APPT9 Manila: The local top dogs

Without a doubt, poker is experiencing another boom in the Philippines. The first one was in 2008 with many poker rooms coming up all over Metro Manila and in various parts of the country. Then the hype slowed down, but not entirely to a full halt. Within the confines of the remaining poker rooms, big tournaments were still being held with new faces along with those already known keeping the sport alive.

Amongst those players are some of the country's well-known poker pros such as John Tech, Andrew Gaw, Mark Benasa, Czardy Rivera, and Florencio Campomanes. All these players have cashed and have gone deep in many events both locally and internationally.

Tech has been in the local scene since its inception in the country, and experienced his first cash at the APPT 2009 Cebu. Since then, he has claimed many tournaments and is currently the highest all time moneymaker in the Philippines active in the scene. Here at the Main Event, Tech seems relaxed in his seat with an average stack to play with.

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Just below Tech in ranking is Andrew Gaw (pictured above). Up until last month, Gaw's biggest earning was at the APPT 2012 ACOP Main Event where he ended in tenth place but then at the recent WSOP 2015, Gaw ran deep at the $1500 Mix Max event and earned himself a sizable pot over $100K. By the looks of it, Gaw has his work cut out for him tonight as he sits with a below average stack.

Czardy Rivera, one of the Rivera brothers active in the local poker scene, is also at the felt today, and he is next in line down the money list. Rivera's first big cashout was at the APPT 2010 Cebu. Rivera regularly participates in the Macau Poker Cup and Macau Millions. Most often, Rivera can be seen with poker brothers Euryd Rivera and Marc Rivera. Today, he is running solo as his brother was already eliminated.

One player that is on an on and off love affair with poker is Mark Benasa. Benasa's hottest poker year was in 2011 where he bagged the Red Dragon Macau Poker Cup and cashed at the APPT 2012 Cebu. Like Gaw, Benasa needs to get something going to reach average stack before the close of day.


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Probably the most recognizable player of all is Florencio Campomanes. Campomanes has been in the local poker scene ever since it reared its head out of those dingy back rooms and has been consistently cashing at various tournaments annually. This year has been quite stellar for him. Campomanes has already cashed in six big events with his biggest at the APPT 9 Macau Main Event where he placed third and collected nearly HKD$1M. Unfortunately, Campomanes recently busted out and will have to settle for the side events if he wants to score a win at this series.

It should be interesting to see how these players fare at the biggest international tournament held in the Philippines.

Triccia David
@PokerStars in Day 1B