It was another day in paradise, but for 128 players it was business as usual as Day 2 of the APPT Cebu Main Event got underway at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino. The goal was to survive eight levels or reach the money. The prop bets in media row set the line at 30 players after the eight levels. Some of us took the unders. Some thought the overs. APPT head honcho Danny McDonagh was confident that we'd reach the money, and one thing we've learnt about Danny is that he knows his stuff when it comes to tournament structures. So it was no surprise to see our day end smack bang on the money with 28 players surviving.
Along the way we unfortunately lost all three remaining Team PokerStars Pro members - Raymond Wu, Celina Lin and the defending champion Vivian Im.
Despite our reasoning that the hypnotic carpets should make for a relaxing time on the tables, it just wasn't a good day for the red spade.
Im was short-stacked and an early elimination with her ace-five no match for an opponent's ace-ten. Wu and Lin battled on further into the day, before both got a little unlucky with "Big Slick". Wu's ace-king was three-outered by ace-jack, while Lin pushed her ace-king smack bang into the pocket aces of Jacky Wang.
Wang is an entertaining player to watch at the tables. With roots in Singapore and Australia, Wang talks the talk and now he can also lay claim to walking the walk. Wang went on a tear today, busting multiple opponents with a combination of solid reads, strong play and a few handy big pairs.
Wang was the chip leader for most of the day, but was pipped late in the day by India's Amit Varma.
Varma accumulated throughout, and was responsible for the elimination of cult hero David Steicke late in the day. We were hoping for a repeat of the Steicke bubble magic from the 2008 APPT Macau but when Steicke lost a race with A♦9♥ against Varma's pocket sevens, it was all over for the Hong Kong based Aussie.
When the bubble burst on Mikko Turtiainen in brutal fashion, his pocket queens cracked by pocket sixes, our day was done with just ten minutes left in the eighth level of the day.
Varma, Wang and Hoang Anh Do held the heaviest bags in the room and will be keen to push on towards a breakthrough live victory but it won't easy with our field still including several highly credentialed players. ANZPT Sydney champion Michael Kanaan, ANZPT Canberra winner Sammy Huang, previous Asia Player of the Year Kitty Kuo, MPCC champ Julian Hasse, online gun Carter Gill and High Rollers crusher Nick Wong are all still in contention.
Check the live updates section shortly for the official end-of-day chip counts as well as the redraw for Day 3.
The final 28 will be back at 12:15pm tomorrow as things start to get serious in Cebu. Sure, they're in the money, but by the end of tomorrow, we'll have a final table lined up and ready to go, with millions of pesos to be won. While we'd suggest a good night's rest, there's the player's party tonight at VUDU from 10pm. With an open bar and birthday boy McDonagh leading the chorus, somehow I don't think there's going to be too many pretty heads tomorrow.