APPT Manila: Final table profiles
Seat 1: Tae Jun Noh, Korea (466,000 in chips): One of three Korean players at the final table, the story of this 24-year-old is not dissimilar to his compatriot and final table rival Michael Chang. He is a computer IT student from Seoul and has been playing poker for two years, mainly online. He journeyed to Manila for the APT event earlier this year and returned to the Philippines, wiser and ready to make his mark. He used FPPs to buy-in, and sits in fourth chip position.
Seat 2: Lee Nelson, New Zealand (238,000 in chips): This vastly experienced Team PokerStars Pro has won events across the globe, but the crowning glory of his tournament career came in 2006 when he won the Aussie Millions and the $1.3 million first prize. He has cashed in two previous APPT events, and becomes the first Team PokerStars Pro since Joe Hachem and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier to make an APPT final table since last year’s APPT Macau main event.
Seat 3: Van Marcus, Australia (438,000 in chips): This is the third APPT cash for this PokerStars Sponsored player – all final tables. He was fifth in this event last year, and finished ninth in the 2008 APPT Macau High Roller. An accomplished player with an excellent record in live and online play (he is a PokerStars Supernova), his standout result came at the 2007 WSOP when he finished third in the $1500 Pot Limit Omaha w/ rebuys event for more than USD $190,000.
Seat 4: Benjie Lim, Philippines (115,000 in chips): A father of four from San Juan City, this 53-year-old owns a construction materials sales business. He’s been playing poker for three years and won a tournament against a field of more than 200 in Tagatay City not long after he started playing. He bought in directly to the APPT Manila main event. A good friend of Filipino world boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Lim will be hoping to harness the champ’s spirit at today’s final table.
Seat 5: Rainer Aquino, Philippines (40,000 in chips): The short stack entering the final table, he is the only PokerStars qualifier at the final table. The 29-year-old hails from Ilocos Sur (about eight hours from Manila) and works as a self-employed poultry supplier has been playing poker, mainly online, for several years. However, this is his first major live tournament and he was thrilled to hang on to reach the final table although he’ll be looking for a quick double-up to ensure a spot further up the payout scale.
Seat 6: Hyoung Jin Nam, Korea (561,000 in chips): A business administrator from Seoul (he also holds a medical science degree), this 34-year-old has been playing poker for less than three years and is celebrating his tournament debut in perfect fashion – with a final table appearance and enough chips to go all the way to the title. He bought in directly to play in the APPT Manila main event, and lies third in chips thanks mainly to a huge pot late on day two.
Seat 7: Manish Sansi, Hong Kong (192,000 in chips): The 32-year-old trader from Hong Kong works as a trader during the daylight hours but at nights has been working hard to improve his poker game since December 2005. His first major poker tournament experience was at the PokerStars.net APPT Seoul main event, but plenty of practise at the Hong Kong Poker House has helped him make the final table in Manila. He bought in directly, and lies seventh in chips.
Seat 8: Michael Chang (Chang Yong Suk), Korea (539,000 in chips): This computer studies student personifies the new style of Korean poker player: young, stylish, aggressive and, as shown by recent performances on the APPT, very successful. He has been playing online poker for the past 18 months and accumulated enough FPPs on PokerStars to enter the APPT Manila main event. A player that gives away very little at the table, this youngster is well placed to become Korea’s first APPT champion.
Seat 9: Ramil Tandoc, Philippines (184,000 in chips): Guaranteed plenty of support at tomorrow’s final table from his wife (with three young sons to be following at home), this 33-year-old only gained a seat to the APPT Manila main event via a mega satellite at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino last Wednesday. The former electric cooperative worker has been playing poker for two years and is in good form as shown by a top-25 finish in the Sunday Million on PokerStars last month.