There were plenty of compelling storylines at the final table, with three Filipino players all in the hunt, three Koreans looking to dominate and Lee Nelson looking for another spectacular final-table finish, but it would be Marcus's insane streak of good fortune that would grab all the headlines at APPT Manila.
The final table began after a long series of delays regarding the Filipino TV broadcast crew. Eventually the issues were sorted out and the highly anticipated finale of APPT Manila was under way.
The day didn't start well for local fans, as Filipinos Rainier Aquino and Benhamin Lim were the first two players to go.
Aquino entered the day with only $40,000 chips and had to shove pretty early on. He was so short-stacked that he got two callers when he made his move and couldn't overcome both of them.
Lim stuck around a bit longer but eventually got it in bad with K-J against Tae Jun Noh's A-T.
Hong Kong resident Manish Sansi never really got anything going at the final table, and he would be the next to go. He got it in with 9-9 versus local Ramil Tandoc's J-J.
It was around this point that Nelson started getting extremely active. Nelson was stealing blinds left and right and constantly putting pressure on the players around him. Those tactics helped stack the wily veteran up to over $300,000. It was not to last, however, as Nelson would go on to lose a pivotal coin flip for his tournament life.
Lee got it all-in with 8-8 and ended up looking down the barrel of Tae Jun Noh's A-K. An ace on the flop spelled doom for the former Aussie Millions winner, and he headed out in sixth.
It was still an impressive showing for Nelson, the only member of Team PokerStars Pro to play in APPT Manila. The always smiling Nelson stuck around to watch the rest of the final table.
There was simply no question that Marcus was running the best out of the players at the final table. In fact, it would be easy to call him the luckiest player of the tournament. On Day 2 Marcus hit a one-outer on the river to stave off elimination and in the process win a massive pot.
Well, Marcus didn't disappoint at the final table either. Midway through Level 20, he hit a dramatic two-outer to double-up through Chang Yong Suk.
A few hands later Marcus got in with 7-7 versus Q-Q and managed to spike a seven on the flop to double up again. It wouldn't be the last of Marcus's amazing fortune either, as we'll see later.
Meanwhile local player Tandoc's luck would run out around this time when Tae Jun Noh busted him in sixth. It was an impressive showing for the Filipino player, and local fans were incredibly happy to have one of their sons make it as far as Tandoc did.
Tandoc's elimination would leave three Koreans and an Aussie, which sounds somewhat like the start of a terrible joke.
It was all too real to Marcus, who found himself outnumbered and outchipped by his Korean opponents. It seemed that a Korean winner would be inevitable.
Fortunately for Marcus the Koreans had no problem duking it out among themselves, and it wouldn't take long for Hyoung Jin Nam to eliminate Chang Yong Suk after they had battled it out over the span of several hands.
Play changed immensely upon the elimination of Suk. We're not quite sure why but suddenly it went from a normal tournament day to endurance-style tight-nit poker.
We would have to wait over three hours for elimination of Hyoung Jin Nam. Oh, did we mention Marcus laid a pretty sick beat on him as well?
In the hand both players saw a flop of 7♠ 6♦ 4♦ and Marcus fired $190,000 into the pot. Nam responded by shoving.
Marcus called and it must have been music to his ears, because he had flopped a straight with 8♣ 5♠ in the hole. Marcus could only hope for another miracle as he showed 9♠ 8♦ for the straight draw.
The K♠ dropped on the turn and it looked like it would finally be curtains for Marcus, but the river was a stunning 5♦ to double him up.
The Aussie cheering squad went absolutely mad for their lucky hero, and Nam must have been sick to his stomach. The skilled Korean never quite seemed to recover; he would be eliminated in the next 30 minutes of play.
That left the heads-up match between stoic young Korean Noh and the run-god Aussie Marcus. The match, a post-marathon marathon, would drag on for three more hours.
The two players seemed very evenly matched - every time one player started pulling away, the other would close the gap and draw even in chips.
Finally, even the skillful play of Noh couldn't stand up to Marcus' insane run of luck. In the final hand Marcus shoved with 9♦ 7♦ on a board of 8♥ 6♠ 3♣, and Noh called with J♣ 8♦ for top pair. This time around Marcus wouldn't even need to see the river, as the T♦ dropped on the turn to eliminate Noh and give Marcus the title.
Marcus received $162,856 for his efforts at the final table, and should probably thank the poker gods nonstop for the next six months.
That's it for us at APPT Manila. It was a roller-coaster of a tournament with some incredibly long days and some epic bad beats. It was a well-run tournament in a very exotic locale and we suggest any interested players try to qualify for the Season 3 event.
Check back in December for PokerListings' live coverage of the APPT Grand Final in Sydney. See you next time, folks!