03 May 2012
Manilla Millions and my First APT
APT Philippines was my first official outing as an APT ambassador with AsianLogic. And I must say I was impressed by the professionalism of everyone involved. They ran a really good show under the direction of Jeff Mann, who runs a tight ship. Everything ran smoothly and on time.
The tournament was held at Resorts World Manila and most of the players stayed at Maxims Hotel, which is part of the resort. I didn’t actually leave the hotel for the whole stay. It had a swimming pool and gymnasium, rooms were good and the food was surprisingly good too.
APT has built up a loyal fan base thanks to the quality of the experience provided. They enjoy playing APT events as they are treated with respect. APT feels a lot like family to me. As everyone knows every chance I get I talk about family, so I’m really happy to be part of this family. We’ve spoken about establishing an APT event in Australia which I’m going to push really hard as I’d love to have one here. Hopefully this can come to fruition; sooner than later. The first event I played was the Manila Millions, which at a buy-in of HKD $1 million was the biggest buy-in tournament ever played in Asia. It was a hyper-turbo event but there was plenty of value as one of the big gaming companies brought along 18 of their whales to fill up the seats. They happily put up the HKD $1m to play. And they loved it!
The tournament drew a field of 31 players and the whole event was done in about 10 hours. I couldn’t manufacture anything though. It was one of those tournaments where if you aren’t able to accumulate chips at some point you couldn’t afford to lose a big pot because it meant that you’d be short stacked. I didn’t lose a big pot, just lost a few smaller ones and never got off the ground. Allan Le (Nam Le’s brother) went on to win and he pocketed USD $1.6 million – not bad for 10 hours’ work! Value-wise, it’s obviously a lot of money but still it was a great tournament. The Chinese guys were so excited about the event that they’re planning another one very soon in Macau, which will probably have an even bigger field. HKD $1 million is like pocket money for these guys! Not surprisingly, the cash games were also very juicy. We got some PLO going and played some astronomical stakes – the equivalent of USD $250/500/1000 so I had my best poker face on! I hadn’t really played these sort of stakes but I took a shot at that level as a couple of guys from Hong Kong and China were just happy to play and enjoy the game. I turned a nice little profit so that was a pretty good game!
Next up was the Main Event, which was a repechage (if you busted on day 1A you could buy back in day 1B). I got off to a really good start but just got into horrible situations where I just couldn’t get traction after the first couple of levels and found myself exiting the tournament right after the dinner break – both times I finished just before the end of the day which frustrated me a little bit, but that’s poker.
Before I left, I had the opportunity to check out the AsianLogic offices, which was great. It was good to see the operation and how big these guys are, how serious they are, which is always reassuring.
AsianLogic is also the home of my new online poker site PokerAce.com, which we launched about a week ago. At this point, it’s a fairly basic site that offers NLHE and 13-card Chinese Poker. It’s designed primarily for the Asian market at this stage.
We’re not accepting Australian or US players at the moment. I don’t think we’re going after the US market anyway but the Aussie market is obviously one that I’m very keen to help grow. I think we’re going to wait to ensure we don’t breach any laws.
The site is flash-based and does not use any downloadable software as many Asian players tend to play in Internet cafes so they want to be able to access the site pretty quickly. As time permits we’ll grow the site to offer other games and accept players from other markets when the timing is right. As mentioned, I’m very keen to develop growth in Australia but it’ll have to wait until the time is right.
However, Australian players can access pokerace.tv for all sorts of information and educational material. On top of that we’re working on another couple of things for Australia and definitely looking at a free-to-play platform, which I can hopefully provide more information about soon.
I’m incredibly excited about the news that the WSOP is coming to Crown! The guys at Crown and from Harrahs/WSOP have been working on this deal for about two years – a lot of us knew it was coming but the tail end of the paperwork took longer than expected. When it was finally announced it was such a relief.
To have a WSOP in my hometown, here at Crown is great news. It means we’re going to have two international events in Melbourne, which I’m really excited about with my links to both Crown and the WSOP. I can’t wait! It also means one less trip O/S for me at that time of year. It’s scheduled for early April in 2013 at this stage so it should be a lot of fun.
People have already got a good feeling about coming to Crown so to come for a second time each year should be easy. And it will attract a lot of players who haven’t ventured down here yet because of the World Series brand, so overall it’s a plus-plus for everyone.
I think it’ll compliment the Aussie Millions. I think both will grow because it will firstly attract a lot of players that haven’t come to Australia yet, where they’ll experience Australia and they’ll be more likely to come back for the Aussie Millions, and the guys that regularly come for the Aussie Millions will have another reason to come back for the WSOP event.
It should also attract more players from Asia (which is part of the strategy). Obviously there are more Asians playing now and they’ll now have somewhere close to visit to compete for a WSOP bracelet. We need more high profile events here and we can’t get more high profile than WSOP, so looking forward to it!
I have something I want to discuss which is something very close to my heart. I’ve been harping on about this for several years and no-one wanted to listen. In recent weeks, both Alec Torrelli and Mike Sexton have written blogs talking about the lack of professionalism in poker. And this is something I’ve been talking about for a long time. I so strongly agree with these guys.
Poker players want the world to come to them yet they’re not prepared to do the right thing to become professional. It’s as simple as actually showing up to the poker table showered, shaved, with a clean shirt – how about we start with that! Showing up to a final table not looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed! How do you people want corporate sponsors to look at us seriously if we don’t even take ourselves seriously? It really gets up my nose.
Poker players are so selfish – they never think about the bigger picture – what can I do to help poker grow? NOT what can I do to load my pockets - what’s my edge, what’s my EV, what’s my margin – instead of what can I do to help my profession to become a better profession to be more widely accepted. It doesn’t have to cost me any money, may cost me a little bit of effort, but it can mean more corporates will want to be involved which will mean more money into the pool for everybody and more recognition.
But instead they show up to final tables in shorts, scruffy T-shirts with hair all over the place, they want to wear hoodies and sunglasses at the final table and stuff like that – c’mon guys!
People want to interview them and they can’t even bother to speak, fans stop them for an autograph or to say hi and they think they’re top shit, they make no time for their fans.
Don’t be selfish – let’s all try to think about what’s the best move for the profession, not what the best move for me is personally. Reading those two blogs really ignited my passion again for that fight because I genuinely believe, until we have enough poker players with the same mindset poker will always be stuck in the back room. It really hurts me to think that because I love the game so much.
As I write this blog the Joe Hachem Deep Stack is about to reach its conclusion as the opening event of the Melbourne Champs at Crown. Any time we have any sort of championship at Crown it’s always great, the players can get their teeth stuck into something. Players fly in from around the country because they know the quality of the field is going to be good and there’s going to be value for them to play. So I look forward to seeing everybody down at Crown over the next week or so and hopefully we meet at a final table!
Until next time, Pass the Sugar.