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2015 APPT Seoul Main Event Day 1a: Ward Leads; ElkY and Wilinofsky Fall

Alex Ward

The first of two starting days of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Poker Tour Seoul Main Event drew a crowd of 116 players with the United Kingdom's Alex Ward finishing out on top with 133,800 in chips.

Day 1a Top 10 Chip Counts

1Alex Ward133,800
2Tyler Jennens101,900
3Yunye Lu101,100
4Toan Nguyen91,200
5Jason Park90,100
6Quan Bin Zhong88,900
7Boris Li86,799
8Lkhagvaa Dugarbaatar80,600
9Bryan Huang79,900
10Justin Chan79,200

South Korea's biggest tournament of the year had a stacked field on Day 1a, but many of the big names hit the rail early on. Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was the biggest name in the field on Day 1a, as the French all-time money leader is not only famous in poker, but also a Starcraft player. Grospellier lived in Seoul for a few years during the heyday of his Starcraft playing days and speaks the language fluently, but none of that helped him in the tournament. Early on we caught Grospellier losing some pots, and before the halfway point he had hit the rail.

The other two former European Poker Tour winners, Ben Wilinofsky and David Vamplew, were on the wrong side of variance as well. Wilinofsky was among the first player to get knocked out when he ran into Kitty Kuo's quad tens. Kuo did manage to make it through the day, and she bagged up 27,400 at the end.

Defending champion Chane Kampanatsanyakorn showed up to defend his title, and he's still in contention for another amazing run. Before winning the event last year, Kampanatsanyakorn finished second in 2013 to Aaron Lim, and he finished the day on 17,100. Lim bagged up 62,200. Chane's brother, Chin Kampanatsanyakorn, played as well, but he wasn't as fortunate. He got knocked out by Toan Nguyen.

Sam Cohen, who finished third in this event last year, had an awful start when her aces got cracked in a three-way all in. Cohen was left with just a few thousand chips, and while she managed to stay in for a bit, she didn't survive the day.

Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang had a day filled with swings, which isn't unexpected for Huang, and two hands in particular he will remember for a while. First, a player limp-shoved for 60 big blinds with ace-queen into Huang's kings. The kings didn't hold up and Huang lost a huge pot. A few hands later, Huang got his money in with ace-king against jacks, but his hand held up.

Huang survived the day with 79,900, which is a bit more than what American pro Jason Mo (44,000) bagged up.

Asia Player of the Year leader Yuguang Li and the defending winner of this title Pete Chen both got knocked out, while freshly-signed Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal bagged up 34,500.

The remaining 44 players from Day 1a will return on Saturday at 12 p.m. local time, but there will be plenty more coverage right here on starting Friday at 12 p.m. for Day 1b.

In the meantime, check out the following video of Sarah Herring exploring Seoul:

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