After three days, 23 levels of poker and multiple bad beats and great plays, the eight players for the final table of the APT Philippines 2014 Main Event have been identified and the leader of the pack is Singaporean Feng Zhao, who amassed 1,411,000 in chips and will have the big target on his back entering the final day of play at the Resorts World Manila.
Those gunning for Zhao’s huge stack and part of the eight-handed final table are Jia Jie Liang (China) with 795,000; Iñaki Santos (Spain) with 424,000; Mikal Blomlie (Norway) with 423,000; Mike Fawaz (Lebanon) with 335,000; Michael Marvanek (Australia) with 273,000; Hyeong Wook Choi (Korea) with 266,000; and Huy Pham (Vietnam) with 230,000.
Each one will have a fighting chance to grab the APT Main Event title as the blinds will be rolled back to 30 big blinds at the start of the final table play on Wednesday.
Zhao’s rise to the top involved a lot of gutsy moves but none as fearless as his all-in with the big slick against Chinese Ziyang Zhao who had pocket jacks.
“It was a massive pot. I mean the guy was playing pretty aggressively so I was kind of surprised to see jacks there. But I think my hand is strong enough so I ran with my hand,” shared Zhao with conviction. He would win that particular hand and the huge pot brought him to nearly a million chips at that point. Also, he plans to use that big stack to his advantage during the final table.
“Definitely, for sure. My intention is to push the momentum and make sure I turn up the heat. To put extra pressure on them and accumulate more chips.”
Aside from the bust-out of Ziyang, Zhao was also responsible for other eliminations of big name players; he ousted Bryan Huang as the final table bubble and he exiled SJ Kim via set of kings. Huang settled for 9th place for $12,600 and SJ Kim at 14th place for $7,800.
“About that hand, it’s just a cooler. Let’s just put it this way, he had to shove there and I had to call,” said Zhao of the bust-out of fellow Singaporean Huang. Other key plays for Zhao was a low-flush call against Hyun Thae Hweng; and another flush win over Fawaz’s two pairs.
Second in chips is Liang, who survived the tournament after his ace-three beat the big slick of Fawaz.
“Because I (have) only like 15 big blinds, ace-three suited I think it’s ok to push all-in. And I was just lucky to hit the threes and that’s it,” said Liang.
Another key hand was when he trapped Blomlie with pocket queens, the ladies helping him to a late double-up.
“I wanted to slow play the pocket queens. And I wanted to get maximum value. That’s why I check-call, check-call and when he bet 100,000 I pushed all-in and he called. Sometimes you have to take a risk to win a tournament.”
Other players who placed in the money (ITM) for this main event include Annie Bordallo (Guam) at 15th place ($7,800); Jerry Lai (Malaysia) at 16th place ($7,800); Jojo Tech (Philippines) at 19th place ($5,500); Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (Japan) at 23rd ($5,500) and Brian Sombero (Philippines) at 26th ($5,500). For complete list of the winners visit the Live Reporting ITM page.
The Main Event final table play resumes at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for the final day of the APT Philippines 2014. One other side event is on tap—the 6-Handed event with $350 buy-in scheduled at 1:00 p.m. Go to the Events Schedule page for more details.