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Shoichiro Tamaki Leads The Way With 16 Left In The APT Incheon Main Event

Jordan C

Sep 2, 2023

Shoichiro Tamaki

We’re down to the last two tables of the APT Incheon Main Event, and it’s Japan’s Shoichiro Tamaki who leads the way with 6,740,000 chips. Tamaki started the day with an above-average chip stack, but after losing an early pot with AK against the KK of Natural8’s Kannapong Tent, he went on an absolute tear to end the day with the biggest stack in the room.

Early Day 3 Action

Natural8 Team Hot Yu-Chung “Nevan” Chang got a great start to the day, finding an early double-up after flopping a set of nines to get himself back to an average stack. However, the excitement would be short-lived, as he would be eliminated in 68th place for KRW 5,300,000.

We also had chips removed from play, as two players who qualified for Day 3 online were unable to make it to the live portion of the event. Thanh Ha Duong’s 26,000 chip stack and Du Duc Tien’s 65,000 chip stack were both removed from play, as was Nakamura’s 101,000 chip stack as he managed to qualify for Day 3 by playing live and will be continuing with his 197,00 chip stack.

While three stacks were taken out of play, we also started the day with a ghost stack, as WSOP bracelet winner Phua Si Yang failed to show up for the start of play. He eventually managed to find his way to his seat; his stack looking a little shorter than when he bagged it at the end of Day 2.

Natural8 Team Hot

At the start of Day 3, we had five Natural8 Team Hot members all vying for a place at the final table of this year’s APT Incheon Main Event. However, after a string of early misfortune, we ended the day with no representatives left in this year’s Main Event.

Danny Tang started the day with the shortest stack of the group and was the first to be eliminated in 128th place, picking up KRW 3,700,000 in the process. After an impressive start on Day 1d, Punnat Punsri somewhat stalled on Day 2, and he failed to get anything going on Day 3 and was promptly eliminated in 124th.

Both Phachara and Nevan started the day with similar stacks, but Phachara would be the first of the two to fall, hitting the rail in 93rd place for KRW 4,500,000. Nevan managed to just about make the pay jump up to KRW 5,300,000, but he couldn’t progress any further than 68th place.

Our longest survivor of the day was Kannapong Thanarattrakul; he started the day with 569,000, by far the most out of anyone in our group of pros. However, after making it to the final four tables, he was eliminated in a sick hand. Tent flopped a set of fours on an AK4 board against the TT of Veleriy Pak but the T on the turn saw Pak take the lead again. The two got it in on the turn, and Tent couldn’t find the case four to stay alive, finishing in 27th place for KRW 9,700,000.

High Profile Eliminations

As we whittled down the players from 134 to 16, we saw plenty of big names hit the rail. Early on in the day, we saw Taiwan’s Kenny Shih eliminated by the current APT Super High Roller champ Milos Petakovic, running A2 into Petakovic’s AJ for his last 120,000 chips. We also saw the elimination of Pokerstars Championship Macau winner Koen Breed, who was eliminated after two quick-fire all-ins; losing QQ vs. AK and then AK vs. 55 to go out in 116th.

After the first break of the day, Dicky Siu Hang "Tricky Dicky" Tsang was eliminated after shoving with KJ and getting called by Tian Gu’s KQ. The flop brought a queen for Gu, but also two spades for Tsang, giving him some hope. However, neither the 7 on the turn nor the K on the river could help him, and he was eliminated in 86th for KRW 4,500,000.

We also lost another former APT Main Event winner - a two-time winner, in fact. Lester Edoc, winner of 16 APT titles was eliminated in 58th place for KRW 5,300,000, after he shoved his short-stack with Q8 but ran into the AK of his opponent in the big blind. While we won’t see him win a record third APT Main Event, we’re sure we’ll see him in the high roller event later in the series.

Costly Mistep

A few hours into the day, we saw an absolutely crazy hand that cost Jianbiao Zhong his tournament life. Milos Petakovic opened to 24,000 in early position, and the action folded round to Japan’s Kazuhiro Shirazawa who made a small 3bet from the button. However, Zhong didn’t see Milos’ raise and decided to shove his 650,000 chip stack to try and pick up what looked like an oversized button raise.

Milos quickly called, causing Zhong to realise his mistake. Shirazawa got out of the way, and the two would run out the board, with Zhong at risk. Zhong held KT but was up against the AK of Milos. While there was a ten on the flop, there was also an ace, which meant Zhong was reduced to two outs. Neither the 3 nor J helped him, and he was eliminated in 73rd place after a huge misstep - he won’t forget about that one for a while!

Natural8 Qualifiers

Coming into the day we had several qualifiers through Natural8 who were in contention for the $50,000 bonus if they went on to win the Main Event. Favourite to do so was Hong Kong’s Hon Cheong Lee, who bagged a top-three chip stack and had 882,000 to play with on Day 3. However, he could only make it to 29th place before he was eliminated, picking up KRW 8,300,000 for his efforts. 

Singapore’s Dongying Ling wasn’t far behind Lee coming into Day 3, so it’s fitting that he finished the day just behind him in 34th place, collecting KRW 7,200,000. Hong Kong’s Chi Hung Lam had a decent stack to work with on Day 3, but some early setbacks meant he could only finish 101st for KRW 4,000,000.

Both Kammatep Kanchanapamornpat and Yun Lam Kevin Choi had a lot of work to do coming into Day 3, but neither of them really got anything going in the early stages, and were eliminated in 117th and 103rd place respectively.

Late Exits

Natural8’s Kannapong Tent was one of the late exits on Day 3, busting in 27th place in a set-under-set situation, and Japan’s Toshio Kataoka wasn’t far behind him. The APT champ had got his last 300,000 into the middle with AT against the QT of Abraham Ceesvin, but Ceesvin made a flush on the turn to eliminate him in 25th place for KRW 9,700,000.

Andrew An was eliminated in brutal fashion in 23rd place, as his aces were cracked by Tsz To Wan’s pocket sevens; the 7 on the river extinguishing any hopes Andrew had of going all the way. Uten Ungchusak found himself in a tricky spot on the river, facing a shove for his last 650,000 chips with AQ on a board reading A352A. After a long tank, Ungchusak made the call, only to be shown the 55 of Veleriy Pak. However, Ungchusak can console himself knowing that he made the pay jump, and will take home KRW 13,400,000 for his efforts.

Veleriy Pak’s Wild Ride

After winning that pot against Ungchusak, Veleriy Pak became the chip leader, holding over 5 million chips. However, he wouldn’t hold onto the lead for long, as he quickly lost a 3 million chip pot to Shoichiro Tamaki. Pak opened preflop with 77 and shoved over a 3bet from Tamaki, who snap-called with his KK.

The K35 flop meant that Pak was drawing to running cards, and the 8 on the turn sealed a huge double-up for Tamaki late in the day.

However, Pak wasn’t done yet, and in an attempt to win some of his chips back, he lost another huge pot to Tamaki! After Renji Mao 3bet opened to 120,000, Pak put in a 3bet on the button. Tamaki decided to shove his newly won chips into the middle - a 50bb shove over Pak’s 3bet! The action folded around to Pak, who after counting out his chip stack, slammed the chips into the middle.

Tamaki turned over AK, and Pak showed JJ - a classic flip. The T53 flop gave Tamaki a slight equity advantage, as he now had a flush draw to go with his two overcards. The 9 was no help to him; he needed an ace, a king, or a heart to stay alive in the Main Event.

The river was the A, doubling up Tamaki for the second time in quick succession, and leaving Pak with just 1,000,000 chips. In the space of an orbit, he went from the chip lead to only having 25bb!

Pak would eventually recover some of his losses, and end the day on 2,340,000 chips.

Final Two Tables Reached

Short-stacked Cheuk Him Tsang was our Day 4 bubble boy, as his exit meant that play wrapped up for the day, and will resume tomorrow with the final two tables. Tsang shoved his last 3bb into the middle with KQ, and Petakovic quickly reshoved with his K9. However, he did not anticipate Tran Tu waking up with TT behind him; Tu made the call for his last 11bb, and the three saw the flop.

The 932 gave Milos some hope of a double knockout but didn’t help Tsang as he fought to keep his Main Event dreams alive. The A on the turn didn’t help anyone, nor did the 4 on the turn, which meant that Tu would receive a double-up plus a little extra, and Tsang was eliminated in 16th place for KRW 15,300,000.

Going into Day 4, Japan’s Shoichiro Tamaki leads the way after two incredible hands against Veleriy Pak and will have 6,740,000 to play with tomorrow. Singapore’s Abraham Abdulla Ceesvin also had a stellar day and will take through 6,210,000.

Behind our two run-away chip leaders, we have Tsz To Wan from China. He ended the day third in chips with 3,170,000 and will have to play well to catch our front runners.

With only two tables left, the stakes couldn’t be higher, so make sure you subscribe for all of the latest action from APT Incheon.


Image Source: The Asian Poker Tour