ElkY and Haxton record huge wins, bring star power to APT Taipei

ElkY and Isaac Haxton win at APT Taipei
Andrew Burnett
Posted on: March 03, 2024 08:02 PST

The Asian Poker Tour is making noise in Taipei, with two big names recording huge wins in the first few days of the series. Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier and Isaac Haxton have both picked up an award-winning Lion Trophy and a six-figure win each.

French pro and GGPoker ambassador 'ElkY' was the first to hit the winner’s circle when he scooped the inaugural APT SuperStar Challenge. The $25k buy-in (TWD 800,000) tournament drew 49 entries and produced a $1,167,615 prize pool.

Only seven players would cash, and Tony Lin was the unfortunate bubble-boy, missing out on the $61,305 min-cash, while Danny Tang increased his lead at the top of the Hong Kong all-time rankings with another tidy cash.

Grospellier, a firm fan of the Asian Poker Tour having played the Hanoi and Incheon stops previously, had his work cut out to lift the Black Lion Superstar Challenge Trophy. He eventually fought back from a 3:1 chip deficit heads-up to defeat Philippine pro Lester Edoc.

Elky APT Taipei ElkY recorded his biggest live cash since December 2019

ElkY gets the one he wanted

In his victory interview, he revealed: "Even though I've already played poker for so many years, when you reach the final table, it's always so intense, with so much emotion. It means everything to me to win this trophy."

The $367,793 top prize – the biggest-ever on offer in Taiwan – was undoubtedly welcomed by the first man to be sponsored for both poker and eSports, but 'ElkY' had other things on his mind.

"I wanted the Lion Trophy so badly since I joined the APT; it's the last thing I've ever wanted in poker. So, I am so happy. I'm so ecstatic I finally won it,” he declared.

APT Taipei Superstars Challenge results

Place Player Prize
1 Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospelier $367,793
2 Lester Edoc $265,645
3 Roman Hrabec $169,308
4 Biao Ding $128,428
5 Klemens Roiter $99,245
6 Daniel Tang $75,912

Haxton crushes another Super High Roller

Next up was Isaac Haxton, who bested a field of 137 entries in the $10k (TWD 300,000) APT Super High Roller event.

The US pro had a stellar 2023, bagging seven seven-figure scores and amassing more than $14 million in winnings, but has started 2024 relatively quietly. Haxton was joined in Taiwan by the likes of the Netherlands' Jans 'Graftekkel' Arends and Natural8 Ambassador Punnat Punsri, the reigning APT Taipei Main Event champion.

The bubble was burst by aces, with Canada's Aidan Tam missing out on a cash, and then Haxton picked up rockets to end New Zealand's Vincent Huang’s run to set the final table.

Incredibly, the first four hands saw four final-table exits. Punsri was the last of them to fall after running into the cowboys of Tony Lin.

Heads-up between Haxton and Lin was the real show, a rollercoaster affair that saw Haxton ever-so-narrowly survive by rivering a full house, and then a brutal cooler with Haxton’s kings facing Lin’s queens. No surprises this time, and Haxton bagged his first APT title!

Ike Haxton APT Taipei Ike Haxton winning a Super High Roller – some things never change

“It was a wild heads-up match. Big pots every hand and a lot of back and forth," Haxton told APT host Gregory 'Greg Goes All In' Liow afterwards.

Of his beautiful trophy, he remarked, "This is no joke of a trophy. I hope you're going to help me ship this because it's not fitting in my luggage."

APT Taipei SHR results

Place Player Prize
1 Ike Haxton $287,885
2 Tony Lin $195,500
3 Edward Yam $128,935
4 Yan Shing 'Anson' Tsang $106,510
5 Mike Takayama $85,515
6 Punnat Punsri $67,050

The APT Taipei Main Event kicked off today, with another three starting flights to come. It runs until March 9 and boasts a $2 million (TWD 65 million) guarantee.

You can follow the rest of the action live on the APT Twitch channel.

Images courtesy of APT