APPT8 Macau Day 1a: Bong and friends

May 21, 2014

Baby. The Croc. Capitao. The Master. Simba.


Random words? Perhaps.

However, in the context of Day 1a of APPT Macau Main Event these are the many unique nicknames of some of the players and staff currently in the PokerStars LIVE at the City of Dreams poker room.

I’m going to be honest with you, I was originally going to write a piece about how Billy Argyros and 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan were two late registrants this evening.

So to get my creative juices flowing, I wandered onto the floor and began chatting with Tournament Director Sam Dawson about the culture of late registering in poker tournaments, and specifically in Macau.

Then another Tournament Director walked past.

One that I hadn’t seen before in Macau.

“That’s Bong,” said Dawson.

“Excuse me?” I replied.

“Bong,” responded Dawson.

“Um… Excuse me?” I replied.

Dawson explained that this was a new tournament director named Norman, but that he preferred to go by his nick name “Bong.”

Fair enough.

Then I realised that both Johnny Chan and Billy Argyros also have famous nicknames. Chan has often gone by the name “The Master” while Argyros is none other than “The Croc”.


There is a reason they call him ‘The Croc’

So following that lightbulb moment I realised there were even more players in the room with nicknames and so here we are, abandoning the exposé on late registering and discussing nicknames.

Nicknames like “Bong”.

I could keep saying “Bong” all day long, but I would be amiss to not mention some of the other players with nicknames here in the Day 1a field.

There are players like Oliver Gill who claimed to the world on the 2013 WSOP Main Event television broadcast that he was “The Capitao”; Jae Kyung “Simba” Sim; and “Baby” Tom Alner who we are told received his nick name from his girlfriend Kitty Kuo and it caught on. And no “Kitty” is not a nick name. Well, it kind of is. You see, in Asia, poker players often use a western name to replace their actual traditional name. They get to choose that name and not have it chosen for them like everyone else. That’s why there are people in Macau known as “Juicy”, “Kitty” and apparently even a dealer who swears by the name “Ice Cream”.

These players in today’s field may be the poster children for why a nickname is needed to succeed in poker. Gill recently final tabled ANZPT Sydney and has an immense online record, Sim has won APPT Cebu, Alner won the Red Dragon Main Event in 2013, Chan is a 10-time bracelet winner and Argyros is in the Australian Poker Hall of Fame.

Bong, well he may not have any results on the poker circuit, but with a nick name like
that, we know he would fare just fine at the felt.

If you think about it, there aren’t many poker players with nick names who haven’t succeeded at poker. That’s probably because to earn a nick name that sticks you have to win a tournament and have those in the poker media proclaim your nick name to the poker world. Or you just proclaim it hard enough yourself and hopefully it sticks.

Unfortunately, however, Day 1a of the APPT Macau Main Event has not been the day for some of these players with nick names. The Master was eliminated shortly after he sat down as he got his chips in with a flush draw against top pair and couldn’t improve, while Capitao was eliminated when he ran top two pair into a set.


No APPT Macau title for Johnny Chan. Those ten bracelets will have to do

The others will have to fly the flag for the nicknamed players and if worst comes to worst and poker doesn’t work out for them, they can try and get a job with Bong on the tournament floor.


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