Shingo Endo Wins WPT Japan Main Event for $13k WPT Passport Credits

Shingo Endo Wins WPT Japan Main Event for $13k WPT Passport Credit

Shingo Endo has triumphed at this year’s WPT Japan Main Event after besting a field of 322 players on his way to lifting the title. Instead of winning a cash prize, however, Endo walked away with $13,000 worth of WPT Passport Credits, which he can subsequently use to register in any WPT event around the world before December 2019.

This is because gambling and the awarding of cash prizes at contests is still largely banned in Japan, leading to poker tournament winners such as Shingo Endo being given packages and credits to future events instead. Later commenting upon how he intends to use his WPT Passport Credits, Endo stated:

“I have never played overseas so I would like to go to Vegas and try my best. I hope the journey continues.”

WPT Japan Festival

The 2018 WPT Japan festival took place in Tokyo from September 15-17, and featured six events with buy-ins ranging from JPY 11,000 ($100) to JPY 31,000 ($275) for its Main Event. This tournament was held in partnership with Japan Poker Union Corporation, which forged a relationship with the WPT in 2017, stating at the time:

“The World Poker Tour is the perfect brand to help launch a new chapter for poker in our country, and we look forward to hosting players from all over and showcasing all that this great region has to offer.”

This is only the second time that the WPT has ever hosted a series in Japan, and like last year it once again took place at the Bane Bagus Shibuya venue in Japan’s capital city. The country currently has no land-based casinos, but in 2016 the country passed legislation authorizing their construction, with the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill passed this summer designed to provide a framework for their operations. Although these venues are not scheduled to open until 2025, when they do they are expected to transform Japan into one of the world’s largest gambling markets, with the goodwill earned by the WPT in the meantime making it well placed to integrate itself into the lucrative market.

WPT Japan Main Event

In November 2017, Eiji Kimura became winner of the inaugural WPT Japan Main Event after beating 460 entrants to claim a $10,000 WPT Multi-Passport prize. This year, the festival may have seen a lower turnout of  322 players, but this year’s champion Shingo Endo received $3,000 more WPT Passport Credits than Kimura.

Endo reached the final table as the shortest stack still in contention, and later explained to WPT host Caitlyn Howe that he was desperate to score a quick double up in order to keep his tournament hopes alive:

“I was actually almost dead, but after that I had some [luck] and tripled up, and doubled up, and doubled up again, and found myself as the chip leader,” explained the WPT Japan champion.

After progressing all the way through to the very last phase of the competition, Endo subsequently beat Taro Kimura heads-up to lock up the win.

Next WPT Stops

Season 17 of the WPT kicked off on July 21st at the Gardens Casino in California. Like in 2017, this year’s schedule includes a number of Asian destinations in its itinerary, starting in Japan before traveling on to Vietnam, India and Korea. The WPT will also roll into a number of other countries as part of its tour, including Morocco and South Africa on the African continent.

The WPT Korea is scheduled to run from September 18-24 at the Paradise City Casino in Incheon, South Korea, with its Main Event costing KRW 1.1 million ($980) to enter and taking place from September 21-24. In addition, the festival will include a high roller event and a number of side events, none of which will be made available to local Koreans.

The WPT Vietnam will subsequently be held from September 26 to October 4, with its Main Event carrying a VND 22 million ($945) price tag, and taking place from September 28 to October 2 at the Pro Poker Club in Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam