Held holds on to win $350k in first WPT Cambodia Main Event

WPT Cambodia winner Konstantin Held
Author Adam Hampton
Adam Hampton
Posted on: January 29, 2024 02:29 PST

After an action-packed four days of play, Germany's Konstantin Held has emerged as the winner of the first WPT Cambodia Main Event.

Held claimed the trophy and the tournament win, following a three-way chop that saw each of the final three secure a payday worth at least $277k. They then agreed to play on for the trophy and title, plus the free entry to the $10,400 WPT Championship which will take place late this year at the close of season 22.

Today's final table began with six of the nine players holding stacks of over 60 big blinds, allowing a fair amount of room for maneuver, but ultimately it was Held who was able to turn potential into victory, a career-best score and the Mike Sexton Champions Cup.

The winner's trophy for WPT Cambodia 2024

760-runner field more than doubles the $1m guarantee

The WPT Prime tour has visited Cambodia twice, proving so popular that for season 22 the stop was upgraded from a Prime event to a Main Tour Championship.

This made the series, held at NagaWorld Integrated Resort in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, not only the first WPT Main Tour stop to take place in Cambodia, but the first to run outside North America since 2017.

The $1,100 buy-in for Prime main events was bumped up to the $3,500 Championship level, and the guarantee set at $1 million, but any fears that the bigger price tag would impact attendance were quickly put to bed. 760 entries combined to demolish the $1m guarantee, creating a total prize pool of $2.4m.

International stars make the trip

Some of the notable names to travel for the inaugural running of WPT Cambodia proper included high rollers Steve O’Dwyer, Dominik Nitsche and Punnat Punsri, as well as WPT champions Hoyt Corkins and Tony Dunst (below), whose deep run ended in 14th place for $27,410. WPT Deepstacks champs Valeriy Pak and Brian Tougias also made the trip, the latter returning to the site of his career-best win at WPT Prime Cambodia in 2019.

Poker player and TV host Tony Dunst plays the WPT Cambodia Main Event in 2024

Frankie Cucchiara also traveled to play, having earlier this month endured a bruising live-streamed encounter at the hands of Casino King and other poker content creators, but failed to make the money.

Eight nationalities present at the final table

After three days of play the 760-player field was down to just nine for the final table, with the international feel of the tournament well reflected in the mix of nationalities present - each of whom had locked up over $40k.

  • Germany’s Konstantin Held, who held the chip lead heading into the final day’s play
  • Jianfeng Sun of China, winner of the WPT Cambodia Prime Warm-up in 2019
  • India’s Amit Kaushik, winner of last year’s WPT Vietnam Warm-up
  • Kyle Bau Diep of Vietnam
  • Australian Joshua Mccully, 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast runner-up
  • France’s Florent Remi and Anthony Cierco
  • WSOP bracelet winner Motoyoshi Okamura of Japan
  • Kou Vang of the USA
The WPT Cambodia 2024 Main Event final table

Having reached the final table with a stack of just seven big blinds, Cierco was first to exit with a $42,647 payday. America’s Vang was next to go, open-shoving his 13 BB stack with king-high and running into Kaushik’s ace to hit the rails with $54,212.

Jianfeng Sun was out next, shoving with A♣T♣ against the J♣J❤️ of Konstantin Held. A jack on the flop brought the end to Sun’s run, as Held held. Sun took $69,678 for his seventh place finish.

Kyle Bau Diep was unlucky to be eliminated in sixth, getting it all-in with A♠K♠ versus Held’s A❤️7❤️. The 7♠6❤️2❤️ flop brought all kinds of worry for Diep, who couldn’t catch up as the board ran out with the T♠ and 6♦️️. Diep walked away with $90,532.

Amit Kaushik, right, is eliminated from the WPT Cambodia poker tournament

India’s Amit Kaushik was ultimately unable to follow the advice written on his hoodie and unleash his inner champion. Last year’s APT Hanoi runner-up shoved for just a fraction of a blind less than Joshua Mccully, effectively putting both players at risk of going out in fifth when Mccully called. Kaushik’s A❤️7♠ was ahead of Mccully’s K♦️️Q♠ on the flop, but the Q♣ on the turn tipped the scales the other way. No ace on the river meant Kaushik was gone in fifth, with $118,906.

Just seven hands later it was the turn of Japan’s Motoyoshi Okamura to put his short stack in the middle with ace-high, only for Mccully to wake up with pocket queens. The board brought Okamura no help, and he was out in fourth with a prize of $157,858.

Three-way deal chops the money

Play was paused with three remaining to discuss a deal, and the players quickly agreed to a chop.

Konstantin Held, with around 99 big blinds, took the biggest piece with $350,910; Florent Remi (54 BBs) took $302,019, and Joshua Mccully (38 BBs) $277,291.

With the trophy and free entry to the WPT World Championship still to play for, the final trio toasted their shared success and agreed to speed up the levels from 90 to 60 minutes.

The final three players remaining at WPT Cambodia toast their success with champagne at the table

Whether it was the drinks break, or the fact payouts were already confirmed, three-handed play had a convivial and friendly feel. A couple of hours in, however, it was the Frenchman Remi who paid the price for a cooler against Mccully. The board brought three hearts, giving both players a flush, but Mccully’s A❤️T❤️ had Remi’s 8❤️4❤️ done and dusted.

Heads-up play began with Mccully holding a significant lead of more than 3:1, but Konstantin doubled up after just a few hands, limping to trap with A♠K♦️️ and snapping off Mccully’s jam with A❤️8♠. The kicker played and the two players were back somewhere closer to level.

Konstantin then seized the initiative to win a crucial hand, in which both players held A-J. Mccully four-bet pre-flop and called a big bet on the turn, though neither player had connected with the board. Held jammed the river and forced Mccully off.

Australia's Joshua Mccully at the final table of WPT Cambodia

That left Held with a chip advantage that he managed to leverage into a dominant position, withstanding several double ups from Mccully but fighting back each time. Eventually Mccully was forced into a shove for his last 12 BBs.

Mccully: 9♦️️7♣

Held: K❤️5♠

Board: J❤️4❤️2♦️️T♦️️6♦️️

Held's victory sees him not only bag the biggest slice of the prize pool - which he had already locked up as part of the three-way deal - but also entry to the $10,400 WPT World Championship in December and the coveted trophy.

WPT Cambodia Main Event final table results

Place Player Prize
1 Konstantin Held $350,910*
2 Joshua Mccully $277,291*
3 Florent Remi $302,019*
4 Motoyoshi Okamura $157,858
5 Amit Kaushik $118,906
6 Kyle Bao Diep $90,532
7 Jianfeng Sun $69,678
8 Kou Vang $54,212
9 Anthony Cierco $42,647

Images courtesy of the WPT