Top winners of the PokerStars Festival Manila

The inaugural PokerStars Festival Manila stormed through City of Dreams Manila for 11 days of unrelenting poker action from July 28th- August 7th. Here’s a look at some of the festival’s biggest winners.

Massive victory for India’s Uday Bansal at the Main Event

Uday Bansal - Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokerStars
Uday Bansal – Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokerStars

There were quite a number of players from India representing their home country well with several trophies bagged throughout the festival however it was Uday Bansal who earned the highest honor of all. After five days of PokerStars Festival Manila Main Event action, Bansal was the last man standing out of the 594 strong entry-field. For his incredible triumph, he was awarded the massive PHP4,676,000 (US$92,793) first prize and the champion’s trophy to forever display his grand achievement.

Final table recap

Entering the final table of the Main Event, Bansal was running second in chips to the commanding leader, Denmark’s Michael Falcon. Impressively, Falcon was having a spectacular run, not only was he sitting with a monstrous stack, he was also juggling another final table at the PHP22K PokerStars Cup. But with big money to be made at the main, he eventually bowed out in 6th at the PS Cup.

In addition to the fiery Dane, two players from last year’s final table were back for another attempt at the glory, UK’s Samad Razavi and Filipino Mike Takayama. Yet despite their efforts, it was Bansal who truly drove that ship. He took the chip lead after eliminating Vietnam’s Tien Than Nguyen in 9th place then capitalized on multiple pots against Falcon to drive his stack further away from the pack.

After the next two players fell, Vietnam’s Hoa Thinh Nguyen in 8th and Australia’s Kenneth Buck in 7th, both of them victims of the fearless Dane, it was neck-and-neck between the leaders Falcon and Bansal. With the fall of Razavi in 6th, Korea’s Jaehyun Lim in 5th, and Takayama in 4th, there was another change in rankings with Finland’s Antti Halme getting his moment in the spotlight. But it was short-lived. Bansal railed Falcon in 3rd to charge into the driver’s seat once again.

Just before the heads up round got rolling, an ICM deal was reached with Bansal guaranteed PHP4,376,000, Halme PHP4,273,000, and another PHP300,000 to the champion. As soon as the cards were back on the shuffle, Bansal resumed in high gear and there was nothing the Finn could do but eventually accept defeat and shake the hand of the champion.

The PokerStars Festival Main Event 20M Guaranteed had a record turnout of 594 entries for a prize pool of PHP28,809,000 (US$572,000) well beyond the advertised guarantee. 87 players made it to the money which included notables Linh Tran, Park Yu Sparrow Cheung, Dhanesh Chainani, Victor Chong, Roger Spets, Kunal Patni, and Thomas Lee to mention a few.

Final Table payouts
1st Uday Bansal – India – PHP 4,676,000 (deal made)
2nd Antti Halme – Finland – PHP 4,273,000 (deal made)
3rd Michael Falcon – Denmark – PHP 2,456,000
4th Mike Takayama – Philippines – PHP 1,900,000
5th Jaehyun Lim – South Korea – PHP 1,500,000
6th Samad Razavi – UK – PHP 1,170,000
7th Kenneth Buck – Australia – PHP 870,000
8th Hoa Thinh Nguyen – Vietnam – PHP 596,000
9th Tien Than Nguyen – Vietnam – PHP 470,000

Australia’s Peter Plater wins big at the High Roller event

Peter Plater - Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokerStars
Peter Plater – Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokerStars

Another big success story at the PokerStars Festival Manila was Australia’s Peter Plater. Days ago, Plater was an unknown in the Asian poker circuit, just one of the new faces sitting alongside the big guns at the P215K PokerStars High Roller Shot Clock event. Two days later, all that made an about face. Plater overcame one of the toughest heavy hitter lineups of the festival with players such as Park Yu Sparrow Cheung, Alan Lau, Pete Yen Han Chen, Linh Tran, Aditya Sushant, and Lester Edoc comprised in the 47-entry field. Plater collected the massive P3,100,000 (US$61,400) first prize which was certainly something to boast about as it easily pounced over his US$9,000-high payout earned in Australia just days prior.

1 Peter Plater – 3,100,000 PHP
2 Sathesh Muthu-  2,140,000 PHP
3 Hermann Lee – 1,368,000 PHP
4 Yo Seb Rhee – 1,050,000 PHP
5 Jun Obara – 820,000 PHP
6 Timofey Asmolov –  640,000 PHP

India’s Virenjit Kapur and Norway’s Kai Paulsen Open with a million

Viren Kapur - Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokerStars
Viren Kapur – Photo Long Guan Courtesy of PokerStars

The inaugural PokerStars Festival Manila had a roaring start with 451 entries for the PokerStars Open 4M Guaranteed. With each entry at PHP20,000 a pop, the advertised guarantee was all but dust with the prize pool reaching up to PHP6,562,060 (US$130,290). In the end, India’s Virenjit Kapur and Norway’s Kai Paulsen went on a long heads up battle that ended in a deal to split the top two cash prizes down the middle. Kapur was eventually awarded the trophy and both players were the first millionaires of the festival with each one earning a cool PHP1,001,000 (US$19,874)

Malaysia’s Wai Hong Wong shakes up the Super Deep

At the PHP27,500 PokerStars Super Deep, Malaysia’s Wai Hong Wong outlasted a field of 189 entries to ride away with another one of the big payouts of the festival. Although he would have made it into the million range if not for the deal at heads up, he still made out with a hefty PHP894,174 (US$17,753). This is Wong’s largest-ever live tournament score. He also finished second at the Charity event to pump up his earnings another PHP20,000.

Vietnam’s Le Ngoc Khanh wins the PokerStars Cup

The PHP22K PokerStars Cup also generated a big field with 193 entries for a juicy prize pool of PHP3,744,200. There were 30 happy players getting a slice of the pie with Vietnam’s Le Ngoc Khanh awarded the kingly portion of PHP666,000 (US$13,223). Khanh defeated Pot Limit Omaha event winner Nemesio Alegado at the heads up round denying the Filipino a second title. Also running deep in this event was Hong Kong’s Alan Lau who trails Park Yu Sparrow Cheung by a small margin in the Asia Player of the Year race. Lau finished in 5th place right behind Michael Falcon in 6th place.

Additionally, Khanh placed second at the NLH Super Stack event for another PHP461,200 (US$9,158) payout to bring his earnings well over a million pesos.

Singapore’s Dhanesh Chainani sole double winner

And speaking of a second title, several players got very close to bagging a double but only Singapore’s Dhanesh Chainani earned that recognition. He won the PHP11K No Limit Hold’em Knockout event and the PHP16,500 No Limit Hold’em 6 Handed event.

Article by Triccia David

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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