Malaysian crusher Sean Ooi has recorded his biggest-ever tournament result, emerging victorious in the 2023 APL Million Main Event amidst a record-shattering series at Southport Sharks.
The 22-year-old has been in blistering form since his first appearance in the APL franchise – and indeed, on Aussie soil – first winning two events at the APLPT Tasmania series at Wrest Point Hobart last year before picking up two more back home at the Poker Dream Malaysia series in Kuala Lumpur.
Ooi then returned to Oz to claim his first APT title in Sydney, then went on to complete the Triple Crown at the WPT League Championship in Tweed Heads, adding two rings to his poker CV, and then shipped his now second-largest score in Campbelltown before following it up with another APLPT title in Rooty Hill.
Speaking with APL Media’s Nicki Pickering in the wake of his historic victory, it was clear that Ooi was on cloud nine and not about to come down.
“I think it’s the best feeling ever, it’s going to be very, very hard to top this!” Ooi exclaimed. “It’s just like a dream. You never really expect it … you go into the APL Million Main Event say, ‘I’m gonna win it’ and then when you actually do it, it’s insane!”
Now $585,000 richer, Ooi hinted at a trip to Japan to celebrate, flying business class all the way with his partner Mandy, who was there to support him en route to his emphatic victory over runner-up Josh Hutchins, who also surpassed his previous best after he placed fifth in last year’s WPT Australia Main Event at The Star Gold Coast.
2023 APL MILLION MAIN EVENT – FINAL TABLE RESULTS ($1,500 buy-in, 2,496 entries, 275 players paid)
|3||Nil Esteve Magrane||Australia||$245,990|
|8||Jayson Dela Pena||Australia||$45,425|
Ooi’s victory was but the cherry on top of another epic series that truly surpassed expectations, bringing in $10,203,110 in total prize pools across 60 events, with more than a third of that in the Main Event alone, which also broke the record for the biggest poker tournament ever held in Australia (by number of entries) previously set back in 2021.
APL Head of Poker Joel Williams was naturally elated by the results, which saw him and his team – led by core members Tom Bower and Benjamin Young – handle more than 20,000 registrations over the course of 16 days, and with it an almost 87% increase in total prize pools after last year’s APL Million festival.
“There is simply no chance of executing this incredible series without the support, teamwork and knowledge of this group,” Williams wrote in a personal post on Facebook. “To deliver a $10 million+ series in this environment is just a small indication of the ability and expertise I have at my disposal.”
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”Joel Williams
In other major results, Ooi’s compatriot Yan Wen Wee tore up the felt early, defeating APL Ambassador Jackie Glazier heads-up in the Mini Main before backing it up with victory in the Opening Event, to pocket close to $100,000 in prize money in the first two days.
Auckland’s Chin Yaw Chan also found a double, winning both the 6-Max Shot Clock and PLO Terminator, while the team at Maddocks Mindset chalked up a pair of wins themselves, with the eponymous mindset maven claiming his third APL PLO trophy for the shed after his student and fellow Canuck Mike Johnson emerged victorious in the H.O.P.
The $2,500 Centurion also obliterated any and all of its previous records, won by Brisbanite Barney Thomas, before the ever-popular Jackstar Super High Roller recorded its first million-dollar prize pool, with the field of 772 topped by Sydney cash game specialist Alex “AJ” Antonios.
The APL will be back on the road in October, returning to the Castle Hill RSL in Sydney before heading to SkyCity Adelaide; for more information and images from the APL Million including full results from all 60 APL Million events and tour dates, follow the Australian Poker League on Facebook or visit playapl.com.
All images courtesy of APL Media.