Ignatius Meng wins record-breaking Manila Megastack for ₱3.9M, in addition to a Platinum Pass

May 06, 2018

44-year-old Singaporean wins the largest and richest Manila Megastack in PokerStars LIVE Manila history, in addition to a PSPC Platinum Pass worth an additional US$30,000

Ignatius Meng Manila Megastack 9 Champion

Beating a 696-strong tournament field is not an easy task, as 695 other players discovered, but for Ignatius Meng the stars aligned and the Singaporean made it look easy.

The recreational player came to Manila with a dream and will have to pinch himself when he leaves to make sure it came true. He might also need to buy a new suitcase to fit in his shiny new trophy and the large pile of cash he’ll be leaving with, having made the equivalent of US$75,590 in the space of two days.

Plus, Meng will need a new bag to take the Bahamas, where he will be heading in January of next year to play in the PokerStars Players Championship after bagging himself a PSPC Platinum Pass, in addition to his first poker title and largest-ever tournament win.

“Well I most definitely like to win, I’m looking forward to the prize money and going to the Bahamas to play in the PSPC,” said Meng immediately after his victory.

Meng, defeated Korean poker pro Jae Wook Shin heads-up after the pair saw off all other contenders. All the momentum was with Meng however, after a stunning three-handed three-way all-in saw Malaysia’s Yeo May Sum hit the rail in third for ₱1,496,000, former chip leader Shin drop from the giddy heights to the doldrums and Meng earn himself a triple-up to come into the confrontation with over a 3-1 chip lead.

This was just one of many hands that saw huge chip movements, brutal coolers, bust outs galore and river cards that were a dream for some and will give other players recurring nightmares.

Heads-up took just four hands to play out, with Meng winning all but one of them. It’s probably the final hand that will give the Korean player the most sleepless nights though. Shin got the last of his chips in with the best of it, holding a dominating ace-jack to Meng’s king-jack and maintained his lead on the 10♠J♦7♦ flop, improving to trips with the best kicker on the J♣ turn. Disaster struck on the K♠ river however, giving Meng a full house and the win.

Korea’s Jae Wook Shin played a great game but ultimately came up short

The final table was wrapped up in five hours, with the bust outs coming thick and fast – a trend that started when the final day started at midday and did not abate for 12 hours.

Just 123 players returned to the action for the ninth instalment of the Manila Megastack’s final day and the air was alight with anticipation. Not only had the Main Event broken the record for the largest-ever field in the Series’ history, it had also generated the biggest prize pool, with the equivalent of US$350,000 up for grabs for 81 of the remaining field.

The bubble burst within the first two hours, with Korea’s Sung Woong Lee departing in the most unenviable position in poker to guarantee the survivors a ₱58,000 payday.

Korea’s Sung Woong Lee was the bubble boy

It took just five hours of poker carnage to whittle this down to the final nine, with chip leaders rising and falling faster than the value of Bitcoin.

Notables to make the money but not the final table include local heroes Flo Campomanes (60th for ₱65,000) and Mike Takayama (37th for ₱80,000), the latter of whom cemented his hold on the Asia Player of the Year leaderboard with his deep run and a runner-up finish in the Single Day High Roller. The champion of that event, Henrik Tollefson also enjoyed a deep run, eventually finishing in 67th for ₱65,000.

It took as long for the final table to play out as it did to reach it. It was the field’s sole remaining Filippino who hit the rail first, with 79-year old Romeo Catayas departing in ninth place for a ₱344,000 payday after running king-queen into the ace-eight of third-place finisher Sum who had flopped top two pairs to Catayas’ pair of kings.

The final tables’ sole Filipino Romeo Catayas

Hong Kong’s Ting Shum Kwok departed less than a level later, running his queen-jack into the ace-five of Shin, with all the chips going in pre-flop and Shin’s ace-high enough to send Kwok out in eighth for ₱408,000.

Hong Kong’s Ting Shum Kwok finishes in 8th place

Former final table chip leader Chuin Kong Kwok was next out after enduring a torrid time of it and losing nearly every flip and non-flip he played, eventually busting at the hands of Shin as well to shoot the Korean all the way up to the top of the counts, where he would remain until that fateful three-way three-handed all-in.

Chuin Kong Kwok eliminated in 7th place

China’s Jiankeng Pan was the next to fall just minutes later, with bust outs coming like buses at five-minute intervals. Pan defended his big blind with ace-six against Kenneth Buck’s button shove with jack-nine, with the
Australian flopping top two to bring Pan’s tournament to a close and he collected ₱589,000 for his sixth-place finish.

China’s Jiankeng Pan exits in 6th

Taiwan’s Hsing-Hsiung Tai caught the next bus five minutes later after his ace-queen was out-flopped by Sum’s queen-jack, with Tai taking home ₱770,240 for his fifth-place finish.

Taiwan’s Hsing-Hsiung Tai finishes in 5th

Unfortunately for Buck, he was next out the door, losing a race with pocket nines to the ace-king of Shin to leave in fourth place for ₱1,133,000 to bring play to the three-way craziness that ensued between Sum, Shin and Meng.

Kenneth Buck finishes in 4th place

Event 20: Main Event (₱10 Million GTD)          
Date: May 4-6, 2018        
Buy-in: ₱ 30,000 (27,000+3,000)        
Players: 696        
Prize Pool: ₱18,228,240        
Place First Name Last Name Country Prize  
1 Ignatius Ee Joo Meng Singapore ₱4,000,000 (Plus a PSPC Platinum Pass worth USD $30,000)
2 Jae Wook Shin Korea ₱2,413,000  
3 Yeo May Sum Malaysia ₱1,496,000  
4 Kenneth Buck Australia ₱1,133,000  
5 Hsing-hsiung Tai Taiwan ₱770,240  
6 Jiankeng Pan China ₱589,000  
7 Chuin Kong Kwok Hong Kong ₱490,000  
8 Ting Shum Kwok Hong Kong ₱408,000  
9 Romeo Catayas Philippines ₱344,000

Click for full results

12.10am: Jae Wook Shin eliminated in 2nd place for ₱2,413,000
Level 36: Blinds 250,000/500,000 Ante 50,000

Korea’s Jae Wook Shin played a great game but ultimately came up short

Heads-up took just four hands to play out. The first hand saw Jae Wook Shin fold the button, the second saw Ignatius Meng shove the button and Shin fold, the third saw Shin shove the button and Meng fold, and then came the fourth…

Ignatius Meng limped the button, Shin announced all-in and was beaten into the pot by Meng and the cards went on their backs.

Ignatius Meng: K♣J♠
Jae Wook Shin: A♦J♥

Shin had the dominating hand, Meng had the momentum, and the flop came down 10♠J♦7♦ to roars from the watching Korean rail.

The J♣ turn changed nothing and saw Shin maintain his lead, with the Korean maintaining his lead until ruination came in on the K♠ river. Shin rocked back in his chair in disbelief, Meng lept to his feet with a whoop and the Singaporean’s on the rail exploded into a frenzy of cheering, hollering and whooping of their own.

Meng came over to commiserate with Shin, before celebrating with his watching rail, leaving Shin to rue what could have been, before heading off into the night and leaving Meng to enjoy his victory.

Full write up to follow shortly so watch this space.

11.55pm: Talk of a deal
Level 36: Blinds 250,000/500,000 Ante 50,000

The clock has been paused with 8 minutes remaining on the level as out two heads-up competitors talk about a deal.

No deal. It is Ignatius Meng who will take a 3-1 chip lead into the heads-up battle so let’s see who comes out on top.

11.45pm: Yeo May Sum eliminated in 3rd place for ₱1,496,000
Level 36: Blinds 250,000/500,000 Ante 50,000

Yeo May Sum finishes in 3rd place

For a while there it looked like Yeo May Sum was going to make a sterling comeback after she scored a double-up through Jae Wook Shin to climb to close to 4 million. However, a crazy three-way all-in has seen the field reduced to the final two.

It was Shin who was the instigator, open shoving the button before Ignatius Meng called off for his tournament life from the small blind and Sum did the same from the big blind.

Yeo May Sum: A♣J♦
Ignatius Meng: A♦K♦
Jae Wook Shin: 2♥2♦

Shin looked shocked at this turn of events, as did the watching rail who crowded around to see what would happen next. What did happen was that the flop came down 5♣5♥6♠ to see Shin maintain a slender lead.

However, all the changed on the K♣ turn, which gave Meng top pair. The 4♥ river saw the Singaporean triple-up to 15,825,000, Shin take a big hit to drop to 5,050,000 and Sum hit the rail in third place for a ₱1,496,000 payday to take play heads-up for the trophy, title and PSPC Platinum Pass worth US$30,000.

11.30pm: Meng sets up Sum
Level 36: Blinds 250,000/500,000 Ante 50,000

The blinds are getting large and there was a great deal of blind and ante swapping before there was an explosion of action. Jae Wook Shin folded the button and Ignatius Meng moved all-in from the small blind eliciting an instant call from Yeo May Sum.

Ignatius Meng: 9♣9♦
Yeo May Sum: K♦K♣

Meng was at-risk and behind until the flop came down 9♥J♦7♦ to give the Singaporean middle set and the lead in the hand, much to Sum’s displeasure. The J♠ turn improved this to a full house and the A♣ river saw MEng double to roughly 8.75 million while Sum was left with 1.4 million.

Sum folded the big blind to a Shin min-raise the next hand before Meng flat called the button in the next hand, which saw Sum get the last of her chips in from the small blind and Shin calling from the big blind.

The 7♥K♥5♠7♦10♠ board was checked all the way, Meng turned over 3♠3♦, Shin flashed the 5♥ and Sum showed 9♦9♠ to triple and climb back to 1.6 million.

11.10pm: Shin leads, Meng squeezes
Level 35: Blinds 200,000/400,000 Ante 50,000

Jae Wook Shin has close to 11 million in chips, Yeo May Sum has roughly 5 million and Ignatius Meng has just made a well-timed squeeze play to climb to around 4.5 million.

It all started when Sum limped the button and Shin completed from the small blind.

“A family pot eh?” side Meng before peeking at his cards. Whether they were good or not it was a great spot to squeeze and Meng evidently thought so too, pulling the trigger for 2.92 million.

The action was back on Sum who asked for some time to think, and her two opponents seemed more than happy to give it to her. Eventually, she folded as did Shin leaving Meng to pad out his stack to the tune of 1.23 million.

10.55pm: Kenneth Buck eliminated in 4th place for ₱ 1,133,000
Level 34: Blinds 200,000/400,000 Ante 50,000

Kenneth Buck finishes in 4th place

The new level was just minutes old and there was another all-in and a call. Action folded around to Australia’s Kenneth Buck on the button and he moved all-in for a little under 4 million and was quickly called by Jae Wook Shin in the small blind.

Kenneth Buck: 9♣9♠
Jae Wook Shin: A♠K♠

It was left to a good ol’fashioned race to decide Buck’s fate and the A♥4♠A♣ flop was not a kind one. The 3♠ turn gave Shin a nut flush draw to go with his trip aces, though it did not change Buck’s outs any and he still needed to hit one of the decks two remaining nines.

The 7♠ river was not one of them and Buck congratulated Shin, shook his other two opponent’s hands and headed out the door while Shin stacked up to 10-million, which gives him close to a 2-1 chip lead over the rest of the field.

10.50pm: Shin leads as end of level approaches
Level 34: Blinds 150,000/300,000 Ante 40,000

There has been somewhat of a lull in the action since all those crazy double-up and bust outs and Korea’s Jae Wook Shin has ended into the chip lead.

Seat 3: Jae Wook Shin (Korea) — 7,000,000
Seat 4: Ignatius Ee Joo Meng (Singapore) — 3,600,000
Seat 7: Yeo May Sum (Malaysia) — 5,725,000
Seat 8: Kenneth Buck (Australia) — 4,000,000

10.20pm:Hsing-Hsiung Tai eliminated in 5th place for ₱ 770,240
Level 33: Blinds 120,000/240,000 Ante 40,000

Taiwan’s Hsing-Hsiung Tai finishes in 5th

Oddly the bust outs appear to be coming along at five-minute intervals, a bit like buses. Unfortunately for Hsing-Hsiung Tai the bus ran him over after the Taiwanese player moved all-in from under-the-gun with A♦Q♦ and was snapped off by neighbour Yeo May Sum with Q♥J♥.

While Tai had the dominating hand the 10♥4♠5♥ was extremely sweaty and the J♣ turn saw Sum seize a lead she would not relinquish in the hand. The 8♣ river sealed the deal and Tai is out in 5th place while Sum stacked up to over 7 million. All that exitement concluded the level.

10.15pm: Jiankeng Pan eliminated in 6th place for ₱589,000
Level 33: Blinds 120,000/240,000 Ante 40,000

China’s Jiankeng Pan exits in 6th

The slew of speedy bust outs continued just five minutes later with the action folding around to Kenneth Buck in the small blind. The Aussie pulled the trigger for 2.5 million and big blind Jiankeng Pan made an instant call and the cards went on their backs.

Kenneth Buck: 9♣J♦
Jiankeng Pan: A♦6♣

Poker is all about timing and Buck’s was spot on with the flop falling J♣9♠3♠ to give him top two pairs, much to Pan’s disappointment. The 6♠ turn gave the Chinese player hope, but it was dashed on the Q♥ river and when stacks were counted down it was discovered that Pan was covered and he exited stage left in sixth place while Buck stacked up to over 5 million in chips.

10.10pm: Chuin Kong Kwok eliminated in 7th place for ₱490,000
Level 33: Blinds 120,000/240,000 Ante 40,000

Chuin Kong Kwok eliminated in 7th place

The action has ratcheted up to ridiculous levels and it feels like someone is all in almost every hand. That trend continued with Jae Wook Shin moving all-in from the cutoff for 2.5 million and Chuin Kong Kwok made the call for close to the same from the big blind.

Jae Wook Shin: A♠3♠
Chuin Kong Kwok: 3♣3♥

Kwok looked to be in good shape until the flop came down 2♠6♣Q♠ to give Pan the nut flush draw, which immediately came in on the 6♠ turn and the 2♦ river brought Kwok’s final table to a close while Shin stacked up to over 7 million.

10.05pm: Double for Pan, double for Shin, double for Buck
Level 33: Blinds 120,000/240,000 Ante 40,000

Chuin Kong Kwok won a hand and lost a hand immediately after the break to finish up with more chips than he started with, climbing to 3.3 million before there were three back-to-back all-ins that resulted in some chips changing hands.

In the first, Hsing-Hsiung Tai opened the action to 500,000 on the button and got no customers so tried it again the next hand. This time he got a customer with Jiankeng Pan moving all-in with Q♦J♦ from the big blind and Tai made the call with A♦10♣.

The board ran out 2♠8♦7♥Q♣7♦ to give the Chinese player the double to 4.4 million while Tai fell to 1.6 million.

Pan did not hold onto his new chips for long and shoved from the small blind when the action folded around to him. Jae Wook Shin made a quick call in the big blind and the cards were turned over.

Jiankeng Pan: A♦2♥
Jae Wook Shin: 6♣6♦

Shin’s pair held when the runout came 4♠10♠4♦7♥J♦ and he climbed to 4.4 million, effectively swapping places in the pecking order with Pan.

However, Shin also did not get to enjoy his victory for long as Kenneth Buck moved all-in with Q♥Q♣ the very next hand and Shin called from the small blind with 3♦3♠. Buck spiked his queen to make top set and climbed to 2.5 million while Shin dropped to 3.35 million.

9.38pm: Ting Shum Kwok eliminated in 8th place for ₱408,000
Level 32: Blinds 100,000/200,000 Ante 30,000

Hong Kong’s Ting Shum Kwok finishes in 8th place

The last hand of level 32 saw the final table reduced by one more player, with Hong Kong’s Ting Shum Kwok moving all-in from the hi-jack and Jae Wook Shin re-shoving from the button.

Ting Shum Kwok: Q♠J♣
Jae Wook Shin: A♣5♦

The board ran out 6♣8♦7♣7♦6♦ to give Shin the win and bring Kwok’s Main Event to a close. Kwok headed for the exit to collect his prize money while Shin climbed to 2.4 million.

The seven remaining finalists are on a ten-minute break and here’s how they are stacking up:

Seat 1: Jiankeng Pan (China) — 2,340,000
Seat 3: Jae Wook Shin (Korea) — 2,400,000
Seat 4: Ignatius Ee Joo Meng (Singapore) — 2,770,000
Seat 5: Chuin Kong Kwok (Hong Kong) — 3,155,000
Seat 6: Hsing-Hsiung Tai (Taiwan) — 2,645,000
Seat 7: Yeo May Sum (Malaysia) — 5,725,000
Seat 8: Kenneth Buck (Australia) — 1,835,000

9.33pm: Pan doubles through Shin
Level 32: Blinds 100,000/200,000 Ante 30,000

Action folded around to Jiankeng Pan in the small blind who moved all-in for 810,000 and big blind Jae Wook Shin checked his cards and made the call.

Jiankeng Pan: Q♣4♥
Jae Wook Shin: K♣Q♠

Pan was the at-risk player with the worst hand, until the flop came down A♦4♦A♣ to shoot him into the lead, a fact he celebrated with a fist pump, while Shin just shook his head sadly.

The 10♠ turn and 6♣ river saw Pan double to 1.7 million while Shin dropped to 1.4 million.

9.25pm: Sum pushes off Tai to take lead
Level 32: Blinds 100,000/200,000 Ante 30,000

Yeo May Sum is turning up the heat since the elimination of Romeo Catayas and has just taken the chip lead from Hsing-Hsiung Tai.

It all started with a Sum limp from under-the-gun and the action folded around to Tai in the big blind, who juiced it to 700,000, which Sum called and the dealer peeled off the 7♥6♦Q♠ flop.

Tai c-bet 500,000 and Sum called, with both players checking the J♠ turn. The 5♣ river saw Tai take a stab for 800,000 and the action was back on Sum, who quickly announced she was all-in. Tai rocked back in his chair, double checked his cards and let it go to drop down to 1.8 million while Sum climbed to 5.3 million and took the lead.

9.10pm: Romeo Catayas eliminated in 9th place for ₱344,000
Level 31: Blinds 80,000/160,000 Ante 20,000

The Philippines Romeo Catayas

The very last hand of level 31 saw the nine-handed final table become eight as crowd favourite Romeo Catayas has just bitten the dust. It all started off innocuously enough with Catayas limping under-the-gun, Yeo May Sum calling the cutoff and Jiankeng Pan checking the big blind.

It was three-way to a flop of K♣A♣8♥ and this is where the fireworks happened. Catayas led for 350,000, leaving himself 450,000 behind and Sum quickly moved all-in.

Pan folded out and Catayas looked on the fence about calling or folding, but being as close to half of his chips were already in the middle he decided to roll the dice and slid in the call.

Romeo Catayas: K♦Q♣
Yeo May Sum: A♠8♦

Catayas was in trouble and the rail gathered around calling for a king or a club. The 6♥ turn was neither leaving Catayas needing a king to survive. The 2♦ river saw the 79-year-old player depart, pausing to shake everyone’s hand and heading for the rail while Sum stacked up to 3.5 million.

8.50pm: Tai edges in front
Level 31: Blinds 80,000/160,000 Ante 20,000

With Chuin Kong Kwok taking that hit at the hands of Ignatius Meng earlier Taiwan’s Hsing-Hsiung Tai edged into a slender lead that he has just extended further after we got to see a flop without a shove.

Tai opened the action to 350,000 from middle position and Jae Wook Shin made the call from the big blind to take play heads-up to a flop of 3♣10♠4♦.

That was it for the action in the hand, with Shin check-folding to Tai’s 350,000 c-bet. Tai now has 4.45 million while Shin dropped to 2.1 million. Romea Catayas is still the short stack with close to 800,000.

8.25pm: Double for Meng
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 Ante 20,000

Chuin Kong Kwok is not getting the start to the final table that he wanted and the Hong Kong player has dropped down into the middle of the pack after losing an all-in pot against Ignatius Ee Joo Meng.

Action folded around to Meng in the small blind and he shoved for 1.75 million. Kwok asked for a count and seemed keen, eventually slamming down the calling chips and the hands were revealed.

Ignatius Ee Joo Meng: 10♠7♥
Chuin Kong Kwok: A♥8♦

It’s a dangerous game bluffing into the chip leader and Meng was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. However, fortune favours the brave, as did the 9♦2♣6♦J♦7♠ run out with Meng spiking a pair on the river to stay alive and climb to 3.6 million while a dejected looking Kwok dropped to 2.8 million. All that action concluded the level.

8.25pm: Catayas doubles through Pan
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 Ante 20,000

The shortstacks are all taking it in turns to double-up and the field’s sole remaining Filipino player, Romeo Catayas, continued that trend in the following hand. Down to a little over 3 big blinds Catayas moved all-in from under-the-gun and Jiankeng Pan made the call.

Romeo Catayas: A♥Q♣
Jiankeng Pan: A♣7♣

The board ran out J♣8♦4♦5♦K♣ to cheers from the entire poker room, who all got behind the last local standing. Catayas climbed to 800,000 so is still dangerously short, but has some more breathing room. Pan dropped to 1.7 million after the hand.

8.15pm: Buck takes two, Kwok doubles through Shin
Level 30: Blinds 60,000/120,000 Ante 20,000

Kenneth Buck won two back-to-back hands uncontested with some aggressive pre-flop play before we had some more firework.

It was Jae Wook Shin who sparked the fuse with a mid-position open to 260,000 and the action folded around to big blind Ting Shum Kwok, who moved all-in for 765,000. Shin called immediately and the cards were flipped over.

Ting Shum Kwok: A♥Q♥
Jae Wook Shin: 10♥10♣

It was left to a race to decide Kwok’s fate and it was one he pulled ahead in quickly on the K♥A♠K♦ flop. The 4♥ turn kept his nose in front and the Q♦ river saw the Hong Kong player double to 1.6 million while Shin dropped to 1.95 million.

8.10pm: Double for Sum
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 Ante 10,000

The first three hands of the final table were all decided pre-flop, but the fourth resulted in a great deal of action.

Jiankeng Pan took the first with some aggressive three-betting from the small blind over the top of a Jae Wook Shin under-the-gun open.

Ting Shum Kwok open-shoved for just over 600,000 from the cutoff in the next hand and got it through.

Pan opened for 210,000 the next hand from the cutoff but folded to an Ignatius Ee Joo Meng big blind shove of 1.54-million.

The action-packed fourth hand played out as follows. Hsing-Hsiung Tai opened from under-the-gun for 220,000 and neighbour Yeo May Sum quickly pulled the trigger for 1.63 million. Action folded around to chip leader Chuin Kong Kwok who surprised everyone by re-shoving and Tai quickly folded.

Yeo May Sum: A♥A♠
Chuin Kong Kwok: J♦J♥

Sum was the at-risk player, but had the best pre-flop hand in poker and the aces held when the board ran out 10♣9♠7♠Q♦Q♣ to grant her the double to 3.5 million while Kwok took a hit and dropped to 4.3 million but still holds the lead.

7.55pm: Game on
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 Ante 10,000

There are still 12 minutes left to play out on level 29 but it is game time once more in the Manila Megastack Main Event so let’s see who has what it takes to emerge victorious.

7.40pm: The final table is set
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 Ante 10,000

Manila Megastack 9 Final Table

Here’s how the Manila Megastack Final Nine are stacking up:

Seat 1: Jiankeng Pan (China) — 2,065,000
Seat 2: Romeo Catayas (Philippines) — 630,000
Seat 3: Jae Wook Shin (Korea) — 2,595,000
Seat 4: Ignatius Ee Joo Meng (Singapore) — 1,570,000
Seat 5: Chuin Kong Kwok (Hong Kong) — 6,020,000
Seat 6: Hsing-Hsiung Tai (Taiwan) –3,445,000
Seat 7: Yeo May Sum (Malaysia) — 1,675,000
Seat 8: Kenneth Buck (Australia) — 2,225,000
Seat 9: Ting Shum Kwok (Hong Kong) — 645,000

Players are just on a short break but will be back in action shortly so watch this space.

7.20pm: Tai makes monster to set up final table
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 Ante 10,000

Vietnam’s Khanh Ngoc Le runs into a monster to bust

Yet another nuts hand has recently played out to set up the final table. It was Vietnam’s Khanh Ngoc Le who became the architect of his own demise after opening in mid-position with a min-raise to 200,000.

Taiwan’s Hsing-Hsiung Tai defended the big blind and the flop came down 4♥4♣A♥ and the action went check, check.

The Q♦ turn saw Tai lead and Le call to bring in the 4♠ river and an all-in shove from Tai. Le called off for his tournament life and discovered the bad news; his A♣2♦ had been bested by Tai’s speculative 6♦4♦ that had hit gin on the flop and improved to quads.

7.10pm: Kwok clips Ysmael
Level 29: Blinds 50,000/100,000 Ante 10,000

An absolutely massive hand recently went down that saw one-time chip leader William Ysmael hit the rail and Hong Kong’s Chuin Kong Kwok power into a commanding lead.

We arrived to catch the aftermath and it was not pretty, at least not for Ysmael, but Kwok seemed extremely happy. All the chips went in on the river on a 7♣6♠3♦9♥7♣ board with Kwok the man to pull the trigger.

Ysmael made the call with K♥K♦ but had been brutally out-flopped by Kwok’s 6♦6♣ and he headed for the exit for ₱236,000 while Kwok stacked up to 6.1 million.

Malaysia’s Kar Ooi Low busted quicky afterward to bring the ten remaining players to the final table bubble.

6.55pm: Tan busts before break

The 12 Main Event players are on a 10-minute break. It would have been 13, but Singapore’s Hai Shien Tan and Korea’s Jae Wook Shin clashed in a hand that saw the latter climb to 2.45 million and Tan hit the rail.

Tan called off the last of his chips in with A♥10♥ after Shin shoved the button with J♦J♣ and the board ran out 3♥4♦K♣8♦4♣ to thin the feild by one.

Here’s how the field is stacking up:

Table 1
Seat 1: Kar Ooi Low – 995,000
Seat 2: Ting Shum Kwok – 855,000
Seat 3: Romeo Catayas – 565,000
Seat 4: Jiankeng Pan – 2,275,000
Seat 5: Yeo May Sum – 1,815,000
Seat 6: Ignatius Ee Joo Meng – 1,040,000
Seat 7: Kenneth Buck – 1,465,000

Table 2
Seat 1: Chuin Kong Kwok – 3,130,000
Seat 2: Khanh Ngoc Le – 1,970,000
Seat 3: William Ysmael – 2,920,000
Seat 4: Jae Wook Shin – 2,455,00
Seat 5: Hsing-Hsiung Tai – 1,885,000

6.45pm: Nehme out in 14th place
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 Ante 10,000

Lebanon’s Jose Nehme enjoyed a deep run, but it’s all over now.

The bust outs are coming thick and fast now with Lebanon’s Jose Nehme becoming the latest casualty. Nehme had a great run to get to this point and was flying high for a great deal of the tournament. However, what goes up must come down and Nehme has finally crashed and burned.

It was Hsing-Hsiung Tai who was the man to show Nehme the door, opening the action with a late position raise. Down to his last 850,000 (just over 10 big blinds), Nehme shoved from the big blind and was snapped off.

Poker is all about timing, and unfortunately for Nehme his was bad this time around and his A♦5♦ was trailing to Tai’s A♠A♣ and there was not a diamond to be seen on the runout. Nehme hit the rail in 14th for ₱190,000 and Tai stacked up to 2 million.

6.35pm: Pan busts Chen
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 Ante 10,000

China’s Jiankeng Pan

Jiankeng Pan, holding jack-nine offsuit, open-shoved into the short-stacked Kuan Yu Chen’s big blind with Chen making the call for his tournament life with the dominated jack-five offsuit.

The board was of no help to Chen whatsoever, and Pan rivered a nine, just to twist the knife a little. Pan climbed to 2.6 million while Chen hit the rail in 14th for a ₱190,000 payday.

6.28pm: Shin shows Sequite the door
Level 28: Blinds 40,000/80,000 Ante 10,000

We have lost one more player to bring the field down to 15 with Jae Wook Shin the man wielding the executioner’s axe this time around. Shin opened the action from mid-position with a raise to 125,000 and Rodrigo Sequite chose to defend from the big blind.

The flop fell 4♠7♠J♦ and Sequite checked it over to Shin, who fired for 140,000, only to see Sequite check-raise shove for 720,000. Shin called instantly and the cards were turned over.

Rodrigo Sequite: J♠8♦
Jae Wook Shin: K♠Q♠

With top pair and a blocker for the flush, Sequite looked primed for a double before disaster struck on the 2♠ turn to lock up the hand for Shin. The A♥ river completed the hand and after stacks were counted down Sequite discovered some more bad news – Shin had him covered. Sequite hit the rail for a ₱190,000 payday while Shin stacked up to 1.5 million.

6.15pm: Lin Out
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 Ante 10,000

Singapore’s Hai Shien Tan

We missed the 18th place bust out but caught the 17th, with Taiwan’s I Cheng Lin moving all-in from late position with A♠9♦ and running smack bang into big blind Hai Shien Tan’s J♠J♣.

The board ran out K♦5♥5♣2♠10♣ to bring Lin’s Main Event to an end, while Tan stacked up to 1.7 million.

6pm: Sum gets Cao
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 Ante 10,000

When last we checked up on Malaysia’s Yeo May Sum she was down to her last 300,000 and it was not looking good. However, tournament poker being the high variance game that it is, Ms Sum’s fortune’s have improved considerably, but it has come at the expense of Vietnam’s Ngoc Anh Cao.

Cao open-shoved from the button for close to 700,000 with K♥5♠ and Sum made a speedy call from the blinds with A♥Q♥. Cao paired his king, Sum paired her ace and we are now down to 18 players. Sum is sitting on close to 1.5 million now and play has been paused for another re-draw.

5.50pm: Blinds up
Level 27: Blinds 30,000/60,000 Ante 10,000

The 20 remaining players are in push or fold mode at present but we have not had any more casualties as yet. The average stack is coming in at a little over 1-million, and while some players have far more than this, there are plenty with less.

William Ysmael still holds the lead with a stack of over 3 million, with his next closest rival looking like Kuan Yu Chen, who has close to 2 million.

You can see the results so far here.

5.30pm: Catayas rivers Tran, Tan scores a triple
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 Ante 5,000

Romeo Catayas is in the midst of staging a stellar comeback. Down to just 50,000 just a level ago the Filippino player has spun this up to 800,000, though his more recent victory has come at the expenses of Lin Tran.

We picked up the action right at the tail end of the hand after a large groan from Tran brought us running. The community cards were spread A♥8♦6♦7♠8♣ and while we are not sure when all the chips went in we do know that Catayas had been saved by the board pairing the river to give him a bigger two pair than Tran. Catayas climbed to 800,000 while Tran dropped to 400,000.

It got a whole lot worse for Tran a few hands later. Singapore’s Hai Shien Tan moved all-in pre-flop for 360,000, Tran re-shoved for 415,000 and big blind Kuan Yu Chen, who had them both covered, made the call.

Hai Shien Tan: 7♥7♣
Linh Tran: A♦K♣
Kuan Yu Chen: K♦J♦

Tan tripled up to over 1.1 million when the board ran out 6♦8♠3♦5♠5♣, Tran won the side pot but lost overall on the hand to drop to 110,000 and Chen was left with 700,000 after the hand.

Tran departed shortly afterward, moving the last of his chips in pre-flop with ace-nine and getting called in two spots by Kuan Yu Chen and Hsing-Hsiung Tai, the latter of whom hit the board while Tran missed by miles and headed for the rail. Tai stacked up to 800,000.

5.15pm: Blinds up, players down
Level 26: Blinds 25,000/50,000 Ante 5,000

The blinds have climbed and the field has shrunk still further with 24 players left in the running. Our timing is a little off and we are always covering another (less exciting) hand when the bust outs are coming presently.

Jae Wook Shin opened the action with a raise to 85,000 from the button but folded to a Hsing-Hsiung Tai big blind re-shove. Tai climbed to 800,000 while Shin dropped to 1 million.

Something similar happened when Jinho Hong opened to 80,000 from the cutoff with Vietnam’s Khanh Ngoc Le shoving from the blinds for 510,000, which was enough to take it down. Hong dropped to 900,000 while Le climbed to 600,000.

4.57pm: Kwok stings Sum, Triple for Catayas
Level 25: Blinds 20,000/40,000 Ante 5,000

A string of speedy post-break eliminations has reduced the field down to 27 and the clock has been paused for a re-draw. The action is happening so fast that we missed the exits, but we did catch a couple of exciting hands nevertheless.

In the first, it was the short-stacked Romeo Catayas the man in action, moving all-in from under-the-gun for his last 50,000 with both blinds, Kuan Yu Chen and Jose Nehme, making the call to take the action three-way to a flop of 9♣Q♣9♦.

The action was checked through all the way with no betting by either live player on the K♠ turn and K♦ river. Chen turned over 2♠10♠, Nehme had J♥8♥ and Catayas earned the triple-up with A♥7♦ to climb to just over 200,000.

In the second it was Chuin Kong Kwok moving all-in for 370,000 from late position and button Yeo May Sum could not get her chips in fast enough. The rest of the table took the hint and got out of the way and the cards were turned over.

Malaysia’s Yeo May Sum

Chuin Kong Kwok : A♣10♣
Yeo May Sum: K♠K♣

Kwok looked as though he was circling the drain, but the Q♠10♥10♠ flop put him firmly in front. Sum was calling for a king, but to no avail and the 5♣ turn and 5♦ river gave Kwok a boat and he doubled to 700,000 while Sum dropped to 300,000.

Sum padded this out a little a couple of hands later by moving all-in pre-flop and stealing the blinds and antes. Four quick bust outs occurred while this was playing out bring us to the redraw.

4.30pm: Breaktime

The 31 remaining Main Event players are on a 10-minute break with the blue 1,000 chips being raced off.

4.25pm: Ysmael still leads but gives some to Lin
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 Ante 5,000

William Ysmael holds the lead in the Manila Megastack Main Event

We are now down to four tables in the Main Event with the more recent shuffle putting William Ysmael and his monster stack over on table three, much to the dismay of the rest of the table.

Ysmael wasted no time getting into the action, defending his big blind after an I Cheng Lin under-the-gun raise to 65,000. Both Ysmael and Lin are super deep, with Lin starting the hand with over 1.1 million, giving the potential for a huge pot.

This must have been going through Lin’s mind as well and he played it cagey and after Ysmael checked the A♠2♣7♣ flop, Lin checked it right back.

The K♣ turn brought in a possible club flush and Ysmael applied some pressure with a bet of 80,000, which Lin called after thinking it over for a while.

The 7♠ river saw Ysmael slow it down and check, opening the door for Lin to take a stab for 160,000 and the Taiwanese player looked distinctly relieved when Ysmael mucked. The Filipino player still has a ton of chips though and has run his stack up to over 2.1 million even after losing that pot. Lin climbed to 1.36 million.

4.15pm: Takayama out
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 Ante 5,000

Mike Takayama’s Main Event is done and dusted with the Filippino player getting the last of his chips in pre-flop with ace-eight and running into an opponent’s A♦K♦ to hit the rail.

4.10pm: Stacks
Level 24: Blinds 15,000/30,000 Ante 5,000

The blinds have climbed again and the average stack is coming in at 560,000 with 35 players still in the running. We have recently scouted the tournament floor so here’s how the top of the table is looking:

William Ysmael (Philippines) — 1.86 million
I Cheng Lin (Taiwan) — 1.1 million
Ivan Tabucal (Philippines) — 1.05 million
Jinho Hong (Korea) — 1.02million
Kenneth Buck (Australia) — 826,000
Jin Wei Kwek (Singapore) — 820,000
Jae Wook Shin (Korea) — 780,000
Rodrigo Sequite (Philippines) — 760,000
Jose Nehme (Lebanon) — 750,000
Jiankeng Pan (China) — 710,000
Manuel Mascunana (Philippines) — 500,000
Linh Tran (Canada) — 455,000
Kyungkun Lee (Korea) — 450,000
Tobias Wolf (Germany) — 400,000
Chuin Kong Kwok (Hong Kong) — 400,000

3.55pm: Shin takes from Tran
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 Ante 4,000

Korea’s Jin Wook Shin

Jae Wook Shim raised to 55,000 from under-the-gun with big blind Linh Tran the only caller. That was it for the betting in the hand, with both players checking the K♦9♦10♠ flop, the 8♠ turn and the Q♦ river.

“I have a pair,” stated Tran proudly.

“Me too,” confirmed Shin.

Unfortunately for Tran the Korean player’s pockets were bigger. Tran rolled over 4♦4♠ but could not best Shin’s 7♣7♦ and he climbed to 850,000 while Tran dropped to 290,000.

3.45pm: Ysmael pulls further ahead
Level 23: Blinds 12,000/24,000 Ante 4,000

The Philippines William Ysmael now has a lot more chips

There are currently 42 players still in the running and the red 25,000 chips have recently been introduced. A man who had (past tense) quite a few of these was Thanh Ha Duong, but we caught the Vietnamese player in two hands that saw him give quite a few away.

In the first, it was Duong opening the action from early position with a raise to 53,000 with big blind Jose Nehme making the call from the big blind to take the action to a flop of 9♠6♠8♦.

This saw Nehme check the action over to Duong, who continuation bet 65,000. This is where things got interesting with Nehme cutting out a chunky check-raise to 150,000 in total.

This sparked a rather intense staring competition between the pair, which lasted for a good five minutes. It was one Nehme won and Duong gave it up to drop down to 580,000 while Nehme climbed to 700,000.

The table broke right after and Duong found himself over on chip leader William Ysmael’s table and jumped right back into the action.

We picked up the action on the flop with 140,000 in blinds, bets and antes in the pot with the board reading 9♥5♠Q♦ just as Ysmael led for 75,000. That was enough to win the hand and the Filippino player now has over 1.5 million in chips making him the front-runner by quite some margin. Duong dropped down to 550,000 after the hand.

3.10pm: The floodgates open
Level 22: Blinds 10,000/20,000 Ante 3,000

As is usually the case following the bursting of the bubble there has been a slew of eliminations as all the short stacks who have been hanging on for the money attempt to go big or go home.

The field has very quickly dropped from 81 down to 55 with Henrik Tollefson becoming one of the more recent casualties. The Norwegian had been nursing a short stack for the last couple of levels and got the last of his chips in from the small blind with Q♠3♣.

Norway’s Henrik Tollefson

Unfortunately for Tellefson, the recently moved Chuin Kong Kwok woke up in the big blind with 8♣8♠ and binked a set on the river for good measure to brig Tollefson’s Main Event run to an end.

Flo Campomanes has also hit the rail and was kind enough to tell us his tales of woe. Campomanes lost a big three-way all-in with ace-king against another opponent’s pocket kings and Jae Wook Shin’s pocket tens with the Korean hitting a straight on the river to bust the shorty and take a big bite out of Campomanes’ stack.

The Philippines Flo Campomanes

The Filipino player got the last of his chips in shortly afterwards from the button holding K♠J♠ but lost a race to the pocket tens of Linh Tran to hit the rail, while Tran stacked up to 620,000.

Shin gave some of Campomanes chips away not long after, doubling up the Philippines Rodrigo Sequite when the pair got all the chips in pre-flop.

Rodrigo Sequite: Q♣9♣
Jae Wook Shin: A♣4♠

Sequite moved in for 128,000 from the cutoff and Shin made the call from the big blind with the board running out 9♠4♣10♣6♣2♦ to give Sequite the flush after he dodged the Korean’s nut re-draw on the turn. Sequite climbed to 265,000 while Shin dropped to 590,000.

For a while there Vietnam’s Ngoc Anh Cao was leading, but doubled up William Ysmael to give the latter the lead in a hand we caught the tail end of.

With over 180,000 in the pot going into the river and the community cards spread 2♥J♥3♠10♦K♣ Ysmael (small blind) checked the action over to Cao (button) who fired for 90,000.

Ysmael made the call, Cao rolled over A♥6♥ for ace-high and Ysmael showed down K♥8♠ to claim both the pot and the chip lead, stacking up to 900,000 after the hand, while Cao dropped to 770,000.

Maneul Mascunana has dropped some chips and is sitting on a stack of 490,000.

2.38pm: Pop!
Level 21: Blinds 8,000/16,000 Ante 2,000

Korea’s Sung Woong Lee becomes the bubble boy

The bubble was a brief affair, with Korea’s Sung Woong Lee finding himself all-in for his last 10,000 in the big blind. Action folded around to the Philippines Ivan Tabucal on the button and he moved all-in to isolate (and it’s a good thing he did, as we will get to shortly).

Lee had to wait for an agonizing five minutes for the hands on the rest of the tables to finish playing out before he discovered his fate. Eventually, it was time to roll the dice and both players revealed their hole cards.

Sung Woong Lee: 6♦7♠
Ivan Tabucal: J♦J♠

It was not looking good for Lee, though the 6♠2♠5♦ gave him a faint glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, that light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train and the 10♠ turn left Lee teetering on the brink of elimination.

Small blind Chuin Kong Kwok told the rest of the table he folded Q♠8♠ and would have made the flush to bust both opponents, but it would have been a very speculative pre-flop call should he have chosen to make it.

The Q♣ turn saw the tournament area erupt into cheers as the 81 remaining players made the money and are all guaranteed a payday of at least ₱58,000 as a sad looking Lee headed for the rail.

Here’s how some of the bigger stacks and notables are looking:

Jin Wei Kwek (Singapore) — 730,000
Jose Nehme (Lebanon) — 620,000
Manuel Mascunana (Philippines) — 600,000
Jinho Hong (Korea) — 560,000
William Ysmael (Philippines) — 540,000
Khanh Ngoc Le (Vietnam) — 520,000
Mike Takayama (Philippines) — 500,000
Chuin Kong Kwok (Hong Kong) — 480,000
Jaeseong Hwang (Korea) — 480,000
Kar Ooi Low (Malaysia) — 460,000
Kyungkun Lee (Korea) — 450,000
Kejie Ye (China) — 380,000
Yakai Li (China) — 330,000
Linh Tran (Canada) — 330,000
Tobias Wolf (Germany) — 270,000
Alex Lee (Singapore) — 230,000
Henrik Tollefson (Norway) — 110,000

2.15pm: Kwek leads as first break approaches
Level 20: Blinds 6,000/12,000 Ante 2,000

Level 20 was an action-packed one that saw chips change hands with increasing frequency. Mike Takayama clawed some back after losing that sizable pot to Jinho Hong, who dropped some back to the rest of the table.

Manuel Mascunana showed he was not bulletproof and lost a rare hand to tablemate Tung Lin Tsai, whose ace-jack held for a double to 250,000 while Mascunana dropped some to 600,000.

That gave Jin Wei Kwek the chip lead going into the break, with the Singaporean sitting on a stack of 730,000. There was a brief moment of excitement as two players busted in quick succession to bring the action up to the bubble and play will be hand-for-hand when play resumes.

1.45pm: Hong makes stellar call
Level 19: Blinds 5,000/10,000 Ante 1,000

The Philippines Mike Takayama

We caught Mike Takayama in action in a pretty interesting hand against tablemate Jinho Hong. It was Takayama the man driving the action with a raise to 22,000 from under-the-gun-plus-one and Hong chose to defend his big blind and made the call.

The 6♥8♦5♣ flop saw Hong check the action over to Takayama, who continuation bet for 27,000. Hong thought it over before cutting out a stack of chips, but they were raising chips, not calling chips, and he check-raised to 63,000 in total.

Takayama called almost immediately, and the dealer burned and turned the 3♦. This saw Hong lead for 78,000 with Takayama again calling quickly to keep both players in action to the 6♦ river, pairing the board.

This slowed Hong down some and he checked the action over to Takayama, who moved all-in as quickly as he had acted on previous streets. This sent Hong deep into the think tank, where he remained as the clock ticked over into level 20. It was a big call for his tournament life, so Hong was given some leeway by the table.

Eventually, Hong flicked in a single blue 1,000-chip to represent the call and Takayama rolled over 10♠7♠ for a ten-high airball. Hong breathed a big sigh of relief, tabling J♣8♥ for top pair, which was good for a chunky pot. Hong climbed to 654,000. Takayama dropped down to 400,000 after that little misadventure.

1.30pm: Mordassov tests Tollefson
Level 19: Blinds 5,000/10,000 Ante 1,000

Switzerland’s Oleg Mordassov

We caught Norway’s Henrik Tollefson and Switzerland’s Oleg Mordassov involved in a pot with close to 70,000 in blinds, bets and antes already in the pot and the flop spread 6♦10♥3♣ just as the dealer burned and turned the 8♠.

Tollefson checked the action over to Mordassov, who quickly fired for 30,000. While this was an enticing looking bet Tollefson did not seem keen to call it and quickly mucked, leaving the Swiss player to scoop the pot and climb to 475,000 while Tollefson dropped to 160,000.

1.15pm: Mascunana gives opponent beat to remember
Level 19: Blinds 5,000/10,000 Ante 1,000

The Philippines’ Manuel Mascunana

There are few feelings in poker worse than being bested by a sickening river card, but that is exactly what has just happened to one of the field’s Japanese contingent, courtesy of fellow countryman Manuel Mascunana.

We missed all of the action, but Korea’s Jae Kyung Sim was happy to fill us in on the details. It was Mascunana who was the initial aggressor, with the cutoff re-raising. Being as he had his opponent covered by quite some margin Mascunana opted to take the most aggressive line he could and moved all-in, only to see his opponent make a swift call.

Mascunana’s speculative ace-deuce offsuit was trailing to the cutoff’s pocket jacks with the latter keeping his lead on the [10x]-[7x]-[2x] flop. The [6x] turn changed nothing, but an ace on the river brought doom. Mascunana now looks to be overall chip leader with a stack of 700,000.

Mike Takayama looks to be in second place with 650,000 with former frontrunner Kyungkun Lee still up there with a stack of 550,000. Vinayak Malani has dropped down the pecking order and is sitting with a stack of 150,000 with the average stack coming in at 237,000.

12.55pm: Kwok busts Akashi
Level 18: Blinds 4,000/8,000 Ante 1,000

Hong Kong’s Chuin Kong Kwok

While Japan’s Kosaku Akashi may have made Day 2 twice, it has not worked out for him, and one bust out is all you need to bring your tournament to a close.

Boy are we glad we added that earlier disclaimer as Akashi is the first man we have actually seen bust today. The Japanese player moved all-in from middle position for 107,000 with Hong Kong’s Chuin Kong Kwok making the call from the cutoff and the cards were turned over.

Kosaku Aksashi: A♠Q♣
Chuin Kong Kwok: 6♦6♣

Akashi found himself racing off for his tournament life but, with neither player holding a heart, the 2♥3♥10♥ flop was of no help. It was all over when the 6♠ hit the turn, crushing Akashi’s hopes and dreams and pushing Kwok up to roughly 400,000.

12.41pm: Huang gets one through, Wolf eats Yi
Level 17: Blinds 3,000/6,000 Ante 1,000

The action has been hectic from the get-go and the field has dropped to 108 players. It appears however, that we are the blogger of life rather than death today though, as every hand we have covered has seen the short stack survive.

In the first chip leader Kyungkun Lee opened the action with a button raise to 13,000 and the action was on small blind Fu Bang Huang. The Taiwanese player took his time thinking things over before shoving for around 120,000.

Lee looked like he was thinking about making the call but eventually gave it up, leaving Huang to pad out his stack to the tune of 31k.

In the second we arrived at table two in time to see Germany’s Tobias Wolf all-in in late position for around 80,000, against neighbour Seung Yong Yi.

We don’t know whether the chips went in pre or post flop as the A♦9♠3♠ is already spread when we arrive. What we do know though, is that Wolf found himself in a great spot, his A♥A♠ catching top set to leave Yi’s A♣K♥ drawing dead with two cards to come.

The 6♣ turn and 5♦ river completed the hand and saw Wolf stack up to 175,000 while Yi dropped down to around 160,000.

All that excitement brings us to the end of the level. Feel free to call us over to your table if you are short and all-in, as you are guaranteed a double if we are watching…

(Disclaimer – we accept no responsibility for loss of chips and earnings)

12.25pm: Doubles for Tran and Li
Level 17: Blinds 3,000/6,000 Ante 1,000

There are a couple of players late to the party with Ellezer Castillo, Rick Ambata and Jiang Long all yet to turn up and their stacks are sitting forlornly unpiloted and getting blinded down.

There have been a few early bust outs, and the field has dropped to 117 player, but we missed these as we were getting two early doubles for some of our short stacks. The first saw Vietnam’s Huy Hoang Nguyen open the action to 12,000 from middle position only to see fellow countryman Hai Anh Tran move all-in over the top for 97,500.

Nguyen took his time mulling over the decision but eventually elected to call and the cards were flipped over.

Huy Hoang Nguyen: A♣Q♣
Hai Anh Tran: 5♥5♦

Tran was the at-risk player, but the 4♠9♥4♣J♠4♦ run out was a kind one for the man with a small pocket pair and he climbed up to a little over 200,000, while Nguyen took the hit stoically and dropped down to around 60,000.

The other double came over on table five. We are not sure who pulled the trigger first as all the chips were in the middle already when we arrived, but it looks as though it could have been small blind Yakai Li, who is on his feet and in the process of revealing hole cards as we arrived.

Li showed down A♠Q♣ with his opponent, Vietnam’s Ngoc Anh Cao flipping over the dominated A♦8♦. The run out here favoured the man with the best hand going in, coming down J♥6♦4♥4♠10♥ to grant Li a double to around 150,000, while Cao dropped some to roughly 170,000.

12.10pm: Cards in the air

And we’re off, cards are now in the air and Day 2 is underway. Stick around and we’ll bring you all the action as it happens.

Day 2 of the Manila Megastack starting soon

Greetings once again poker fans, and welcome to the final day of the record-breaking Manila Megastack 9. This is both the largest and richest instalment of the popular poker series, breaking all previous records.

The monster 696 strong field has generated a massive ₱18,228,240 (~US$350,000) prize pool which has subsequently been whittled down to a more manageable 124 players. Well, it should be 124, but with the format allowing for multiple re-entries, at least until late registration closed mid-way through Day 1b yesterday, Japan’s Kosaku Aksashi made it Day 2 twice so his smaller stack of 4,500 chips has been removed from play.

Day 2 – the final day of the event – recommences at 12pm local time (GMT+8) with the 49 Day 1a and 75 Day 1b survivors (minus Akashi) united for the first time.

The top 81 players will make the money with min. cash set at ₱58,000. The champion will win ₱4,000,000 which includes a 2018 ACOP Megastack Championship package (95K PHP) — PLUS a PSPC Platinum Pass (30K USD) which is added value. You can view the payouts here.

For more information on the PSPC Platinum Pass please visit: www.pokerstarslive.com/pspc/pass/

The man leading the charge is Day 1a frontrunner Kyungkun Lee, with the Korean player returning with a sizable 499,500 stack. The Philippines Manuel Mascunana, who topped the Day 1b counts, will be returning second in the pecking order with a stack of 476,500, closely followed by India’s Vinayak Malani who concluded play with 475,500.

Another Korean player, Jaehyun Lim (409,000) and local hero Mike Takayama (408,500) round out the top five stacks. You can view the full Day 2 seat draw sorted by chip count here.

Blinds will restart at 3,000/6,000 with a 1,000 running ante and play resumes at 12pm local time (GMT+8) so stay tuned and we will bring you all the action as it happens as we see who has got what it takes to become the latest Manila Megastack champion and win their way to the Bahamas.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the Manila Megastack 9: Ben Wilson. Photography by Chris Librojo.

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