WPT Philippines Main Event: Meet the 9 Finalists

WPT Philippines has reached the final day of its 12 day series. Games opened on February 6th at Okada Manila and will conclude today.

Last night determined the final 9 players. All of them seeking their first WPT major title and of course the Php 4,812,000 (~US$ 95,200) top prize. We have all the info for you below including a brief bio of the finalists and Day 2 recap.

Final 9 players by rank

  • Christos Vlahos – Australia – 2,105,000 -84 bbs
  • Kunwoo Kim – Korea – 1,695,000 – 68 bbs
  • David Erquiaga – Philippines – 1,440,000 – 57 bbs
  • Rogel Del Rosario – Philippines – 1,385,000 -55 bbs
  • Mark Dela Cruz – Philippines – 1,200,000 – 48 bbs
  • Dimitar Blazhev – Bulgaria – 850,000 – 34 bbs
  • Ryo Naito – Japan – 600,000 – 24 bbs
  • Vikaash Shah – India – 595,000 – 23 bbs
  • Jongjun Park – Korea – 450,000 – 18 bbs

Final 9 players bio

Seat 1 – Christos Vlahos – Australia – 2,105,000

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Christos Vlahos

Christos Vlahos enters as chip leader with 2,105,000. He is the only player from Australia in the lineup. His biggest tournament win was a modest one of $ 5,995 for 13th place at the Wynn in Las Vegas. He is already certain to pocket much larger. Vlahos knocked out several players in Day 2 including Yeongpil Han (10th place) to form the final 9.

Seat 2 – Vikaash Shah – India – 595,000

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Vikaash Shah

India also has one representative and that’s Vikaash Shah. Shah has six cashes under his belt, all of them earned on home soil. Shah had a strong Day 2, rising to one of the biggest stacks early on. Wherever he finishes, he will bring back to his home country his largest live score.

Seat 3 – Ryo Naito – Japan – 600,000

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Ryo Naito

Despite many Japanese players at the Main Event, only Ryo Naito remains. He has collected $30,000 in cashes, mostly in Macau, however this will be his first final table appearance at a major event. Naito is guaranteed to surpass his largest live score no matter his placement.

 Seat 4 – Mark Dela Cruz – Philippines – 1,200,000

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Mark Dela Cruz

Mark Dela Cruz is one of three Filipino players at the final table. He has a very short list of live cashes. His deepest was at APT Philippines II Main Event falling 14th for $ 6,025.  Luck was on his side at Day 2 turning up flushes and denying Qibing Wang on a two-outer.

Seat 5 – Kunwoo Kim – Korea – 1,695,000

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Kunwoo Kim

Kunwoo Kim has already collected 10 cashes on the live circuit all of them in the Philippines. His total live earnings stands at $22,000. His largest was for US$ 6,791 at the inaugural Red Dragon Manila Main Event last month. He gave a strong showing at Day 1B and stayed consistent at Day 2 to secure a guaranteed larger payday.

Seat 6 – Rogel Del Rosario – Philippines – 1,385,000

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Rogel Del Rosario

Rogel Del Rosiario is another player from the Philippines. His initial rise was marked by one huge takedown. He railed WPT Beijing Champion Pete Chen at Day 1B. His biggest score on the live poker circuit is a victory at an APT side event for $ 4,250.

Seat 7 – Jongjun Park – Korea – 450,000

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Jongjun Park

Jongiun Park brings in the shortest stack to the final table. He nearly fell on a cooler with kings behind aces then found the two-outer. Park railed Markus Garberg in 12th place. In live achievements, Park only has a few cashes on the Asian circuit shy of $10,000 total. He will need to run extremely good tomorrow to lift the trophy.

Seat 8 – Dimitar Blazhev – Bulgaria – 850,000

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Dimitar Blazhev

Last year, Dimitar Blazhev  collected his largest live career score with a victory in the Euro 300 Monthly tournament for $5,355. The WPT final table will be his first flag in the Asian Continent and like most players at the finals, he is secured for a much heftier payday. He is the last representative for Bulgaria.

Seat 9 – David Erquiaga – Philippines – 1,440,000

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David Erquiaga

Rounding up the list is Philippine pro David Erquiaga ranked 3rd in chips. Erquiaga is the most decorated player at the final table. Last year he cashed 26 times. He came into radar for his multiple Main Event final table appearances in the region, even finishing 2nd twice. One at the APT Vietnam Championships Event and the other at PKC Taiwan Main Event. He is the player most likely to lift the title.

Read up on how the finalists earned their seats via our Live Updates. Coverage continues until a champion emerges.

WPT Philippines Live Update

Final Day info

Chips in play: 10,320,000
Average stack: 1,146,666

Final day: Monday, February 17
Time: 1pm
Opening blinds: resume Level 24 at 15k-25k ante 25k clock counting down from 11:20

Buy-in: Php 75,000 (~US$ 1,500)
Entries: 344
Prize pool: Php 22,523,400 (~US$ 445,400)

Remaining payouts

1st Php 4,812,000 (~US$ 95,200)
2nd Php 3,372,000 (~US$ 66,700)
3rd Php 2,168,000 (~US$ 42,900)
4th Php 1,397,000 (~US$ 27,600)
5th Php 1,077,000 (~US$ 21,300)
6th Php 891,000 (~US$ 17,600)
7th Php 784,000 (~US$ 15,500)
8th Php 613,000 (~US$ 12,100)
9th Php 481,000  (~US$ 9,500)

Asia Pacific Player of the Year update

In addition to cash, the finalists are guaranteed a minimum of 180 points towards the Asia Pacific Player of the Year race. For the winner, 900 points. Three Season XVIII champions currently share the lead namely Hamish Crawshaw, Hari Varma, and Brian Tougias, all with 1500 points. That status may change though as it hinges on the performance of one player. Dark horse David Erquiaga aka Dave Spade could hijack the lead. He has 750 points and will need to finish 1st or 2nd to overtake.

Day 2 results

Returning to action today were the 79 qualifiers from the combined Day 1A and Day 1B starting days. The bubble nearly burst on Japanese players Yuka Asaka with less than 1.5 bbs. She survived with a triple up unlike Kyungkun Lee who missed the board holding AdKh to fall to Zackery Lowrie with 10h10d.

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Kyungkun Lee bubbles

Once the money was reached, the 43 remaining players hunted down a seat to the final table (9 players). Asia Pacific Player of the Year contender Si Yang Phua had a great start to his day but only reached as far as 30th place. This result still earned him points but not enough to take make an impact on the leaders.

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Si Yang Phua

For entering Day 2 chip leader, Zheko Dinev, his stack suffered multiple hits on the first level of the day and was unable to fully recover. He fell on the next level, way before the money round.

For end of day chip leader Christos Vlahos, his ascent began when he doubled up through then chip leader Naoya Fujihisa. His AcKh spiked an ace to overtake 10c10d. He later railed Julien Weymouth (26th) by denying pocket kings, sent Daniel Sammarco (15th) on a bad spill with pocket aces cracked by pocket fives.  He gave Joshua Chargualaf the boot in 13th place, and to close out Day 2, Vlahos went on two punches with Yeongpil Han before sending him out in 10th place on the third showdown.

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Yeongpil Han

Day 2 ITM players

Eliminations 10th to 12th – Php 405,000 (~US$ 8,000)

10th Yeongpil Han – Korea
11th Graeme Siow – Singapore
12th Markus Garberg – Norway

Eliminations 13th to 15th – Php 345,500 (~US$ 6,800)

13th Joshua Chargualaf – Guam
14th Xin Lin – China
15th Daniel Sammarco – USA

Eliminations 16th to 18th – Php 286,000 (~US$ 5,600)

16th Junya Kubo – Japan
17th Naoya Fujihisa – Japan
18th Youngsin Ko – Korea

Eliminations 19th to 21st – Php 237,000 (~US$ 4,700)

19th Qibing Wang – China
20th Jeonggyu Cho – Korea
21st Motokatsu Uhara – Japan

Eliminations 22nd to 24th – Php 192,000 (~US$ 3,800)

22nd Simen Gulbrandsen – Norway
23rd Thijs Hilberts – Norway
24th Ryan McAllister – USA

Eliminations 25th to 27th – Php 166,000 (~US$ 3,300) 

25th Jun Obara – Japan
26th Julien Weymouth – Guam
27th Zachery Lowrie – New Zealand

Eliminations 28th to 36th – Php 140,500 (~US$ 2,800)

28th Takumi Matsuzaka – Japan
29th Yuka Asaka – Japan
30th Si Yang Phua – Singapore
31st Daniel Holmedahl – Norway
32nd Sebastian Schade – Germany
33rd Adones Carmona – Philippines
34th Sean Ragozzini – Australia
35th Kristian Wiermhyr – Norway
36th Olivier Duran – France

Eliminations 37th – 43rd – Php 115,000 (~US$ 2,300)

37th Johnson Tan – Philippines
38th Andre Berg – Norway
39th Scott Iain Alm – UK
40th Johnnie Moreno – USA
41st Michael Saludes – Philippines
42nd Christopher Mateo  – Philippines
43rd Hidekazu Tanaka – Japan

WPT Philippines Coverage

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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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