APPT Seoul: Hale to the chief
Energy. With all of our lights, computers and electronics, it's what powers the modern world. There's a killing to be made for anyone who can either devise new forms of energy or exploit existing ones. The current chip leader on Day 1b, 34-year-old Jhana Hale, falls into the latter camp.
Hale, a native of Australia, has found himself living in Manila for the last five years as he pursues a career in oil and gas exploration. The Philippines, of course, has a thriving poker culture, with multiple well-attended poker rooms sprinkled all around town. The APPT itself came to Manila in Seasons 1 and 2 before relocating to Cebu in Season 3. A special tournament was held in Manila in Season 4 in conjunction with PAGCOR, the Philippines gaming authority. Hale played in that event and finished 39th out of 430 for a small payday.
Hale told me that he plays tournaments in the Asia Pacific area for fun as he has the time and money to do so. He's apparently acquired some chops along the way - his Day 1b-leading stack of 180,000 is 60,000 more chips than Day 1a leader Christopher Park accumulated yesterday, and Hale still has a level to go in the day.
Despite his massive stack and several elimination notches in his belt today (including the elimination of Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen), Hale was modest about his skill and how he's faring here in Seoul on Day 1a.
"Just getting a bit lucky I guess," he said.
There's no doubt that luck plays a significant role in this crazy game that we all love - much as it surely does in oil and gas exploration. But in both cases skill is the predominant determinant of long-term success. Hale's demonstrated quite a bit of skill here today on Day 1b. We'll see over the next two days whether his luck will hold and the tandem can carry him all the way to the final table.
Maybe if Hale doesn't make a fortune in oil and gas, he can make one in poker.