A Record-Breaking Opening Day; Benasa leads the Welcome Event

It was a record-breaking opening day at the Asian Poker Tour Finale 2015 with a massive turnout of players flocking in for the opening event, the P1M Guaranteed Welcome Event. As early as mid-afternoon, shuffling chips dominated all the poker tables at the Waterfront Manila Pavilion Casino Filipino with extra tables set up outside of the tournament area to accommodate the influx. By early evening, a total of 287 entries – flight A 141 entries and flight B 146 entries- were in the books making this event the largest opening field for the 2015 APT year. This also brought the total prize pool to P1,670,300, well exceeding the guarantee.

Mark Benasa on top after Flights A and B of the 1M GTD Welcome Event

Breaking down the day’s action, there were a total 71 players who survived the day – 38 for flight A and 33 for flight B. Ending the night as the top three chip leaders were Mark Benasa (Philippines) with 142,700 chips, Harry Beatty (Malaysia) with 137,300 chips, and Michael Capinpuyan (Philippines) with 113,500 chips. Among those also joining the leaders into tomorrow’s final day were APT Player of the Year Triple Crown Champion Samad Razavi from the UK and Japan’s Iori Yogo. These two players, Razavi and Yogo, are in a tight race for this year’s APT POY 2015 title with Razavi currently leading in points by a small margin against Yogo. Both players attended flight A with Razavi ending the day with 87,500 chips and Yogo with 66,000 chips.

The day also saw a big number of notables take to the felt with several making it through the day such as Korean players Sim Jae Kyung and Soo Jo Kim, and Norway’s Kai Paulsen all of whom who qualified in flight A. In flight B, Korea’s Seung Soo Jeon, Germany’s Sebastian Benz, and Denmark’s Kristian Faering also survived the day.

Other notables who graced the felt for the opening event but unfortunately found the rail were Japan’s Tetsuya Tsuchikawa and Gerard Bringley, Filipino players Mike Takayama and Jessie Leonarez, Canada’s Tommy Lee, and India’s Dhaval Mudgal.

The Welcome Event will resume at 1pm tomorrow with 36 players seeing the money. Everyone will be gunning for the hefty first place winning chunk of P412,600. Congratulations to all the qualifiers! See you tomorrow!

You can find out who else qualified along with their chip counts at the APT Poker Club Facebook page.