Interview: APT Tournament Director – Lloyd Fontillas

1) When and how did you discover poker?

Actually I did not discover poker, but poker discovered me. At the age of 20, I was working in a cannery in Kodiak Alaska and my mother, who was a poker dealer, offered me a job in a card room that was about to open in San Jose, Ca. named Bay 101. I started out as a bus boy in the employee cafeteria and in my off time my mom taught me the game. When I hit the legal age of 21, I hit my first 2-4 limit game, won a mountain of chips and was subsequently hooked for life. The rest was history!

2) Can you explain to our readers what the exact role of a tournament director is?

The role of a TD is to ensure an event goes smoothly, creates the schedule and structures, ensures fair rulings are being made, and is the one most accountable for when something is not right during an event. However, in my opinion, the most important role of a TD is to listen to what players have to say about your event and do your best to make the next event better.

3) Do you have a career mentor?

Matt Savage of the WPT, Jack Effel of the WSOP and Samuel Quinto are guys that I worked with and learned so much from. But, the person that really has had an impact on me as a career mentor is the CEO of the APT Jeff Mann, being that he has taught me the backbone of the business behind how to create a successful poker tour.

4) What is the most challenging aspect of your Job?

The most challenging part of my job has to be trying to get a new floor manager to help me on the floor when my regular guys are not available. Unfortunately, getting into the position of running an event takes a lot of card room experience and I am very picky when it comes to personality. I am very fortunate to have some of the best floor managers around on my team.

6) What was the most complicated ruling you had to enforce during your career?

Well this has to be in the last Open Face Chinese Pineapple event. One guy was in fantasy land and the other 2 players were on the last pull waiting to get their last 3 cards. The dealer dropped the deck before giving out the 3 cards and mixed in all the discards. I was really stomped due to it being a new game with no proper procedures in place for mistakes being made. So I asked each player if they remembered their discards, hoping I can take them out of play. Each one of them replied yes if they were to see them. So I exposed all the cards and like magic everyone forgot what they threw away while staring at all of the cards in the process. My right hand guy on the floor Raymund Gamier saved me and made the suggestion to just shuffle all the cards, burn off the number of discards made and deal out the last 3 cards for each player. In the end, all the players respected that ruling, were happy with it, and in my book that is what counts the most when a rule is being made.

7) The funniest situation you had to witness during a tournament?

The funniest moment was when I sent a French man to hit the showers during break because everyone around him at the table was complaining. What made it funny is because at first he did not understand why I was pulling him out of the event. But when I said "you stink!" He smelled his armpit and then said ok I will come back!


Lloyd  Fontillas in good company during APT Vietnam

8) What is your most memorable moment as tournament Director?

Being named the APT Tournament Director in 2010 at APT Philippines, the very first APT event held at Resorts World Manila.

9) APT announced at the beginning of the year several changes to the Event structures (Three starting days, One hour levels for Main Events, other side events …). How does it work so far? Are you planning additional changes in the near future?

The changes have received nothing but positive responses. Although putting on a 9 day festival I think I almost capped out what can be offered. As for 2016, of course there will be something new, which you will have to wait for!

10) Competition between tours seems to be tougher in Asia. What’s your view on current Asian Poker Scene?

I believe each tour has its own following of players offering different things. In terms of the Asian Poker scene, it's still growing and the players are getting better.

11) We have seen you recently taking part in APPT Manila. Do you have specific goals as a poker player?

Win every event I play and have fun while doing it.


Our Media team is composed by a half dozen men and women from Asia and Europe dedicated to poker with a passion for write stories about it . Check the profiles of our journalists board.
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