“Nag-start siya before pandemic, small player pa lang siya. Actually, hindi nga siya nagka-cash in, hindi siya pumupunta sa mga totoong poker room. Medyo late bloomer rin siya until na-discover niya na meron palang online poker. Tapos natapat, may promo ‘yung isang (poker game) app na kung sino ang magiging top dito sa play money (poker chips without cash value), ipapadala sa Japan. Dun nag-start magbago ‘yung view niya sa poker na pwede pala siya gawing hanapbuhay. From gambling to hobby, naging sports na siya. Tapos naging agent na siya hanggang sa dun kami nagkakilala kasi master agent ako, may sarili akong club. Tapos dun nagstart kami mag-share ng hands, nag-collaborate hanggang sa willing naman siya magpaturo. Actually, nagdadalawang isip pa siya lumipad papuntang Taiwan kasi galing kaming Taiwan, pumunta kaming Vietnam tapos bumalik kaming Taiwan. Limang Pinoy lang kami pumunta sa Taiwan tapos nakuha pa namin ‘yung main event which is napanalunan niya. Sabi niya, parang nahihilo na siya. Ayaw manalo, kumbaga ubos na ‘yung pondo, ‘yun na lang ‘yung natitira niya, ‘yung main event. Maganda kasi parang napatunayan namin kahit papaano na kaya talagang manalo ng Pinoy. Ilan lang kami dun, majority Singaporean, Malaysian, Taiwanese. Nanalo sa main event agains 1,000+ players. Mahirap kaya nakaka-inspire lang din para sa mga nagsisimula,” shares Action PH’s Dave Erquiaga on Edwin “Hit D’ Heat” dela Cruz’s win at the USOP: World of Champions Taiwan Series
It kind of feels like Edwin “Hit D’ Heat’ dela Cruz’s win was destiny. Winning P6 million at the USOP: World of Champions Taiwan Series is a big deal, especially for the Filipinos who aspire to be professional poker players. But while Edwin was destined for the top prize, he made sure that he deserved it by honing his skills.
A lot of Filipinos think that Poker is something that will always be associated with gambling. But the game has evolved, it has become more than just because of luck. Because it is a mind game, playing Poker can be trained, skills can be honed and the player can not just depend on luck anymore just to win.
“Every player, may paraan sila kung paano sila mag-study. Tama naman ‘yun, pero may tamang paraan kung paano ka magi-improve. Kasi mamaya pinapanood mo, marami sa Facebook ngayon, like boxing. Pero hindi mo alam ‘yung proper way ng pag-suntok. Ganun din siya, ginagawa namin kung paano ‘yung tamang pag-aral. Okay lang din naman kung mahilig manood ng video for reference, ang problema sa video, ‘yung highlights lang napapanood mo. Hindi mo nada-dissect kung papaano, kung paano siya professionally. ‘Yun ‘yung tinuturo namin,” on how Dave trained Edwin.
But what was it like being a professional poker player?
“Being a poker player, you’ll never know when is your time. Pwedeng talo ka for five years, talo ka for two years and then the next year, you win every tournament. The challenge is how much you can hold on to your dream as a poker player,” shares Gio Palacios, Masters Poker Club Head of Marketing.
“Dati, mostly ganon. Di pa sila aware na may ganitong (training) mas madaling paraan para manalo. But since there is a way right now, it doesn’t take that long,” he continues.
“Poker players are called grinders because it’s a rollercoaster ride. You can win two weeks straight but there’s also a time na wala kang panalo. So, how do you get through that? ‘Yun ang challenge. Kailangan kapag ganun, magbe-break ka din kasi mabu-burn out ka. Importante ang balance at may kausap ka,” Dave on his experience as a Poker player.
So how did these trainings and these experiences help them in their daily lives?
“Sa akin, marami. Lalo na sa personal life. Kailangan balance ‘yung career and personal life, kasi sobrang dami mong events na lalaruin hanggang makakaapekto na siya sa personal life. Malaking tulong ng poker kasi nagkaroon kami ng focus para ma-balance ‘yung life namin,” shares Dave.
Follow Dave Erquiaga and his team at Action PH on Facebook and more about Poker at the Facebook page of Masters Poker Club.