Edilberto Gopez Jr. wins biggest RVS Cup Philippine Poker Championship in history

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Every year in November, the Metro Card Club, the Philippines‘ premier card room, hosts its annual RVS Cup Philippine Championship. Inaugurated in 2014, this homegrown event has evolved into the nation’s most popular local tournament, attracting players from all over the country into the metropolis.

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Lester Edoc

Over the years, it has witnessed the crowning of several prominent local figures. Lester Edoc claimed the inaugural championship, passing the torch to Richard Marquez the following year.

As for the pot, it started with a ₱5 Million guarantee and now in its ninth year, the guarantee was the biggest its ever been of ₱10,000,000 (~$180,500) with buy in of ₱16,500 (~$300). In addition, the annual celebration was expanded into a full fledged festival with numerous side events and a Player of the Series title.

RVS Cup 2023 recap

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As seen in the past, the locals came out in full force resulting in a a roaring 1,080 entries over five starter flights. Simultaneously, the prize pool skyrocketed to ₱16,200,000 (~$292,430) making it the richest RVS CUP in history.

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Edilberto Gopez Jr.

On November 20, the newest champion emerged. After a five-way deal, Filipino Edilberto Gopez Jr. overcame the more seasoned players to capture his first major title and a career high payout of ₱1,926,749 (~$34,780). This victory has been a long time coming for Gopez who narrowly missed the title by one spot in 2015.

In an interview with the champion, he shared,

“This victory is so important. It has been an ambition that has come to fruition after more than a decade of non-stop hard work. This is an important chapter in my life and if God wills it, this will open a new episode in my poker career. This win is not only for me, but also for my team, and my family for their unwavering support in both good times and bad times. This triumph inspires me tremendously, especially in my belief regarding my abilities and strategies. I trusted myself. This also gave me the inspiration to aim even higher and continually improve my game.”

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No stranger to going deep and facing tough opponents, Gopez was surrounded by some of the country’s hardest hitters at the final table. Talking strategy,

“My strategy was to maintain balance and make careful decisions at the table. A deep understanding of my opponents’ strategies was also needed. The toughest part was making critical decisions, especially during situations where the bet sizes were high. At heads up against Moses (Saquing), I wasn’t that familiar with his style of play. I only made decisions during specific situations, I guess you can call that ‘human instinct’–as if it were the cards that dictated my decision making.”

With a decade of experience under his belt, last month Gopez ventured outside of the Philippines to attend his first international poker event outside of home soil. He walked away with a couple of cashes and shared his experience.

“Playing in Taiwan was also a great experience even if I failed to make the Final Table. This gave me perspective and knowledge about various playing styles and I learned a lot (in that experience) that I envision can help me in my ambitions. My next international effort will be in Vietnam on December 1. I plan to join more international tours, if the lord and my manager allows it. Hopefully Europe and America and more countries if there are opportunities, firstly, to challenge myself against different playing styles of different players and (secondly) to gain vast exposure and learn from other players and, of course, to hopefully win.”

Watch the final table race via the Metro Card Club livestream link provided below.

Date: November 15 to 20, 2023
Buy in: ₱16,500
Guarantee: ₱10,000,000 (~$300)
Entries: 1,080
Prize pool: ₱16,200,000 (~$292,430)
ITM / Day 2: 131 players

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Final 9 payouts

1 Edilberto Gopez ₱1,926,749*
2 Moses Saquing ₱1,784,852*
3 Czardy Rivera ₱1,900,473*
4 Jessie Leonarez ₱1,314,435*
5 KIm Enriquez ₱1,587,491*
6 Sarian Capillanes ₱270,000
7 Andrew De Ocampo ₱210,000
8 Luke Pangan ₱180,000
9 Redentor Edoc ₱150,000

*Five way ICM deal, play for ₱ 700,000 (~$12,635) and the trophy. 

*All photos by Metro Card Club

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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