APPT Cebu: Kim lands the biggest punches to take Day 2 lead

Pound for pound, Manny Pacquiao may be the greatest boxer of this generation. He is the pride of the Philippines, a boxer who began his career as a light flyweight and has captured world championships in eight different weight classes. Where some boxers try to slug it out, Pacquiao is a fighter who favors speed over size, a fighter who can go, and repeatedly has gone, the distance.

The entire tournament room at the 2010 APPT Cebu Main Event today paused to watch Pacquiao go the distance and dismantle his latest challenger, Mexican Antonio Margarito. Some might say that poker is a game to which boxing comparisons are too routinely made but today, I think, all of those comparisons can be forgiven. It was hard not to be inspired watching the under-sized Pacquiao land blow after blow on his larger opponent, difficult not to see how that scene could translate to the green-felted tables at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort.

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PokerStars Qualifier Andrew Hinrichsen entered Day 2, the first day of a combined field, as the only player with more than 100,000 chips. Although Hinrichsen would steadily chip up to double his count by the end of the day, the feature story belonged to Korean Kim Gab Yong. Yong repeatedly clashed in some huge pots and ended Day 2 with 393,600 chips, almost 150,000 more than Hinrichsen.

Kim didn't even get value for all of his hands. He flopped bottom set in a six-way pot and couldn't find any takers for his half-pot flop bet. At times he showed a gambling streak in him that cost him some of his chips. He ran ace-king into the pocket aces of Wen-lan "Nicole" Yeh for almost 150,000 chips.

But a huge boost for Kim came late in the Level 11, the fifth level of the day, when Aussie Tom Grigg four-bet shoved for more than 100,000 chips with ace-ten. Kim made a strong call with pocket tens and knocked Grigg out of the tournament when the board blanked out. From there Kim effectively wielded the big stack, repeatedly putting opponents to decisions for all of their chips.

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Day 2 chip leader Kim Gab Yong

The Pacquiao-Margarito fight didn't provide the only distraction from an otherwise tense day of poker. A thunderstorm rolled through the resort towards the end of the second level of play, pelting the roof of the poker tent with torrential rain and blasting the tent with strong winds that sounded like they might tear the tent apart. A few hours later a power generator momentarily failed, plunging the poker tent into darkness.

Through it all cards continued to be dealt, chips continued to pass around the tables, and small-stacked Pacquiao wannabes continued to try to make their marks and climb up the counts. The ones that succeeded - like Alexander Beeckx and Caroline De Weerd of Belgium - will return to fight another round tomorrow. The ones that failed - including all of the remaining PokerStars Team Pros in the field - will have to settle for enjoying the comforts of the fantastic resort that is the host of this tournament.

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Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem came up a little short at APPT Cebu.

35 players will return for Day 3 tomorrow. 28 will make the money, but by the end of the day only 9 will still be in contention for the top prize of roughly $132,000. The rest of what's up for grabs is detailed on the APPT Cebu payouts and winners page. A full set of official chip counts will be posted on the APPT Cebu chip counts page as soon as they become available. For a more in-depth look at the day's action, check out our earlier posts:

APPT Cebu: Day 2, Level 13, blinds 1500-3000, ante 300
APPT Cebu: Day 2, Level 11&12, blinds 800-1600, ante 200
APPT Cebu: Day 2, Levels 9&10, blinds 600-1200, ante 100
APPT Cebu: Day 2, Levels 7&8, blinds 400-800, ante 75
APPT Cebu: A tale of two main events

All photos courtesy of Luis Cruz.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Asia Pacific Poker Tour