Day 1 of the PokerStars Festival Manila High Roller and the chips of the remaining 18 players are in the bag.
Things started slow at 5pm tonight with just six runners in their seats but eight hours later it was a total of 35 entries in the mix. That takes the current prize pool to PHP6,790,000 ($135,000) and with late registration open for the first level of Day 2 that number is expected to climb.
When the day concluded it was Israel’s Tom Jonathan Or-Paz who was perched atop the chip counts. He was climbing steadily throughout the day until he won a huge pot to shoot into the lead in one of the final hands of the night.
It was a collision between Or-Paz and Simon Burns where the latter saw his stack go up in flames. The two of them got piles of chips in on the 10♦8♥5♦ flop where Burns held 7♠6♠ for a straight draw against Or-Paz’s 10♥8♣ top two pair. The A♠ turn and 8♠ river saw Burns brick and Or-Paz rocket into the lead, eventually bagging 219,000.
As for notables, they were all seemingly absent initially, but as the day progressed the familiar faces started pouring in. Two past Asia Players of the Year were in attendance, Pete Chen (2014) and Alan Lau (2015), along with last year’s APPT Manila champion Linh Tran.
Reigning Asia Player of the Year Jack Wu would have likely pulled up a seat but he was busy qualifying for the final table of the PHP11,000 No limit hold’em event across the room.
We also had a World Series of Poker Main Event champion in our midst as Mansour Matloubi made an unexpected arrival. Matloubi emerged victorious on poker’s biggest stage back in 1990 for $835,000. He had only one recorded live cash since 2001 until he picked up two scores in Macau last year – the biggest of which was for $23,476 in the Asia Championship of Poker Main Event.
Matloubi woke up with pocket queens in the final level to knock out Edward Yam who received no help with pocket jacks, and that propelled the past WSOP champion to end the day in seventh spot with 113,900 in chips.
That wraps up the coverage from here in Manila tonight. Tomorrow will see the High Roller recommence at 1pm before the PHP20 million guarantee Main Event kicks off with Day 1A at 2pm. We’ll keep you updated on both and bring you all the stories from PokerStars Festival Manila right here on the PokerStars Blog. We hope you can join us again!