What a fantastic turnout for the APPT9 Manila Main Event here at City of Dreams Manila!
Yesterday’s Day 1a saw a total of 260 entries and today, as soon as the cards were in the air, there were already 180 players registered on the screen with the number still increasing. One level after, it had spiked up to 240, easily reaching the 500 mark and surpassing the 2010 APPT Manila record of 430 entries. At the time of posting, there were two more levels of late registration still available with 280 entries in the books.
Now that all seems like just a bunch of numbers, which actually it is, but beneath that is what makes these numbers so interesting.
First, with PokerStars establishing a hub in the Philippines at the start of the year, the PokerStars LIVE Manila Poker Room, their visibility in the local scene is no longer limited to an online presence, instead they have expanded their reach via weekly tournaments and festivals such as the Manila Megastack and P1M Guaranteed events to encourage more players to come out and participate in low buy-in events combined with the PokerStars prestige.
What’s more enticing is that at some of those events, PokerStars not only awarded big cash prizes but feeder seats as well to different stages of the Main Event Satellites. In essence, players can win seats for as low as PHP1,000 by going through the satellite stages, similar to the online step program. When it came time for the first Main Event Satellite in early July, a total of 23 seats were awarded to the Main Event. On tournament day, that number grew to a total of 59 seats.
PokerStars Danny McDonagh expressed, “With having two stages to the Main Event, we have made it achievable for players to get in and play. Back when we started the Aussie Millions, we ran $65 satellite feeders, which was very successful with many players jumping in to try and win a seat. Here, it is a similar situation, and with this many live qualifiers, we do hope to see that number double or more by next year.”
In comparison to online qualifiers, which drew in 63 players, the live qualifiers may still be slightly lower however compared to the past, the online numbers remain the same while the live qualifiers are at an 80% jump. Of course, the number of direct buyins still supersedes the rest with players from all over the Asian region flocking to the APPT felt.