PokerStars Festival Manila: Down to five as Bansal blazes a trail

We're down to just five players here now in this PokerStars Festival Main Event with Tien Than Nguyen, Hoa Thinh Nguyen, Kenneth Buck and Sam Razavi all exiting since the final table began.

It was Tien Than Nguyen who dropped first when he ended up on the wrong side of a coinflip against current monster stack Uday Bansal. It was the last hand of Level 25 with blinds at 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante) and Nguyen moved his short stack of 290,000 into the middle. Bansal made the call and they prepared to sweat the runout.

Nguyen needed to improve with K♦J♦ versus Bansal's 7♥7♣ but by the river the cards read A♠6♣2♠T♠9♠ to see Nguyen completely whiff and Bansal's sevens hold up. Nguyen picked up PHP470,000 for his 9th place finish.

PSF Manila Tien Than Nguyen elimination.jpg

Sharing a last name and now the rail is Hoa Thinh Nguyen as another flip took a second final table casualty. Nguyen three-bet jammed for 11 big blinds over an open from Michael Falcon and he called it off to put Nguyen at risk.

Nguyen was looking for his T♥T♣ to hold against Falcon's K♠Q♥ but 9♠Q♣8♣9♦2♥ was spread in the middle of the table to signal the end of Nguyen's tournament.

It was Kenneth Buck out next and the 61 year-old stuck with his plan to fold every hand until he was forced all in. Buck's last 35,000 ended up at risk from the big blind and after Jaeyhun Lim limped in, Falcon completed from the small blind behind. The flop came 8♣7♣5♣ and it was checked to the 5♦ turn where Falcon fired for 150,000. That scared off Lim before both Falcon and Buck tabled their cards.

Falcon: A♣4♠

If nothing changed they would split the pot but Buck had to fade clubs, fours and sixes to stay alive. Unfortunately for the Australian the 4♦ rolled off on the end and he was sent to the cashier to collect PHP1,170,000.

PSF Manila Kenneth Buck elimination.jpg

And the last man to hit the rail so far today was back-to-back final tablist Sam Razavi who will have to be content with a sixth place finish. Razavi's final hand saw him three-bet jam from the big blind with A♠8♣ against Antii Halme's cutoff open, but Halme snapped it off with Q♠Q♥.

Razavi was chasing an ace but the deck brought no help as the 4♦J♥5♥5♦3♥ runout saw Razavi sent packing. He earned himself PHP1,170,000 for his impressive showing this week.

PSF Manila Sam Razavi KO.jpg

These eliminations left us with just five players left in the hunt. Let's find out who can reign supreme and lift the trophy here at PokerStars Festival Manila!

Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Festival