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With 829 competitors, the 2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) National Event has been one of the most action-packed tournaments in the series yet. For Indian pro Akshay Nasa who stormed his way into the final day, victory was close enough. But after a grueling, two hour heads-up against the Filipino mastermind Marc Richelieu Rivera (cover image), the title and the trophy slipped out of his hands. Not only did Nasa have to settle for a runner-up finish of ₱2,822,000 (~₹36.38 Lakhs), he also narrowly missed the coveted Platinum Pass. Rivera, in the meantime, picked up the top prize worth ₱4,559,000 (~₹58.78 Lakhs).
Nasa has quite a commendable score-sheet and has been actively seen in action in the Asian circuit for the past couple of years. This year, Nasa made several deep runs in the Asia Poker League (APL) Vietnam. Last year, he finished runner up in the Deltin Poker Tournament ₹75,000 High Roller for ₹21.79 Lakhs.
His latest runner-up finish is his career best score yet, and also the best Indian performance at the ongoing series. Adding to this glittering achievement is the fact that Nasa has just brought in the second-best Indian score in the APPT Manila Series till date. Prior to this, Uday Bansal had won the ₱55,000 Main Event for ₱4,676,000 (~₹60.42 Lakhs) in the PokerStars Manila Festival 2017, that had replaced the APPT Manila for a year.
In the APPT National, Nasa entered the event through the second starting flight and by the end of Day 2, he was among the top stacks. The Indian challenger played aggressively to chip up his mid-sized stack and reached the heads-up play with a real shot at the title. With a supportive rail cheering him on, Nasa fought tough over the next two hours. He took the lead decisively several times but had to eventually concede the title to the 44-year old seasoned Rivera.
Indian pro Jasven Saigal who had also advanced to the final day ended his run in 22nd place for ₱130,000 (~₹1.67 Lakhs).
Rivera, meanwhile, scored his largest career score that has taken his total live tournament earnings to $252,000. The veteran cash player, who has been playing poker since the past 12 years and gave up his job as a Civil Engineer seven years ago to devote all his time to poker, has now moved into the top ten poker earners on the Philippines All Time Money List.
“I’m feeling very happy because I have with me my two friends, Mike Takayama and Lester Edoc, who have both won a Platinum Pass to the Bahamas. I’ve been wanting to go with them, although I did not have a Platinum Pass,” an ecstatic Rivera said, after picking the title.
“We were all together during the World Series; that was the first time that Mike won a bracelet for the Philippines and it has inspired a lot of players, including me. It’s probably this inspiration that made me win in this event,” Rivera added.
The event saw a sizeable Indian group compete on the felts. A total of 18 Indians, five from Day 1A and 13 from Day 1B had progressed to Day 2 where the 12 Indians returned to the rail empty-handed while six players ended their run in the money. Only Nasa and Saigal advanced to the final day among the 34 survivors with stacks of 1,423,000 and 728,000 respectively.
Day 3 Recap
On the final day, Filipino pro Redentor Edoc (12th for ₱261,000) who had entered Day 3 as chip leader, Mike Takayama (15th for 217,000) who’s in contention for the Player of the Series title, Vietnam’s Cao Ngoc Anh (17th for ₱175,000), Jessie Leonarez (26th for ₱110,000), Korean pro Vivian Young- Shin Im (27th for ₱110,000) and Hong Kong’s Carson Ka Shing Wong (29th for ₱96,000), were among the notable players who fell out before the final table.
As action reached the nine-handed final table, Nasa resumed play with the sixth biggest stack, with several established rivals ahead of him including Rivera (3,415,000) who held the maximum chips along with Yi Ye (3,115,000) and Seojin Lee (2,930,000).
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Marc Rivera – 3,415,000
2. Yi Ye – 3,115,000
3. Seojin Lee – 2,930,000
4. William Ysmael – 2,510,000
5. Siyou Cao – 2,190,000
6. Akshay Nasa – 2,055,000
7. Lappas Charalampos – 1,970,000
8. Soo Jo Kim – 1,810,000
9. Masahiro Yamada – 750,000
Final Table Recap
Action was challenging on the final table for the nine finalists and over next few hours, eliminations sent most of the players out of the field.
Soon, it was Akshay Nasa tangling heads-up with Rivera who had the chip advantage with 11,970,000 against Nasa’s 8,775,000.
The next couple of hours saw Nasa diligently working to close the gap and he even took the chip lead for a while. However Rivera proved adept at sidestepping Nasa’s moves and became the final frontier that he couldn’t cross.
In the final hand, Nasa moved all-in preflop with and Rivera made the call with his dominating . The rails for both players erupted into shouts as the flop fell . The tournament title was decisively in Rivera’s kitty by now and Nasa picked up some hope when the appeared on the turn but the river locked Rivera’s win while Nasa was relegated to the rail in second place.
Final Table Results (PHP)
1. Marc Rivera – ₱4,559,000
2. Akshay Nasa – ₱2,822,000
3. CharalamposLappas – ₱1,737,000
4. Seojin Lee – ₱1,257,000
5. Siyou Cao – ₱847,000
6. William Ysmael – ₱651,000
7. Masahiro Yamada – ₱499,000
8. Yi Ye – ₱434,000
9. Soo Jo Kim – ₱370,510
Stay tuned to PokerGuru for more updates from APPT Manila 2018!