Poker has been popular in the Philippines, and international organizers know it, hosting some of the biggest tournaments the country has ever seen. We’ll be taking a closer look at how competitive it is for this blog post.
But first, let’s take a quick tour of how poker became a stapled casino game in the Philippines.
The beginning of poker’s popularity in the country was in 2006. The Metro Card Club, the first poker room in Manila, began operations near the city’s airport. It still stands to this day.
Because of how good the business was, other poker clubs began opening in the Philippines. For two consecutive years, Pinoys saw the good poker could bring.
PokerStars launched the very first Filipino Poker Tour, followed by an Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT). The Asian Poker Tour extended its satellite events to the Philippines, marking the country as a global poker destination.
For years to come, the game’s popularity continued to rise, and in 2014, a media group dedicated to poker was established. Named Somuchpoker, its goal was to give professional poker players a voice.
Although there have been numerous petitions to ban poker and other gambling activities, Filipinos continue to support casino games, contributing billions in revenue to the government.
Today, daily tournaments have happened in the country, thanks to PokerStars.
Philippines’ Biggest Poker Tournaments
Now that the cat’s out of the bag, let us take a look at the Philippines’ biggest poker tournaments.
Red Dragon Manila
We all know poker tournaments can get pretty intense regarding their prize pool. That is what Red Dragon Manila proved in 2020 when it organized a poker tournament with a major cash prize of P13.8 million!
The prize pool for that event was P64.2 million, and 669 players joined the contest. Florencio “Flo” Campomanes’ stars aligned that day as he won the 2020 Red Dragon Manila Poker tournament.
Not only did he win a huge chunk of the prize pool, but he also took the stunning Red Dragon trophy.
APPT holds an annual poker tournament in the Philippines, and its prizes are pretty gigantic.
For the 2023 tournament schedule, APPT Manila’s prize pool reached P20 million!
Last year, James Mendoza cashed in a massive P6.2 million, followed by Malaysian Victor Chong (P5.69 million).
Manila Megastack is another poker tournament organized by PokerStars. In 2022, it had a P10 million prize pool.
Bell Perez of the Philippines had the most wins and was awarded P10 million in the No Limit Hold’em category.
Okada Manila Millions
Yet another PokerStars event, the Okada Manila Millions, is a seven-day tournament that features 11 events. It has a P3.7 million prize pool and an affordable buy-in of only P3,500.
Apart from the biggest poker tournaments in the Philippines, APPT Manila holds weekly events for both amateur and professional players. Winning these mini-series will qualify them for the bigger tournaments.
Grand winners of the weekly tournaments can take home a considerable portion of the P800,000-prize pool.
Poker has such a huge impact on Filipinos’ lives, which is why it is one of the most popular casino games in the country. Poker organizers see that, which is mainly why the Philippines have the biggest poker tournaments ever.