It’s hard to believe that half of the PokerStars Asia season has already passed but here we are.
On deck are two critical mid-year events for any serious challenger of the 2017 Asia Player of the Year
First up is PokerStars Festival Korea (July 14-24) held at the brand new Paradise City in Incheon, South Korea; soon followed by PokerStars Festival Manila (July 28-Aug 7) which takes place at PokerStars LIVE Manila.
Let’s take a look at the top performers from this season thus far.
Alan Lau has had a stellar first half where the Hong Kong poker pro has already eclipsed his 2015 totals — when he won the APOY title — for points (6,573), earnings (HK$3.8 million), and titles (5). Lau is comfortably in the pole position and could very well become the first ever two-time APOY winner, but he’d be foolish to rest on his laurels given the company in his rear-view mirror.
Sparrow Cheung has been Mr. Consistent on the PokerStars Asia circuit for the better part of the past decade and his current No. 2 rank is largely due to his season-leading 17 final tables; on pace to break the single-season record of 23.
While the top two spots are occupied by Hong Kong natives, there are two clear threats in the Top Ten from Taiwan – Pete Chen & reigning APOY champ Jack Wu.
Chen is currently ranked No. 3 and the Taiwanese poker pro appears to be in form like he was in 2014 when he captured the APOY. Chen had back-to-back Top 5 rankings in consecutive seasons (2014, 2015) and it took military commitments to prevent him from making it three seasons in a row — when he finished at No. 11 last year.
While Chen has arguably been the best player on a 40-month scorecard, it’s Wu who is the reigning Asia Player of the Year and owner of single-season records for titles (6), final tables (23) and points (9,492). Wu has the reputation as one of hardest working players out there and could certainly make a strong second half charge.
Terry Tang, Raghav Bansal, Nicholas Petrangelo, and Justin Chan are all different kind of candidates. Out of the four, Chan has the most experience on the Asia circuit with a 6th place finish in 2010. Tang and Bansal, meanwhile, are relatively new players on the circuit but their status should now say ‘regular’ both in terms of volume and results — with more than HK$7.5 million in winnings between the two this season alone.
Petrangelo made his first ever Asia stop for the PokerStars Championship Macau event in April and proceeded to make three final table appearances – earning him over HK$5.5 million on that single trip. There’s an extremely good chance, the American pro will reappear for the 2017 Asia Championship of Poker which makes him a fascinating dark horse.
Who do you think will win the Asia Player of the Year this season?
ASIA PLAYER OF THE YEAR – TOP TEN
(as of July 3, 2017)
- Alan Lau (Hong Kong) – 6,573 pts
- Sparrow Cheung (Hong Kong) – 5,600 pts
- Pete Chen (Taiwan) – 4,770 pts
- Terry Tianyuan Tang (China) – 4,679 pts
- Raghav Bansal (India) – 3,900 pts
- Jack Wu (Taiwan) – 3,874 pts
- Nicholas Petrangelo (USA) – 3,840 pts
- Ludovic Riehl (France) – 3,802 pts
- Justin Chan (Hong Kong) – 3,354 pts
- Adones Carmona (Philippines) – 3,240 pts