Two days ago, the Asian Poker Tour opened their 2018 season in one of the most upbeat cities in the Southeast Asian region, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This is the first time the APT has taken on this populous metro and it is their second time visiting the country. For years the APT has held their annual opener in the Philippines and while the move may have come as a surprise to some, this venture is just one of the many changes that the APT plans to implement this year.
Here’s a look at the changes announced for the year at hand:
Main Event Guaranteed Prize Pools
It goes without saying, guaranteed prize pools always attract players, and with many poker outfits offering guarantees today, the APT has joined the bandwagon. At the currently ongoing APT Kickoff Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh, the Main Event is backed by a VND 3 Billion Guaranteed prize pool; and according to their website, they will have Main Event guarantees for legs in Macau and in the Philippines. As of yet, no details have been disclosed regarding those future events but players will no doubt be on lookout especially with the kickoff festival shaping up to be a big one.
Main Event late registration extended
The Main Event also had a revamping, and like the guaranteed prize pools, this one will surely give the numbers an extra boost. Traditionally, players had only until the start of Level 7 to jump into the Main Event. For those entering during the final moments of registration, they still had a healthy stack of over 60 big blinds.
Recognizing the advantages of their highly revered deep format, the APT has extended late registration another three rounds – now closing at the start of Level 10. By doing so, this will give more opportunities for players to enter. With starting days only running 8 rounds, this also means players will now be able to sign up as late as the first round of Day 2. This also applies to the Championships Event.
APT Player of Year retired
Considerably the most shocking announcement is the retirement of the APT Player of the Year (APT POY) incentive program. For the past six years, the APT POY has been one of the most sought after year-end titles of the tour. The first four years were swept by Samad Razavi (2012-2015) followed by Iori Yogo (2016), and then Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (2017).
With the implementation of the APT Player of the Series (APT POS) rewards system last year, and positive feedback from the players, the APT has decided to retire the APT POY program (indefinitely) and instead, add cash prizes to the APT POS awards.
In the APT website, APT Executive Tournament Director, Lloyd Fontillas quoted,
“We’ve decided to retire the APT Player of the Year because we wanted to reward more players. So for the APT Player of the Series program, we are giving cash prizes to the top three winners.”
The winner of each APT POS will receive US$800 while the 2nd and 3rd placer at US$100 each.
Other changes and improvements
There are a couple of more changes announced and with the kickoff underway, two of them have already taken effect. The first one is the schedule. All APT events are now scheduled to run a minimum of 10 days. The other is the revamped pay scale. More players will now be seeing the money with “1 in 6” getting paid.
Another announcement is the addition of more Championships Events in 2018. Championships events are 12-day festivals with two major tournaments running back-to-back in a span of nine days. Last year the APT held two of these events, one in April and the other in December. This year, there are already three listed on their Events Calendar, two in Macau and one in the Philippines.
Article by Triccia David