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10:05pm: We have a champ! Michael Soyza wins ₩158,700,000 and Platinum Pass
Level 31 – Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

It’s all over!

Soyza wins!

After a back-and-forth heads-up battle, Michael Soyza has pulled off an incredible comeback against Mitsuhiro Shiga to claim the title, plus the $30,000 Platinum Pass.

There were two hands at the end that sealed it.

First, Soyza limped the button and Shiga checked to bring a 9Q7 flop. Shiga led for 200,000 which was called, bringing the 3 turn. Now Shiga checked, letting Soyza in for a 450,000 bet. Call.

The 10 river landed and both checked, and Soyza’s Q4 top pair was best against Shiga’s 92.

The next hand was the final one.

Shiga limped the button and Soyza bumped it up to 660,000. After the call, a 10105 flop landed and Soyza continued for 400,000. Shiga went nowhere, and the turn was the 9.

Now Soyza checked and Shiga snap-shoved for it all. Soyza didn’t take long too call and rolled over the KK for an overpair to the board. Shiga had the J8 for an up-and-down straight draw.

The river? 9.

Soyza was declared the champion and his rail went wild. “WE’RE GOING TO BAHAMAS, BABY! WOO!” said Soyza’s fellow Malaysian and friend Victor Chong, who left his seat at the High Roller final table and came in for a hug.

Soyza with Victor Chong

They are indeed. Soyza wins ₩158,700,000 (~US$150K) plus a Platinum Pass to the 2019 PSPC at the PCA. For his runner-up finish, Shiga wins ₩99,468,600.

Thanks for reading our live coverage all week. We’ll have a full wrap up of this tournament shortly, plus a video with our latest champion. Until next time! –JS

Michael Soyza – APPT Korea champ

9:55pm: Shiga lost his Mojo?
Level 31 – Blinds 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)

Mitsuhiro Shiga was full of beans when he had a sizeable lead in the previous level, but he seemed a little deflated during the first ten minutes of this level.

He called on the button and Michael Soyza checked his option. The board ran out J6786 with Soyza checking all three streets. Shiga waited until the river where he bet 200,000. Soyza called and Shiga mucked ands shook his head.

The stacks are almost dean even now. –MC

Highlights from the High Roller

Players in the High Roller are now rolling in dough.

Our bubble boy in that event was France’s Selim Oulmekki, who moved all-in with AJ. Danny Tang called with 1010 and the board ran out 7K56Q to burst the bubble.

Tang then busted Thomas Ward the very next with 66 vs Ward’s A6 and pocket sixes held.

Izutsu Hideki is still chip leader with about 900,000 and Tang looks be second with nearly 800,000.

9:40pm: Soyza takes the lead, then Shiga gets it back
Level 30 – Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

It’s one step forward, one step back in terms of one player getting ahead.

First Michael Soyza won a nice pot to retake the chip lead for the first time in a while. Mitsuhiro Shiga made it 310,000 preflop and Soyza raised it to 1.01 million. Call.

The flop came QJ6 on which Soyza fired 700,000 and got a fold. That took him up to 7 million to Shiga’s 6.45 million.

Then Shiga limped the button and Soyza checked, bringing a 107J flop. After two checks, the 5 hit the turn and Soyza led for 200,000. Shiga matched that, and the river was the 8. Soyza slowed down, and Shiga led for 500,000 when checked to. Soyza made the call but mucked when Shiga turned over the Q9 for a straight.

Scores on the doors at the break are 6,525,000 for Soyza and 6,925,000 for Shiga. Back in ten minutes. –JS

9:27pm: Lucky lucky Soyza closes the gap
Level 30 – Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

“Lucky, lucky!” said Michael Soyza after he rivered Mitsuhiro Shiga and got a value bet paid.

Shiga called and Soyza checked his option. The flop came A9A and Soyza check-called 200,000. Shiga bet another 200,000 on the 6 turn and snap called after Soyza check-raised to 600,000. The J completed the board and Soyza led for a cool million. Shiga took a couple of minutes to call (an eternity for him) and was shown J3 by Soyza. Shiga flashed the 9 and mucked.

Shiga – 7.33 million
Soyza – 6.14 million

9:16pm: Soyza gets rivered
Level 30 – Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Ouch. A horrible river card has just seen Michael Soyza’s stack decrease substantially.

Soyza limped the button and Mitsuhiro Shiga raised it to 620,000. Soyza called, and they both checked the 39A flop.

The dealer burned and turned the 10 and Shiga sprung back into life, leading for 500,000. Soyza called, undeterred.
The river was the 2 (the horrible card we told you about) and Shiga fired again for 1 million. Soyza didn’t take too long to call, and we waited for Shiga to turn over his cards.

First, he flipped the 2. Then, without rushing, the A. Two-pair on the river.

Soyza’s face scrunched up in frustration as he showed his A7. “Must be nice, eh?” he said to his rail, referring to Shiga’s good fortune.

Soyza is back down to 2.8 million, while Shiga has 10.67 million. –JS

9:05pm: Three hands. No fancy writing.
Level 30 – Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Hand 1

Michael Soyza made it 250,000 on the button and Mitsuhiro Shiga called. The flop came 458 and Shiga checked, letting Soyza continue for 650,000. Shiga then raised to 650,000 and took it down.

Hand 2

Shiga made it 560,000 on the button and Soyza folded. Shiga flashed the KJ.

Hand 3

Soyza limped the button and Shiga checked. The dealer dealt the 642 flop which checked through to the Q turn. Shiga checked, Soyza led for 200,000, and Shiga raised it up to 500,000. Call.

The 10 hit the turn and Shiga continued for 625,000. Soyza called once again, and his Q8 was just better than Shiga’s Q7. The pot shipped to Soyza. –JS

8:55pm: Game on as Souza doubles
Level 30 – Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

This ain’t over yet, folks.

Michael Soyza limped in and watched Mitsuhiro Shiga raise to 520,000. Soyza then moved all-in for 2.62 million and Shiga slammed in a call.

Shiga: QJ
Soyza: KQ

The 3AK flop offered something for both players. “Always a sweat!” smiled Soyza, who still had the best of it.

He was smiling a little less on the J turn, but the river was a brick 9.

The next three pots were to-and-fro, with Shiga winning a few chips back.

Shiga – 9.832 million
Soyza – 4.7 million

8:45pm: Shiga extends lead
Level 30 – Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Two big pots just played out which have seen Mitsuhiro Shiga’s lead almost reach the 5:1 stage.

First, he limped the button and Michael Soyza checked, bringing a 6QQ flop. Both checked it, and the turn was the 8. Check check again.

The 6 river put two pairs on board, and Soyza now led out for 250,000. Shiga pulled out a stack and raised it to 1.1 million which Soyza called, only to muck when Shiga showed the Q8 for a full house.

Not long after Soyza limped the button and Shiga checked. Shiga then led out for 325,000 on the 1037 flop which was called before instantly continuing for 800,000 on the 5 turn. That was enough to get a fold.

Shiga – 10,445,000
Soyza – 2,775,000

Mitsuhiro Shiga (left) and Michael Soyza (right) are heads-up for the title, ₩158,700,000 and the Platinum Pass

8:35pm: Big pot, first hand
Level 29 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

You always wonder when a poker tournament gets to heads-up whether the players will go small-ball or play big pots. If the first hand is anything to go by…

Michael Soyza opened to 200,000 and Mitsuhiro Shiga defended to see a 736 flop where he led for 500,000. Soyza studied his opponent for a while and then raised to 1.4 million. Shiga tank-folded.

Shiga did get some back the very next hand though after raising to 400,000. Soyza folded and Shiga flashed an ace. That was the last hand of Level 29. –MC

8:20pm: Bryan Huang felted in third by Shiga (₩61,380,000)
Level 29 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

After a long stretch of three-handed play, we’re down to heads-up after Bryan Huang’s elimination.

Michael Soyza started the hand with a button raise to 200,000 which Huang then three-bet from the small blind to 700,000. Over to Mitsuhiro Shiga in the big, he announced a raise. In fact, that’s all he said. “Raise.”

He then put only 1 million out there, which meant his actual bet was the minimum possible raise: 1.2 million. Soyza got out of the way quickly, but Huang went all-in and Shiga snap-called.

Huang – 1010
Shiga – AA

The JJ77K runout was no improvement for the tens, and Huang said his goodbyes as he headed to the cage.

Bryan Huang (left) and Mitsuhiro Shiga (right)

After a short break, it’ll be heads-up time.

Michael Soyza – 4,095,000
Mitsuhiro Shiga – 9,350,000

Who will win ₩158,700,000 and the Platinum Pass? Stick with us. –JS

8:10pm: Three on the trot for Huang
Level 29 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Bryan Huang has moved up to 3.62 million after three wins in a row.

Michael Soyza completed from the small blind and called after Huang raised to 325,000 from the big blind. The flop fell 91010 and Souza check-folded to a 375,000 c-bet.

Soyza opened to 200,000 off the button the next hand but Huang took the pot with a three-bet to 700,000 from the small blind.

Huang raised to 250,000 the hand after that and Soyza called before they both checked a J7778 board all the way down. “You win!” Said Soyza as he opened 42.

“Why didn’t you try and bluff?” asked Huang, who tabled Q10.

Soyza slipped to 4.6million. –MC

7:55pm: Temporarily serious
Level 29 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

With all his antics, Mitsuhiro Shiga just had a serious moment in a pot against Michael Soyza.

Shiga had raised to 225,000 from the small blind which Soyza called, and when the 1067 flop fell, he continued for 400,000. Soyza called, and this pot was looking healthy.

The Q seemed to kill some action though. After two checks, the 2 completed the board but neither wanted to put any more money in. Shiga turned over the 109 for a pair of tens, and that was good against Soyza’s K7 busted flush draw. –JS

First Name Last Name Country Chip Count
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 5,300,000
Michael Soyza Malaysia 5,200,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 2,750,000

7:40pm: Sneaky Huang gets a double
Level 29 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Bryan Huang gave a little double fist pump to himself after he doubled through Mitsuhiro Shiga.

The hand started with a sneaky small blind completion from Huang before Shiga raised to 300,000. Huang came back with an all-in move for 1.49 million and Shiga snap called.

Huang: AK
Shiga: QJ

The board ran a Singapore flavoured 37AQ2. Shiga dropped to 5.08 million and out of the chip lead, which belongs to Michael Soyza again, who sits on 5.8 million. –MC

7:26pm: Shiga shenanigans
Level 29 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Mitsuhiro Shiga is up to his old tricks again. We’ve got to admit; he’s an entertaining chap to watch at the poker table.

First, Bryan Huang folded his button and Shiga reached for a stack of chips. He counted out 275,000 as if he was going to raise, before quickly tossing in 100,000 for a call and pointing to Michael Soyza as if to say, “Gotcha!”

Soyza didn’t care. He did the raising anyway, and bumped it to 300,000. Shiga called, but folded to a 100,000 c-bet on the K44 flop.

Next orbit, Huang moved all-in on the button and Shiga picked up his cards up so anyone who was stood behind him could see. He then put them in his mouth while thinking (which the floor asked him not to do). He folded, as did Soyza.

Finally, Soyza made it 200,000 on the button and Shiga defended his big blind. The dealer spread an A210 flop which both checked, and there’d be no betting on the 8 turn either.

Finally the K completed the board, and now Shiga led out for 150,000. Soyza called instantly, which prompted Shiga to muck his hand. That meant Soyza didn’t have to show either.

No real change in chip counts yet. –JS

Mitsuhiro Shiga, looking for more shenanigans in the distance

7:05pm: Break

The final three players are now on a 10-minute break. Here’s how they stack up:

First Name Last Name Country Chip Count
Michael Soyza Malaysia 5,940,000
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 5,880,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 1,525,000

7:02pm: Tomita Ryo falls in fourth
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Tomita Ryo’s ride had ended in fourth place after he was taken out by fellow countryman, Mitsuhiro Shiga.

He moved all-in for 1.08 million and was snapped off by Shiga.

Ryo: K9
Shiga: 88

The 3Q8 flop was terrible for Ryo but he picked up some equity on the turn when it came as the 10. There would be no happy ending on the 6 river and he walked away with ₩46,570,000. Shiga moved back up to 5.88 million. –MC

6:51pm: Huang the uncalled
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Bryan Huang has been moving all-in a bit recently. He did it from the small blind and the did it again from the button the following hand. Huang didn’t get any callers either time, but then he almost did a few hands later.

Michael Soyza raised to 180,000 from under the gun and Huang moved all-in for 1.3 million from the button. Tomita Ryo then looked down at his cards and his mind was blown. He put his hands on his head, leaned back and exhaled hard.

He took off his glasses and rubbed his temples. It was going to be a tough decision for Ryo. He counted out the initial raise, the all-in and then his own stack. Finally, though, he folded. Soyza quickly followed suit and Huang took down the pot.

Soyza was still curious after the hand and asked Ryo what he had.

“Pocket eights,” Ryo said. Soyza told him that was a calling hand for sure and mentioned that he had queen-ten. Huang kept his silence though and chipped up to 1.65 million. –AV

6:40pm: Ryo on the double
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Tomita Ryo won a crucial race versus Michael Soyza to keep his hopes alive.

He open shipped for 700,000 and was called by Soyza.

Soyza: 55
Ryo: KJ

The board ran K29A8 to pair Ryo’s king. Soyza still cruising on 6 million. –MC

Tomita gunning a double up

6:25pm: Huang slow plays aces
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Mitsuhiro Shiga won a few chips back off Michael Soyza and then gave them straight to Bryan Huang, who slow played aces.

He opened to 225,000 off the button and Huang defended his big blind. The board ran out J42Q7 with Huang checking every street. Shiga bet 110,000 and 100,000 before checking back the river. Huang opened AA and Shiga mucked.

Slow play dem aces, Bryan

Shiga – 5.8million
Huang – 1.2 million

6:10pm: And back down
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Michael Soyza has retaken the lead after he semi-bluffed Mitsuhiro Shiga off pocket kings. Shiga didn’t seem too happy about it either.

He opened to 125,000 from under the gun and then four-bet to 1.125 million after Michael Soyza three-bet to 400,000 from the button. Call. Soyza called another 500,000 on the 33A flop before he himself bet 1 million on the 5 turn. Shiga open-folded KK and his chip nearly hit the table when Soyza opened KQ for king high.

You dare bluff me, bro?

Soyza, up to 5.7 million, did point out he had a flush draw. Shiga dropped to 4.8million. –MC

6pm: Moving on up
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

There’s no stopping Mitsuhiro Shiga right now. He just put Bryan Huang to the test and came out on top.

Huang had opened the cutoff to 150,000 and both Shiga (sb) and Michael Soyza (bb) called from the blinds to see the K79 flop. It checked to Huang, who continued for 250,000. But Shiga then bumped it up to 650,000.

Soyza got out of the way, but Huang had a decision. With 400,000 to call and 1.65 million behind, he began thinking for around a minute. Shiga then called the clock on him, but it wasn’t enforced as it hadn’t been long enough.

Huang would eventually give it up, and Shiga showed the 8. New chip counts are below. –JS

First Name Last Name Country Chip Count
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 6,100,000
Michael Soyza Malaysia 4,500,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 1,650,000
Tomita Ryo Japan 800,000

5:48pm: Shiga slams Huang, takes the lead
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Mitsuhiro Shiga is our chip leader? Yes, yes he is.

The Shiga smackdown continued and Bryan Huang found himself on the wrong end of it a few times. Shiga raised to 125,000 from the button in one hand and Huang three-bet to 400,000 from the big blind. Shiga called and the flop came 1089. Huang bet 350,000 and Shiga snap-shoved.

Huang quickly folded and Shiga showed a straight with J7. Then Shiga raised to 150,000 from under the gun the following hand. Huang called from the small blind and checked the 7104 flop. Shiga bet 425,000 and Huang called, bringing a 3 on the turn.

Huang checked and then, boom, Shiga moved all-in. Huang folded and Shiga took the lead with 5.4 million while Huang dipped to 1.5 million.

Then Shiga had a chance to deal the finishing blow a few hands later. Shiga raised to 200,000 from the button and Soyza called from the small blind. Huang moved all-in for 1.73 million and Shiga thought. He counted out the stack and thought for a few more minutes, but folded instead.

Huang took down the pot and chipped back up to 2.1 million. –AV

5:45pm: High Roller attracted 83 entries with over ₩100m for 1st

APPT High Roller

Registration has closed in the High Roller tournament. A total of 82 entries helped generate a ₩365,884,000 prize pool and the top 11 players will make the money.

First place will take ₩100,600,000 with a min-cash good for ₩9,200,000. Izutsu Hideki is the current chip leader. Other players still in the hunt include Randy Lew, Thomas Ward, Danny Tang and Simon Burns. — MC

Izutsu Hideki: current leader

5:35pm: Power switch between Huang and Shiga
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Bryan Huang made it 150,000 to go on his button, as he has been doing fairly regularly. Mitsuhiro Shiga has also been regularly shoving over the top from the big blind though, and while Huang had folded until now, eventually something was going to give.

Huang got a count (around 1.7 million) and made the call with the AJ. But wouldn’t you know it? Shiga had that pipped with his AQ.

The K8910J board would ultimately give Shiga broadway and a full double up to 3.5 million. Huang dropped to 2.9 million after that one.

Shiga got richer in the next hand too.

He limped the small blind and when Michael Soyza checked the flop fell 538. Check check.

The turn was the K and now Soyza led for 100,000 when checked to. Shiga matched it to see the 3 river, and then check-called another bet of 225,000. Soyza showed the K2 for kings and threes, but Shiga had rivered trips with his 36.

He’s up to 4.025 million now, while Soyza still leads with 5.42 million. –JS

Mitsuhiro Shiga

5:20pm: Shiga slows down
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Mitsuhiro Shiga seemed to have changed gears after the break. He was throwing a one-man all-in bacchanal last level, but in his first hand back from break, he was betting bit by bit.

Shiga raised to 150,000 from the button and Bryan Huang called from the big blind. The flop came 446 and Shiga bet another 150,000. Huang called and the 9 came on the turn. Shiga bet 150,000 again when checked to and Huang called. The A completed the board and this time Shiga upped the bet to 300,000.

We’ll never know what Shiga had, but it couldn’t have been good since he snap-mucked after Huang called. The hand left Shiga with 1.75 million while Huang chipped up to 5.2 million. –AV

5:08pm: Taking things to another level
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Level 27 is a go. Chip counts:

First Name Last Name Country Chip Count
Michael Soyza Malaysia 4,450,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 4,300,000
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 2,600,000
Tomita Ryo Japan 1,335,000

4:55pm: Shiga aggression
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Not too much to report from the closing hands of Level 26, other than the fact that Mitsuhiro Shiga is not afraid to put all his chips on the line.

He’s moved all in several times over 2-3x opens, and this latest one against Bryan Huang was a 47 big blind shove!

Anyway, they’re on a ten-minute break now. We’ll return with chip counts then. –JS

4:50pm: Shiga and Ryo
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Mitsuhiro Shiga and Tomita Ryo are also at the final table and they also get into pots together, albeit much smaller ones. Ryo called from the small blind in one and Shiga called from the big blind. Ryo then bet on the flop and Shiga folded. Small, nice, tame.

But tame won’t win this one and they’ll have to try and chip up.

Shiga did move all-in from the small blind after Huang called from the cutoff. Shiga then tried the rare chip stack bluff when Huang asked for a count.

“300 million!” Shiga said.

But it was actually 1.345 million. Huang folded anyways and Shiga stayed alive. Bold move Shiga, bold move. –AV

4:40pm: Huang vs. Soyza, Round 3,482
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Bryan Huang and Michael Soyza seem incapable of not getting into giant pots together. Like two neighboring black holes, maybe it’s just the sheer gravitational attraction their stacks are having on each other. At this rate, there’s a chance there will be a cataclysmic pot that’ll somehow end with both of their stacks exploding, leaving only Mitsuhiro Shiga and Tomita Ryo heads-up for the title with short stacks.

In the meantime though, they’ll keep battling. In one, Huang raised to 130,000 from under the gun and Soyza three-bet to 420,000 from the big blind. Huang called and then both players checked the 10910 flop. A 6 came on the turn and Soyza bet 400,000. Huang then raised to 1.1 million and Soyza let it go.

Then they went at it again the following hand. Soyza called from the small blind and Huang checked his option. Players then checked again on the Q23 flop and an 8 came on the turn. Soyza bet 50,000 and Huang called, bringing a 7 on the river. But they weren’t going to let the pot stay so small. Soyza bet 150,000 and Huang raised to 400,000. Soyza called and Huang showed 87 for two-pair while Soyza mucked.

Huang’s now back in the lead with 5.5 million while Soyza trails with 4.75 million. –AV

4:30pm: Count it up
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Here’s how things are looking right now:

First Name Last Name Country Chip Count
Michael Soyza Malaysia 5,750,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 5,200,000
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 1,887,000
Tomita Ryo Japan 1,500,000

4:27pm: Randy Lew falls in fifth (₩33,870,000)
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

PokerStars Team Online’s Randy Lew’s run in this Main Event has come to an end.

He was short-stacked with just 500,000 for ten bigs. He shoved it all in under the gun with the QJ, and Michael Soyza snap-called to his left. Everyone else let it go, and Soyza showed he had Lew’s hand crushed with his AQ.

Both paired their queen on the Q7642 board, but Lew had kicker problems and they ultimately kicked him out in fifth place.

Lew and Soyza

Soyza is up to 5.75 million now, while Lew immediately hopped into the High Roller with just seconds of registration remaining. Eighth place finisher Yuki Ko also got in, but has already busted. –JS

Straight back to work for Lew

4:20pm: Toru Wakamatsu gone in sixth (₩26,810,000)
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Down to five!

Toru Wakamatsu made it 135,000 on the button and former short stack Tomita Ryo defended his big blind, bringing a 24A flop. Ryo check-called a 125,000 c-bet, and the turn came the K. Ryo checked again, Wakamatsu jammed for 450,000, and Ryo snap-called.

Wakamatsu – Q7
Ryo – 109

Wakamatsu had turned the nut flush draw, but Ryo was already there with five hearts. The 9 river changed nothing, and Ryo’s stack increases to 1.5 million while Wakamatsu hits the rail. –JS

Wakamatsu sees the bad news

4:15pm: Seconds out, Round 3
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Soyza has retaken the lead after he and Bryan Huang tangled yet again.

Huang opened to 120,000 from early position and Soyza defended his big blind. Huang continued for 80,000 on a Q2Q flop and was check-called. The A turn was checked through before Soyza check-raised Huang’s 275,000 bet on the 8 river up to a million. Huang flicked in a chip to call but soon mucked upon seeing Soyza’s Q8 for a full house.

Soyza – 5.1million
Huang – 3.65 million
*approx counts. –MC

4:11pm: Mizukami misses, out in 7th (₩21,170,000)
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Kojiro Mizukami had also been surviving while short for a while, but then he joined his final table short-stack brethren on the rail.

Mizukami moved all-in for 565,000 from the hijack and Bryan Huang called from the small blind. Mizukami turned over Q10 for his tournament life while Huang showed a dominating KQ.

Huang was in the lead and stayed there after the A2AKQ board hit the felt. Mizukami won ₩21,170,000 for his 7th-place finish while Huang’s lead grew to 5.2 million. –AV

Kojiro Mizukami

4:05pm: Ko kicked out in 8th, misses the hat trick (₩17,640,000)
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Yuki Ko had been grinding out his short stack all day hoping to get the one-two-three victory here in Korea. But he’ll just have to make do with his National Championship and Single-Day High Roller titles.

Ko made his final move from the button with 55 and Michael Soyza called from the big blind with A10. Soyza hit an ace on the flop of a 2A6210 board and Ko hit the rail, an unfamiliar feeling for him this festival.

Ko won ₩17,640,000 for his efforts while Soyza chipped up to 4.3 million. –AV

“You mean I lost?” 8th-place finisher Yuki Ko has had an incredible APPT

3:55pm: Huang takes the lead
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Bryan Huang is now our new chip leader.

He opened to 90,000 and was min-three-bet to 180,000 by Mitsuhiro Shiga. Huang made the call, and then checked after the 942 flop. Shiga continued for 150,000. Call.

The Q hit the turn and Huang checked once again. Shiga continued down the aggressive path for 200,000, but now Huang bumped it up to 470,000. Not one to fold easily, Shiga matched it.

Huang then jammed the 10 river, putting Shiga to a decision for his entire 1.16 million stack. After a couple of minutes spent in the tank with his head in his hands, he’d eventually fold AQ face up. Huang didn’t show, but his chips are on display and he’s now got 4.61 million. –JS

Huang stares down Shiga

3:50pm: Soyza vs Huang – part II
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Another huge clash between Bryan Huang and Michael Soyza has seen Huang almost equal Soyza’s chip lead.

The hand started with a 90,000 hijack open from Soyza which Huang flatted on the button. Mitsuhiro Shiga came along from the big blind, and the three watched the dealer spread a J2K flop. It checked over to Huang who opted to lead for 185,000, and Soyza was his only caller.

The 8 hit the turn and Soyza checked again. Huang loaded the gun and fired 450,000, and when Soyza called this pot was already huge.

They saw the A complete the board, putting three clubs out there. Huang moved all in for 1.14 million when checked to, and Soyza asked for a count. After around 30 seconds of thinking, Soyza made the call.

Huang flipped over the 22 for a flopped set, and that was good as Soyza mucked. However, his hand was asked to be revealed by the players, and so his K10 was shown.

Soyza drops to 4 million, while Huang is now up to 3.81 million. –JS

3:40pm: Big stack bash
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Soyza and Bryan Huang both have formidable stacks at the final table and they recently clashed.

Soyza raised to 90,000 from the cutoff and Huang made it 260,000 from the small blind. Soyza called and the flop came A53. Huang then fired 300,000 and Soyza called after some thought. Both players checked the 5 on the turn and a 7 completed the board.

Huang checked again, but this time Soyza bet and made it 700,000. Huang folded and was left with 1.88 million while Soyza’s lead grew to 5.80 million. –AV

3:30pm: Quads and double for Lew
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Before the double up, Michael Soyza put Randy Lew’s tournament life on the line on the turn. Lew thought it was better to wait for quads instead.

Soyza raised to 90,000 that hand and Lew called from the big blind. Soyza continued for 80,000 and Lew called, bringing an A on the turn. That’s when Soyza moved all-in. Lew decided there’d be a better spot, and it came just a few hands later.

Lew moved all-in for 330,000 from the cutoff and Toru Wakamatsu called from the big blind. Wakamatsu turned over AJ while Lew showed KK. Lew then improved to a set of kings on the J10K flop, but Wakamatsu hit an inside-straight draw. But then the final king came on the turn and Lew hit quad kings.

Lew doubled to 700,000 while Wakamatsu dipped to 800,000. –AV

3:20pm: A catch up with Diego Palma, APPT Kickoff Champion & Platinum Pass winner

Before the PokerStars Blog descended on Incheon, South Korea for the APPT Festival, one Platinum Pass had already been awarded. Diego Palma from Chile took down the Kickoff event and will join over 300 other Platinum Pass winners in the inaugural PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) at the 2019 PCA.

Palma is a super-interesting guy who bets sports for a living and has a love of travel. Keep any eye out on the blog for a feature video piece of Chilean, but for now, watch as he relives how he won his Platinum Pass last week. –MC

3:14pm: More for Mizukami
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Kojiro Mizukami is the latest player to find a double up.

After Mitsuhiro Shiga limped under the gun, Mizukami jammed for 405,000 from the UTG+1 seat. Back to the limper, Shiga called and tabled the 66, which trailed Mizukami’s 99.

The at-risk player’s hand only got stronger after the 9JQ flop, and the A turn secured him the double up. After a meaningless 5 river, Mizukami stacked up 910,000 while Shiga drops to 1.85 million. –JS

Kojiro Mizukami

3:04pm: Another double
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Tomita Ryo has doubled up through Toru Wakamatsu yet again. Wakamatsu raised to 80,000 from under the gun and then Ryo moved all-in for a smooth 400,000 from middle position.

Action folded back around to Wakamatsu and he called with AJ. Ryo showed a dominating AQ and he kept the lead on the KA248 board. Ryo doubled to 850,000 while Wakamatsu dipped to 1.1 million. –AV

Tomita Ryo

2:50pm: Chip counts as play resumes
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

First Name Last Name Country Chip Count
Michael Soyza Malaysia 5,397,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 2,562,000
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 1,887,000
Toru Wakamatsu Japan 1,696,000
Randy Lew USA 633,000
Kojiro Mizukami Japan 497,000
Tomita Ryo Japan 420,000
Yuki Ko Korea 328,000

2:40pm: Late level rumblings

The final eight are now on a ten-minute break. There were a couple of interesting pots right at the end of Level 24 though.

First, with a 76810 board out there, Toru Wakamatsu led into Mitsuhiro Shiga for 80,000 and the latter made the call, bringing a 9 river. Wakamatsu continued for 200,000, and with a straight out there Shiga called. He’d then muck when Wakamatsu showed the QJ for the nuts.

Then Shiga opened under the gun to 70,000 and Michael Soyza three-bet to 250,000, which Shiga called. The two checked the 8657J board all the way to the river, when Shiga led for 200,000. Soyza called with just AK for ace high, but that was good against Shiga’s A10 for a worse kicker.

Official chip counts on the break coming soon. –JS

Mitsuhiro Shiga

2:35pm: Soyza still rising
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Soyza has the 5 million mark in sight (4.7m) after his second pair was good against Randy Lew.

Lew opened from the button, bet 58,000 on the flop and 155,000 on the turn. Soyza was in the big blind and stuck with Lew all the way to the river where a 9J356 board lay at rest. Lew looked as if he was going to empty the clip, but checked back the river and mucked when Soyza opened A9 for second pair. Lew dropped to 675,000. –MC

2:30pm: There it is
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We found the action guys, it was hiding at the end of level 24. It’s still a bit more subdued than the frenzy from level 23 though. We even got a chopped pot.

Michael Soyza raised to 70,000 from the hijack that hand and a baby-stacked Tomita Ryo moved all-in for 130,000 from the small blind. Soyza called when action folded back around to him and players tabled their hands. Soyza showed A10 and Ryo turned over A10.

“If you win this I’m leaving,” Randy Lew told Soyza.

But Soyza didn’t win and we kept both Lew and Ryo. The board ran 569KJ and players chopped the pot. Then Ryo went all-in the following hand.

Toru Wakamatsu raised to 80,000 from the hijack and Ryo moved all-in for 160,000 from the button. Wakamatsu called and showed KJ to Ryo’s A8. Ryo hit an ace on the 67A flop and then Wakamatsu hit a K on the turn. The river brought a 7 and Ryo doubled to about 375,000 while Wakamatsu dropped to 1.3 million. –AV

2:22pm: Brutal for Wasylenko as he goes in 9th (₩14,110,000)
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

You have to feel for Eric Wasylenko. He got rivered and then in the very next hand a huge cooler cost him his tournament life.

The action folded around to him on the button and e move all-in for a little over 400,000. Bryan Huang was in the big blind and snapped him off.

Huang: AA
Wasylenko: AK

The board ran 95882 and that was that for Wasylenko. Huang moved up to 2.8million. –MC

Eric Wasylenko

Bryan Huang

2:18pm: ‘It was dangerous!’
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Toru Wakamatsu has been switching up his play, and it has culminated in a double up. Eric Wasylenko was the double upper, making a large dent in the Canadian’s stack.

First Wakamatsu opened in the UTG+1 seat to 125,000 – more than 4x the big blind. He got no action, so when he found himself under the gun the next hand he open jammed for 792,000. Tomita Ryo had less than 200,000 and he seemed interested, but ultimately let it go. Yuki Ko pretended he had a strong hand before folding, and finally, it got to Wasylenko in the big blind who made the call.

Wakamatsu – AK
Wasylenko – JJ

The two were off to the races, and the 455 was a good one for Wasylenko. The 3 turn gave Wakamatsu deuces as outs too.

The river? The A.

Wakamatsu began wailing in delight. Obviously, he was speaking Japanese, so I asked fellow media member and Japanese speaker Yuki Akiba what he was saying. I would have guessed it was something along the lines of “Oh my God! Oh my God!”. But apparently, it was something more akin to “It was dangerous! It was dangerous!”

Wakamatsu survives the danger and doubles to 1.6 million, while Wasylenko is down to just 430,000.

NEWS JUST IN: There has been a bust out. Stay tuned to find out who. –JS

Toru Wakamatsu

2:10pm: Shorties gonna short
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

There are a few short stacks at the table and they’re going to do what comes naturally to them: move all-in. We’ve recently had two shoves, but the larger stacks decided against calling.

The first was Kojiro Mizukami, who moved all-in for 322,000 from under the gun. Action folded around to Mitsuhiro Shiga in the big blind and he started thinking. He asked the dealer to count out Mizukami’s stack and then carved out the equivalent from his own.

It wasn’t that much, a loss would still leave Shiga with nearly 2.6 million, but it was a tough decision for him. Shiga thought for a few minutes and slammed a pile of chips on the table as he thought. He shook his head a lot and slammed the pile on the felt a few more times. He eventually folded.

Toru Wakamatsu then moved all-in for around 700,000 the following hand and the rest of the table folded quickly. Shorties gonna short, but when will the big stacks big?. –AV

2pm: Soyza takes from Wasylenko
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Eric Wasylenko has dropped down to 1.2 million after chip leader Michael Soyza took a pot off him out of position in the blinds.

Soyza completed from the small blind and called after Wasylenko raised to 110,000. The flop fanned Q33 and Soyza check-called a 70,000 bet before the 6 was checked to the 8 river. Soyza bombed for 250,000 and Wasylenko let his hand go. Soyza still has around 4 million. –MC

1:45pm: A different pace
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We’ve still no major action to report from the final table.

Yuki Ko has been all in, as has Tomita Ryo, but neither has found any callers. They’re the two shortest stacks though, so expect them to continue their shoving ways. –JS

1:35pm: Slowdown and a funky flop
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Action slowed down a bit after we hit the final table. I mean, it’s been minutes since we’ve had an elimination. MINUTES!

Michael Soyza started off the final table with a raise to 55,000 from middle position and Toru Wakamatsu called from the hijack. Kojiro Mizukami called from the big blind and the three players went to the J76 flop.

Soyza bet 270,00 when checked to and the other players didn’t like the flop and folded. There was another player who didn’t like the flop either, Randy Lew. The eagle-eyed Team PokerStars Online realized there was something a little funky with the 7 and play paused for a bit while the floor inspected and changed out the deck.

The next few hands were settled with a preflop raise. One going to Mitsuhiro Shiga and the other to Lew. Then we got another flop. Yuki Ko called from the small blind and Soyza checked his option. The flop came down 2108 and Ko bet 24,000.

Soyza didn’t like this flop and folded, but it did pass Lew inspection. –AV

Randy Lew

1:15pm: The finale truly begins
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Our final nine are now around one table and cards are back in the air. –JS

1pm: Final table counts
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Players are on a 10-minute break to use the bathroom, take a quick nap and get psyched for the APPT Korea Main Event final table. Here’s how the final nine stack up:

The final nine

Name Chip Count
Seat 1 Kojiro Mizukami 590,000
Seat 2 Randy Lew 1,111,000
Seat 3 Yuki Ko 436,000
Seat 4 Michael Soyza 4,030,000
Seat 5 Eric Wasylenko 1,483,000
Seat 6 Toru Wakamatsu 777,000
Seat 7 Bryan Huang 1,979,000
Seat 8 Tomita Ryo 285,000
Seat 9 Mitsuhiro Shiga 2,769,000

12:55pm: Suh and Mendel fall to Shiga
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

This Final Day action has been, for lack of a better word, craaaaaazy. Mitsuhiro Shiga has just shown Michael Soyza that he’s not the only player that can bust back-to-back players.

First Shiga picked up a pot from Bryan Huang to get his run going. Huang made it 60,000 on the button, and he then called a 120,000 min-raise from Shiga out of the big blind. The two went to a QJ9 flop which checked through to the 8 turn. Shiga now led for 100,000, and Huang raised it to 275,000.

Before he could even get his chips in the middle, Shiga had announced all in for 1.13 million total. Huang gave it some thought but eventually let it go, and Shiga showed the 10 for a straight. Huang dropped to 2.1 million after that.

In the very next hand, Shiga was in the action again. Seonghyun Suh made it 70,000 from the hijack and Shiga three-bet to 162,000 from the small blind. Suh then jammed for 380,000 with the 88 and Shiga called with the KQ. The board ran out 253QJ, pairing Shiga and eliminating Suh in 11th place for ₩10,580,000.

Seonghyun Suh

And Shiga’s run wasn’t over. A hand later he made it 50,000 from the cutoff, and Edward Mandel called from the small blind. Bryan Huang came along from the big blind too, and they all saw a 424 flop. Mandel led out for 50,000, and when it folded to Shiga he raised it to 150,000. Mandel shoved, Shiga called.

Mandel had the A2 for a pair of deuces, but that was behind Shiga’s 88. The 6 K turn and river changed nothing, and Mandel was out in tenth for ₩12,340,000.

Edward Mandel

Shiga has increased his stack to 2.71 million, and our final table is now set. We’ll have details of the chips and seat draw shortly. –JS

12:40am: Huang, bang, thank you Suh
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Bryan Huang had dropped some chips during the first few orbits of play but he’s up to 2.4million after winning a battle of the blinds versus Seonghyun Suh, who’s dropped to 417,000.

The two players were in the blinds and we picked up the action on the 3K7 flop where Suh check-called an 80,000 bet. The turn was the 8 and Suh led out for 105,000 only to see Huang snap shove on him. He had 417,000 back and folded after a minute’s thought. –MC

12:30pm: Shared responsibility
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Michael Soyza had been doing most of the heavy lifting during the first bit of play.

But then he got a bit of backup. After Soyza eliminated Masaki, Eric Wasylenko got moved to his table and helped our massive chip leader by knocking out a player.

Soyza was involved in that hand though, he raised to 55,000 from under the gun and then Taehoon Han reraised all-in for about 240,000 from the hijack. Wasylenko called from the cutoff and action folded back around to Soyza. Soyza folded and finished arranging his massive stack, which was now in two separate piles flanking our chip leader.

Han, the defending champ, turned over A4 and Wasylenko tabled 1010. The board ran 87J98 and Han was eliminated in 12th. Han won ₩10,580,000 for his finish while Wasylenko chipped up to 1.65 million. –AV

Taehoon Han – defending champ is out

12:20pm: Another KO for Soyza sends Masaki out
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

“I’m a little bit embarrassed myself!” said Michael Soyza, who could not be running hotter right now.

Action had folded to Yuji Masaki in the small blind and he made it 70,000 to go. Soyza defended his big blind to see an 83K flop, on which Masaki continued for 110,000. Soyza didn’t budge though.

The turn was the 6 and Masaki unloaded another bullet worth 200,000. Again, Soyza made the call bringing the 6 on the river. Masaki then moved all in for his last 600,000 or so, and Soyza snap-called. You could almost see Masaki’s heart drop.

He tabled the AA, but you could tell he knew that was beat. It was; Soyza had the 86 for a flopped middle pair which turned two-pair and filled up on the end.

Masaki came into the day fifth in chips, but he’s the second player to leave us. He’ll collect ₩8,820,000, and Soyza’s chip lead extends to around 4 million. –JS

Amazing start for Soyza

12:10pm: Togookhuu goes very first hand
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

And we’re out of the blocks in explosive fashion with the elimination of Erdemtsogt Togookhuu in the very first hand.

“Unlucky bro, sick flop, sick turn!” said Michael Soyza who took all his chips.

The start of day chip leader opened to 55,000 and called when Togookhuu shoved for just over 500,000.

Togookhuu: 1010
Soyza: JJ

The flop ran 6102JQ. Togookhuu looked all set to double after flopping a set, but Soyza snatched that dream away by turning a set of his own on the turn and he moved close to the 3 million mark. –MC

12:07pm: Cards in the air

A little later than expected, but action is now underway. –JS

11:30am: A king must be crowned

Good morning from our final session in Incheon, South Korea. Today is Day 3 of the Main Event, and with just 14 players still in the hunt for the APPT Korea title, ₩158,700,000, plus a PSPC Platinum Pass worth US$30,000, it’s sure to be an exciting one.

Michael Soyza and his formidable stack

Malaysia’s Michael Soyza had an awesome end to yesterday’s Day 2, busting player after player to take the chip lead. Along the way, he also hit a runner-runner flush to eliminate PokerStars Team Pro Celina Lin in 20th.

There are plenty of other big names left too. Bryan Huang comes in second in chips, while PokerStars Team Online’s Randy Lew – who won the APPT Macau Main Event for nearly $490,000 back in 2011 – is still in the mix. Then we’ve got the man of this trip: Yuki Ko. On Wednesday, Ko won the National Championship and Single-Day High Roller on the same day. Amazingly, he’s still in this one too.

Joining them is reigning champion Taehoon Han, looking for yet another Korea Main Event title. He’s the shortest stack though, so has his work cut out. Here’s how things look:

Michael Soyza Malaysia 2,397,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 2,312,000
Eric Wasylenko Canada 1,318,000
Randy Lew USA 1,029,000
Yuji Masaki Japan 1,017,000
Toru Wakamatsu Japan 976,000
Mitsuhiro Shiga Japan 881,000
Kojiro Mizukami Japan 830,000
Edward Mandel USA 700,000
Erdemtsogt Togookhuu Mongolia 539,000
Seonghyun Suh Korea 477,000
Yuki Ko Korea 392,000
Tomita Ryo Japan 341,000
Taehoon Han New Zealand 297,000

Join us at noon as we play down to a champion. –JS

APPT Korea

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

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