This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of World Gaming magazine.
American Greg Merson has been crowned the WSOP Main Event Champion. The final table, televised on ESPN, was an epic struggle with the final three pushing each other to mental and physical exhaustion. Three-handed play lasted nearly 11 hours. The 24-year-old professional poker player from Laurel, Maryland not only claimed the title but took home over US$8.5 million for his troubles. It was a big year for the local Americans at the WSOP, with the final five all calling the US home.
The Asian Poker Tour (APT) continues to spread its wings, covering all corners of the Asian poker market. The APT Asian Series Cambodia saw 122 runners line up for the Main Event at the Las Vegas Sun Hotel and Casino. Featuring players from Germany, Singapore, England, China and Sweden, the international final table crowned Vietnam’s Ha Duong as champion, paying him over US$30,000 in the process. India’s Casino Carnival in Goa hosted the next stop on the tour from December 3 to 9.Early November 2012 saw the APPT hold its Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) at the Grand Waldo. It culminated in the ACOP HK$100,000 buy-in Main Event. At the end of an exhausting four-day struggle China’s Xing Zhou defeated Hong Kong’s Ying Kit Chan for the title. In the all-China heads-up final hand, both players went all-in blind, as they made the remarkable decision to chop the remaining prize pool. In Macau’s gambling-loving culture, it was a fitting way for the two gentlemen to decide the title. The win gave both Xing Zhou and Ying Kit Chan a payday of over HK$3.5 million, or just a touch over US$450,000.
In the ACOP High Rollers event, it was Aussie young gun and all round nice guy Jonathan “Monster Dong” Karamalikis who lifted the trophy and the HK$3.7 million that went along with it. He beat fellow Australian Jeff Rossiter, with Hong Kong’s favorite “mad genius” of poker, David Steicke, finishing in fifth place.