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APPT7 Seoul: The Japanese contingent

While most of the world is west of Korea, a lot of the players flew in from the east.

Out of the 100 players registered for Day 1B, 34 are from Japan.


The Japanese contingent has been steadily growing throughout the years despite the fact that gambling is illegal in Japan. This hasn't hurt poker's popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun though. While they can't play poker for money, it's perfectly acceptable to play poker for fun.

And points.

Sponsored by PokerStars, the Japan Poker League hit the island back in 2007. The league would set up poker tables in bars throughout Japan and players would earn points. Then, for the final, players were given chips based off of the amount of points they had accumulated.

The prize for these tournaments included packages to the APPT.

Japan got a taste for poker and wanted more. The Japan Poker League has since been replaced by the Japan Poker Tour. The tour is a mix of live and online events with a live grand final. In the final, players are rewarded with packages to the Macau Poker Cup and APPT events.

Two JPT qualifiers are present today: Torri Yusuke and Koujirou Mizukami.

The JPT has created a tight-nit community of players. Not only do they play together, they often travel in groups to live tournaments and generally enjoy each other's presence.

Poker isn't that new to them anymore and the Japanese have started to win.


APPT Seoul Season 2 champion, Yoshihiro Tasaka

Two Japanese players have won the Macau Poker Cup and the country had four cashes in last year's WSOP Main Event.

Naoya Kihara also gave Japan its first WSOP bracelet that year after winning the $5K 6-handed PLO event.

Once a rarity on the poker scene, Japanese players are quickly adding cashes and victories to their country's resume. Today, they're the most represented players in the field.

But one players is all a country needs to win. Yoshihiro Tasaka won APPT Seoul for Japan back in 2008, we'll see if someone can do it again.

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