Day 1b of PokerStars Festival Korea Main Event proved to be a fantastic day for the Japanese contingent here at Paradise City Hotel & Resort in Incheon.
When the dust settled at the end of 12 levels of play, five of the top seven chip counts belonged to players from the land of the rising sun. Foremost among them was Yuki Ko, who turned a 30,000 starting stack into 226,300. That's good for the overall lead with two of four starting flights in the books, as it's well clear of the 201,000 posted by Sparrow Cheung on Day 1a.
Ko has been plenty active and successful on the Asian tournament circuit since the start of 2016, tallying north of $250,000 in cashes. He used an unpredictable style to build up his massive stack here in Korea. He had opponents so bamboozled that at one point a player called off on a river shove from Ko with an ace-high board in the middle holding an unimproved pair of fives in the hole. Ko showed down ace-king and took down the pot.
At the end of the night, Ko took down another big one that showed just how good he was running when he managed to make quads with jack-six offsuit defending his big blind. Ko got a check-raise paid off on the turn and then put in an overbet shove on the river that got called to take down a pot of over 120,000.
Ko's countrymen joining him near the top of the leaderboard were Mitsuru Sano (173,900), Shigeho Yoshioka (151,800), Akira Ise (144,500) and Takashi Ogura (140,200).
Other players bagging piles were Daniel Demicki (209,500) and Justin Chan (203,700). Demicki came into the tournament fresh off of a sixth-place finish for ₩16,500,000 (~$14,700).
Overall, Day 1b drew 66 entries to push the two-day total to 120. There's still two more Day 1 flights to go, and both will take place Saturday. The first kicks off at 11 a.m. local time, and coverage will continue then here on PokerNews. Stay tuned to see who else punches a ticket to Day 2.
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