MACAU, Republic of China, 26 November 2007 - Tonight Dinh 'Daren' Le became China's first ever poker champion, winning the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau: Asia Poker Open (APPT Macau) and pocketing a massive US$222,640 in prize money.
The 27-year-old Vietnamese concert promoter travelled to Macau with his good friend Tuan, never expecting PokerStars.net APPT glory. Before now his biggest poker tournament was at home in his own lounge room - today he leaves Macau as China's first ever poker champion.
In Chinese culture the number 8 is seen to be very lucky and it proved to be on the final hand, with Dinh's pair of 8's defeating his opponent from Singapore, Zong Wei 'Ivan' Tan.
"This tournament has been an incredible experience. I am honoured to be part of poker history today and very proud to become Macau's first poker champion," commented Dinh directly after his win.
Starting with a record 352 players from 37 countries - the largest in Asian poker history.
The field was reduced to just nine players on the final day, as they battled it out for their share of the US$810,000 prize pool.
Some of poker's brightest stars also took part, like 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem, who was unlucky not to win coming in 8th place, taking home $24,288; 1998 World Champion Scotty Nguyen; and Isabelle 'No Mercy' Mercier.
Over 200 players qualified for the tournament via PokerStars including ninth place finisher Simon Randall, who came all the way from London.
Dinh will join the APPT Seoul champion Ziv Bachar and the APPT Manila champion Brett Parise at the Grand Final at Star City Casino in Sydney, Australia, December 12 - 16.
The final standings are as follows:
1. $222,640 Dinh Le (Vietnam)
2. $129,536 Zong Wei 'Ivan' Tan (Singapore)
3. $72,864 Sangkyoun Kim (South Korea)
4. $56,672 Guillaume Patry (South Korea)
5. $48,576 Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier (South Korea)
6. $40,480 William Tam (Australia)
7. $32,384 Liz Lieu (USA)
8. $24,288 Joe Hachem (Australia)
9. $16,192 Simon Randall (United Kingdom)
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY US$810,000