ElkY and Isaac Haxton join the record-breakers at APT Taipei

Players queue to enter the APT Taipei event in 2024
Author Adam Hampton
Adam Hampton
Posted on: March 11, 2024 23:13 PDT

The continuing boom in live poker in Asia saw the Asian Poker Tour’s (APT) Taipei stop set new records for the biggest and richest tournament series Taiwan has ever seen.

Running at the Asia Poker Arena from February 28 to March 10, 2,223 players arrived in their droves to generate a total prize pool of TWD 383.49 million (around $12.2m in USD) across 106 trophy events. Three tournaments attracted fields of over 1,000 players, and the stop’s main event now holds the record for the richest single tourney ever to take place in the country.

APT Taipei also attracted its fair share of elite international names, perhaps taking advantage of players stopping off en route to the Triton series in Jeju. Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Ike Haxton were two big names who will be extra-happy they made the trip, taking down two of the series’ marquee events and some of the biggest prizes.

Records are made to be broken

The Superstar Challenge was won, appropriately enough, by poker's French superstar Grospellier, who overcame a 3-to-1 chip disadvantage heads-up to defeat Lester Edoc of the Philippines. The man known as ‘ElkY’ has a big following in Asia - partly perhaps due to his past success in e-sports - and outlasted a talented field including the likes of Ike Haxton, Steve O’Dwyer and Espen Jorstad.

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier poses with his trophy for the APT Taipei Superstar Challenge

Grospellier has attended three APT events to date, with final table performances in each, but none have been so rewarding for him as this one. His first-place prize money of ~$367k (approximated, as all prizes are awarded in Taiwanese dollars) was the largest ever awarded in Taiwan - for a time.

Ogita’s win sets the bar even higher

In the end that record only stood for a few days, falling in the face of the richest-ever tourney held on Taiwanese soil: the APT Taipei Main Event.

1,182 entries created a prize pool of ~$2.2m, beating the record set in the same event the previous year. Japan’s Daisuke Ogita claimed the win, banking a career-best cash of ~$409k. Ogita, who ran hot in 2023 with a win at the France Poker Series in Monte-Carlo and a runner-up finish in the €25k Eureka Poker Tour High Roller in Prague, has now bagged a top 10 spot in the Japan all-time money list.

Daisuke Ogita celebrates winning the APT Taipei main event

Isaac Haxton adds a lion to his trophy cabinet

The Super High Roller event clocked up a prize pool of ~$1.2m - the biggest ever for this event - with Ike Haxton taking the lion’s share of ~$287k, as well as the award-winning lion trophy.

“This is no joke of a trophy,” Haxton joked with reporters following his win, “I hope you’re going to help me ship this because it’s not fitting in my luggage.”

Haxton, who is certainly no stranger to ‘shipping it’, saw off a final table which featured Tony Lin of the USA, Thailand’s Punnat Punsri, and Edward Yam and Anson Tsang of Hong Kong.

Isaac Haxton shows off his trophy at the APT Taipei Super High Roller

Stanley Weng notches another win for the USA

American Stanley Weng overcame a tough field to win the High Roller event and bag the biggest HR prize of the APT’s ‘new era’, adding ~$160k to his career winnings.

The final table was packed with top tournament talent from Asia and beyond, including Hong Kong’s Dicky Tsang and Sparrow Cheung, Taiwan’s Chen An Lin, and Austria’s Martin Sedlak (who made four final tables during the series, winning a side event).

Weng carried the chip lead into the final table and held it throughout, and while Dicky Tsang almost battled back from an 8-to-1 heads-up chip deficit it would not be enough to stop Weng’s wire-to-wire final table performance.

Stanley Weng poses for his winner's photo at APT Taipei

The APT is rolling on to Jeju in April, where anticipation will be high after yet another record-breaking tour stop. Some tournament details for Jeju have already been announced - check out the latest info at the APT site.

Images courtesy of the APT