Short Stack’s Success Story: Vietnam’s Huy Pham Rise from the Ashes to Lead Final 8 of APT-RWM Poker Finale Main Event

Down and almost out, Huy Pham of Vietnam battled from being a short stack to becoming the chip leader going into the final day of the APT-RWM Poker Finale 2014 Main Event at Resorts World Manila (RWM) in Pasay City, Philippines. The Vietnamese now leads an eight-handed final table set on Wednesday (December 10) when the Asian Poker Tour (APT) crowns yet another main event champion.

Aside from Pham, two others also performed impressively to stack up over a million in chips; Eric Sia (Philippines) with 1,158,000 and Linh Tran (Canada) with 1,031,000. Five others played well enough to survive Day 3, which started play with 36 players from the original 289 total entries who played from Day 1A and Day 1B. The total prize pool was set at PHP 12,895,200 and the lion’s share of PHP 3,185,000 will go to the first placer in this main event.

The APT-RWM Poker Finale 2014 Main Event final table features two local bets from the home country, Philippines; two from Japan; and one each from Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada, and Australia.

Chip Counts – Final Table
1. Huy Pham (Vietnam) – 1,218,000
2. Eric Sia (Philippines) – 1,158,000
3. Linh Tran (Canada) – 1,031,000
4. Chow Mun Fei (Malaysia) – 613,000
5. Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (Japan) – 548,000
6. Michael Mariakis (Australia) – 543,000
7. John Tech (Philippines) – 384,000
8. Azusa Maeda (Japan) – 287,000

APT-RWM Poker Finale Main Event Final Eight

Pham’s rise from the ashes is well-documented in the APT Team’s Live Updates of the main event. Right off the bat, the poker gods did not allow him to have an early bust out in Day 3 when his J J hit the set on the turn on the board featuring K 5 5 J 4. John Tech, who is also one of the players in the final table, was ahead pre-flop in this hand with Q Q but survived owing to a larger stack. Gretar Karlson, who was also involved in the hand had 10 10 and became the first casualty of the day.

For the record, Pham had 61,000 in chips on Tuesday— with 3000/6000/1000 blinds and antes at this point of the tournament, he only had 10 big blinds to work with at the start of Day 3.

It was a sign of the things to come for the Vietnamese. Pham proceeded to bust out Ong Yung Jang with 9 9 before delivering a double knockout of Daniel Chin and Lourdes Fernandez with A Q. Pham’s biggest win came in form of a Norbert Koh exit ousting the Singaporean with the cowboys and nearing the 1 million chip mark after just two hours of play in Day 3. Pham was also responsible for eliminating Euryd Rivera and ousting Hyunshik Yun in the latter part of the day.

Meanwhile, the other two “millionaires” in the final table had their own success stories as expected. Sia slowly climbed up the rankings in part because of his bust out of Michele Ferrari via the bullets in a hand that brought the Filipino to the half-million mark. For Tran, it was his elimination of Ishihara Kodai that put him among the bigger stacks, catching the Japanese stealing the blinds and antes with just jack-nine, which was dominated by the Canadian’s A J.

Will Pham hold on to his big stack and go all the way to the title? Or will the likes of Sia and Tran continue their torrid run? Of course the mid and shorter stacks has a legit chance too; after all, Pham just showed them that even with just ten big blinds, it’s not over until it’s over.

The APT-RWM Poker Finale 2014 ends tomorrow with the final table scheduled to start at 1:30 PM. One final side event, the 6-Handed (PHP 16,500 buy-in) tournament is set at 1:00 PM.