William Han Wins Festival of Poker For $51,000

3 years ago
William Han Wins Festival of Poker For $51,000
20 Nov

William Han took down the biggest poker payday of his life at the weekend when he outplayed a field of 131 entrants to lift the Festival of Poker Main Event title in Auckland, New Zealand and $51,000 to go with it, stating afterwards:

"I think the first thing I will do is have a quick nap, then maybe take the wife out for a nice dinner."

The recently-married 25-year old network technician has called the North Island city home since leaving South Korea as a one-year old and the local man has been a keen poker aficionado for many years, taking the game seriously as an online player for the past 5 years – although his live cashes have been few and far between, a 2012 ANZPT $330 deepstack win worth $11,320 his previous best score.

This past weekend, however, saw him fighting his way through a field of part ‘full buy-ins’ of $1650 and part ‘half-stack buy-ins’ of $825, a strange combination which nevertheless produced a very decent prizepool of $164,250 for the 3-day event at the Sky City Casino.

As the national newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, reported, ‘After progressing to day two of the tournament with an average chip stack, Han got lucky on the final table bubble to run up a huge stack’ – the eventual tournament winner explaining:

"I was fortunate enough to win with ace king against aces on day two of the tournament."

He added:

"That was toward the end of day two, just before the final table and I wasn't all-in but it was worth probably 60-70% of my stack. The flop came KKQ and I was very happy."

The ‘key hand’, according to Han, came at the final table when the chip leader and fellow Auckland poker player Henry Xu, doubled Han up, the action described by the winner…

"Play was four handed and I raised under the gun with ace king, and Henry was in the big blind and he three-bet. I called and the flop came Q74 with two diamonds. Henry bet and I called. The turn brought in two flush draws and I called his turn bet. The river was an ace, which missed both flush draws and he checked and I moved all in. He spent a long time thinking about the decision but eventually called before mucking his hand when he saw my ace king. I had about 30-40 big blinds at the time so that was huge."

Final table results:

1William Han
2Henry Xu
3Jamie Sadlier
4Geo Tislevoll
5Trent Adams
6Te Rangi Matenga
7Phillip Willcocks
8Radoslav Kopec
9Steve Smith
10Johnny Rakich

Articles 2026

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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