APPT Macau 2007: Hachem lights up late on day one

By Sean Callander

Less than one-third of the 352 players who started the battle for the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau: Asian Poker Open title remain in the hunt as we tick into level nine (500/1000 with a 100 ante).

A surprising number of the big names have survived, some of who have done it the hard way. Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier has battled a small stack almost all day but is within sight of the end of a long day.

Likewise, Scotty Nguyen has ridden the proverbial poker roller coaster and is struggling to keep his hopes of pocketing the US222,640 first prize alive.

In contrast, 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem is comfortably among the top 10 chip stacks on 60,000 and is holding his own despite currently occupying a seat at the toughest table in the room (including fellow Team PokerStars sponsored players Masa Kagawa, Guillaume Patry and James Potter).

APPT Macau 2007: Joe Hachem
APPT Macau 2007: Joe Hachem

We’re aware of Hachem picking up pocket aces at least three times today, and he was recently paid off when he made a set on the flop against A K.

He’s showing no signs of running out of puff, even though he was called into action to blow out some birthday candles after his wife Jeannie was presented with a birthday cake earlier in the evening (tournament director Matt Savage even led the room in a rendition of Happy Birthday).

Nguyen and Hachem weren’t the only WSOP champions to make the long journey to Macau for this historic event.

Some world champs are better known than others: case in point Mansour Matloubi. The Iranian-born Welshman is best remembered for playing one of the most exciting hands in WSOP main event final table history as he battled Hans ‘Tuna’ Lund for the title way back in 1990.

With more than $1.6 million in the pot (the biggest in tournament history), Matloubi pushed all-in with pocket 10s on a flop of 9 2 4, only to be called by Lund (holding A 9). An ace on the turn made Lund a huge favourite until Matloubi hit his two-outer – a 10. Matloubi went on to win the first prize of $895,000.

Almost two decades later, Matloubi trekked to the Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino for another momentous occasion in poker history.

However, his charge was halted late on day one when he lost a coinflip with Ac Ks to Aaron Schumacher's pocket jacks. Schumacher made a full house when the flop came 7h Js 7s, ending Matloubi’s mission to Macau.

Other recent eliminations have included Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso, who found her pocket nines up against Ad Jh. The board of 3d 3c As Jc 5d did Rousso no favours.

Brad Willis
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