One of the tensest times in any tournament. The moment players aim to hang on through another knockout and see a return on their investment and their hours at the table.
For one though, it’s always heartbreak, as they come up just shy of a payday and walk away with empty pockets.
Tonight, deep into Day 2 of the APPT9 Seoul Main Event, the bubble has burst. The 27 remaining players are now all guaranteed KRW5,050,000 ($4,617) for their efforts.
For our bubble boy though, Japan’s Hiroyuki Tanaka, he’ll have to be content with nothing but the experience. With blinds at 2,000/4,000 and a 500 ante, the action folded around to Tanaka who was seated in the hijack. He moved all in for around 60,000 in chips before Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang, sitting directly to his left, made the call. The button and the blinds tossed their cards in the muck before Tanaka and Huang tabled their cards.
Tanaka was dominated and in rough shape. With the board running out 5♠Q♠4♠3♥6♣ Huang’s king-kicker played and Tanaka’s hopes of claiming an APPT Main Event title this week were gone.
You could feel the tension lift in the room as everybody else locked up a payday and we continued to edge closer to a final table here in Seoul. The High Roller event has also just begun at the adjacent tables of the Paradise Walkerhill Casino poker room. A bunch of rested players have ponied up KRW6,000,000 ($5,485) and taken their seats.
Meanwhile in the Main Event, a new chip leader has emerged. With only 18 left now, it’s USA’s Jason Mo who has found himself in front after a big clash with fellow countryman Mick Woo. The action began with Woo opening the button for 14,000 before Mo defended his big blind.
The flop landed 2♦Q♦8♣ and when both players checked the dealer turned the A♦. Mo checked again before Woo made a bet of 13,000. Mo administered a check-raise and after Woo studied his opponent he made the call.
The river was the 3♠ and after going into the tank momentarily, Mo continued for 105,500. Woo moved all in over the top for 265,000 to put his opponent to the test. With J♦5♦ for the second nuts Mo made the call and was good against Woo’s K♦Q♠. Mo scooped a monster pot of 660,000 in chips, eliminating Woo in 23rd place.
With the High Roller side event seeing a lot more entrants than initially anticipated, plans have changed for the Main Event structure. Play will close after 10 levels tonight to accommodate the extra side event players before the Main Event runners return tomorrow to battle it out.
With only 16 players left now and about an hour of play remaining, we’ll see if Mo can maintain the chip lead and find out who survives to Day 3 of the APPT Seoul Main Event.