PAGCOR Chairman's Cup: Whirlwind day three leaves final nine
We've just about worked out the formula to this tournament. Written down it might involve brackets, squiggly lines and X=something, but it goes something like this: turn up, sit down and play like hell until someone tells you to stop. Don't get up and down from your table, don't confer with people on the rail, play your hand and don't mess about. Frankly it works brilliantly because it took only seven hours today to drop from 52 players to a final table of nine.
I've run out of ways to describe how energised this event really is. All I know is I like it. And while such a freefall might suggest a naivety to some degree, when the all-ins began to fire few were about a lapse in concentration, and everything seemed to work in clockwork fashion: all-in (good hand), call (better hand), deal the board and an elimination.
But what is also typical of the PAGCOR Chairman's Cup is that the lead can swing one way and then the next in the space of a few hands. Just ask Choon Kwang Lim.
Chip leader Choon Kwang Lim
Lim was a hand away from elimination earlier today, all-in with pocket eights against the jacks of one time chip leader Marc Rivera. Then Lim made a running four-card inside straight to keep his chances alive.
Then, with his momentum unstoppable, Lim found aces, knocking out Rivera and crippling Japan's Hirohide Oka. It left Lim with 1,886,000 at the close, and the final table chip lead.
Behind him a few others might have cause to rue what might otherwise been a different outcome.
Terrence Chan, who led for much of today, was first to break seven figures. But then a three-way all-in returned Chan to ordinary. His Queens were beaten by Kirby Te's Kings, Roger Spets departed with ace-king.
It wasn't quite like that for Flying Scotsman Gordon Huntly. He made steady headway today until the closing stages when he steamed his stack up to 1,528,000. Te, after his Chan/Spets triple up, is third in chips with 1,205,000.
Last of the Pinoy's, Kirby Te
Here's how they'll line up.
Seat 1 - "Jackal" Hsuan Lee, Taipei, 363,000
Seat 2 - Kirby Te, Philippines, 1,205,000
Seat 3 - Sunny Jung, Korea, 983,000
Seat 4 - Binh Nguyen, USA, 660,000
Seat 5 - Terrence Chan, Hong Kong, PokerStars player, 747,000
Seat 6 - Victor Chang, USA, 563,000
Seat 7 - Gordon Huntly, UK, 1,528,000
Seat 8 - Choon Kwang Lim, Singapore, 1,886,000
Seat 9 - Charles "Mr Macau" Chua, Malaysia, 559,000
They will return tomorrow, an invitation to return for one more day that 43 players were denied today, although most seemed happy to have got a result in a major event.
We lost a lot of good players along the way, but that's what's supposed to happen.
Monito Santos went first, the first of 23 Filipino's to be eliminated today. The last woman standing, Percy Yung, departed in 25th place, while the PokerStars qualifiers In Wook Choi and Danny silk were eliminated in 23rd and 22nd. Crowd favourite Mike Kim from Korea busted in 17th while his countryman Jae Sin was the TV bubble boy, ending the day in tenth.
That's all from the Manila Pavilion today and for the rest of this tournament which now moves across town (it could be down town, we really have no idea) to the SMX Convention Centre for tomorrow's televised final.
Our thanks to Christian Te and Spam Jzlzndoni for the photography today. We've grown to appreciate the thirty degree whoosh of humidity that hits us as we leave the hotel every morning, but if you're a winter type and like your poker dusted with piste, check out the EPT Snowfest coverage on the PokerStars Blog. They'll be at it for hours yet.
Roger Spets in happier times
Until then, it's good evening from laid back Manila. See you tomorrow.