225,000 on the river of a 6♦K♦9♠J♠2♠ board. Ko was on the button and check-called both bets with K♣6♥ to beat out Han's J♦9♥. --MC

4:30pm: The takeKover
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Yuki Ko has now taken the chip lead from Taehoon Han after this big pot went his way.

It began with a 65,000 button open from Han which Ko three-bet to 230,000. The New Zealander matched it to see the 8♦5♣4♦ flop, on which Ko continued for 180,000. Han called.

The dealer burned and turned the 2♠ and it went check check, bringing the J♣ river. Ko slightly slid out a 500,000 stack, took four chips off it, and moved 400,000 in for his bet. Han gave it some thought but after a minute made the call.

Ko flipped over the K♠J♠ for a rivered pair of jacks, and Han mucked.

The two are now on a ten-minute break, with Han at 2.55 million and Ko with 3.09 million. --JS

4:10pm: The rematch is set as Burns exits in third (₩14,225,000)
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

At the PokerStars Festival Korea in 2017, Taehoon Han and Yuki Ko got heads up for the Main Event title. Han was ultimately victorious, banking KRW83,130,000 (~US$73,954) for the win while Ko won KRW55,280,000 (~US$49,178) for second.

Amazingly, those two have found themselves heads up a year later in this APPT Korea National event.

It was Simon Burns who has finished in third, having opened the button to 60,000 and then jamming for 660,000 after Ko three-bet the big blind to 175,000. Burns had the 5♦5♥ which was in bad shape against Ko's K♠K♣, and despite picking up some straight outs on the turn, Burns couldn't overtake Ko's flopped set on the A♣2♦K♦4♥4♣ runout.

Burns wins ₩14,225,000 for third, and play has paused for a quick heads-up photo. Here are the counts: --JS

NAMECOUNTRYCHIPS
Taehoon HanNew Zealand3,200,000
Yuki KoJapan2,445,000

Burns out

3:50pm: Power poker from Han
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Taehoon Han has gotten his stack up to up to 3.9 million after he got each opponent to fold on the river.

He raised from the button and was called by Yuki Ko in the small blind. The flop fanned 2♥A♣5♣ and Ko check-called 55,000. He did the same for another 80,000 on the 3♦ turn before snap-check-folding to a bet on the A♠ river.

Han raised to 80,000 the next time he was on the button and Simon Burns defended his big blind. Han continued for 50,000 on the J♠A♠8♥ flop and Burns check-called before the 7♠ turn was checked through to the J♥ river. Han bombed for 265,000 and Burns made a considered check-fold to drop to just under a million. --MC

3:37pm: The rich get richer
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Taehoon Han's chip leader has just got bigger, having won a nice pot off of Yuki Ko. Han opened the button to 60,000 and Ko three-bet from the small blind to 220,000. Back to Han, he made the call.

The flop fell K♠Q♥9♠ and Ko opted not to c-bet, checking it over to Han. He came in for a bet of 150,000, but Ko made the call.

The Q♣ hit the turn and both now checked to see a free 3♣ river. Ko checked once more, and Han quickly checked it back. Ko sheepishly turned over the 7♠8♠ for a flopped flush draw that couldn't improve. He'll be happy he didn't hit a spade on the turn or river though, as Han had the A♠T♠ for ace-high, a bigger flush draw, and ultimately the best hand.

He's up to 3.7 million, while Ko dips to 1.35 million. --JS

3:32pm: Counts

Here's how the final three stack up.

NAMECOUNTRYCHIPS
Taehoon HanNew Zealand3,310,000
Yuki KoJapan1,730,000
Simon BurnsUK860,000

3:30pm: Pete Chen eliminated in fourth (₩11,053,600)
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Then it was Simon Burns's turn to eliminate someone. Action folded to Pete Chen on the small blind and he moved all-in for about 250,000. Burns called from the big blind and showed K♦J♥ to Chen's Q♣5♥.

Burns stayed in the lead until the end of the 7♣T♦2♠A♥A♣ board and he chipped up to 860,000 while Chen won about $10,400 for finishing fourth. --AV

Pete Chen

3:28pm: Sheng Li eliminated in fifth (₩8,980,000)
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Pete Chen moved all-in the following hand but got no callers. Then Sheng Li moved all-in the hand after that and got one caller, Taehoon Han.

Han showed K♠Q♠ and Li turned over A♦2♥.

"I win, surely," Li joked.

But he didn't. The board came down 6♥4♦5♣2♦K♥ and Han scored the elimination with the rivered pair of kings. Li took home ₩8,980,000, or nearly $8,350, for the finish while Han chipped up to 3.31 million. --AV

Sheng Li

3:25pm: Jaebok Ryu eliminated in sixth (₩7,250,000)
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Boom. We lost three players in four hands. Surprisingly, the first player to go wasn't Sheng Li or Pete Chen, but Jaebok Ryu.

Yuki Ko raised from under the gun that hand and then Ryu three-bet to 100,000 from the big blind. Ko called, the flop came down T♠6♥2♥ and the rest of the chips quickly went in.

Ryu turned over J♦T♦ for top pair while Ko had the overpair with Q♠Q♦. The turn was a 6♣ and then a J♠ came on the river. Ryu improved to jacks and tens, but Ko had queens and sixes.

Ko chipped up to 1.75 million while Ryu won ₩7,250,000, or about $6,800, for finishing sixth. --AV

Jaebok Ryu

3:18pm: Chen's down too
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Sheng Li isn't the only player sitting with around ten big blinds, as Pete Chen's stack has dropped down there too.

He opened the small blind to 60,000 and Simon Burns defended the big blind to see a 6♣7♠6♠ flop. Chen continued for 58,000, only for Burns to jam with the bigger stack. Chen was forced to fold, leaving himself with 235,000, while Burns increases to 620,000. --JS

3:15pm: Double up for Ryu
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

With no action in front of him, Jaebok Ryu limped from the small blind before Sheng Li shoved from the big. Ryu made the call with the A♥3♣ which was ahead of Li's T♦9♦, and after the J♣A♠4♦Q♦J♠ runout Ryu remained in front.

He's up to 680,000 now, while Li's stack falls to 250,000. --JS

3:10pm: Too many chips to count
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

"S%&t, how many chips do you have?" said a shocked looking Sheng Li to Taehoon Han after the latter coolered Pete Chen.

"I don't know!" replied a smiling Han. We can tell you he seems to have a little over 3.1 million. That's a lot, an awful lot.

Chen had opened to 52,000 from the button and Han defended his big blind. The board rolled out 5♦8♥A♥6♠2♣ with Han checking to face bets of 40,000, 110,000 and 220,000. He called all the way and Chen opened up A♠2♦ for two pair, but it was no good as Han had a bigger two pair with A♦6♣. Chen dropped to 350,000. --MC

2:55pm: Taking it easy
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The three-way excitement might've been a bit too much for players. It looks like they needed a break after that massive pot and action has slowed down considerably.

Most pots have been taken down with a simple preflop raise, but there has been the occasional preflop three-bet and one hand even made it to the turn. Taehoon Han raised to 55,000 from the cutoff that hand and Sheng Li called from the big blind. The flop came down A♥Q♦J♣ and Han bet 40,000 when checked to.

Li called and a 9♠ came down on the turn. Li checked and Hand fired off a 160,000-chip bet. It was good enough to take down the pot. --AV

2:45pm: Three-way all in sees Kunimaro Kojo fall (₩5,870,000)
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Kunimaro Kojo's tournament has gone from bad (see below) to worse (he's now out).

The massive pot began with a 55,000 open from chipleader Sheng Li, which Simon Burns then called on the button. 2016 Korea Main Event champ Taehoon Han flatted from the small blind too, only for Kojo to jam for 291,000 total from the big blind.

Back to Li, he began studying the other two players' stacks, before eventually announcing he was all in too. That got a quick fold from Burns, but just as quickly Han snap-called off his 795,000 stack, surprising everyone.

Li - Q♠J♠
Kojo - K♣6♣
Han - A♦K♠

Han had the best of it, but the 8♠2♦2♠ flop gave Li a flush draw, bringing a "Wowwwwwww!" from Pete Chen.

The 9♣ turn gave Li more outs to a straight. Han covered his eyes before turning away ("I can't look!").

He needn't have been worried as a safe 8♥ completed the board, keeping his big slick in front. With that Kojo was eliminated in seventh for ₩5,870,000 (~US$5,504), while Han has secured a massive double up to roughly 1.9 million, giving him a dominant chip lead. Li now sits with 560,000. --JS

Kunimarao Kojo

2:35pm: Oh no Kojo
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Kunimaro Kojo has dropped down to 300,000 after two pair was no good against Pete Chen, who rose to 925,000.

He opened to 51,000 from under the gun and was only called by Chen on the button. Both checked the 6♠J♠3♥ flop before Kojo led for 75,000 and 115,000 on the 3♣Q♥ turn and river. Chen called both bets holding Q♣J♣, which was good to beat Kojo's A♦Q♥. --MC

2:25pm: Han haggles some off Ko
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Taehoon Han started the level off with some action. Action folded to his button in the first few minutes back from break and he raised it up to 50,000.

Yuki Ko called from the big blind and then both players checked the A♥A♠2♣ flop. An 8♣ came on the turn and Ko bet 36,000. Han called and the river brought an A♣. Ko bet again, this time he put out 57,000. Han thought for a while and then started pushing a bigger pile of chips in for a raise. Ko quickly folded and Han took down the pot.

Han chipped up to almost 750,000 while Ko dipped to 850,000. --AV

2:12pm: Chip counts as play resumes
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Play has resumed, here's the sate of play:

NAMECOUNTRYCHIPS
Sheng LiChina1,567,000
Yuki KoJapan999,000
Simon BurnsUK794,000
Pete ChenTaiwan613,000
Taehoon HanNew Zealand585,000
Kunimaro KojoJapan563,000
Jaebok RyuKorea536,000

2:02pm: Big pot goes Li's way
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

In the last hand before the first break of the day, action folded to Yuki Ko in the cutoff and he opened to 50,000. Over to start-of-day chip leader Sheng Li in the small blind, he raised it up to 155,000, and when it got back to Ko he matched it.

Heads up to the T♣6♣3♥ flop, Li continued for 130,000 and Ko didn't budge, bringing the 4♥ on the turn. This time Li checked and Ko went into the tank for a couple of minutes before eventually checking back.

The 4♣ landed on the river, and Li started racking up a bet. He slid out 300,000, and that got an instant fold for Ko.

The remaining seven are now on a ten-minute break, we'll be back then with full chip counts. --JS

2:00pm: Middle stack limbo
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

A few players are hovering around the 25-30 big blind mark and playing a bit, but not too much.

In one hand Jaebok Ryu raised to 40,000 and Simon Burns called from the button. Taehoon Han called from the small blind as well and the flop came down 7♠8♥9♠. Han bet 33,000 and Ryu raised to 75,000. Burns and Han folded and Ryu took down the pot.

Then Han got some off of Ryu the following hand. Ryu called from under the gun and Han raised to 65,000 when action folded to him on the button. Ryu called and the flop came down 5♦5♠A♥.

Han started betting and Ryu quickly folded.

Then Kunimaro Kojo won one. Han raised to 40,000 from the cutoff and Kojo three-bet to 110,000 from the button. Han thought for a while, a call would be for most of his stack. Han folded instead and was left with 585,000. The pot put Kojo up to 500,000 while Ryu is also hovering around 550,000. --AV

1:50pm: Third bullet does the trick for Ko
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Yuki Ko has moved up to 1.13 million after emptying the clip on Pete Chen. It took until the river for the latter to admit defeat and he dropped to 560,000.

Ko raised to 50,000 from the cutoff before going to fire 42,000, 65,000 and 195,000 on each street of a T♦K♦3♦7♦6♠ board. Chen tanked on the river before releasing his hand into the muck. --MC

The steely-eyed Yuki Ko

1:40pm: A closer look
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Thanks to our Media Coordinator Ben Wilson, we're able to take a closer look at the National field to see how they break down by nationality.

There were a total of 26 different countries represented with Japan (22.8%) making up the largest portion of the field, closely followed by China (17.4%) and the USA (12.6%).

Russia (7.8%) and Taiwan (7.8%) round out the top five with all other countries only boasting 6% (10 entrants or lower).

The Rest of World portion makes up 6.6% of the field and represents 11 different countries all with a single representative. --JS

APPT Korea National field

1:35pm: Blind leading the blind
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

After two quick eliminations, we've not much action to report from this latest orbit. In fact, we've only seen one flop.

In a blind versus blind pot, Yuki Ko (sb) checked the 6♠2♦4♥ flop over to Jaebok Ryu (bb). He led for 40,000, and Ko came along to see the 6♦ turn, pairing the board. Ko checked once more, and Ryu didn't slow down leading for 65,000. Call.

The T♠ river completed things, but there'd be no more betting. Ko flipped over the J♠2♠ for a pair of ducks, but the deuces were no good against Ryu's 5♣5♠. Ship this small one Ryu's way. --JS

1:25pm: Masakazu Okamoto eliminated in eighth (₩4,490,000)
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

And we've lost another one. Pete Chen raised to 47,000 from the hijack and then a short-stacked Masakazu Okamoto re-raised all-in for 193,000 from the small blind.

Chen quickly called and a showed a dominating A♣J♣ to Okamoto's A♦6♦. Chen improved to a pair of jacks on the 8♣7♦J♠ flop and an A♠ on the turn left Okamoto drawing dead.

Okamoto won ₩4,490,000, or about $4,220, for finishing 8th while Chen chipped up to 750,000. --AV

Masakazu Okamoto

1:10pm: Genki Nakano out in ninth (₩3,455,000)
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

After a whole lot of shoves, we've finally seen an all in and a call.

Action folded to Japan's Genki Nakano in middle position and he moved all in for around 310,000. To Nakano's left was Simon Burns, and he quickly moved all in too for a little bit more (roughly 345,000).

Nobody else wanted to get involved, and the cards were flipped: A♥9♣ for Nakano, which was dominated by the A♦K♦ of Burns. The board ran out 8♠J♣2♠4♦T♠ improving neither player, meaning Nakano was out.

He'll collect ₩3,455,000 (~US$3,237) for his efforts over the past couple of days, while Burns' chances improve as his stack increases to 696,000. --JS

Genki Nakano, the first one out

1pm: More shoving
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

After the series of big pots that started off the day, there was a more sedate period of play. A couple of pots were checked to showdown, there were a couple of raise and takes before another all-in.

Masakazu Okamoto had been watching his stack shrink as opponents around him played, but then he made a move. He was own to 246,000 when he moved all-in from middle position. One by one his opponents folded and he picked up some much-needed chips. --MC

12:50pm: Sheng shoves
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

We've already seen that Sheng Li isn't afraid to play big pots, now we know he isn't afraid to shove either. Once again, he was battling against Taehoon Han.

Han started the hand with a raise to 35,000 from early position and Jaebok Ryu called from the cutoff. Li went along from the button and the three players saw a 2♥8♣K♦ flop. Han bet 60,000 and only Li called.

A T♣ on the turn brought a bit more action. Han bet 108,000 and this time Li raised to 260,000. Han called and a K♣ completed the board. Han slowed to a check and Li moved all-in for 422,000. Han had nearly double that and thought for a while. Then he folded.

Han was left with about 800,000 while Li jumped back up to 1.2 million. --AV

12:35pm: Ryu the day
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Jaebok Ryu came into today's final table as the shortest stack, but he's been making some moves early on to increase his chip count.

First, he shoved for 274,000 from the UTG+1 seat but got no action. A couple of hands later, Pete Chen made it 36,000 to go under the gun and it folded over to New Zealand's Taehoon Han (the 2016 Korea Main Event champ). He three-bet it up to 84,000, and Ryu cold-called from the small blind. Back to Chen, he came along too.

The three saw an A♠5♣K♠ flop and it checked around to the J♠ turn. Ryu jammed for around 300,000, but that got two quick folds, bringing his stack up to around 520,000.

Meanwhile, Han is still healthy with 1 million, and Chen sits with 530,000. --JS

12:20pm: Sheng starts off swinging, misses
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Our start-of-day chip leader, Sheng Li, came ready to play and three-bet the first two hands of play.

Taehoon Han started the first hand of the final table off with a raise to 26,000 and action folded around to Li on the button. Li three-bet to 80,000 and Han called when action folded back around to him.

The flop came 2♠2♦T♦ and Li bet 75,000 when checked to. Han called and then a 3♣ came on the turn. Both players slowed to a check and a Q♣ completed the board. Both players checked again and Han turned over A♣K♥.

It was good enough to take down the pot. Li mucked and then took a stab at the following pot.

Yuki Ko, who started the day by quickly brushing his teeth at the final table, raised to 24,000 from middle position. Li then raised it up to 82,000 from the cutoff and Ko called.

Both players then checked the T♠K♠A♠ flop and a 2♦ came on the turn. Ko bet 70,000 and Li sent his cards into the muck again. The pot put Ko up to 960,000 while Li dipped to 845,000. Han, on the other hand, took the lead with 1.15 million. --AV

Yuki Ko, freshening up a bit

11:50am: An exciting finale ahead

Fancy handing out a $30,000 Platinum Pass? Good. So do we.

That's why PokerStars Blog has come to Incheon, South Korea, where we'll be bringing you all the action from APPT Korea for the rest of the week, including four Platinum Passes being handed out. One of those has already been awarded to Chile's Diego Palma, which you can read about here.

Today we're kicking things off with the APPT Korea National Final Table, where nine players return at midday to battle it out for the KRW33,835,000 (~US$31,780) top prize and the PSPC Platinum Pass to the Bahamas in January 2019.

APPT Korea National Final Table

There are some familiar faces in this finale. 2017 PokerStars Festival Korea Champion Taehoon Han has made it to the final nine, starting off second in chips. The man leading the way right now is Sheng Li with 1,110,000 - the only player to hold over a million in chips. We've also got the experienced Pete Chen and the UK's Simon Burns, and all nine finalists are guaranteed a payday of at least KRW3.45M (~US$3,245).

Here's a look at how the final table begins:

SeatNameCountryChips
1Yuki KoJapan892,000
2Jaebok Ryu Korea284,000
3Sheng LiChina1,110,000
4Pete ChenTaiwan639,000
5Genki NakanoJapan388,000
6Simon BurnsUK455,000
7Taehoon HanNew Zealand995,000
8Masakazu OkamotoJapan324,000
9Kunimaro KojoJapan539,000

The levels are soon increasing to 60 minutes, and we're coming in with eight minutes left on Level 20 (6,000/12,000,2,000). Let's find ourselves a champ. --JS



PokerStars Blog reporting team on the APPT Korea National: Marc Convey, Jack Stanton, and Alex Villegas. Photography by Manuel Kovsca. Videos for PokerStars by 23Digital.

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