The APL Road Series Vol.1 Philippineshas just taken off here at the Royce Hotel & Casino in Angeles City, Pampanga with the Asia Poker League hosting their first-ever event in the country. The six-day festival scheduled to run from February 24 – March 1 features a P5,000,000 Guaranteed Main Event (US$99,000) with an entry fee of just P27,500.
While most international operators that come through this Southeast Asian nation usually set up camp in the bustling metropolis of Manila, the APL defied the norm and situated their inaugural event two hours north (travel by road) in the Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City. They now become the first tour to host a major international poker festival in this part of the country. And though it may seem ambitious for the young brand, strategically, laying their first footprint in the north instead of Manila makes perfect sense.
For players unfamiliar with Angeles City, this is where Clark Air Base was established by the Americans back in the 1920’s. Since then, the area has been a hub for foreigners with many opting to reside in this urbanized district over the crowded city of Manila. In 2008, the air base was transformed into Clark International Airport which now handles over 12 million visitors annually. One of the largest influx of foreigners for the past decade have been Korean nationals as is evident with the numerous Korean restaurants all over the city.
APL: Its roots and beginnings
In an interview back in 2016 with one of APL’s founders, Judic Kim, the goal of the league was to bring the fun back in poker. As a Korean national, Kim was impassioned to help educate Koreans on tournament poker and expose them to other countries hosting big events.
Despite the competitive market in the region, Kim recognized the massive potential for a league in China which then led to a tie up with Beijing Poker Club. With their combined efforts, that year saw the APL host a very successful first event seeing 465 entries for their Main Event. This was followed by a second event in 2017drawing a massive 911 entries.
Full speed ahead in 2018
With the experience in China giving them a major boost, the league felt ready to take on new destinations. The start of the new year came with the big announcement of expansion to the Philippines and India with the latter in partnership with Vikram Verma, co-founder ofIndia Poker Pros and of Poker Buddies. There are many advantages on choosing these two countries with poker highly embraced and a market already established. The addition of these nations will certainly bring more color to the league with players flying in to the APL events to compete against each other.
For their event in the Philippines, – which is now underway – , APL held satellites to the Main Event in various locations around Asia. Two were held in the host country – at Metro Card Cluband Wild Aces – while others were held in China, Korea, and India. Satellites were also held online at PokAAmax.
What to expect at APL Road Series Vol.1 Philippines
The APL Road Series Vol.1 Philippines offers a P5,000,000 Guaranteed Main Event. The first three days are dedicated to starting days (Day 1). The last three are Day 2, Day 3, and the Final Day. In addition to the main, the festival offers 10 side events ranging from P5,500 to the largest of P50,000 for the High Rollers event.