A Truly Nail-Biting Asian Nations Cup!

Asian Nations Cup Round Up

The 2019 Asian Nations Cup was hosted in Taoyuan city, Taiwan and saw 9 highly skilled Asian nations participating, namely Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Israel, India, Japan, Philippines and Korea!

The previous Asian Championships were held in Sanya, China in 2013 and it was great to see some familiar faces in Taiwan. Match Poker debutants included Hong Kong, Philippines and Korea while Australia, Singapore, India, Israel and Japan had all participated in the 2013 Asian Nations Cup which was won by China. Excitement was building as 5 spots on the Road to Peru would be up for grabs from the 9 participating teams. These 5 qualifiers would join Ukraine, 6 European qualifiers, Peru and a few other select American teams for the Nations Cup Finals.

The event kicked off with a grand opening ceremony where the local minister of sport was in attendance and formally opened the event, toasting to its success with a glass of champagne along with all the participating teams captains. After a quick round of team introductions, dinner and a strategy session we jumped right into a formal player briefing held by IFMP’s Match Officials Joe Barnard and Varun Goenka.

The fan zone was packed with eager Match Poker athletes and as the first session of play kicked off, so did the screens with all card information provided face up ensuring complete transparency! 50 hands were played on day one and the leaderboard showed Team India in the lead with Korea, Australia, Israel and Taiwan taking up the remaining ‘Peru spots’ but it was way too early to make any predictions.

After a long night of review, analysis and strategy, the teams arrived ready for day 2 which would see them play 5 sessions of 50 hands each to make up a total of 300 hands in the group stages before breaking into a top 4 fight for the Nations Cup and the other 5 battling for the Nations Plate and the final Peru spot! The Koreans made a big push in the 2 morning sessions, topping the leaderboard ahead of India at the halfway point of the group stages (150 hands) by a whopping 59 points! Taiwan, Australia and Israel still held the other 3 of the top 5 spots.

The next 50 hands saw India reclaim the top spot but we also saw Team Singapore finally flex their Match Poker skills and begin climbing up the leaderboard to 5th as Israel dropped down to 6th. The last 100 hands in the group stages were coming up and there was bound to be a lot of fluctuations in the standings as teams were looking to try different strategies with the hope of breaking into the top 4 to solidify their spot in the World Championships.

Singapore was determined to continue their ascent up the leaderboard and they sat 2nd after 250 hands had been played! Just 15 points stood between Australia, Taiwan, Korea and Israel in 3rd to 6th with India sitting 30+ points clear at the top. The final group stage session was underway and the fan zone was buzzing with nervousness as the fight for the top 4 was extremely close!

Every hand being played was watched with hawk eyes as Taiwan, Israel and Australia were fighting for two qualification spots. A huge roar erupted from the fan zone as the leaderboard updated with scores from the 300th hand, marking the end of the group stages and along with that confirming Taiwan’s spot in the top 4 by just one point over Israel!!!

Dejected Israeli faces were seen leaving the room as celebrations began among the home team’s large contingent. Team India stood proud with their flag in front of the leaderboard and posed for photos as the winners of the group stages with Singapore in 2nd and Australia in 3rd. Israel and Korea were particularly disappointed at not making the top 4 but they still had a shot at the 5th Peru spot via the Nations Plate competition. The day ended with a trip to the nearby night market as the athletes socialised with one another outside of the event venue while enjoying local delicacies.

The final day saw the creation of two separate tournaments – the Cup and the Plate, along with being the day Asian Match Poker athletes would be tested by WADA for any performance enhancing substances. The Asian Nations Cup would be competed by the top 4 qualified teams of India, Singapore, Australia and Taiwan, who played in a 4×4 format for 5 sessions of 60 hands each to determine the new Asian Match Poker Champions!

In the Asian Nations Plate the remaining 5 teams played in a 5×5 format for 5 sessions of 50 hands each to determine who the last team to join the top 4 in Peru will be, and be awarded with the Asian Nations Plate trophy. Scores were reset to 0 and play kicked off for both competitions. Quite early it was evident that the Plate would be competed by Korea and Israel mainly as the 2 teams were neck and neck at the end of the first session.

The Cup saw home team Taiwan take a 25+ point lead after session 1! Session 2 ended with Australia closing the gap on Taiwan in the Cup and Korea extending their advantage in the Plate.

The final 2 sessions of play were in the dark as the leaderboards were switched off and final scores would be announced at the closing ceremony and awards function later that night. India made up a lot of ground in session 3 to close the gap to within 6.5 points of Taiwan with one session to go in the Cup while the Plate saw Israel now top the leaderboard but by a mere 3.5 points from Korea!

Tensions were high and strategy was the need of the hour with teams huddling together and planning their collective approach for the final session of the event. An incredible finish to what was a fantastic event lead to the closing ceremony and as our local host David Tai thanked the teams for being a part of the 2019 Asian Nations Cup, the final scores were being handed to IFMP president Patrick Nally to announce to the athletes and fans.

Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong finished 5th, 4th and 3rd in the Plate with Korea finally securing their Peru spot over the Israelis by a comfortable 61 points! Korea’s Lim Yohwan was also awarded player of the tournament as they came up to collect their award. Now time for the Asian Nations Cup standings – in 4th place with 730 points was Singapore, in 3rd place with 750 points was Australia who’s captain Julius Colman graciously accepted medals and thanked the hosts for an extremely enjoyable event.

It was now between India and Taiwan for the top spot and you could cut the tension in the room with a knife as everyone waited for the final announcement with bated breath. As Patrick Nally said, ‘The new Asian Nations Cup Champions are… INDIA’ the outpour of jubilation and excitement from the Indian contingent was absolutely incredible to see.

The players were ecstatic and couldn’t control their emotions as they began jumping around and hugging one another celebrating this monumental achievement! Team Taiwan graciously came up and received their silver medals while congratulating the Indians on their victory. The 5 qualified nations will now work hard and prepare themselves for the global challenge that lies ahead in the form of the Nations Cup Finals where their skills will be tested against top nations from Europe, North and South America!

Hong Kong make their Match Poker Debut in Taiwan at the 2019 Asian Nations Cup!

Team Hong Kong, being represented by the Match Poker Hong Kong Sports Federation (Operated by Hong Kong Game Club, HKGC), to participate the 2019 Asian Nations Cup in Taoyuan city, Taiwan will be comprised of:

Ricky Wai Ki Cheung – also known as the God Father of Poker in HK by TV media. Ricky is pioneer of Poker in Hong Kong and the founder of Hong Kong Game Club (HKGC) which has been promoting Poker and hosting poker tournaments in HK for 12 years since 2007. He is also the owner of 2 legal poker clubs, Club Pudong and Monte Carlo Whiskey Club, in Hong Kong for 9 years. HKGC partnered with All Japan Poker Championship (AJPC) since 2018, hosting AJPC x HKGC KO Bounty tournaments 2-3 times a year in Paradise City Incheon, Korea. Ricky signed with Asia Poker League(APL) as the Ambassador for 2019 & 2020. HKGC  signed with Hong Kong TV Station(TVB)  to produce 2 Seasons of  “Celebrities Poker Show”, the only legal Poker Organization in HK approved by the Communication Authority of HK.   A cash game player for 16 years. Started to play live tournaments  around Asia since 2018, have won 3 trophies and 25 ITMs.

Kathy Kam Tong Yang – have 2 years experience in live poker tournaments in Asia, she played in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. She is also a cash game player in Hong Kong for 2 years and Ambassador of Celebrities Poker Show of TVB.  She was the champion of AJPC Incheon 2018 No Limit Hold’em and has 16 ITMs in 2018. She is one of the female rising stars in Hong Kong.

Ying Kwong Mok – is a successful entrepreneur,  with over 20 businesses in Hong Kong. He is also a high stakes cash game player with 10 years of experience in No Limit Hold’em. He played live tournaments for leisure in different counties: Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Las Vegas.

Dr. Raymond Kut Fu Chow – is a high stakes cash game player in Hong Kong for 15 years. His best record is winning USD$2,000,000 in one night. His longest cash game session is 72 hours. He also travels around the world for live tournaments, countries include the Philippines, Korea, Australia,  England, Germany, Spain, and Las Vegas, USA. 

Ki Wong – is a high stakes cash game player in Hong Kong and Macau, with over 11 years of experience. He is also a regular supporter of the Aussie Millions.

Karson Ka Shing Mak  is a active cash game and tournament player in Hong Kong HKGC for 3 years. Started to play live tournaments in Asia since 2017. He is the champion of AJPC Taiwan 2019 No Limit Turbo.

Jackie Cheuk Kit Chu – is an Amateur poker player started playing in cash game 10 years ago, and he also participated in many overseas tournaments since 2015. Always bring a “Magician Doggie”with him as a lucky charm in tournaments.

Chau Yeung Yip – also known as Jack. He is a private equity investment banker in Hong Kong. He starts playing poker for 8 years since he has graduated from university. He always goes to HKGC’s Club Pudong for live tournaments. He is also a regular high stakes cash game player.

Asian Nations Cup 2019 hosts, Taiwan are aiming for the Continental Championship!

Wei Cheng Yin, Coach – Wei Cheng Yin is known as Bonsai. Professional Poker player for 3 years. Co-founded the Taiwanese coaching group “Taiwan Rounders” along with teammates Jack and Bubuii.

Tzu Chieh Lo, Coach – Tzu Chieh Lo known as “Bubuii” has been playing poker for 10 years and is regarded as one of the top online SNG/tournament players in Taiwan. He co-founded Taiwanese coaching group “Taiwan Rounders” along with teammates Jack Wu and Bonsai. He has numerous live tournaments wins throughout Asia and consistent online win-rate in both cash games and tournaments.

En Ching Wu, Coach – En Ching Wu known as Jack Wu, playing poker for seven years from he study master in NTU. In March 2016, Wu got his first big win during the ACOP Platinum Series Main Event where he earned more than USD$33,000. He made his biggest cash to date when he found himself victorious in the APPT 10 MPC HKD$20,000 No Limit Holdem Event taking home over USD$100,000. With Wu’s 2016 amazing performance, it was but natural that he was named Asia Player of the Year (APOY). Wu open his first live course in May 2017. Then, he established Taiwan Rounders in 2018 with his teammates Bubuii and Bonsai which is the biggest poker coaching site in Taiwan. He also serve as Taiwan Bear star wild card in GPL China. Wu is ambassador for Asian Poker League in 2019 & 2020.

Hsing Hsiung Tai, Captain – Hsing Hsiung Tai known as David where every poker players recognize him as he promotes poker sport in Taiwan since 2014. David started his poker career 4 years ago and enjoy travels for poker tournaments, he also play an important role to the development of poker sport and founded the biggest poker association in Taiwan – CTP Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association. CTP currently running 7 poker clubs throughout Taiwan and the biggest room located in Taipei city which can fit 27 poker tournament’s table. David is really honoured and excited to be the host for the upcoming IFMP Asian Nations Cup in Taoyuan, Taipei and he is looking forward to bring you a great event and wish all nation teams enjoy the hospitality. Welcome to Taiwan!

Po Chun Wen, Vice Captain – Po Chun Wen is known as Ross. The deputy team leader of Chinese Taipei. Working at CTP club as executive tournament director. He deeply loves poker from the first time he has played since 2008. And now, he is the one of who promotes poker as a sport competition in Taiwan and encourage to build CTP club to be the best poker room in Asia.

Philip King Chung Wang, Team Consultant – Philip Wang has been playing poker in the live circuit for over 11 years, and is currently the senior consultant for CTP Club, the largest poker club in Taiwan. Philip holds the world record for the number of ITMs in 2018, and is currently the country’s Top 10 GPI-ranked player. Philip is also the national team member representing Taiwan in last year’s IFMP Asian Nation’s Pair Challenge, and has helped his team win a Silver Medal with his teammate Bonsai.

Zong Chi He – Zong Chi He aka “Art” that’s all his friends called him. Art Started playing poker since 2008 and currently holds several champions titles in his check list in this year. As a team member of Team Chinese Taipei, he had attended the IFMP Match Poker Nations Cup in Dublin, Ireland and the schedule had fully inspired him during that time. With the Asian Nations Cup coming to his home ground in Taoyuan, Taiwan, he is hoping to perform well in the match and take down the Championship.

Chi Jen Chen – Chi Jen Chen, better known as CJ, started to play poker online as an amateur over 10 years ago, while taking care of his newborn baby in many sleepless nights. CJ loves poker and spends most of his time from busy schedule of work and family. CJ holds an MBA degree from NYU and is a father of 2 boys and a girl. He is also the co-founder and CEO of a financial trading software company. CJ recently won the APL Main Even Championship in Taipei among other numerous winnings in other tournaments.

Yu Chung Chang – CHANG YU CHUNG known as Nevan and been playing poker since 3 years ago. He had been representing the CS National Team Taiwan from the age of 14 to 20 and been in the e-commerce industry for 6 years after retiring from the national team. In the year of 2016, a poker trip at Seoul Korea had changed his life till now, he is passionate and in love with poker, Nevan will spend 10 hours a day studying poker skills and strategies. He is now a full time professional poker player in MTT and cash game, also co-operating with Natural 8 on live broadcast of poker sessions.

Chen Yi Liu – Chen Yi Liu known as Serina Liu, holds an electronic engineering master degree from NTU and is currently working as an engineer in the largest IC design company in Taiwan. Serina has been playing poker for 2 years and has already won numerous live tournaments in her pocket. She was also a GGNetwork ambassador back in 2018. Such accomplishments has put her on the list as one of the upcoming rising female stars among the poker circuit in Taiwan.

Yi Chun Cheng – Cheng Yi Chun better known as Wade, has been playing poker for 6 years, Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker club operator in Hsinchu, promotes poker to the public everyday all the time and doesn’t care about winning or losing, just having fun.

The Aussies are heading to Taiwan!

Introducing Team Australia that will participate at the 2019 Asian Nations Cup in Taiwan:

Jarryd Godena
After an interest in watching poker on TV, I started out learning online poker at the smallest stakes.  I enjoyed the challenge of playing all forms of poker including online and live, tournaments and cash games, Holdem, Omaha and the mixed games.  Outside of poker I enjoy sports and traveling.
Chris Wookey 
I have been obsessed with poker since Joe Hachem won the 2005 WSOP Main Event. Primarily a live cash game grinder, I do play the occasional tournament.  Career highlights include cashing in the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event. Poker is my passion, particularly the mental warfare and strategic elements.
Julius Colman
I love poker as a mind sport. I love its competitiveness, its risk, its assessment of odds. I love that it is a metaphor for life where, to succeed, you need to make decisions doing the best you can with information that is often imperfect.
Ashley Warner
Ashley is a 31yo poker player from Perth, with poker highlights including 2nd at ANZPT Melbourne in 2012 and numerous final tables at Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth over the last 8 years.
Heidi May
High stakes cash game player, won the 2017 WSOP ladies bracelet in 2017, enjoys volunteering for animal sanctuaries and fostering dogs when not playing poker. 
Tanja Vujanovic
Tanja has been crushing the online and live felt since 2009 and is one of the only female poker players in Australia to hold a triple crown title. On the live felt Tanja is best known for playing high stakes cash with a notable win in the 2016 Perth Poker champs main event.

Team Korea is ready for their Match Poker debut!

Team Korea, being represented by the newly federation Korean Poker Association, to participate the 2019 Asian Nations Cup in Taoyuan city, Taiwan will be comprised of:

Jung Hyung Sun – Jung Hyung Sun, better known as Sunny Jung, a professional poker player, ranked 3rd in all time money list of South Korea 2019. In 2008 – 2013 he was mostly playing cash games across Asia, that made him very famous. In 2013 he won his first live tournament the Main Event of the ACOP and got his highest cash – $561,228. in 2014 he once again proved that he one of the strongest poker players in Asia. He finished 2nd in the same Main Event of ACOP, that was even bigger than the previous one.

Hong Jinho – Hong Jinho was a famous Starcraft pro gamer in the world, who played under the alias “YellOw” together with “BoxeR”, who was his rival at that time. Even though he started his poker career only a year ago, he has already got great achievements. Actually, when he was a pro gamer, he was famous for always being 2nd, and now he also got many 2nd place finishes in poker tournaments. Just recently, he has become the Runner-up of the APT Main Event. However, he has also won two tournaments the Monster Stack of APPT and The Main Event of the J88PT Shanghai.

Shin Jae Wook – Shin Jae Wook, also known as Justin, started playing in online tournaments in 2010 and it did not take him much time to become a famous online poker player. In 2015, he decided to try himself in offline tournaments as well and he had a great performance. Since that time Justin has won several live events, however his biggest win was in 2019, when he became the Champion of the WPT Vietnam High Roller, that brought him the best live cash  – $82,696. Actually, High Rollers are his favourite types of tournaments. Right now, he is ranked 15th in the all time money list of South Korea.

Kim Jiyoung – Kim Jiyoung is a famous female professional poker player, who started  participating in live tournaments in 2015. Her best result was in 2019 when she won the Ladies Championship of the 50th WSOP with 968 entries and got her biggest cash – $167,308.

Lim Yohwan – Lim Yohwan “BoxeR” is a former professional StarCraft player, known as the Terran Emperor, who transitioned to poker after retiring in 2014. Since 2016, He has shown amazing results in various events. He is already 9th in all time money list of South Korea. In 2019 he got his best result by winning the Championship Event of the APT, that brought him $ 88,040.

Yea Joon Hee – Yea Joon Hee, better known as Steve Yea, is travelling all over the world participating in various tournaments like WSOP, Aussie Millions, APT, EPT, WPT, etc. Even though he won several events, he got the biggest live cash for the 2nd place of No Limit Hold’em, APT 2008 that brought him $250,000.

Lee Gyeong Byeong – Lee Gyeong Byeong, ranked 12th in the all time money list of South Korea, officially started playing poker in 2016 and he had the best start ever. His first cash was for the 1st place of the APT Main Event. In 2017 he participated in the WSOP, and finished 91st in the Main Event with 7,221 entries! And this year, he final tabled in the Main Event of Aussie Millions Poker Championship. His 6th place brought him the highest live cash – $ 222,078.

Sim Jae Kyung – Sim Jae Kyung, also known as “Simba”, is a professional poker player ranked 6th in the all time money list of South Korea. In 2013 he became the Champion of the APPT Cebu Main Event, that brought him $95,487 of live earnings. However, his best cash $103,256 was for the 3rd place in the Main Event of the EPT 2014 with 609 entries.