Monday, 5th December 2022 05:01
Home / Uncategorized / Manila Megastack 6: Heng wins after miracle comeback

Heng stages miracle comeback to win Manila Megastack 6

Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng emerged triumphant over the Philippines largest-ever international tournament field for a payday of ₱2,771,000 (~US$55,850). Boon battled back from a 5-1 chip deficit against Taiwan’s Yi Te Wu in what proved to be one of the greatest comebacks in APPT history.

Wu boasted a commanding chip lead of 16.2 million to Boon’s 3.3 million when heads-up play began. However, Boon won the first hand without showdown and doubled up on the second after moving all-in pre-flop with AJ and spiking the A river to beat Wu’s flopped top pair of nines.

In a shocking reversal of fortune Boon seized the chip lead two hands later when his 77 won a race against Wu’s AQ to shoot the Singaporean up to 16.3 million in chips to give Boon the 5-1 advantage.

The final hand of the tournament saw a short-stacked Wu move all-in from the button with Q5 and Heng make the call with A8 which held to grant Boon victory when the board ran out 3J3KJ. Wu’s spirited effort saw the Taiwanese player take home ₱1,649,000 (~US$33,200) for his runner up finish.

The two Day 1 starting flights attracted 646 players to beat the Philippines’ previous record of largest field for an international poker tournament of 585 – set during the 2015 APPT Manila Main Event.

Day 2 saw 157 remaining players whittled down to the final 9 over eight grueling hours and 16 levels of play. Several players boasted overwhelming chip leads as the tournament progressed with Taiwan’s Wei Chieh ‘Kevin’ Chang and Filipino Ellezer Castillos dominating much of the early action.

However, Castillos came up short, eventually busting in 13th place for a ₱148,300 (~US$2,990) payday after running ace jack into the pocket jacks of third place finisher Sidney Kilpatrick.

Chang nearly went the distance and managed to make the final table albeit with a much-reduced stack after taking a hit at the hands of eighth place finisher John Tech shortly before the final table. Chang would eventually bust in 9th place for ₱219,050 (~US$4,415) while Filipino player Tech eliminated Anders Hellberg in 10th place to set up the final table which stacked up as follows:


l-r: John Tech, Siong Boon Heng, Tomofumi Watanabe,Wing Fung ‘Jeffrey’ Tsao,Yi Te Wu, Soo Ghee Lim, Wei Chieh ‘Kevin’ Chang, Yasuyuki Asakura, Sidney Gilpatrick

Seat 1: Yi Te Wu (Taiwan) – 2,400,000 
Seat 2: Soo Ghee Lim (Singapore) – 1,840,000
Seat 3: Sidney Gilpatrick  (USA) – 2,220,000
Seat 4: Yasuyuki Asakura (Japan) – 2,890,000
Seat 5: Wei Chieh ‘Kevin’ Chang (Taiwan) – 680,000
Seat 6: Siong Boon Heng (Singapore) -1,085,000
Seat 7: John Tech (Philippines) – 2,575,000
Seat 8: Tomofumi Watanabe (Japan) – 1,050,000
Seat 9: Wing Fung ‘Jeffrey’ Tsao (Hong Kong) – 4,595,000

Tech lost a key coin flip with 99 against Yi Te Wu’s AK to finish in 8th place for ₱277,500 (~US$5,590) with Japan’s Tomofumi Watanabe following Tech to the rail shortly afterwards to exit in 7th for ₱406,000 (~US$8,180) after his QQ was outflopped by Sidney Gilpatrick’s AQ.

Pocket queens also proved unlucky for Singapore’s Soo Ghee Lim, who busted to Heng when the latter rivered a set of eights to send Lim crashing out in 6th for ₱557,000 (~US$11,220). 

Japan’s Yasuyuki Asakura hit the rail in 5th for ₱715,000 (~US$14,400) after an ill-timed bluff against Hong Kong’s Jeff Tsao who departed shortly afterwards in 4th for ₱903,000 (~US$18,200) after losing a flip with 66 against the AQ of Yi Te Wu. Sidney Gilpatrick was another who could not win a race, his 44 unable to overcome Wu’s J6 to send the US player out in 3rd for ₱1,179,000 (~US$23,765) to take play heads-up.

For a full breakdown of the payouts click here and you can follow all the action as it happened on the PokerStars blog.

10:35pm: Siong Boon Heng wins Manila Megastack 6! 
Level 34 – Blinds 150,000/300,000/50,000


Manila Megastack 6 Champion Siong Boon Heng

It took Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng just five hands to turn things around and turn his 1-5 chip deficit into a 5-1 chip lead and after Wu folded the sixth hand it was all decided on the seventh. 

Wu moved all-in from the button pre-flop and Heng called pretty speedily. Wu’s Q5 was trailing Heng’s A8 and the Taiwanese player was unable to emulate Heng’s earlier comeback. The final board ran out 3J3KJ meaning Heng’s ace high is good for the pot, the trophy, the title and ₱2,771,000 first prize in what is possibly one of the greatest poker comebacks the APPT has ever seen. 

Congratulations go to Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng and commiserations go to Wu who should be applauded for his spirited effort and he takes home ₱1,649,000 for his runner up finish.

10:30pm: Boon takes lead
Level 34 – Blinds 150,000/300,000/50,000

Ten minutes ago it looked like heads-up play was merely a formality but Siong Boon Heng refused to go quietly, winning the next two hands pre-flop to climb to 8.19 million. 

Heng moved all-in from the button on the third hand holding 77 and Yi Te Wu called instantly with AQ. The flop came down 823 to give Heng a flush draw to go with his pair of sevens and the 8 turn and K river granted the Singaporean another double up and the chip lead.

What a reversal of fortune! Heng now has the commanding 5-1 chip lead and a stack of 16,380,000 and Wu is now the short stack with 2.9 million.

10:20pm: Boon battles back
Level 34 – Blinds 150,000/300,000/50,000

Starting heads-up play as the shorter stack does not seem to be hampering Siong Boon Heng in any way and the Singaporean player has won the first two hands to bring himself back into contention.

Heng raised the button in the first, popping it up to 600k with Wu making the call. Wu checked the 1073 flop, Heng led for 700k and Wu did not think long before pitching his cards into the muck and Heng climbed to just shy of 4 million.

When it came to Wu’s turn to play the button he moved all-in and Heng could not call fast enough. Wu turned over a less than stellar 29 while Heng is holding AJ

Wu took the lead on the 59Q flop eliciting a huge cheer from the watching rail. The 3 meant Wu was just one card away from the trophy but the A river dashed the Taiwanese player’s hopes and doubled Heng up to 8 million while Wu dropped to 12 million.

10:15pm: Gilpatrick out in 3rd – ₱1,179,000

Level 34 – Blinds 150,000/300,000/50,000
The final table is quickly turning into the Wu show and barely two orbits after sending Jeff Tsao to the rail the Taiwanese player is at it again only this time the victim is Sidney Gilpatrick.

After Siong Boon Heng folded the button Wu quickly moved all-in from the small blind holding J6 and Gilpatrick defended with 44.

Wu instantly paired his six when the flop came down 56K to deafening chant’s of  ‘Taiwan!’ from his fans on the rail. The K and A river brought no succour for Gilpatrick who departs in third place for ₱1,179,000 to take play heads up.

Wu, sitting on 16.2 million, is holding a huge 5-1 chip lead against final opponent Siong Boon Heng, who has 3.2 million, and it looks like the tournament could be over sooner rather than later.

10pm: Tsao out in 4th for ₱903,000
Level 33 – Blinds 120,000/240,000/40,000

Wu appears to be enjoying his time as chip leader and is throwing his weight around with a barrage of aggressive pre-flop raises. It looks like Jeff Tsao has had enough and after Tsao opened for 600k from early position and Wu moved all-in over the top from the button it did not take Tsao long to make the call.

Tsao’s66 is slightly ahead of Wu’s AQ but not by much for such a huge pot. The flop of QK9 saw Wu take the lead and the Taiwanese rail go berserk. The 10 turn and 8 river bring Tsao no help and he got up to shake Wu’s hand before bowing out in fourth place for ₱903,000.

Wu now has a little over 13 million with Siong Boon Heng the next closest with 4 million and Sidney Gilpatrick sitting with 2 million. 

9:50pm: Wu snatches lead from Tsao
Level 33 – Blinds 120,000/240,000/40,000

Action had relented slightly after the carnage of the opening hour of final table play but it was just the calm before the storm. 

Jeff Tsao is once again in the thick of things and was embroiled in a hand against Yi Te Wu when we caught the action on the turn on a board of 788A.

There was a little over 2 million in the middle of the table and playing out of position in the hand Tsao checked his option over to Wu on the button who fires out a rather sizable bet of 1 million. Tsao mulled it over but made the call and the dealer peeled off the 4 river.

Tsao checked again and Wu shoved only to be beaten into the pot by Tsao who turned over Q8 for trips and looked shocked when Wu flipped over 84 for a rivered full house. Wu pulls in a pot worth 7 million to snatch the chip lead while Tsao dropped to second in chips with 5.5 million.

9:30pm: Tsao flushes out Asakura in 5th for ₱715,000
Level 32 – Blinds 100,000/200,000/30,000

A bellow from the crowd got us to the table in time to see a huge hand develop between Yasuyuki Asakura and chip leader Jeff Tsao. We caught the action on the turn with over 2 million already in the pot on a board of 82A2 just as Asakura moved all-in from the button.

Tsao snap called, rolling over AK for top pair and the nut flush draw while Asakura held 34 for a gutshot straight draw. The 9 river filled completed Tsao’s flush to bring Asakura’s tournament to a close and he finishes fifth for ₱715,000. Tsao now has a commanding lead of 9 million – 5 more than that of next closest rival Siong Boon Heng. 

9:24pm: Heng rivers Ghee who settles for 6th – ₱557,000
Level 32 – Blinds 100,000/200,000/30,000

Singapore’s Soo Ghee Lim moves all-in from under-the-gun for 2 million and is speedily called by fellow countryman Siong Boon Heng who looks to have roughly the same. 
Ghee’s QQ lis ahead of Heng’s 88 and stay that way on the K23 flop. The 3 landed on the turn and Ghee was just one card away from doubling up when disaster struck and the 8 hit the river, bringing a roar from the watching rail.

“I never win with queens,” sighed Ghee as he stood to shake Heng’s hand as the stacks are counted down. Heeng had Ghee covered by 100k and doubled to 4 million while Ghee has to settle for a sixth place finish worth ₱557,000.

9:06pm: Tomofumi Watanabe strikes out in 7th for ₱406,000
Level 32 – Blinds 100,000/200,000/30,000

Less than an orbit after John Tech’s departure we have another all-in, this time the at risk player is Japan’s Tomofumi Watanabe who has dropped down to a little over 800,000. 

Watanabe happily got this in pre-flop from the hi-jack holding QQ and was looked up by Sidney Gilpatrick who looked down to see AQ in the big blind.

Gilpatrick paired his ace on the 3A10 flop and with only a single queen remaining in the deck Watanabe was left without much hope. The 2 turn and K river changed nothing and the Japanese player departed in seventh collecting ₱406,000. 

Gilpatrick climbed to 3 million after the hand to climb into fourth in stack rankings but it is Hong Kong’s Jeff Tsao who is still way out in front with over 5.5 million.

9:05pm: Running eights cripple Tech who takes 8th for ₱277,500
Level 32 – Blinds 100,000/200,000/30,000

The action is not slowing down with the eight remaining players seeming eager to get involved in huge pots. As the sole remaining Filipino player John Tech has quite the collection of railbirds watching and a healthy stack to boot.

However, that did not deter him from calling a huge shove with 99 after Taiwan’s Yi Te Wu moved all-in pre-flop for just over 2.5 million holding AK and it was off to the races.

The 8J8 flop was a good one for Tech but the 8 turn gave Wu an additional out – any ace, king or the decks sole remaining eight would be enough to seal the deal.  Tech’s rail were screaming themselves horse for a blank and there was a noticeable gasp from the watching crowd when the 8 landed on the river to counterfeit Tech’s full house. What a sickening river that was and Tech is left with 255,000 – just over a single big blind – busting two hands later. 

9pm: Wei Chieh ‘Kevin’ Chang finishes in 9th place
Level 32 – Blinds 100,000/200,000/30,000

It did not take long for the first elimination of the final table with the short- stacked Kevin Chang blinding down to his last 120,000 before choosing to make a stand. Chang moved all-in pre-flop and was called fairly swiftly by Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng.

Chang’s A5 was leading Heng’s KQ and continued to do so on the QA4 flop but Heng was drawing very live with second pair and a flush draw. Heng hit his flush on the 8 turn to leave Chang drawing dead with the 2 river changing nothing.

Chang departs in 9th place for ₱219,050 (~US$4,400) while Heng now has 1.2 million in chips.

8:50pm: Final table time
Level 31 – Blinds 80,000/160,000/20,000

The final table of the Manila Megastack 6 is now underway with 646 players being whittled down to our final 9. Blinds will be 80,000/160,000/20,000 for another 8 minutes and then will be rising to 100,000/200,000/30,000.

8:10pm: Break before final table  

Our nine remain players are on a 30-minute break while the final table is set up with the seat draw as follows:

Seat 1: Yi Te Wu (Taiwan) – 2,400,000 

Seat 2: Soo Ghee Lim (Singapore) – 1,840,000

Seat 3: Sidney Gilpatrick  (USA) – 2,220,000

Seat 4: Yasuyuki Asakura (Japan) – 2,890,000

Seat 5: Wei Chieh ‘Kevin’ Chang (Taiwan) – 680,000

Seat 6: Siong Boon Heng (Singapore) -1,085,000

Seat 7: John Tech (Philippines) – 2,575,000

Seat 8: Tomofumi Watanabe (Japan) – 1,050,000

Seat 9: Wing Fung ‘Jeffrey’ Tsao (Hong Kong) – 4,595,000


l-r: John Tech, Siong Boon Heng, Tomofumi Watanabe,Wing Fung ‘Jeffrey’ Tsao,Yi Te Wu, Soo Ghee Lim, Wei Chieh ‘Kevin’ Chang, Yasuyuki Asakura, Sidney Gilpatrick

8pm: Tech raises hell
Level 31 – Blinds 80,000/160,000/20,000

Ander’s Hellberg moved all-in pre-flop for roughly 1 million and was called fairly swiftly by John Tech, who had Hellberg covered.

Ander’s Hellberg:A4
John Tech: AQ

The board ran out Q6764 to cheers from the watching rail and Hellberg busted in 10th place for ₱179,200 while Tech scooped the pot to rise to 2.5 million setting up the final table.

7:30-7:40pm: Tsao crushes Luo and Ngoc
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000/10,000

Taiwan’s Hao Che Luo and Vietnam’s Khanh Le Ngoc have fell in quick succession to bring us down to our final ten and we are just one bust our away from the final table.

Luo was the first to fall, moving all-in pre-flop with A7 and finding a caller in the form of Jeff Tsao who was holding AJ. The two were very similarly stacked but Tsao had Luo covered and when both players missed the 2Q45Q board Tsao’s kicker player to send Luo to the rail in 12th place and boost Tsao up to 2.7 million.

Tsao continued his run of good form by busting Khanh Le Ngoc a scant five minutes later when the two got all the chips in with A2 and QQ respectively.

Ngoc’s pocket queens maintained the Vietnamese player’s lead on the 3J2 flop but the 2 turn gave Tsao trips, which improved to a full house on the J river. Tsao pulled in the pot to climb to 4.5 million while Ngoc departed in 11th place for ₱179,200.

7:18pm: Tech gives Chang body blow
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000/10,000

In an unusual change of pace the field’s remaining short stacks have been punishing the big stacks. Following the departure of the once mighty Ellezer Castillo, Filipino John Tech is the tournament’s sole remaining native and chose to continue this trend in a brutal hand against Taiwan’s Kevin Chang.

Tech moved all-in pre-flop for 1.2 million with AJ and was called by Chang with Q9. As the at risk player Tech looked distinctly unhappy with the Q102 flop and the 10 turn brought no help.

However, the K river completed Tech’s gutshot straight to award him the 2.3 million pot and put Chang on life support with a stack of 100k – one big blind.

6:40pm-7:40pm: Castillo crumbles
Level 29-30 – Blinds 40,000/80,000/10,000 – 60,000/120,000/20,000

Former frontrunner Ellezer Castillo had a rough couple of orbits, first making an ill-timed river bluff that was picked off by Yasuyuki Asakura to give the Japanese player the chip lead and then calling a Sidney Gilpatrick shove. Castillo’s J4 was dominated by Gilpatrick’s AJ and stayed behind when the board ran out 8QQ2K to see Castillo drop to 1.1 million and Gilpatrick climb to roughly the same.

We are down to our last two tables with just 13 players remaining with the tournament landscape appearing as follows:

Japan’s Yasuyuki Asakura – 3.9 million
Vietnam’s Khanh Le Ngoc – 2.5 million
Taiwan’s Kevin Chang – 1.7 million
Hong Kong’s Wing Fung ‘Jeff’ Tsao – 1.5 million
Japan’s Tomofumi Watanabe – 1.5 million
Philippines’ Anders Hellberg – 1.3 million
Taiwan’s Hao Che Luo – 1.3 million
USA’s Sidney Gilpatrick – 1.1 million
Philippines’ Ellezer Castillo – 1.1 million
Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng – 1.1million
Philppines John Tech – 600k
Singapore’s Soo Ghee Lim – 600k
Taiwan’s Yi Te Wu – 400k

John Tech managed to double up through Sidney Gilpatrick not long after the start of level 30 with both players getting all the chips in pre-flop, Tech’s pocket nines beating Gilpatrick’s pocket fours to bring the Filipino player back up to 1.3 million while Gilpatrick dropped to 700k.

Gilpatrick managed to chip up shortly afterwards at the expense of former frontrunner Ellezer Castillo when the two tangled in a hand a little later, Gilpatrick’s pocket jacks holding against Castillo’s ace jack offsuit to send the latter out in 13th place and bring Gilpatrick back up to 1.8 million.

6:30pm-6:40pm: Break time

5:30pm-6:30pm: Down to last 14
Level 27-28 – Blinds 25000/50000/5000 – 30000/60000/10000

The trend of speedy bust outs continues and we have lost several players in quick succession with Korea’s Kim Taehyung, former APOY Pete Chen and Vietnam’s Phan Ly Ngoc Huu all exiting the tournament. 

Hao Che Luo had q quiet spell before waking up with 44 and calling a Jonjon Lumanlan shove. Lumanlan, who was holding A9, totally missed the 
J4J8Q while Luo hit a full house to send Lumanlan out in 18th.

Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng finished off Darius Normontas midway through level 28 after the latter moved all-in pre-flop with king queen offsuit with Heng making the call with JJ which held to send Normontas out in 17th place for ₱120,300.

Franklin Nuguid was the architect of his own destruction after raising to 160k from early position and then subsequently calling a Sion Boon Heng shove. Nuguid made the call with KQ but was behind to Heng’s AJ. Both player’s missed the 721024 meaning Heng’s ace-high was enough to scoop the 2 million pot and send Nuguid out in 16th place.

Korea’s Jung Bae became the next casualty after moving all-in pre-flop over the top of a Hao Che Luo button raise. Luo made the call with K10 and Bae was the at risk player with A6. Luo paired his ten when the board ran out J10972 to climb to 1.6 million while Bae busted in 15th place for ₱134,300.

Next to fall was the short stacked Kazuyuki Tanemura who moved all-in from the small blind and was called by Jeff Tsao in the big blind. Tanemura’a AQ was ahead pre-flop but did not hold up when the board came down 24667. Tanemura busted in 14th place for ₱134,300 while Tsao raked in the pot to climb to 1.5 million.

5:18pm: Jeon, Fauchereau and Hiwasawa all bust
Level 26 – Blinds 20000/40000/5000

Korea’s Seung Soo Jeon is one of the latest casualites, his AJ getting outflopped by the A10 of Rex Hunt Ai who flopped top pair and improved to trips by the river when the board ran out 4107J10 to send Jeon out in 27th.

France’s Frederick Fauchereau moved all-in for 200k from under-the-gun and was looked up by Singapore’s Boon Heng.

Frederick Fauchereau: Q10
Boon Heng: AJ

Both players hit the J6Q flop with Fauchereau taking the lead, the 2 turn kept the Frenchman in front but the A river gave Boon two pair and sent Fauchereau crashing out of the tournament in 25th place for ₱79,100.

Japan’s Fumimasa Hirasawa lost a huge pot to Yi Ti Wu while Fauchereau was being eliminated with Wu moving all in pre-flop holding AJ and while we did not arrive in time to see Hirasawa’s hole cards we did arrive in time to see
the Japanese player counting out 600k in chips to double Wu to 1.3 million. 

Hirasawa was left with just a single big blind and is all in from utg the following hand with 4J against Jonjon Lumanlan’s 77. Hirasawa spiked a jack to survive and climb to 175k and was all-in once again the following hand with J3 against the 1010 of Jeff Tsao. 

Once again Hirasawa paired his jack on the KJ5 flop, managing to fade Tsao’s flush draw when the turn and river ran out 7Q respectively to climb back up to 400k. Hirasawa could not make it three from three however and departed in 24th place shortly afterward.

4:20pm: Castello busts Lee to become frontrunner
Level 25 – Blinds 15000/30000/5000


Ellezer Castillo takes chip lead

Korea’s Sangmin Lee opened the action for 65,000 from utg+1 and Ellezer Castillo flat called on the button. Both players were pretty deep at the start of the hand, with Castello sitting on the slightly larger stack.

The flop came down 284 and Lee c-bet 100k, which Castello called. An innocuous 2 hit the turn to pair the board and Lee did not bother to waste time counting out chip, declaring himself all-in and Castello called pretty quickly.

Lee rolled over JJ for two pair but Castello had hit the turn hard holding 25 and the 8 river sealed the deal giving Castello a full house. Castello now has a commanding lead while Lee is out of the running.

4:10pm: Asakura seizes lead before break
Level 24 – Blinds 12000/24000/4000

Indonesia’s Ken Hartano has been busy rebuilding his stack after his mishap with pocket queens against the pocket kings of Thailand’s Paphawin Laodee and had edged back into the chip lead with a stack of 800,000.

However, a huge pot that developed between Denmark’s Michael Falcon and Japan’s Yasuyuki Asakura drastically altered the tournament landscape. Pre-flop Falcon pumped it up to 55,000 from late position and picked up three callers, including Asakura who was on the button.

After the first two callers check Falcon fired out a 100k bet on the K23 rainbow flop, Asakura raised to 250k and after the two other players bowed out and Falcon called we went heads-up to the 10 turn. Falcon checked, opening the door for Asakura who moved all-in. Falcon flashed his opponent the 3 before mucking, which earned him a smile from Asakura who raked in the monster pot to become the first player to broach the 1 million mark and the Japanese player is now sitting on 1.2 million in chips.

3:10pm-4:10pm: Hiasa and Kang depart, Ai doubles
Level 23-24 – Blinds 10000/20000/3000 – 12000/24000/4000

Hao Che Luo joined the 500k club after busting Japan’s Yuto Hiasa with all the chips going in pre-flop, Hiasa’s KQ dominated by Luo’s AQ and staying that way when the board ran out 781025 and Hiasa departed in 52nd place.

Taiwan’s Chung Chien Kang followed Hiasa to the exit not long afterward, shoving for his last 145,000 with J10 only to run into the JJ of Korea’s Sangmin Lee. Kang found a faint glimmer of hope when the flop came down J78 to give him a flush draw but blanks on the turn and river saw Kang depart and Lee rake in a 300k pot to climb to 475,000.

Taiwan’s Bon Xiang Chen was next for chopping block, moving all-in pre-flop for 150,000 holding A10. Japan’s Kazuyuki Tanemura made the call with KQ and spiked top pair when the board ran out 2Q243 to scoop the pot and climb to 680,000.

Australia’s Rex Hunt Ai scored a timely double up at the expense of Japan’s Mashahiko Nasu. Sitting on the button Ai raised it up to 55,000 and Nasu 3-bet to 95,000 from the small blind. Ai quickly moved in for 229,000 in total and Nasu, sitting on 450,000 was left with a tough decision but opted to call and the cards were flipped over.

Rex Hunt Ai: AK
Mashahiko Nasu: 88

The dealer peeled the flop and Ai shot into the lead when the A window card came down with the rest of the flop running out 2Q. The K turn gave Nasu a flush draw and Ai a sweat but the 5 river granted the Australian player the double up and he raked in a 450k pot while Nasu fell to just under 300,000.

2:10pm-3:10pm: Floodgates open after bubble bursts
Level 21-22 – Blinds 6000/12000/100 – 8000/16000/2000

The bubble bursting has opened the floodgates as the short stacks desperately holding on to make the money now decide to go for broke and we have lost 40 players in the last two levels. That equates to a player every 90 seconds, and while it hasn’t been that exact the sheer number of bust outs is staggering. 

China’s Yongqi Ren became the first paying casualty to collect the ₱41,300 min-cash for his 95th place finish with the dubious honor of first ladder going to France’s Hubert Spiess who departed in 71st for a ₱46,900 payday. 
Osin Genexon’s elimination in 55th place marked the next payment ladder jump and the Filipino player departed with ₱52,500.

Rejuvenated after winning his earlier coin flip against Michael Falcon, Korea’s Taehyung Kim took advantage of the loose action to climb to 640,000, enjoying a brief stint as chip leader but was soon eclipsed by a resurgent Kevin Chang who upped the aggression to climb to 720,000.

1pm-2pm: Chip lead changes hands multiple times, bubble bursts
Level 19-20 – Blinds 2500/5000/500 – 3000/6000/1000

There were 117 players still in contention at start of level 19 and 21 of those have fallen by the wayside over the last hour of play bringing us to the bubble and the all important money spots.

Indonesia’s Ken Hartono seized the chip lead as level 19 began, spiking a flush to crack In Sin’s set of tens and send the Korean player to the rail empty handed, leaving Hartono to rake in a huge pot and become the first player to break the 500,000-chip barrier.

Unfortunately Hartono was unable to hold on to the lead for long, running pocket queens into the pocket kings of Thailand’s Paphawin Laodee with all the chips going in pre-flop. Hartono dropped down to 340,000 while Laodee climbed to 410,000.

That particular cooler put Archie Mariano out in pole position, with the Filipino player leveraging his sizable stack to take down several pots with some aggressive pre-flop play and climb to 450,000. Another Filipino player, John Tech, was not far behind after grinding his 200k starting stack up to the giddy heights of 440,000.

The USA’s Ron Tate thought Christmas had come early when he woke up in the big blind with pocket kings after an under-the-gun raise from Korea’s Hao Kai Wu, followed by a flat call from Franklin Nuguid on the button.

Tate min 3-bet, Wu min 4-bet, Nuguid bowed out, Tate 5-bet and Wu shipped. Christmas has indeed come early, but not for Tate as Wu had woken up with aces, which held to sent Tate crashing out and take Wu up to 350,000.

Oliver Durant followed Tate to the rail shortly afterward, the Frenchman unable to gain any traction and blinding down from 100k to 6k when he chose to take a stand with AQ only to lose to the A10 of Mashahiko Nasu and Durant departed in 98th place.

The remaining 97 players were just two bust outs away from making the money and rather than slowing down the action the bubble burst in spectacular fashion as two players departed in a flurry of cards and chips.

Multiple all-ins on three separate tables at the same time negated the need to go hand for hand and play ground to a halt as the action was played out in the order it occurred.

First to play out was a rather sick hand between Filipino Regie Ann Delos Reyes and Taiwan’s Shao Kang Yu and we caught up with action on a 292 flop with 100k already in the middle.

Delos Reyes was the pre-flop aggressor and led out for 30,000 only to see Yu min-raise to 60,000 with another 100k behind. This put Delos Reyes in a tough spot as with 67,000 behind she only had two options; raise or fold. After tanking for what felt like an eternity Delos Reyes chose the more aggressive line and moved all-in with 1010.

Unfortunately Yu had flat called the button with the rather speculative 25 and hit gin. No ten made an appearance on the A turn and 7 river and Delos Reyes headed for the exit as Yu raked in a 234k pot to climb to 334,000 in total.

The second all-in occurred between Korea’s Taehyung Kim and Denmark’s Michael Falcon and turned out to be a good old-fashioned race between Kim’s 88 and Falcon’s ace ten. Kim’s snowmen held to grant him a double to 270,000 with Falcon dropping to 200,000.

This brought us to our third and final hand of level 20 and the all-important bubble. The hand in question was a three-way pre-flop all-in between Malaysisa’s Ben Soon Yun Loo, Singapore’s Boon Heng and Filipino Jose Arceo.

Heng, holding AK, had both players covered. Loo, holding a dominated AJ, was in the unenviable position as the shortest stack making him the at-risk player as, should Arceo’s 77 hold, Loo would bust to Heng. 


Malaysia’s Ben Loo (left) shakes Boon Heng’s hand after busting on the bubble

That was exactly what happened when the board ran out 2Q9Q8 granting Loo the dubious honor of being the bubble boy. Heng dropped just below 100,000 and Arceo tripled up to 200,000.

The 95 remaining players are now guaranteed at least ₱41,300 (~US$830) and are now on a 10-minute break.

12pm-1pm: Slew of eliminations to start
Level 17-18 – Blinds 2500/5000/500 – 3000/6000/1000

There have been a slew of early eliminations during the first two levels of the day as the short stacks who held on for dear life yesterday attempt to chip up for a deep run or die trying. Unfortunately for 25 of them, the dream is over and the field has shrunk from 157 to 141 in the opening 30-minutes of play.

The first casualty came during the first hand, with Singapore’s Jian An Tan moving all-in from early position for 85,500 with A9 and Vietnam’s Ngoc Pham calling from the small blind with 88. Tan was the player at risk and failed to pair his ace or nine to head for the rail empty handed.

Romania’s Vlad Lache moved all-in for 55,000 over the top of Oliver Duran’s 10,000 early position open. The Frenchman asked for a count but as this represented over 50% of his 95k stack he elected to fold meaning Lache scoops the pot without showdown and climbs to 77,000.

A short-stacked Trifie Montebon earned a double up courtesy of tablemate Alain Walder after moving all-in pre-flop for 45,000 with AQ with Walder choosing to defend his big blind with A9. Both players paired their ace when the board ran out 734A6 meaning Trifie’s kicker plays and he doubled to 90,000 while Walder dropped to 75,000.

Taiwan’s Hao Che Luo and Filipino Czardy Rivera tangled in a pot with the later emerging victorious after double barreling the JJ3 flop and 6 turn, convincing Luo to give it up. Rivera rises to 160,000 while Luo drops to 315,000.

Japan’s Azusa Maeda is one for two; winning his first pot pre-flop after moving all-in for 105,000 over the top of an Alexis Lim opening raise to take it down, flashing Lim pocket kings as he does so. Unfortunately Maeda was unable to hold on to his newly won chips for very long, doubling up a short stacked Genexon Osin a few hands later. 

Maeda moved all-in from the button for just shy of 100k and Osin decided that A5 was enough to take a stand with, and was proved right, leading Maeda’s rather speculative 73 both pre and post flop to scoop with just ace-high and double to 70,000 while Maeda fell to 60,000.

12pm: Day 2 begins
Level 15 – Blinds 2500/5000/500


Players take their seats as Day 2 of Manila Megastack 6 begins

It is the beginning of the end for the Manila Megastack 6 with the two starting flights now concluded. The once huge 646-strong field has dwindled to 157 players, 95 of which are guaranteed at least ₱41,300 (~US$830) with the winner receiving ₱2,771,000 (~US$55,850).

Singapore’s Aurelius Tan is leading the charge with a stack of 353,000, closely followed by Taiwanese players Hao Che Luo (345,000) and Kevin Chang (342,000) with Day 1A chip leader Shinobu Tanaka (324,500) and yet another Taiwanese player, Yi Te Wu (314,000) round out our top five.

The only other stack over the 300k mark is Filipino Archie Mariano (303,000), although the USA’s Sidney Gilpatrick is not far behind with a stack of 293,000.
You can see the complete Day 2 seat draw here and read about all the Day 1A here and the Day 1B action here.

Action will not stop until a champion is crowned and you can follow all the action as it happens right here on the Pokerstars blog.

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