Manila Megastack 7: Day 1B

June 03, 2017

Chip Leader.jpg

Manila Megastack 7 Day 1B chip leader Kotaro Tsunodo

The second and final starting flight of the Manila Megastack 7 Main Event is now in the books. A total of 284 players anted up the ₱30,000 buy-in to bring the total number of entries up to 507 and balloon the prizepool to a sizable ₱13,278,330 (~US$267,562), easily surpassing the ₱8 million guarantee. 

However, it will be the ₱2,645,000 (~$53,560) first prize that all will have their eye on. One of the players best positioned to win this is Japan’s Kotaro Tsunodo who bagged up an impressive 431,000 when play concluded a little after 10:40pm local time (GMT+7) on Saturday 3 June.

Tsunodo climbed into contention for the top spot towards the end of the day, overtaking reigning Manila Megastack 6 Champion Siong Boon Heng, who had held the chip lead for a large part of the day. The Japanese player pulled further in front after a brutal cooler against Asia Player of the Year Jack Wu with just one hour of play remaining. 

It seemed the dealer had taken the deck straight out of the freezer, as Wu thought he had hit gin after calling a mid-position Tsunodo raise from the big blind with pocket twos, which improved to a set on an eight-high flop. 

Unfortunately for Wu however, Tsunodo was holding top set, which held to catapult the Japanese player to over 500,000 in chips and send Wu crashing out of the Main Event.

Another notable Taiwanese player who failed to make the cut was former APOY Pete Chen, who ran queen-jack into Haibo Jiang’s ace-queen on a queen-high flop to bust on the last level of the day. 

Other notables who fell by the wayside included Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen, ₱50,000 Freezeout Champion Alex Lee and the UK’s Ben Abrahams, who flopped top two pair holding ace-ten in a three-way hand and was two-outed not once, but twice, with both his opponent’s hitting sets on the turn and river respectively. 

Other notable big stacks who made the cut include Malaysia’s Bobby Soon (389,000), China’s Jing Wang (359,500) and Kunlong Yu (354,000) with the Philippines’ Jessie Leonarez (312,500) the only other player to have over 300k in chips. Reigning champion Siong Boon Heng (155,500) will also be returning to defend his title. You can see the full player list for those who made it through Day 1B here.

In total of 67 players successfully circumnavigated the tournament minefield to lock up their Day 2 seat and join the 52 Day 1A survivors when play resumes on Sunday 4 June at 12pm local time. Click here for the Day 2 seat draw.

Just 71 of the 119 returning players will be making the hallowed money spots, with a min-cash good for ₱50,000 (~$1,007) and you can see a full list of the payouts here. While Tsunodo is certainly in one of the prime positions to challenge for the title he will be starting play behind Day 1A front runner John Beveridge who bagged up a massive 548,000. 

It is another Day 1A big stack – Sathesh ‘Stash’ Muthu – who rounds out the top three and the Singaporean will be returning for Day 2 with a very respectable 418,500.

The PokerStars Blog Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action from the tournament floor when Day 2 resumes so join us then as we see if Heng can win back-to-back Megastacks or if a new champion rises to take his place.

Carnage before close
Level 16 – Blinds 2,000/4,000/500

As is usually the case the last level of the day was the most action packed with a slew of players departing in a flurry of cards and chips. One of the first casualties near the start of the level was 2014 Asia Player of the Year Pete Chen who got the last of his chips in with queen-jack on a queen-high flop.

Unfortunately for Chen his opponent in the hand, Haibo Jiang, had him outkicked with ace-queen and when the stacks were counted down Chen also discovered that Jiang had him covered as well and the Taiwanese player headed for the rail.

Iran’s Roozbeh Namvarasl earned himself a double at an unfortunate opponent’s expense shortly afterward. Namvarasl moved all-in from under-the-gun for 76,000 with A♥K♠ and a short-stacked player in the big blind decided to call off the rest of his chips with the speculative 10♥9♠ and missed the flop by miles to see Namvarasl stack up to just under 150,000 while his opponent slinked off toward the exit.

The tournament clock was again paused at the 15-minute mark with chip leader Kotaro Tsunoda drawing for the magic number ‘five’ for the last number of hands to be played. 

Julian Hasse and Mike Takayama tangled once more immediately after this was announced with Hasse moving all-in pre-flop for his last 65,000 from the big blind over the top of a Takayama late position open, with the Filipino making a quick call.

Julian Hasse: 9♦9♥
Mike Takayama: 6♠6♣

Hasse was a 5-1 favorite and maintained his lead when the board ran out 4♣A♠K♠Q♠7♦ to lock in the double, climbing close to 180,000 in chips while Takayama dropped down to 160,000. 

Defending champion and former frontrunner Siong Boon Heng took a couple of hits as play began to wind down, running into an opponent’s flopped aces-full on a A♦4♥4♠6♣4♣ board but got away cheaply when his opponent checked the river in the dark and Heng checked it right back, instantly folding when his adversary turned over the winning hand. 

Players began bagging up their chips shortly afterward with the Singaporean finishing the day with a stack of 155,500. However, there were several players who finished the day with larger stacks with Kotaro Tsunoda ending the day in pole position with an impressive 431,000 in chips.

Other notable stacks included Booby Soon, who bagged up a very respectable 390,000, closely followed by Wang Jian who ended play with 370,000.

While there were 71 players still in contention when the tournament clock was paused that is certainly not the number of players who made it through the day. There will be a full end of day wrap to follow shortly, along with chip counts and the official payouts so watch this space.

Manalansan busts Cheong
Level 15 – Blinds 1,500/3,000/500
Sparrow Cheung.jpg

Park Yu ‘Sparrow’ Cheung

There are now 81 players left in contention from the 285 initial entries with one of the more recent casualties being Sparrow Cheong. The Hong Kong player won’t be too disappointed though being as he already made the Day 2 cut yesterday on Day 1A, making it through with a stack of over 95,000. 

With time to kill today Cheong chose to see if he could improve on this number. However, the answer to that question is a resounding no and we arrived just in time to see Cheung shove for his last 70,000 or so from middle position and elicit a speedy call from tablemate Reynaldo Manalansan and the cards were turned over.

Sparrow Cheung: K♣7♥
Reynaldo Manalansan: K♦Q♦

“Oh no!” said Cheung as he saw us watching with our pen ready, “don’t write about this hand please… I only shoved as I made Day 2 yesterday.”

While we can sympathize we wouldn’t be doing our job if we omitted such a spectacular hand (sorry Sparrow) and the board ran out 5♣10♦J♠4♣3♠ and Cheung got up to head for the rail while Manalansan stacked up to 195,000.

Namvarasl busts Razavi
Level 15 – Blinds 1,500/3,000/500

While Sam Razavi may have beaten Roozbeh Namvarasl in a hand earlier the Iranian player has just taken all his chips back with interest and Razavi’s tournament is now over.

The British player was kind enough to tell us of his demise after we caught him wandering past the media desk. According to Razavai:

“The Iranian kid [Namvarasl] jammed the button for 20 big blinds and I woke up in the big blind with jacks and made the call and he spiked his ace.”

That pot puts Namvarasl on close to 130,000 while Razavi’s Main Event is now done.

Tsunoda busts Wu to close out level
Level 14 – Blinds 1,200/2,400/400
Kotaro Tsunoda.jpg

Kotaro Tsunoda

We caught a dejected looking Jack Wu on his way to the rail, and being as just minutes ago he had a stack of close to 200k we asked him to tell us his tale of woe. 

According to Wu it was Kotaro Tsunoda who was the man to wield the executioner’s axe and he was the man in command of the hand as well, raising to 6,000 pre-flop from middle position with Wu the only caller in the big blind.

The flop came down 2♠5♠8♥ and this is where the fireworks happened. Wu checked the action over to Tsunoda who fired for 13,000 and Wu check-raised to 40,000 only to see Tsunoda move all-in. Wu, holding pocket twos, made the call only to discover the bad news – Tsunoda also had a set and was holding pocket eights. With no two making an appearance Wu was out of the running while Tsunoda is definitely the chip leader now with a stack of over 500,000.

Razavi Doubles
Level 14 – Blinds 1,200/2,400/400

We witnessed Sam Razavi just earn a double courtesy of Iran’s Roozbeh Namvarasl in the small blind while we in the process of counting up Kotaro Tsunoda’s monster stack. 

While we missed the pre-flop betting we picked up the hand on a flop of 6♠3♦J♦ just as Namvarasl checked the action over to Razavi, who fired for 5,000. 

Tsunoda was also in the hand and made the call from the button before Namvarasl check-raised to 10,500 in total, with Razavi min-three-betting to 21,000 to get Tsunoda to fold. 

That worked exactly as Razavi intended and with the action back on Namvarasl he four-bet shoved with Razavi making a quick call.

Namvarasl had K♥J♠ for top pair while Razavi had K♦9♦ for the flush draw which hit to double the Brit up to just over 100,000 while Namvarasl dropped down to below 60,000. There are now 100 players left in the running and we are down to eleven tables.

Takayama makes monster; All change at the top
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,000/300
Mike Takayama.jpg

Mike Takayama

There are just five minutes left on the clock for level 13 but this is already the most exciting level of the day and several huge hands have played out that has seen the chip lead change hands.

Former front runner Siong Boon Heng is still very much in the running and has a stack of 208,000 but the Philippines Mike Takayama has just edged in front of the Singaporean after winning an absolutely massive pot from Germany’s Julian Hasse.

We picked up the action on the turn with over 30,000 already in the pot with the community cards spread 10♦3♣4♠J♦ just as Takayama checked the action over to Hasse.

The German player slid out a bet of 12,000 and Takayama counted out a chunky check-raise and slid out a tower of chips, making it 28,500 to go in total. This sent Hasse deep into the tank, were he remained for at least a minute before making the call to bring the action to the 10♥ river.

Takayama did not take long to move all-in for 58,400 and Hasse hit the think tank again. While he had Takayama covered the call represented a significant portion of Hasse’s chips so he was given some leeway by the rest of the table as he chewed over the decision.

Eventually Hasse made the call and Takayama triumphantly tabled 10♠10♣ for quads, to a big sigh from Hasse who threw his K♠K♦ face up into the muck. Hasse dropped back down to close to the starting stack and was left with 31,000 while Takayama began stacking up his newly won mountain of chips and climbed to 210,000.

However, after scouring the tournament area it appears that the current chip leader is China’s Wang Jian who is currently sitting with four gigantic chip towers totaling 280,000. Japan’s Kotaro Tsunoda is not all that far behind with a stack of 250,000.

Level 13 begins, numbers are in
Level 13 – Blinds 1,000/2,000/300

The tournament clock has been updated during the break and it appears that the figure of 135 players still in contention is correct. A total of 284 players anted up the ₱30,000 buy-in for Day 1B and combined with the 223 Day 1A entries this brings the total number of players up to 507.

That has ballooned the prizepool to an impressive ₱13,278,330 (~US$267,562) easily surpassing the ₱8 million guarantee with first prize coming in at a whopping ₱2,645,000 (~$53,560) and a min-cash good for ₱50,000 (~$1,007).

Level 12 – Blinds 800/1,600/200

We have had a few technical difficulties but these all seem to have been rectified now and had a chance to scour the room for some chip stacks to see how the tournament landscape is shaping up.

The current frontrunner is still  Siong Boon Heng, who has climbed to a little over 200,000 though there are a few players who are breathing down the Singaporean’s neck and are not that far behind.

Taiwan’s Jack Wu is still one of these and is sitting on a stack of 150,000, closely followed by Bobby Joon who has 149,000.

Other notables are stacking up as follows:

Daniel Benor (Israel) – 130,000
Julian Hasse (Germany) – 125,000
Shao Kang Yu (China) – 110,000
Sam Razavi (UK) – 85,000

Players are on their last 10-minute break of the day and 135 out of the 285-strong field are still in the running. There are four levels left to play before play concludes at the end of level 16, which should be around 10:40pm.

Tollefsen gives one up, Campomanes takes one down
Level 11 – Blinds 600/1,200/200

We caught Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen in action in a multi-way pot with a player in the hi-jack making it 3,600 to go pre-flop. Tollefsen made the call from the cutoff, as did both the blinds and the action went four-way to a flop of 6♦A♥6♣.

The action was checked around to Tollefsen who needed no further prompting and took a shot for 3,600. While this was enough to get the blinds to get out of the way the original raiser reached for chip, but they were not for calling with and he check raised another 9,000. Tollefsen looked tempted but eventually slid his cards face down into the muck to drop to 77,000.

Flo Campomanes had not long moved to the same table and while he looked a little short earlier the Filipino player has evidently been busy beavering away and had chipped up to a little over 65,000. Campomanes has padded this out still further not long after arriving, juicing the action up to 2,500 from under-the-gun and picking up a single caller in the big blind.

Both players checked the 8♠K♦4♣ flop and after the Big Blind checked for a second time Campomanes fired out a delayed continuation bet of 3,500. The Big Blind looked torn between calling and folding and eventually chose the second of the two, leaving Campomanes free to rake in the pot without showdown and climb to 70,000.

Lim and Heng battle

Level 11 begins
Level 11 – Blinds 600/1,200/200

Just 180 players remain in contention out of the 285-strong Day 1B field. The average stack is coming in at just over 50,000 and there are just over 3-hours of play left before the end of the day.

Level 10 – Blinds 500/1,000/100
Soo Ghee Lim.jpg

Soo Ghee Lim

Singapore’s Siong Boon Heng and Soo Ghee Lim are well accustomed to battling it out against each other at the poker tables, with both players making the final table of December’s Manila Megastack 6 where they clashed in numerous pots.

While it was Heng who enjoyed the run of the green in that tournament (obviously, as he won…) Lim, who finished in 6th place last time around, has just claimed some small measure of revenge.

Pre-flop it was Lim who was the initial aggressor, making it 2,600 from UTG+1 with Heng (big blind) the only caller.

Both players checked the 10♦5♦3♣ flop and the 5♠ turn before Heng decided to take a stab at the pot on the 7♣ river and led out for 3,500.

Lim called immediately and Heng sheepishly rolled over Q♠8♥ for queen high, which was not enough to best Lim’s A♠K♠ ace-high.

Lim stacked up to a little over 90,000 but Heng still has plenty of chips and looks to still hold the lead with 171,000.

Razavi flashes
Level 10 – Blinds 500/1,000/100

Now the re-entry period is over it looks like there have been 285 entries for Day 1B of the Manila Magastack Main Event and 189 of them are still in the running.

One of those is the UK’s Sam Razavi and we caught the always entertaining poker pro embroiled in a sizable pot against an opponent with over 55,000 in blinds and antes already in the pot.

With the board reading 10♥10♠5♣ 4♦ Razavi (cutoff) had checked the action over to his opponent who was on the button. The Button fired for 12,000, leaving himself around 40,000 behind and Razavi had a decision to make.

With a similarly sized stack Razavi chose the most aggressive move available to him and moved all-in to send his opponent deep into the tank. Eventually he decided to fold and Razavi obligingly flashed him the 8♦ to chuckles from the rest of the table.

“I folded pocket eights,” piped up an opponent who would have been in the big blind. 

“Well you’d be in trouble if an eight came off on the turn,” replied Razavi glibly. 

“So was that a bluff?” asked Razavi’s former opponent in the hand. Razavi assured the player he had 8♦10♦ but the Button remained unconvinced and looked distinctly unhappy at the way the hand played out.

Notable stacks
Level 9 – Blinds 400/800/100

While it looks as though reigning champion Siong Boon Heng still holds the lead with a stack of 155,000 several other players are amassing some sizable stacks of their own.

We walked past Julian Hasse’s table in time to see the German player scoop a decent sized pot with 10♠10♣ against Daniel Benor, though the latter had already mucked his hand by the time we arrived. Hasse stacked up to 125,000 while Benor still had 95,000 so is in no danger at the moment.

Other notable stacks include APOY Jack Wu (120,000), Japan’s O Aoyama (74,000), Manila Megastack 6 final tablist Soo Gee Lim (85,000) and Shao Kang Yu (120,000). 

Henrik Tollefsen is also in the running with a stack of 50,000. The Norwegian poker professional is no stranger to success here in Manila having already taken down the August 2015 ₱200,000 APPT High Roller, the August 2015 ₱50,000 APT Main Event and the January 2016 ₱55,000 APT Pot Limit Omaha High Roller for combined winnings of ₱4.8 million (~US$100,000). With over US$1 million in career tournament winnings Tollefsen will be looking to add to his already impressive resume here in the Manila Megastack 7 Main Event.

Nooralian wins one
Level 9 – Blinds 400/800/100

We caught Ben Abrahams in action with the UK player min-raising to 1,600 from under-the-gun and picking up no respect for this whatsoever and picking up four other callers, including a player in middle position, both blinds and Steven Nooralian on the button.

With so many players in the hand no one seemed keen to bet the A♣8♣10♦ flop and the action was checked around and the dealer peeled off the 2♠ turn. 

The small blind elected to take a stab for 3,000 and while this was enough to get the Big Blind, Abrahams and the player in middle position to give it up Nooralian quickly moved all-in from the button for his last 10,300. The small blind quickly folded leaving Nooralian to drag in the pot without showdown and he climbed to just under 20,000.

Break Time
Level 8 – Blinds 300/600/75

The 237 remaining Main Event players are on their second 10-minute break of the day. The re-entry period will conclude at the end of this break meaning this is the last chance for those wishing to lock up their Day 2 Seat.

Heng wins from David, Wu drops some, Heng seizes lead
Level 7 – Blinds 150/300/25 to Level 8 – Blinds 300/600/75
5:40pm to 6:05pm:
Manila Megastack 6 Champion Siong Boon Heng.jpg

Manila Megastack reigning champion Siong Boon Heng

We started prowling the floor midway through level seven and the clock had ticked over into level eight by the time we had completed our rounds with the last level changing the look of the tournament landscape dramatically.

We started at defending champion Siong Boon Heng’s table just as the Singaporean was being congratulated on a nice bluff by a tablemate and raking in a pot. Heng was back in action immediately with Jasper David opening the action with a raise to 1,300 from late position following an early position limp.

Heng made the call from the button and the limper also called to take the action three-way to a flop of 8♥8♣6♣. This was checked to Heng who decided the opportunity to take a stab at the pot in position was too good to pass up on and he fired for 3,500 with David the only caller.

The J♣ turn brought checks from both players and after David checked for a third time on the 9♠ river Heng took another shot at the pot with a bet of 6,500. This sent David into the tank for some time before he through out a crying call, but could only muck when Heng turned over 7♦9♦ to take down the hand and climb to 55,000 while David dropped to 50,000.

Over on frontrunner Shao Kang Yu’s table the Chinese player had dropped some chips and was sitting on around 98,000 and chose to limp from under-the-gun. Christopher Daryl made it 1,200 to go from the hi-jack with both the Big Blind and Yu making the call to take the action three-way to a monochrome flop of Q♣10♣8♣.

The Big Blind looked interested and threw out a bet of 1,725 and while this was enough to get Yu to bow out Daryl made the call to bring the action heads-up to the J♣ turn.

With the board getting wetter and wetter the Big Blind checked the action over to Daryl who wasted no time in betting, making it 2,125 to go. Daryl’s opponent thought it over and slid out the call and the 9♠ landed on the river to complete a straight. 

This brought another check from the Big Blind and a shove of 10,300 from Daryl. Surprisingly this had his opponent covered and the Big Blind tanked long and hard before folding leaving Daryl to rake in the pot unopposed and climb to roughly 24,000 or so.

Jack Wu is another of the field’s sizable stacks who has given some chips back to the table with the Joaquim Manglona the beneficiary. We caught the pair in action in a hand with the community cards spread 5♣K♠10♦6♦10♥ and there had evidently been some heavy betting as the pot was close to 15,000.

Wu, sitting in middle position, had just checked the action over to Manglona who was in the cutoff and the Filipino player counted out a bet of 6,200. This sent Wu into deep thought and he counted down his stack and eyed up the pot before deciding to pick a better spot and folding. Wu dropped to 76,000 after the hand while Manglona climbed to 50,000.

As we headed back to the media desk to write up some of the action we passed by Heng’s table once more to see the defending champion scooping yet another pot and the Singaporean had climbed up to over 120,000 in the space of 30-minutes. This makes him the current frontrunner with Yu (98,000) the next closest stack.

Wu wins one, Yu still in front
Level 6 – Blinds 150/300/25

Level six is close to ticking over into level seven and the number of total entries has risen to 242 with 220 of those still in the running. New faces include Singapore’s Alex Lee who took down the ₱50,000 Freezeout yesterday for a cool ₱1.1 million (~US$22,280) and Lee looks to be adding to this already impressive tally with a deep run in the Main Event, though he is still sitting on close to starting stack at present.

The Philippines Rene Echevarria has just taken down a decent sized pot in a multi-way hand with Malaysia’s Victor Chong the initial aggressor. Following an under-the-gun limp Chong made it 800 to go with neighboring Echevarria, a player in the big blind and the limper all making the call.

Action went four-way to a flop of 8♠9♣4♣ which was checked over to Echevarria, who fired for 1,600. While this was enough to get the big blind to bow out the limper and Chong called to take the action three-way to the Q♥ turn.

This slowed things down slightly with all three remaining players checking and doing so again on the 9♠ river. The limper rolled over 10♠7♠ for a missed open-ended straight draw, Chong turned over A♣8♣ and Echevarria triumphantly tabled J♣J♥ to scoop the pot and climb to 40,000.

Asia Player of the Year Jack Wu has been busy since last we checked and we caught the Taiwanese player involved in a hand on a flop of 2♥10♥7♠ against a single opponent. With 5,000 already in the pot the J♣ had hit the turn and the action had been checked over to Wu, who fired for 3,200.

Wu’s opponent thought it over but threw in the call and the A♦ river completed the hand and brought another check from the middle position player. Wu bet out an enticing 2,000 but could not find a call and stacked up to 90,000.

While that’s an impressive stack it seems that Shao Kang Yu is still the current frontrunner with over 100,000 in chips sitting in front of him.

Ravazi wins one, Yu takes early lead
Level 5 – Blinds 100/200/25

The number of entrants has risen to 232 with 222 of those still in the running. Some of the new arrivals include the Philippines’ Flo Campomanes, sporting a spiffy new haircut, Singapore’s Minsoon Lim and the UK’s Ben Abrahams.

While Campomanes and Abrahams are still close to starting stack it appears that Lim has been a busy bunny and has run his stack up to 52,500. The Singaporean was looking to add to this but found no customers after the action folded around to him in the small blind and he made it 500 to go, bringing an instant fold from the big blind.

One player who did manage to take down a sizable pot from the same position was Shao Kang Yu and we caught the Chinese player involved in a multi-way from the worst position on the table.

Pre-flop it was a Japanese player who only told us his first name – Chihiro – opening the action to 600 from middle postion and picking up three callers, one in late position,Yu in the small blind and a player in the big blind.

The 4♣5♠10♥ flop was checked over to Chihiro who continuation bet 850 with Yu the only caller and the action went heads-up to the 9♠ turn. Both players checked and the 5♥ paired the board and completed the hand.

While the small blind is one of the worst positions to play one advantage it does hold is the fact that you are first to act, though obviously sometimes this is also its greatest drawback. However, it gave Yu first stab at the pot, which he took with a sizable 3,050 bet, which was enough to get Chihiro to give it up and drop to 35,000 while Yu padded out his already ample stack to climb to 80,200.

While it’s still quite early to tell for sure it looks as though Yu may currently hold a slight chip lead, though there are several other players with close to the same with Taiwan’s Jack Wu currently sitting on 79,500.

Other notable stacks at present include Germany’s Julian Hasse (57,000), Israel’s Daniel Benor (50,000), Japan’s Shintaro Uesugi (63,000) and the interestingly named O Aoyama (70,000). Perth Poker League player Aaron Taylor is also sitting with a decent sized stack of 67,000.

Level 5 underway
Level 5 – Blinds 100/200/25

There are now 216 players in the running but with the re-entry period still open for another three levels after this one we will not have a real idea of how many total entrants there are until later. The tournament clock is not all that reliable when it comes to busts outs so we’ll keep you informed when we know more. Blinds have now climbed to 100/200 with a 25 running ante and cards are in the air once more.

Uesugi cripples one, Benor administers coup de grace and busts another
Level 4 – Blinds 100/200

The players are wasting no time getting stuck into the action and are certainly not shy about getting the chips in and we have seen many a dejected looking former competitor heading either for to the rail, or the cash desk for re-entry.

One player who this is working out for is Shintaro Uesugi and we arrived just in time to see the Japanese player move all-in on the river from the small blind for 15,800 on a board reading 9♠3♥10♣2♣9♥.

Uesugi’s opponent, sitting in the big blind, called immediately but could only sigh and fold when Uesugi turned over K♠K♦. Uesugi scooped the sizable pot to climb to 58,000 while the unfortunate big blind was left with just 100 – a single small blind, with the only silver lining for him being he had enough to cover his small blind in the next hand.

That too was a bit of a nuts one with Julian Hasse opening the action to 450 from under-the-gun and picking up a caller in the form of Martin Gonzales in late position. The small blind was already all-in for his last 100 and the action was on big blind Daniel Benor, who squeezed to 1,200 in total.

Both Hasses and Gonzales made the call to keep the hand four-way but the action three-way and the flop came down K♣4♦2♣. All three remaining players with left in action checked and the 7♣ hit the turn, which brought a lead of 1,600 from Benor and a fold from Hasse. 

With the action now on Martin Gonzales the Filipino player re-raised to 5,600 and Benor mulled it over, but eventually elected to make the call and the 2♦ hit the river to pair the board.

Benor did not look like he was keen on the pair up and checked the action over to Gonzales, who quickly shoved for 15,050. This sent Benor into the tank for 30-seconds or so as the bet was for a significant portion of his remaining chips.

However, the Israeli player eventually made his decision and threw in the calling chips. Gonzales turned over K♦7♦ for a turned two pair. Unfortunately for Gonzales the card he thought was his money card was actually not a good one and Benor triumphantly tabled A♣10♣ for the turned nut flush – so we can see why he did not like that pair up. The small blind mucked and headed for the rail, as did Gonzales, leaving Benor to stack up to 60,000.

All that excitement brings us to our first break of the day. Play will resume in 10-minutes so stick around and we’ll bring you more action and adventure when play resumes shortly.

Chong gives it up, Heng rails one
Level 3 – Blinds 75/150

Level three is nearly in the books and the number of entries has risen to 180, though not all of these are still in the running as we have heard the “Player out!” all from several of the tournament tables already, but have arrived too late to catch any of the action.

Those still in the running however, include Germany’s Julian Hasse and Malaysia’s Victor Chong, the latter of whom we caught in action. 

A player in the cut off raised to 500 and picked up a caller on the button before Chong, sitting in the big blind, made it 2,600 to go. The original raiser made a quick call and the button folded to take play heads-up to a flop of 4♣A♠10♣.

Chong rechecked his cards and continuation bet 2,500, which was quickly called and the dealer burned and turned the 5♦. It did not looks as though Chong liked that speedy call and slowed down with a check, opening the door for his opponent to move all-in. Chong folded immediately, dropping down to just under 25,000 while his opponent raked in a decent sized pot.

Defending champion Siong Boon Heng got his Main Event off to a shaky start earlier but seems to have made a full recovery now and we caught the Singaporean in action in a multi-way pot on a flop of 9♠2♦5♠ just an an opponent in middle position led out for a half pot sized bet of 1,600.

Heng was the only caller to take play heads-up to the 3♥ turn, which saw his opponent reach for chips once more, throwing out a single yellow 5k chip for a bet of 5,000, which Heng again called to bring the action to the 6♣ river.

Heng’s opponent quickly moved all-in for his last 12,000 and was beaten into the pot by the Singaporean, who quickly turned over 5♦6♣ for a rivered two pair. Heng’s opponent looked fairly nonplussed  at the river and departed the tournament area extremely quickly leaving the Singaporean to rake in the pot and recoup his earlier losses to climb back up over his initial starting stack to 37,000.

More familiar faces
Level 2 – Blinds 50/100

The tournament clock now shows 148 eager hopefuls all seated for Day 1B of the Manila Megastack Main Event with several familiar faces gettiing stuck into the action.

We caught the garrulous Sam Razavi engaging in his trademark speech play in a three-way hand. We picked up the action on the river with the community cards spread Q♦8♠9♦K♦10♣ just as Razavi led out for 900 into a pot close to 2,000.

“I have 25k behind, incase you’re wondering,” quipped Razavi as he caught one of his opponent’s eyeing up his stack.

That seemed enough to get one of his opponent’s to fold but the other chose to look up the British player with 9♣3♣, but could not beat Razavi, who turned over [6c7c] for a rivered straight.

Another player taking a second shot is reigning Asia Player of the Year Jack Wu who we caught in action in a 3-way pot on a flop of K♦8♥A♣ just as the Taiwanese player led out for 500 from the small blind into a pot of 700.

The big blind bowed out but Wu’s opponent, sitting in middle position, made the call to bring play heads-up to the 3♠ turn. Wu fired for a second time, throwing out a single 1k blue chip and his opponent quickly called bringing both players to the 3♦ river, which paired the board.

Wu checked and his opponent checked it back and Wu rolled over A♣Q♠. While he was ahead all the way to the river the result was an anticlimactic chop when his opponent turned over A♥6♥.

Another player who has returned for a second bite of the cherry Gerald Casey and while the US player got off to a good start for Day 1A and was one of the early frontrunners he failed to make the Day 2 cut so is trying once again to make it through.

We caught Casey in action after a middle position limp and a call from the small blind. Sitting in the big blind Casey juiced it up to 600 with the middle position limper the only caller.

Casey continuation bet the 10♦J♣10♠ flop for 1,050 and was called once more to bring the action to the 7♠ turn, which brought checks from both players.

The 7♥ river saw Casey reach for chips once more and he now led for 1,500. Casey’s opponent mulled it over before grudgingly tossing in the call, but could only fold when Casey turned over A♠J♦ for top two pair.

Level 2 begins
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Manila Megastack 7.jpg

Blinds have now risen to 50/100 and while the tournament clock is still showing 120 entries there is almost certainly more than that with players flocking over in their droves from the cash desk. It is still early however, and with late entry (and re-entry) open until the end of level 8 there is still plenty of time for any late arrivals to get something going.

O Dear! Champ takes early hit
Level 1 – Blinds 25/50

So far there are 120 registered entrants in contention but the line by the cash desk is a long one and many players have yet to take their seat.

One of those who has however, is reigning champion Siong Boon Heng and we caught the Singaporean in action in a three-way hand against a player in middle position and Japan’s O Aoyama.

We caught the action on the flop and while we are not sure on what the pre-flop action was there has clearly been some early betting as there is a little over 2,000 already in the pot with the flop spread 2♦J♥2♠.

First to act Aoyama opened for a half pot sized 1,000 with Heng (button) the only caller. Aoyama checked the 8♣ turn over to Heng, who decided to take a stab for 1,600, which the Japanese player quickly called.

The 8♠ river paired the board and brought checks from both players. Being as there had been no betting on the last street it was Aoyama to showdown first and he flipped over 10♥10♠. Heng quickly mucked leaving the Japanese player to scoop a nice early pot and Aoyama climbed to 36,500 while Heng dropped to 26,800.

With the format offering unlimited re-entry and multiple entry there are several familiar faces from Day 1A who are trying their luck for a second time including Sam Razavi and his better half Menchu and Hong Kong’s Sparrow Cheung.

Cheung has already locked himself up a Day 2 berth, making it through Day 1A with a stack of 95,000 but with Day 1A chip leader John Beveridge finishing the day on a massive 548,000 it looks as though Cheung wants another shot at building a sizable stack. We’ll let you know how that goes…

Manila Megastack 7: Day 1B cards in the air
Level 1 – Blinds 25/50

It’s game time once again and the cards are now in motion at the PokerStars LIVE Manila card room as the second of the two Manila Megastack 7 Main event starting flights is now underway. 
Manila Megastack 7: Day 1B all set
Level 1 – Blinds 25/50

Welcome back to the PokerStars LIVE Manila card room at the City of Dreams for Day 1B of the Manila Megastack 7 Main Event. A total of 223 players anted up the ₱30,000 buy-in for Day 1A of the ₱8 million guaranteed Main Event with 52 of them locking up their Day 2 Seat.

The format offers unlimited re-entries for those with deep enough pockets; players start with a 30,000-chip stack and have 16 30-minute levels in which to use them with Day 1B play concluding a little after 10:30pm local time (GMT+7).

Cards will be in the air shortly at 2pm local time and the PokerStars Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action as it happens so keep your browser locked to this page as we see who’s got what it takes to make it though to Day 2 of the Manila Megastack 7 Main Event.


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PokerStars Blog reporting team at Manila Megastack 7: Ben Wilson. Photography by Chris Librojo. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


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