When the World Series of Poker wrapped up in late July, it signaled a time for rest for many a poker player. There was a break in the schedule for most players recreational and professional alike.
Not so for hundreds of players in Asia, as PokerStars kept things moving over there with PokerStars Festival Korea, which took place concurrent with the WSOP Main Event final table. It was PokerStars’ first Festival on Asian soil, with PokerNews on hand for live coverage of both the ₩1,650,000 Main Event and the ₩4,350,000 High Roller.
Plenty of fun and interesting hands took place throughout the six days of recorded play. Here’s a look at the ones we picked out to highlight in the Top Five Hands series.
Yotsushika Bluffs it Off to End High Roller
Facing Boyuan Qu heads up for the High Roller title and ₩72,160,000 — about $63,000 — in prize money, Kazuhiko Yotsushika must have though king-five was his lucky charm.
First, he doubled up with when he raised and called a three-bet after Qu limped the button. The flop came king-high and Yotushika barreled away and managed to double up when Qu wouldn’t fold ace-high on the turn.
Moments later, Yotsushika again got married to this time opening to 45,000 at 10,000/20,000/3,000. Qu made it 135,000 and Yotsushika called. Qu bet 135,000 more on the flop, and Yotsushika made it 330,000. Qu called. On the turn, Qu checked and called when Yotsushika shoved for 480,000.
Qu had for trips, so the river card was meaningless and Qu locked up the trophy.
Sixes Versus Sixes
It’s not often you see two players go to war with identical pocket pairs, but it’s even more rare for such hands to end with one player scooping up all of the chips. That’s exactly what happened when Scott Janik and Sparrow Cheung clashed late in the Main Event.
It was Level 20 (6,000/12,000/2,000) and just 15 players remained in the event. Cheung was short with just 134,000, so when he saw Janik open from late position for 27,000, he decided it was time to get it in holding . Janik needed only a moment’s consideration before calling with .
The sweat arrived right away as the dealer spread an all-spade flop: . Cheung wasted no time getting there as he hit the on the turn to secure a much-needed double.
It wouldn’t prove to make a ton of difference in the long haul. Cheung bowed out in 12th, while Janik was able to make the final table and bank ₩19,400,000 in sixth.
Lin Takes a Nasty Beat
PokerStars Team Pro Celina Lin collected a trophy at the Festival, but it wasn’t the one she wanted as it was for the Ladies’ Event. A deep run in the Main Event may have been in the offing if she could have faded this nasty beat at the hands of Ivan Leow.
The two got in a preflop raising war late on Day 1c, with the blinds at 1,200/2,400/400. Lin had opened in middle position and gotten three-bet, responding with a four-bet to 28,800. Leow came back with 50,000, and Lin shoved all in. It was only 40,500 more, so Leow made the call after some thought.
Leow was crushed to the max, but the board came , giving both players a straight and even teasing Lin with a missed flush draw to the river. Instead of surging into the chip lead, Lin had to settle for a chop and wound up going bust eventually.
Sick Runout Ends Yeu’s Tournament
Yuki Ko was the dominant force for most of the Main Event, starting with bagging the chip lead on his Day 1 flight and holding through most of the final table, as he eventually made it to heads-up play. His aggression and sharp play helped him pile up chips, but he had some luck on his side as well.
When there were 11 players left, Ko was at the top of the chip counts and playing like it, and some of his opponents were starting to look for any opportunity to play back. In one such pot, Ko opened for a raise at 12,000/24,000/4,000 in middle position and got three-bet to 103,000 by Wei Hsiang Yeu, who was small blind.
As he so often did, Ko four-bet shoved to put his opponent to the test. Yeu had about 400,000 to start the hand. He sighed and counted out his stack, ultimately deciding to hope he was flipping with . That was the case, as Ko had .
The flop gave Yeu a set and a near lock on the hand. He even added a flush draw on the turn, so Ko’s only chance was to hit a non-heart ten. That’s exactly what happened as the peeled off the deck, shocking everyone at the table.
Han Hits a Sneaky Straight
Though Ko looked like the favorite most of the way through the tournament, one man rose up to meet him at the top of the counts at the final table: Taehoon Han. The two took turns winning big pots and scoring eliminations until they were heads up for the ₩83,130,000 first-place prize.
Han started with the lead and widened it, but Ko battled back. Han had less than a 2-1 lead when he raised to 120,000 at 30,000/60,000/10,000. Ko defended his big blind and they saw a flop. Ko check-called 120,000 more. He check-called a further 205,000 on the . After a final check on the , Han slid in a big bet of 800,000.
After a long tank, Ko decided to call, but Han had run a straight with . Ko mucked and lost the majority of his stack on the hand, leaving himself only a little over 20 big blinds. He couldn’t come back after that, as Han ended it in short order to become the Main Event champ.