By Sean Callander
Official numbers have been confirmed with 186 players battling it out for the inaugural APPT Seoul title. The total prize pool is $437,100, with 16 players set to share in the spoils. The winner will pocket $139,872.
Shortly into level three, already 20 players have been sent to the rail including Team PokerStars’ Tuan Lam (runner-up in this year’s WSOP main event) and Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Rousso and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier.
On a board of Ad 10s 2c Kd, Lam pushed all-in for his last 6000 and received a call from Steven Gunter, who showed Ah 10c for two-pair against Lam’s Ac Jd. A 5s on the river didn’t improve either hand, ending the Canadian’s APPT experience.
Most of Rousso’s stack ended up in the possession of Kelly Flynn, an American who cashed in last month’s APPT Manila event but it was Frenchman Jacques Zaicik who delivered the final blow. He made a pair of queens on the river, dominating Rousso’s pocket fours.
In contrast, New Zealander Lee ‘Final Table’ Nelson, who won the 2006 Aussie Millions, is among the early chip leaders. The 64-year-old Team PokerStars Pro has started each morning with a trek up the mountain at the rear of the Sheraton Grande Hotel – he looks in better shape than many players half his age!
Nelson’s table is intriguing – Hong Kong-based high stakes gambler David Streicke is to his left while directly opposite sits Cha MinSoo, better known as Jimmy Cha.
Arguably Korea’s most famous poker player, Cha has excelled in many fields – from poker to martial arts, classical music, and Baduk. He made his name in Las Vegas during the late 1980s and early 1990s as one of the world’s premier cash players (in a period dominated by Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese). He even provided the basis for the lead character in the locally produced TV series All-in.
Cha isn’t the only famous face in the Walker-Hill poker room. Isaac Galazan, who won a WSOP bracelet in 2005 (the same year as Joe Hachem captured the main event title) is back after playing in the opening APPT event.
A nightclub owner in Thailand, Galazan outpointed a final table that included David Singer, Antonio Esfandiari and Harry Demetriou to win the $2500 Short Handed No Limit Hold'em bracelet and $315,125.
Speaking of WSOP bracelet winners, word has reached us of an intriguing side game in progress during the APPT Seoul event.
It features 2007 WSOP $5000 Heads-up winner Daniel Schreiber and reigning Aussie Millions heads-up champion David Saab.
The pair are playing a best-of-three heads-up match, with Saab taking honours in the first game yesterday. The stakes are modest, but the gregarious Saab said it was all about national pride: “I’m doing it for the (Australian) flag!” Saab will be able to concentrate on tomorrow’s battle with Schreiber after being eliminated at the hands of Gareth Edwards, who is among the chip leaders.