APPT8 Manila Day 1A: Race for the prize
One thing I've noticed since arriving in Manila is that the race for the 2014 Asia Player of the Year is being taken very seriously by many of the players here. To some of them, it's apparently more important than a +ev move in the tournament itself and I'd hazard that more than a few would turn down a tournament win here if it meant they could guarantee themselves winning the POY race.
At the moment, three of the current top five in the rankings are already involved or expected to be involved in the main event today. Yen Han Chen and Hao Chen, who are third and fourth respectfully were both playing today and looking to catch up with overall leader Quan Zhou. It's not been a good day for the latter though, he was eliminated during Level 6, but you can expect him to take another shot tomorrow. Elsewhere Kenneth Leong has moved up into fifth place in the standings after he finished fifth in the Manila Cup this afternoon winning just over 76,000PHP in the process.
I was told by staff here that Quan Zhou is expected to come here and that it would be more likely that I would hear the man before I see the man, such is his apparent exuberance - especially during important hands.
Of course, winning the Player of the Year means a year's sponsorship with PokerStars LIVE Macau and with it free entry to some illustrious tournaments. After APPT Manila is finished, then there will only be three events left where players will be able to pick up points. The remaining events are the Macau Poker Cup from August 1st to 17th, the ACOP Platinum Series VI which runs from the 25th to the 28th of September and finally the 2014 Asia Championship of Poker which begins on October 24th and goes on to November 9th.
At this point, only 700 points separate the top ten players, meaning it would only take one good result from anyone to jump into the lead. Therefore, every result is going to count - this also means that where leaderboard challengers are concerned, there is a much smaller likelihood that they will make deals at the end of tournaments. This is because a deal say, three-handed, would mean all players get third place points and we could easily end up in situations where a player has to chose between a deal or gambling for points, literally cash or glory.