Chao-Ting Cheng Wins the 2023 APPT Cambodia $1,500 Main Event ($94,448)

The PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) stop at the five-star NagaWorld Integrated Resort in the Kingdom of Cambodia has determined a winner in the 2023 APPT Cambodia $1,500 Main Event. Out of a field of 476 entries, Chao-Ting Cheng and Junnie Pamplona shared the biggest slice of the $623,322 prize pool after cutting a heads-up deal.

It only took 13 hands from there on for Cheng to overcome a small chip deficit and claim the golden shard trophy that had still been up for grabs along with $94,448 for the efforts. Runner-up Pamplona won his seat in a PokerStars LIVE Manila live qualifier for 6,600 Philippine Pesos ($120), which included the tournament entry and hotel package, and made it almost all the way to victory with just one bullet to claim $101,647 for the efforts.

Pamplona narrowly missed a career-best score on the live poker circuit, which he previously set in the 2022 WPT Prime Cambodia $1,100 Main Event right here in the grand ballroom at Naga 1.

Ting-Yi “Eric” Tsai and Hua-Wei Lin also represented Taiwan on the final table, finishing in third and seventh place respectively. Colombia’s Jimmy Torres followed up an 18th place in the 2023 EPT Monte-Carlo Main Event with another deep run while on a poker and vacation trip to Asia alongside fellow countryman Mauricio Salazar Sanchez.

Final Result 2023 APPT Cambodia $1,500 Main Event

Place Player Country Prize (in USD)
1 Chao-Ting Cheng Taiwan $94,448*
2 Junnie Pamplona Philippines $101,647*
3 Eric Tsai Taiwan $54,290
4 Jimmy Torres Colombia $42,760
5 Evgenii Nekrasov Russia $33,597
6 Kien Tat Heng Singapore $26,242
7 Hua-Wei Lin Taiwan $19,759
8 Curtis Lim Singapore $13,775
9 Bien Mai Vietnam $10,908

*denotes ICM deal of the final two players

Final Table
Final Table

The final nine players returned to their seats at 1 p.m. local time, and the average stack was very deep, yet it took just six and a half hours to determine a champion. Especially the opening stages brought several all-in showdowns, and the field was already cut down to just four contenders on the first break with the short stack holding 48 big blinds to their name.

Vietnam’s Bien Mai, who already had two runner-up finishes and a win to his name in the last two months in the Asia-Pacific region, was the first to bow out. In the third hand of the final table, Mai’s king-queen suited flipped versus pocket eights, and Cheng made quads.

Curtis Lim aimed to parlay the same pocket pair into success but Jimmy Torres held up with pocket queens to reduce the field to the final seven in a matter of minutes. Hua-Wei Lin was outflipped by Eric Tsai, and Kien Tat Heng swiftly followed when he ran with jack-nine suited into the pocket kings of Cheng. Evgenii Nekrasov lost a portion of his stack to end up second-best with tens against Pamplona’s king-queen.

That wrapped up the first two hours of frantic poker action, and the deep-stacked part of the final table commenced. Tsai pulled ahead of the pack by some margin before a pivotal all-in showdown unfolded. Torres had dropped to a short stack and open-jammed with eight-seven suited, which Tsai called. Pamplona found another premium pair in pocket kings to isolate, and Tsai folded as Pamplona soared to the top of the leaderboard.

Junnie Pamplona and Jimmy Torres
Junnie Pamplona and Jimmy Torres

Cheng was on the verge of becoming the third-place finisher after his stack plummeted to a mere 12 big blinds. However, he doubled back into contention through Pamplona and chipped up. The inevitable clash between both contenders from Taiwan then followed in which Cheng’s ace-queen rivered a flush to crack the pocket queens of Tsai.

Ten hands into heads-up play, Cheng’s pocket queens secured a large double against the flopped top pair of Pamplona, and it was all over three hands later. Pamplona slow-played pocket aces in the big blind with a min-raise, and Cheng flopped quads to lock up the victory.

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