File by Sean Callander
Is everyone in a hurry to get somewhere? Players are falling thick and fast
early on day two in the APPT Manila event as the field is reduced from 72
down to the nine that will contest tomorrow’s final table.
In the first 30 minutes of play, nine players were eliminated including
Japanese duo Masa Kagawa and Hiroshi Simamura.
Kagawa first came to our notice during the high-stakes $100,000 buy-in event
at the 2007 Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Australia.
Just months after he’d played his first hands of Texas Hold’em, Kagawa stepped right into the firing line of some of the world’s best players including Team PokerStars’ Daniel Negreanu, but the businessman and high stakes gambler held his own and finished third behind Erick Lindgren and eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel.
The continuing emergence of players like Masa is reflected in the mix of players still in the hunt for the first APPT title.
The 63 players remaining come from 23 different nations: a remarkable statistic given that poker is so new to the region.
For the record, countries still represented are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and the USA.
Currently, it’s the Malaysian-based Swede Roger Spets who’s leading the way on just over 130,000 in chips, ahead of Australian pair David Saab and Paul Gianfriddo, both in the mid-70,000s.
Another player who’s steadily moving up the chip count also encapsulates the international flavour of poker and the APPT. Guillaume Patry is a native of Quebec, Canada but now lives in Seoul (the next stop on the APPT schedule). He is recognised the world’s premier Starcraft gamer and is a celebrity in his adopted country.
Patry has been swept up in poker fever like many gamers in South Korea, and is making the most of this opportunity to gain some live tournament experience. He’s proving an astute student of the game, sitting just 60,000 in chips (20,000 above average) and well placed for a charge at the title.