After three days of solid poker, the 246 players have been reduced to the official final table of nine. When they return they’ll be fighting it out for the PHP5,927,000 first place prize, and of course, the APPT Cebu Main Event title.
Here’s a little more about our final table participants:
Seat 1: Antoine Amourette, London, England, PokerStars Qualifier (50,000 in chips)
28-year-old Antoine Amourette is one of the most accomplished players left in the tournament. He regularly plays online satellites for live tournaments and has made final tables at the WSOP (2009, $2,000 NLHE, 8th place), WPT (2010, €10,000 NLHE, 2nd place) and APPT (2010, $6,000 NLHE, 5th place). Despite this success, the big one – a live championship – has so far eluded him. His work is cut out for him if he wants to grab that brass ring in Cebu.
Amourette had a plane out of Cebu scheduled for Sunday night. He was debating whether he should even come back for the final table after the defining moment of the tournament for him, what he called “the last f***ing hand”. On the last hand of Day 3, Amourette’s pocket queens were rivered by Jacky Wang’s pocket jacks to cripple Amourette to four big blinds. He jokingly offered to “tip very well” (hint, hint) if he draws the button to start the final table.
Seat 2: Sameer Rattonsey, Mumbai, India (908,000 in chips)
Sameer Rattonsey, one of two final table players that hails from India, is a virtual unknown to the high-stakes poker world. His career highlight to date in more than 10 years of playing poker was finishing 2nd at the November 2011 APT Asian Series Goa Main Event ($25,749). He credits World Poker Tour television broadcasts featuring world-class pros like Phil Hellmuth and Gus Hansen for jump-starting his interest in “serious” poker.
Rattonsey’s big break in the tournament came when he slow-played aces from the small blind and got a huge double-up when his opponent in the big blind shoved all in. When he’s not sitting in front of the computer screen playing poker, he prefers to sit in front of the tv screen watching movies and tv shows.
Seat 3: Alistair Duff, Melbourne, Australia, APPT Cebu Satellite Winner (486,000 in chips)
We have to wonder how many times Alistair Duff has been called DuffMan in his life. The 33-year-old professional poker player is the right age to have grown up with Hank Azaria’s iconic The Simpsons character.
Even if Duff finishes in 9th place tomorrow, he has already assured himself of his first five-figure tournament cash after a string of four-figure cashes over the course of the last year. He believes he’s beginning to understand how to beat the games on a regular basis and plays with the confidence to back those beliefs up. He credits David Sklansky with stoking his passion for poker after his first dabbles in gambling with blackjack.
If we were Alistair, we would tell the rest of the final table to remember that, “DuffMan never dies, only the actors who play him do! Oh yeah!”
Seat 4: Nick Wong, Hong Kong (142,000 in chips)
Nick Wong is a 44-year-old investor who seems to specialize in investing tournament buy-ins into high roller events and then winning the events for a healthy return. He has two high roller wins under his belt, both in Macau: one in November 2011, one in November 2010. He also plays in some high-limit cash games, suggesting a poker player who is both skilled and well-financed.
Wong says that the fantastic weather and beautiful beaches in Cebu have been a definite highlight of the trip. We imagine that if he wins the $141,000 1st place prize for this Main Event, that would move to the top of his trip highlights.
Seat 5: Jacky Wang, Singapore, PokerStars Qualifier (402,000 chips)
Jacky Wang is a 24-year old poker professional who has provided some of the most entertaining moments of this tournament, with some lively table talk and even livelier play. All the talk at the end of Day 3 was Wang’s remarkable double up with pocket jacks against Antoine Amourette’s pocket queens where he made an unlikely backdoor straight on the final table bubble. That single moment will no doubt prove crucial regardless of what happens from here.
Wang shot to prominence in Australia last year in bizarre fashion when he was the victim of a unique angle-shooting case at a local tournament that sent shockwaves throughout the poker community. He’ll be looking to make headlines for all the right reasons time around with a breakthrough victory.
Seat 6: Do Hoang Anh, Hanoi, Vietnam (810,000 chips)
Despite Vietnamese-Americans having strong influences in the professional poker scene, it’s surprisingly rare to see a representative of Vietnam on an APPT final table. 27-year old banker Do Hoang Anh has done just that.
Hailing from Hanoi, Anh has only been playing the game for six months but is a regular in cash games up to $2/$5 and multi-table tournaments in neighboring Cambodia.
Being a sporting person, Anh says he has enjoyed the beaches and islands of Cebu when he hasn’t been busy playing in the MainEvent. With the third largest stack entering this final table, Anh will have to stick around a little longer before hitting the beach!
Seat 7: Michael Kanaan, Sydney, Australia, PokerStars Qualifier (399,000 chips)
Michael Kanaan is a 28-year old professional poker player hailing from Sydney in Australia. Kanaan is no stranger to major Australasian final tables. He won the 2011 ANZPT Sydney title and will be looking to join a very exclusive club as he strives to become only the third player in history to win both ANZPT and APPT titles.
Like many of our final table players, Kanaan got started after watching the game on TV with friends over three years ago. His one-time hobby has now turned into a profitable profession, with over $250,000 in live tournament cashes, and countless online poker results, in just a short time in the game. Kanaan will certainly be a huge threat on this final table.
Seat 8: Jae-Kyung Sim, Manila, Philippines (205,000 chips)
Jae-Kyung Sim, or “Simba” as he likes to be known, was listed in our player list as hailing from Korea, but his bio sheet indicates that his home town is Manila, which suggests that the locals to indeed have someone to cheer for on this final table.
Sim has been playing poker for four years after seeing it on TV, and has a couple of scores from previous events held in Manila. That experience will definitely come in handy on this final table.
Away from the tables, Sim enjoys golf and says that he has thoroughly enjoyed this tournament and coming to Cebu.
Seat 9: Amit Varma, Mumbai, India (1,241,000 chips)
38-year old Amit Varma grabbed attention as our Day 2 chip leader and that’s a position he held throughout Day 3 to enter our final table as easily the biggest stack in the room. Amit has been playing poker for three years after getting started on the play money games on PokerStars.
Varma has a string of small cashes to his credit from tournaments in Goa in India, but he has enjoyed the great structures offered at the APPT to allow him to play his natural game.
Interestingly, Varma is budding novelist. He enjoys writing and will be looking forward to writing the final chapter in what could be an epic story at this afternoon’s final table.