After four days of heated competition that included a final day that ran for 13 hours at Okada Manila, semi-retired Filipino player Florencio Campomanes railroaded the latter half of the final table to become the newest APPT Main Event champion. He pocketed his largest live tournament career score of ₱ 11,092,500 (US$ 214,900) and one of the most prestigious titles in Asia.
This major victory was long overdue for Campomanes who has been using the #thebestisyettocome in his facebook posts for some time. And arrive it sure did.
“So sick, it has been 13 years. I’ve been playing since I was 18 when I was underage. At this point, it wasn’t about the money anymore. It was really about the relief of winning. Even when we chopped at heads up, the feeling didn’t change for me. I just wanted to win it so bad.”
Back in 2015, Campomanes finished 3rd at the APPT Macau Main Event. Reflecting on that tournament, Campomanes said,
“I really didn’t have a solid chance of winning that event because I was short all the way. But this one, I had a real chance entering the final table with the chip lead. I’m such a momentum person so whatever happens, despite how I am feeling, I’m not sure if will be in a spot like this again. I just had to close it. I’m actually half-retired already. I don’t play outside of Asia anymore. So it very nice to win one.”
In addition to entering the final table as chip leader, Campomanes proceeded to rail five players which included Thijs Hilberts at heads up however to him, his key moment came much prior.
“Early in Day 2 I turned the stone nuts by the river and my opponent had the sucker straight. This put me in a great spot with 800,000 (average was 200,000) at the end of the day. That to me was very crucial because coming into Day 3 with 36 players, I knew players with lesser experience wouldn’t know what to do and just jump off. Obviously the winning hand was also very crucial.”
A win this big will likely be nothing short of life changing especially for Campomanes who considers himself retired.
“I’m basically retired. I’ll play a high buy-in Main Event once in a while but I don’t play outside of Asia much anymore. Me and my partner are already working on things outside of poker. Winning here, to have it in the bag, is just perfect timing after so long. I call myself a retired-rec already.”
But don’t count him out of the scene just yet. Campomanes said,
“Me and Eugene Co our plan was if we win significant we planned to go to EPT Barcelona. For me, I’m not a fan of the World Series, I’ve never made the trip. It looks and feels like a grind and I’m just not a fan of grinding for two months. I do get tired easily. I can only go on stretches. I think EPT suits me more.”
Campomanes became the first Filipino to win an APPT Main Event. He increased to nearly US$ 600K in the live earnings.
Main Event recap
There is no denying the immense growth of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour in the Philippines. For the past four days, running from August 1 to 4, the APPT Manila 2019 Main Event drew a jam-packed room of 1,135 entrants, and though that’s 200 runners shy of last year’s turnout, it was still mind-blowing given that no Platinum Pass was up for grabs. To compare it to 2017, this series featured event easily doubled in numbers.
To join the action, players were given two days to enter. Buy-in was ₱ 65,000 (US$ 1,260) creating a wealthy prize pool worth ₱ 64,405,575. To put that in dollars, it was equivalent to a hefty US$ 1,247,000 of which only the top 135 finishers were guaranteed a piece.
Leading up to the final day race, the previous days saw 403 enter Day 1A and another 732 in Day 1B for a combined 1,135 entries. Out of that huge crowd, 319 players brought stacks to Day 2 with Day 1A chip leader Jingzhi Wang carrying in the largest artillery.
Plenty of action took place in Day 2 with everyone hunting down a piece of the enormous prize pool. The fall of Philippine player Lester Pinto on the bubble secured the final 135 players a respective share, and from there another 99 would fall before the day closed with Netherlands player Thijs Hilberts as chip leader.
Among Day 2’s fallen ITM were Day 1B chip leader Tautvydas Jonikas (38th), Xiasheng Zheng (55th), Czardy Rivera (58th), Ngoc Khanh Le (61st), Calvin Tan (77th), Linh Tran (92nd), Alan King Lun Lau (97th), Martin Gonzales (106th), Fu Bang Huang (109th), Wayne Weiyi Zhang (122nd), and Huy Pham (132nd).
Final day rundown
The final day opened with 36 players chasing the coveted title and of course the ₱ 13,042,000 (US$ 252,500) first prize. The chip lead was quickly grabbed by Japanese player Kei Shinegawa after a double up followed by a three-way all in win with pocket tens improved him to a set to overtake pocket kings and pocket queens.
However as the day wore on with plenty of hands orbiting, leadership switched again. Down to the final two tables, Florencio Campomanes gained command after railing three players Yu Nozaki (16th), Bin Zhao (15th), and Tianhong Su (13th) and proceeded to bring his big stack to the final table of 9 players.
The final table was a mixed bag of contenders with pros, rising players, and first time finalists. Mike Takayama was by far the most decorated with a WSOP title under his belt. As soon as the cards were dealt, the first casualty was soon delivered with China’s Jingzhi Wang getting bumped in 9th place by India’s Sahil Chuttani. Despite her fall, it was still an impressive result for Wang who made headlines when she topped the Day 1A count.
Chuttani wasn’t able to enjoy his increase in stack. His rise was followed by a couple of bad hits and was eventually railed in 8th place by Takayama. Takayama’s defeated Chuttani’s when a five spiked on the turn. Out next was China’s Yaanning Wu whose dominated hole cards fell in 7th place to Thijs Hilberts.
With a third of the contenders cut, Campomanes charged in for the kill railing the next third. He sent the hatchet down on Kei Shinagawa (6th), Duc Vu Trung (5th), and Xinyu Wang (4th). This brought the table down to the final three. Incidentally, all six eliminated players earned their largest live tournament career score.
With the three-handed roundup comprising of two locals, it was no surprise to see a big rail cheering them on. Campomanes held the chip lead while Takayama was the shortest. In between, and looking to disappoint the crowd, was Hilberts.
However, it wasn’t the Dutch that broke up the Filipino party, instead it was Campomanes putting the brakes on Takayama with flush over king high. For 3rd place, Takayama walked away with ₱ 4,830,500, his largest live tournament score for 2019. He has now accrued over US$ 1.1M in live earnings.
Before the heads up round got underway, the players immediately struck a deal guaranteeing chip leader Campomanes ₱ 11,092,500 (US$ 214,900) and Hilberts ₱ 10,000,000 (US$ 193,700). This just left a battle for the coveted title and the iconic PokerStars championship trophy. After an arduous bout that saw the chip lead switch then switch back, Campomanes closed it out to capture his first-ever major title. The final hand was outdrawing on a board of . As for Hilberts, despite finishing runner-up, he too shipped his largest live tournament score along with two other small cashes in the series.
Final table payouts
1st Florencio Campomanes (Philippines) – ₱ 11,092,500 (deal made)
2nd Thijs Hilberts (Netherlands) – ₱ 10,000,000 (deal made)
3rd Mike Takayama (Philippines) – ₱ 4,830,500
4th Xinyu Wang (China) – ₱ 3,523,000
5th Duc Vu Trung (Vietnam) – ₱ 2,383,000
6th Kei Shinagawa (Japan) – ₱ 1,739,000
7th Yaaning Wu (China) – ₱ 1,481,000
8th Sahil Chuttani – India – ₱ 1,288,000
9th Jingzhi Wang – China – ₱ 1,097,075
Article By Tricia David