The first leg of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT) is in the books with Dexter Luna reigning victorious over Joseph San Diego in a heads up battle that began in the wee hours of the morning at the Metro Card Club, Pasig City. Luna bagged the first prize winnings of PHP 612,000 and became the first player to claim a seat into the PPT Final Table of Champions.
On entering the final table, it was San Diego in the lead with 1.7 million in chips, Luna running second with 1.6 million and overnight chip leader Richard Tampepe rounding out the top three with 1.4 million in chips. The trio were clearly the ones to beat and, in fact, it was Tampepe who seemed to seize early control while eliminating five players at the final table.
He began with 10th place finisher William Anonuevo when his 10♦ 10♠ held up against Anonuevo’s Q♥ 7♥ preflop shove and a board that ran J♦ 8♠ 6♣ J♥ 4♦. He then proceeded to rail Jay Morales in 9th place with 9♣ 9♠ that rivered a set against Morales’s all in preflop with A♦ K♠ and followed that up with the elimination of Bernie Angeles in 8th place who moved all in at the flop of 5♣ 6♦ 10♣. Angeles held Q♣ 3♣ for a flush draw that did not materialise against Tampepe’s top pair K♣ 10♠. He also took out Westley Sioco in 6th place and Rey Villegas in 4th place, and entered the three way battle against Luna and San Diego with an arsenal of chips that seemed to weigh down his side of the table.
It was at three-handed that the real story of the tournament began and it would be another four hours before another player hit the rail. Despite all of Tampepe’s eliminations and monster stack, it only took one crucial hand for Luna to overtake him and become the first person to pass the 3-million chip mark. During the hand, Tampepe limp-called from the small blind when Luna raised it to 250,000 from the big blind. Both players checked the flop of 7♥ A♥ 7♦ but on the turn card of 4♠, Tampepe led out for 300,000 which Luna called. On the river of 2♥, Tampepe bet out another 300,000 but Luna decided to repop it to 750,000. After tanking, Tampepe folded as Luna flashed an A♣ for top pair.
For a long time after chips seemed to just move back and forth without much action. Tampepe and San Diego were all in twice but, in both hands, they split the pot. At this point, Luna began to see his stack dwindle and was down to 1 million in chips after losing a big pot to San Diego. In a battle of the blinds, Luna check-raised to 150,000 from the small blind on a flop of 9♣ 8♦ 8♠ when San Diego bet 50,000. San Diego called and both saw a turn of Q♥. Luna then slowed down and check-called San Diego’s 250,000 bet. On the river of K♣, Luna took a stab at the pot and led out for 300,000 only to get shoved all in by San Diego. Luna folded but not after showing his 9♦. San Diego scooped the hefty pot and was just shy of 3 million in chips.
The three-way match resumed with Luna slipping back once again until he faced off against San Diego in another battle of the blinds. On a limped pot, Luna checked from the small blind on a board of J♣ 8♣ 7♠. San Diego bet 100,000 and Luna immediately check-raised all in with his remaining 614,000. San Diego made the call and opened up J♦ 4♣ for top pair against Luna’s flush draw K♣ 3♣. With the turn landing A♣ and river 10♣, Luna doubled up with his flush.
After that hand, Luna shifted gears and scooped several more mid-sized pots until he took the big kahuna in another battle of the blinds; this time against Tampepe. On a limped pot and a board showing 3♦ 9♦ 2♦, both players checked but, when the turn landed 5♥, Tampepe led out from the small blind for 300,000 and Luna reacted by doubling it to 600,000. Tampepe tanked for a bit then announced he was all in, which Luna snap-called. At the showdown, Tampepe showed 2♣ 3♣ for two pair, however he was in bad shape when Luna flipped open J♦ 7♦ for a made flush. The river was a 10♠ sending Tampepe to the rail in third place. With this win, Luna entered the heads-up match with 4.1 million chips versus San Diego’s with 2.7 million chips.
Luna took down the first few pots with repeated raises, but was soon stopped when San Diego moved all in on another Luna preflop raise of 230,000. However, it did not make much of a difference because a few hands later, Luna was at it again. He raised to 300,000 from the button and was challenged by San Diego who again announced he was all in. This time Luna instantly called and showed his A♣ K♣ against San Diego’s J♣ 9♣. The board ran 3♣ A♦ 4♥ 8♥ 2♠ ending San Diego’s run as Luna collected the remaining chips on the table.
Congratulations to Dexter Luna for becoming the first PPT Champion!
PPT #1 Final Table Payouts
1. Dexter Luna – PHP 612,000
2. Joseph San Diego – PHP 273,000
3. Richard Tampepe – PHP 106,000
4. Rey Villegas – PHP 77,000
5. Ian Brion – PHP 68,000
6. Westley Sioco – PHP 61,000
7. Edwin Hui – PHP 55,000
8. Bernie Angeles – PHP 48,000
9. Jay Morales – PHP 42,000
10. William Anonuevo – PHP 36,000
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