With the launch of Poker Portal Asia’s revamped Player Database, users can now search by country and find out who are the top players from their respective homelands according to how much they have cashed in Asia Pacific tournaments since 2008. To coincide with the launch of this new feature we’re releasing a series of articles showcasing the top cashers in each major Asian poker country.
While Hong Kong isn’t technically a country, we will consider it one for the purposes of our player groupings. It’s also quite a small poker market, which is probably not helped by a government that isn’t exactly supportive of the game. Although not technically illegal there, poker is mostly played in private poker rooms that must follow strict guidelines to operate. For example, the venues are legally classified as a ‘food and beverage’ outlet and as such aren’t allowed to make any money from the game. Authorities have been known to raid private poker rooms where these paramaters are not adhered to.
However, the fact that it lies just a one-hour ferry ride away from the mega gaming island of Macau means that it should come as no surprise that quite a few top names in Asian poker reside there. The Poker Portal Asia Player Database features 120 players from Hong Kong who have made the money in Asia Pacific tournaments in the last several years and the following are some of the standouts:
Top 3 Players
1. David Steicke USD $1,694,102
Topping out Hong Kong players by a country mile, it should come as no surprise that David Steicke is the number one casher. Steicke is originally from Adelaide in South Australia but has been a resident of Hong Kong for around the last seven years.
With a successful career in finance that clearly gave him a healthy bankroll to take up the game, Steicke has had some monster cashes in high-roller events – the biggest of which came during the Aussie Millions tournaments in Melbourne, Australia. In fact, Steicke’s high-roller scores account for over USD $1.35 million of his winnings but he has also shown some big results in a number of Main Events as well, most notably coming fourth in APT Macau 2009 for USD $91,371 and ninth at APPT Macau for USD $33,766.
2. Chong Wing Cheong USD $356,081 (pictured)
With eight cashes to his name, Chong Wing Cheong, trails behind Steicke by a long margin but that doesn’t mean his results aren’t still impressive. Chong’s score starts with a solid final table finish at APT Macau 2008, winning USD $36,737, before a first place in a Macau Poker Cup (MPC) side event netted him USD $27,653. However, it was in 2010 that Chong’s biggest result to date came when he finished runner-up to Victorino Torres in the APPT Macau Main Event and cashed for an impressive USD $268,880. True to past form, he then backed it up with another five-figures side event win in the June 2010 MPC.
3. Haifeng Xue USD $139,020
Another significant cash drop sees Haifeng Xue land in third place on the list but, amazingly, his six results all came in 2011 only. Xue’s hot streak last year hurtled him almost within catching distance of the PokerStars Asia Player of the Year race that was won by Taiwan’s Hung-sheng Lin. Xue also came achingly close to a Red Dragon Main Event title in the June 2011 MPC, placing second to snare USD $87,295 in prize money. It’s also worth noting that every one of Xue’s results have come only in Macau tournaments. We can only guess what would happen if he showed the same form in tournaments in the Philippines or perhaps even Australia…
4. Sparrow Cheung USD $120,709 (pictured)
We just had to mention Sparrow Cheung here, possibly because he has one of the easiest to remember first names in history, but also because we see a lot of him at the tables in Asian tournaments. Cheung has a whopping 23 cashes behind him, only one less than the 24 of leader David Steicke, making him one of the hardest working players from Hong Kong. The closest Cheung came to fully-fledged poker glory was in the 2010 APT Macau Main Event where he placed fifth for USD $39,089 in prize money. However, that elusive big title may just be around the corner for him.
5. Charles Lam USD $118,066
Another Hong Kong player who likes to only play tournaments a quick ferry ride away from his home, all of Charles Lam’s results have come solely in Macau as well. He has cashed eight times in various MPC and APPT events, the most significant coming in the form of a fifth place in the February 2011 MPC Red Dragon Main Event for USD $32,629 and another fifth place in the 2011 Macau Poker Cup Championship for USD $40,936. Lam is yet to put any runs on the board for 2012 but that probably has something to do with the fact that there has only been one significant tournament in Macau so far this year. No doubt we’ll see Lam back at the tables next week for MPC June 2012.
10. Jenette Tan USD $69,235
Jennette Tan (aka Jay Tan) is also an Aussie expat now residing in Hong Kong. Similar to David Steicke, she moved there to pursue a career in finance but found herself drawn to the bright lights of Macau’s poker scene. Her breakout results came in the February 2012 Macau Poker Cup where she picked up a runner-up finish in a side event for USD $15,484 and then a fifth place in the Red Dragon Main Event for USD $40,614. Shortly after, Tan was picked up by poker site Bodog and has happily packed in her office job to travel around the world as one of their sponsored pros. By all accounts, it’s a welcome sea change for her.
For the full list of players ranked in Hong Kong, head to Poker Portal Asia’s Player Database.
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