APPT Manila: Clash of the generations

Asia is considered an emerging poker market, but a small band of pioneers have been spreading the gospel long before the APPT was founded. Two of those ‘founding fathers’ are in the room today.

PokerStars Sponsored player Wally “The Dream” Sombrero is the spiritual head of Filipino poker and a highly respected community figure. This larger-than-life character has been a key driver in establishing poker culture here both as a player and organiser of events. The unsuspecting Aussies at table 2, including James Broom, Andrew Scott and Rodney Davidson are in for an interesting day once “The Dream” warms up.

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Wally Sombrero watches his dream coming to fruition.

Meanwhile at table 13, the patron of Korean poker, Jimmy Cha is seated directly opposite one of the young guns on the local scene, Franco Mabanta. Cha made his name in Las Vegas during the late 1980s and early 1990s as one of the world’s premier cash players (in a period dominated by Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese). He even provided the inspiration for the lead character in the Korean TV series All-in.

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Jimmy Cha: don't let the smile fool you.

It’s the new kid on the block who’s been an early mover after claiming an early victim with a set of eights against a pair of queens, but the wily veteran is sure to make his presence felt in this intriguing battle.

Not only is there a big contingent of Asian players in action today, a large number of ex-pats living in Asia have continued their strong support of the APPT.

Thai-based duo Ira Blumenthal (runner-up in last year’s APPT Manila main event) and Isaac Galazan took their seats on day 1A. Unfortunately, Galazan was the first player to be eliminated when he ran A-Q into the pocket aces of Filipino Renato Del Rosa Castaneda (great name, nice play).

Play has ticked into level 2 (50/100) and already the APPT Manila dream is over for five players, as 144 of the 149 who started the day preparing to take their first break.