PAGCOR Chairman's Cup: Takayama takes lots on opening day

Those of us who had never been to an APPT event before today didn't really know what to expect in the Coral Ballroom of the Manila Pavilion Hotel. We anticipated difficulties with names, directions, maybe even the stuffed fish for lunch, but what we didn't expect was a fuel-injected version of poker that was as entertaining as it was quick. A relentless, enjoyable gallop through seven levels, where a flop, showdown and an all-in called was never more than a few hands away.

Emerging at the end of it was Mike Takayama, from the Philippines, who sledge-hammered his way to the lead today following two major hands. The first, a three-way pot landed him with 150,000, the second coming minutes from the end that involved Takayama calling a miracle card on the river, a card that dutifully appeared, leaving him with 197,375 tonight.

Mike Takayama

His lead of 90K over the next man should prove hard to beat until well into next week. That next man was Canadian Van Binh Pham on 107,000 leading the chasing pack alongside Croatian Nikica Maric on 105,200, Sunshine Samson on 75,000 and Andrew Scott on 70,600. All return in good health for day two on Tuesday, the leading bunch after a day that reduced 99 to 44.

Sunshine Sansom

The PAGCOR Chairman's Cup is a salute to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, named in honour of its chairman Efraim C. Genuino.

Today, it was played like Twenty-Twenty cricket, rugby sevens or a touch football match; chopped down variations of originals that made today feel more like a turbo tournament than the deep structured main event, with a guaranteed US$1 million prize pool, that it was.

Don Carmona, one of many all ins today

It's at this point in the wrap that we mention the fortunes of Team PokerStars Pros, something that today could well be dubbed The Greenstein Report, as only the Bear himself was here to play. He nearly made it through too.

Barry Greenstein

Looking weary after a long landscape-less flight from the United States, Greenstein held onto his head today as he resisted, not always successfully, the urge to nap. But he couldn't hold on to his chips. Greenstein busted with less than 20 minutes still on the clock, signing his book for the vanquisher and fellow American Mark Kohler Jnr, before heading off for some shut eye. More team mates are currently on the way to assume the spotlight tomorrow.

That then is all for today. We return to the Manila Pavilion tomorrow for a 1pm start and another seven levels, the second of three day one flights. If you can't wait that long we've neatly packaged the entire day in the links below so you can relive today at your leisure.

First ever PAGCOR Chairman's Cup
Levels one and two
Levels three and four
Levels five, six and seven

Check out the day 1A chip counts on the appropriate page, they'll be official about an hour after play stops. Photography today was provided by Christian Te and Spam Jzlzndoni, our thanks to them. Thanks also to the nice lady who popped down to tell us that lunch, and later dinner, was ready.

Eliminate Barry Greenstein: win a prize!

Thanks for reading. Till tomorrow it's good night from Manila.