Emmanuel Derecho takes chip lead to Final Table of WPT League Championship Main Event; that’s a wrap!
After five days, including four Day 1 flights, and today’s 12 hour Day 2, we have reached our top nine to close Sunday’s play.
The remaining runners will be back at the St Johns Park Bowling Club Pavilion Poker Room for a 6pm AEDT start, and it’s Emmanuel Derecho with the chip advantage going into the final day of a hugely successful series. Confirmation of an 11,210,000 stack for Derecho means he holds over 30% of the chips in play in a tournament that has broken the record for both number of entries and total prize pool in WPT League Sydney history.
The 30 year old took a moment to chat with PokerMedia Australia, reflecting on his journey to reach this stage.
“It feels really good cause I launched like four or five bullets at this thing,” Derecho began with a chuckle,”This has gotta be one of the biggest leads I’ve had, I think the biggest.”
Derecho spoke highly of his experience with WPT League, with this series being his first time at the venue. “In terms of the way it’s run, everyone here’s really professional. It’s almost like a casino standard.” Derecho enjoyed the relaxed blind structure and forty-minute levels, usually seen at much higher entry games.
His best cash to date came in the 2017 APL Million, a 5th place finish in the same event Branko Usljebrka happened to win. The two now meet again at another Main Event Final Table.
In terms of his approach to tomorrow, Derecho kept it simple, “keep the aggression up and try to run as good as I can… though I can’t control that.” Typical of his friendly nature, and constant smile at the felt, he added, ” and try to keep the mood light on the table!”
If he were to claim first place, it’s no surprise Derecho would be most happy with the huge amount of cash up for grabs, but for a heartwarming reason. “I told my partner if I bink a big one, we’re gonna go overseas, she wants to go on a holiday. All I’ve been doing is grinding, so she’s kind of annoyed.”
Coverage of the Main Event will pick back up from 6pm tomorrow, when our finalists return to fight for the big money up top, and the WPT Prime Las Vegas package, trophy and ring to match. See you then!
An official Final Table photograph will captured at the start of play on Monday, once the players have drawn their seats. For now, let’s meet our top nine combatants and the number of chips they’ll each begin tomorrow’s play with.
Despite holding the shortest stack, Steven Huynh is shaping up as one of the biggest winners from this final table appearance already, earning enough competition points to leap past Tim De Pater on the Player of the Series leaderboard. This nets Huynh a $10,000 WPT Prime Championship Las Vegas package for this coming December.
Mark Green eliminated in 10th place ($5,800)
Mark Green has fallen agonisingly short of a Main Event Final Table qualification, finding himself eliminated on the bubble in an unlucky cooler against Fadi Tabet.
Action on Table 6 saw play fold to Tabet in the small blind, who raised to 500,000. Green moved all in for 1,525,000 total with 10♠10♣ and was delighted to see that he was called by Tabet’s 8♠8♥.
Delight turned to dismay when the window card was an eight on what spread to be a 8♣2♥7♣A♥A♦ board.
Level 27: 75,000/125,000 (125,000)
Levy paid, Diab nabbed
In the space of two minutes, two more players have exited the Main Event.
Michael Levy’s J♣5♠ was essentially forced into the middle from the big blind, with his short stack unable to beat Marco Perri’s A♠A♣ on 7♥9♠10♣5♠A♥. Levy cashed in 21st place.
Almost simultaneously, Michael Diab’s decision to slow play his K♣J♣ backfired when it allowed Branko Usljebrka to see a flop with K♥8♥.
Diab moved all-in on the flop of K♦6♥8♣, but it was too late as Usljebrka had already made two-pair and held on the 6♠,A♦ runout to eliminate Diab in 20th position..
Emmanuel Derecho is putting in the work and grinding up a huge stack, with the aid of having the right cards fall his direction.
Earlier, another all-in pre saw a flip for someone’s tournament life, this time it was Brooke Loka needing to survive.
Loka was eliminated in 27th place.
Ammar Louis got sneaky in a hand against Jarrod Cunningham, limping from the button with A♥A♣.
Cunningham took the bait and jammed from the small blind for 720,000, to which Louis quickly called.
Cunningham’s 6♠6♣ were not able to improve to beat Louis as the board spread 7♣10♥J♦K♠J♣.
Level 24: 30,000/60,000 (60,000)
Adrian Pacheco was eliminated in 25th place when Neng Zhao opened from UTG with Ace-Queen and held when he called off Pacheco’s big blind jam with Ace-Ten.
Rebal Bou Fakhreddine went shortly after in 24th, also at the hands of Zhao.
Rabie El Hage fell in 26th place, counterfeited against Prithvi Nejjur.
El Hage: 5♠5♣
|Rabie El Hage||BUSTED!|
Level 23: 25,000/50,000 (50,000)
Pacheco runs it up
Adrian Pacheco has had a rollercoaster level so far. One hand saw Pedro Ledesma find a double-up through Pacheco when Ledesma’s A♥Q♦ won a flip against Pacheco’s J♥J♣ on a board that spread 3♦9♦Q♣4♦8♥.
Pacheco’s stack wound down to 330,000 and that amount was soon pushed forward from the small blind into Neng Zhao’s big blind. Zhao made the call to see Pacheco had him well out-kicked.
Level 22: 20,000/40,000 (40,000)
More and more eliminations are taking place as we have four tables now in play.
Mele Poulivaati was felled in 28th place, her pocket Aces going down to Michael Diab’s Pocket Queens.
This remarkably completes a statistic where all three Poulivaati’s made it to Day 2, and each were eliminated with their final hand being pocket Aces.
Gregory “The Mock” Tzanakes was set to learn his fate when he got all his chips in the middle against Justin Wong.
Down to less than ten big blinds, he made the move in late position with K♥Q♥ only to be snap called by Wong.
Wong’s A♦Q♣ had Tzanakes crushed, and the board 7♣2♦5♠5♥A♠ offered no help.
Level 21: 15,000/30,000 (30,000)
Buraga grows larger
Jerry Buraga has taken the rest of Wesley Guo’s stack with an all-in preflop on the Feature Table.
Birdal kept at bay
Birdal Ilbday has handed a double-up to Wanyang Liu. Action folded to the short-stacked Liu who jammed from the cutoff, finding a call from Ilbay to get their chips in the middle before the flop.
The severe underdog manage to spike a broadway straight to keep Liu’s tournament alive.
Level 20: 15,000/25,000 (25,000)
Neng Zhao’s hero call on the bubble made him the first player to tip over the one million chip mark, and since then many have made ground on him to catch uo.
Mark Yazbeck currently holds the chip lead with 1,630,000, marginally ahead of Adrian Pacheco’s 1,615,000.
Level 19: 10,000/20,000 (20,000)
A raise from early position on Table 2 saw the action fold to Ivan Alloshe in the small blind, who jammed into Dong Zhao’s big blind.
Zhao called and it was just those two going to showdown, with Alloshe at risk.
The flop gave Zhao a taste of everything, with an open-ended straight draw and a backdoor flush draw to add to the fact he had a bigger pair. Though the river decided to grant Alloshe the chance to stay in the tournament with the arrival of the two-outer.
No melee for Mele
A play of aggression from Daniel Awad has backfired after running into Mele Poulivaati.
Preflop action saw Awad raise to 35,000 from the cutoff and Poulivaati re-raise to 100,000 from the small blind.
Awad called to see the flop spread 10♦7♠3♦. Poulivaati checked the action to Awad who moved all-in, covering Poulivaati.
The call was made and their two showed their hands.
Turn: 4♠, River: K♠
Level 18: 10,000/15,000 (15,000)
After a series of further short stack double-ups being announced, many of which leading to a collective groan from the rest of the field when Bruno Rao would say, “Aces at risk!”
This time, it was a short stack at risk against Aces. Cameron Chen has his last 14,000 in the middle against Wyn Pham pre-flop.
The whole room perked their ears as the announcement was made over the microphone, with the turning of the cards revealing the bubble was on the brink of bursting.
An Ace in the window all but buried Chen’s chances as the rest of the board spread A♠K♦4♠6♦7♣.
We are now in the money! 90th place will receive $1,000, but sadly for the 91st placed Chen, there’s no payout ticket waiting for him.
Hung up on a call
The bubble is well and truly still alive, 91 players waiting for someone else to get knocked out.
There was a bit of that on Table 6. One hand saw Neng Zhao open from the hijack to 29,000. Hung Pham three-bet from the big blind to 76,000, Zhao called and the two went to a flop of A♦3♦5♦.
Pham continued, establishing a price of 90,000 for Zhao to see a turn. The call was made and the 6♣ followed, when Pham pulled the trigger and put enough chips in the middle to cover Zhao.
After two minutes in the tank, our reporter started a watch timer, as hand-for-hand play meant more people were waiting for Table 6’s action to complete before resuming.
Five minutes had passed and Zhao apologised to his table mates, “Sorry guys, I’m gonna need a couple more minutes.”
After ten minutes had passed since the action fell to Zhao, tournament directors advised the table that it would be reasonable to call the clock.
One player did, and barely after the countdown had begun, Zhao through in chips and heard from Hung, “Good call.”
There was still one card to come, Zhao needed to avoid a four to stay in the tournament.
Hand-for-hand play shall continue!
Level 17: 6,000/12,000 (12,000)
Many a double on the bubble
We’ve been on the bubble for over half an hour now and in that time we’ve seen multiple double-ups for players who nearly went home without a prize.
Mark Yazbeck sat in the big blind, facing an all-in from the small blind.
Antonio Tavella pushed all in with A♣Q♠ and Yazbeck made the call to put himself at risk with Q♥10♥. The flop spread 7♦4♥J♥8♥3♥ to hand Yazbeck a huge chip-up.
Over on Table 8, we saw Rellim Clark move all-in from under-the-gun. Sammy Bagdhadi made the call from the small blind and Mote Poulivaati open folded A♦K♣.
Soft bubble burst
Michelle Foster has been eliminated in 92nd place, falling at the hands of Greg Tzanakes.
Foster made the move all-in for her remaining 151,000 with top pair on the flop. With a pot of over 60,000 in the middle already, Tzanakes decided to make the call with a flush draw.
Turn: 4♦, River: K♦
After losing four players since the break, we are now at 92 remaining entries, with top 90 getting into the money. One of the recent eliminations included Trong Nguyen in 94th place, who never took his seat on Day 2.
If Nguyen is following our coverage, wherever he may be, we’d like to let him know that he almost made $1,000 without doing any work on Day 2!
Bird’s the word
Birdal Ilbay leads the way at the break, by our unofficial counts. His 889,000 looks to be the top stack at the moment, with no one to have tipped over the one million mark.
Average stack at just about the 390,000 mark, so the players below are sitting comfortably.
|Rabie El Hage||835,000|
|Tim De Pater||725,000|
Level 16: 5,000/10,000 (10,000)
We head in to the break with 96 runners remaining, just six left until we reach the money!
We’ll go around the tables and count up some of the big stacks!
Quad’s going on?
Table 12 has witnessed a hand where someone has made four-of-a-kind for the fourth time today.
This time saw a short-stacked Teddy Estrada move all-in from the button with Q♦9♦. Michael Levy then woke up to J♦J♣ in the small blind and made a quick call.
Three-way all-ins appear to be the order of the day, with plenty of them taking place within the first two hours of Day 2.
Dominc Tso found a caller from Joseph Nati and a rejam from Frank Spataro, though only 5,000 more than Tso’s 66,000 shove.
With 748 entries across four Day 1’s, a prize pool of $448,800 has been generated. A record field and prize pool for any Main Event here at WPT League St Johns Park.
The top 90 placed players today will find themselves in the money, with first prize being the centre of attention with not only $90,000 cash up for grabs, but also the trophy, a $5,000 diamond ring, and a $10,000 package. The package includes flights + accomodation and entry into the WPT Prime in Las Vegas this December!
Full payout structure below:
|22nd – 24th||$2,900|
|25th – 27th||$2,500|
|28th – 30th||$2,200|
|31st – 33rd||$1,900|
|34th – 36th||$1,700|
|37th – 45th||$1,550|
|46th – 54th||$1,400|
|55th – 63rd||$1,300|
|64th – 72nd||$1,200|
|73rd – 81st||$1,100|
|82nd – 90th||$1,000|
Level 15: 4,000/8,000 (8,000)
WPT League Sydney Operations Manager, Bruno Rao, picked up the microphone to announce an all-in on Table 11.
Michelle Foster had shoved pre-flop, and got a call from Tim De Pater.
De Pater: Q♠Q♥
“We have Ace-King at risk,” Rao began.
The first two cards of the flop being the A♠ and A♣ prompted Rao to continue, “Well not at risk any more.” The flop then completed with the Q♦.
“Oh wait yes it is!”
The Pavilion Room reacted with a collected gasp to hear of the flopped trips versus boat hand.
The turn came the 5♠, meaning Foster needed any Five, King, or the unlikely case Ace.
|Tim De Pater||500,000|
Pockets, pockets, pockets
Table 6 played host to a three-way all-in. With Jie Cui and Rebal Bou Fakhreddine at risk against Glenn Marsom.
All the chips got in the middle pre-flop and the players turned over their hands.
Bou Fakhreddine: Q♥Q♦
Marsom took a small side pot in eliminating Cui, whilst Bou Fakhreddine found a huge triple-up.
|Rebal Bou Fakhreddine||563,000|
Level 14: 3,000/6,000
Sam Hermon was amongst our next victims, eliminated in a three-way all-in on Table 16.
Action folded to Hermon on the button, who moved all-in for his remaining 48,000. Branko Usljebrka flatted from the small blind when Wyn Pham raised to 130,000 total from the big blind.
Usljebrka made the call to build a hefty side pot, and the flop spread 10♠5♦2♠.
Usljebrka checked to Pham who pushed her last 141,000 forward. Usljebrka tanked, and eventually made the call. The three turned over their cards.
Turn: A♥, River: K♥
Hermon couldn’t hit a spade, and Usljebrka couldn’t hit the two outer, enabling Pham to take both pots.
First to go
Jaclyn Zammit is the first elimination of Day 2.
After Jerry Buraga opened the action on Table 17 with a bet to 16,000, Zammit made the call along with Prithvi Nejjur.
The flop came 2♦4♣Q♠ and Zammit open-jammed for 28,000. Buraga made the call but Nejjur moved all-in over the top to isolate. Not wanting to put himself at risk, Buraga folded to let the other two battle it out.
Turn: 2♣, River: 9♥
The runout did Zammit no favours, as the field compressed from 168 starters, down to 167.
Level 13: 3,000/5,000
Day 2 seat draw
Play will resume at 12pm AEDT, with recommencing blinds at 3,000/5,000 (5,000). Please ensure you have your photo ID with you for verification purposes, and should you have any questions regarding your seat allocation, please approach the team at WPT League Sydney. Best of luck to all players!
To assist our WPT Live Reporting Team, please ensure your PMA ID cards are kept close to your stack, face-up and visible at all times.
Players are also asked to move their PMA IDs with them when broken or balanced to another table, and they must be left on the table to be collected after an elimination and at the end of day’s play.
|Duy Quang Nguyen||291,000||6||0106|
|Mark James Green||315,000||4||1||0401|
|Tim De Pater||454,000||11||1||1101|
|Robert Jemison Budd||269,000||14||1||1401|
|Lavinia Van Bokhoven||268,000||15||1||1501|
|Rabie El Hage||335,000||20||4||2004|
|Rebal Bou Fakhreddine||247,000||21||3||2103|