An ace in the flop sealed the win for David Saab and the Korean-born Australian walked away as the first champion of the 2008 Asian Poker Tour taking home the US$280,000 first prize.
From a total of 316 players that participated in the APT Manila event from 27 May to 1 June, Saab emerged as the last man standing at the table after defeating Korean Chris Roh who, on the other hand, won US$150,000 for placing second.
With the flop of the event’s final hand at Ace-Seven-Four, Roh bet 90,000 in chips which Saab re-raised to 300,000. Roh moved All-In which the Australian called. Both players showed their cards: Saab had an Ace-Eight and Roh with a King-Four. With the flop, Saab had the advantage with pocket Aces while Roh had to rely on the luck of the cards to double-up in chips. However, the turn and river came out a 9 and a 10, respectively, and Saab knocked out Roh for the win.
Finishing third at the final table was Japan’s Satoru Ishii who brought home US$100,000 while at fourth place was another Korean, Kwang Soo Lee who won for himself US$73,000. At fifth spot was Italian player, Michele Ferrari, who brought home US$55,000.
The third South Korean at the Final Table, Man Jin Yun, finished at sixth place with US$45,000 while two local hopefuls, Don Carmona and Terry Gonzaga, finished the APT Manila event at seventh and eight spots, respectively. Carmona won US$35,000 while Gonzaga exited with US$25,000.
The first man eliminated from the final table, Swedish poker player Gerasimos Deres was defeated by eventual second-placer Roh in the very first hand of the event when his pocket Aces did not hold to the Korean’s pocket Fives. After moving All-In against Roh, the flop turned out to be a dud for Deres as a five turned up, putting the advantage to Roh. The turn card came out a seven followed by another seven at the river and the Swede exited. Deres took home US$20,000 for ninth place.
The final table of the APT, with winners guaranteed a US$1,000,000 prize pool, was once again officiated by Matt Savage who has done an outstanding job for the past six days as the APT’s tournament director.
Saab came into the final table as chip leader with 782,000 followed by Roh with 455,000. The Italian Ferrari was third with 444,000; Man Jin Yun was fourth with 426,000; and Ishii at fifth place with 396,000. With 255,000 in chips, Kwang Soo Lee entered the finals at sixth while Deres was at seventh with 177,000. Filipino players Gonzaga and Carmona were at eight and ninth spots with 164,000 and 64,000 in chips, respectively.
A good 200-strong crowd was on hand at the Dusit Thani Manila, the official venue of the six-day poker event, to witness the final table which saw a boisterous Korean contingent present to cheer on their three players. However, not to be outdone, a loud Australian camp was also present to support Saab while Ishii received the cheers of his countrymen especially when he moved in several times to become chip leader during the tournament. Filipinos cheered their two entrants as well until both were eliminated.
APT CEO Chris Parker opened the final table event with a speech thanking partners of the APT and the organizers and staff for a successful poker event. He also acknowledged the assistance of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), who sanctioned the event and supplied the dealers.
Organizers of the APT Manila event have also expressed their happiness on the large turnout of players for the inaugural APT event this year and hope to come back to Manila next year for the 2009 Asian Poker Tour.
After the successful Philippine leg, the APT moves to Macau from 26 to 31 August 2008. Around 500 players are expected to participate in the Macau event which will be held at the StarWorld Hotel and Casino.
From Macau, the Asian Poker Tour will make two more stops this year — Seoul in South Korea is next and the APT will culminate the year in Singapore where it held its very first APT event in 2006.
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