APPT Macau: Phanlert Sukonthachartnant leads Main Event final 13, Agarwal, Kitai, Juanda

Thirteen players still remain with a chance at this year's APPT Macau Main Event trophy and first prize. And it truly seems as just about any of them could walk away with it, although when play begins on tomorrow's penultimate day it will be Thailand's all-time winningest tournament player Phanlert Sukonthachartnant returning to the chip lead with 1,481,000.

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant, chip leader

My esteemed colleague Jack Stanton, a.k.a. "Poker's Jack Stanton," once offered a bold description of the Belgian player Davidi Kitai early in an event we were covering. It was Level 3, and amid one of those "familiar faces"-type posts Jack suggested that Kitai already had "his eyes on the prize."

There were still some 30-odd levels to go in that one, so it would be entirely understandable to suggest such hyperbole to be a little premature. Really? Eyes on the prize? Already?

Then again, this is Davidi Kitai we're talking about. And in fact he'd go on to make the final table of that event to finish seventh. Meanwhile the number of times he has earned the first prize is in the double-digits, including in an EPT Berlin Main Event, a WPT event, and three WSOP bracelet events, helping him to more than $8 million in career tournament earnings.

Davidi Kitai, focused

After three days of play in this APPT Macau Main Event just 27 players remained from a starting field of 356, with Kitai tops in the counts heading into today's Day 4. Safe to say by that point, Kitai -- and everyone else still in the hunt -- most certainly had his eyes on the prize.

There were just four 90-minute levels in this shortened day of play. A half-dozen fell in the first one, including Xiabo Zhou in 27th after his kings were cracked by an opponent's lucky eights, then those same eights failing Dianlei Zheng who went out in 24th.

The pace slowed somewhat thereafter, with Kitai, Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal, and Poker Hall of Famer John Juanda vying for the top spot in the counts as more players fell including Daniel Carlsson for who pocket eights couldn't save him from going out in 18th.

Juanda then took a tumble after losing two big pots in a row while Kitai moved back out in front heading into the night's last level, though Juanda would manage to climb back to the pack and end with a healthy stack.

John Juanda still in the game

Sheng Chien Chen (17th), Michael Tchong (16th), and Sahil Chuttani (15th) were the next to go, then Yi Ye went with pocket sixes and couldn't outrun Li Wu's ace-queen to fall in 14th.

Meanwhile others closed in around Kitai and his chip lead at night's end, with Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal passing him for a brief moment near the finish.

Aditya Agarwal, carrying the red spade to Day 5

Ultimately Sukonthachartnant ended on top, just ahead of Agarwal, the Philippines' Martin Gonzales, China's Lin Wu, and Kitai. Also still alive are Juanda, Taiwan's Pete Chen who final tabled this event in 2014, and France's Alexandre Chieng won the APPT Macau Main Event in 2013. Here are the full overnight counts:

NameCountyChip Count
Phanlert SukonthachartnantThailand1,481,000
Aditya AgarwalIndia1,353,000
Martin GonzalesPhilippines1,352,000
Lin WuChina1,323,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium1,090,000
Jen Chun ChiuTaiwan809,000
Ashish GuptaAustralia709,000
Max LehmanskiGermany696,000
John JuandaUSA579,000
Victor Chong Malaysia507,000
Yong ChengChina298,000
Pete ChenTaiwan282,000
Alexandre ChiengFrance200,000

They'll return tomorrow at 12 noon, then play down to a final six who will return Sunday to see who becomes the next APPT Macau Main Event champion. Stick with us here at PokerStars Blog as we'll continue to keep our eyes on the prize and who will capture it. --MH


Day 4 coverage

• PLAYERS: 13 (of 356)
CHIP COUNTS | PAYOUTS | SEAT DRAW
HIGH ROLLER COVERAGE | VIDEO GALLERY
ALL APPT MACAU INFO | TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
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6:50pm: Chiu finds double-plus; Juanda misses value
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Jen Chun Chiu's tournament was hanging by a thread, though he did have pocket aces to cling on to. They proved to be good against Max Lehmanski's A♥K♦ -- but Chiu doesn't know how close he came to hitting the rail.

The hand started with a raise to 45,000 from Juanda and then Chiu three-betting to 171,000 from a couple of seats over. Lehmanski then moved all-in, comfortably covering both of them, and the action came back to Juanda.

At this point, Shan Huang had come over, knocked out from the High Roller, and invited Juanda to dinner. Juanda showed Huang his hand--he had pocket eights--but Juanda tossed the lucky charms into the muck.

That left Chiu to call off the rest (he had 371,000 in his stack total) and turned over A♦A♠.

Chiu was safe all the way through the 3♦6♠J♠ flop and 9♣ turn. In this event, he also survived the 8♥ river, but Juanda knew that might not have been the case.

Jen Chen Chiu

There are only a couple of hands left until the end.-- HS

6:45pm: Pause the clock
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

The tournament screens show that the clock has now been paused. Just a few more hands before chips are bagged. --JS

6:40pm: Lehmanski chips up through Kitai
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

As we approach the end of the day, Davidi Kitai has just lost a healthy pot to the other remaining European Max Lehmanski, courtesy of a pesky river card.

Kitai opened it to 45,000 which Lehmanski called from the big blind to see a 6♠9♥J♥ flop. Both checked it, bringing the 5♥ turn which put three to a flush out there. Lehmanski led this time for 44,000 and the Belgian called, before the 9♦ completed the board.

Lehmanski led for 135,000, and after some thinking Kitai made the call. The German rolled over the K♥6♥ for a flush, and Kitai showed his 9♠ as the pot shipped the other way.

He's down to 1.1 million, but still has slightly more than Lehmanski's 1.05 million. --JS

6:30pm: Big stacks play a cautious one
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Aditya Agarwal and Davidi Kitai are the big stacks on the feature table, and indeed top the counts overall at the moment with about 20 minutes left to go in this last level of the day. Just now they played a cautious hand against one another with Agarwal winning, and appearing to edge just in front of Kitai in the process.

Agarwal had opened for 28,000 from middle position and Kitai called from the small blind, then after the J♥8♣8♦ flop Kitai checked, Agarwal bet 30,000, and Kitai called. Both then checked the 3♣ turn and 5♥ river. Kitai had K♣Q♦, but Agarwal's A♠Q♥ was just better.

We're putting Agarwal at 1.48 million and Kitai at 1.44 million after that small one. We'll see if either of them end the night on top, or if Phanlert Sukonthachartnant, also at the feature table and with a big stack of 1.3 million, manages to chip up past them both. --MH

6:25pm: Wu wipes out Ye
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Yi Ye had been the chip leader for a short period earlier today but now, after a massive collision with Lin Wu, Ye is on the rail in 14th.

This hand started slowly before it absolutely erupted in a hurry: Martin Gonzales opened to 40,000 from under the gun and Victor Chong called from a couple of seats over. Wu then called in the cutoff, before Ye cut out a raise to 125,000 from the button.

Neither blind wanted to play, but Gonzales seemed interested. He eventually passed. Chong also seemed like he was tempted, but he folded too. Those two took a while over their decisions, but Wu didn't: he announced that he was all-in, for around 700,000, which covered Ye. Ye snap-called for his tournament, putting his last 400,000 or so at risk!

Yi Ye: Gets it in

With such hasty action, it seemed they must both be sitting with monsters. Er, yeah, of a fashion...

Wu: A♥Q♥
Ye: 6♣6♥

The dealer didn't mess around, putting a board of 8♥T♠2♦Q♠3♠ down and hitting Wu's over-card on the turn. Ye didn't seem disappointed at all. He shook a couple of hands, then wanted to take a picture of the flop that had bust him.

Yi Ye: GG

Unfortunately the dealer had swept it away, meaning he didn't get one last flop pic for his collection. Instead he wins $167,500 and leaves us one more elimination away from the end of the night. Wu now has about 1.3 million. -- HS

6:15pm: Chui doubles, Chuttani busts
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Aditya Agarwal made it 40,000 to go from the UTG+1 seat, and then called Jen Chun Chiu's 202,000 shove from one seat to his left. Chui had the Team Pro dominated with his A♣K♦ against K♠J♠, and the board kept big slick in front.

While that was going on, Sahil Chuttani and Davidi Kitai were both standing and Chuttani was still trying to get an answer from the Belgian over what he had (see our 5pm post). He didn't answer, although he might do now that Chuttani is no longer in the tournament.

Chuttani shoved from the big blind for ten bigs over Phanlert Sukonthachartnant's cutoff open and saw his 5♦5♣ was in bad shape versus the J♣J♠. The A♥7♠2♠A♠9♠ board ultimately gave Sukonthachartnant a flush, taking his stack up to 1.3 million and eliminating Chuttani in 15th for $167,500. --JS

Chuttani departs

6:05pm: Chong doubles through Wu
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Victor Chong was under the gun, and after checking his cards it was clear Chong was interested in getting involved. That's because he sat quietly for a half-minute, rechecked his cards, and waited another half-minute. Then he said he was all in.

It folded over to Lin Wu who saw the bet was for 274,000 and he decided to call. Everyone else got out, and Chong showed 9♠9♣ while Wu had A♥K♦.

All went well for Chong, the board coming Q♣3♥9♦Q♥Q♠, and he now has about 605,000. Wu meanwhile has 795,000. --MH

5:55pm: Tchong bluffs his way out
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Michael Tchong is out. After three days of pretty-much flawless play, he just made a big push on a paired flop but had mis-timed it disastrously. Sitting behind him, Max Lehmanski had hit that pair and there was no way back.

Tchong opened to 40,000 from under the gun and Lehmanski called from one seat to his left. Everyone else shied away, and the dealer offered the Q♣6♠Q♦ for their delectation.

Michael Tchong: Collects his payout ticket, worth HK$135,000

Tchong paused a couple of beats and then moved all-in, for at least 250,000. Lehmanski snap-called, turning over Q♠J♠.

"Aah, sh--," Tchong said as he saw the bad news. His K♦9♦ was in deep trouble and never caught the runner-runner miracle.

Michael Tchong: Heading home

Tchong leaves us in 16th. Lehmanski has around 900,000 now. -- HS

5:45pm: Juanda doubles through Ye
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Much as he's done repeatedly over the last part of the afternoon, John Juanda open-raised again just now, this time for 362,000 from early position. It folded to Yi Ye who after considering a moment said he was calling, and everyone else got out.

Juanda tabled A♠J♣ and saw that Ye had called with K♠9♠. The board ran out safe for the Poker Hall of Famer, coming eight-high -- 8♥3♣7♠2♣4♣ -- and now he's got chips again with about 815,000 while Ye slips to almost exactly 500,000.

John Juanda: Life on the line

After the hand, Juanda got out his phone to snap a picture of the board, presumably to send to someone as an update.

John Juanda: Snap-happy

Then, before the cards were scooped away, Ye managed to get a picture of the cards as well, perhaps to preserve his missed chance at knocking out a Poker Hall of Famer. --MH

5:40pm: Blind leading the blind
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Over on Table 2, Yi Ye had no action in front of him and opted to limp the small blind. Pete Chen then shipped in his entire 390,000 stack, and after some deliberation Ye let it go.

Meanwhile, on Table 1 it was Max Lehmanski who had limped the small blind. Phanlert Sukonthachartnant didn't shove, but he did raise it to 65,000 and got a call from the German.

The two went to an 8♦3♣9♣ flop, and Sukonthachartnant made a 55,000 c-bet when it checked to him. They'd be seeing a turn though as Lehmanski called, and that card would be the A♦. Check check.

The Q♥ river completed the board, and Lehmanski checked a third time. Sukonthachartnant pulled out a stack and dropped a couple more chips on top before sliding out a bet of 115,000. That got Lehmanski to fold, and his stack dips to 615,000.

Sukonthachartnant is up to 990,000 now. --JS

5:30pm: Pushing it
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Jen Chun Chiu and Victor Chong both started this level under pressure with stacks of around 10 big blinds apiece. They both wasted little time in pushing those stacks in the middle, though both will have to be content with blinds and antes only.

Chiu pushed his in as an open from the small blind and Michael Tchong wasn't interested from the big blind. John Juanda thought for quite a while as to whether to give Chong a sweat, but opted to fold too. Still 16. -- HS

5:25pm: Final 16 back at it; updated chip counts
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

This will be the last 90-minute level of the day, unless somehow they managed to whittle down to 12 players before that milestone. Below are updated chip counts from the last break, showing that Davidi Kitai has once again risen to the top of the counts. --MH

NameCountyChip Count
Davidi KitaiBelgium1,390,000
Aditya AgarwalIndia1,375,000
Martin GonzalesPhilippines1,180,000
Ashish GuptaAustralia930,000
Yi YeChina845,000
Max LehmanskiGermany835,000
Phanlert SukonthachartnantThailand800,000
Lin WuChina532,000
Yong ChengChina460,000
John JuandaUSA405,000
Alexandre ChiengFrance385,000
Pete ChenTaiwan378,000
Michael TchongAustralia305,000
Victor Chong Malaysia206,000
Sahil ChuttaniIndia205,000
Jen Chun ChiuTaiwan188,000

Kitai on top


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5:10pm: Cheng doubles through Tchong
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

In the last hand of the level, Michael Tchong raised to 28,000 and it folded around to Yong Cheng in the small blind who shoved for 217,000 total. The action got back to Tchong and he called, turning over 7♥7♠. The short-stacked Cheng had been dealt a good one, though -- A♥A♦.

The board ran out J♦9♦3♥T♦A♣ to keep Cheng's aces in front, and he has about 450,000 going to the break while Tchong slips to 305,000. --MH

5:05pm: Agarwal barrels
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Aditya Agarwal is getting close to 1.5 million chips now, having just won a pot against Michael Tchong and Davidi Kitai. It wasn't huge, but pretty much every hand is significant at this stage.

Agarwal opened to 35,000 from early position and Tchong called in the cutoff. Kitai also called in the big blind, which took them three-way to the 2♥6♦3♦ flop.

Both Kitai and Agarwal checked, but Tchong bet 30,000. Kitai called, only for Agarwal to raise it up. He made it 105,000.

Tchong, who had been slumped in his seat, quickly sat upright. He put out calling chips. Kitai folded.

After the 7♣ turn, Agarwal barrelled for 155,000 and that proved to be too much for Tchong. He let it go.

Agarwal has around 1.45 million, while Tchong has 520,000. -- HS

5pm: Do you think Kitai will tell him?
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Davidi Kitai kicked this one off with a 35,000 cutoff open, which was then called by Sahil Chuttani in the small blind. Aditya Agarwal took a peek at his cards from the big blind, but opted not to play.

That meant it was heads up to a 7♣7♠T♦ flop which went check check. The J♥ turn got more action, as Chuttani led for 65,000. Kitai then raised it up to 150,000, and Chuttani took a minute or two before making the call.

He had 275,000 behind at the time of the 4♣ river, which he'd check. Kitai announced all in, putting Chuttani to the test for it all. He began talking to himself, saying things like "You could have aces." Kitai didn't move a muscle.

Chuttani in the tank

"I'll need two minutes," Chuttani then said, setting himself a time limit. To his credit, I think he folded before those two minutes were up, and when the pot shipped to Kitai he just had one question:

"Will you tell me after the tournament?"

A big smile spread across Kitai's face, but he didn't provide an answer. One thing we do know is that Kitai now has 1.52 million, while Chuttani is in the danger zone with less than 20 big blinds. --JS

Don't hold your breath for an answer, Sahil

4:50pm: I'm Juandallin
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

It has been somewhat quiet on the outer table over the last several minutes. despite the fact that John Juanda has pushed all in before the flop three times in the last half-dozen hands.

Juanda did it twice in a row, getting no callers, then came small-pot hands won by Pete Chen, Martin Gonzales, and Yi Ye.

Then it was Gonzalez opening for 32,000 from the hijack and Juanda reraise-pushing from the small blind, again getting no callers.

Juanda sits with about 420,000 at present. --MH

4:35pm: Chen v Gupta, two times
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Pete Chen and Ashish Gupta just played two pots against one another that both shared two things in common: very wet boards, and eventual victory for Gupta.

On the first, Chen opened to 36,000 and Martin Gonzales called in the cutoff before Gupta called on the button. They were three-handed to the 9♣5♥8♦ flop and Chen continued for 60,000.

Pete Chen: Two raises

Gonzales got out of the way, but Gupta called, bringing the potential of the 7♦ turn. They both checked.

The 9♦ river made things even more co-ordinated and Chen checked again. Gupta cut out a bet of 125,000 and Chen had to let it go. It left Chen with about 520,000 and gave Gupta 800,000.

On the next hand, Chen opened again, the same amount (36,000). Gupta this time re-popped it to 90,000 and that cleared the way for the decision to come back to Chen. He called.

Ashish Gupta: Two wins

The 6♣9♣6♠ flop brought two checks, as did the 3♠ turn. Chen also checked the 5♠ river, which prompted a bet of 90,000 from Gupta. Again Chen took the disciplined line and folded. -- HS

4:25pm: Ace on the river saves Chiu
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Jen Chun Chiu has been one of the shortest stacks all day, and just now he once again put that short stack at risk by open-pushing from under the gun for his last 118,000. Michael Tchong called the shove from a seat over, and when everyone else skedaddled Chiu showed A♥8♦ and Tchong J♥J♣.

"Ace!" shouted a Chiu supporter, but neither the 9♠2♥K♦ flop nor K♠ turn included the desired card.

Then came the river... the A♣! Continued life for Chiu who has about 280,000 after doubling plus the blinds and antes, while Tchong is now at 680,000. --MH

4:20pm: Quads for Chuttani
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Sahil Chuttani has just yelled "F**k!" for a second time today. This time at least he'd won the pot, though.

He opened to 37,000 in the UTG+1 seat and got called by Max Lehmanski on the button and Davidi Kitai in the big blind. The J♦Q♠6♥ flop checked to the German who put out a bet of 35,000. Kitai laid his hand down, but Chuttani came along to the turn.

The Q♦ was laid and it checked to Lehmanski once again. He didn't slow down, leading for 42,000 this time and getting another call from Chuttani to take them to the river.

The Q♣.

Chuttani checked a final time, and shouted the expletive when Lehmanski checked back. The reason? His Q♥J♥ had flopped top two pair, then turned a full house, and then rivered quads. A dream hand for Chuttani, albeit one that didn't result in him getting a monster payday.

Still, he's up to 425,000 now, while Lehmanski drops to 735,000. --JS

4:10pm: Juanda suffers successive hits
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

John Juanda was right near the top of the counts just a few minutes ago. But two damaging hands has knocked him back down the counts with 16 players left.

Picking up the first of the hands, Juanda was in the big blind versus Martin Gonzales in the cutoff, and the pair had reached an all-spade flop -- 3♠6♠8♠. Juanda led for 75,000 and Gonzales called, then after the T♥ turn Juanda led again for 150,000 and Gonzales again called the bet.

The river brought the J♥ and one more barrel from Juanda, this one worth 200,000. Gonzales thought a moment and then announced he was all in, and Juanda folded right away. That hand took Gonzales up around 1.2 million.

The very next hand saw Alexandre Chieng open-push for 156,000 from middle postion, and it folded around to Juanda who called from the small blind. Chieng had J♦J♠ and Juanda A♦Q♥, and after the 9♣3♦A♠ flop it looked like Juanda would be getting some chips back.

But the J♣ landed on the turn to swing the edge back to Chieng, and after the 3♣ river Chieng doubled to about 325,000.

Cha-ching! Alexandre Chieng happy to survive

Those two hands in the blinds having gone less than well for Juanda, he then open-raised all in from the button on the next one but got no callers. He's tumbled down to 280,000. --MH

4pm: Chen perishes in 17th
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Sheng Chen got his near 200,000 stack in the middle twice within a few hands and was called both times. The first ended up in a chopped pot with Aditya Agarwal when they both showed down ace-queen. He wasn't so fortunate the second time.

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant opened to 35,000 from mid-position and Chen pushed again from one seat over. He had 191,000 in his stack and, after the remaining table-mates got out the way, it came back to CTRL+V.

He didn't need to think too long before pushing out the call and they were off to the races.

Sukonthachartnant: A♠Q♠
Chen: 9♥9♦

This time the ace-queen hit. The board ran 6♥4♣J♠A♥T♣ to send Chen home in 17th, winning HK $135,000.

Time's up for Sheng Chen

Sukonthachartnant now has about 750,000 (or a chip for every letter in his name). -- HS

3:55pm: No lucky eights for Carlsson, out in 18th
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

We've seen multiple pocket eights flop quads throughout this Main Event. Alas for Daniel Carlsson, his pocket eights couldn't even muster a set.

With no action in front of him, he looked down at the 8♥8♣ in the cutoff and decided the best play was to shove for 367,000 (22 big blinds). It folded over to Davidi Kitai in the big blind and he had an easy call with his A♠K♦.

The J♣Q♥6♦ flop was safe for the Swede, as was the J♥ turn. However Kitai had plenty of outs, including those jacks and queens in the deck that would counterfiet Carlsson's hand. The K♠ would do it too though, sending Carlsson out in 18th for $135,000.

Kitai is back over the milly mark now, sitting with 1,278,000 for the chip lead. --JS

Carlsson's gone

3:50pm: Outer table happenings
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

A couple of small ones here to open things at the outer table.

In the first John Juanda raised to 38,000 and was called by Michael Tchong, then Juanda check-called Tchong's bet of 25,000 on the T♠J♥4♥ flop. Both checked the 4♦ turn, then after checking the T♣ river Juanda folded to Tchong's bet of 70,000.

Tchong has around 800,000 now, Juanda 950,000.

Then it was Yi Ye raising to 35,000 from the cutoff and Martin Gonzales calling from the big blind. Gonzales check-called Ye's 30,000 c-bet after the A♣Q♠8♠ flop, and check-called another 55,000 after the 6♣ turn.

Both checked the 2♥ river, and when Gonzales showed A♠T♥ it was good as Ye mucked.

Ye is at 780,000 now, Gonzales 725,000. --MH


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3:30pm: Break time

Players are heading to their second break. The complete chip-counts are now on the chip-count page. The top five has a very international, and a very familiar, look about it:

NameCountyChip Count
Aditya AgarwalIndia1,145,000
John JuandaUSA990,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium895,000
Yi YeChina880,000
Max LehmanskiGermany770,000

Aditya Agarwal: Taking the lead

3:20pm: Last two tables
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

We're going to play another two levels or down to 12 players, whichever comes soonest. Here's the current line-up after they redrew for the last two tables.

There's five minutes left on this level, after which we'll get full chip-counts.

Table 1Table 2
Seat 1Max LehmanskiMartin Gonzales
Seat 2Phanlert SukonthachartnantAshish Gupta
Seat 3Sheng ChenVictor Chong
Seat 4Davidi KitaiJohn Juanda
Seat 5Yong ChengMichael Tchong
Seat 6Sahil ChuttaniLin Wu
Seat 7Aditya AgarwalYi Ye
Seat 8Jen Chun ChiuPete Chen
Seat 9Daniel CarlssonAlexandre Chieng

3:15pm: He gone, 18 remain
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Xiwen He open-raised with his last 95,000 from middle position and after a brief pause Pete Chen reraise-pushed from a seat over, clearing the field.

He turned over A♦8♥ and Chen A♥K♥. A lucky eight did come among the community cards, but only after a king had already shown as the final board was 4♦6♠2♠K♦8♠.

Xiwen He - 19th place

He finishes in 19th, while Chen now has about 605,000. There will be a brief pause here with just a few minutes left in the level as they redraw for the final two tables. --MH

3:07pm: Kitai collects from Ye
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Davidi Kitai has just picked up a nice pot from Yi Ye. Kitai opened the button with no action in front of him which Ye defended against from the big blind, bring a flop: 2♥T♣T♥. Ye checked the paired board, letting Kitai continue for 22,000. Call.

The 3♥ turn put three hearts on board, and didn't stop Kitai from firing again for 68,000 when checked to. Ye called once more, and the river came the A♠.

It worked as a scare card as both checked, and Ye showed the 8♥8♣. The eights were no good. Kitai rolled over the J♣J♥.

Meanwhile, someone has busted from another table meaning we're down to 18 and the final two tables. Full chip counts and seating incoming. --JS

3:05pm: No one believes Davidi Kitai
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Davidi Kitai has developed an enviable skill as a poker player: no one believes him when he's got it, and yet they buy it when he doesn't. Here's an example, where Yi Ye paid him off.

Kitai opened the pot to 25,000 from the cutoff and Ye was the lone caller on the button. They saw the 2♦A♠3♠ flop and Kitai continued for 22,000. Ye raised to 55,000 and Kitai called.

Both players checked the 6♥ turn, taking them to the 3♦ river.

Kitai bet again, putting 55,000 out. Ye called after a moment's thought, and Kitai opened A♣J♦.

Ye frowned and mucked. -- HS

3pm: Suck out saves Sukonthachartnant
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Davidi Kitai raised to 27,000 from the button, then the player with the biggest name left in the field, Phanlert Sukonthachartnant, reraised all in from the small blind for about 325,000 total.

It folded back to Kitai who after confirming the raise amount called, and Kitai showed A♣Q♠ while Sukonthachartnant showed A♥J♥.

The flop came 9♦8♥7♣, giving Sukonthachartnant a gutshot draw, but the 9♠ turn was of no use to him. But the J♣ on the river sure was, and he rapped the table approvingly after earning the double-up.

Sukonthachartnant -- the top earning player from Thailand of all-time with over $1.1 million in lifetime earnings -- is up to 665,000 now, while Kitai slips to 575,000. --MH

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant battles onward

2:55pm: Diamonds for Davidi
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

With 140,000 in the middle and the completed board showing 4♠8♦3♦T♦K♠, Davidi Kitai bet 83,000 and waited about a minute to see what his opponent, Yi Ye, would do.

Finally Ye called, then nodded and mucked after Kitai showed his flush with J♦9♦. Both Ye and Kitai are sitting right around the 920,000-chip mark after that pot. --MH

2:50pm: Juanda chipping up
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

With the board showing 2♣7♠K♦6♦, Pete Chen led for 65,000 (about half-pot), then watched John Juanda make it 225,000 to go. Chen thought about it, but let his hand go, slipping to 480,000 while Juanda chips up to 840,000. --MH

2:45pm: One wrong move for Wong, exits in 20th
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Down to 19 now, with Carson Wong the latest to fall.

When play folded to Max Lehmanski on button, he limped. Wong would soon punish that by raising it to 52,000 from the small blind, which Lehmanski would call when it folded back to him.

The two saw a 2♠7♣3♠ flop which both checked to the 8♠ turn. Now Wong moved all in for 248,000, and Lehmanski snap-called, turning over the 9♠T♠ for a flush. Wong had outs to a bigger one with his A♠J♥, but couldn't improve on the non-spade river.

Lehmanski is up to a million in chips now, while Wong heads to the cage to collect $109,500. --JS

Wong sees, then ships

2:40pm: Shoves, no calls
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Just a couple of hands after that long one in which Victor Chong doubled through Xiwen He, the pair looked like they might be about to tangle again when He jammed all in preflop over a Chong open. But Chong let his hand go.

At the same time on the neighboring table, Davidi Kitai open-raised from the button then watched Phanlert Sukonthachartnant reraise-shove from next door in the small blind. Kitai, too, stepped aside.

There are still 20 players left, with Yi Ye currently leading the way as the only one over 1 million. --MH

2:30pm: Chiu's bacca
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jen Chen Chiu has just found another double up, this time courtesy of Pete Chen.

Chiu jammed from the cutoff for 80,000 and Chen was his only caller from the small blind. The two were flipping, Chiu's 8♦8♣ against Chen's A♠T♦, and the lucky eights held up.

Chen drops to 575,000, and Chiu doubles to 178,000. --JS

2:25pm: Chong wins a long one after He's incorrect hero call
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Whew... a more than 15-minute hand just played out up on the feature table. I kid you not.

It started with a middle position raise from Victor Chong to 20,000, with Xiwen He calling from the big blind. The flop came 7♦Q♥3♠, and He check-called a bet of 20,000 from Chong. The turn was the 2♠ and again He checked, Chong bet 65,000 this time, and He called.

I typed all that out quite quickly, but in truth it took about five minutes to get to that point thanks to the very deliberate play, mostly on Chong's part. The 8♥ river then saw He take about a minute before betting 105,000, and Chong went into the the tank.

Five full minutes later, Chong went all in for his last 260,000. That was followed by about four more minutes of thought from He. You can trust these timings as accurate and not hyperbole, as the tournament clock is right behind the players there on the main stage.

Finally He called, and Chong turned over 7♣7♠ for a flopped set. He had to show his hand, and it was revealed he'd called with but ace-high as he had A♠J♣.

Chong has about 780,000 now after that one, while He slips to 375,000. --MH

Patience rewarded for Chong

2:05pm: Cheng follows Chieng, doubles through Chuttani
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Closely following Alexandre Chieng's double up was Yong Cheng with a double up of his own.

Ashish Gupta made it 26,000 under the gun and that bet was called by Sahil Chuttani one seat over. When it folded to Yong Cheng on the button, he moved all in for his 147,000 stack and it folded back to Chuttani. He asked for the bet to be dragged into the pot, and saw that it would 121,000 more for him to call. Some quick maths on his own stack, and he made the call.

"F************CK!" groaned Chuttani when he saw the bad news. He was hoping to at least be flipping with his 5♠5♥, but in fact he was crushed by Cheng's 6♠6♥ and the board ran out 9♦K♦9♣9♠Q♣.

"Chop?" said Chuttani hopefully, but Cheng's full house was better than his. That brings Chuttani's stack down to 225,000, and increases Cheng's to 326,000. --JS

Cheng shows the sixes

2pm: Chieng doubles, looking for double
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Alexandre Chieng, a former APPT Macau champion, is still alive in his quest for a double. He just doubled up his short stack through Davidi Kitai.

Chieng open-pushed for 98,000 from early position and Kitai called from one seat along. Chieng's A♦Q♦ was racing Kitai's T♥T♣ and the over-cards whizzed into the lead after the flop of A♥K♠5♥. The 8♣ turn and 7♠ river kept them there and Chieng clenched a fist in the knowledge that he lives to fight on. -- HS

1:50pm Wang's run comes to an end
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Having lost a bunch of chips to Xiwen He before the break, Yilong Wang came back short. Under the gun, he looked down at something good enough to jam his last 88,000 with, and when it folded to Pete Chen in the big blind he made the call.

Chen had the A♥8♣ against Wang's K♠9♠, and the best hand held up after the 6♥7♥4♠5♥9♥ runout gave Chen a straight followed by a flush.

Wang said his goodbyes, and Chen now sits with 755,000. Twenty remain now. --JS

1:48pm: Play resumes, 21 remain
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Players are back, and they've upped the ante. Blinds, too. --MH


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1:33pm: Chiu survives to break
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

On the last hand before the break--actually, a hand that played out almost entirely during the break as it was being dealt with only 10 seconds on the clock--Jen Chun Chiu managed a remarkable double up.

He had 115,000 chips in the small blind and open-shoved, with only Xiwen He to get through. He decided to give him a spin.

Chiu: J♦T♣
He: Q♠9♣

The flop looked like curtains for Chiu when it fell 3♣Q♦9♠. But though that meant two pair for He, Chiu now had a straight draw and duly spiked it on the river. The K♠ followed the 3♠ out of the dealer's hands.

Jen Chen Chiu: Hits the river to survive

Chiu therefore goes to the break in much better spirits. We'll have full chip counts for the remaining 21 shortly. Players are on a 15-minute break.-- HS

1:30pm: A few chips for Tchong
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 500)

After a min-raise open by Martin Gonzales from the button, Aditya Agarwal called from the small blind and Michael Tchong called also from the big blind.

All three checked the A♠9♦Q♣ flop, then after Agarwal checked the T♥ turn Tchong bet 30,000 and Gonzales got out. The river was the A♥. Agarwal checked, Tchong bet 28,000, and Agarwal called.

Tchong showed A♣4♦ for trip aces, and Agarwal mucked. Both Agarwal and Tchong look to be around 850,000 at present -- full counts of everyone coming at the break which is imminent. --MH

1:20pm: No friends on the felt
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Aditya Agarwal and Sahil Chuttani are clearly friends, based on the fact that Chuttani has been getting up and giving the Team Pro a shoulder massage when he's not in a pot.

But we all know friendship can only go so far when you're at the poker table. Chuttani just opened from early positon to 21,000, but when it got to Agarwal on the button he bumped it up to 70,000. Back to Chuttani, he was forced to fold and the two shared a smile.

Agarwal was in action the next hand too, min-opening the cutoff to 20,000 and getting a call from the big blind of Sheng Chen. The flop came A♥T♠K♥, and Agarwal took it down with a 15,000 c-bet when checked to.

Agarwal is up to 985,000 after those two hands, good for the third largest stack. --JS

1:10pm: Wang pushed out by He
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Yilong Wang has the slightly shellshocked look about him of a man who may have just bluffed off his APPT Macau Main Event. He's not totally down and out just yet. He still has 90,000, or nine big blinds. But one suspects he regrets taking on Xiwen He in a recent pot.

Yilong Wang: Shellshocked

The two of them had built a pot of around 100,000 by the time they got to the turn. The board showed 6♣6♥2♣K♦. He led for 41,000 and then Wang raised to 123,000, which was more than half of his remaining stack.

After a while in the tank, Wang emerged with a shove. He had a comfortably covering stack. Wang swallowed and mucked instantly, having clearly been making a move.

Xiwen He: He-Man!

He'll need some good fortune to rebuild back from here now. He, meanwhile, has 850,000. -- HS

1:05pm: Chuttani shuts out Wei in 22nd
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 500)

"I'm a sneaky sneaky guy," grinned Sahil Chuttani just now after knocking out Mian Wei in 22nd place.

The hand began with Ashish Gupta raising from early position to 22,000 and Chuttani calling from one seat over. It folded to Wei on the button who put in a reraise to about 140,000, leaving himself 40,000 behind.

The blinds and Gupta folded, then Chuttani stood excitedly saying how he was all in. There's was a little bit of confusion over the fact that Wei had left some chips behind, actually, but it worked out as all the chips got in the middle and the players tabled their hands.

Wei had A♦K♠, but Chuttani showed he'd just flatted Gupta's open with A♣A♥. The board went Q♥5♦2♥T♠4♠, and Wei is out.

Mian Wei - 22nd place

Chuttani sneaks up to 390,000. --MH

1pm: He's the executioner for a second time
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Lin Wu opened the cutoff to 22,000, and John Juanda three-bet the button to 62,000, getting both Wu and the blinds to fold.

The reason I tell you about that rather boring hand is because the exact same action happened on the next one, which resulted in Liming Zhang's departure.

This time action folded to Juanda in the cutoff, and he opened to 22,000. Zhang was now on the button, and it was him who three-bet it to 62,000. But the rest of the hand didn't play out the same, because Xiwen He in the small blind asked to see how many chips Zhang had behind (228,000). He then four-bet it to 125,000, which got a quick fold from Juanda. Zhang would call though.

They saw a 7♠2♦8♣ flop hit the felt, and after a minute He checked it. Zhang would check behind too, but when the 9♠ turn landed He moved all in pretty quickly, getting just as fast a call from Zhang.

He - A♦A♣
Zhang - T♦T♣

The low board had been a disaster for Zhang, who may have been saved had some broadway cards landed. As it was he would need a jack or six to make a straight, or one of the remaining two tens for a set. Instead it was the 8♦, meaning all of Zhang's chips shipped He's way.

Liming Zhang - 23rd place

He has now busted two players so far today, bringing his stack up to 665,000. --JS

12:55pm: Call me, maybe
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Yong Cheng had 151,000 chips in his stack and he wagered them all, pushing all in from the big blind after a button open to 20,000 from Sahil Chuttani.

All of this looked like the kind of thing that could be happening with any four cards spread between them: the button open doesn't mean much in terms of premium holdings, and the short-stack shove from the big blind could be made for that precise reason.

Chuttani wanted a count before he decided what to do, but eventually decided to throw his cards away. Cheng just wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn't making this move lightly, however. He turned over his K♠K♣ and was clearly rueful he never got a call. -- HS

12:50pm: Yi Ye over a million
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 500)

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant raised to 22,000 from the button and both blinds called -- Yi Ye (small) and Daniel Carlsson (big). All three checked the 7♥6♠8♥ flop, then after the A♣ turn Ye was the one leading for 26,000.

Carlssson folded, then Sukonthachartnant raised to 75,000. Ye took a long while, carving out calling chips and sitting quietly for about a minute before calling, and Carlsson got out. Both Ye and Sukonthachartnant then checked the 8♦ river.

Sukonthachartnant had A♦K♣ for aces and eights, but Ye had a full house with 6♦6♣ and claimed the pot.

Ye is up over 1 million now and challenging Davidi Kitai for the chip lead, while Sukonthachartnant is on 240,000. --MH

12:40pm: Eights fail Dianlei Zheng, out in 24th
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 500)

Our first elimination of the day came when Xiabo Zhou ran his pocket kings into an opponent's lucky pocket eights. The eights ended up making quads to spell Zhou's end.

This time eights didn't prove so fortunate. Dianlei Zhang watched John Juanda raised to 24,000 from the cutoff, then when Zhang looked down at 8♠8♦ he chose to put all of his 258,000 in the middle. When it got back to Juanda he called the reraise-shove, and much to Zhang's dismay he saw Juanda table 9♠9♣.

The board came 5♠2♣J♣K♦A♦, and Zhang hits the rail in 24th-place while Juanda chips up around 625,000. --MH

JJ's 99 beats 88

12:30pm: Sneaky sneaky from Davidi
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

When you've been playing for as long as Davidi Kitai has, you always have some tricks up your sleeve. Unfortunately for the Belgian though, this particular trick didn't result in a massive pot.

Carson Wong had opened the button to 23,000 after it had folded to him, and Kitai just called (just called, remember) his big blind. The dealer spread a J♠K♣T♥ flop, and Wong continued for 18,000 when it checked to him. Kitai made the call.

Both players decided to check the 9♠ turn, and the board was then completed by the 6♥. Kitai checked a final time, and Wong checked back quickly.

Kitai quickly rolled over the A♦A♣, a hand which nobody at the table seemed to expect. A few 'oohs' and 'aah's were shared while the pot was shipped Kitai's way, bringing his stack up to 1.05 million and dropping Wong's to 250,000. --JS

12:20pm: Cheng doubles through Wei
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 500)

Yong Cheng open-raised all in from middle position with his last 89,000 and got one customer in Mian Wei he called from the button. Cheng tabled Q♥Q♣ and needed his queens to hold against Wei's A♥J♦ to survive.

The five community cards were amenable to Cheng, coming 6♦7♣5♣9♦Q♠, and he's up around 200,000 now while Wei slips to 145,000. --MH

12:17pm: Ichino-he won't
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Kosei Ichinose, the overnight short stack, has joined the flow of players to the cashouts desk this afternoon. The Japanese pro leaves in 25th, the third elimination of a frantic first orbit.

Kosei Ichinose: Bad flop

Ichinose got the last of his chips in the middle (about 75,000) as an early-position push with 8♠7♠. Ashish Gupta, one seat to his left, re-raised to isolate and everyone else folded.

Gupta had K♥Q♥ and the flop of J♦A♥4♥ could scarcely have been worse for Ichinose considering his opponent didn't actually hit anything. The T♦ turn left Ichinose drawing dead, and the 8♥ river was an insult.

Kosei Ichinose: Couldn't build the short stack

Ichinose gets $90,500 for his troubles. He was also the last Japanese player in the field. -- HS

12:15pm: Jung's gone
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We've had another elimination up on Table 1.

Xiwen He opened to 25,000 from under the gun and it folded around to the big blind of Chanh Jung. He'd make the call in order to see the 2♦9♠J♥ flop, and that middle card proved to be the action inspirer.

Jung checked to the raiser, and He put in a c-bet worth 30,000. Jung then check-raised it all in for 127,000, and that gave He a decision. He had 97,000 behind, making his total stack 127,000 too. Weird.

He would eventually make the call, and was delighted when he saw Jung turn over the 9♥7♥ for middle pair. He had called with the A♦9♣ for middle pair top kicker, and it proved to be a great call which sent Jung outta here.

Chanh Jung: Heads for the payouts

With that pot now in front of him, He is up to 318,000. --JS

12:10pm: Lucky eights strike again, Zhou out
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 500)

On the second hand of the day, Xiabo Zhou opened for 27,000 from early position, then watched Ashish Gupta three-bet to 66,000 from the button. When the action returned to Zhou he paused just a beat, then pushed all in for just over 150,000 and Gupta called.

Zhou had K♣K♦ and stood up to see Gupta turn over 8♦8♠. The A♥9♥2♣ flop was fine for Zhou, but the 8♣ struck on the turn. Then the 8♥ on the river sealed it, giving Gupta quads and sending Zhou out in 27th.

Xiabo Zhou: The victim of lucky eights

Gupta is up to 685,000 now. --MH

Xiabo Zhou: First out

12pm: Let's get started
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Tournament announcements made, play is now under way. The slight revision to the schedule is that today we're playing four 90-minute levels or to 12 players, whichever comes soonest. (Tough to predict what that will be.) There will be a redraw when the field is reduced to its last two tables, at 18 players.

No further ado: cards are in the air. -- HS

10:30am: Big names lead the final 27

Yesterday, on Day 3 of the APPT Macau Main Event, we burst the bubble quickly (payouts), saw the field whittled down from 93 to 27, and watched as two of the biggest remaining names rose to the top of the chip counts.

Belgian poker beast Davidi Kitai and PokerStars Team Pro Aditya Agarwal will return at 12pm today as the two chip bosses. Kitai, who bagged up 1,012,000, successfully pulled off a big bluff at the end of last night's action to become top dog, while Agarwal took the lead early on yesterday and from then on consistently remained one of the top stacks, finishing with 968,000.

Team Pro Aditya Agarwal

The field also includes Poker Hall of Famer John Juanda, who navigated his way from a shorter stack to ending the day with 389,000. Action kicks off with the blinds at 5K/10K, and the plan is to play five 90-minute levels, or until we reach the final two tables/16 players.

Here's a look at today's seat draw, complete with chip counts:

Table 1Table 2Table 3
Seat 1Victor Chong - 165000Kosei Ichinose - 78000Max Lehmanski - 623000
Seat 2Lin Wu - 363000Ashish Gupta - 532000Jen Chen Chiu - 94000
Seat 3John Juanda - 389000Sahil Chuttani - 152000Carson Wong - 398000
Seat 4Liming Zhang - 210000Sheng Chen - 328000Alexandre Chieng - 187000
Seat 5Dianlei Zhang - 121000Yong Cheng - 88,000Davidi Kitai - 1012000
Seat 6Chanh Hoon Jong - 274000Xiabo Zhou - 157000Phanlert Sukonthachartnant - 300000
Seat 7Xiwen He - 153000Martin Gonzales - 683000Yi Ye - 596000
Seat 8Pete Chen - 505000Mian Wei - 266000Daniel Carlsson - 436000
Seat 9Yilong Wang - 256000Aditya Agarwal - 968000Michael Tchong - 715000

Join us from midday for exclusive coverage of all the action. Today also sees the three-day HKD$100K High Roller kick off, so check back for coverage of that one too. --JS


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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $40,000 Main Event: Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, and Howard Swains. Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive and Kenneth Lim of Kenneth Lim Photography.

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