When Moses Saquing garnered his first official cash in a WSOP Circuit event in 2006, it was the by-product of being a curious television viewer who immediately became enamored with the game’s dynamics.
“I was watching ESPN one night and (the) WSOP was on,” the Filipino poker ace shared. “I started watching it and (it) got me interested. After that, I signed up on Party Poker ® and started playing.
With no formal tutoring, he learned he had natural talent.
“After a couple of days, I binked a tournament for $12,000 and I got hooked since then.”
Saquing, a native of Nueva Vizcaya province in the Philippines, began making a career of poker by becoming a regular grinder in the Las Vegas circuit, slowly amassing live cashes upwards of $100,000 in a span of less than eight years.
“My all-time favorite (city) is Vegas. There’s no place like Vegas.” Saquing declared. “But I lived in the Bay Area so I always played at Lucky Chances and Bay 101.”
It was during that time, he earned his now iconic moniker: “Mo Jiggy”.
“Well, my nickname is Moe and I had a really good friend named Rellie,” he said. “Whenever we played in a tournament, he’d always tried to pump me up (by saying) ‘let’s go, Mo Jiggy!’ so it stuck with me.”
Returning to the Philippines
After modest success in the United States, Saquing began to be more visible in the Philippines in 2013; making an immediate impact by cashing in two Asian Poker Tour (APT) events that year. It wasn’t long after that he decided to come home for good.
“I’ve got family and kids in the Philippines,” he revealed. “So now, I’m more based in the Philippines than in the States.
Mo Jiggy was an instant smash in the Philippine scene. His trademark shades coupled with his intimidating tattoos and his sheer aggression that made opponents think twice before tangling with this Vegas veteran made him quite an entertaining presence in any staging he took part in.
Breakout year for Saquing in 2022 and strong run in 2023
The wins also began following as Saquing took down titles at the 2015 Pokerstars Live Manila Megastack 4, the 2018 Pokerstars Live Manila Super Series 8, and the 2019 Manila Megastack 12.
After the COVID-19 pandemic saw the poker resurgence, he created a date with destiny and poker immortality.
2022 saw Saquing tear up the APT felt when he triumphed in the Championships Event in May and later “paired” his Lion Trophy with a victory in the Main Event in November—his total haul amounting to just a shade under $145,000. He is the only one in the tour’s illustrious history to cop both titles in the same calendar year.
“That year was special,” he said. “I (actually) Final Tabled the Main Event twice that year. That was a really good year, but I felt it wasn’t enough.
“I want more wins and I’m just hungrier and more focused now.”
Saquing carried that momentum into the following year when he attained nine cashes including another Main Event win in the Metro Summer Event and narrowly replicated his APT achievement by finishing as runner-up to fellow Filipino Edilberto Gopez Jr in the season-ending RVS Cup – Philippine Poker Championship
“The Metro Card Club is just my home turf, I guess,” he laughed.
And as if to cap what was a stellar 2023, Saquing also cashed in the WPT World Championship in Las Vegas, making a resounding return to his original stomping grounds.
“It’s sad,” he lamented. “514th out of 10,512 players. Why couldn’t I beat 500 (plus) more players for the win?”
Hungry for more titles
He also feels bummed out that there were not very many international tournaments that graced Philippine soils in 2023. The former Daly City resident managed to cash in the handful of international sorties held locally such as the Poker Dream Manila Main Event, the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) National, and the Asian Poker League (APL) Main Event, but is still sad that it wasn’t like in recent years. But he also aims to be involved in more festivals in the Asian circuit.
“It’s sad that most of the good tournaments are leaving the Philippines,” he said. “In 2024, I expect to hit up more tournaments (internationally). I’m hungry!”
It’s been less than two decades since Saquing’s foray into the poker realm and he feels that he’s at the cusp of his ambitions in the game.
“(My aim is to win) a WSOP Bracelet and the WPT title,” he confidently envisions. “Everybody dreams about (it), but only a few work hard to make it a reality.”
But at the end of it all, Moses “Mo Jiggy” Saquing grinds for a greater purpose.
“(I’m doing this for) my kids,” he professes. “I grind because of my kids.”
*Article by Noel Zarate