Ivan Tan is Singapore’s poker poster boy. After finishing 2nd in the inaugural PokerStars.net APPT Macau tournament in 2007, pocketing a cool $129,000, he told the media he didn’t think he was the best player in his native country. However, after also finishing 3rd in last July’s Macau Cup, PokerStars have seen enough talent in the young player to sponsor him into the other stops on the APPT Season 2. Andy why not? The APPT is expanding to Auckland in 2008, and in addition to the New Zealand market, APPT President, Jeffrey Haas, has said he would love to add Singapore as an APPT stopover for Season 3 in 2009.
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Unfortunately Tan won’t be going any further in the Macau Main Event, as he was recently bounced out of the tournament on that dreaded pre-flop all-in scenario, holding pocket Kings vs. pocket Aces. Ouch. Talking with Tan afterwards, we asked him how he thought his recent performances have increased the profile of poker in Singapore. Tan said he had been invited to do a number of newspaper, television and magazine interviews since the APPT Macau last year, and estimated the number of people playing poker in his home country had doubled in the 12 months since.
Singaporeans don’t have any casinos or live poker rooms to play in, so the only outlets for their preferred hobby is online or in home games. Tan says there are around 70 home games taking place every week in the city, and the poker community there is fairly close-knit; most players know each other from regular communication via online forums and blogs. No doubt additional solid performances from Tan and the other 10 or so Singaporean players who are playing in the APPT Macau Main Event, plus the appearance of an APPT Singapore event in 2009, will only continue to increase the phenomenal growth of poker in the Asian region.
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