Poker in paradise.
It’s a simple statement but one which offers so much to the hundreds of poker players, staff, media and the odd WAG (wives and girlfriends), who have found their way to Cebu in the Philippines for the fourth stop on Season Four of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
Whenever you see a postcard or travel guide with pictures of exotic tropical destinations, you always look at it with a touch of skepticism knowing that it probably took the photographers months to capture that perfect moment. When you arrive the paint is probably cracking, the roof is leaking, the rust has developed and the hype was all way too big for the reality.
That couldn’t be further from the truth here at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa. Every moment is a picture postcard, whether it’s the perfectly raked sands of the private beach cove, the crystal blue ocean waters with tropical fish at your ankles, the 13 hectares of beautifully landscaped gardens, or the two popular lagoon pools equipped with poolside bars. Welcome to paradise indeed.
Cebu is located in the Visayas group of islands, close to the centre of the Philippines’ archipelago, and about 600km south of the capital of Manila. The metropolis of Cebu is the second largest after Manila and is home to a population of more than 3.5 million. However its location, only a short flight from Hong Kong, appeals to masses of tourists, weekend jet-setters and local travellers.
While the APPT Cebu will attract a wide range of players from Australia, Asia and all over the world, it is the local poker scene which is now thriving. The local Metro Card club continues to produce excellent numbers with the next local poker star waiting in the wings, ready to announce themselves to the world by taking down a major title in their home country. He or she will be looking to follow in the footsteps of PokerStars sponsored Neil Arce who has led the way for poker in the Philippines with some impressive results at home and abroad.
Joining him in the field will be PokerStars Team Asia pros Celina Lin, Tae Joon Noh, Raymond Wu and newly crowned Asia Player of the Year Bryan Huang, while the Hachem boys, 2005 World Champion Joe, and back-to-back ANZPT Player of the Year Tony, were both spotted relaxing on the beach yesterday in preparation for a tilt at this year’s trophy.
Of course last year we saw the APPT Cebu crown head to Korea when Dong-bin Han steamrolled his way through the field of 319 to collect a first place prize of PHP7,410,000 (approx $156,722). Reports from last year suggested that all 319 had promised to return this year which means there will be a queue at the breakfast buffet and a massive field for the 2010 PokerStars.net APPT Cebu Main Event.
PokerStars will be on location at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa throughout the week (it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!) to bring you all the action on and off the poker felt.
It’s going to be a fun week and we look forward to your company when we kick off Friday at 12:15pm local time (GMT+8).