It was a star-studded grand opening event at the Lucky Fish Poker Club with quite a number of well-known pros in attendance for the first-ever Lucky Fish Poker Cup Series I held on Saturday, September 24, 2016.
The Lucky Fish Poker Club is the newest high stakes poker room in Manila, Philippines with Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha cash games as their main forte. Catering to a more international clientele, it was of no surprise to see some of them participate in the grand opening tournament. The event had a PHP25,000 entry fee ($517) and a guaranteed prize pool of PHP1,000,000 ($20,687).
Although the field was light, 46 total entries, the high buy-in only brought out the crème de la crème. Among those at the tables were Vietnam’s Linh Tran, a regular at the Lucky Fish Poker Club, Japan’s Iori Yogo, Korea’s Gyeong Byeong Lee, Malaysia’s William Teoh, Filipino pros Terry Gonzaga, John Tech, and JC Sayo. All these pros however found themselves at the rail before the money round and had to settle for watching Slovenian poker pro Casey Kastle dominate the floor and crush his opponents.
While many Filipino players were unfamiliar with Kastle, a quick look at his stats showed how well decorated he was. One player expressed, “I thought he was the fish, but when I looked him up, apparently we are the fish.” Kastle usually plays in Europe and having him grace the felt in the Philippines doesn’t happen too often. His biggest cash was a runner up finish at the 2008 WSOP US$1500 PLO Hi/Lo event for a score of US$137,985. He also won a trophy at the recent APT Philippines III 2016 festival for the PLO Hi event.
While many players travel the world to play in some of the best poker events, Kastle may undoubtedly be the one player recognized for having cashed (through playing poker) in the most countries around the world. His list of destinations includes USA, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, China, Korea, Australia, and several more. Other than poker, one of Kastle’s objectives is comfort. He aimed to wear shorts and sandals for a majority part of a calendar year. Being in the Philippines, he can do that practically everyday.
At the grand opening event, Kastle held a sizable stack for a majority of the day, always well above average. He rarely relinquished many chips and played a wide variety of hands to oust players. He eliminated Lester Edoc in 6th place with pocket kings, while he eliminated Mike Takayama in 4th place with his three-four straight against Takyayama’s pocket queens. Kastle took the trophy after eliminating Filipino Jay Lubas in second place. Kastle won the first place cash prize of PhP361,500 ($7,476).
1st – Casey Kastle – Slovenia – PHP361,500
2nd – Jay Lubas – Philippines – PHP230,900
3rd – SJ Kim – Korea – PHP150.600
4th – Mike Takayama – Philippines – PHP110,400
5th – Amelito Segarra – Philippines – PHP80,300
6th – Lester Edoc – Philippines – PHP70,300