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Early Profits In Manila

So I’ve arrived in Manila once again. While I enjoyed my trip last time, I didn’t think I’d ever bother coming back here, but then I managed to luckbox a package to the APT Main Event on 888 Poker, so I find myself at the Dusit Thani hotel for another shot at a major tournament result. We’re in Makati which appears to be a newer, business area of the city rather than the slums we were in last time. I can go outside here and not feel nervous, and we’re nearby to westernized shopping centres and restaurants which were harder to find last time.

I decided while I’m in Manila I’m going to play a fair bit for practice and also because I don’t normally get much of a chance. Tonight was a Bounty event (13,000 pesos buy-in, US$270) where if you knocked out someone you got $50, but on every table there was also a bounty worth US$500 which was normally a well known player or APT person. There were 103 starters. At my table on got “Tommy” Le who is an APT pro and one of the “Poker Pack”. In the first level or so I picked up pocket tens in the small blind and called his raise with two others. Flop 7-2-T rainbow. It checked around to Le who bet 600, I flat called as did one other guy. Turn was a J. I checked again and it checked around. River…another ten! I’d hit quads. So I lead smallish for 850 hoping to get paid off. One guy folds before Le moved all in! Snap-call and bang he’s out and I’ve scooped a US$500 bounty as well as a cute little APT donkey soft-toy! So now I’m already in profit and have doubled my chips so I obviously enjoyed the rest of the tournament.

Next hand I picked up pocket aces and re-raised a guy who folded. Then a few orbits later I pick up aces again and re-raise a guy, who calls. Flop 8-6-2 with two hearts. He donks out for 1,000. I had no idea what he had, but I had aces so I moved all in. He quickly called and I figured he had something like pocket tens. He showed KQ offsuit for no pair, no draw. Just king high! “I thought you were bluffing” he said. OMG. Thankyou sir. I bust him and scoop another $50 and have over 14,000 chips.

Soon after I raised with A4 and flopped two pair and got paid off by a young Scandi kid who made a move with middle pair. I’m thinking I hope I don’t use up ALL my luck today. Then I raised with A6 and same Scandi called. The flop was A-K-2 rainbow, and I thought I’d mix it up and see if he gets overly aggro again so I checked, he checked behind. The turn was an 8. I bet 600 and he called. River was a 9 and put three diamonds on board. I checked and he bet 500. A very small bet. I probably should’ve stopped and realised I didn’t beat much, but since he was Scandi, had already shown me he as aggro and it was so cheap, I quickly called. He turned over pocket eights. Urgh, I let him have a free card and he hit a two-outer. Damn.

Not much happened then for a little while until at 100/200 a guy went all in under the gun for 475 without looking at his cards. With a $50 bounty on the line, and since I had plenty of gambling chips I decided to raise to 1,200 and hope to isolate against him and gamble. My cards…64 offsuit. The all-in guy then starts telling the table how I was doing exactly what I was doing – trying to steal his bounty. Thanks buddy. The table folds to the big blind who calls my raise. Flop Q-6-4. Bingo. Big blind checks and I bet 1,300. He then tanks for ages, and another guy calls the clock. He then raised to 3,175. I’d made a move and got lucky, so I wanted to protect my hand and get that bounty so I shoved and he folded (what he later said was pocket deuces). The all-in player then turns over A3 and is in trouble. Turn 2, the other guy would’ve hit a set if I hadn’t have pushed, and suddenly the short-stack has life with a gutshot draw. River 5. The bastard makes his straight to stay alive and $50 slips through my fingers with a runner-runner. Urgh. Next hand I have him all in again with A5s against his pocket fours and he spiked a set. So I had two good chances to bust him and missed.

After than things got slow until the 200/400 level. I had AJ on the button and raised, with the Scandi in the big blind who had just under 5,000. I knew he was capable of re-stealing light so I snap-called when he moved in. He showed AQ. Damn. The board bricked and I’m back down under 8,000.

The levels were every 20 minutes and the dealers pretty incompetent. Incredibly I went the whole 200/400 level without being in the big blind.

Again things got slow, I had a couple of failed steals after people shoved, and twice I re-shoved on others (with 55 and 88) and they folded. Then at 300/600 I picked up aces (for the third time! omg) and raised small to 1,300 from the cutoff and the big blind shoved with AJs. Two diamonds on the flop gave him a flush draw, but he missed and I picked up another $50 bounty and am back to about 15,000.

My next raise was again from the cutoff to 1,800 with the blinds at 400/800 with QJs. The short-stack to my left shoves for 4,400 and I’m ready to gamble, but then the big blind flat calls. He had another 10,000 behind so his flat call was pretty suss. With so much in the pot I had to call and hope to hit a flop. It was A-J-3. I got a piece of it but the big blind huffed and puffed and sighed and sobbed before moving all in. I insta-folded and he had AQ. The short stack had 44. Turn and river bricked. If the big blind didn’t get involved I would’ve busted another shorty.

Again I struggled to find spots or cards and we move to the final two tables. The table had Chris Parker, CEO of the APT on the table with a $500 bounty on his head. He was also just shorter than me with about 8,000 chips. I played about four hands, and decided I was going to target Parker’s stack/blind if it got around to me. Even if I take a chance at his $500 bounty, that bounty alone was worth more than finishing the tournament in 8th place anyway and I was getting short with the blinds up to 600/1200 with 200 ante. The hand before Chris was in the big blind, he limped under the gun. A guy flat called and I looked down at A7. I figured the caller was weak, and that Chris is likely to have a small pair or a monster. I decided to go with it and re-raised, hoping Chris would call with a small pair and we’d race for US$500 and the other guy would get out of the way. What I didn’t consider was the guy to my left going all in over the top of us all. Shit. Chris also called to attempt to triple up with AT. The raiser had AJ and I was in trouble. A jack on the flop and it was all over.

The crapshoot made it tough. You just had to gamble and although A7 wasn’t a great hand, I think it was a good spot and if I’d busted Chris I would’ve pocketed in total more than about 5th place was worth. As it was I was out in 18th, with the top 10 paying, but I made more than 8th place paid anyway so not a bad start to my Manila trip.

I also got a spot on the APT update video with the lovely Riza Santos. Keep an eye out for the flying donkey toy being caught at the 30 seconds mark…

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