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Biggest Poker Tournaments in the Philippines

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Image credit: Spielen Kartenspiel

Poker today is a global phenomenon without a doubt and there are few parts of the world that have been left out of the whole poker boom. While the boom itself is now some way behind us, poker tournaments and cash games are regularly spread across the world at all stakes.

Philippines is no different, as the country hosts a great number of casinos, poker clubs and other establishments that run poker games. There are also a host of secure platforms for online poker available to the Philippine players, making it very easy to get involved with the game.

Today, we take a closer look at the poker scene here in Philippines and the biggest and best poker tournaments that you could take a part in, whether you are in Manila or any other part of the country.

The History of Poker in Philippines

Poker really got a hot start in the country back in 2006 with the opening of Manila’s first poker room which was located, and still is, near the city airport. Since then, numerous other poker rooms and casinos have opened and today only Macau has more casinos then the Philippines in all of Asia. Despite various pressures to ban online poker and gambling, the country continues to thrive in this sense as well.

It was the Filipino Poker Tour that really made poker popular country wide, as it brought the game out of Manila and to other parts of the Philippines. The circuit was sponsored by PokerStars and for the first time local players had a chance to compete in tournaments similar to those they saw on the TV.

PokerStars had some great success with the FPT early on, which led to an annual stop of the Asia Poker Tour also coming to Manila, making the city a real hub for international and local poker alike. Today, numerous daily tournaments can be players in Manila, while the bigger tournaments are held every so often as well. Let’s have a look at a few of the biggest ones.

Red Dragon Manila

One of the first tournaments held in 2020 in the Philippines on a major scale was the Red Dragon. With the main event starting out at PHP 110.000 and a massive prize pool going with it, this tournament gave a great start to the year’s poker season that was now unfortunately interrupted by the global pandemic.

Makati City Pabakuna

Nevertheless, we can expect Red Dragon to be back next year with an even bigger turnout and prizes and many more to follow in the years to come, considering that the event has been a massive success thus far.

APPT Manila

The Philippines stop of the APPT is held yearly in Manila and is one of the biggest events of the whole year. The tournament is hosted in the summer and there is still hope for the 2020 edition to take place. The 2019 edition had a PHP 65.000 buyin, with the 2020 edition supposed to be a PHP 75.000 event.

Whatever happens this year, APPT has been the most successful poker tour in Asia for a long time now and we can expect it to come back in the following years even stronger, with the Manila leg always playing a big part in the whole show.

Manila Megastack

Unlike the other tournaments we mentioned, Manila Megastack is a series of high stakes tournaments that happen throughout the year, also sponsored by the PokerStars. Megastack buyins range from PHP 15.000 to PHP 35.000 and are organized several times a year, with 13 previous incarnations of the series already having taken place.

These tournaments have slightly lower buyins than APPT or the Red Dragon and are designed to give a fighting chance to all poker players in the Philippines and not just those who can afford the massive buyins, which attracts high numbers of local players into the fields.

Daily Poker Tournaments

These huge tournaments aside, poker players in Manila have a chance to play tournaments on a daily basis. Daily poker tournaments happen not just in Manila but also in smaller cities and in various poker rooms and casinos around the country.

The amazing thing about daily tournaments is that they give players a great chance to practice their skills and get ready for the major events as well as build up the bankrolls and win buyins to the higher stakes tournaments that happen every couple of months.