Player of the Series Interview

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By taking down a total of four tournaments, James Chen successfully achieved first place in the ASPT Taiwan 2023 Player of the Series leaderboard.

Masters Series #4 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better (NT$240,100)
Masters Series #6 Razz (NT$235,800)
Masters Series #8 Stud Mix (NT$172,200)
Platinum Series #3 Sunday Platinum (NT$570,400)

For this achievement, Chen receives a ASPT Korea 2024 main event seat, as well as the brand new ASPT Player of the Series champion trophy and gold medal.

・Congratulations! How do you feel about becoming the Player of the Series winner of ASPT Taiwan 2023?

Chen: “I play poker because the game is still fun and interesting to me after so many years, not for titles and awards. But I still appreciate the effort ASPT staff put into recognizing and rewarding players' performances, and of course it feels nice to win.”

・What made you decide to participate in this ASPT series?

“I learned about ASPT by chance, and was surprised to see mixed game tournaments in the schedule. I wanted to support the first time mixed game events were held in Taiwan (and the second time in Asia, by a week), so I decided to participate and play many events.

“After playing my first Stud tournament of the series, I was very impressed by the willingness of ASPT to not only promote mixed games in Asia, but also evolve and contribute to the entire mixed games space. In the future, we may see western poker tours adopt the innovations made by ASPT, such as button ante in Stud.”

・You became the champion of several mixed game tournaments. Which game do you think is your best and why?

“My favorite poker game besides No Limit Hold'em is maybe No Limit Deuce to Seven Single Draw Lowball. I also like Omaha Hi-Lo, in both fixed limit and pot limit formats.

“In general, I think I have a bigger edge in big bet games, since there's more room for creativity, and I think I'm good at reading people.”

・How did you feel when you won your fourth trophy?

“I think I mostly just felt relieved to close out the win. I had almost 600K in chips with 5 players remaining and 825K total chips in play, so not being able to win the event would have been upsetting!”

・ Please tell us about your interests outside of poker. What do you like to do on your days off?

“I started skateboarding and collecting skateboard decks recently. It's probably my main pastime outside of poker right now. I'm not good yet, but I'm enjoying being a beginner in a new hobby.

“Also, I'm a big fan of Radiohead and Thom Yorke, so I listen to their music a lot in my free time. I don't listen to music when playing poker.

“Listening to music while skating at night along the river in Taipei is amazing.”

・ Wonderful. Is there any person or event that had a major influence on your life?

“When I was growing up, I moved and switched schools often. Sometimes it was just a new school, sometimes it was a new city or country. I think this experience influenced me in many ways. I can easily understand both eastern and western ways of thinking, and I adapt to new environments quickly. I also learned to observe people, since that's what I had to rely on before learning the language in a new country.”

・Great. Back to poker. Were you aiming to win the Player of the Series title? If so, at which stage did you start to aim for it?

“No, I wasn't. I actually didn't even know there was a Player of the Series award until I was leading in points. I was just trying to support the mixed game tournaments so I played many of them.”

・How was this series? Please tell us about the good aspects of ASPT.

“The ASPT Taiwan series was very enjoyable. All of the staff were courteous and professional, and the series offered a varied selection of games to play each day.

Also, the Japanese players who traveled to play ASPT Taiwan were all super nice, and I made many new friends during the series.”

・What do you think about the ASPT tournament structures, which Iori Yogo meticulously designed?

“I loved the structures — much credit to Iori. They were very respectful to the players and to the game of poker. Some structure decisions worth commending:

  1. There were so many events with 40 or 60-minute levels.

  2. Double levels were used in many events.

  3. Levels got longer in many events as play progressed to day 2 and day 3.

  4. Max late reg was closed at 50 big blinds for many events, including the main event!

“It's very apparent that the structures were designed by someone who loves poker and is very familiar with the game. They were designed for the best playing experience, instead of maximizing rake.”

・Please tell us about your playing style and your strengths.

“One of my strengths is that my playing style is very flexible and adaptable. I can make big adjustments to my strategy based on the table situation.

“Another strength of mine is that I don't really get affected by the stakes of a game. Even when the stakes are very high, I don't feel excited or nervous.”

・Do you have any rivals?

“I just try to work toward my own goals, improve my game, and have fun playing. I don't really concern myself with what other players are doing.

“But if you are a scammer, cheater, or angle shooter, I'm rooting against you!”

・Were there any impressive situations during the series?

“One of the more memorable situations was when I multi-tabled the Stud Hi-Lo final table (finishing 1st) and the Omaha Hi-Lo event (finishing 3rd).

“I also played a funny No Limit Hold'em hand, where I overbet bluffed both turn and river with AcJd on 962cc7cK and got called by AsTs, accidentally getting massive value.”

・If ASPT comes back to Taiwan in the future, will you participate?

“Of course!”

・What are your expectations for the next ASPT series?

“I think once players learn how varied and well-run ASPT tournaments are, and how thoughtful the structures are, we can expect to see bigger fields and bigger prize pools.

“I'd personally also love to see a No Limit Deuce to Seven Single Draw (or Double Draw) Lowball tournament. But please… no more 10 AM start times!”

You can follow James Chen on his

Instagram: @jameschenpoker