APPT Seoul: Endo's crescendo
We returned to the Paradise Walkerhill Casino in Seoul, South Korea, this morning along with 109 of Asia's finest poker players as Day 2 of the APPT Seoul Main Event took centre stage. We knew we were in for a long day - and we don't really like those.
Seoul is a such a vibrant city, and fascinating to explore by day or by night. So while the players were (hopefully) tucked up quietly in bed to recharge their batteries last night, we took advantage of a few spare hours to check out the town. We were hoping to find Korean BBQ on the menu, but instead we found an interesting dish called Gamjatang which was spoon-fed to us by drunk Korean businessmen. It's not as sinister as it sounds as Dave Behr explained.
Our quest for cheap electronics also missed the mark but the chance to see one of Seoul's most impressive market places at Dongdaemun was worth the expensive cab fare home.
With us back behind the blogging desk today, we learned that poker is a universal language. It doesn't matter what nationality, a bad beat story in the language of poker can be easily translated. Japanese cult hero Hirotoshi Nakabo was the man we caught suffering when his pocket aces were cracked by a humble gutshot straight draw, but he was just one of many eliminations throughout the day.
The eliminations and bad beats continued as the likes of Ben McLean, Jacky Wang, Julian Hasse, Andrew Scott, Casey Kastle, Sparrow Cheung and our last remaining Team PokerStars Pro in Celina Lin were all sent packing. Lin's final stand saw her commit with ace-king but her opponent's pocket kings held true.
The players were thankful for the opportunity to get plenty of game time as APPT President Danny McDonagh explained to us the improved structure for players on day two. A little more play is always going to mean a long day, which took its toll on the number of people on the rail. With the local Koreans unable to come into the casino to watch, and most of the visiting players enjoying the cash game and side event action, the rail was a little thinner than usual, but that just meant McDonagh and his team were kept on their toes. Cash games absorbed tournament tables before the Pot Limit Omaha side event saw the casino floor operating to its capacity with every table popping on a busy Saturday night at the Paradise Walkerhill Casino.
As the players approached the money, we kept an eye on the tankers and stallers while also recalling some of the more memorable bubble hands that we've seen. Perhaps an article that Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen would rather not revisit.
We were keeping a close eye on Daren Yoon to ensure that he didn't land a bubble three-peat, and an unwanted new nickname, but he survived, as the luck of the Irish went against Barry O'Callaghan to see him become the unfortunate bubble boy.
The final 24 players took a dinner break before returning for another three hours to get us down to our final 16. Aussie Millions runner up Kenneth Wong was among them, as his remarkable "run good" continued. Wong spiked a two-outer river set to stay alive, and then late in the day won a huge coin flip with A♣K♥ collecting a river king to better the pocket tens of Fakher Alizai. Unfortunately Aussie Millions champ Oliver Speidel had busted earlier in the day to deny us a rare double.
When Fakher Alizai's ace-king failed to improve against Jhana Hale's pocket jacks, he headed to the cashier in 17th place as our final sixteen were set in stone. The end of day counts and redraw for Day 3 will be posted in the live updates section shortly.
Daisuke Endo will be the end-of-day chip leader with 650,000, thanks largely to a three-way all in where his pocket aces held for a virtual triple up. Ken Wong (527,000) and Vincent Rubianes (505,000) round out the top three stacks, while day one chip leader Jhana Hale, Elton Tsang and Michael Guzzardi are also still in contention.
Play recommences at 12:15pm tomorrow so it's time for some shut eye. Good night from Seoul!