PokerStars Macau at Casino Grand Lisboa hosts the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) from November 17-27 and the majority of the visitors to the enclave will have their hopes pinned on the HKD $30,000 Main Event which boasts a HKD $6,000,000 guarantee.
However, for Taiwanese poker pro Hung Sheng “Shaq” Lin the 11-day poker festival has a different meaning altogether as he attempts to hold on to his top spot on theAsia Player of the Year rankings.
The 2011 Macau Millions champion has held the No. 1 rank for a record 8 months — previous record by Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu at 7 months.
Lin has earned over HKD 1.2 million this season and has final table appearances on all the major Asia tournaments thus far including the February Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon (3rd), Macau Millions (1st), and Macau Poker Cup Championship (6th).
In any other year, Lin’s 6,028 points would be more than enough to sit back and relax with only 14 Official Asia Player of the Year Events left in the season.
However, a red hot Raiden Kan — who won last month’s Macau Poker Cup Championship — has been in steady pursuit the last two months
“Before the MPCC even started, me and my brother (No. 3 ranked Aaron Lin) agreed that Raiden Kan was the biggest threat for our quest of the APOY. He has lots of experience.” said Lin.
No. 2 Kan is the top money winner with over HKD 1.7 million and also has 2 runner-up finishes in September to go with his recent title.
“I’ve got a big chance now and I’m very confident.” said Kan. “APPT Macau is my next goal of course and focusing on that will also get me the Asia Player of the year.”
Historically, the leader entering the month of November has gone on to etch their name on the permanent trophy that sits in the PokerStars Macau cardroom.
“It’s really a different dynamic this year.” said PokerStars Country Manager Fred Leung. “This is the first year where APPT tournaments qualify for APOY points. With the huge fields we’re expecting there are going to be big shifts in the standings. I’d estimate around 3,000 points for the Main Event winner alone and there are another 13 Official Asia Player of the Year Events on the schedule to consider.”
“Clearly Shaq controls his own destiny with more than a thousand point lead. He’s already had a phenomenal season that’s worthy of the APOY title. But Raiden’s been Malaysia’s top ranked player for back-to-back years and if you add that consistency to his current momentum you would be foolish to ignore him.”
2011 Asia Player of the Year
1. Shaq Lin (Chinese Taipei) — 6,028 pts
2. Raiden Kan (Malaysia) — 4,936 pts
3. Aaron Lin (Chinese Taipei) — 3,984 pts
4. Haifeng Xue (China) — 3,431 pts
5. Charles Lam (Hong Kong) — 2,984 pts
6. Mark Benasa (Philippines) — 2,585 pts
7. Ion Sang Song (Macau) — 2,510 pts
8. Kwan Pao Mah (Canada) — 2,365 pts
9. Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (Japan) — 2,184 pts
10. Xin Rui Lu (China) — 2,163 pts