Edwin Dela Cruz

GPI Rank : 3051
GPI Nat. Rank : 25
Total Earnings : $309,721
GPI Score : 1 036,28
First Cash : 2019-12-10
Last Updated on June 20, 2024

Last Result

Date Country Place Prize
Feb 24, 2024 + 25,000 No Limit Hold'em - Super Knockout (Event #54)
2 Php1209,000


Filipino basketball aficionado Edwin de la Cruz found that playing in a popular free play poker platform with friends turned out to be a gateway to a lucrative career.

At first, it was just playtime with my friends, then we started playing, especially on Facebook at Zynga Poker,” the former construction materials supervisor shared. “I was envious of my friends because they could sell chips then realized that I was challenged that poker could be my source of income.”

Edwin Dela Cruz
Edwin Dela Cruz

From his early forays, Cruz began realizing that he had the chops to gravitate towards the real money realm.

I developed to play in low-stake real money in MTTs. I won a lot of it in real money and it continues my game of winning in online MTTs and it follows.”

Hit D’ Heat is coined

By the time he started making a minor splash in the real money scene, he had to come up with his online persona. He then became known in the local poker community as “Hit D’ Heat”.

“Before I was playing, I was a big fan of the Miami Heat that’s why I connected it to the team,” Cruz bared. “I (wanted) to hit all the Heat players and someday become a Heat player.”

Edwin Dela Cruz at PokerStars LIVE Manila
Edwin De La Cruz

Starting in 2019, Cruz went on a “heater”, evolving from the online arena to the live circuit. His first registered cash was at the Pokerstars Live Manila Super Series 13 when he finished 31st in the Warm-Up event for PhP11,000. He began to cash regularly at the Pokerstars stagings and it wasn’t long before he began being more visible in the international tournaments.

“I realized that I was prepared when I started studying my gameplay and saw all of my mistakes. As I continued, I applied my knowledge to all of my games. I really felt that I was prepared.”

It wasn’t always fortuitous for the Manila native.

“At first, it was so hard to switch to live games because there was a big adjustment, but as I continuously learned, I slowly adapted (my skills) to live games. My adjustment was to study a lot and do some research to learn the different kinds of players, consistently studying every day, and watching videos, to deepen my fundamentals in poker.”

In 2022, Cruz had at least one cash every month from playing in prestigious events like Pokerstars Live, the Asian Poker Tour (APT), the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and Poker Dream. But despite all the success and deep run, he did not win a single title.

That all changed in 2023.

De La Cruz wins two Asia majors in 2023

The fledgling U Series of Poker (USOP) launched at the posh Asia Poker Arena in Taipei and Cruz went on to best a then-Asian record field of 1,043 to claim his first-ever title in the Main Event for his then-biggest career haul of ~USD 98,340. Just over two months later, he scored another triumph at USOP in Hanoi by taking down the Megastack event. But that was just a prequel to his most enormous conquest.

Edwin Dela Cruz wins inaugural USOP Poker2U Taiwan Series Main Event for TWD 3,060,000 (~$100.8K)

The Poker Dream Manila Main Event drew 499 entries but the Final Table featured some of the best international campaigners with Malaysia’s decorated William Teoh, European Poker Tour (EPT) titlist Tor Welo of Norway, American 2-time WSOP Circuit ring holder Ryan McAllister, EPT High Roller champion Valeriy Pak of Uzbekistan and a couple of Filipino icons in Terry Gonzaga and Dave “Spade” Erquiaga”.

Cruz became the hatchet man and waylaid his opponents en route to a massive chip to face English cash game ace Alessandro Taranto in Head-Up for the title.

Despite his poise being put to the test by his rival, Cruz hung on and claimed the trophy along with his largest bink of almost USD 100,000.

“I think that is the result of all my efforts and hard work in studying and I am continuously inspired by all of the top players in the Philippines. I felt blessed that I won because I dedicated my hard work, my dreams, and my battle to my family. Because of their prayers and full support in all of my games.”

Edwin Dela Cruz wins the Poker Dream Manila Main Event

He then set out to go for a third Main Event title prompting him to change his moniker from “Hit d’ Heat” to “Hit D’ WIN”.

I changed it because I wanted to win that triple crown (as a) main event champion,” Cruz said. 

Like most Filipinos in the industry, Edwin’s family is his top priority.

“What keeps me inspired is my family,” he said. “I can never stop giving them a better life.”

But his goals in poker never waver.

“My poker goal is to never stop grinding in online games even if it’s low-stake or high-stake in MTT. Even in the big games in live.”

*Article by Noel Zarate

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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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Data source: Global Poker Index