It’s that time of the year when the major poker tours conclude with their finale series and also crown their Player of the Year. This week, Manila will be the epicenter of poker action in Asia with the 2015 Asian Poker Tour Finale kicking off today, 9th December. The 9-days poker fiesta will take place at the APT Poker Room Manila, Manila Pavilion, Philippines. The series will begin with the PHP 1,000,000 Guaranteed Welcome Event and will feature 18 events including the PHP 50,000 Main Event. Sam Razavi will be under the spotlights in this tournament as he is heading to win the APT Player of the Year (POY) title for the 4th time in a row.
Presenting the Indian challenge at the Finale series of 2015 APT will be Adda52 Team Spades pro Kunal Patni and Team Thrill pro Dhaval Mudgal. Both the Indian pros have notched success at the Asian circuit this year with several notable cash finishes and a few titles too. Few more Indian players will be joining them in later part of the series.
“It’s been an awesome and hectic year and it finally comes to an end after this APT finale. I’m hoping to cap it off with an international title and end the year in style”, said Dhaval Mudgal in a conversation with OPN before leaving for Manila.
“The last 12 months have been pretty good for me. I’ve made 10 final table appearances. Also, I had a good series in India finally at the recent IPC. May be it’s time to end the year with a bang and get a much awaited trophy“, said Kunal Patni.
Apart from the Main Event, 2 OFC tournaments, Battle of the Nations Team Event, Head Hunter, Pot Limit Omaha Hi, Monster Stack, High Roller and Greed NLH event will drawing non-stop poker action till 17th December.
All eyes will be on Sam Razavi who is on the verge of making history by winning the APT POY title for the 4th time. Sam has 2,649.50 points before the start of the APT Finale followed closely by Iori Yogo with 2,479.00 points.
OPN spoke to Razavi about his plans for the APT Finale events. Here are some excerpts of the conversation:
Q. The 4th POY title is going to be a prestigious accolade for you and also a fantastic way to end 2015. Your thoughts before jumping into the battleground?
Razavi – I’ve been feeling a bit apprehensive about going into this final stop on the APT. I’ve literally just returned from the IPC in Goa, I had a fantastic time there even though it was short and sweet. I played the PLO with no success but managed 3rd in the main event for 10 lakhs. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing at the moment; I feel my game is spot on. That deep run has given me a welcome boost of confidence going into this grand finale.
Q. It’s going to be a long tournament with 18 events. What are your plans for the series?
Razavi – My strategy going in is to focus purely on side events. I won’t be playing the main event unless I rack up some early points. At this stage, the points are more important than the money.
With the addition of a high roller OFC to the schedule I’ve really upped my game, having played in excess of 10,000 hands since the announcement. Ever since they introduced this event I have been after one of those deliciously pineapple shaped trophies. J I feel I have gone from a true OFC fish to a real contender now, so I am for once most excited about a game other than Hold’em this week!
Q. Iori Yogi is closely following you on the POY leaderboard. How do you feel about this exciting competition brewing up in the Asian circuit?
Razavi – I know that Iori Yogi is just about the last player who I want sat behind me, especially only being around 170 points behind (basically 1 first place finish from taking the lead). Only time will tell though and I won’t deny Iori if he pips me to the top spot. I have a lot of respect for him as a person and as a player, and he would be fully deserving of the title.