APPT9 Manila: Down to 18

The final day of the APPT Manila Main Event has started off at a cracking pace, especially when compared to late last night.

The final level of yesterday was a bit of a yawn...literally. Players were tired after a long day on the felt, and there was little action as everyone wanted to simply survive and make it through the day.

Now they are back, refreshed after a good night's sleep, and ready to start moving some chips once again to give themselves a chance at the top prize.

In an interesting twist, Frederick Hernandez was MIA for the first twenty minutes or so of the day. Countryman Nicandro Filart offered to try and give him a call to see where he was at. Hernandez eventually strolled into the poker room, ironically at the exact same moment that Filart was unluckily eliminated.

Filart found A♦A♣ and got action from Terry Fan's K♦K♣ but another king in the window left Filart to explain his demise to Hernandez as they crossed paths on the way in (and out) of the poker room.

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Filart was soon joined at the cashier by Jiaxiu Wang who also had a tale of misfortune when his pocket tens were bettered by chip leader Iona Finkenrath's raggedy ace-five. An ace on the flop and that was that.

Terry Gonzaga was lost a big coinflip with ace-queen against pocket jacks before he was eliminated, and he was followed to the exit by Andrei Dementev. The Russian committed with pocket eights but they were no match for the pocket kings of Seung Soo Jeon.

The pocket eights also spelled disaster for Hao Tian who ran into the pocket tens of Xiao Tian Yang. Tian couldn't find a third eight to save himself and suddenly we were breaking a table to reform the final two tables of the tournament.

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With 18 players remaining it's Iona Finkenrath still on top with Japan's Hayato Kitajima and Korea's Seung Soo Jeon not far behind.

Things have moved fairly quickly so far today, but there's still a long way to go before we crown a champion. We spoke to Danny McDonagh and he suggested it would be eleven hours of play, which would take us through until about 2:00am once again. However that may not be as long as the High Roller event which recently kicked off in the Grand Ballroom. It's early in the registration process, so there will be many more late arrivals expected, but tournament organizers are confident that the current field of 20 will grow towards 50 when registration closes. We'll keep one eye the High Roller for you throughout the day.

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.