APPT Manila: Final table updates
12am: There’s a new chip leader in the APPT Manila main event: Noh Tae Jun. He’s adopted a highly effective small-ball approach in the last hour to take his stack to 1.05 million. But Hyoung Jin Nam (900,000) and Van Marcus (800,000) aren’t far behind.
After more than 10 hours at the final table, it’s anyone’s title, and the blinds of 15,000/30,000 with a 5000 ante aren’t biting too hard. Noh regained the chip lead in a pot worth 400,000 with Nam when he made two-pair, aces and fours against Nam’s pair of aces.
11.30pm: Tae Jun has raised from the button, and Van Marcus has pushed all-in over the top. Hyoungjin Nam exclaims "Oh my god" and the crowd is excited to see some emotion from their heroes. He requests a count of Van Marcus' chips, and he's clearly in two minds about whether to call or fold. He's very animated now, knowing that his decision may cost or earn him tens of thousands of dollars. He eventually calls, with Ad-Kc.
Van has Kh-Tc, and is now dominated and in a lot of trouble. Everyone wonders if he can pull out yet another mircale card, and the crowd is shouting for cards to come. The flop comes out 8c-9c-9s, which is a flop with an awful lot of pips which look like a ten on the screen, but not far enough.
The turn card is a Td, and the crowd cheers with delight for Van. He's pulled out yet another miracle card, and continues to play great after he's all-in. There's no doubt that once the players are all-in, Van Marcus is able to pull sensational cards out of the deck.
The river is the 9d, which completes a full house for Van, nines full of 10s. He is challenging Melvin "The Miracle" Maitibag for his title, and there's talk that we'll have to rename him "Miracle Marcus".
11.15pm: We might be coming to the end of the APPT Manila main event, but there are plenty of choices for players seeking another dose of tournament poker before the holiday season. On December 13-14, the PokerStars Filipino Poker Tour wraps-up at the Bravio Club in Cebu. Or why not journey to PokerStars Macau at the Grand Waldo Casino in Macau for the final edition of the Macau Cup for 2008 from December 12-14. Check out www.filipinopokertour.com and www.pokerstarsmacau.com for more information.
11.00pm: The pace of action has really slowed down, with so much money at stake. First prize tonight is the equivalent of $US162,856.98, with second place receiving $US103,142.75 and third place receiving $US54,285.66. In other words, every place is worth around $US50,000, and no player wants to be the next one out. The tempo of this tournament has really changed from a fast paced action centre, to a slower, more analytical game where every decision is worth thousands of dollars of equity in tournament prizes.
10.45pm: Back after the break, and the players are shuffling chips back and forth like a children's see-saw. Tae Jun may win a pot, only for Van Marcus to win the next pot, and then Hyoungjin Nam. This is a tight battle between three evenly matched poker minds. They're being watched by famed APPT tournament director Danny McDonagh, who is wearing one of his trademark brilliant orange ties. He's really a beacon of fashion in a poker room, and he's clearly commentating on the action for the huge crowd to follow what's happening.
10.15pm: We're now on break here with the final three players, and these players are continuing to battle for the huge prizes on offer. They're now playing very quickly, although also very tightly. This has really dried up the big action, but it certainly adds to the excitement for the crowd here who are enjoying this battle of the mind. There is no admission fee to come along and watch an APPT event, so if you're in Sydney from December 2-7, come on down to the Star City Casino watch some high stakes live poker anytime.
10pm: Following Tae Jun's recent big bluff, it looks like Van Marcus has taken it personally and wants to re-assert his strength at the table. He has successfully pulled off a pre-flop re-steal with Q-6 which he showed – Marcus wants Tae Jun and Hyoungjin Nam to know that he's able to play a wide range of cards and can be unpredictable too.
Tae Jun and Van Marcus have been contesting many pots, with neither player obtaining a clear advantage, while Hyoungjin Nam maintains a solid chip lead by avoiding the contested situations. Nam has a commanding chip lead with over 1.5million chips, while Van Marcus trails with 700,000, ahead of Noh Tae Jun with 540,000.
9.45pm: Thanks to the generous structure in all the APPT events, the players are all relatively deep-stacked. By having very deep stacks (on average, the remaining three players have 50 big blinds each) there are lots of opportunities for more elaborate plays with plenty of flops and raises. Relatively few of the pots here this evening have been determined all-in preflop, and this cements the reputation of the APPT as one of the most player-friendly tournament circuits in the world.
The players continue to joust, wanting to play pots and win, but not wanting to put their tournament lives at risk. One such hand saw Marcus raise preflop, and Tae Jun called. The flop was 9c-Qs-Qc, which Jun checked. Van bet out for 65,000, and Tae Jun check-raised to 165,000. That put Marcus to a tough decision, because he's seen Tae Jun push all-in with draws in similar situations here – he could have T-J for a straight draw, or a flush ... or he could have a Queen for trips.
After much deliberation, and wanting to know exactly how much Tae Jun had behind, Marcus decided to fold. Tae Jun flips over his hand of 3d-5s - almost the nut low hand at that situation. With sick bluffs like this, Tae Jun is clearly able to play with the best players in the world.
9.30pm: The three remaining players – PokerStars Sponsored Player Van Marcus of Australia, Noh Tae Jun of Korea and Hyoungjin Nam, also of Korea – are some of the finest players here. They have combined a mix of luck and skill to come this far.
Watching these three players tangle is an impressive feat – their carefully considered bets and raises probe each other's strengths, wigth all the excitement of a live, high stakes poker game. Even now, late in the evening, the room is packed, and the crowd continues to be on the edge of their seats as every pot has the potential to knock another player out.
Following Chang's elimination, the play has been much more timid - the escalating prizes on offer are intimidating, and everyone aspires to the ultimate prize.
9.15pm: Play is getting incredibly fast and aggressive, and the runaway pace has claimed another victim. It started when Nam raised to 35,000, Chang re-raised to 125,000, then Nam pushed all-in and Chang was more than happy to call with his As-9d.
He found himself ahead of Nam’s Qc-Jh, but not for long as the board ran out 3c-Jd-3h–5h-6d to send one of our former chip leaders out in fourth. However, Chang has stamped himself of a player of considerable promise, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see him running deep in another APPT event before too long.
9pm: Just when it seemed that the torch was being turned up on Noh Tae Jun, he’s doubled through chip leader Hyoungjin Nam. Noh started the action with a raise to 35,000 with Nam and Chang calling. The flop is 5h-As-8d, Nam and Chang check, Noh bets 100k, and Nam calls.
The river is 6c, and Nam checks, only to see Noh push all-in. Nam leans back in the chair – briefly – and calls the all-in bet of 248,000. Noh shows A-K while Nam has 6-7 and a load of outs. But the 10d isn’t one of them, and Noh is up to 750,000. Nam still leads on 1.2 million, Van Marcus is on 590,000 and Chang is now the short stack (300,000).
8.45pm: It’s called the Aussie fighting spirit, and Van Marcus is turning on an impressive display of it at the APPT Manila main event final table. After raising to 42,000, Noh called and the flop came 10h-5d-8s. Marcus bets 60,000, Noh calls and the turn shows 4h.
Noh pushes all-in and gets an insta-call from Marcus who shows Ac-10c, well ahead of Noh’s Ah-5h. The river is Ad, and suddenly Marcus is back in the game with 520,000 – his highest chip tally since the final table started. Noh is down to 400,000.
8.30pm: Hyoungjin Nam has picked up where he left off before dinner by taking down a big pot early in the evening session. After Noh raised to 32,000, Nam re-raised to 64,000 and Chang came over the top for 148,000.
Nam made the call and they saw a flop of 5c-Qs-Jh. Nam checked, Chang bet 150,000, and Nam pushed all-in. Chang declined the offer, and is suddenly down to 310,000. Nam leads on 1.5 million, with Noh on 700,000 and Van Marcus on 270,000.
8pm: After a final feast at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino buffet (kudos to the staff, who’ve made our stay so enjoyable over the past week), the four remaining players in the PokerStars.net APPT have returned to the table. The chip count reads Hyoungjin Nam 1,037,000, Chang Yong Suk 701,000, Noh Tae Jun 721,000 and Van Marcus 316,000.
7pm, Ramil Tandoc eliminated in 5th position (PHP 1,446,660, USD $29,314.26): 7pm: The last 89,000 chips of Ramil Tandoc are in the middle, with Noh Tae Jun making the call. Tandoc shows Kh-2h, but isn’t in bad shape against Ac-Jc. The flop comes 3d-2c-7c, and the crowd erupts. But they’re silenced when Noh fills his flush on the turn (4c).
As the last Filipino player in the field, Ramil surpasses Derick Hernandez’s ninth place finish last year. Players are now on a 70-minute dinner break and when we return, blinds will be at level 21 (8000/16,000 with a 2000 ante).
6.45pm: It’s a big call, but this is quickly developing into the most action-packed final table in APPT history. And we spoke too soon about the fortunes of Hyoungjin Nam! With more than 250,000 in the pot, Nam and Chang saw a flop of 2s-Qc-8s. Nam bet 45,000, Chang re-raised to 225,000, Nam pushed all-in for an additional 150,000 and Chang calls.
Nam shows pocket queens for top set, but Chang has 10s-7s for a flush draw. The turn is the Jh, and Chang makes his flush on the river – unfortunately, it’s the Js and makes a full house for Nam. As Noh said earlier, “wow”. That puts Nam in the chip lead (1 million), ahead of Chang (700,000), Noh (640,000), Marcus (346,000) and Tandoc (80,000).
6.30pm: He's done it again. Marcus pushed all-in for 158,000, and this time it’s Hyoungjin Nam who makes the call. The PokerStars Sponsored player shows pocket sevens and is again behind another pocket pair (queens). Sure enough, there’s a seven on the flop (3c-7s-Ah), and the board runs out Kc Ac to double Marcus to about 330,000. When the cards are hot, they’re hot. That pot leaves Nam (400,000) in a clear third behind Chang Yong Suk (1,250,000) and Noh Tae Jun (650,000), with Ramil Tandoc (150,000) the short stack.
6.15pm: He rivered a miracle three to make quads yesterday (and has shown pocket aces twice today), now another gift from above has ensured the survival of Van Marcus in the APPT Manila main event. Marcus pushed all-in from the small blind, with Chang make an insta-call. He showed A-10, while Marcus (Q-10) needed big help. The flop (Qc-7d-Ah) hit both players, before Marcus found a two-out Qh to take the lead. The PokerStars Sponsored player said his thanks to the heavens and, relieved, took his seat.
6pm: Now everyone’s awake! We’ve just witnessed a massive hand involving Nam and Chang, who kicked it off with a raise to 25,000 with Nam making the call. The flop was 9d-7s-3s, Nam bet 65,000, and Chang called. The turn is 8s, Nam bets 150,000 and again Chang just calls. The 2h falls on the river, Nam bets just 10,000, Chang slams over the top all-in and Nam folds. Chang is now up to 1.3 million and a big chip leader.
5.45pm: Hope we didn’t put a hex on him – the stack of PokerStars Sponsored player Van Marcus is on life support. After Noh Tae Jun raised to 20,000, Marcus made it 60,000 and Noh called. The flop was 4c-3s-Kc. He checked, Marcus bet 65,000 and Noh announced all-in. Marcus agonised but eventually mucked, with Noh showing Jc-10c for the flush draw. Ouch. Blinds have also just tipped up to level 20 (6000/12,000 with a 2000 ante). Marcus is down to just 140,000.
5.30pm: The odds of crowning the first APPT champion from Korea have shortened dramatically over the past three hours. We started with the three Korean players, and we still have three Korean players.
The trio have swapped the chip lead throughout the afternoon – currently Chang Yong Suk (867,000) leads narrowly from Hyoungjin Nam (830,000), with Noh Tae Jun (483,000), Ramil Tandoc (305,000) and Van Marcus (300,000) following.
Remember, Marcus finished fifth in this event last year – it would hurt for the PokerStars Sponsored player from Australia to have come all this way and be KOed in the same spot.
5.15pm, Lee Nelson eliminated in 6th position (PHP 1,071,600, USD $21,714.26)): After pushing all-in on a flop of 5c-5h-10c and getting no call from Van Marcus, Lee Nelson was all-in again two hands later. He raised 30,000 from the button and Nam re-raised to 80,000. Nelson pushed all-in, and Nam called. The Team PokerStars Pro showed pocket eights, which were in a flip against Nam’s Ac-Kd. The flop came As-2s-6h, and ran out 7h-5h to send the only Team PokerStars Pro here in Manila to the rail.
5pm: There must have been something in the water at the first break as the six players have been uncharacteristically quiet in the early stages of level 19. A pre-flop raise has been enough to take down most pots, with Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson (now the short stack) the most active of the players. The chip count reads Chang Yong Suk 867,000, Hyoungjin Nam 611,000, Noh Tae Jun 483,000, Van Marcus 334,000, Ramil Tandoc 305,000 and Nelson 205,000.
4.45pm, Manish Sansi eliminated in 7th position (PHP 803,700, USD $16,285.70): Manish Sansi moved all-in, and was followed into the pot with an all-in from Filipino player Ramil Tandoc, who shows pocket jacks. Sansi’s pocket nines need help, and it doesn’t come. The flop comes Jh-2c-4s, and the crowd goes wild as their local hero flops top set and is in an almost unbeatable position. The board runs out 2s 3c, Sansi is out and Tandoc is up to 305,000.
4.30pm: Players are returning from the first break, giving us all a chance to catch our breath after an electric opening two levels. Final tables can drift along in first gear, but the three Korean players have ensured that it’s pedal to the metal in Manila. Luckily for Noh Tae Jun, his cry of “wow” wasn’t taken as “call” after Hyoungjin Nam had bet 100,000 into an already raised pot on a flop of 3d-6h-7c. Blinds are now at 5000/10,000 with a 1000 ante.
4.15pm: The short stacks are starting to feel the pressure, as shown by Ramil Tandoc’s second all-in of the day (for 170,000, again there were no callers). Lee Nelson’s stack has also dwindled after losing a big pot to Michael Chang.
In three-way action, Nelson, Marcus and Chang saw a flop of 9s-Jh-4s. All checked, the turn came 4d, Nelson bet 40,000, Marcus folds and Chang calls. The river is the 6s, Chang bets 90,000 and after a long deliberation, the Team PokerStars Pro mucks.
Noh Tae Jun holds the lead on 720,000 ahead of compatriots Chang (620,000) and Jin (495,000). They are followed by Van Marcus (405,000), Lee Nelson (250,000), Ramil Tandoc (160,000) and Manish Sansi (115,000). The first break is about 15 minutes away, with the blinds set to increase to level 19 (5000/10,000 with a 1000 ante).
4pm, Benjie Lim eliminated in 8th position (PHP 616,170, USD $12,485.70): Tae Jun raises to 26,000, and Benjie Lim has pushed all. Tae Jun needs to call just 30,500 more chips, which he does without much difficulty. Benjie Lim has Ks-Jh, and Tae Jun As-Th. The crowd is on its feet, desperate for the 53-year old Filipino of four to draw ahead. The flop is Qc-4c-3c which leaves Tae Jun ahead. Qd comes on the turn, and the river is a 4h, and Benjie is eliminated in 8th position.
3.45pm: With his stack getting short, Ramil Tandoc has just made a stand. Hyoungjin Nam and Chang Yong Suk both limped in succession, and Tandoc has pushed all-in for 119,500. Noh Tae Jun has asked for a count of the bet, and rolls his head back as he decides to fold. Hyoungjin Nam and Chang Yong Suk also fold, and to the delight of the crowd, Ramil Tandoc takes down the pot and will continue to fight for the big prizes on offer. He shows A-9.
3.30pm: Talk about adding a touch of glamour to proceedings. We’ve just heard that the local TV crew organised a helicopter to fly in as part of the APPT/Filipino Poker Tour coverage. The players were taken up to the Hyatt Hotel and Casino’s helipad – thankfully, there were umbrellas waiting to shield them from the blazing sun (it’s Vegas hot here in Manila today, with a healthy dose of tropical humidity thrown in).
It’s almost as hot in the tournament area, but Van Marcus is certainly keeping his cool. After barely playing a pot in the first hour, he just took down a nice pot pre-flop with a pair of red aces.
3.15pm: The Koreans have now moved ahead of the other five players to clearly occupy the top three chip positions. We've just watched a hand that was limped four-way, with Jin, Manish, Tae Jun and Nelson all in the pot. The board came out all spades (Ts-3s-9s). Tae Jun and Nelson both checked, and Jin bet 6000. Nelson and Manish fold, but Tae Jun called.
The turn was another spade, Js, and Tae Jun checked to Jin, who bet out 20,000. Tae Jun then checked. The river 3c paired the board, and Tae Jun checked again to Jin, who bet 10,000. Disgustedly, Tae Jun called, obviously with a weak hand but getting great pot odds to call. Jin had Qs-9d, for a strong flush to take down the pot ans close to within 50,000 of chip leader Noh Tae Jun.
3pm: It’s knives at 20 paces for the Koreans so far at today’s APPT Manila final table. The trio can’t be accused of slow playing as they attack each other in the early stages. In a recent hand, the aggressive Tae Jun Noh, opened with a raise to 15,000.
Hyoung Jin Nam and Manish Sansi called, and they saw a flop of Qs-10s-10c. Noh bet 40,000, Nam called and Sansi folded. Both checked the turn of Ks and the river (Qd). Noh showed Ah-5c, which counterfeited the pocket fours of Nam. The Filipinos, plus Nelson and Marcus, seem content to let the Koreans duke it out in the early going.
2.45pm: It’s been a while since we’ve seen Lee Nelson’s lucky final table shirt, but the garish number is being worn with pride by the Team PokerStars Pro today. So, what’s the story Lee?
“It’s have an atrocious shirt. Four years ago (2004) I was playing in the St Maarten Open and I ran out of clean shirts so I bought this one. I played the event with this shirt and wound up winning,” he said.
“Just for fun, I decided to wear the shirt at the Speed Poker event at the Aussie Millions in January 2005. I won that too. A couple of months after, I won the World Open, wearing the same shirt. So from then on, I decided I’d wear the shirt at final tables, including the 2006 Aussie Millions main event, which I also won.
“I’m not superstitious but I don’t see any reason to change the shirt until it loses. I wouldn’t be seen dead in it anywhere except a final table.” Keep an eye on Lee’s progress and that of the other players, via our chip count, which is being updated after every hand.
2.30pm, Rainier Aquino eliminated in 9th position (PHP 455,430, USD $9228.56): Noh Tae Jun has been very active in raising when in late position, and he has just knocked out local Filipino hero – and PokerStars qualifier – Rainier Aquino in sensational fashion.
In late position, Noh Tae Jun raised to 16,000, and Rainier Aquino pushed all-in for his remaining 30,000 chips. Hyoungjin Nam called from the big blind, and Noh Tae Jun called as well, now getting over 5:1 on his call.
The board came 2c-Ad-7d, and both active players checked. The turn Qc also saw both Koreans check, and the river came 7h. Hyoungjin Nam checked, and Noh Tae Jun bet 40,000, which Nam quickly called. Jun flipped over 3-7, for trip sevens, to the dismay of Hyoungjin Nam (who had A-4 for a pair of aces) and Rainier (who had A-T for a pair of aces, better kicker). This was a great result for Rainier who won his entry to this tournament through a freeroll on PokerStars.
2.15pm: Chang Yong Suk has been the aggressor in the opening hands of the PokerStars.net APPT Manila final table. He took the opening hand against Manish Sansi and has just taken down a three-way pot against the two most experienced players at the final table, Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson and PokerStars Sponsored player Van Marcus with a bet of 65,000 on a flop of Qs-2h-4s. That pot was worth more than 100,000. Nice way to establish a table image in the early going.
2pm: It’s safe to say that this is the biggest media contingent we’ve ever seen at an APPT final table. The local interest has been tremendous, as evidenced by the coverage of the event on the Manila TV news and in local newspapers.
The press photographers have just been ordered to clear the tournament area. And there’s not an empty seat in the house, with a number of friends and family of the three Filipino players, plus plenty of poker fans eager to watch all the action.
Play should be underway in a few minutes, but then play was supposed to start at 12.30pm. Oh well, we can forgive the locals: it is Sunday! FYI, the blinds have been wound back to level 17 (3000/6000 with a 500 ante).
12.15pm: Welcome to the Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila for the final table of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Manila main event; the penultimate event for 2008.
Three days ago, 285 players packed the Ballroom at the Hyatt in pursuit of the USD $160,000 first prize but only nine remain. But it’s an intriguing line-up, starting with Team PokerStars Pro Lee “Final Table” Nelson, shooting for his first major title since the 2006 Aussie Millions.
PokerStars Sponsored player Van Marcus has reached two APPT final tables, and finished fifth in this event last year after taking the chip lead into the final table. Will this be the big breakthrough for the young Aussie?
The local fans will be cheering on a trio of Filipinos: Ramil Tandoc, Benjie Lim and Rainier Aquino. All three are short-stacked, but desperate to do the host nation proud, especially as this is the seventh event on the Filipino Poker Tour.
At the other end of the chip count are three Korean players, led by chip leader Hyoung Jin Nam and closely followed by Chang Yong Suk and Tae Jun Noh. Manish Sansi from Hong Kong completes the final table line-up.
We’re still at least 60 minutes away from the first hand with players still being interviewed for the local TV, but the final table atmosphere is electric (helped by the temperature in the studio area). We look forward to bringing you all the action from today’s APPT Manila main event final table.
Watch APPT Manila 08: Final Table Profiles on PokerStars.tv
Final table participants
Seat 1: Tae Jun Noh, Korea (466,000 in chips)
Seat 2: Lee Nelson, New Zealand (238,000 in chips)
Seat 3: Van Marcus, Australia (438,000 in chips)
Seat 4: Benjie Lim, Philippines (115,000 in chips)
Seat 5: Rainer Aquino, Philippines (40,000 in chips)
Seat 6: Hyoung Jin Nam, Korea (561,000 in chips)
Seat 7: Manish Sansi, Hong Kong (192,000 in chips)
Seat 8: Michael Chang (Chang Yong Suk), Korea (539,000 in chips)
Seat 9: Ramil Tandoc, Philippines (184,000 in chips)
Final table payouts
1 PHP 8,037,000 (USD $162,856.98)
2 PHP 5,090,100 (USD $103,142.75)
3 PHP 2,679,000 (USD $54,285.66)
4 PHP 1,875,300 (USD $37,999.96)
5 PHP 1,446,660 (USD $29,314.26)
6 PHP 1,071,600 (USD $21,714.26)
7 PHP 803,700 (USD $16,285.70)
8 PHP 616,170 (USD $12,485.70)
9 PHP 455,430 (USD $9228.56)
Level 17: 3000/6000 (ante 500)
Level 18: 4000 /8000 (ante 1000)
Level 19: 5000 /10,000 (ante 1000)
Level 20: 6000 /12,000 (ante 2000)
Level 21: 8000 /16,000 (ante 2000)
Level 22: 10,000/20,000 (ante 3000)
Level 23: 12,000/24,000 (ante 4000)
Level 24: 15,000/30,000 (ante 5000)
Level 25: 20,000/40,000 (ante 5000)
Level 26: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5000)