CITY OF DREAMS Manila, Philippines
After more than twelve straight hours of gruelling action on the felt, 23 of the 175 that started Day 2 made it through to the finale in the Main Event of the ninth staging of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Manila here.
With Bryan Huang, Vivian Im and Celina Lin being the remnants of the contingent from Team Pokerstars, Two of them fell by the wayside; missing ITM as Lin walked into a set-over-set cooler against Tsuyoshi Ishibashi of Japan and busted within minutes of the resumption of action while Huang squandered his sixth best stack coming in and eventually lost a coinflip for his tournament life against Filipino Terry Gonzaga. Vivian Im became the lone Team Pokerstars Pro that made it past the money bubble.
With players getting waylaid left and right, bubble time filled the Grand Ballroom with tension and excitement, especially when it became hand-for-hand. A two table all-in sent the whole place into a frenzy and eventually Chinese Taipei’s Feng Hsein Ching (ninth in chips coming into Day 2) was eliminated by countryman Lin Chen-an as hugs and cheers gripped the remaining 72. Notables that missed out include Iori Yogo, Sam Razavi, Pete Chen, Lester Edoc and Wally “The Dream” Sombero.
With everyone now guaranteed PhP89,800 (approx. US$2,000), it became a mad dash to amass chips for a run at the PhP6,016,250 (approx. US$134,000) top prize, plus the distinction of being an international poker champion. Some past winners did their best such as Thailand’s Chane Kampanatsanyakorn and defending APPT Manila titlist Thanh Ha Duong, but both busted later on, as did Vivian Im—the one time overall chip leader—in 28th place.
This leaves only Australian Aaron Lim (APPT Seoul 2013) as the only former champion still in contention. Germany’s Iona Finkenrath has the biggest holdings heading into the finale today (August 9, 2:00PM) as he is the lone “millionaire” in chips with 1,084,000. He is closely followed by Poker King President and high stakes celebrity Winfred Yu who had less than the Day 1 starting stack heading into Day 2 and worked it up to 983,000. Mital Chandihok of the United States is in third with 766,000 and poker visionary Mike Kim—who was a late entry in Day 1B and was hesitant to even join at the onset—is sitting on 713,000; good for fourth place.
Day 1A chip leader Douglas Olsson of Sweden rounds out the top five with 712,000 in chips. Terry Fan, representing Taiwan, is 7th and will try to add one more score to his impressive 2015 results. Of the locals, only four remain from the seventeen that started Day 2. Pokerstars Live qualifier (and Pokerstars.com grinder) Derick Hernandez is presently at twelfth place with 466,000 in chips while Jessie Leonarez—the Filipino that had the most chips heading into Day 2—is in seventeenth place with 374,000. Terry Gonzaga and Nikki “11digits” Filart are presently in eighteenth (295,000) and 22nd place (165,000), respectively.
Mike Kim and Vivian Im
Meanwhile, more hardware and cash were handed out during the side events with Jun Funabashi of Japan outlasting hometown hopeful Antonio Angeles to capture the NLHE Turbo crown while Korean No Sungjun triumphed in the NLHE Shootout event, upending hotshot Jeffrey Kat in the process.
Day 2 of the Megastack Freezeout NLHE event as well as the much awaited High Roller event and the KO Bounty tourney all cap what has been an exhilarating celebration of poker here. Keep it locked to somuchpoker.com for the climax of what is perhaps the best staging of APPT Manila.