After several final tables without a win, Van Marcus claimed his first APPT title today at the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Manila Main Event, besting Tae Jun Noh in a marathon heads-up battle to claim the championship and the $162,856 top prize. The longest event in APPT history finished up in the wee hours of the morning after Marcus and Noh battled for nearly three hours in a back-and-forth, heads-up duel that saw plenty of lead changes and hours of small-ball poker before Marcus could finish off his opponent.
As the final table kicked off, no one could have guessed that it would go for over twelve hours, as the action started right away. Short stack Ranier Aquino moved all in over the top of Tae Jun Noh early on Day 3, finding callers in both Noh and Hyoung Jin Nam. The live players checked the action down to the river, and the final board read . Noh made a small bet on the river, which Nam quickly called as the hand were all revealed. Aquino's looked good against Nam's , but Noh tabled for rivered trips, enough to send Aquino packing in ninth place with $9,228 for his effort.
Benjie Lim became the next to fall when he moved all in over the top of Tae Jun Noh with . Noh thought for a moment before calling with , and the board ran out . Both players rivered two pair, but Noh's ace played to bust Lim in eighth place ($12,485). Manish Sansi busted in seventh place ($16,285) when his pocket nines couldn't outrun Ramil Tandoc's pocket jacks on a board of .
Lee "Final Table" Nelson lived up to his moniker yet again in Manila, finishing in sixth place for a $21,714 payday. His tournament came to an end when he lost a race against Hyoung Jin Nam for all his chips. Nelson raised preflop from the button with , and Nam re-raised from the big blind with . Nelson moved all in over the top, and Nam called. The on the flop put Nam in the driver's seat, and Nelson never caught up as the board ran out .
Van Marcus found himself on the short stack shortly before the dinner break, and moved all his chips in from the button with . He found one caller in Michael Chang, who tabled the dominating , but Marcus feared no draw on his way to victory. The flop came down the exciting and Chang still led, but the on the turn moved the ball firmly back into Marcus' court. The on the river completed his double-up, and Marcus was back in the game. Not long after that hand, Marcus found himself looking for help again after open-shoving with pocket sevens and running face-first into Hyoung Jin Nam's pocket queens. The flop gave Marcus the set and left Nam looking for a two-outer of his own, but it was not to be as the turn and river ran out to give Marcus another double-up.
Ramil Tandoc had none of Marcus' luck as he busted in fifth place ($29,314). He moved the last of his chips in with , and got action from Tae Jun Noh, who tabled . The flop gave Tandoc a pair as it came down , but Noh had overcards and the nut flush draw, which quickly came on the turn as the landed. Tandoc was drawing dead on the turn, and the on the river was a mere formality as the last Filipino in the field headed to the rail.
Four-handed action started off slow, but picked up quickly as the players began to gamble it up after dinner. Michael Chang got all his money in slightly ahead of Hyoung Jin Nam in his last hand, but eventually ran out of steam and finished in fourth place ($37,999). Nam opened for a raise, only to find Chang putting in a stiff re-raise. Nam thought for a moment before moving all in, which Chang eventually called. Nam tabled , slightly behind Chang's . The flop put Nam in the driver's seat when it came down , and Chang needed an ace to stay alive. No help came on the turn or river, and his tournament was over.
Play continued three-handed for more than four hours before the next player was eliminated, with a couple of patented Van Marcus double-ups along the way. Holding , Marcus open-shoved from the big blind, only to find himself way behind as Hyoung Jin Nam called with . Marcus needed one of three outs to stay alive, and none of them came on the flop. The on the turn, however, was just what the doctor ordered for Marcus, as he then only needed to fade three aces to double through Nam. The on the river assured Marcus yet another double-up.
Marcus doubled through Nam again later, as he called a small raise from Nam to see a flop of . Marcus checked, Nam led out, and Marcus check-raised big. Nam moved all in and Marcus thought briefly before making the call. Marcus tabled for the open-ended straight draw, but Nam had him dominated again with for the flopped straight. The on the turn was no help for Marcus, as he saw his tournament life hang in the balance with yet another slim draw. But once again he hit, catching the on the river to make the higher straight and take the chip lead with that double-up.
It was not long after that hand that Nam busted in 3rd place ($54,285). He moved the last of his stack into the middle preflop and was called by Tae Jun Noh. Nam's was live against Noh's but needed help. No help came on the board of , and Nam was finished. Van Marcus took the chip lead into heads-up play as the remaining chip stacks looked like this:
Van Marcus: 1,674,000
Tae Jun Noh: 1,100,000
Heads-up play took over three hours and set a record for the longest APPT final table ever, with the two remaining contestants taking small pots and small swings for hours before the outcome was decided. In the end, Van Marcus outdrew Tae Jun Noh to send Noh packing in second place ($103,142) and claim his first APPT title.
After a raise and a call preflop, Noh fired out at a flop of . Marcus moved all in over the top, and Noh called to create the first all-in confrontation of the heads-up match. Noh led with for top pair, but Marcus tabled for the open-ended straight draw. The on the turn ended all the suspense as it made Marcus' straight and finished off Noh. The was the irrelevant river card as Marcus took down the APPT Main Event in Manila for $162,856.