Solaire Resort & Casino
August 14, 2014

It’s not a secret that I’m a poker newbie. So when a serious ABS-CBN’s TJ Manotoc busted poor me when I went all in, I’m not surprised nor disppointed that I was the first ones who left the 32-man media roll hosted by Solaire Resort & Casino. But I walked away happy knowing it’s TJ who benefitted in my loss. After shaking hands with everyone including The Voice’s Lee Grane, Yahoo! Philippines’ Bob Guerrero, poker pro Sardy Rivera and promoter Mike Kim. My only consolation though is that World Poker Tour president Adam Pliska, who I initially mistaken for US President Obama, went out a few seconds before I went ballistic. So goodbye to Sportsmaryosep and better luck next time I guess. Solaire CEO Tom Arasi and VP for International Marketing Cyrus Shirafat were also there to lend the press launch some prestige. Erik Mana, my favorite Filipino magician, Brisom’s Brian Sombero Sardy’s brothers Marc, Euryd and Ashby also joined the media free rolls. By the way, thank you Yahoo! Philippines’ and CSC basketball fantasy commissioner Noel Zarate for the invite.

Here’s the full story written by our colleague Olmin Leyba of The Philippine STAR that came out recently:

The table is set for World Poker Tour’s first ever WPT National Philippines Event, which blasts off at Solaire Resort and Casino from Oct. 16-28.
For 12 days, the Solaire will be the center of the poker world, hosting an exciting lineup of activities in the WPT Poker Festival topped off by the Main Event. Top players from across the world will compete for big cash prizes and points in the coveted Season XIII WPT Player of the Year race in the $2,200 buy-in Main Event on Nov. 25.
“The World Poker Tour continues to expand across the globe, especially in Asia where the growth is phenomenal,” WPT president Adam Pliska said during yesterday’s press conference at Eclipse Bar in Solaire.
“The Philippines represents what we want poker to evolve to be. It’s a very warm and welcoming place and with a first-class venue like Solaire, both local and foreign players will have a great time on and off the felt, “ he also said.
The Poker Festival is the first offering in a newly forged five-year relationship between WPT and the Philippines, a country long regarded as one of Asia’s poker hotbeds.
“We are constantly creating ways for our guests to have the ultimate resort experience so hosting the largest and most recognizable poker tour in the world only comes naturally for us. Solaire is about creating moments and WPT is going to provide many powerful moments for everyone involved,” said Solaire Resort and Casino president and CEO Thomas Arasi.
“The Philippines has always been the hub for this region, whether it’s for travel, trade or culture so it just makes complete sense to have an international event in a country that has so much to offer than any other destination in Asia,” said promoter Mike Kim.
Pliska said they expect 600 to 800 players for the Main Event with a total pot estimated at $1.6 million and among the personalities coming over are WPT executive tour director Matt Savage, poker legend Mike Sexton and the Royal Plush Girls.
Local poker players expressed excitement over the WPT gig.
“The World Poker Tour is a dream for us. We have to go out (to be able to play) but now it’s in the Philippines,” said Ashby Rivera, who attended the presscon together with his brothers Marc, Euryd and Sandy, Brisom frontman Brian Sombero, magician-entertainer Erik Mana, and The Voice’s Lee Grane.
Satellites starting as low as P300 to the Main Event are ongoing at Solaire’s lush poker room. Details of all the satellites and a full schedule of events can be found on Solaire’s website.

So guys, prepare for October because pokermania will invade Manila.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

(Photos courtesy of Jamil Buergo of


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