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Korea’s Shin: Dream big, win big


The poker scene in Korea is reaching new heights and in a pack of fast climbers, 23-year-old Hyeon Ho Shin is one to keep an eye on. Since his December debut win at the 2022 UPP Daegu City Tour Main Event, Shin was burning the felt the following year.

It was a memorable 2023 for the young rising star, working the poker scene in South Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines. By mid-year, Shin had snatched the last High Roller event at the 2023 mid-year UPP Daegu City Tour. That momentum carried on to a historic championship at the inaugural Top Joy Poker Korea event in Seoul.

Shin impressed the crowd at the 5-day tournament besting a top-ranked field from China, Japan, and his own country including seasoned players Gab Yong Kim and WPT Australia Super High Roller champion, Nam Hyung Kim. Shin cleaned up the tables not only for a career highlight win but to snatch his biggest paycheck to date at 261 Million Won (~$ 192,900). He carried his luck and hot hands to year-end wins in Manila.

In the Ace Poker League’s return to the Philippines after several years, Shin captured the last APL trophy at the Mini High Roller. He then hopped across the city to take Event 9 of the Manila Megastack 17 at the PokerStars hub in Okada Manila Resort & Casino. Shin bagged the Freezeout Challenge with a P340,000 (~USD 6,140) payout.

In an interview during the fan-favorite Manila Super Series, Shin revealed, “I was debating between the nearby Philippines or Vietnam, but my grades were better in the Philippines and I liked the Filipino people, so I decided on the Philippines.”

It seems that he made the right choice. Shin confessed that there was more volatility in Korea with many “hot players” but nonetheless, the level of competition in Manila was just as intense.

Looking back, he says that his first major win at the TJPK was most special: “At the time, I felt nothing but joy and that I had won, but after receiving the money and spending it, I realized again that it was a lot of money.”


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