APPT Cebu: Final table profiles
Seat 1: Mark Pagsuyuin, Manila, Philippines (497,000 in chips): Despite being one of the short stacks on the final table, there's no doubt that this PokerStars Cebu Satellite winner will go down fighting and have the crowd cheering him on along with his wife of 18 years. The 43-year-old grocer and now full-time poker player learned the game from high profile Filipino players Neil Arce and Wally Sombero six years ago. He has a PokerStars Filipino Poker Tour final table on his CV and plays online under the name ramking2266, "On no other site but PokerStars," he said.
Seat 2: Sim Somyung, South Korea, Seoul (1,442,000 in chips): When it comes to electronic gaming celebs, there were few bigger in Korea than Sim Somyung, who shocked the gaming community when he announced his retirement in 2007 at the ripe old age of 23. He reached the final table and finished ninth in the 2008 PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event - just his second major tournament start. He is now a full-time poker player and is aiming to join a select group of players to have reached two APPT final tables. He is the chip leader with 1.44 million.
Seat 3: David Hilton (PokerStars Qualifier), Tennessee, USA (995,000): A former retail assistant, 23-year-old David dhilton12 Hilton discovered poker at his local bar before turning professional. Hilton worked hard through Day 3 to come into the final table second in chips overall after having to suffer through a barrage of double-throughs. He plays mostly online and has several tournament victories to his name, including a Nightly Seventy Grand title on PokerStars, and despite the fact that this is only his second live tournament, he is feeling comfortable and enjoying his time in Cebu: "It's been wonderful here, truly amazing."
Seat 4: Terry Fan, Taipei (610,000 in chips): The 26-year-old former business consultant turned poker professional has already built an impressive resume, having not only scored some excellent results in Las Vegas and online but has taken several students under his wing and makes a living as a poker coach. "My birthday is in a couple of weeks so if I ship this tournament it would be a great birthday present for myself," Fan said. He holds a master degree in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University in the USA and has a WSOP Main Event cash to his name from 2006.
Seat 5: Alexandr Tikholiz (PokerStars Qualifier), St Petersburg, Russian Federation (231,000 in chips): Five players from Russia made the long trek to the Philippines. Incredibly, three cashed and two would have made the final table if not for the elimination of Oleg Poluzhnikov in 10th position. Tikholiz first journeyed to Cebu on a holiday with his family last year and was thrilled to be able to return after winning a seat on PokerStars. He's only been playing poker for one year but has already earned a spot in APPT record books as the first Russian player to reach a final table.
Seat 6: Phillip Willcocks (PokerStars Qualifier), Auckland, New Zealand (791,000 in chips): One of two New Zealanders at the final table, this 26-year-old from Auckland qualified for APPT Cebu on PokerStars, as was the case when he placed 21st in the 2008 PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final in Sydney and finished runner-up in the 2009 PokerStars.net ANZPT Queensland Main Event. He also helped New Zealand win the State of Origin title at the 2009 Victorian Poker Championships. A former molecular biologist, he now turn his microscope to the science of online poker after a friend "pushed" him into the game.
Seat 7: Dong-bin Han, Seoul, South Korea (862,000 in chips): In last year's APPT Manila Main Event, three Korean players reached the final table, including PokerStars.net Team Asia Pro Tae Jun Noh. This year, two Korean have reached the ultimate poker stage in the Philippines' biggest event. Making his first major tournament appearance, this 37-year-old businessman has been playing poker for several years and makes a significant contribution to the growth of Korean poker by working with live players wishing to make the transition to online poker. He has been among the chip leaders for the past two days and is well placed to challenge countryman Sim Somyung for the title.
Seat 8: Nick Pronk (PokerStars Qualifier), Alkmaar, Netherlands (563,000 in chips): It's been an impressive first major live tournament for the 24-year-old PokerStars Qualifier. Hailing from the town of Alkmaar, north of Amsterdam, the drenching company employee has been playing poker for four years. It was an up-and-down day three for the Dutchman but he's feeling more relaxed as he comes into the APPT Cebu final table with more than 550,000 in chips: "I'm going to go for it, play a little more loose and aggressive but I'm only going to be playing for first place." He'll be out to surpass the effort of compatriot Bas Van Liere, who placed seventh in the 2007 APPT Manila Main Event.
Seat 9: Kevin Clark (PokerStars Qualifier), Auckland, New Zealand (191,000 in chips): A 36-year-old property investor and one of two Kiwis on the final table, Kevin Clark took up poker five years ago and has been a regular at the SKYCITY Auckland Casino since it opened its poker room. Clark won the 2009 PokerStars.net APPT High Roller Event and cashed 28th in the APPT Auckland Main Event 12 months earlier. Clark has nothing but praise for the inaugural APPT Cebu event and Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa: "The resort is amazing and the venue is second to none."