2017 ACOP: Mikita Badziakouski leads after Day 1 of the High Roller

The first day of the HK$250,000 High Roller here at the PokerStars LIVE Macau card room in the City of Dreams was a short and sweet affair. Just six levels of play were scheduled - rather than the usual eight or ten - and by the end of the opening half-a-dozen acts just 24 players had entered, including three entries.

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The Belarussian busting machine

Leading the 19 players who advanced to Day 2 is Mikita Badziakouski. The Belarussian bagged 664,500 and was responsible for two of today's five eliminations. He took out both Greenwood brothers - Lucas and then Sam - in big pots with big pairs. Holding kings he rivered a flush to drown Lucas's two-pair and then came out on the right side of a set over set confrontation against Sam.

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A good day for JJ

His closest challenger at the close of play was John Juanda, who finished with 596,000. He had held the chip lead for a large part of the day by virtue of eliminating Justin Bonomo in a rollercoaster of a hand. Juanda flopped a set, Bonomo turned a straight and Juanda rivered a full house. Bonomo re-entered, as did James Chen and Sam Greenwood, although Greenwood failed to make it through the day. The counts of Chen and Bonomo, along with all the other survivors, can be seen below, players began with 250,000 in chips each.

Mikita Badziakouski - 664,500
John Juanda - 596,000
Justin Bonomo - 450,500
Daniel Dvoress - 441,000
Erik Seidel - 428,000
Mike Watson - 409,500
Jason Koon - 385,500
Issac Haxton - 385,000
David Peters - 364,500
James Chen - 303,500
Jordan Westmorland - 237,000
Dan Smith - 214,000
Dietrich Fast - 194,500
Dario Sammartino, 181,500
Shan Huang - 170,000
John Andress - 167,500
Steve O'Dwyer - 150,500
Paul Newey - 122,500
Bjorn Li - 121,000

We'll publish the overnight seat draw when available, but we expect plenty more entries before play restarts, some who'll qualify through the satellite that is currently running and others - like Tim Adams - who're planning on entering at the start of play tomorrow. A reminder also that re-entry is open for the first two levels of play. We'll be back with more High Roller coverage from 2.30pm local time, but if you want more live coverage from Macau, the Main Event plays on and you can follow that right here.

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DAY 1 COVERAGE ARCHIVE:

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• Entries: 25 including 3 re-entries (19 remain)
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1:30am: Play is done
Level 6 - Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

That's it for Day 1 of this event, a wrap of the day's play is on the way. --NW

1:15am: Fast joins for the last five hands
Level 6 - Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Dietrich Fast joined the tournament for the last few hands. Maybe that's more GTO than taking his seat first thing tomorrow as he'll get two more time bank chips that way. --MC

1:10am: Straight out of the blocks with a win
Level 6 - Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Reigning champion David Peters has gotten off to a good start, winning a pot off James Chen to grow his stack to 380,000.

He opened from early position and picked up a call from Chen in the small blind. Peters then went on to empty the clip with bets of 8,000, 27,000 and 90,000 on a board that ran A♥3♠Q♣K♠2♣. Chen check-called all the way but mucked upon seeing Peters' J♣T♣ for a turned straight. Chen dropped to 300,000. --MC

01:05am: Watson wamboozles Greenwood
Level 6 - Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

A huge pot has just gone the way of Mike Watson and it means Sam Greenwood has busted out of this tournament for the second time today. It was Greenwood who started the action, he raised to 7,500 from under-the-gun, Watson three-bet to 22,000 on the button and Greenwood called.

On the T♦K♣Q♥ flop Greenwood check-called a bet of 20,000 and the two players watched on as the 7♦ fell on the river. There followed another check from Greenwood, a bet of 56,000 from Watson, a shove from Greenwood and a call from Watson.

Greenwood: A♣A♠
Watson: T♣T♥

Watson had outflopped Greenwood with a set of tens and the 9♠ river wasn't one of Greenwood's outs. He headed to the rail and Watson chipped up to 490,000. --NW

12:55am: Westmorland and the champ in
Level 6 - Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jordan Westmorland became the 23rd entry not too long ago. He busted the Main Event 26th last night after getting two-outed on the river, and he was understandably upset about it. He's back to have another crack and he won a pot off Daniel Dvoress to get off to a profitable start.

He raised from middle position and Dvoress peeled from the big blind. The flop came A♠7♥5♣ and Dvoress check-called 6,000 before he led for 12,000 on the 7♠ turn. Westmorland called and both players went on to check the 4♦ river. Dvoress opened K♠4♠ but lost out to Westmorland's A♣8♣.

Defending champion David Peters has rocked up and taken his seat with a little over half a level to play. --MC

12:45am: News on Newey
Level 6 - Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Two hands involving Paul Newey to tell you about now...

In the first Sam Greenwood opened to 7,500 from the cutoff, Newey three-bet to 22,500 from the button and Greenwood stuck around. On the 2♣7♦2♥ flop Greenwood checked, Newey bet 27,000 and Greenwood called. The 9♣9♥ turn and river checked through and the cards were exposed. Newey held A♦K♣ whilst Greenwood had A♠8♠. So two-pair, ace kicker for both and a chopped pot.

On the very next hand Newey made it 8,000 to play from the cutoff and Ike Haxton, who was in the big blind, made the call. The dealer fanned a 3♥4♣7♥ flop and Haxton check-called a bet of 9,000. The Q♠ turn checked through and the A♥ then completed the board. Haxton reached for chips and bet 76,000, which is more than was in the pot.

Newey took a look back at his cards and then capped them and began to riffle some chips. "I've a feeling this ace is no good Ike," and he then mucked A♠8♠ face up. Haxton gave Newey the option of seeing his hand if he wished to and Newey indicated that he would like to see Haxton's cards. He flipped K♠5♣ for the bluff. --NW

12:32am: Watson wins off Greenwood
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

We've witnessed Mike Watson have to fold a lot today, seemingly due to excessive aggression around and behind him. He encountered some more of that just now but came out on top this time.

He opened to 6,000 from the cutoff and was called by Isaac Haxton in the next seat before Sam Greenwood squeezed to 28,100 from the big blind. Watson came back with a four-bet to 63,200 and Greenwood called.

The board ran out 5♦4♥Q♣5♥4♠ and was checked to the river where Greenwood check-folded to a 100,000 bet. He dropped to around 210,000 and Watson rose to around 280,000. --MC

12:25am: One for Chen, one for Bonomo
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

James Chen and Justin Bonomo were the first two players to re-enter this tournament and the second go around for each player is going much better than the first.

A short time ago Bonomo got the better of Erik Seidel in the following hand. Seidel opened the hijack to 5,000 and called after Bonomo had three-bet to 17,500 from the small blind. The A♠7♣K♠ flop was checked through and the 6♣ fell on the turn. Bonomo checked again, Seidel bet 35,000 and Bonomo called.

On the 9♥ river Bonomo check-called a further 90,000 and Seidel simply mucked face down. That meant Bonomo could do the same, he's up to 450,000 and Seidel is down to 280,000.

At the same time as Bonomo was padding his stack Chen was facing off against Dan Smith over on table three. They'd reached the turn of a 9♠4♦7♦2♣ board and Smith (big blind) checked to Chen, who bet 45,000. Call from Smith.

On the 9♦ river Chen bet a further 110,000 and again Smith check-called. Chen rolled over 7♣7♥ and it was the best hand. He's up to 435,000 and Smith is down to 350,000. --NW

12:12am: No need to sound the klaxons, it's just a small one for Haxton
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

A few more chips for Isaac Haxton after he won a small pot off Paul Newey.

The latter opened for 5,500 from the cutoff and the former defended his big blind to see a 7♠Q♥T♠ appear. Newey continued for 9,000 and Haxton check-called before the 4♥5♦ turn and river were checked through. Haxton opened 8♦7♣ and Newey mucked to drop to around 170,000.

In other news, Jason Koon leapt over a roped barrier, gave everyone a big smile, picked up his seat number and joined table 3. --MC

12:05am: Satellite king?
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Entry to this event costs HK$250,000 (US$32,000) but there's still a chance for players to get in for far less than that. There's a HK$22,000 satellite running at the moment and there are a lot of famous faces among the 26 players who've entered. Dietrich Fast, Rainer Kempe, Martin Jacobson, Martin Finger, JC Alvarado and Manig Loeser are just some of those trying to get in for a fraction of the price. --NW

12am: Haxton on the double
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Isaac Haxton found a nice squeeze all-in spot, got called, won a race, and doubled up.

John Juanda opened to 5,600 and was called by Mike Watson before Haxton made his move for 75,500 from the small blind. Watson folded after Juanda called.

Haxton: A♦J♥
Juanda: T♣T♥

The board ran 4♣A♠8♠3♣8♣. Juanda dropped down to 690,000. --MC

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A happy Haxton


11:50pm: Another Greenwood down
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Sam Greenwood took up that seat that his brother Lucas had vacated when he was eliminated by Mikita Badziakouski. Well it's Badziakouski 2-0 Greenwood's now as Sam too has been stacked by the Belarussian.

We only caught the very end of the hand, by which point there was 175,000 in front of Badziakouski and an all-in bet of 247,500 in front of Greenwood. There was a full board of 4♥Q♠A♠5♥J♣ on the felt and Badziakouski had shot back in his chair when Greenwood shoved.

He needed to use a time bank chip to reach his decision, but it was to call. Greenwood showed 5♣5♠ for a turned set, but Badziakouski had a higher one as he held Q♥Q♠. "Sorry, I didn't mean to slowroll you," said Badziakouski at the end of the hand. He's up to 700,000 now and vying for the chip lead. --NW

11:35pm: Bonomo bluffs, busts
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Justin Bonomo has become the third casualty today after he bluffed off his stack to John Juanda, who rose to 730,000.

Bonomo raised to 6,200 from the hijack and called after Juanda three-bet to 18,700 from the button. The flop fell T♦5♦2♠ and Juanda continued for 18,600. Bonomo check-called before the 7♠ turn was checked through. The T♠ completed the board and Bonomo led for an all-in move worth 161,100. Juanda used a time back chip then made a good call with 9♥7♥ to beat Bonomo's Q♦3♦ for a busted flush draw.

Bonomo wasted little time in re-entering and was drawn at table 3. --MC

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John Juanda comes with a bluff warning


11:25pm: Chip leaders
Level 5 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Who're the biggest stacks I hear you cry. Fear not, we have the answer below:

John Juanda - 520,000
Dan Smith - 510,000
Erik Seidel - 480,000
Mikita Badziakouski - 413,000
Daniel Dvoress - 394,500

That's the top five as level five gets under way. --NW

11:10pm: Break time
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 200)

The players are taking a 15-minute break before the last two levels of day 1 will play out.

11:05pm: Bonomo betters Watson
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 200)

Mike Watson opened to 5,000 from under the gun and called after Justin Bonomo three-bet to 16,500 off the button. The flop came 6♦9♦8♠ and Watson check-called 15,000 before the 9♥K♣ turn and river were checked through. Watson opened A♥Q♥ but Bonomo raked in the pot with 5♠6♠. --MC

11pm: Chen chopped down
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Afte Paul Newey joined the tournament a third table was opened and it consisted entirely of players moved from the two existing tables. A line-up of Shan Huang, James Chen, Dan Smith, Daniel Dvoress and Bjorn Li was created but James Chen, who was already short on chips didn't last long.

He got the last of his very short stack in with 5♣4♠ and was up against the pocket nines of Dvoress. A 2♠8♦T♠T♣3♥ run out sent him to the rail. He's already bought back in and has drawn the same seat that he busted from. --NW

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Chen will try for a second time

10:55pm: Battle of the big stacks
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Dan Smith and Mikita Badziakouski are the two biggest stacks at table two and they just played a three-bet pot. Badziakouski was the initial raiser, he made it 5,000 to go from under-the-gun+1, Smith three-bet to 15,500 from the button and Badziakouski stuck around.

The T♦6♠A♠ flop looked like it should create some action and it did. Badziakouski check-called a bet of 11,000 and the Q♣ hit the turn. Both players checked and the 7♥ fell on the river. Once more the action checked through and at showdown Smith's K♠K♦ bested Badziakouski's Q♦J♦. --NW

10:50pm: Better luck for the other twin?
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 200)

Sam Greenwood has bought in and been sat in the seat vacated by his brother, Lucas. The early signs are that he'll have more luck.

He, Shan Huang and Dario Sammartino created an 80,000 pot by the time a 2♥T♣3♠ flop was revealed. Greenwood bet 52,000 and both opponents folded.

Paul Newey swung by ten minutes ago and was convinced to buy in today. He was drawn between Justin Bonomo and John Juanda.--MC

10:45pm: More for Seidel
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Steve O'Dwyer shook his head, he couldn't call Erik Seidel's river bet and he looked on as more of his chips were slid in the direction of Seidel.

It was Seidel who was the pre-flop aggressor in the hand, he raised to 5,000 from early position, O'Dwyer called from the button and Shan Huang put in another 4,000 from the small blind. So it was three to a 4♠3♠J♠ flop. Seidel bet 6,600, O'Dwyer raised to 26,000 and Seidel was the only caller.

On the A♥ river Seidel check-called a further 45,000 and the J♣ completed the board. At this juncture Seidel bet 60,000 and it took O'Dwyer less than five seconds to release his cards. With that pot Seidel is up to 405,000 whilst O'Dwyer drops to 147,000. --NW

10:30pm: Five-way action
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 200)

You don't see many five-way pots at a seven-handed table. Issac Haxton just started one but James Chen ended it.

Haxton raised to 4,600 from middle position and picked up calls from Bjorn Li, Daniel Dvoress, Chen and Justin Bonomo. The flop came 8♠7♠Q♦ and the actioned was checked to Chen on the button who bet 15,000. One by one his opponents folded and he picked up some much needed chips to rise to 74,000. --MC

10:15pm: Don't mess with JJ
Level 4 - Blinds: 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

John Juanda came to play and play he is. He's already doubled his starting stack and just put it to good use against Issac Haxton.

Four players took a 7♥8♥6♦ flop and after Mike Watson (small blind), Haxton (big blind) and Bjorn Li (under-the-gun) had checked Juanda (button) bet 8,500. That forced Watson out, but Haxton raised it up to 22,500. Li step aside and Juanda then moved all-in. Haxton had roughly 100,000 back and opted to preserve those chips for another hand.

So, Juanda keeps climbing, he's up to 565,000 now. --NW

10:05pm: Better for Bonomo
Level 3 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Justin Bonomo will feel better about his day after he doubled through James Chen in a battle of the blinds.

The flop was out and read 5♦3♠6♠. Chen checked to face a 9,000 bet that he treated to a check-raise all-in. Bonomo double checked his hand and called all-in for 53,200.

Chen: A♣6♣ for top pair, top kicker.
Bonomo: 5♣5♠ for trips.

The board ran out T♦A♥ and Chen dropped to 44,000. --MC

9:55pm: The G.O.A.T?
Level 3 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

It's a pub argument that I'm sure most poker fans have had, who's the greatest poker player of all-time? There are plenty of candidates but, in this writers' opinion, Erik Seidel is most definitely in the conversation and quite possibly the answer.

Has anyone else competed at the top for so long, over so many different poker eras and consistently remained one of the best despite the changing landscape of the game? It's hard to argue that anyone has (Doyle Brunson maybe?). Seidel sits second on the all-time money list behind Daniel Negreanu but was finishing runner-up in the WSOP Main Event whilst Negreanu was still in high school.

Gushy intro completed, we just got a taste of what makes Seidel as good as he is as he sniffed out a bluff from Steve O'Dwyer. It was the latter who got the action started, he made it 4,000 to go from under-the-gun, Dario Sammartino called on the button and Seidel then three-bet to 21,600 from the small blind. O'Dwyer was the only caller.

The J♠5♣3♥ flop checked through and the 9♦ fell on the turn. Seidel check-called a bet of 19,000 and the 7♠ completed the board. Again Seidel checked and once more O'Dwyer bet. This time it was 53,000 for Seidel to call and he agonised for almost all of his 30 second time bank before calling. O'Dwyer showed A♠Q♣ and Seidel showed A♥K♥ for a superb ace-high call. A side-note that this hand is also a great snapshot of what makes Steve O'Dwyer so hard to play against.

That loss dropped O'Dwyer back to starting stack and sent Seidel soaring to 330,000. --NW

9:40pm: Kicker issues for Sammartino
Level 3 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Dariop Sammartino lost a little one to Dan Smith after his kicker let him down.

Smith opened to 4,000 from under the gun and was only called by the Italian in the next seat. The flop fanned 5♠5♦J♥ and Smith continued for 2,600. Call. Both players checked the J♣ turn before Smith led for 12,000 on the A♥ river. Sammartino called with A♦Q♣ but Smith took it with A♣K♣. --MC

9:30pm: Lucas out of luck...and chips
Level 3 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The last time Mikita Badziakouski three-bet Lucas Greenwood in a cutoff versus button situation Badziakouski had pocket kings. It just happened for a second time and once again (spoiler alert) Badziakouski had the cowboys. To be exact he had K♥K♦.

Pre-flop Greenwood made it 4,000 to go, Badziakouski raised to 12,500 and Greenwood stuck around. The flop fell T♦9♦6♣ Greenwood checked, Badziakouski bet 15,000, Greenwood check-raised to 45,000 and Badziakouski smooth called. On the A♦ turn Greenwood moved all-in for 94,400 and Badziakouski wanted a count. He needed most of the 30 seconds to make his decision, but it was to call. Greenwood showed T♥9♥ for two-pair and the current best hand. However, the 4♦ river meant Badziakouski rivered a flush and took the pot.

"Was that a bad call? I think that was a bad call," wondered Shan Huang. "I had 17 outs," replied Badziakouski. He's up to 456,000 after that hand. --NW

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Greenwood was the first to bust


9:20pm: JJ coolers JB to double
Level 3 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

John Juanda coolered Justin Bonomo to double into the chip lead with 508,000.

The latter opened to 4,000 from under the gun and was called by Juanda in the next seat and Daniel Dvoress in the small blind. The flop came Q♠9♦6♣ and Dvoress led for 6,000. Bonomo raised to 24,500 and was cold called by Juanda, which was enough action to scare off Dvoress.

The turn was the T♣ and Bonomo check-called 47,000 to take them to the 6♥ river where Juanda shoved for 172,400. Bonomo got a count and then check-called with K♣J♠ for a turned straight. He dropped to around 70,000 chips though after Juanda opened 9♣9♠ for a full house. --MC

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Not so cool for Bonomo


9:10pm: Top three going into level 3
Level 3 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Top three stacks as play resumes:

Daniel Dvoress - 402,900
Steve O'Dwyer - 360,000
Mikita Badziakouski - 328,000

Erik Seidel has joined the party for this level. --MC

8:57pm: Break time
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

That's the end of the first two levels of this event and the players are now on a 15-minute break. --NW

8:56pm: Where was the four-bet?
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Some people are never happy! Mikita Badziakouski had just won the pot, but he knew it could've been bigger because there was a point in the hand that it looked like this might be a four-bet pot. We should add that Badziakouski was joking about this with Shan Huang and he wasn't really upset.

The hand started with a raise from the cutoff to 3,000 from Lucas Greenwood, Badziakouski three-bet to 9,000 from the button, Steve O'Dwyer folded from the small blind and the action was now on Shan Huang. He cut out chips that totalled around 30,000 and as the time ticked down (this is a shot clock event) he asked the dealer how much the bet was. Perhaps because of that answer or perhaps because he was running out of time, Huang mucked his hand.

Back on Greenwood he called the raise and the dealer fanned a 8♦8♠5♣ flop. Greenwood check-called a c-bet of 8,000 and the 4♠ hit the turn. Both players checked and the T♣ fell on the river. Greenwood took his second positive action of the hand and he bet 15,000. Badziakouski utilised almost all of his 30 seconds before calling. Greenwood rolled over Q♠T♠ but it was no good against Badziakouski's K♥K♣.

After that hand Badziakouski is up to 331,000 and Greenwood is down to 150,000. --NW

8:55pm: Dvoress in hyper-aggro mode
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

An unnamed top professional poker player told me the other day that they think Daniel Dvoress' current thinking on the game makes him the best poker player in the world right now. He certainly seems in the zone today and just successfully shoved on another player.

He was battling Bjorn Li in the blinds and the pot escalated in a funny way. Li led for 3,000 on a J♥7♣7♠ flop and Dvoress called. The turn was the 8♣ and Li checked to face a 30,000 bet that he actually thought was a 5,000 bet. He announced 20, trying to check-raise but his mistake was pointed out and it had to go as a call. The 3♣ completed the board and Dvoress shoved on Li after he checked. He had around 120,000 left and elected to fold. --MC

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Dvoress in the mood today


8:35pm: Haxton gets caught at it
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Daniel Dvoress has moved over 300,000 after he caught Isaac Haxton bluffing. The latter dropped to around 110,000.

About 70,000 had made it into the middle by the time the board rested as 4♠6♣Q♦9♦T♠. Dvoress (BB) checked and Haxton (D) used a time bank chip before betting 82,500. Dvoress had to then use a time bank chip himself before he called. Haxton mucked and Dvoress scooped and the only thing he had to show was a smile. --MC

8:25pm: Easy come, easy go for Sammartino
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Two pots involving the Italian tournament wizard Dario Sammartino to tell you about now. In the first he bet 3,100 on the the turn of a 8♠Q♥2♦7♥ board and picked up calls from both Mikita Badziakouski and Dan Smith. The 4♥ completed the board and Sammartino fired out 20,000. This time only Badziakouski called and it was a good call. Sammartino showed 6♣6♠ which was no good against Badziakouski's K♥Q♣. "You try to steal it Dario," joked Shan Huang upon seeing the cards.

The Italian and Huang would tangle on the next hand. It was Huang who got the pot started, he opened to 2,400 on the button and Sammartino called from the big blind. On the 4♠Q♦K♥ flop Huang c-bet and Sammartino made the call. The 9♥ fell on the turn and again Huang came out firing. He bet 10,400, Sammartino called and the 3♥ completed the board. "That's a very interesting card," said Huang. Both players checked and Sammartino showed 8♥4♥ for a rivered flush.

"Such a lucky river," said Huang. "Why you not bet, I call. I had the straight," said Huang which caused the rest of the table to laugh. Huang got up from the table and beckoned John Juanda over to come take a look. "Dario ambush me with the backdoor flush," said Huang to Juanda as he pointed at the board. "Dario is so dangerous, he's a ninja," he joked.

It's all fun and games at the table when Huang's around. --NW

8:15pm: Bonomo asks Chen to risk the lot
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

James Chen has dropped down to 94,000 after he folded to a river shove from Justin Bonomo.

Chen opened to 3,000 and called after Bonomo three-bet to 10,500. The board ran out 5♠3♥9♠K♣5♦ with Chen checking to face bets of 20,000, 40,000 and all-in. He called to the river where he used a time bank chip before admitting defeat with a fold. --MC

8:05pm: A hand from each table
Level 2 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Shan Huang's joie de vivre at the poker table is infectious. He just sat down at table two and immediately had the table laughing and joking. "Two hundered big blinds deep?" he asked the table and they nodded. "You have a big edge," he said to the five pros who're sat around him. "Can I straddle, can we super straddle?" he joked to the dealer.

He immediately got into the action and won the first two pots he played. Maybe he's the one with the edge. We can't comment on that, but what we can say with 100% certainty is that he's a great player to watch and he ups the fun coefficent of any table he sits at. --NW

7:55pm: A hand from each table
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 200)

After a long period of not a lot happening two meaningful hands played out simultaneously, one on each table.

On table one Bjorn Li, who's the latest player to enter this tournament, raised to 3,000 on the button, James Chen three-bet to 12,000 from the button and Li stuck around. On the Q♥4♠J♥K♠3♥ board Chen bet 8,000 on the flop, 25,000 on the turn and then checked the river. Li called each street and then also checked the river. Chen opened A♥Q♠ and Li showed A♣Q♦. Chop it up.

Meanwhile on table two...Steve O'Dwyer raised it up to 3,000 from the cutoff and Dario Sammartino smooth called from the small blind. O'Dwyer fired every street of the 7♥4♠8♥A♠3♦ board, betting 5,000, 15,000 and 35,000 respectively. Sammartino called him every step of the way with Q♠Q♣ and he was good against O'Dwyer's missed flush draw as he showed down Q♥J♥. --NW

7:50pm: Time-banking
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The time bank chips given to the players for all the high rollers are proving very popular, and the system is working very well from what we we can see.

They start with two each and get two extra for Day 2, and another two at the final table. Players are given five seconds grace before the 30-second clock is started on each player's turn to act, and they get another 30 seconds if they use a chip. --MC

7:40pm: Juanda the tipping point to a MTT
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

John Juanda was the ninth player to join the High Roller party, meaning a second table was opened, making it an MTT now. After the full redraw, he drew Justin Bonomo, Issac Haxton, Daniel Dvoress and James Chen as his table mates.

A few minutes later, Mikita Badziakouski took a seat at the second table meaning ten players are now seated. --MC

7:25pm: Game selection poor, poker talent exceptional
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 200)

We now have one of the toughest sit and gos in the world on our hands as Steve O'Dwyer and James Chen have taken the tally of players seated in this tournament up to nine. It didn't take long for O'Dwyer to gain some chips as he just took a small chunk out of the stack of Daniel Dvoress.

I picked up the action on the turn of a T♦K♦3♠2♠ board to see O'Dwyer betting 25,000 into a pot of roughly 28,000. Dvoress called and the A♥ completed the board. Both players checked the river and it was time for showdown. Dvoress showed K♣6♣ but he was outkicked by O'Dwyer, as the Irishman held K♥Q♠. --NW

7:15pm: Smith starts and ends as the most aggressive
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Dan Smith started and ended a hand aggressively to win a four-way pot.

He opened to 2,300 from under the gun and was called by Justin Bonomo, Lucas Greenwood and Dario Sammartino. The flop fell 3♥3♣6♥ and Bonomo bet 4,500, getting calls from all but Greenwood. All three remaining players checked the A♣ turn before Smith bombed the river for 25,000 and picked up the pot as both opponents folded. --MC

7:10pm: Haxton collects
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 200)

The stacks are deep (250 big blinds) but the pots, understandably at this stage, are remaining small. However, one hand of interest went to Ike Haxton. He raised to 2,800 from the button and picked up calls from Lucas Greenwood (small blind) and Daniel Dvoress (big blind). A low 6♣2♦5♦ flop hit the felt. Greenwood checked and Dvoress bet 3,000.

This is a shot clock tournament so Haxton only had 30 seconds to make a decision and his decision was to raise. He made it 10,500 to go and both is opponents folded. --NW

6:55pm: And we're off!
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Cards are finally in the air. Isaac Haxton, Dan Smith and Lucas Greenwood have been joined by Justin Bonono, Dario Sammartino and Daniel Dvoress. Just one table for now but that'll change throughout Day 1. Promise. --MC

6:30pm: A waiting game
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Dan Smith has become the third player to take a seat but five are needed before any cards can be dealt. Isaac Haxton told us that a lot of the expected entrants are playing Day 2 of the Mini High Roller and will jump in this one after they bust. --MC

6:05pm: Start delayed
Level 1 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Isaac Haxton and Lucas Greenwood were around for the 6pm start time, but they were all we could see. We're sure they'll be a flurry of activity and entries soon enough. --MC

5:45pm: Welcome to the 2017 ACOP High Roller

The last major event of the 2017 ACOP festival kicks off today, and all signs point to it being a cracking tournament. With a bunch of eager high rollers, businessmen, local players, satellite winners and unlimited HK$250,000 re-entries - what's not to like!

Last year's tournament attracted 71 entries and with this year's ACOP breaking all records, there's every reason to think the High Roller will follow that trend. David Peters will be back to defend his title that he won by beating Paul Newey heads up to claim the HK$4,885,200 first place prize. Newey cashed in the Super High Roller earlier this week and will be back to try and continue his impressive Macau form.

Cards will be in the air at 6pm and six one-hour levels are scheduled for today. --MC

david_peters_champion.jpg

David Peters claiming the 2016 ACOP High Roller trophy

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the HK$250,000 ACOP High Roller: Marc Convey and Nick Wright. Photography by Kenneth Lim Photography.

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Live