Jojo Allado was a lawyer in the Department of Justice (DoJ) when a co-worker taught him poker in 2009. When one of his friends challenged him to stake real money, he accepted the challenged, but paid dearly for it. He continued losing money till he showed other poker players that he had talent. Allado began taking poker very seriously and even went to Las Vegas to watch the pros in action and learn their tricks, secrets, and strategies. He continued playing at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) till, one day he lost so badly that he almost stopped playing poker.

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Recalling those days, Allado said, “The last straw was when I had a straight flush on the flop, and still lost to a higher flush. Nobody could believe it. I sat in the car for a long time after that, devastated. But that’s the way it is in poker. One day, you could be the world’s best player, the next day, you could have a really bad game.”

When he finally gathered the guts to get back inside the casino, a poker instructor approached him and agreed to unlock some top poker secrets in exchange for bets in the following five tournaments. Allado was a good student and his game improved so much that he even beat his tutor on one occasion. His coach then got the brilliant idea of creating the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT).

The PPT comprises 10 monthly poker events, held usually in Metro Manila, but also in gambling destinations such as Cebu, Angeles, and Davao. Each tournament carries a massive prize pool of P1 million, and the 10 tournaments reach one final table for the champions of the 10 events. The last man standing gets the chance to take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and will be sponsored by the PPT. If the player wins any jackpot at the WSOP, he/she does not have to share it with the PPT.

Allado guarantees the jackpots personally and does not request a share of players’ winnings, a fact that made the PPT very attractive to foreign poker players. Since Allado modified the rules a bit, making the blinds one hour long, Filipino players could dominate the PPT scene.

He said, “My dream is that, when foreign players see many Filipinos playing in a poker tournament, they will quiver, because they know how good our players are.”

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