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Main Event sets all-time Philippines record


Manila Megastack 6 chip leader, Singapore’s Aurelius Tan

With the second of two starting flights now concluded the Manila Megastack 6 has made Filipinio poker history, attracting 646 players to become the Philippines’ largest field for an international poker tournament. The previous record – set during the 2015 APPT Manila Main Event – was 585 players.

“The Main Event has well exceeded my expectations and is a very positive sign for poker here in the Philippines,” said APPT President Mark Blake.

With entry coming in at an affordable ₱25,000 (~US$500) Day 1B attracted 362 additional entrants, ballooning the prize pool to ₱14,098,950 (~US$284,000). 

Of the 362 initial Day 1B entries 85 successfully circumnavigated the tournament minefield to join the 73 surviving Day 1A players. Just 95 of the remaining 157 players will make the money when play resumes. Players who do make the hallowed money spots are guaranteed at least ₱41,300 (~US$830) with the winner receiving ₱2,771,000 (~US$55,850).

Several players were in contention to overtake Day 1A chip leader, Japan’s Shinobu Tanaka. Taiwanese players Hao Che Luo and Chia-Wei ‘Kevin’ Chang were two of the early frontrunners, taking it in turns to swap the chip lead as play progressed but it was Aurelius Tan who powered into pole position as the day drew to a close. The Singaporean player flew under the radar for much of the day before making his move for the top spot during the final level.

For a full run down of the Day 1B final chip counts click here. You can follow all the action as it happened on the Pokerstars blog here

Play restarts for Day 2 at 12pm local time (GMT+8/ET+13) on Sunday December 4 and you can follow all the action as it happens via the Pokerstars blog.

9:45-10:30pm: Action aplenty as Day 1B draws to a close
Levels 15-16 – Blinds 1500/3000/500 – 2000/4000/500

Play has now concluded for the day but the final 45 minutes saw 27 players bust, including Pokerstars Team Asia pro Kosei Ichinose who departed towards the end of level 14.

The UK’s Ben Abrahams managed to run pocket kings into pocket aces, dropping from 145,000 down to 75,000. The USA’s Sidney Gilpatrick won a sizable pot when his pocket queens held against ace king to push him over the 250,000 mark. India’s Sam Polishetty took a hit running A9 into a short stack’s AQ to fall to 100,000.

Taiwan’s Hao Che Luo relentlessly applied the pressure to hoover up pot after pot without showdown through a barrage of pre-flop raises and re-raises, climbing to over 340,000.

Luo was not the only Taiwanese player getting busy with Kevin Chang very much in contention for the chip lead following a huge bluff against Wilfredo Maliksi and Chang is also sitting on around 340,000.

However, it appeared to be Singapore’s Aurelius Tan who got the most done as play drew to a close and while we have yet to receive the official chip counts it looks like Tan managed to finish with a flourish and end the day with a stack of 350,000 and the chip lead. We will be back shortly with an end of day wrap up so watch this space.

9:30pm: Chang bluffs back into pole position
Level 14 – Blinds 1200/2400/400

We are now entering the last hour of play for the day with just two more levels remaining after this one. A player who has notably improved his field position is India’s Sam Polishetty, who was down to 10 big blinds two levels ago before winning a race with AK against an opponent’s 33 to stay alive and Polishetty now has just over 200,000.

Another player who has improved his standing to reclaim the chip lead is Taiwan’s Kevin Chang, although this came at the expense of Wilfredo Maliksi.

We caught the action on the turn with the board reading 10J58 and with over 90,000 already in the pot Maliksi, sitting in the cut off, was facing a rather chunky Chang three-bet of 50,000.

Maliksi hit the think tank hard, and we can’t say we blame him as this represented roughly a third of his stack but he did eventually make the call, leaving himself just over 100,000 behind while Chang had what looked to be slightly under 150,000.

The 4 river did not seem to change the situation all that much and after Maliksi checked Chang fired out another sizable bet of 65,000. Maliksi mulled it over but choose to fold and Chang let out a noticeable sigh of relief before flipping over KQ for a missed open-ended straight draw, much to Maliksi’s disgust. Maliki fell to 100,000 while an elated looking Chang is back over the 325,000-mark to once again edge back into pole position.

There are 117 players left in the running with the average stack coming in at just over 92,000.

8:50pm: Carnage continues as Wu coolers Edoc
Level 13 – Blinds 1000/2000/300

Play has resumed after the last break of the day but the action has not slowed down any, in fact it appears that the players are ramping it up and getting the chips in with an almost reckless abandon.

With five minutes to go before the end of level 13 we have lost another 20 players, which averages out at 1.25 players per minute. One of our latest casualties is Lester Edoc who has just busted in the most brutal fashion imaginable giving us what is likely to be the worst bad beat of the day by far.

We arrived just as Edoc was making his exit and had to get the information second hand but it sounds savage. Holding ten eight off suit in the blinds Edoc chose to defend against a raise from Taiwan’s Yi Te Wu.

Edoc led the flop of J[8x][8x], Wu called and the turn was 8 to give Edoc  quads and he led again with Wu calling once more bringing us to the 9 river.

This was where the fireworks happened; Edoc fired a third barrel, Wu promptly announced ‘all-in’ and Edoc called so fast his chips left skid marks on the felt. Unfortunately for the Filipino player Wu, holding Q10, had just rivered a straight flush to send a dejected Edoc to the rail.


Taiwan’s Yi Te Wu

That spot of good fortune catapults Wu up to the giddy heights of 280,000 or so making him one of the larger stacks – the second largest in fact with the honour of the chip lead going to another Taiwanese player, former chip leader Hao Che Luo who has climbed to an impressive 330,000, overtaking former front runner Kevin Chang who is sitting on roughly 265,000.

Should Luo finish the day on this total he will be our Day 2 chip leader, overtaking Day 1A frontrunner Shinobu Tanaka.

Other notable stacks currently belong to Wilfredo Maliksi (250,000), Hong Kong’s Jeff Tao (197,000) and Taiwan’s Kuan Chang Peng (170,000). 

8:10pm Quadruple with quads for Jolipa as field thins
Level 12 – Blinds 800/1600/200

It is getting tough to keep up with the action at present with players dropping like flies. Less than half of the 364 players who began play are left and we are just shy of 200 bust outs already.  Notable bust outs include India’s Dhaval Mudgal, High Roller runner-up New Zealand’s Heremaia Te Aute and APOY Jack Wu to name but a few and we are down to 16 ten-handed tables.

Pokerstars Team Asia Pro Kosei Ichinise is hanging in there by the skin of his teeth with what looks to be just over the 30,000 starting stack of his second buy-in so he will have to get something going soon if he is to survive.

One player who has just survived this latest cull is local Danny Jolipa who has just quadrupled up with quads. This is slightly less impressive than it sounds, as Jolipa was exceedingly short before the hand started.

Down to his last 7,300 Jolipa moved all-in from the small blind after the UK’s Ben Abrahams raised the button following two mid position limps. All three players made the call pre-flop but both callers bowed out when Abrahams bet 12,000 on the 843 flop.

Pre-flop Abraham’s 55 may have been in front of Jolipa’s 44 but not post flop and Jolipa locked up the hand when the 4 hit the turn to climb to 30,000. Abrahams still has a playable 65,000 stack and does not look too sad at this turn of events.That hand brings play to a close for the level and players are now on a short 10-minute break. 

7:35pm: Huu trips up to stay alive
Level 11 – Blinds 600/1200/100

Players are starting to bust out rapidly now the blinds are getting big and we have lost 20 players in as many minutes bringing the field down to 190.

One player who has just narrowly avoided elimination is Nguyen Huu who got his last 18,900 in pre-flop from under-the-gun. After asking for a count Filipino Mark Hebron made the call and the cards were flipped over, Huu’s A10 in front of Hebron’s KQ.

The 3Q10 flop put Hebron into the driver’s seat but a timely 10 turn gave Huu trips. Despite Hebron hitting two pair on the K river it was not enough to get the job done and Huu doubled to 42,000 while Hebron drops to roughly the same.

The average stack is now somewhere in the region of 65,000 so Huu has his work cut out should he wish to make Day 2.

7:20pm: Top five stacks
Level 10 – Blinds 500/100/100


Chip leader – Taiwan’s Kevin Chang

We are down to 21 tables and 210 players with the top five stacks as follows:

Taiwan’s Kevin Chang – 250,000
Singapore’s Soo Ghee Lim – 200,000
Taiwan’s Hao Che Luo – 180,000
Philippines Wilfredo Maliksi – 132,000
Japan’s Hatuki Tamura – 120,000

Chip average is currently 57,000 and play will continue until the end of level 16, meaning play should finish at 10:30pm local time.

6:45pm: Malaksi wins multi-way to climb, Chang powers into lead
Level 9 – Blinds 400/800/100

Sitting in the small blind in a four-way hand on a flop of 782 Wilfredo Maliksi led out from the small blind for just under a half pot size bet of 1,800. Hao Che Luo, sitting to Maliksi’s direct left, made the call, as did Regie Delos Reyes and Yukiko Imanshi on the cut off and button respectively.

This swells the pot to 15,000, exactly the amount Maliksi chose to lead for on the 3 turn. This is enough to deter both Luo and Delos Reyes, but not Imanshi who called once more. Maliksi shoved the K river for around 50,000 and though he ponders the call Imanshi elected to fold dropping to 40,000 while Maliksi climbs to 75,000.

Chip average is currently 46,000 giving Maliksi a decent sized stack. One-time chip leader Hao Che Luo is still very much in contention with around 140,000 but it is Taiwan’s Kevin Chang who holds that honour at present sitting on just over 160,000. 

6:35pm: APPT closes in style
Level 9 – Blinds 400/800/100

The numbers are in and with registration now closed we now have an accurate count of player numbers and the prize pool. It looks like the APPT is finishing in style and we now have 362 confirmed entries for Day 1B bringing the total number of players for the two starting flights to 646.

This makes the Manila Megastack 6 the largest field size Pokerstars LIVE Manila has ever hosted, ballooning the prize pool to an impressive ₱14,098,950 (~US$284,000). 

6:10pm: Break
Players are on a short break with play resuming in 10-minutes. This marks the end of the late entry period so while we may have a slew of last minute entries the field will grow no further after this point.


5:55pm: Stack check
Level 8 – Blinds 300/600/75

We have eight players who are powering into commanding positions here as we close in on the second break of the day. 

It looks like Taiwan’s Hau Che Luo is still our chip leader with a stack of roughly 135,000. Luo’s next closest competitor is Japan’s Teruhiro Aritake with a stack of 105,000, the only two other players over the 6-figure mark being Mariah Gonzalez and Red Edoc, who both look to be sitting on 100,000.

Other notable stacks are Singapore’s Aurelius Tan (98,000), Vietnam’s Duy Tung Nguyen (85,000), the USA’s Ofer Greenberg (80,000), Japan’s Hiroyuki Noda (75,000) and Pokerstars Team Asia Pro Kosei Ichinose (70,000). 

5:25pm: Wrong move, right time
Level 7 – Blinds 200/400/50

Poker is all about timing and just like the Cincinnati Kid’s Lancey Howard says: “Gets down to what it’s all about, doesn’t it? Making the wrong move at the right time.”

One player who is living proof of that adage is Malaysia’s Siu Chung Cheok. While we missed some of pre-flop action we arrived at the table just in time to see China’s Zhong Yang three-bet Cheok to the tune of 3,500 from the small blind.

Cheok four-bet to 8,000 in total and after Yang made the call the dealer peeled off the Q109 flop, which Yang led for 6,500. Cheok, sitting on a stack of 12,650 moved all-in and Yang could not get his chips in fast enough and when the cards go on their backs it’s easy to see why.

Zhong Yang: QQ

Siu Chung Cheok: 83

While Yang was in front he did not stay there for very long, the J turn completing Cheok’s gutshot straight to double the Malaysian player up to 43,000 while Yang fell to 21,000 and looked less than pleased at this turn of events.

5:10pm: Jolly good time for Maliksi
Level 7 – Blinds 200/400/50

We stopped by current chip leader Hao Che Luo’s table hoping to get him in the thick of the action and were rewarded with a multi-way pot. Pre-flop Korea’s Yukiko Imanshi kicked off the action with a raise to 650 from the hi-jack, India’s Rahul Jolly called from the button as did Wilfredo Maliksi and Hao Che Luo from the blinds.

All four players checked the AK9 flop and when the action checked around on the Q turn, Rahul Jolly took a stab for 4,000. Maliksi is the only player to make the call and we went heads-up to the K river. 

Jolly bet 8,000 out of turn, quickly realised his mistake, apologised and pulls back his chips. Malaksi shoots the Indian player a look and asks the dealer if the action is binding – it is not. Looking slightly put out by this Maliksi moved all-in for around 19,000 and Jolly quickly folds.

“Thank God that wasn’t binding…” Jolly chuckled, “I had queen nine.”

While it might not have been that little misstep does earn him a warning. Maliksi seemed happy enough to win the hand however, climbing to around 25,000 while Jolly drops to 35,000.

4:40pm: Boon building a big stack
Level 6 – Blinds 150/300/25

Singapore’s Boon Heng has got off to a great start and building himself a sizable stack at the expense of Japan’s Naoki Sugawara. We caught the action on the turn on a board reading A24 just as Boon led out for a half pot bet of 1,300.

Sugawara, sitting on the button, re-raised to 4,000 only to see Boon come right back over the top, four-betting to 13,000 in total. Sugawara mulled it over but eventually found the fold and Boon obligingly flashes J5 for a gutshot straight draw and flush draw. Sugawara drops down to 35,000 while Boon climbs to 80,000 making him one of the larger stacks of the day so far.

Other players with impressive looking stacks are the Philippines Martin Corpuz (70,000), Japan’s Hiroyuki Noda (76,000) and Vietnam’s Nguyen Duy Anh (105,000). Current chip leader appears to be Taiwan’s Hao Che Luo however, who is sitting pretty on a veritable chip mountain of 115,000, which is pretty impressive when you consider that the average stack is just 35,000.

4:20pm: Mudgal’s woes continue
Level 5 – Blinds 100/200/25

India’s Dhaval Mudgal

Just like yesterday things are not going Dhaval Mudgal’s way here on Day 1B. Not that we’re bad luck or anything, but every time we walk passed Mudgal’s table something bad seems to happen. This time we arrive just as a 20k pot is being shipped in the direction of Japan’s Yuki Hirota. We are not sure whether the chips were all-in pre-flop but it looks likely as Hirota was the short stack in the hand.

Hirota’s pocket aces beat Mudgal’s pocket nines to secure the Japanese player a double-up to 19,000 while Mudgal drops down to 14,000. However, Mudgal made a small comeback yesterday from much less and it is still early so maybe the third time (and bullet) will be the charm.

4:00pm: Break time
Players have just gone on a 10-minute break and our field has grown to 259 entries, 252 of whom are still in the running. We expect this to increase before the end of the break and when play resumes blinds will be 100/200 with a 25 running ante. Stay tuned for further tournament updates when the action resumes shortly.

3:25pm: Shaky start for Japan
Level 4 – Blinds 100/200 

While Japan’s Shinobu Tanaka may be our Day 1A chip leader his fellow countrymen are not fairing quite as well today as Tanaka did yesterday. Having failed to make the cut yesterday Hisashi Ogi decided to try again today and it is not working out quite the way he would have liked and the Japanese player has just busted at the hands of fellow countryman Yuichiro Furutu. 

Already pretty short at the start of the hand Ogi moved all-in pre-flop from the cut off for 2,300 with KJ and Furutu made the call from the big blind with 44. The board ran out A562Q which was no good for Ogi who headed to the cash desk to re-buy while Furutu climbed up to just over 36,000. 

Another Japanese player who has not had the start he was looking for is Pokerstars pro Kosei Ichinose. We were just about to write a post about how Ichinose had just taken his seat but before we could do so we saw him walking towards the cash desk.  


Pokerstars Team Asia Pro Kosei Ichinose just before running KK into AA

According to Ichinose the action went as follows; an under-the-gun player opened for 450, and Kosei, sitting UTG+2, three-bet to 1,300 only to see his opponent four-bet to 6,125. Ichinose five-bet shoved for 28,000 and was quickly called, his pocket kings behind to his opponent’s pocket aces. With his cowboys gunned down in a hail of bullets, Ichinose headed to the cash desk for his second bullet of the day. 

3:20pm: Nguyen shoves on Mudgal
Level 3 – Blinds 75/150

It has not taken Dhaval Mudgal long to get into the thick of the action and he already has his sunglasses on – a sure sign he means business.

Mudgal is in the big blind on this occasion and is facing a 450 button raise followed by a cold three-bet of 2,050 from Danh Nguyen in the small blind. Not one to be deterred easily Mudgal made the call, as did the button meaning we go three-way to a flop of 959

After Nguyen checks Mudgal opts to take the initiative, opening for 2,300 which the button calls. Nguyen obviously had a plan for the hand however, check-raising to 8,375 in total.

“You’ve always got it here, right?” quips Mudgal, who contemplates calling before pitching his cards into the muck and tapping the table, a gesture quickly followed by the big blind.

“You show?” asks Mudgal.

“I never show,” fires back Nguyen, “but if you shove I call.”

Nguyen climbs to 35,000 while Mudgal and the button have just below starting stacks.

2:55pm Records tumble as field nears 500-mark
Level 2 – Blinds 50/100

More players are starting to trickle in and we are now up to 215 runners to smash the previous Manila Megastack record of 478 set in May. 

Some of those returning are already familiar faces with India’s Dhaval Mudgal coming back for his third bullet. Also returning is New Zealand’s sole representative here in Manila so far, Heremaia Te Aute and we have also spotted Macau Millions final tablist, Singapore’s Boon Heng. 

2:40pm Luck be a lady
Level 2 – Blinds 50/100

Lady luck is a fickle mistress who bestows her favours randomly and withdraws them just as quickly. One player who is in her good graces at present is Japan’s Hiroyuki Noda.

While Noda failed to make the cut yesterday his chip stack is currently headed in the right direction.

We caught the action on a A42 flop with 1,100 already in the pot just as Noda, sitting in the small blind, led out for 550. Noda’s opponent in the hand, sitting on the button, immediately re-raises to 1,550 leaving himself 7,000 behind.

The Japanese player does not look thrilled by this turn of events but does make the call taking us heads-up to the 3 turn. Noda checks and the Button moves all-in for his last 7,000 with Noda making the call. The cards go on their backs and Noda discovered his AQ had been out-flopped by his opponent’s A2

Luckily for Noda a lady appeared on the Q river to send his unfortunate opponent to the rail and award the Japanese player the 18k pot and he climbs to just shy of 40,000 in chips.

2:15pm: 1B filling up
Level 1 – Blinds 25/50

Level one is still in its infancy but already our field had swelled from an initial 122 runners to 180 in the space of just 15 minutes. Several players who failed to make the Day 1A cut have returned to see if their luck is better today, one of those being reigning ACOP beer pong champion Ming Ken Thoo.

Another returning player is Australia’s Marcus Maher who has just scooped his first hand of the day to net himself an early 1,000-chip pot, Maher’s A5 enough to see off his opponent’s Q10 on an ace-ten rainbow board. 

Late registration is open until level 8 at 6:20pm and poker players are notoriously late risers so we fully expect more to trickle in as the day progresses. 

2:00pm: Cards are in the air

Level 1 – Blinds 25/50
The four most exciting words in poker have just been uttered – that would be ‘shuffle up and deal’ folks – and we are underway. Blinds are starting at 25/50 and with 30-minute levels and a starting stack of 30,000 there is plenty of play to look forward to. Watch this space and we’ll keep you abreast of all the action as it happens.

Manila Megastack 6 Day 1B all set to go

Manila Megastack 6 Day 1B.jpeg

Action about to get underway in the Manila Megastack 6

Good afternoon poker aficionados and welcome back to Pokerstars LIVE Manila where Day 1B of the ₱25,000 (~US$500) Manila Megastack 6 will soon be underway. Cards are in the air at 2pm local time–GMT+8 or ET+13.

Day 1A saw a record-breaking 284-strong field, already smashing the ₱6 million (~US$120,850) guarantee, and if that’s an indication of things to come then we could be in for a busy day of poker action.

A grand total of 73 players made the Day 1A cut with Japan’s Shinobu Tanaka leading the charge, finishing the day on a monster stack of 324,500. While Tanaka is currently our chip leader he is not alone in breaking the 300k-mark with Filipino Archie Mariano hot on his heels with a stack of 303,000. Indonesia’s Ken Hartono (258,000), Denmark’s Michael Falcon (248,500) and the Philippines William Te (245,500) round out our top five largest stacks meaning our Day 1B contenders will have to run exceedingly well if they hope to catch them. 

With re-entry allowed those who couldn’t go the distance yesterday get another bite of the cherry today so we could well see some familiar faces when action gets underway shortly. Stay tuned and we’ll bring you all the action as it happens here on the Pokerstars blog.

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