Perhaps one of the most important events of any poker competition is the opener known as the Warm-Up. Day 1B of the 2015 Pokerstars Live APPT Manila leg is shaping up to see many notable names coming out of the woodwork to “test” the field here at the City of Dreams Manila. This PhP10,000 (approx. US$225) multi re-entry event is seen as a valuable gauge of the field for the upcoming Main Event which commences on August 6.
In the early levels, Japanese sensation Iori Yogo (Read again our Interview) along with Indian rock star Dhaval Mutgal, Singapore’s Jack Lieu and WPT National Philippines OFC titlist Douglas Olsson have dove into the action on the felt. Yogo, known as the “Ninja”, has followed up a red hot 2014 with a multitude of cashes this year; including two titles in the inaugural Asian Poker Tour (APT) in Vietnam where he won the $500 NLHE and the $400 Head Hunter event. Yogo is also currently fourth in the hendonmob.com’s Japan moneylist.
Malaysian wonder-kid Sam Nee Aik Chuan came in as a late entry and many expect to see fireworks at the table from perhaps one of the more legendary online Pokerstars grinders in the region.
Warm Up Day 1b
On the local front, John “Jojo” Tech, the third ranked player in the hendonmob.com Philippine all-time moneylist, was spotted with a seat card in hand while APT Poker Weekend Series Manila titlist Ian Brion has also made his way to the felt. The last minute entry of Andrew Gaw, the Philippines’ virtual flag-bearer in the 2015 WSOP campaign, created quite a stir as well.
Wally "The Dream" Sombero speaks
Wally “The Dream” Sombero—the iconic Philippine Godfather of Poker—is also in the thick of the fight, with his son—and renowned Filipino musician—Brisom also in the mix. The elder Sombero recently won the Pokerstars Live Manila Main Event is “scouting” the opposition. “Everyone playing here are already good players,” he states, in the vernacular. “What I’m looking for are three distinct characteristics here: the rock solid players, the new players who just happened to have the money to play here, and the rock solid players with moves; those who use positional bets and those who pounce on a weak board to thresh out the weak player. “I’m on the lookout for ‘attitude’.” Sombero, who by virtue of his victory here a few weeks back already has a seat in the Main Event, even suggested an upgrade in the initial sortie’s name. “What is the winner of this event going to be called? The champion of the Warm-up? That doesn’t sound quite charming,” says the man who in many circles is credited for ushering modern poker in Asia. “Give it a name and it will sound more appealing.”
Someone then broached the idea of calling it the Wally Cup. It could make sense as the biggest poker room in the Philippine—the Metro Card Club—has dedicated their high-stakes room to Sombero as a tribute to his contributions in the game since its formative era more than a decade ago. APPT President Danny McDonaugh later on said he was open to that concept. “This (Warm-Up) event used to be called the ‘Manila Cup’,” he said. “Perhaps next year we could give it a name again, just to make it ‘sexy’.”
169 entries, 26 qualifiers to Day 2
With a total of 169 entries, the Day 1B field easily eclipsed the 126 that saw action the previous day. 26 players moved on to Day 2 from the Day 1A wars with Korea’s Jo Hyung Taek’s 95,900 leading the way, followed by Andres Christensen of the United Kingdom and local bet Rommel Angeles not that far back. Day 1C begins at 6:00PM today (August 1).