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Thrilla in Manila set to go Tuesday
Poker players and fans from all over the world are packing their bags to head to Manila, Philippines, this week for the first leg of the Asian Poker Tour.
The tournament begins Tuesday, May 27, with a $2,500 buy-in and a $1 million guaranteed prize pool.
The APT is expecting at least 400 participants to hit the felt for the event, including pros from all over the world.
Some pros already signed on for the event are Steve Sung, Quinn Do and Nam Le. Sung is a Korean-born poker pro now living in California. He's been playing poker for several years now but it wasn't until the last couple years that he started to find himself more in the poker spotlight.
Sung has cashes in several major poker events over the last couple years, including World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker Events. His most recent, and biggest, success came in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star event in March where he placed second for a $585,000 cash.
Quinn Do was born in Vietnam and now calls Seattle, Wash., his home. He has racked up nearly $2 million in poker tournament winnings, with the most prestigious of those being a bracelet win during the 2005 WSOP.
His biggest cash, however, came just this year with a final-table finish in a WPT event. He came in second in the WPT L.A. Poker Classic in February to pocket more than $900,000.
Nam Le is also a Vietnam-born poker player who made his way to the United States and into the major tournament realm. He has a WPT win on his list of accomplishments, and he's cashed deep in enough other WPT, WSOP and other big-money events to earn more than $4 million in tournament winnings.
Among the pros and the locals who turn out for the event will be online qualifiers from Titan Poker. The poker site is sending a delegation of eight players who won their seats in the tournament at Titan Poker.
Frank De Vries, a winner from the Netherlands, told Titan Poker he is "looking forward to playing in the poker thrilla of Manila."
Titan Poker gave out prize packages worth $6,000 for the event. They included the $2,500 buy-in for the Manila main event plus $2,600 for flights and spending, and seven nights' accommodation at the Dusit Hotel in Manila.
Those players may also want to check out the Ray-Ban APT Celebrity Poker Challenge that will kick off the Manila leg of the APT on Tuesday as well.
The event will feature several of the Philippines' top celebrities, all playing for a PHP 150,000 top prize to be donated to the charity of the winner's choice.
Some of the names already on the list for the No-Limit Hold'em Freezeout charity event include DJ and TV host Mo Twister, fashion designer Rajo Laurel, sports show host Jinno Rufino, Philippine Basketball Association starts Mike Cortez and Asi Taulave, model Brad Turvey, actress Angelu de Leon, and magician Erik Mana.
Chris Parker, the champion of the Second Philippine Poker Tour Million-Peso Hold'em Championship, will also be on hand to showcase his poker skills and perhaps earn some cash for his charity, the Philippine General Hospital.
The winner of the charity event will also earn a seat in the APT main event to go with his or her donation to charity.
Members of the media will also get a shot at playing in the main event through the APT Media Poker Challenge on Tuesday. Local and international journalists will play for a $2,500 buy-in for the main event.
After the Philippine leg, the APT will move on to events in Macau, South Korea and Singapore. Dates and venues for these events have not yet been announced.