Filed by Sean Callander
Of all the nations represented in the PokerStars APPT Manila event, the highest proportional representation surely has to be the contingent from Guam. The southernmost of the Marianas Islands in the western Pacific, Guam has a population of about 170,000 so to have four players from the US territory is a great effort.
And the so-called Team Guam – including Rey Serafico, Chris Morato and Ben Babuata – is not here to make up the numbers, as ‘captain’ Kevin Brunton said. “We travel and play quite a bit. I’ve just returned from the WSOP with Ben and Chris where I played in three events including the main event,” Brunton said.
“There’s a good poker scene in Guam – we play a lot of home games and we just had a tournament $400 buy-in tournament that attracted 300 people. There’s also some regular tournaments in Tinian, a small island to the north of Guam. We also fly to the Philippines regularly to play.”
Brunton said the advent of the APPT was great news for Team Guam – they can now start spending more money on buy-ins and less on airfares.
“The APPT is great, especially with Seoul and Sydney coming up. It means we don’t have to fly to the US – it takes eight hours to fly to Hawaii just to start with.”
So what’s the chance of seeing a Team Guam member at the final table? “My hope was for all four of us to make the final table but we just had our first elimination (Rey Serafico, on the last hand before the dinner break). But we’re strong – we’ll get there.”
Team Guam is looking strong, with just 118 of the original 255 still in the running for the $179,775 first prize.
Recent eliminations include Dan ‘Rekrul’ Schreiber, Manlee Wan and less than an hour after the dinner break, Joe Hachem.
Thailand’s Mortin Kaspersen called Hachem’s raise of 1700 before a flop of Jc 10h 3d. Neither player bet the flop, but Hachem pushed in 3000 on the turn of 2h. Kaspersen raised to 9000, causing to ask “am I going to go broke on this hand, it doesn’t make sense”.
However, Hachem still pushes his chips in, and receives an instant call from Kaspersen. Despite holding pocket nines, Hachem is drawing dead when the Thai player shows pocket 10s.