Reiji Kono Wins Lion’s Share of $1 Million at WPT Prime Cambodia
The World Poker Tour’s Prime series continues to impress. WPT Prime Cambodia paid almost $1 million this time and recorded an impressive 1,011 entries.
The $1,100 tournament concluded on Monday when Reiji Kono defeated Bien Mai to capture his first WPT Prime title. As well as giving Kono his biggest payday to date, WPT Cambodia marks the third time this year a Prime event has attracted over 1,000 entries.
WPT Prime Paris set a new record in January when 1,071 entrants anted up inside Club Circus Paris. That record stood for less than two months thanks to WPT Prime Gold Coast in Australia welcoming 1,224 entrants.
WPT Prime Cambodia Attracts Big Numbers
WPT Prime Cambodia at NagaWorld Integrated Resort, Phnom Penh, couldn’t quite outperform its peers. However, when the registration desks closed, the total number of entries did move into the four-figure range.
WPT Prime Cambodia 2023 Stats
- Number of entries on Day 1A: 218
- Number of entries Day 1B: 311
- Number of entries Day 1C: 482
- Total number of entries: 1,011
- Prizepool: $980,670
- Number of places paid: 128
- Minimum Payout: $1,800
- Top Prize: $131,731
Japan’s Reiji Kono burst onto the live poker scene in 2021 with six cashes, five of which were at the WSOP in Las Vegas. He followed that up with 15 cashes in 2022, including wins at the Venetian Deepstack Championship and the Asian Poker Tour.
That run of results meant Kono entered WPT Prime Cambodia with $160,037 in live tournament earnings. He won almost that much on Monday after he played his way through a three-way deal to secure a WPT Prime title.
From the Bottom to the Top: Kono Gets it Done
Kono was languishing near the bottom of the chip counts with eight left. With just 13 big blinds, he had to bide his time and steal pots whenever possible. That strategy saw him double up as the field went from eight to five.
With enough chips to put a significant dent in other people’s stacks, Kono started making moves. By the time Jose Catela was eliminated in fifth place, Kono was second in chips. He moved into pole position soon after and, once Charlie Chiu went out in fourth, he led the negotiations.
WPT Prime Cambodia Result
- Reiji Kono - $131,731*
- Bien Mai - $117,842*
- Matthieu Lamagnere - $112,247*
- Charlie Chiu - $59,820
- Jose Catela - $45,120
- Sho Katsura - $34,400
- Feng Ji Chua - $26,510
- Lewis Cowell - $20,660
*Denotes a deal. The top prize includes a seat in the $10,400 WPT World Championship.
The final three agreed on an ICM deal, but there was still a seat in the $10,400 WPT World Championship left to play for. Kono faltered after the break but soon got back into contention by taking out Matthieu Lamagnere.
The heads-up match between Kono and Mai was back-and-forth but, in the end, the former got it done with 8♥ 7♥. With the board showing A♠ K♥ 8♠ 7♠ 7♦, Kai moved all-in with Q♣ 7♣. Kono called with a full house to take the final pot and become WPT Prime Cambodia champion for 2023.
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