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The most successful and the biggest poker tournament hosted in Philippines till date is now in the books. The 2018 Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Manila Main Event ₱20M GTD attracted 1,364 entries and was a grand, intensely competitive affair. 29-year old Wilson Lim (cover image) from Singapore who entered the final table as the shortest stack, went on to claim the title, and a whopping payday of ₱12,970,000 (₹1.69 Crores) along with the coveted PSPC Platinum Pass valued at $30,000.
“I feel pretty awesome and also overwhelmed,” said an ecstatic Lim, after the win.“I have been playing poker for about 10 years now, it was about one or two years in that I started to realize poker was more than just gambling and I can improve myself. After a few years I started improving and now I earn most of my money just from poker,” he added.
The tournament was hosted in the City of Dreams Manila Resort & Casino. A mammoth prize pool of ₱178,426,612 was created by the record-breaking 1,364 entries across the two opening flights with a ₱55,000 buy-in (~₹71,670). 404 players returned to Day 2 and of them only 41 managed to advance further.
Korea’s Seung Soo Jeon (67th for ₱157,000), Sparrow Cheung (72nd for ₱157,000), Filipino Florencio Campomanes (78th for ₱157,000), James Mitchell (79th for ₱157,000), and PokerStars Team Pro Celina Lin (128th for ₱124,000) were among the notables who finished in the money.
Manila has been one of the favorite haunts for Team India in recent years. This year too, an enthusiastic and large group of Indian challengers were in Manila to catch the action for the Main Event, among other side events.
According to official figures provided by PokerStars APPT Manila, Team India made it in the top 5 countries in terms of participation numbers in the Main Event. While China was in the lead with 17.8% participation, the Indian participation was fourth highest i.e. 7.4% represented by 44 unique players amid a total of 101 Indian entries.
The true-blue Indian spirit was palpable when the event kicked off and a total of 32 Indians made their way in from Day 1A. The next opening flight i.e. Day 1B saw another group of 33 players enter. Since the tournament allowed re-entry, many of the players fired multiple bullets through the opening flights. WSOP bracelet winner Aditya Sushant who fell out in the Day 1A flight, took advantage of this to re-enter on Day 1B.
So did, Zarvan Tumboli, who despite locking his seat for Day 2 on Day 1A itself, jumped into the Day 1B action to improve his stack. He eventually took a stack of 171,200 to Day 2 where we saw 22 Indian challengers navigate their way up the charts. Team India’s dream run sadly ended on Day 2, and eight Indians managed to post commendable scores while 14 others fell out empty-handed.
The eight Indians to cash the Main Event were Sriharsha Doddapaneni (43rd for ₱210,000~₹2.72 Lakhs), Ravi Priya (62nd for ₱170,000~₹2.20 Lakhs), Kunal Patni (81st for ₱157,000~₹2.03 Lakhs), Sahil Agarwal (84th for ₱144,500~₹1.87 Lakhs), Kanishka Samant (113th for ₱130,500~₹1.69 Lakhs), Vidwath Shetty (152nd for ₱118,000~₹1.53 Lakhs), Anup Palod (159th for ₱118,000~₹1.53 Lakhs) and Amanpreet Singh (161st for ₱118,000~₹1.53 Lakhs).
However, 14 others, i.e., Zarvan Tumboli, Sajal Gupta, Kavin Shah, Rajeev Kanjani, Varun Gupta, Siddarth Singhvi, Chiraag Patel, Rathi Shashank, Dhaval Mudgal, Aditya Sushant, Dilip Ajitkumar Menon, Jaydeep Dawer, Abhinav Iyer and Sahil Chutani, failed to make it past the money bubble.
Day 3 Recap
Action on Day 3 saw fast paced eliminations sending many out of the field within the first few hours of play.
It was a literal turning of the tables for Lim who was severely short-stacked and on the verge of elimination just when the last two tables were set. He barely managed to make it to the final table by the skin of his teeth and would have hit the rail had it not been for a series of well-played hands.
“I just went all-in blind and then doubled, doubled, doubled up until I ended up as the shortest stack on the final table. Then I became the third chip lead on the table,” Lim said, when asked about his comeback. On the final table, Lim sent four players out, digging into their stacks to consolidate his position.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Yuen Chao Li – 9,705,000
2. Samuel Welbourne – 6,990,000
3. Bin Zhang – 6,665,000
4. Jiang Ho Huang – 4,095,000
5. Daesoon Kang – 3,580,000
6. Sebastian Wong – 3,575,000
7. Jun Zhou – 2,220,000
8. Kenny Shih – 1,925,000
9. Wilson Lim – 940,000
Final Table Recap
When the nine-handed final table began, the players were seen playing it cautious and tight and Lim took advantage of this. He changed gears to an attacking style and maintained it all the way through to the heads-up stage. With a short stack and down at one point to just one big blind, Lim’s aggression matched with patient play helped him take the top honors. It took seven hours of action on the final table before the top two finalists began the heads-up play.
Chinese pro Jun Zhou was the first player to make his way out in ninth place. Zhou’s run ended when he decided to call Kenny Shih’s all-in move. Zhou was in the big blind and Shih was under the gun. Though Zhou held an ace, he couldn’t overcome Shih’s pair of nines.
American pro Kenny Shih followed Zhou shortly thereafter. After a few bad beats, he moved all in from under the gun and found a caller in Sebastian Wong, who was holding ace-ten against the former’s king-ten. With no help from the board, Shih was eliminated in eighth place.
For Korean player Daesoon Kang, who had managed to survive in the game with a short stack all this while, a couple of pots helped consolidate his position. However he lost out to Lim in a hand where Yuan Chao Li raised to 500,000 from middle position and Lim 3-bet shoved from the hijack for 3,800,000. Kang was on the button and called, moving all-in with his last 1,300,000, while Li folded. Lim and Kang tabled their cards, the former showing against the latter’s . Kang found a favorable flop of but the turn and the river blanked out for him, eliminating him in seventh place.
Next up, Sebastian Wong from Singapore, who started the day in lead, then moved all in on the button for 2,185,000 and was called by Samuel Welbourne from the big blind. Welbourne tabled . Wong’s trailing faced defeat when the board ran out , sending him packing in sixth place.
Lim then sent Singapore’s Jiang Ho Huang to the rail in fifth place with his pocket fives coming out superior to the latter’s queen-nine on the rundown .
British pro Samuel Welbourne had lost several crucial pots and moved all in for 3,075,000 from the button, and found a caller in Yuan Chao Li in the small blind. The players turned over their hands with Welbourne the player at risk. Chao tabled vs. Welbourne’s . The flop opened and Welbourne instantly stood up to leave. The on the turn and the on the river were a mere formality and just like that Welbourne’s run ended in fourth place.
Three-handed, China’s Bin Zhang, Lim and Yuan Chao Li battled over the lead. Zhang found a couple of early double ups and cruised easily to the top, however, he found himself all in against Lim in a hand where he led out for 3,500,000 from the button and was called by the latter. Lim turned over while Zhang tabled . The dealer opened the on the flop and as the appeared on the turn, Lim clearly needed to dodge a nine or ten to eliminate Zhang. The river helped him win the pot and Zhang exited in third place.
The heads-up play between Lim and Chinese pro Yuan Chao Li was quite intense and within the first few hands, Lim managed to fill the gap. He soon took over complete control and both players entered several all-in hands before the final hand was dealt. Lim raised to 1,200,000 from the small blind and Li retaliated by moving all in for 7,900,000. Lim instantly called.
The final board of the tournament brought declaring Lim the winner! He picked the title and the grand prize of ₱12,970,000 along with the coveted PSPC Platinum Pass.
Final Table Results (PHP)
1. Wilson Lim – ₱12,970,000
2. Yuan Chao Li – ₱7,960,000
3. Bin Zhang – ₱4,745,000
4. Samuel Welbourne – ₱3,438,000
5. Jiang Ho Huang – ₱2,318,000
6. Sebastian Wong – ₱1,664,000
7. Daesoon Kang – ₱1,400,000
8. Kenny Shih – ₱1,205,000
9. Jun Zhou – ₱1,029,000
Stay tuned to PokerGuru for more updates from APPT Manila 2018!