PokerStars Festival Korea: Final table player profiles
Courtesy of PokerStars Media Coordinator Jan Kores
Seat 1: Mitsuru Sano, Japan, 865,000
Fresh from a second place in the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Southeast Main Event in Cambodia for $12,000, Mitsuru Sano in now nearing another five-figure notch, making it to the final table. The Japanese player needs to finish at least seventh to break his career-best result for the second time in just three weeks. Coming to this event, Sano had won just under $29,000 in live tournaments. This will be his 14th reported cash, with the previous prizes collected in Manila, Daegu and Poipet.
Seat 2: Yuki Ko, South Korea, 2,820,000
Japanese player with Korean heritage, Yuki Ko is dubbed the best Pot-Limit Omaha player from the Land of the Rising Sun. He regularly competes in the largest cash games in Macau and Las Vegas. Ko is no stranger to the tournament arena either. He won the 2016 Aussie Millions A$1k Pot-Limit Omaha Event for A$54,500 and added another triumph to his name from the HK$15k PLO Championship at 2016 Asia Championship of Poker. While omaha is Ko's strongest game, he's proved his no-limit hold'em skills as well. Ko made it to the final table in the Aussie Millions Main Event last year, walking away in ninth place for a A$160,000 payday. He also cashed in the inaugural PokerStars Championship Macau Main Event. So far, Ko has amassed $272,000 in live tournaments. He sits in 19th place on the Japanese all-time money list.
Seat 3: Jwahyoung Kim, South Korea, 509,000
Jwahyoung Kim hails from Seoul and, having Incheon just around the corner, he couldn't miss an opportunity to play at the first ever PokerStars Festival in Asia. Kim's lifetime tournament earnings make up for around $40,000. He cashed in three tournaments at the 2017 Aussie Millions, including the Main Event (75th for A$15,000). Kim is now looking to top that result from January. A top six finish would seal Kim the biggest prize of his career.
Seat 4: Taehoon Han, New Zealand, 1,345,000
Taehoon Han may have been New Zealand's only hope in the field, but the lone Kiwi proved to be a tough nub, navigating his way to the final table. Han has been flying under the radar so far, having collected just over $6,000 before his appearance at PokerStars Festival Korea. He's already picked up KRW 2,180,000 for eighth place in the PokerStars Super Deep Event here at Paradise City, and now he's ready to notch another top-eight finish. More to that, Tan will be rewarded with his biggest payday, breaking NZ$5,050 for 20th place in the 2014 APPT Auckland Main Event.
Seat 5: Dmitrii Kovalevskii, Russia, 403,000
Dmitrii Kovalevskii hails from Vladivostok, only a two-hour flight away from Incheon. Kovalevskii is a recreational poker player who owns a company that specializes in selling medical equipment. He used to play poker in his hometown casino on a weekly basis but that casino closed its operations in February. Kovalevskii hasn't been playing poker in the last few months and he's missing the action. He likes playing both tournaments and cash games. He bagged the chip lead on Day 1a and capitalized on his great start, making it to the final table here in the Main Event. He likes riding his motorbike in his free time.
Seat 6: Scott Janik, USA, 1,367,000
Scott Janik topped Day 1c and he'll meet fellow starting flight chip leaders Dmitrii Kovalevskii (1a) and Yuki Ko (1b) on the final table. Janik comes from Philadelphia but lives here in South Korea where he's serving in the U.S. military. Janik was on his way out to bed just before the final hand of Day 2 emerged, as he had a curfew. Janik keeps his brain busy even when his cards have already gone to the muck by solving a Rubik cube while waiting for next hand.
Seat 7: Weikuo Hsiao, Taiwan, 722,000
Not much is known about Weikuo Hsiao, who is now ready to make his breakthrough on a major final table. The Taiwanese player has four live cashes to his name and his prize from the PokerStars Festival Korea Main Event will mark his first five-figure score. Hsiao's best payday came earlier this month at the Asia Championship of Poker - Platinum Series XIX in Macau. He finished second to Jordan Seet in the HK$2,000 NLH Turbo, banking HK$38,877 (just under $5,000). Hsiao has already cashed in Korea twice but neither of those notches came in Seoul. He made back-to-back cashes in small events during 2013 Asian Series in Jeju.
Seat 8: Harunobu Kojima, Japan, 456,000
Harunobu Kojima is a professional drummer and a recreational poker player. He enjoys competing in tournaments and making the PokerStars Festival Korea Main Event final table is his biggest poker achievement. While there's a lot of money on the line, Kojima might have an ace up his sleeve. His mindset could secure him a huge advantage as he takes the game easy. It's all about fun for Kojima, and there's nothing better than spending some exciting moments on a prestigious final table.