2009 APT Manila Main Event Champion Neil Arce
260 plus players made the $2500 buy-in for the main event of the Asian Poker Tour recently held at the Dusit Thani hotel in Manila. Three exciting days of No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament play saw some of the best poker professionals from all over Asia visit the Philippines and take their shot at a pot that was supposed to be a guaranteed $1 Million.
However, the lack of participants forced APT CEO and Chairperson Chris Parker to withdraw his guarantee for the $1 Million, but still the prize pool for the APT Main Event still was a whopping $600,000 plus. That’s still a lot of cash to play for.
And eventually, when it was all said and done, it was the Philippines very own Neil Arce who emerged as the APT Main Event champion, winning for himself a whopping $200,000, a pimp ass trophy to show off, and indeed a reinforced reputation as one of the best poker players in the country.
The poker success of Neil Arce was first noted when he became the first Filipino (with a Philippine address) to go deepest in the WSOP Main Event back in 2007 where Neil Arce placed 222nd in a field of 6,300+ players, also earning himself $51,000+.
Neil Arce also won the 2008 Filipino Poker Tour (FPT), and eventually caught the eye of the top brass of Pokerstars.net, and took Neil Arce into the family of Pokerstars.net.
A week prior to the APT Main Event, Chris Parker confessed that Neil Arce had confidently told him that he was going to win the tournament, and he certainly kept true to that promise.
I had followed the progress of the APT Main Event since the doors to the APT opened on Tuesday January 27. I visited the Dusit Thani regularly, grinding out the cash games. But then, this post isn’t about my meager accomplishments as a poker player, this is about Neil “Dirty Ice Cream” Arce!
On the first day of the tournament, Neil Arce had a monster chip stack to lead all poker players on Day 1a. On Day 2, I caught Neil Arce struggling a bit, dropping from the chip leader to going around average. There were 18 poeple left the last time I checked his progress in the 2009 APT Main Event.
Going back for final table action, I wasn’t surprised to find Neil Arce there. But when I arrived at the Dusit Thani, there were only 3 players left, and I was already ecstatic for Neil Arce at being guaranteed $70,000 for his assured 3rd place finish.
Neil Arce assured himself of at least second place when he busted out Casey Kastle with a showdown of A-6 vs A-K. The A-6 of Neil Arce looked dominated by the Big Slick of Casey Kastle, but a 6 on the flop kept Neil Arce ahead, and eventually lead to the elimination of Casey Kastle, and forcing heads-up action against APT Macau runner-up Steve Yeah of Korea.
The heads-up showdown between Neil Arce and Steve Yeah lasted 25 minues with Neil Arce bullying Steve Yeah in several hands before the final showdown of K-Q suited of Neil Arce against the A-K Big Slick of Steve Yeah.
Neil Arce was indeed worried that Steve Yeah had the advantage with a better hand. In fact, the flop looked even more worrisome for Neil Arce as his hand failed to improve. However, a Queen showed her panties on the turn and Neil Arce erupted in celebration along with the legions of Filipino fans cheering their kababayan. The Queen held up to knock out Steve Yeah, and Neil Arce was then crowned 2009 APT Manila Main Event champion.
A fine performance for Steve Yeah who gets another 2nd place finish in the Asian Poker Tour main events, the first in Macau and now in the Philippines. And while Steve Yeah didn’t win, his two runner-up finishes certainly shows him as one of the best poker players in the Asian Poker Tour.
Of course, there to cheer Neil Arce on were his lovely girlfriend Maike Evers and his good friends Nick Galan and Miguel Cuneta of the Metro Card Club, (which is also where Neil Arce plays most of his poker).
Neil, galing bro! Let me know when the party is.