Mike Takayama, a poker professional and WSOP bracelet winner from the Philippines, has officially been named as the 2018 Asia Player of the Year (APOY), making him the first Filipino to win the prestigious title.
The 2018 APOY season took place between November 27 2017 and August 12 2018. Takayama had stiff competition, but was able to come out on top.
“I feel very happy because winning the APOY is a dream!” said the 29-year-old. “A lot of players also aspire to win this award. I hope they use me as an inspiration. There are a lot of excellent Filipino poker players who are still waiting for their big break. Just continue playing and you can also win like me.”
The former billiards pro plans to invest his USD $20,000 APOY winnings to his billiard-themed café.
After a stellar year on the felt, Mike also managed to bag a $30,000 PSPC Platinum Pass to the Bahamas during the PokerStars LIVE Manila Super Series Season 5, where he won the Main Event.
We had a quick catch up with Takayama, so check out that interview below.
PS BLOG: You’ve had an amazing year, what do you think contributed to your success?
Mike Takayama: I corrected what I did wrong in the previous tourneys. In the past years, whenever I bust out near the bubble, I note down what I did wrong and try not to repeat my mistake. I usually play a lot of small tourneys near the event date to practice.
PS BLOG: Are you planning to play bigger tournaments?
MT: Yes, that is my dream. I want to play with the best.
PS BLOG: Any parting words on how to be like Mike Takayama?
MT: To my fellow poker players, don’t give up. Just keep on playing. When you have a bad beat, accept it freely, it’s the nature of the game. Perseverance is key. I would also like to thank my wife for supporting me through everything, and I would also like to thank God and my friends.