Anniversary Special: A glorious win for Jean Issa at the Main Event
"I finally did it!" Those were UK Jean Issa's words after he defeated Norwegian poker pro Henrik Tollefsen to claim his first-ever trophy at PokerStars Live Manila. Issa overcame a field of 534 entries at the Anniversary Special Main Event to capture the P461,600 cash prize and a seat worth P25,000 to the Manila Megastack 5.
The Main Event final day was full of Wild Wild West action with all sorts of crazy hands and bad beats happening at every turn. As the bubbled neared, Filipino player Chris Mateo scalped two players at once when he landed a gut shot straight on the river. This erupted the floor as it began the money stage where multiple short stacks quickly shoved and were eliminated.
This gave rise to many players such as USA's Gerald Casey who was the first person to cross the million-mark. Filipino pro Mike Takayama also amassed towers of chips, impressively going from an ailing 15k to 1.8m chips. Day 1e chip leader, Filipino player Jenelee Dizon also maintained a big stack throughout the day and joined the seven-digit bracket when she crushed fellow countryman Jay Lapinid's pocket queens with her queen-six straight. The unfortunate bubble to the final table was Christopher Runas with his pocket queens spanked hard by Takayama's three-six off suit.
At the final table, the first to fall was USA's Nickolai Alexandrov in 10th place (P35,312) whose pocket jacks was burned by Tollefsen's ace-queen. With blinds already very high and climbing every fifteen minutes, majority of the action were preflop shoves. Issa won a three-way all in with pocket aces and then Lapinid doubled up through Takayama who found his double up through Joseph Sia. After that, the severely crippled Sia finished in 9th place (P45,700) followed by Korean player Woo Young Kim who got crippled down to 15k, rebounded up to 340k, but no further as he ended in 8th place (55,800).
Meanwhile, Tollefsen shaved off all of Lapinid's towers, leaving him with less than one big blind. Lapinid tried to steal Tollefsen's big blind by shoving his stack of over a million but was caught red-handed when Tollefsen called with pocket tens. Tollefsen was the first player to cross the two-million-mark.
Falling in 7th place (P65,900) Carlo Hassan, and then a double whammy delivered by Tollefsen, knocking out two players at once with his big slick, Lapinid in 6th place (P81,200) and Dizon in 5th place (P101,500). Shortly after, Casey was eliminated in 4th place (P137,000) by Jean Issa, and then another nutty hand, that is, Tollefsen's A♠Q♠ nut flush that painfully cracked Takayama's aces making him settle for a 3rd place finish (P178,600).
The heads up round began with Issa dominated 5:1 in chips. This would simply be a momentary disadvantage because he proceeded to win the first hand, and several hands later, he won three pots in a row, switching the chip count to his favor. The final hand saw Tollefsen move all in with K♦8♥ and Issa calling with A♦8♣. Though not needed, the board landed an ace to end it with a victorious Issa.
Congratulations to Jean Issa for his excellent run at the Anniversary Special Main Event! He captured the first main event trophy of the PokerStars Live Manila 2016.
Final Table Payouts:
1st - Jean Issa - UK - P461,600
2nd- Henrik Tollefsen - Norway - P289,600
3rd- Mike Takayama - Philippines - P178,600
4th - Gerald Casey - USA - P177,000
5th - Jenelee Dizon - Philippines - P101,500
6th - Jay Lapinid - Philippines - P81,200
7th - Carlo Hassan - UK - P65,900
8th - Woo Young Kim - Korea - P55,800
9th - Joseph Sia - Philippines - P45,700
10th - Nickolai Alexandrov - USA - P35,312
The top ten players received a seat worth P25K to the Manila Megastack 5.