In between our live reporting coverage of the APT Philippines main event, Poker Portal Asia was able to sit down with Japanese player and designated media rep, Takeda “Buddha” Tsuneaki, to get his and the other players’ experiences of the APT and also Japan’s recent disaster.
Poker Portal Asia: So what happened to you in the APT Philippines Main Event?
TT: I came in short-stacked – I only had 7000. So it was all in or nothing. On the big blind I had A♣ 9♣. I didn’t want to push all in with it so I just checked. Ace on the flop, small blind checks, I push all in and the guy snap-calls with Ace Queen. It’s my fault, though, for not building enough of a stack earlier.
PPA: How have the other Japanese players gone at this APT tournament series?
TT: A bunch of my friends are still left. For the Japan charity event one player finished fourth and in the high roller event three Japanese players participated and we finished one, two and three! There were about 20 Japanese players who participated in the main event and 17 made it through Day 1. Yesterday there was a team event and we won – we got the trophy. We already have five trophies going home. So we’re doing well. We just really enjoy the APT.
PPA: What is it about the APT that keeps you guys coming back?
TT: I like the side events and everything. I’ve only be playing for two years but this is my fifth time playing APT but four times I was sponsored. Every APT qualifier I seem to win – live tournaments in Japan, not online. Of course, poker is fun, but the atmosphere here is great.
PPA: You guys always seem like you have a good contingent from Japan at APT events and you also bring your style…
TT: Yeah we got our uniform and the bling bling and everything.
PPA: We love the bling bling!
TT: Thank you. Yeah everyone wants it. All the players keep asking me for the badges but I can’t give them out.
PPA: I see you guys are also wearing the “Pray for Japan” stickers. Did you all experience the recent disaster?
TT: We were all in Tokyo while it happened. I was actually in the US when 911 happened and it was kind of similar to that with people – the bonding and everything. People were really united in a way. Most of our players have pledged all the money they win in the charity event. We play for fun and money is not everything at this point. By us winning and earning, if that helps then it’s great. It’s good to get out of Japan but I feel bad for leaving all my friends and family.
At this point, Japanese players Waki Yasuhiro and Mayumi Kaneko briefly enter to say hi…
PPA: So where were you guys when Japan disaster happened?
Mayumi: In my house. I was sleeping. I was then awake and it was very scary. I thought I was going die or something!
Waki: Me too, sleeping…
TT: Sleeping? It happened at like 3 o’clock!
PPA: You were probably both playing poker late the night before, right? [Everyone has a little chuckle at this].
TT: Yeah they were both up late playing poker. I was working.
PPA: So what’s the poker scene like in Japan?
TT: Poker is growing in Japan. It’s getting very popular. Not just Tokyo but all over the place. But there are no casinos, there are only amusement casinos, which we participate in playing for seats to tournaments. For this main event they gave out one seat. So APT please give us more seats for Japan!
PPA: Where else do you guys like to play?
TT: Waki goes to every tournament. Mostly WPT and WSOP, some APT, APPT and EPT. He has made it to a final table over 10 times. He’s my father of poker. He taught me everything I know.
PPA: What’s the plan for after this series?
TT: Most of our players are going to a charity event in Macau in August. Waki is going to WPT after this – at the Bellagio. After that, the WSOP.
PPA: Wow. Anything else you guys want to add before we finish up?
TT: The thing we most want to say is we appreciate having a charity event at APT and thanks for supporting us.
Waki [translated through Takeda]: The last message we want to stress is that this earthquake was a big shock for us but all the support from all over the world is encouraging us and we appreciate everyone’s support. When Japan gets back on its feet we will do our best to give back to world.
TT: So thank you APT, thank you Poker Portal Asia, thank you, thank you!
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