APPT Cebu: A common interest, a world apart
We're into the third level of the day here on Day 1c of the APPT Cebu Main Event with 116 players registered in action this afternoon. We should have the official prize pool announcement for you shortly.
It's the biggest field of the three opening flights and includes some highly credentialed players including Steve Yea, Ryan Hong, Chris Edgar, Sangeeth Mohan, Hirotoshi Nakabo, Azusa Maeda, Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang and previous Asian title winners in David Steicke, Raiden Kan, Sammy Huang, Gordon Huntly and the giant-killing Oliver Speidel.
We also have a couple of notable players here this afternoon who share a unique common interest away from poker. Heath Herring and Terrence Chan had never met until today, but it was quickly pointed out that their love of poker is matched by their love of mixed martial arts.
Of course Herring has made a career as a professional MMA fighter, having travelled the world with Pride and later the UFC organisations. Known as "The Texas Crazy Horse", Herring was one of the world's leading MMA fighters, having grappled with the best in the business including the likes of Antonio Nogueira, Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar.
Of course, MMA quickly takes a physical toll and after retiring from his sport, Herring made the transition into poker with a couple of results in tournaments in Las Vegas already to his credit.
It's early days in his poker career, much like it is the early days of the MMA career of well-known poker pro Terrence Chan. Just last month, Chan took a fight in Seoul immediately following the APPT event there, and showed enough promise to be offered a professional fight at the Legend Poker Championships in Hong Kong.
Chan fought an opponent with a five-inch reach advantage but that didn't stop him from slapping on an armbar for a submission win in the second round for a debut victory.
The two have only met for the first time today, but PokerStars hostess Sarah Grant was quick to suggest that the two could work closely together.
"Heath needs a poker coach, and Terrence wants an MMA coach. It's perfect!" she said.
For now, all the focus is on the poker side of things and surviving the six levels of play today. But it's comforting to know that if we ever get into any trouble during another blackout in Cebu city, that we have a couple of "enforcers" to take good care of us.