For the first time in the illustrious 49-year history of the World Series of Poker, Lupang Hinirang was played.
Filipino poker wiz Mike Takayama bagged Event #59 of the WSOP to bring home the country’s first-ever gold bracelet, Saturday afternoon (Philippine time) at the Rio All-Suites and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Besides the prestigious bracelet, the 30-year-old former billiards pro cashed in USD 198,568 (PHP 10,599,162.70). This brings his WSOP 2018 haul to USD 216,382 (PHP 11,550,038.40). He finished in 32nd place during the $1,000 Double Stack No-Limit Hold’em tournament.
“Nakakakilabot na sobrang saya! Hindi ko ma-explain yung nararamdaman ko ngayon,” shared Takayama when asked about hearing the Philippine National Anthem being blasted through the speakers of the hall.
The one-day tournament, a USD 1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Super Turbo Bounty, is perfectly apt for the hyper-aggressive style of Takayama.
Takayama outlasted a field of 2,065 players that included 14-time WSOP bracelet holder Phil Hellmuth, six-time bracelet winner Chris Ferguson, three-time World Champion Michael Mizrachi, and three-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb.
“Ito ang pangarap ng lahat ng poker player,” added Takayama.
Takayama entered the nine-man final table second in chips with 1,485,000.
Takayama then went on a roll busting four players early. By the time the first break was held, he already owned the chip lead (4,135,000).
The Filipino then eliminated two more players afterwards to set-up a heads-up showdown against Italian pro Lorenc Puka. Takayama held a huge 8,200,000 to 2,150,000 edge.
It only took only 10 hands before Takayama disposed of Puka.
With Puka down to just 775,000 chips, he moved all-in. Takayama snapped called.
Takayama had (Kd, Jc) — behind the (Ad, 4d) of the Italian.
The flop came (5h, 4h, Kh) giving Takayama top pair while Puka had the bottom pair. The turn (10c) and the river (Jd) flamed out, earning his 16th bounty of this tournament. Takayama made Philippine poker history.
Bacolod-born Toto Leonidas won the $1,500 Seven Card Stud back in 2003. However, he was already an American citizen during that time.