ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Businessman Jonathan Sy captured the ninth and penultimate leg of the P10 million Philippine Poker after a marathon 14-hour final table battle that started Tuesday afternoon and ended Wednesday morning at the Angeles Poker Tour card room here.
An inside straight draw that found its mark at the turn was all Sy needed to turn the tables on lawyer Mark Leano who looked all set to wrap it all up when he hit top pair on a flop of Jh Kh 9c with his Ah Kc against the former’s pocket Queens. But fate has other plans for Sy as the turn produced a 10s giving him a straight. Then with an inconsequential 6d on the river, Sy doubled up to 3.7 million in chips, leaving Leano with a mere 700 thousand.
“I think that was the turning point. It was downhill from there,” said Sy, a father of three, who pocketed P315,000 and earned a seat to the Final Table of Champions in March which will choose a Philippine representative to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this year.
“I want to dedicate this win to all my cabalens. I want to make them proud,” said Sy, the only poker player from Pampanga who has reached this far in the 10-stop nationwide series.
The Manila-based Leano had earlier put Sy on the ropes when his Kd 8h was good for two pairs on a flop of 8c 5c Kd. Sy only had a pair with his Kd Jd. With the turn of Qh and 3h, Leano grabbed an imposing 3 to 1 chip lead only to reel back for good with that gut shot maneuver by Sy.
“The guy got lucky. I think that was the key,” he said referring to that inside straight draw which allowed Sy to turn the tide of battle in his favor. Even the final hand of the match was kind to the eventual champion as his Kh 9h produced two pairs on a board of 8d 10c Ks 7c 9d against Leano’s Ad Qs.
The predominantly kapampangan crowd erupted in wild celebration following Sy’s victory.
Leano, who entered the final table with the fourth shortest stack, settled for the runner up prize of P181,600. Another local bet, Luke Pangan, finished third, followed by Sammy Liu, Joshua Rivera, Rey Concepcion, Jessie Supnet, PJ Samson, David Colclough, and Korean Sim Jae Kyung.
Only one seat is left to be filled in the March battle royal among the leg winners of the tour. Those who have already earned berths are Dexter Luna, Rebel Magdagasang, Jun Pacayra, Martin Corpuz, Auggie Nasser, Sim Yong-sum, Dennis Soriano, and James Mendoza.
The 10th and final leg of the tour is scheduled Feb. 15-20 at the Let’s All In Poker Sports Club in Pasay City, according to PPT founder and chairman Jojo Allado.