Halfway highlights: APT Hanoi Billions eclipses VND 60B guarantee in side events

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While the APT Hanoi Billions Main Event continues to steal headlines, on the side, other key events and side action have achieved milestones of their own including the combined effort of shattering the VN₫ 60B festival guarantee. After five days of games, and despite numerous event cancellations, the combined side action prize pool is now over VN₫ 72.2 Billion – $2.97 Million.

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Among the 22 events that have completed, 12 set new APT records. The Vietnam National Cup was a stunner, pulling in an unprecedented 1,527 entries for a monster pot of VN₫ 6,665,355,000 (~$275,370). This was the fourth richest prize pool outside of the Main Event.

In third rank was the Mystery Bounty that saw a field of 1,115 entries for a combined cash and bounty prize pool of VN₫ 10,707,345,000 (~$441,000). 

The four digit USD price tags topped the numbers with the Super High Roller and Superstar Challenge amassing a combined VN₫ 37,667,040,000. This was equivalent to a jaw dropping $1.55 Million in just two events.

More events lined up and records to be crushed. The festival is ongoing until December 10, 2023 at the National  Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Spotlight on Philippines’ Hernan Villa

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Fresh off an NL Hold’em Freezeout win in Day 4’s Event #28, Hernan Villa secured the third-largest stack of the day—305,300. Villa previously championed the APT Philippines II’s Main Event, bagging PHP 4,560,300 (~$79,900). He is currently the highest ranked APT Main Event champion in the APT Hanoi Billions Main Event Day 2 lineup. 

Villa is an up-and-coming Filipino player who made a name for himself as the Main Event winner for the first-ever Okada Millions in 2019. At the time, the competition amassed the largest field ever produced in Philippine poker history, making Villa’s performance one for the books. 

Following his success, Villa bagged yet another Main Event title at the APT Philippines II, giving 497 other entries a run for their money. He made a career best of PHP 4,560,000 (~$80,250).

Thailand’s Phakwalan Chonwiran Gives Australia’s Tanja Vujanic a Run for Her Money in the Women’s Event


Another APT Day 5 record-breaker was the Women’s Event, which drew in 107 entries (79 unique). This is a fantastic turnout for an event that has taken a long time to reach triple digits. The prize pool breached VN₫ 467,055,000 (~$19,210), with Thailand’s Phakwalan Chonwiran bagging the top spot. The poker maiden bagged VN₫ 119,325,000 (~USD 4,900), besting Tanja Vujanic, who still managed an impressive VN₫ 82,200,000 (~USD 3,380) runner-up prize pot.

Even more impressively, this is Phakwalan Chonwiran’s first professional poker event. On the other hand, Vijanic has more experience in her pocket, having been the one to watch at the 2022 Malta Poker Festival Spring €550 Grand Event at Portomaso Casino. Recently, she won a trophy at USOP Danang and reached the semi-finals at the Heads Up Challenge.

*Article by Tricia David and Zoe Alcazaren

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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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