The Asian Poker Tour is having an eventful year what with its recent purchase by AsianLogic and its announcement of the hiring of Matt Savage as the new tournament director of the first leg of this year’s events. The largest event of this type in Asia, the APT brand has outdone itself with the promise of $1 million dollar prize pots at each of the four legs of this year’s tournament. This years Asian Poker Tour promises to be on a world class level and they’ve pledged to continue to improve the tournament to be competitive with the other top names in poker.

The APT announced this year’s itinerary for the 2008 Poker Tour. It will begin in the Philippines with the first leg being held in Manila from May 27 through June 1. The rest of the four total events will take place later in the year in Macau, South Korea and Singapore but the dates and venues have not been finalized as of yet. The Manila leg alone should provide an intense 6 days of world class poker play.

The buy-in for each leg will be $2,500 – a relatively small price to pay for a chance at such a large jackpot. Last year’s events had professionals of the highest caliber such as Liz Lieu, Johnny Chan and Tony G. If you remember, Tony G was the big winner in last year’s Singapore tournament. This year’s schedule is promising to be just as star-studded with 400 players duking it out in Manila alone.

There are also several online poker sites that are offering the chance to qualify and participate in the event, giving online poker players the possibility of playing some of the world’s top professionals in a live game. One such site, TitanPoker, has already begun offering satellites to the Manila tournament through its Super Satellite Series. The prize packages offered by the site are worth more than $6,000 to include the entry fee, accommodations, airfare and even some pocket money. Qualifiers began on March 31 but there is still plenty of opportunity left for online players to win a seat on this year’s tour.

AsianLogic acquired the APT brand in February through a subsidiary called ESL-Asia. The former owner, Capital Events Pte., will remain a major stockholder in the company and will continue to manage the poker events for the Singapore leg of the tour. AsianLogic has been a major player in the online poker industry and access to the large APT database will drive additional traffic to their online sites.

Given the rise in gambling popularity in the region, acquiring the largest poker tour in Asia is a good move on the part of AsianLogic. As the CEO Chris Parker says, “In its latest forecast, Global Betting and Gaming Consultants predicts that the Asian poker market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23% for the next four years compared to a total global poker growth rate of 7.6%. We believe that forecast to be conservative.”

Part of AsianLogic’s plans for the APT brand is to expand the number of tournaments in the tour in 2009 and to open APT branded online poker rooms for both free and cash based gaming through Playtech’s iPoker network. APT has strengthened its positioning even further with the addition of the Korean Professional Poker Tour as a shareholder and the exclusive partner for Korea. AsianLogic CEO Chris Parker has plans to make Asian Poker Tour a brand synonymous with professional poker.

“The Asian Poker Tour will definitely be a top-class brand. This is such an exciting time for poker players in Asia and we feel we can make the APT a bigger and better series of events each year.” Parker went on to say, “From the four events that will take place this year, the APT plans to expand to a total of six events in 2009. We are continually working to set up some of the world’s most exciting and prestigious poker tournaments.”

Matt Savage was appointed the tournament director of the APT’s Manila Main Event this year. He has been tournament director of the World Series of Poker, the premier event in professional poker, back in 2002. His oversight increased the levels of prize money in that tournament by over 400%. He has been involved in over 300 televised poker shows and even won the Benny Binion award in its inaugural year for outstanding service to the poker industry.

Savage was the first to be inducted into he Poker Room Manager’s Hall of Fame back in 2003 which goes to show how popular he is among poker players. In 2002, Savage founded an organization called the Tournament Directors Association. The organization has set the goal of standardizing tournament rules worldwide.

With Savage’s obvious expertise, the Manila leg of the tour is sure to be an event to be remembered in the annals of the game. Taking place at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel, the Manila Main Event will enjoy a luxurious backdrop as the players will enjoy easy access to accommodations, shopping and transport as they battle it out over the six days of play. The exclusive, ultra-modern venue in the heart of the Philippine’s business district gives proof of the rising prestige of the Asian Poker Tour brand.

The Asian Poker Tour is already the largest and most prestigious of the Asian tournament series. With the addition of Matt Savage and the ambitious plans of its new owner, AsianLogic, this is a brand that is on the rise. Poker enthusiasts world over are eagerly waiting and watching for what will come next for this year’s events as well as in the years to come. It could prove difficult to top $1 million dollar prize pools but it will be interesting to see how they do it.

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