APPT9 Manila: Chasing a dream

Is there a more aptly-named venue for a poker tournament than the City of Dreams? Poker is a game all about making dreams become reality so it's fitting that we find ourselves in the stunning City of Dreams in Manila to watch someone's dreams come true right here at the APPT Manila Main Event.

The cards have just launched into the air on Day 1a of the big one. The buy-in for the Season 9 Main Event is PHP50,000 which works out to be around US$1,100 and that has proven to be an ideal price point for this region. It's perfect for the locals to satellite in and take their shot at the big time, but it's still juicy enough to attract some of the best players from the Asia Pacific and beyond.

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Last year we saw Vietnam's Thanh Ha Duong overcome a field of 260 entrants, and a huge chip deficit heads-up, to claim the APPT Manila title and almost 3.5 million Filipino Pesos (~US$80,000). We're expecting to see that number blown away with the introduction of an optional single re-entry for players across both of the opening day flights.

Of course this is also the first time that the APPT has been held at its new home at PokerStars LIVE Manila at the City of Dreams which should also see a spike in numbers. This decision is proving to be greatly appreciated by everyone who has walked through the doors this week. The cash games have been thriving, the side events have been popular and the satellite guarantees have been crushed. Even now as I prepare to publish this piece, there's a last-minute satellite which is drawing plenty of cheers from the rail as another ten players have won their way through to the big dance. Their dream is alive.

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The big screen is showing over 200 entrants already seated for the opening flight and that number will no doubt climb while registration and re-entry remains open. Players will start with 20,000 in chips, with forty-minute levels for the first three levels and then sixty minutes thereafter.

With the 6pm start time, it means we'll be here into the wee hours of the morning to bring you all the thrills and spills from the tournament floor. And if we know anything about Manila, it's that there will be thrills and spills.

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.