A short Day 3 ensured that the PokerStars Red Dragon Manila Main Event was culled from 34 players to the final nine. Those players are all guaranteed at least ₱1,221,000 ($23,879) when they return on Friday, January 10, at 1 p.m. local time to the gorgeous Okada Manila to play down to a winner. With 669 entries, the inaugural Red Dragon event in Manila created a total prize pool of ₱64,244,070 ($1,256,428) and 81 players got paid.
It is China's Xijie Sun bringing in a humongous chip lead with 6,550,000 – more than double that of his closest competitor Florencio Campomanes. The 36-year old poker professional from Suzhou (near Shanghai) has been playing for almost a decade, with his biggest score coming during a Jeju event four years ago when he finished in second place. Sun is mainly a cash game player, but enjoys the occasional tournament.
“This is my first visit to Manila; I’ve never been before and wanted to see what the poker was like. I only came to Manila to be the champion,” said Sun via the aid of a translator when asked what prompted him to play the Red Dragon Manila.
Campomanes bagged 3,305,000 at the end of Day 3 to finish second in the counts for another great result in Manila. In addition to winning the 2019 APPT Manila Main Event, Campomanes also laid claim to the first Platinum Pass of 2020 when he won the flip-out at the start of Day 2. The Filipino player also finished runner-up in the Super High Roller a few days ago. This could become one of the best poker weeks ever for the self-proclaimed “retired” player.
Zejin Shen rounds out the podium with 2,300,000 in chips and is the only other player to return with an above-average stack. Yufei Hui, Andres Korn, Tetsuro Tomita, Gerardo Lubas, Martin Stausholm, and Tao Chen round out the final table.
Final Table Seat Draw
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The most dangerous player outside of the top 3 might be Korn with over $2 million in live tournament cashes according to The Hendon Mob; the Argentinian has cashed more than the other five players combined. But don’t count the other players out though. Stausholm won an event here in Manila a few months ago and also reached a final table in one of the biggest tournaments of the summer of 2018 in Las Vegas. Tomita is also no stranger to the final stages either with several APPT side-event wins under his belt in addition to reaching final tables in four different PokerStars LIVE Main Events (APPT/Championship/Megastack).
From 34 Players to the Final Table
With all surviving players in their seats, it would only be one level before there the redraw took place for the final three tables. By the time the first break came around, one-third of the field had already been eliminated. Jehun Hong, the Day 2 chip leader, was still ahead and even eliminated Shiyu Li to increase his lead but went on a bit of a downward spiral after that.
Alan Lau was the last champion left but busted when he check-raised the bet of Daewoong Song and then called the shove with the shorter stack holding top pair. Song held the flush draw and got there on the river to send the 2017 Red Dragon Event champion to the rail in 20th place to join his brother King Sing Lau, who had also managed to make the money.
During the second break, Hong had lost the chip lead to Sun, who didn’t look back from then onwards. Sun took out Song, Shen then claimed Anthony Abram as his victim, while Lubas busted Hong. Korn eliminated Chulwoo Park before Sun burst the final table bubble by knocking out Euryd Rivera.
All in all, with this line-up, the final table looks to be a good one with lots of action to come when they return to finish the last 27 minutes of Level 26, which features a small blind of 25,000, big blind of 50,000, and a big blind ante of 50,000. A 15-minute break has been scheduled after every two full levels of play.
This is what they are all still competing for:
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The PokerNews live reporting team will be there from the moment the first player takes their seat at the final table until the Red Dragon has been slain.