Joseph Cheong Wins Manillla Millions for $1.34 Million
The second and final day of the Asian Poker Tour Manila Millions ended on Friday, April 19, after seven players returned to play down to just one. The player standing alone at the top of the massive HK$1,000,000 buy-in event (approx. $129,000) was Joseph Cheong, who earned the HK$10,428,000 first-place prize (approx. $1,340,000).
Final Table Payouts
Cheong finished Day 1 of the event in first place. Only the top four places were set to pay out, so three competitors had to hit the rail before anyone added to their pockets.
The first player eliminated on the day was Thomas McDonald, who fell in seventh place at the hands of Paul Phua thanks to running into Phua's . Then in sixth place, Norway's Tore Lukashaugen fell when he was all-in with but couldn't stay alive against Richard Yong's pocket nines. Despite the flop containing a king, it also contained a nine that gave Yong a winning set.
With Lukashaugen hitting the rail in sixth, the official bubble was on. It was there that David Benefield's run would come to an end, just one spot short of a cash.
According to the PokerAce.tv reports, Benefield was all-in on his last hand with up against Peter Chan holding . In other words, it was your classic race situation. Following a flop, Benefield's chances looked bleak. The turn left him drawing dead with a before the river added insult to injury with the case .
The four remaining players — Cheong, Yong, Phua and Chan — were all in the money and guaranteed a minimum of HK$3,151,000 (approx. $405,000). Phua was the first to fall, taking fourth place after a confrontation with Cheong.
The two saw a flop of along with Yong, and Phua fired 80,000 into the pot. After a fold came from Yong, Cheong put in the chips for the call. The turn was the , and Phua moved all in. Cheong called with the for a full house. Phua held the for a flush draw, but was drawing stone dead. After the river was run out to complete the board, Phua was off to the payout desk.
Chan was next to go, and he, too, fell at Cheong's hands. Chan min-raised to 100,000 on the button, and Cheong called from the big blind to see a flop of . Cheong check-called a bet of 100,000, and the dealer added the on the turn. Cheong checked, and Chan bet 200,000. Cheong called, the river was the , and Cheong led for 350,000. Chan raised all in, and Cheong snapped with the for a king-high flush. All Chan could muster was the for a queen-high flush before leaving in third.
From there, Cheong made quick work of Yong to take the title. It was reported that heads-up play took just one hand with Yong's battling all in with Cheong's . Cheong was behind, but took the lead on the flop. He held from there on the turn and river, and Yong was eliminated in second place.
For Cheong, this score comes on the heels of his runner-up performance at the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific $50,000 Re-Entry High Roller, where he earned AUD$511,000. It's also the second largest score of his poker career.