PAGCOR Chairman's Cup: Rivera leads but day belongs to 52

In the last few minutes today this was not a poker tournament, it was a survival story, one of life and death and only a few would survive. It was not a matter of cards, it was like the sighting of a ship in the distance to a bunch of destitute island survivors. Part exhilarating, part disgusting, almost feral.

With eight minutes to go and three players all-in 54 players seemed to come out of nowhere to watch 11 cards being turned over.

The first two belonged to PokerStars qualifier Mishel Anunu, the player who'd started it all by moving all-in. They were J♥J♠. Then there was Mikael Rosen, another qualifier, who had also moved in, showing K♣K♥. Then there were those of Yong-Suk Chang, a flash kid from Korea, eecking a few seconds off the clock following Nezzor's shove. With the fate of those watching in his hands, and with his opponents covered, Chang gaily showed his A♣J♦.

Almost the bubble boy, Mishel Anunu

The room cried in unison for an ace, fully prepared to sling their personal burdens on the backs of Rosen and Anunu and send them off as sacrificial goats. But isn't that what the bubble is about?

Official bubble boy Mikael Rosen

Only Rosen objected to the screams, but who the hell could hear him? His protests were drowned out by a crowd now rabid with the prospect of cashing, and when the ace landed on the flop 52 souls were suddenly saved. They showed this by going nuts. For Chang's part he moved to second in chips with 443,500.
The man responsible for the pandemonium, Yong-Suk Chang

Rosen and Anunu will be forgotten. Even as we write players are on phones, talking to anyone they can about how they just made the money of the PAGCOR Chairman's Cup, one of the most exciting tournaments this pale, white Englishman has ever seen.

After the commotion, the reality. There is a chip leader, Marc Rivera from the Philippines who bags up 590,000 tonight. Behind him are Chang and Terrence Chan, who closed on 427,500.

Chip leader Marc Rivera

Terrence Chan

Rosen may lead but this is not his day. It goes instead to 52 players now guaranteed US$4,200 and who will come back tomorrow to play the last few minutes of level 15 before the blinds go up again.

We expect business as usual and that means fast play. As Tournament Director Danny McDonagh put it: "It's going to be a crackerjack first eight minutes, I can tell you."

Celina Lin

That's it from Manila for another day, one that featured the elimination of 150 players. Chip counts are here, and you can read the day's action for yourself at the links below, including the departure of one time chip leader Mike Takayama, the fate of Team PokerStars Asia's Celina Lin, and the period of calm before the bubble that then sent the fiercest of storms through the Coral ballroom.

Levels 8 and 9
Levels 10 and 11
Levels 12 and 13
Levels 14 and 15

As ever our thanks to our trusted photographers Christian Te and Spam Jzlzndoni who provided the images today. They'll be back tomorrow with shutter speed set as high as possible.

If you're pining for more you could do worse than check out the EPT Snowfest coverage currently plays its day two. They can hardly feel their hands up that Alp so give them a click to warm them up.

Sunshine Samson, who departed empty handed this afternoon

Play starts at 12.30pm tomorrow for day three and we play all the way through to a final table of nine. Join us for full coverage. Until then it's good night from Manila.