This summer, Filipino player Terry Gonzaga secured his career first six figure payout of $172.8K after winning Aria’s $1,600 PLO in Las Vegas. The victory was his third deep run of the year, boosting his live tournament earnings to over half a million dollars.
SMP: You’ve been having a pretty good year. You won the Manila Megastack Main Event, came 3rd at Poker Dream Manila Main Event, then secured your first live tournament six figures at Aria’s $1600 PLO event. How does it feel to run good?
Terry Gonzaga: It’s kind of fulfilling for me and it feels great. Plus the prize that comes with it is a needed added bonus.
SMP: You also won a PLO event online years back. Did your poker career begin at PLO?
Terry Gonzaga: Yes I won a WCOOP PLO back in 2016. I started with Texas Hold’em in 2005 when I was still working in a semiconductor company. My expat colleagues would invite me to their weekend poker parties. I have always been competitive and have loved the game ever since.
SMP: How about PLO, how long have you been playing this variant and is this your game of preference?
Terry Gonzaga: I think I started in 2010. At the time, VIP cash games were transitioning to PLO so I had to adapt to the game. When I play cash game, I prefer PLO. When tournament, I play Hold’em, Omaha, or mixed.
SMP: Let’s talk about your trip to Las Vegas, how long have you been coming to Sin City?
Terry Gonzaga: It’s my fourth time. My first was back in 2006. I used to go to our head office in Arizona twice a year and stay for about three months. I would drive to Las Vegas to play some WSOP side events for the experience. At the start of this year, I had no plans of going to the WSOP but I won a package in GG Poker last March.
SMP: How do you find the competition / action compared to Asia?
Terry Gonzaga: For PLO cash games it’s cheaper to see a flop here. Our PLO games in Metrowalk are wild and crazy. It’s normal to see 4 or 5 players on a 4-bet pot preflop. For tournament, they say there are 30,000 poker players at the WSOP. The number average of bad players is high. Our good local players are strong here.
SMP: How do you choose? What stakes do you seek out?
Terry Gonzaga: For cash, I play $5/$10/$25 PLO in Kings-WSOP, $5/$5/Rock PLO in Aria and Wynn. For tournaments, I make a spreadsheet of all the tourneys I can afford to play so I can arrange my schedule. I was surprised with the many poker tournaments running simultaneously and breaking their guarantees.
SMP: Were you able to achieve some goals you set out in Vegas?
Terry Gonzaga: My first goal was to go home positive. Winning Aria’s $1,600 PLO Championship Event was a personal fulfillment for me but taking down a bracelet is still the nuts.