APPT Manila: Crash and bash delivers Tash the chip lead

Gotta love poker – here we are, in the tropics of South-East Asia following the APPT in the exotic city of Manila and our chip leader is a 30-something blonde woman from Edinburgh, Scotland. Name another sport that you’d find such a contrast!


Natasha Ellis makes her mark on day 1B of the APPT Manila main event.

But in poker circles, the name of Natasha Ellis isn’t such a novelty. The former travel writer quit her day job for poker shortly after the poker boom and has made a living playing online. Indeed, her Supernova status on PokerStars shows she is a player of considerable standing, underlined by a recent $60k score in a $215 rebuy event on Stars.

“Although the perks of my old job were good, the hours were bad and the money awful. I was always broke. I now have the perfect job. I can work when I want, for as long as I want, and take a week off whenever I like,” she said.

A major live result is the only thing missing from Ellis’ resume, but she’s ideally positioned here to set that right over the next two days.

Recent eliminations include APPT Macau main event winner Eddy Sabat, PokerStars Sponsored duo Neil Arce and Hidenari Shiono, along with a colourful character from Australia who, in the tradition of Madonna, Prince and more R&B artists than you can poke a stick at, prefers to be known just as “Sheldon”.


Just call me Sheldon.

Sheldon Mayer (we’ll use the surname just once) is one of the friendliest blokes around, and flew down to Manila for the APPT after sampling the cash games at the new Wynn poker room in Macau. Eccentric, yep, colourful wardrobe, you betcha, but the guy has some game, as shown by his third-place in the 2008 Melbourne Poker Championships main event, worth AUD $98,000.

As we tick down to the dinner break, 79 players of the 136 who started day 1B remain, with two hours of play to go.