The wily veteran played solid poker throughout the day and secured himself a spot at the final table with $238,000 chips. Not bad for the sole representative of Team PokerStars Pro in Manila.
Nelson has been very successful in APPT events and no matter what happens tomorrow at the final table, he will have made his third cash on the fledging tour, which puts him among the all-time leaders.
Nelson was able to take advantage of some unusual pacing on Day 2, as the day started with a flurry of eliminations, slowed right down when the players made the money and ended with another burst of bust-outs.
Australians David Saab and Michael Chrisanthopoulos were among the players to take the early dive on Day 2.
It's not every day you get to see a bona fide one-outer but that's exactly what happened in the early stages of Day 2, when Aussie Van Marcus engineered one of the biggest suck-outs we've seen on the APPT.
Marcus called an all-in shove on the turn of a A-T-7-3 board while holding 3-3 only to be faced with the harsh reality of set over set as his opponent held TT for middle set. There was only one card in the deck that could save Marcus - the miracle 3♣.
As it turned out, that's exactly what peeled off the river, and Marcus raked the absolutely massive pot with quad treys.
It was the start of a major heater for Marcus and he was a dominant force throughout the day, even knocking off David Saab in the very next hand.
Not so lucky was PokerStars-sponsored player Celina Lin, who finished just two spots out of the money. Lin was also knocked out very close to the money at APPT Auckland, so perhaps she is saving her run-good up for the APPT Grand Final in Sydney.
One of the major stories of the day was the play of last year's winner Brett Parise. Parise did an admirable job of defending his crown, going out deep in the tournament to cash. Parise might want to think about playing more poker in the Philippines, as he seems to have the magic touch here.
As the night continued the eliminations got harder to come by. Level 15 was particularly slow, with only three eliminations in an hour.
Finally, at around Level 17, play once again resumed its torrid pace, making it difficult to keep track of all the eliminations.
In the end it was former chip leader Josh Pang Ang who fell just short of the final table by coming 10th.
The final table is an interesting assortment of players, with Lee Nelson being the most well-known. Nelson hasn't won a major poker tournament since his win at the 2006 Aussie Millions so he obviously has strong motivation to win.
The next most well-known player is likely Van Marcus, who made the final table in this event last year. Marcus will be looking to improve on his fourth-place finish from last year, and things look very positive for the Aussie as he carries one of the big stacks into the final table.
As for the rest of players there are three Koreans, three Filipinos and one Chinese player. The Koreans are all deep-stacked, while the Filipinos have their work cut out for them as all three are among the short stacks. Manish Sansi, of Hong Kong, has an average stack.
The overall chip lead goes to tricky Korean player Hyoung Jin Nam, who was scooping pots all day but won an absolutely massive pot against three players in the later stages of Day 2.
The poker bug seems to have caught on in the Philippines as the poker room was absolutely buzzing with excitement over the tournament today.
Tomorrow is sure to be a memorable final table with several interesting players gunning for first. Be sure to tune at 12:30 local time to get all your live update needs met here at PokerListings.com.
Here are the chip counts heading into the final table:
|1. Hyoung Jin Nam||$561,000|
|2. Chang Yong Suk||$539,000|
|3. Tae Jun Noh||$466,000|
|4. Van Marcus||$438,000|
|5. Lee Nelson||$238,000|
|6. Manish Sansi||$192,000|
|7. Ramil Tandoc||$184,000|
|8. Benjamin Lim||$115,000|
|9. Rainier Aquino||$40,000|