The second day of the World Poker Tour National Philippines at Solaire Resort & Casino was a day for the history books with the Triton Super High Roller Series Cali Cup event making its astounding debut. This tournament had a massive USD$200,000 entry fee, the highest buy-in event ever offered by the WPT in all of its years in the business, and it is the highest tournament buy-in ever seen in the Philippines. In collaboration with the Poker King Club, this event drew in some of the biggest poker personalities and VIPs from the industry such Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan.
With 49 entries capping the day, Tournament Director Matt Savage expressed, “we were hoping to reach forty entries, but now that it is close to fifty, we are very happy to see a great turnout. It is amazing!” The first place cash prize has already exceeded $3M, and late registration is still available before noon tomorrow.
Phil Ivey Chip leader, Paul Phua 2nd
Closing the night with the largest stack was Phil Ivey with 932K chips. Ivey had quite a favorable seating draw and found many opportune moments to accumulate his chips. Malaysian pro Paul Phua came in second with 854K chips. As one who highly enjoys the game, Phua mentioned early in the day that if he won the event, he would donate half of his winnings to charity.
Phil Ivey chip leader
In addition to Ivey and Dwan, there were quite a number of high rollers from all over the world in attendance along with some of the biggest cash game players often seen in Macau. There was American pro Steve O’Dwyer, ranked 2nd overall in the GPI, and who has been known to frequent the high roller scene in different parts of the globe. Another fellow American pro, Daniel Coleman was at the felt, and surprisingly so because Coleman is a rare find in the live poker scene. German players Fedor Holz and Philipp Gruissem were also at the felt. Gruissem ranks second overall in the Germany All Time Money List while Holz is on an incredible run this year having gone deep in many big tournaments. Just a few weeks ago, Holz took down the WPT Alpha8 $100K NLH High Roller in Las Vegas.
Then there was late-entry John Juanda who played light last year but is back with determination. After his EPT Main Event win in Barcelona, he finished 2nd at the APPT Super High Roller ACOP in Macau last November plus two other cashes following that. Other pros in attendance were Isaac Haxton, David Peters, Keith Gipson, Dominik Nitsche, Stephen Chidwick, and Mike Timex” McDonald. All of these players survived the day.
Steve O’Dwyer, Stephen Chidwick, Daniel Colman
On the flipside were many businessmen, players often seen at the Macau big cash games such as Richard Yong, Winfred Yu, Qin Si Xin aka “The Chairman”, and Tom Hall. Just before the close of day, Hall re-entered making it his third buy-in today. There was also one female in the field, the lovely yet fierce Juicy Li.
With this incredible turnout, it was truly a very big day for the WPT, PKC, and for the Philippines. The growth of poker in the country is undeniable and with big games such as this making landfall, it showed how competitive the game has been progressing. The Triton Super High Roller Series will resume tomorrow at noon with 30 players returning to the felt. With late registration still available, it is likely the pot will continue to increase.