- »Kitty Kuo Wins 2021 APT Taiwan Main Event
Kitty Kuo Wins 2021 APT Taiwan Main Event
The Asian Poker Tour is a longtime staple in the Asia-Pacific region. While its main locations include Macau, Philippines, South Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam, the tour has also expanded to include India, London, New Caledonia, Taiwan, and Australia.
Its season after season of live poker tournament series enables players of all bankrolls to participate in world-renowned events. From its founding in 2008 to the present day, the APT has hosted more than 80 major events and many more preliminary tournaments.
This week, the APT is garnering more global attention than usual, as famous poker pro Kitty Kuo won the APT Taiwan Main Event.
Easing Back into Live Poker
The Asian Poker Tour did the same as most live poker tour operators when the pandemic shut down live venues; it found an online poker partner. The APT solidified a relationship with Natural8 and offered some online action until life poker was safe again.
After testing out some live tournaments at the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Clubs in Taiwan in late 2020, the APT felt confident about a new event. Organizers set the APT Taiwan series for the CTP Club from February 19 to March 18, but after seeing better pandemic numbers, the APT extended the series to March 25.
The Main Event required a New Taiwan dollar buy-in of NT$15,000 and guaranteed NT$2M in the prize pool. The three starting days were February 26-28, and survivors played again on March 1. The final table was set for Wednesday, March 3.
How the Main Event Started
The first of the three starting flights brought in 19 entries, out of which nine survived with chips. Ho-Ru Wu was the chip leader with 99,100 chips.
Day 1B attracted 68 entries with 31 surviving . Li Su Chi Kwon took the overall lead with 117,600 chips.
The third and final chance to get into the action brought in 63 entries, though only 26 of them bagged chips at the end of the night. Te Wei Chung emerged with the largest stack to bring to Day 2 with 120,400 chips.
Registration remained open into Day 2, and another 46 players entered. That created these final tournament numbers:
- Total entries: 196
- Total prize pool: NT$2,851,800 (well past the NT$2M guarantee)
- Number of paid players: 20
Day 2 wrapped up with 25 people holding chips. Cheng How Pan held the overall lead of 379,000 chips, and Kitty Kuo was in second place with 341,500 chips.
The third day of action started just five spots from the money, but it took more than 3.5 hours to burst that money bubble. Ting Nan Kuo finally bubbled, and that guaranteed the rest of the players at least NT$30,300. Play continued as the day’s chip leader, Te Wei Chung, busted in 15th place for NT$43,700 and the night ended when Ping Hao Huang exited in ninth place with NT$75,400.
Fighting for First at Final Table
The final eight players consisted of five men and three women, Kuo among them. Almost all were from Taiwan, except Kar Wee Chee of Malaysia. Po Cheng Yang was the chip leader at the final table with 1,372,000 chips, followed by Kun Yu Chiang with 974,000. Kuo was second-last in chips with only 352,000 in her stacks, which equated to 22 big blinds.
Play started slowly without an elimination in the first hour of action. Finally, though, Chee had lost ground and fell from third place in chips to the first player out. Yang busted him, and Chiang took out Chen Yi Liu in seventh place. Then, Yang stepped back up to bust Zhi Hao Huang in sixth place and then Yu Sheng Lin in fifth after Kuo doubled through him.
Yang continued to lead the pack but Chi Ying Tsai did double through him and took over the lead. Chiang briefly took the chip lead but Tsai took it back before Kuo jumped into the top spot. Yang and Chiang both doubled through Kuo, though, to put her in a tough spot. But Tsai took out Chiang in fourth place.
Kuo had only six big blinds going into three-handed play but doubled twice to stay in it. At the same time, Tsai busted Yang in third place to get heads-up with Kuo.
Tsai started with 68 big blinds and Kuo with only 12. But Kuo got aggressive and took pot after pot. The two then exchanged the chip lead for more than an hour until Kuo took a very slight lead into the final hand. Tsai got her stack all-in with K-T of diamonds on a 7d-6h-2d flop. Kuo called with K-7 offsuit and only improved with a 7 on the river.
Kuo won the APT Taiwan title, an APT Champion ring, and an APT Golden Lion Main Event trophy to go with her cash.
- 1st place: Hui Chen “Kitty” Kuo = NT$724,200
- 2nd place: Chi Ying Tsai = NT$482,200
- 3rd place: Po Cheng Yang = NT$335,600
- 4th place: Kun Yu Chiang = NT$242,400
- 5th place: Yu Sheng Lin = NT$181,300
- 6th place: Zhi Hao Huang = NT$139,900
- 7th place: Chen Yi “Serina” Liu = NT$111,100
- 8th place: Kar Wee Chee = NT$90,500
Second APT Title for Kuo
Kuo is no stranger to live poker. She went to the Taiwan final table with more than US$2.3M in live earnings, which doesn’t consider the unknown amount she has won in cash games and online.
She first garnered global attention when she won the 2009 PokerStars Macau Poker Cup Main Event for HK$557,230. Kuo went on to cash numerous times at events in Macau that year and then traveled to the United States and won the WSOP Circuit event at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in April 2010. She won her first Asian Poker Tour title at the APT Manila in 2012.
Through the years, she made numerous final tables and just missed out on two World Poker Tour titles and Aussie Millions and European Poker Tour titles, also putting up a fight for a WSOP bracelet in 2015.
Today, Kuo plays live when the pandemic allows but focuses on playing online at Natural8, where she serves as an ambassador.