The penultimate day has come to a close here in the PokerStars Festival Manila Main Event as we prepare to crown a champion tomorrow. The plan today was to play 11 one-hour levels or until we reached the final table but ultimately we came up a little short of the latter, with 14 hopefuls still in the running. They survived through the returning field of 167 this afternoon to earn their place for the final day where they’ll attempt to take down the title and score PHP5,515,000 (~$109,000).
Ahead of the pack when play concluded tonight was Day 1B chip leader Michael Falcon who returned again to put on another impressive showing. He racked up a mammoth 3.82 million in chips here on Day 2, and some of those chips came in one of the final hands of the night.
Falcon has displayed an affinity for knocking players out this week as Canada’s Thomas Lee soon discovered in the closing stages. Falcon called off a three-bet jam for 277,000 holding A♥J♣ and was ahead of Lee’s K♣9♣. Nothing changed when the community cards fell and Falcon sent Lee packing to secure the lead.
The bubble burst earlier in the day after an hour-long sweat when Sam Razavi scalped India’s Vikram Verma in brutal fashion. It folded around to Razavi in the small blind and he moved all in with enough to cover the roughly 12 big blinds of Verma.
Verma called it off with A♦K♠ and looked good for a double against Razavi’s 6♥4♣ until the 7♠6♦8♣Q♥10♠ runout saw Razavi pair his six to send Verma packing. A wave of applause and relief swept the tournament floor as the remaining 87 all locked up PHP90,000 (~$1,800).
Also coming up short of a final day appearance was Asia Player of the Year frontrunner Sparrow Cheung who fell in 46th place. Cheung moved in with A♠2♣ but was called by Andre Peters who held A♦6♦. While the K♥K♠8♠ flop meant a chopped pot was likely, unfortunately for Cheung the 5♣ turn and 3♦ rolled off to signal the end of his Main Event run.
While Verma and Cheung couldn’t outlast the day, fortune favored our remaining 14. Some of those still in the hunt include Antii Halme (2.13 million), Andre Peters (1.26 million) and Corbin White (620,000), but perhaps the biggest story is that of Sam Razavi and Mike Takayama.
They both made the Main Event Final table here last year in Manila’s Main Event, and while the series has changed from the APPT to a PokerStars Festival, they are both chasing unofficial back to back appearances.
The survivors will all be back from 2pm tomorrow to duke it out before we discover who will rise as the inaugural PokerStars Festival Manila Main Event champion. As always we’ll be right here to bring you all the action. We hope you can join us then!