This past weekend, Season 9 of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) visited PokerStars LIVE Manila for what was being billed as one of the biggest poker festivals ever held in the Philippines. Opening weekend of the APPT9 Manila did not disappoint as a combined 806 weekend warriors created ₱7,558,116 in prize money over the first four events.
"We expected a strong turnout for APPT Manila but the early results are well above my expectations." said APPT President Danny McDonagh. "It bodes extremely well for the Main Event on Thursday."
The weekend's premiere event was the ₱10,000 Warm-Up Opener, which attracted 570 entries and created a ₱4,976,100 prize pool. One player at that final table was reigning Asia Player of the Year Pete Chen, who ultimately fell short of his second title this season when he was felled in third place.
According to updates from the event, Chen got the last of his chips all in holding the against the of Alex Lee. The flop kept Chen in the lead, but then the dealer burned and turned the to put a dagger through his heart. The river failed to help Chen, and he was eliminated in third place for ₱415,500 (USD $9,074).
Chen also made a second final table over the weekend, which saw him move into the No. 3 spot (formally owned by Beijing Cup winner Yang Zhang) on the Asia Player of the Year(APOY) leaderboard. Chen, who hopes to become the first two-time winner of the annual award, is now just 51 points behind current leader Yuguang Li.
Chen's Warm-Up elimination left Lee holding a more than 2-1 chip leader over Edmil Marcelo in heads-up play.
"I had a big stack against him so I decided to do what I've been doing the entire tournament, continue to grind," Lee told the PokerStars Blog. "I could afford to lose some chips if necessary and even if people say I am pot committed, I really think about it because I would rather not give up too many chips. I also get a sense of whether or not the player I am up against is willing to take a risk."
In what would be the final hand of the tournament, with the blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000, Lee moved all in and Marcelo, who had the shorter stack, called off.
The flop delivered Marcelo a gutshot straight draw, which he needed to hit once the turn paired Lee. Unfortunately for Marcelo, the blanked on the river and he had to settle for second place and a ₱671,800 consolation prize. Lee's victory moved him up to No. 12 on the APOY rankings.
APPT Manila Warm-Up Final Table Results
|Place||Player||Country||Prize (in PHP)|
|3||Yen Han "Pete" Chen||Chinese Taipei||415,500|
|4||Peter Ronn Baterina||Philippines||317,000|
|7||In Sin||South Korea||141,800|
|9||Fu Bang "Pipi" Huang||Chinese Taipei||99,500|
Other winners over the weekend included Japan's Hideki Takafuji, who topped a field of 102 entrants to win Event #3: ₱2,000 No-Limit Hold'em Rebuy for ₱155,500; and the Philippines' Charles Esteban, who topped a field of 76 entrants to win Event #4: Deep Stack Pot-Limit Omaha for ₱268,720.
Meanwhile, the ₱50,000 buy-in APPT Manila Main Event will kick off on Thursday, August 6. PokerNews will have a recap of that event upon its completion.