It’s been a thrilling week in Manila and the man smiling the widest now that the record-breaking Main Event is in the books is the new champion, India’s Uday Bansal! He bested a field of 594 entries to claim the inaugural title, the illustrious trophy and PHP4,676,000 ($92,793) after a heads up deal.
Bansal overcame Finland’s Antti Halme in an hour-long heads up battle in which the Indian started with a 5:4 chip advantage. Halme almost closed the gap at one stage but Bansal proved too strong and ultimately powered home to victory.
By the final hand Halme had been chipped away to just 1.45 million to Bansal’s 16.3 million, and when Bansal shoved on the button Halme called off for his tournament life.
Bansal had the dominating hand and while the 2♠7♠7♣ flop gave Halme a glimmer of hope for a chopped pot, the J♦ turn card was met with roars from the rail as Bansal had locked up the title. Halme was already drawing dead by the time the 3♥ fell on the end and he got up to shake the new champions hand.
Before Bansal and Halme could play it out heads up there were seven others at the final table who hoped that they’d be there instead.
Thien Than Nguyen was the first to fall when he lost a flip to eventual champion Bansal. Nguyen committed his shortstack preflop with K♦J♦ and Bansal called with 7♥7♣ to put Nguyen at risk. The A♠6♣2♠10♠9♠ board brought no help for Nguyen and he left us in 9th place for PHP470,000.
The man with the same last name but a better payday, Hoa Thinh Nguyen, was next to fall. He found himself down to just 11 big blinds and moved in over an open from Michael Falcon. The latter made the call with K♠Q♥ and Nguyen was looking for his 10♥10♣ to hold. Unfortunately for him, Falcon took the lead on the 9♠Q♣8♣ flop and Nguyen was unable to get it back when the 9♦ turn and 2♥ river brought an end to his tournament.
Following the Nguyens out the door was Australian Kenneth Buck whose stack had become so short that he was forced all in from the big blind. Players were three-handed to the turn when Falcon forced Jaehyun Lim out of the pot with the dynamic board reading 8♣7♣5♣5♦. Buck with A♦3♥ to Falcon’s A♣4♠ had a shot to chop but the 4♦ river card hit Falcon and felted Buck.
Sixth place went to back-to-back final tablist Sam Razavi who finished runner-up in APPT Manila last year but couldn’t go one better and take it down this week. Razavi three-bet jammed from the big blind with A♠8♣ over Halme’s cutoff open but he ran into the Finn’s Q♠Q♥. Razavi was chasing an ace but the cards came down 4♦J♥5♥5♦3♥ to see him eliminated.
And then there were five when it was Jaehyun Lim’s time to go. He shoved with Q♥J♦ over an under the gun open from Mike Takayama who called it off holding A♥K♥. The suited big slick proved to good on the 7♥A♦K♣2♥K♦ runout and Lim was relegated to the rail.
Mike Takayama shared Razavi’s honour of back-to-back final tablist and ultimately he’d finish just where he did last year in fourth place. It was Halme who took him out after Takayama went for a big four-bet rip with A♠8♥ only to run into Halme’s J♥J♣. Takayama needed to improve but the deck wouldn’t oblige as the cards fell 6♥Q♥5♥3♦3♣ to see him sent to the cashier to collect PHP1,900,000.
Michael Falcon had been near the top of the chip counts for nearly two days straight and was absent during final table player introductions because he was simultaneously playing the final table of the PokerStars Cup at a neighbouring table. His sick run came to an end in the Main Event when he moved all in with 7♠3♦ on a 9♣4♥5♣ flop but was picked off by Bansal with Q♠9♦. The J♦ turn and 8♦ river rolled off and Falcon couldn’t best a third place finish.
And that took us to the heads up clash where Bansal overcame Halme.
Congratulations to Uday!
PokerStars Festival Manila Main Event Final Table Payouts
1st: Uday Bansal (India) – PHP4,676,000 ($92,793)*
2nd: Antii Halme (Finland) – PHP4,273,000 ($84,797)*
3rd: Michael Falcon (Denmark) – PHP2,456,000 ($48,780)
4th: Mike Takayama (Philippines) – PHP1,900,000 ($37,737)
5th: Jaehyun Lim (South Korea) – PHP1,500,000 ($29,792)
6th: Sam Razavi (United Kingdom) – PHP1,170,000 ($23,238)
7th: Kenneth Buck (Australia) – PHP870,000 ($17,280)
8th: Hoa Thinh Nguyen (Vietnam) – PHP596,000 ($11,837)
9th: Tien Than Nguyen (Vietnam) – PHP470,000 ($9,335)
* denotes a heads up deal
We hope you’ve enjoyed our coverage of the PokerStars Festival here in Manila. The next stop is Barcelona where the PokerStars Championship runs from August 15 – 27. You can qualify for the Main Event online right now so be sure not to miss it!