APPT Cebu: Holiday's over; it's time to win

No parties last night. No lechon. No mangoes prepared in a thousand different ways or juiced into tasty alcoholic beverages. Nobody vomiting out the windows of taxicabs or cracking their heads open on stone fountains. Today is final table day at the 2012 PokerStars.net APPT Cebu Main Event, and for the nine players still in the tournament, a relaxing night yesterday and a clear head today could be the difference between a modest 9th-place payout of PHP494,000 and the almost 6 million pesos that will go to the winner.

Our final table runs the gamut from players well acquainted with the pressure of a big buy-in final table to unknowns with scarcely more than a few modest tournament cashes under their belts. They come from Australia, India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Korea and even England. The two Indians, Amit Varma and Sameer Rattonsey, hold a combined 44% of the chips in play and will start Day 4 with a big edge over the other seven players. They'll hope to demonstrate the rise of India as a new force in the poker world ahead of the Casino Royale Cup at Goa, India seven weeks from now.

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Alistair Duff (l) and Amit Varma (r)

Special attention should be paid to the three PokerStars qualifiers still in the tournament. Not only have PokerStars Qualifiers Antoine Amourette, Jacky Wang and Michael Kanaan been able to travel to Cebu, stay at the five-star Shangri-La Resort, and play big buy-in poker for a modest investment, but now they're looking at turning that low-priced Philippines holiday into a high-priced six-figure score.

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PokerStars Qualifier Michael Kanaan

We're not soothsayers, and even if we were you could rightfully dismiss our prophesies as the deluded ramblings of drunks. We don't know who's going to win today. We only know that when the final table kicks off at 12:15pm (GMT+8), the final nine players will return to these seats and chip stacks:

Seat 1: Antoine Amourette (50,000)
Seat 2: Sameer Rattonsey (908,000)
Seat 3: Alistair Duff (486,000)
Seat 4: Nick Wong (142,000)
Seat 5: Jacky Wang (402,000)
Seat 6: Hoang Anh Do (810,000)
Seat 7: Michael Kanaan (399,000)
Seat 8: Jae Kyung Sim (205,000)
Seat 9: Amit Varma (1,241,000)

From there, they'll play until one person has all the chips. It might take six levels; it might take sixteen. However long it takes, there's sure to be some celebrations tonight for one of these nine players, tomorrow's hangover be damned.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Day 4