Now we understood why there are people who get into the card game of poker, not because it’s not addicting (because it does) but it’s the fun that enticed a player’s experienced for every hand rolled in the table. Thanks to Solaire Resort and Casino, which is now the most LIKED integrated resort page in the Philippines on Facebook, for making us experience the life inside a poker table even if it was just for a short time only. Incidentally, Solaire will be hosting the 1st World Poker Tour National Philippines that will happen from October 16-28, 2014.
The game of poker amidst fun and addiction, has its pros and cons. Our new friends and poker mentors Ron Regis, Marco Aventajado, and Vic De Guzman all shared their stories how the poker bug bit them and how it changed their lives drastically from another career to the next as poker masters.
Ron stumbling to poker wasn’t a 360 degrees head turn but only 47 degrees, according to the professional poker coach. He found out that he’s good at poker so he left his post-television network career, played it full-time, and settled to become a sought after poker coach in the Philippines. Ron compares poker game to the favorite Filipino sports. Yup, that’s basketball! How related, isn’t it?
Ron learned basketball’s dribbling, scoring points, and putting the ball in the hole – the baskets, of course. Ron puts his perception on basketball to the card game, putting the best defense and win the goal of successfully making hands. His perception on poker changed from the concept of gambling to being a game as he saw the whole picture of about making decisions and making sense of it which made poker less of a gamble. “Poker is not making hands or making money anymore, it turned into something more fundamental about making decisions. And these decisions come from the information around me, which is the sexy thing about poker is being able to tell if someone is lying,” Regis mentioned these words during a briefing held in a Suite room on the 16th floor of Solaire Resort and Casino for the World Poker Tour Bloggers Night where 14 of us bloggers were invited to take the experience of playing a real game of No-Limit Texas Hold ’em where many of us were first-timers on the poker table.
While munching finger foods and cherishing the beef tenderloin salpicao on our mouth we carefully listened to these guys who have extremely high knowledge of this card game.
Take for instance Marco, who is one of the people who made poker more popular in the country. “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but the three people who’ll be talking tonight will share you the virtues of reading strategy for poker. Kase, the only way to gain knowledge about something is to experience it or in someone else’s work,” Aventajado explained before crash-coursing us with poker history. Marco started poker tournaments from a small bar tour of 20 people in 2007 until it grew and PAGCOR noticed how poker games attract a lot of patrons and logged in the tournament inside PAGCOR’s turf.
As we listened on, our curiosity and excitement to poker became more aggressive much more when we heard that the prize for the winning team will be awarded with Php 10,000 worth of playing chips. We were divided into three teams of five – in our case, six members, and with a good mentor coach to help us deliver our cards well on every hand of the game.
Our team’s coach, and we were fortunate to have him was Vic De Guzman, a non-traditional poker player who have earned numerous first place winnings in different poker tournaments in the Philippines and other countries as well.
“Unheralded Vic de Guzman came out as the last man standing from a record field of 667 participants after grueling days of action, including an energy-exhausting final day marathon that lasted more than 15 hours, to rule the Metro Hi-5 Tournament and become the new Filipino Poker Tour (FPT) champion.
The victory earned De Guzman, an official representative of PokerManila.com, the whooping P2-million top prize at stake in the event presented by the Metro Card Club and Pokerstars.com held at the Metrowalk in Pasig City,” said a two paragraph line from www.metrocardclub.com.
“I don’t look like your typical poker guy. I don’t wear a hoodie. I don’t wear shades. I don’t have my kupas na maong. I don’t have my backpack or my headphones. Because that is basically what you see on TV. I am and still am a corporate person,” he said which cracked the ice inside the luxurious room of Solaire suite. Vic‘s shift from being a CEO and COO of a land developing property company to the hard-core poker scene, as he told us, was all the fault of Marco, he kidded. Vic was the first poker champion of the first poker bar tour that Marco organized all for fun where buying a drink made a player’s entry to the game, winning drinks in return and having fun with friends.
To cut the long story short, all of us 14 bloggers, our team captains, and coaches assembled inside R16 before we head down straight to the casino poker table and played a three-blind level team game. But before the actual game, we freshen up with a 30 minute try-out card game just for us to get familiarize with it.
During the trial game, we’ve learned the basics like flop, turn, river, hand, all-in, buy, bet, check, raise, name it. For that 30 minute pre-poker game, we have learned a lot and thanks to people like Vic, Marco, Ron, and Bob Guerrero who played in our table (although he was with another team as their captain) and patiently taught us some basics of the game.
The Dealer then started to distribute the cards and the game started with small to big blind bet – that is Php 100 – Php 200 playing chips which later moved to a bigger bet of Php 400 blind.
First half of the game was stressful and we were feeling every hand. During the coaching time-out, we heard Vic mentioned to us that “If you think you’ve got a good playing cards at the start of the turn, put it all-in.” And that’s how it went through. We were fortunate to have a good card for every hand and that made us earned more stacks of chips as we put it all-in the table. The 8-man table went down to a 4-man as players lose their chips. It almost ended that our team were playing against each other.
On the other side of the table, game were not on our side when Ian Bacungan of www.theroguewriter.net loses his chips at the early round. Myke Soon of www.mixofeverything.net almost had nothing left but his quick decisions saved him from losing more. On our table, Sol Razo of www.solrazo.com were just doing fine and earning more chips at the same time our chips were loaded also. Two of our team members, lost the game in the early rounds that made us the only three left competing.
At the end of the last hand, our cards got folded because we knew we just had a bad playing card but Sol insisted on putting it all-in, and so she did. We thought she had a good chance of winning, and it will be a good one because it will add up to our stacks of chips if she wins. Unfortunately, and just like a dark horse, Arvin Ello under Bob‘s team, took all the bet chips on the table because he had a much better playing cards. With that, Arvin won another Php 10,000 worth of playing chips all for himself while our team won the highest number of chips left on the table. We went home with a good amount of cash that night for playing an all for fun poker games. Not bad for a first-timer.
The WPT Bloggers Night was part of the launch of Solaire WPT National Philippines to be held on October 16-28, 2014 – 13 days of pure poker madness, featuring the World Poker Tour.
Part of the winning prizes for the WPT are Php 1 million guaranteed super satellite, USD150 multi-rebuy celebrity event for Solaire Cares, USD500 PLO championship, first-ever USD1000 Nations Challenge: Philippines vs China vs Japan vs Korea, USD1,000 Solaire Cup, USD250,000 high rollers, and USD2,200 main event.
Aside from Solaire Poker Room‘s on-going weekend satellites, they also set up a big one for October 16 to 18. For a buy-in of Php 5,500, there’s a guarantee of Php 1 million prize pool in the WPT Super Satellite to be held at the Solaire Grand Ballroom. All these in preparation for the WPT Festival of Poker at Solaire this October 16 to 28, 2014.
To know more about WPT schedules, visit www.solaireresort.com.
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