Michael Lakay De Leon 1M GTD Tournament Champion

Michael "Lakay" De Leon Reigns Supreme at the Pokerstars Live Manila 1M GTD Tournament at City of Dreams Manila MANILA, Philippines -  Michael Lakay De Leon emerges from the multi-type qualifier battle royale of 855 entries as its

Michael “Lakay” De Leon Reigns Supreme at the Pokerstars Live Manila 1M GTD Tournament at City of Dreams Manila
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MANILA, Philippines –  Michael Lakay De Leon emerges from the multi-type qualifier battle royale of 855 entries as its fiery champion, held at City of Dreams Manila, after two days of grinding from April 1 to 2, 2016.

Reimagining the Tournament Wheel

Pokerstars Live Manila wanted something different: They launched multiple qualifiers with multiple buy-ins and different stacks. For the PHP500 buy-in, the starting stack was 2.5k while the PHP1,000 buy-in’s stack was 5k.  They introduced three different buy-in tiers, all with a different starting stack per qualifying day. The number of players were limited based on their qualifying round (X percent of total registered for that qualifying round), and all survivors met at Day 2.

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Tournaments are mostly straightforward: all players buy-in the game for a fixed amount and get the same number of chips at the start, then duke it out until they reach a certain level. Those battle-worn survivors then become qualified to play Day 2, or the semi-finals, with their remaining chips from the previous day.

For Pokerstars 1M Guarantee, based on the number of registrants per qualifying round and those who survived meets on Day 2. This actually created a limit wherein those that qualified on Day 1 of the PHP500 buy-in will still get less chips than those that qualified on the biggest buy-in if both the number of players are equal.

Quite a number of people raised the alarm, believing that such a system creates a shove fest and forces players to be donkeys. But although it may appear so, one should definitely take a look at the resulting champion first: despite this system, Lakay qualified with only a 5k starting stack.


Michael “Lakay” De Leon on LSD: Luck, Skills, and Determination

Mike or “Lakay” to his friends is definitely not a stranger to poker tournaments. He has in his belt quite a few championships. Definitely he is a seasoned player in the game of poker.

They say poker is part luck, and Lady Luck was obviously a good ally on his journey to becoming a champion. He made a daring shove with a 9 3 suited preflop that was called by an ace queen. The gods of poker blessed him with a win via two pairs, busting out the holder of ace queen in the process.

He made a daring play yet again by raising “ace three offsuit” and got called. The board came out 2 aces while betting during the flop was check/check. Turn was a king and his opponent bet and Lakay called. River came out another King.

With a board showing

Ace Ace X King King

His opponent checked while Lakay made a small bet. He got raised with a shove which he calmly called. The opponent showed a king, making his opponent’s hand a “kings full of aces” but definitely giving Lakay a win with his “ace full of kings”.

That hand was the doings of Lady Luck where the chips were simply given to him, but it definitely does not give justice to his story of how he became a champion.




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Day 2: Where Experience Counts Most

During the early period of Day 2, a player no stranger to the final table would raise when he is on the late position.

Lakay was seated on seat 1 while his opponent was on seat 9 on a 9 handed table. Whenever seat 9 was on the late position he would fire a raise.

Knowing that his opponent would fire a raise that may not be a solid hand, Lakay would call or reraise his opponent. In most of the instances where the two would lock heads, Lakay displays his experience and skills with a veteran move of “stealing the position”.

Quite a few times Lakay has also shown that being aggressive pays.

There where hands that he had shown it, but two instances proved how hard he can really bite.

The first was when Lakay was on the button. The early position raised double the big blind. A few players called the raise, making quite a substantial pot. Lakay thought about it for a second and made almost a pot size re-raise. Some tanked and some opted to fold while three players called.

The flop came out with a face card and a deuce. His opponents opted a check and when it was Lakay’s turn he fired with an All in shove. All of his opponents folded.

Of course some of our readers will argue that Lakay might have a good hand to shove at that point. But we can confirm it was not an over pair or a very good hand; he simply knew he could get all of his opponents to fold.

When two of the big stacks on the table gets in a hand, however, there are a lot more things to consider.

Lakay started with a small raise which was answered with a huge re-raise. At this point of the game they were the big stacks on the table, so avoiding each other would have been a logical choice. Regardless of how good a hand a player may have, a small raise fired back by a huge re-raise can spell disaster.

Lakay thought for a moment… and shoved it. After a few moments, his opponent opted to fold.

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Folding Queens, No Overcard: Final Two Tables

Of course at this point our readers might think that it only takes guts to win a hand or be blessed with luck. But Lakay maneuvered with plenty of skill, albeit he didn’t emerge unscathed.

One crucial hand that lost him quite a few chips was with his Queens. An opponent raised and Lakay opted to simply call. The hand never made it to the river due to his opponent shoving his stack on the turn.

This was already a very deep tourney and the original preflop raise was quite big. The flop bet was also big which made the pot quite enticing.

Did Lakay really have queens? Was it really not good enough to beat his opponent then? One thing seasoned players will tell you is that in most tourneys you are already in deep when there’s a good raise on both the preflop and flop and its being called. It’s safe to assume that both players had a good hand to reach that point.

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And the Champion is…

Lakay never went in the final table with the biggest stack (ironically, we believe the biggest stack coming into the final table busted out early). He simply played the final table like he played during the start: hitting things on the right spot, avoiding bad positions, and maintaining his composure until the end.

A champion must carry all these skills. And Michael “Lakay” De Leon possessed these and more on his path to a well-deserved championship.

Congratulations once again to a brilliantly-fought victory!

Main Event Winners (P1M GTD Mar 29-Apr 3, 2016)

Main Event Winners (P1M GTD Mar 29-Apr 3, 2016)

Main Event Winners (P1M GTD Mar 29-Apr 3, 2016)

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Michael Lakay De Leon 1M GTD Tournament Champion

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