For those unfamiliar with this incredibly popular poker joint, it is the largest brick and mortar poker room in the country, and for many years, it was the largest in Asia. Many of today’s top Filipino pros started at the Metro including Mike Takayama, the first homegrown Filipino 2018 WSOP bracelet winner.
This year was a very busy one at the Metro with festivals nearly every month. Since they cater to the wallets of the locals, as always buy-ins stay relatively low from P2,200 – P10,000 with guaranteed prize pools ranging from P750,000 to P5,000,000. Although they haven’t hosted an international event in quite some time, these home brewed festivals also attract foreign players residing and/or visiting the country.
Here’s a summary of the year’s biggest events and the champions:
February 7 to 12: P2 Million Guaranteed
Prize pool – P2,043,790
Entries – 602
Winner – Rommel Angeles
April 11 to 16: Summer Event P3 Million Guaranteed
Prize pool – P3,294,500 ~US$62,000)
Entries – 599
Winner – Joseph Sia
June 27 to July 2: Walk to a Million – P1 Million Guaranteed
Prize pool – P1,664,520 (~US$31,400)
Entries – 858
Winner – Marvin Cerbito
August 22 to 27: P2 Million Guaranteed
Prize pool – P2,400,265 (~US$45,300)
Entries – 707
Winner – Euryd Rivera
The P2 Million Guaranteed Main Event concluded with a highly thrilling final table. The last five players were all well-known figures in the local poker scene: John Tech, Mike Takayama, Lester Edoc, Marc Rivera, and Euryd Rivera. Euryd Rivera went on to defeat Marc Rivera at heads up and captured the trophy.
One month later, to introduce the Big Blind Ante system to their patrons, the Metro held a P1.5 Million Big Blind Ante festival. The format they chose was ante first, a similar structure used by the World Series of Poker. Since then, they’ve adapted this format for most of their tournaments.
September 26 to October 1: Big Blind Ante P1.5 Million Guaranteed
Prize pool – P1,455,000 (~US$27,400)
Entries – 472
Winner – Jharome Pena
When November rolled in, it was the time of year for the Metro’s biggest annual event, the RVS CUP Philippine Poker Championship. This event comes with a P5 Million guarantee. For the first time, the event was extended from 6 days to 11 days with pre-events added. Another addition was a Player of the Series title.
November 14 to 19: RVS CUP P5 Million Guaranteed
Prize pool – P5,665,770 (~US$107,000)
Entries – 649
Winner – Marco Almerez
Player of the Series – Joven Huerto
The Main Event witnessed the rise of Davao southern province favorite, Marco Almerez. Almerez overcame the likes of Mike Takayama and Lester Edoc at the final table. After this victory, Almerez went on to score another win at the Asian Poker Tour Finale festival. He won the APT-RWM Opening Day event defeating Takayama at heads up.
Metro creates Metro Team Pros
In July, several Filipino pros attended the 2018 World Series of Poker. This was the first time a strong contingent from the country entered the world stage in numbers. They did justice to their flag, cashing in numerous events, including the Main Event. Mike Takayama captured a bracelet after nearly giving up and packing for home. Hence the moniker “Batang Metro” sprung, translated as “Bred from Metro”, used to describe any player representing the room.
Upon their return, the Metro honored them for their achievements. Since then, a Metro Team Pro was formed. They comprise of Takayama. Lester Edoc, Marc Rivera, John Tech, Martin Gonzales, Ronald Singson, Mark Amparo, Joven Huerto, Czardy Rivera, Euryd Rivera, Alexis Lim, Terry Gonzaga, William Ysmael, and Nicandro Filart.
Article by Tricia David