Manila, City of Dreams
By RedAirkson Poker Insider,
After seven weeks and a dozen tournament events, a field of about two hundred local tourney rounders was narrowed down to the top thirty performers. On Sunday one player rose above all the others: Francis Beliran. For his amazing display of consistency, Francis – who plays on pokerstars as "mr_sh1ver" – won for himself a seat to the APPT Main Event, courtesy of PilipinasPoker.com.
PilipinasPoker.com: A community raising champions
PilipinasPoker.com is the largest online community of Filipino Poker Players. The founding vision of the forum was to create a community that could support poker players at the grassroots level. Their events have successfully turned players from small-buyin events into major event champions. Players like two-time Majors Champion Vic De Guzman (Asian Poker Tour and Filipino Poker Tour Champion, top ten among all-time Filipino money winners), and Jonathan Argamosa (Metro Card Club Champion) have come through the engines of the PilipinasPoker community. "The way we send players up, we put more value on consistency," says PilipinasPoker Chairman Alan "McGrath" Barretto. "That's why we make them come through a battery of tournaments in a leaderboard series, rather than a one-shot satellite."
Francis Beliran: From a rock-tight short-stacker to a well-rounded multi-street player
Beliran, the 30-year old online poker payer from Iloilo, is a student of the game who could be the next title-holder playing under the PilipinasPoker banner. Beliran started taking the game seriously in 2009, getting his feet wet at the Metro Card Club. He struck a friendship with an Asia Poker Academy Coach and engaged in an intensive training program in 2010. There was no turning back from there. "I was a young runaway out to prove that I could win and make a living for myself," says Beliran. "Getting a coach and going into a training program was a major turning point." That turning point took Beliran from small-stakes daily tournaments to a deep 13th place finish in the Filipino Poker Tour. It also transformed him from a rock-tight short-stacker to a well-rounded multi-street player.
His coach says "I have a lot of players come through the program, and people like Francis always stand out because of one important trait: more than anything else, he wants to do the right thing and get better at it." The Filipino poker coach adds "This doesn't mean he is afraid to make mistakes – in fact the opposite is necessary – and Francis had the kind of open mind that allowed him to get it wrong the first time and then absorb the lessons of the situation. That's one of the things that keeps him improving."
As an online poker player, Beliran started in full-ring games, graduated to the short-handed games, and eventually learned the intricacies of Heads Up play. He currently plays Heads Up games, as well as Full-Ring "Zoom" and online MTT's.
When the PilipinasPoker TLB Finale got down to the final table, Francis – who was ranked fourth in the Tourney Leaderboard – had a few concerns. "I played them for a dozen legs, so I knew them quite well, and I had to watch out for Deejay (Ruperto, who was the number-one ranked player in the series) and Whoody (Joel Jeremias, who was his fellow Asia Poker Academy trainee)." Once it got to Heads Up, Francis was in his comfort zone with a two-to-one chip advantage. "I knew if I could get it heads up that I could win it," says Beliran. "I was confident that I would have the correct thought process and have an edge."
Looking forward to the APPT Main Event
Looking forward to the main event, Beliran's only goal is to win the whole thing: "This is almost a freeroll for me, so I can be more aggressive and make the right plays because I have nothing to lose. I might be a bit too reckless though, so I have to keep my focus." When asked about his preparation for the APPT Main Event – which would be the biggest tournament he's ever played – Beliran, who is a vegetarian, says "I just plan to work out, sleep well, and eat my vegetables like a good boy."