PokerStars MPC28: HK$80,000 high roller final day live coverage

Mikita Badziakouski closes out MPC28 HK$80,000 High Roller for HK$2.3 million

Chalk up another one for Mikita Badziakouski

In the end Belarusian crusher Mikita Badziakouski would not be denied the Macau Poker Cup 28 HK$80,000 High Roller title.

Badziakouski made short work of Spaniard Raul Martinez with heads-up lasting little more than 10 minutes.

Martinez had his work cut out for him with a 10-1 chip disadvantage. Martinez wasted no time and within the first 10 hands of play opted to open shove for 1.5 million with K♠4♣.

Badziakouski made the call and had Martinez crushed with K♦T♦.

The flop came 8♣8♥7♣ and Badziakouski was still firmly in the lead with his superior kicker. The turn changed nothing when A♥ and Martinez was drawing pretty thin on the river.

The river came... 3♠!

Badziakouski takes the MPC high roller title, a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the 2019 PSPC, a seat to the HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event and, oh yeah, HK$2,400,000.

Raul Martinez (left) and Mikita Badziakouski (right)

Meanwhile Martinez will take home HK$1.5 million for finishing runner-up in this tournament, which is easily his biggest live tournament score.

We'll have a complete recap posted for you in the blog shortly but in the meantime thanks for tuning in to our coverage of the MPC 28 HK$80,000 High Roller. You'll have to excuse us but we've got a ferry to catch. --AC

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2:40am: Heads-up begins
Level 26: Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Heads-up play has officially begun with Mikita Badziakouski holding a massive chip lead over Raul Martinez. The Spanish player is definitely going to need a double up soon if wants to make this into a contest.

Here are the chip counts at the start of heads-up play:

Mikita Badziakouski -- 10,840,000
Raul Martinez -- 1,550,000

2:34am: Elliott Smith falls in 3rd place in roller coaster hand (HK$1,021,000)
Level 26: Blinds 60,000/120,000 (ante 20,000)

Elliott Smith

Things get a little weird around 2 a.m. and we just saw one of the stranger hands of the tournament.

Mikita Badziakouski opened for 200,000 from the button and Elliott Smith re-popped it to 400,000 from the big blind.

Badziakouski thought for a minute but then moved all-in having Smith's 3.2 million chips covered.

This is where things get weird. Smith made some sort of movement with his chips and Badziakouski immediately flipped over his hand, A♥K♦, assuming that Smith had called.

"Oh man, I haven't called yet," exclaimed Smith.

The dealer confirmed that Smith hadn't moved all-in. Badziakouski was confused by the action but the clock was ticking.

Smith commented about how much money was already on the table and eventually decided he had to call with 9♣9♠.

Badziakouski was still seemingly irritated by how things transpired but the dealer was ready to put out the board.

The board ran out A♠K♥Q♣5♥T♥ to give Badziakouski the pot and eliminate Smith. Both players were cordial, put the weird hand aside, and shook hands as Smith headed to the exit.

On the bright side Smith picks up HK$1 million for finishing third in this one, which should go nicely with the HK$2.8 million he won by taking down the PokerStars Champion event here last spring.

2:25am: Raghaz Bansal busted (4th - HK$845,500)
Level 24: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

"It was a strong move" - Elliot Smith in Bansal's exit hand.

Raghaz Bansal has toppled from joint chip leader to out in the space of a few hands. How quickly things can change...

He lost a chunk of his stack in a coin-flip, Elliot Smith raising to 200,000 on the button and Bansal moving all-in from the big blind with 5♣5♠.

Smith called his remaining 1,700,000 off with A♠Q♦ and won the flip on the Q♣J♣6♠3♥4♥ board.

"Can we have another river and see if it's a seven?" joked Badziakous, looking to eliminate another. The dealer politely declined.

Elliot, up to 4 million, raised it up again to 200,000, Mikita Badziakouski made it 625,000 and surprisingly Bansal now jammed for his remaining 2.8 million.

Elliot tossed away his cards like they were armed bombs and Badziajouski made a pain-face, picking up his time-bank chips in case he needed them. The 30 second counter next to the dealer timed down and he threw in one of his chips. "I have to," he said after a think and called...with Q♠Q♣.

He'd caught Bansal with one hand in the cookie jar - his A♦6♣ well behind but with a 30% shot of winning. The board fell T♦8♠6♠9♦2♦ and Bansal was done! Congratulations on a great final table. We hope you enjoy the HK$845,500 payday.

That leaves us three-handed for the title - Mikita Badziakous well in front with around 6 million chips. --RS

2:05am: The Fantastic Four
Level 24: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

NameCountryChip Count
Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus3,800,000
Raghaz BansalIndia3,800,000
Elliot SmithCanada2,700,000
Raul MartinezSpain1,900,000

1:45am: Once more unto the breach
Level 24: Blinds 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)

Our nine starters, five of who have fallen. Who will be next?

The players are back and seated. Bringing you back up to date, just before the break Elliot Smith doubled up, shoving A♠T♥ for his 1 million stack - looked up by the 9♠9♦ of Raul Martinez.

A board of T♠3♠3♣K♣2♦ saw Smith take down the pot to leapfrog to over 2 million whilst Martinex drops to 2.65 million. --RS

1:25am: Break Down
Level 23: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

That shocking elimination leaves us 4 handed for the title. The players have 15 minutes to take a break then we'll jump straight back into the action. See you then! --RS

1:15am: Moss stunned - out in 5th (HK$682,000)
Level 23: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Matt Moss

It's hard to believe but one-time chip leader Matt Moss' journey has ended in 5th place for HK$682,000. The final table was a bitter-sweet experience for him. He seemed to have things well under control but fortune was not on his side - and his exit hand summed up the pain poker variance can dish out.

Folded to Matt on the button, he shoved for 1.5 million with K♦Q♠. Mikita Badziakouski went into the tank, his stone statue technique being used where he lays his hands out like a sphinx and decides what to do in the 30 seconds allocated.

He didn't take 30 seconds to decide to move all-in himself with T♠T♣.

Everyone else scampered away - remaining interested observers however as a payjump was beckoning.

The board fell Q♦5♠6♦ to give Matt a huge lead, but then the T♦ arrived on the turn to shred his chances. The 4♣ on the river ended the hand and Matt Moss' journey. The huge 3 million plus pot goes to Badziakouski who now has 4.5 million and will be a tough man to topple from the chip summit given his undoubted pedigree.

Moss has put in impressive showings both here in the High Roller and in the Red Dragon Main. He obviously has impressive poker skills. Well played sir, hope to see you again soon.

"I really wanted one of those Dragon trophies!" said Moss as he was congratulated leaving the final table. Don't we all! --RS

1:10am: Raul Martinez posts monster double through Raghav Bansal
Level 23: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Raghav Bansal won a big pot off Matt Moss and was flying briefly but Raul Martinez has brought him back down to earth.

Martinez open-shoved for 1.52 million from UTG and action folded around to Bonsal in the big blind.

Bonsal made the call and that garnered a few gasps from the crowd gathered to watch the final table. Martinez showed 9♦9♣ while Bonsal flipped over A♥J♦ and we had ourselves yet another race.

The board ran out K♥8♣5♣K♣9♠, which gave the checkmark to Martinez. The Spaniard has been one of the shorter stacks for most of the final table but is suddenly in the position to do some damage with just over 3m chips. --AC

1:10pm: Moss trimmed
Level 23: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Frustration for Matt Moss who called Raul Martinez' 800,000 re-shove with threes, holding pocket sixes.

Elimination for the Spaniard beckoned but salvation came in the form of a three on the flop. He duly doubled up to 1.6 million and Moss takes a hit down to 2.4 million.

"That's twice you've two outed me!" laughed Moss as Martinez issued a quiet apology. --RS

1:05pm: Chen hopes dashed in 6th (HK$538,000)
Level 23: Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

This final table hasn't been a lot of fun for Dasheng Chen - the sole Chinese player to have made the final. He's been the plaything of the larger stacks to some extent. Down to his final 450,000, he saw chip leader Raghav Bansal move all-in from the button for his mighty stack.

He looked down at [Jc9♣ in the big blind, thought about calling, double checked his cards, re-considered, then pushed all his stacks over the line.

It turned out to be a good call against Bansal's pocket eights but his hopes of survival were snuffed out almost immediately as the board fell 3♥2♣8♠6♦T♥ to bolster Bansal's stack yet further to 3.5 million.

Still, HK$538,000 represents a good result and he can reflect later on a positive performance. Well played Chen. Play continues 5 handed. --RS

12:30am: Ben Lai laid out by Matt Moss in 7th (HK$411,020)
Level 22: Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Ben Lai

That $30,000 Platinum Pass for first place is getting closer by the second.

Matt Moss opened a pot for 125,000 and that prompted a fold from Mikita Badziakouski in the small blind. Ben Lai thought for 10 seconds or so but then decided to move his entire 850,000 stack into the middle.

Moss snap-called and flipped A♠Q♠. Ben Lai showed J♠[Jc and we had another race on our hands.

The flop had to be a welcome sight for Moss as it came Q♥4♥3♠ giving him a pair of queens and the lead.

The turn was the T♥ and Lai was drawing extremely thin on the river. The dealer flipped over... 9♥.

That secured the pot for Moss and eliminated Lai from the tournament. Lai will receive HK$411,020 for his efforts in this one. Meanwhile Moss moves up to nearly 3 million chips and the ultimate prize is in sight.

12:22am: Nakano falls in 8th spot(HK$309,000)
Level 21: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Nakano flips out.

These players are no slouches as you'd expect from a high buy-in NLHE competition. As a result there aren't too many poor decisions going on at the final. We might have to experience a series of coin flips and coolers before we know our eventual champion.
Masaki Nakano just became a victim of the latter form, three-betting Raghav Bansal's 120,000 open to 315,000.

Bansal shoved with A♠K♥, Nakano threw in a chip quickly to indicate he was calling off his remaining 1 million ish chips with his Q♠Q♥ and it was time for a race.

Bansal's horse started poorly - a flop of T♥8♦4♥ seeing Nakano's mount galloping ahead, but the turn changed it all - the A♥ transforming the situation. Nakano had just two outs and lagging far behind he never caught up as the 6♦ brick river confirmed his exit in 8th position.

Well played sir! Bansal has 3 million chips and now holds the chip lead. --RS

11:50pm: Martin Kozlov loses coin flip, finishes 9th (HK$231,000)
Level 21: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

First out...but Kozlov has 231,000 reasons to celebrate.

Australian Martin Kozlov had his work cut out for him at this final table as he entered play as the shortest stack with just 545,000.

Ben Lai open shoved from UTG and action folded around to Kozlov who was on the button. Kozlov thought for two 30-second time bank chips but eventually decided this was as good a spot as any to try for the double. Kozlov moved his 500,000 chip-stack into the middle and the cards were on their backs.

Lai showed J♦J♠ while Kozlov flipped over A♥Q♥ for the coin flip.

The board ran out 7♣4♦4♠K♣3♣ and that was it for Kozlov's tournament. The Aussie will pick up HK$231,000 and he's now free to go enjoy a glass of wine where ever he pleases. --AC

11:41pm: PokerStars MPC28 HK$80,000 High Roller Final Table chip counts
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Final table chip leader Matt Moss looks understandably happy!

The final table is set! Here are our nine elite crushers ready to go mano-a-mano for trophy, title, cash prizes and that US$30,000 Platinum Pass to next year's PCA.

It's a great line-up brimming with talent. We'll give you some background to the players as we move through the final. For now though, the players are ready to buckle down and push for the win. Good luck one and all! --RS

SeatName CountryChip Count
1Martin KozlovAustralia545,000
2Matt MossUnited Kingdom2,500,000
3Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus985,000
4Ben LaiHong Kong680,000
5Raghaz BansalIndia1,750,000
6Raul MartinezSpain1,570,000
7Dasheng ChenChina1,950,000
8Masaki NakanoJapan1,060,000
9Elliot SmithCanada1,350,000

11:15pm: Jianbo Jiang slides out in 10th place (HK$189,000)
Level 20: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Jiangbo Jiang is our final table bubble boy.

The Chinese player was crippled in an earlier hand with Matt Moss and opted to shove for his last 475,000 with A♥3♠ on the button.

Raul Martinez decided to look him up from the small blind with A♣6♣.

The flop came 8♦6♦3♥ and gave a little something to each player but Martinez came out far ahead.

The board finished with the A♦ and then the 2♥ to end Jiang's day. Meanwhile Raul soared to 1.5 million chips.

It also means that we've reached our nine-player final table. That $30,000 Platinum Pass has never been closer! -- AC

11:10pm: Wongwichit gone in 11th (HK$189,000)
Level 20: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Phanchara Wongwichit has had a rollercoaster ride on these last two tables - down to 4 big blinds, up to a big stack but finally he is gone in 11th place for HK$189,000 after jamming with K♦7♠ on the button for his 420,000 stack and running into Dasheng Chen's A♥Q♥ in the blinds.

A board of T♦8♥8♠8♣4♥ saw a fist-pumping Dasheng increase his holdings - he's up to 1,800,000 now. The final table will be set after one more elimination... --RS

10:35pm: Zhang and Loeffler double down(12th and 13th - HK$166,000)
Level 19: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Wayne Zhang has already posted an incredible six cashes here at MPC28 including an outright win in the HK5,000 NLH/PLO event as well as a HK$1,165,000 result in the single day $10K High Roller. He's added another cash here by finishing 13th for HK$166,000 but won't be going any further after calling his stack off to a Raghaz Bansal shove. Bansal up to 645,000.

He felt confident with A♥J♥ but Bansal had him in a box with A♣Q♣ and he couldn't pull a rabbit out of the hat on the 5♦5♥T♦8♣4♦ board to save him.

Also gone is Kilian Loeffler, who has been a jovial and excitable presence in this tournament but won't be adding to the atmosphere any more as his 15 BB re-shove with A-4 was called by Elliot's K-J and couldn't run the showdown gauntlet successfully. Loeffler also collects HK$166,000 for 12th to soothe the pain. --RS

10:32pm: Yutong Zhang runs into Mikita Badziakouski train, finishes 14th (HK$152,000)
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Give Mikita Badziakouski an inch and he'll take a mile.

The Belarusian is taking over the final two tables. We joined the action on a massive pot on the 7♥6♦2♠ flop.

Badziakouski had just fired another 125,000 and Yutong Zhang called. The turn came T♣ and Zhang moved all-in for 520,000. Badziakouski thought for a few seconds but eventually made the call and tabled J♠J♣. Zhang showed A♣7♣.

The river was an unceremonious Q♦ and that was it for Zhang in this tournament. He'll receive HK$152,000 for his efforts.

Meanwhile Badziakouski has gone from one of the short stacks to one of the chip leaders. --AC

10:30pm: Feng Yang'ed from his chair (15th - $152,000)
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Feng was crippled down to just a few big blinds when he fired in his last 50,000 and Masaki Nakano called. Next to act Phanchara Wongwichit went all-in, driving Nakano out of the pot, and Feng was left to find out his heads-up fate.

Wongwichit unsurprisingly had the best hand - his A♣Q♣ dominating the Q♠4♥ of Feng and an ace on the board early doors looked likely to sink him - and so it did - the board peeling A♦8♥9♠A♠6♠. --RS

10:10pm: Dong Guo eliminated 16th (HK$145,000)
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Dong gets gonged.

Dong Guo is the second casualty of our final two tables after Ryan Yum was just eliminated moments ago. Chen's elimination saw him open for just over 300,000 from the cutoff and Guo called from the small blind.

Guo revealed A♦J♠ but Chen had him crushed with A♥K♦. Guo had a large number of fans on the rail and they were cheering loudly for him as the dealer put out the board.

The board came K♠T♣8♦6♦4♦ and that was it for Dong Guo in this tournament. The all-star Chinese grinder adds another high-profile cash to his resume for finishing 16th. --AC

9:50m: Last Two Tables Seat Draw
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Seat Table 1Table 2
1Raul MartinezBen Lai
2Matt MossRaghaz Bansal
3Elliot SmithYang Feng
4Kilian LoefflerMasaki Nakano
5Martin KozlovPhanchara Wongwichit
6Yutong ZhangDasheng Chen
7Jian Bo JiangWayne Zhang
8Mikita BadziakouskiGuo Dong

9:44pm: Mikita Badziakouski scores huge double
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Belarusian crusher Mikita Badziakouski has been on life support for some time now but he just doubled up and is officially back in this one as the final table approaches.

We joined the action on the river of a A♦6♠2♠6♠5♣ with a huge amount of chips already devoted to the pot.

Badziakouski only had 50,000 chips left behind and his opponent threw the small stack putting Badziakouski all-in.

Surprisingly Badziakouski didn't call instantly but he did eventually call and tabled A♣8♣, which was just enough to put him over his opponent's A♥7♥.

Badziakouski is up to nearly one million chips and suddenly a huge threat in this one. --AC

9:40pm: Zhang escapes bubble
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Whilst that hand was playing out, Wayne Zhang was simultaneously all-in versus Elliot Smith, though he held a dominant equity advantage - his A♠T♦ looking good versus Elliot's T♥4♥.

He already knew he'd be at worst chopping 18th prize money if a four arrived to spoil his double-up party, but a board of 8♠6♣6♦6♠Q♠ saw the party begin - he's up to 440,000.

In the money now, the pressure is off and Zhang can plot bigger and better things. Elliot remains well-stacked with over 1.6 million. --RS

9:39pm: JC Alvarado hits the rail, bubble bursts
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

JC Alvarado

Well that didn't take long.

On the very first hand after the dinner break Mexican poker pro JC Alvarado moved all-in from late position for 230,000 and action folded to Martin Kozlov on the button.

Kozlov seemed to be contemplating a call and went deep into the tank.

"How strong are you?" asked the all-in Alvarado.

"Pretty strong," said Kozlov. "Ace-queen."

"That's alright," said Alvarado. "I can live with ace-queen."

Kozlov thought for a little longer but eventually made the call tabling A♣Q♦ just like he told Alvarado. Alvarado was in rough shape with K♣T♣ and players gathered around the table to see if the bubble would finally burst.

The board ran out A♥J♣4♠K♠2♠ and that spelled the end for Alvarado. The remaining 17 players are officially in the money.


9:38pm: Back from break, bubble popping time
Level 19: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The players have returned from their 60-minute dinner break and will now set about finally popping that money bubble. Just one more player has to bust before we're in the money so keep it locked right here to see who blinks first. --AC

9pm: Full counts on the bubble

NameCountryChips
1Elliot SmithCanada2,100,000
2Masaki NakanoJapan1,715,000
3Matthew MossUnited Kingdom1,605,000
4Kilian LoefflerGermany1,080,000
5Martin KozlovAustralia950,000
6Jianbo JiangChina750,000
7Yang FengChina565,000
8Raul MartinezSpain510,000
9Yutong ZhangChina510,000
10Ben LaiHong Kong500,000
11Ryan YumHong Kong480,000
12Phachara WongwichitAustralia315,000
13Raghav BansalIndia305,000
14JC AlvaradoMexico235,000
15Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus225,000
16Wayne ZhangChina205,000
17Dong GuoChina190,000
18Dasheng ChenChina155,000

8:40pm: Dinner break

The players are on a 60-minute dinner break. We'll have full counts of all the remaining players for you shortly.

8:39pm: Elliott Smith binks ace on the river to eliminate Jeho Lee
Level 18: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Play has slowed immensely over the last 30 minutes of play but that didn't stop Elliott Smith from laying a massive beat on Jeho Lee.

Lee opened the pot for 50,000 from the button and Smith, who was on the small blind, took a peek at Lee's 410,000 stack and announced he was all-in.

Smith had Lee handily covered but Lee decided to make the call with K♠K♥, which was significantly ahead of Smith's A♣8♠.

The flop came J♠8♦7♥ and Smith picked up a few more outs with his pair of sevens. The turn came 6♠ and Lee was poised for a double up.

The poker gods had other ideas as the river came a thunderous A♦. Lee could only shake his head as he headed for the exit in 19th place. --AC

8:35pm: Moss plays Zhu keeper
Level 18: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Is it our imagination or does Matt Moss have a touch of the Ike Haxton about him?

Xiang Zhu just put his last 64,000 into the middle, Matt Moss re-raised to isolate and did so successfully.

Moss had just J♥9♥ but he knew that hand likely had enough equity against Zhu's desperation shove, and it was even better than he thought, as he was dominating Zhu's 9♠2♦.

The board ran out 8♣3♠5♣J♦6♠ - Zhu drawing dead by the turn so Moss adds another scalp to his grisly collection of poker victims and we are down to 19. Moss continues to hold a strong position near the top of the leaderboard with 1,600,000.

That was the first elimination in a while. They are similar to buses though. Never come when you expect them and always seem to come in clusters as we're about to see. --RS

8:20pm: Yummy quads for Ryan
Level 18: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Ryan Yum has given himself much better chance of making the money after he hit quads in a hand versus Raghaz Bansal, to move up to 490,000.

We missed the action but at the end of the hand, a Q♣6♠Q♥J♣Q♠ board was at rest and Yum had K♥Q♦ out in front of him. Bansal dropped to 375,000 after his A♠6♥ was no good. --MC

8:10pm: Loeffler making jam
Level 18: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Kilian Loeffler has his table a little worried right now. He's got them all out-chipped and has picked up a number of pots preflop by moving all-in for his entire stack.

It's no mean pick-up - around 70,000 each time he isn't called - and he's moved over a million chips as a result. It's very hard for anyone to call their stack off without the goods right now however...just three spots till the money. --RS

7:55pm: Tight is right
Level 17: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

With the payout spots very close, we've seen things slow down a little here. The average stack is still over thirty big blinds, so no one has to gamble unnecessarily and the rate of eliminations has slowed significantly.

Players are regularly running over to check the other tables for short stacks, which could influence their decision-making process if they get embroiled in a tough hand.

Twenty players remain with 17 paid. Nail-biting time. --RS

7:45pm: Badziakouski grabs invisible chip lead
Level 17: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

It looks like Jeho Lee still holds a narrow advantage at the head of the counts. That's not what Mikita Badziakouski thinks though. Asked by friend Ben Lai how he was doing, he raised his palms up high. "Chip leader!" Lai looked puzzled at this quick development and popped over to have a look at Badziakouski's 380,000 stack, staring at him as if to question this outright lie.

"They are invisible chips, you can't see them," said Badziakouski with a smile. Lai saw the funny side, laughing as he raced back to his table so he didn't miss a hand. --RS


7:25pm: Masaki Nakano clips Kun Wang
Level 17: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

We're down another player here on the final day of the HK$80,000 high roller.

Masaki Nakano opened for 43,000 from the hijack and Kun Wang moved all-in from the button for his last 194,000.

Nakano weighed his options but then made the call with A♥9♥, which had Wang's A♦8♦ crushed.

The board ran out 5♥4♣4♠6♦J♥ to give Nakano the pot and eliminate Wang. --AC

7:22pm: Three tables - seat draw
Level 16: Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

With 24 players left, here's how the final three tables line up:

Seat Table 1Table 2Table 3
1Yutong ZhangJeho LeeKun Wang
2Dasheng ChenElliot SmithRaul Martinez
3Martin KozlovPhanchara WongwichitWayne Zhang
4Xiang ZhuYang FengRaghaz Bansal
5Matt MossMasaki NakanoBen Lai
6Daniel LaidlawJ C AlvaradoKilian Loeffler
7Jian Bo JiangMikita BadziakouskiGuo Dong
8Yun Shing TsangWenling GaoRyan Yum

7:15pm: Dashen Chen cracks aces to send Yan Shing Tsang packing
Level 16: Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

When's the last time you got knocked out of a tournament with pocket aces?

For Yan Shing Tsang the answer is one minute ago.

Tsang got his last 260,000 chips in the middle with A♥A♠ against Dasheng Chen's J♦J♥.

"I don't like your chances, mate," joked Matt Moss who was at the same table.

"I don't either," laughed Tsang.

The board ran out K♥5♦3♠4♥ and everything looked good for a Tsang double. The river had other ideas however as it spiked J♠.

"I knew it," said Tsang. With Tsang's elimination we are closing rapidly on the final two tables of the tournament.

6:59pm: Elliott Smith straightens out Wang Kun
Level 16: Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Elliott Smith

Canadian Elliott Smith just won a huge pot off Wang Kun when he managed to spike a straight with A♣5♠ on a board of A♦4♠3♠2♥4♦.

Smith made a large river bet that called by Kun who immediately mucked his hand after seeing Smith's turned straight.

The Canadian was on life support for the last level but he's suddenly got a very healthy 1.1 million chips to his name.

Macau has been very kind to Smith over the last year considering he won the PokerStars Championship event here last April for HK$2.8m.

We'll see if he can find another huge sore in this one. --AC

6:44pm: Leaders of the pack
Level 15: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

The million chip man.

We're back from the break and the bubble is imminent, meaning the bigger stacks have more license to apply pressure to some of the smaller stacks and pick up chips for free without showdown - always an important skill in NLHE tournaments.

Here are the top 10 as we stand, Jeho Lee the man in charge, though the dangerous Matt Moss sits just behind him. Click here for full counts.

NameChip Count
Jeho Lee1,265,000
Matt Moss1,135,000
Martin Kozlov933,000
Woo Loeffler913,000
Jian Bo Jiang834,000
Yang Feng660,000
Raul Martinez Gallego617,000
Masaki Nakano603,000
Kun Yang551,000
Phanchara Wongwichit481,000

6:20pm: Break time as bubble approaches
Level 15: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

We've reached the end of level 15 and the 25 remaining players are headed out on a quick 15-minute break. With the money bubble looming at 17 players remaining there should be some fireworks over the next level.

Players will be taking a 60-minute dinner break after two more levels of play. --AC

6:15pm: Matt Moss keeps crushing
Level 15: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

It seems like Matt Moss is winning every hand that he's involved in right now.

We joined the action on the river of a 9♦6♠3♥9♠7♦ board with a sizable amount of chips already in the middle and Moss heads-up against Wenling Gao.

Moss counted out 69,000 and pushed into the middle. Gao thought about her next move for a few seconds but eventually felt that she had to call.

Moss immediately tabled A♠A♣ and that was more than enough to take the pot. Moss is playing well and running well right now, which is an especially dangerous combination. The English player is up to 1.35 million chips and looks to have a hold on the chip lead for the time being. --AC

6:10pm: Feng monsters keep coming
Level 15: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Lee carving up the High Roller like a turkey!

Yang Feng has an impressive 760,000 at the moment and we just saw him KO another competitor with pocket kings versus their A-T.

One of his tablemates sounds a little envious as Feng has had a recent run of the deck - Jeho Lee saying "three hands, tens, aces, kings!" A bounty of beautiful hands, though Lee is dominating himself, having built up a massive 960,000. He's just about to cross that million chip mark with the bubble in sight. Pretty, pretty good! --RS

6:05pm: Bubble in view on horizon
Level 15: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

With 27 players left and 17 paid, it might seem like the bubble is not imminent. Don't bet on that. We've seen how aggressive the fields have been in other competitions here in Macau, so don't expect that to change anytime soon.

ICM is a dirty word to some of the local players. It's all about the thrill of the moment. It's genuinely refreshing to see this embracing of the gambling spirit from a spectator point of view.

We're looking forward to a fun and frantic few levels coming up... --RS

5:55pm: Addamo Lai-s down
Level 15: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

The High Roller dream is over for Michael Addamo, jamming his shortish stack from the cut-off with Q♣2♣ to pick up those desperately needed blinds - only for Ben Lai to be savvy enough to make a snap-call in the big blind with K♦9♣.

The 5♣T♠T♦4♥J♣ board didn't have any fuel for Addamo and that means no HR title for him, but Ben Lai is still in the game with 240,000 - around a half average stack. --RS

5:50pm: Prize pool information released
Level 14: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The 124 entries the High Roller attracted helped create a HK$9,235,520 prize pool. The top 17 players will receive a minimum HK$145,000 and the winner will walk away with a cool HK$2.34 million and a US$30,000 Platinum Pass. For a full breakdown of the payouts, click here. --MC

5:34pm: Moss dusts Du
Level 14: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Matt Moss opened a pot for 24,000 from late position and Qichen Du popped it up to 55,000.

Moss wasted no time in moving all-in, having Du easily covered. Du spent two 30-second time bank chips considering his options but in the end he made the decision to push his 160,000 stack into the middle.

Moss showed A♥K♠ while Du flipped over 3♠3♣ and we had ourselves a coin flip situation.

Du let out a sigh when the flop came K♦Q♣2♠ and put Moss firmly in the lead. The board bricked out with the T♠ and then the 9♣ to eliminate Du.

After the hand Moss moved up to nearly 1m chips and looks to be the chip leader in this contest as we approach the final three tables. --AC

5:25pm: Seismic pot throws Wongwichit to head of counts
Level 14: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Almost certainly chip leader right now is Phachara Wongwichit - who just won a huge pot to motor to the summit.

The hand in question saw Gerald Karlic make it 26,000 - Wongwichit 75,000 - shove from Karlic for an incredible 360,000 or so and a call from Wongwichit. This was probably the biggest pot of the tournament so far...

Wongwichit was in great shape holding pocket queens versus Karlic's pocket tens and a board of K♠J♣3♦5♥6♦ held no terrors for him. His stack vaults up to a sizeable 800,000 whilst Karlic's day is done. --RS

5:05pm: Qicheng Du brings the boom with runner-runner trip fours
Level 14: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We just heard an eruption of commotion come from the middle of the poker room and we ran over to get the action.

Apparently Qicheng Du saw a flop of Q♠J♠T♣ against one other player and, after a brief raising war, had moved all-in for his 180,000-chip stack. The other player made the call and the players revealed their cards.

Du: 5♠4♠
Opponent: A♠7♠

Du was in some serious trouble because all his flush outs were blocked by his opponent. He was going to have to do this the hard way.

That's what happened when the 4♦ hit on the turn. If that wasn't enough the 4♣ peeled off the river to give Du trip fours.

After the hand Du was up to about 365,000 chips. --AC

4:48pm: Moss takes hit as Tian finds double
Level 13: Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Matt Moss

China's Hao Tian open shoved for his last 125,000 from the button and big-stacked Matt Moss decided to look him up from the small blind.

Tian showed A♠8♥, which had the edge over Moss' Q♥J♦.

The flop came A♦T♣8♣, which gave Tian two-pair but also gave Moss a double-gutter straight draw.

"That's alright," joked Moss about the flop.

The turn came T♠ and Moss was drawing fairly thin. The river finished with an inconsequential 7♦ to double up Tian.

Moss is still hanging around 660,000 and remains one of the bigger stacks in the room. --AC

4:40pm: Ice cool Wayne Get-ski pot
Level 13: Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

A great start to level 13 for Wayne Zhang, who has shot up from 128,000. The first hand of note saw him raise to 16,000 - Hon Cheong Lee moving all-in for just over this. Zhang xnap called with Q♦Q♥ and he was in prime shape for a double against Lee's A♠Q♣. A board of 8♥4♠2♠7♥5♥ confirmed victory and he moved to 260,000.

He polished Lee off next hand, raising to 16,000 once more - Lee and Shashank Rathi the sole callers. A 14,000 c-bet on the A♠Q♦6♣ flop saw off Rathi. Lee had put his last chips in preflop and although his Q♥4♠ had a few outs, the turn and river bricked to leave him clutching thin air and departing the tournament.

Wayne took all this in his stride, smiling benevolently throughout. He's up to close to 300,000 now. --RS

4:20pm: Back to it
Level 13: Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Action has resumed in the HK$80,000 high roller and registration is finally closed. The floor staff is currently calculating the total number of entries in this event and prize pool. Spoiler alert: It's gonna be a big one. It also appears there are 59 players still in this thing. Stay tuned. -- AC

4:05pm: Break down!
Level 12: Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

That's the end of level 12, and we still don't have the final number of entries. We need 120 to beat the attendance from the corresponding High Roller last September and the board is currently showing 118! We could even have a tie. What drama!

The players now have 15 minutes to grab some nourishment and enjoy a mini-break from the poker before taking to the felt to do battle once more.

Sparrow Cheung and Ari Engel both busted near the end of the level so we'll have to see if they take one more shot at this event.

There are some big stacks that are starting to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. Here's a rough look at some of the notable big stacks as registration comes to an end.

Jeho Lee -- 785,000
Matt Moss -- 725,000
Martin Kozlov -- 645,000
Guo Dong -- 650,000
JC Alvarado -- 550,000

See you shortly for level 13 and news on the attendance.

3:50pm: High Roller threatens to eclipse September attendance
Level 12: Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

On the verge of making history.

There's a sweat regarding the last High Roller attendance - will it be broken?

It currently stands at 119 and so far we have 117 entries with just 11 minutes left until the end of level 12. Registration closes after the break following this level. So close! Can these plucky boys and girls in the City of Dreams break the attendance from the last High Roller in September? Good luck! --RS

3:35pm: King makes Jiaxiu Li down
Level 12: Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)


A fun hand saw Jiaxiu Li jam all-in for 73,000 and the action folded to Zhou Tong in the big blind. He appeared to have a tough decision, counting his stack thoroughly, so much so that he was forced to throw in one of his time-bank chips to complete the process.

Eventually he decided to go for it, splashing a whole chunk of yellows into the middle and turning up K♠J♠ to Li's 8♦8♣.

The flip was on and Tong was on the right side of variance, spiking over the K♦2♣6♣6♠2♥ board to stack Li. Li didn't look too unhappy, laughing as he left the table to plan his next move. Our suggestion is a friendly dimsum bar. You can't go wrong.

Tong meanwhile is up to a handsome 240,000 - some way off the chip leaders but above the 196,000 average. --RS

3:24pm: The $12m table
Level 12: Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

There are plenty of tables out there today but none of them come close to the minefield of poker talent that is table 2.

Right now table 2 includes Sparrow Cheung, Guo Dong, JC Alvarado and Mikita Badziakouski. Combined the four players have a staggering $12m in lifetime live tournament earnings.

If you're playing the HK$80,000 high roller you better hope you don't draw table 2. Unless you want some of the best competition in the world. --AC

3:15pm: Dangerous growth of Moss
Level 11: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Matt Moss seems to have this tournament in the palm of his hand right now. His stack seems to be a singularity, gravitationally attracting his tablemate's chips into its heart, and he's amassed a huge one as a result.

The latest Moss coup saw him contest a T♥4♦2♥ board with Xixiang Luo. Moss was on the button and Luo in the blinds - Luo checking to Moss who led out for 28,000 with A-T for top,top.

Luo now sprung a surprise - check-raising to 100,000. Moss weighed up the situation and made the call.

The brick-ish looking 4♣ on the turn saw Luo crash out a huge bet of 186,000. Moss didn't take too long before announcing all-in.

Luo called but looked upset - he knew he was behind but with A♥Q♥ he still had flush draw and queen outs. "Heart, heart, heart" he implored the dealer. No dice.

The K♠ arrived to secure Moss the pot. Luo was stacked and that means Moss is now up to a massive, chip-leading stack of 780,000. Good times for the UK pro. -- RS

3:05pm: Koen Breed goes bust
Level 10: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Dutch poker pro Koen Breed open shoved for his last 38,500 from middle position and found call from Xiang Zhu in late position.

Breed was in trouble with 7♣5♣ against Zhu's T♥T♦. The board ran out Q♦8♣3♦J♦9♦ to give Zhu an unnecessary four-flush to eliminate Breed.

Despite the fact it didn't change anything in the hand the rest of the table was pretty impressed by the river.

Meanwhile Breed has a short amount of time re-enter the tournament if decides to go that route. --AC

2:51pm: Sparrow flying, wins all-in with AA over KK
Level 10: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sparrow Cheung just had the best possible start to his day.

The Hong Kong player opened a bot from the button from 10,000 and JC Alvarado raised to 30,000 from the small blind.

Ralph Wong thought for a few seconds but opted to 3-bet shove all-in for about 110,000.

Sparrow immediately moved all-in as well, having Wong just barely covered. Alvarado didn't waste much time throwing his hand into the muck and the cards were on their backs.

Cheung: A♥A♠
Wong: K♥K♦

Not a very nice way for Wong to wake up but that's poker.

The board ran out J♦9♣8♣Q♣7♠ and that was enough to grant Sparrow the huge pot and eliminate Wong. Wong still has a little bit of time to re-buy if he so chooses but that last hand has got to have left a bitter taste in his mouth.

Cheung is up to nearly 250,000 here in the early stages of the final day of the MPC28 HK$80,000 high roller. --AC

2:42pm: Du-ing well
Level 10: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

A good start to the day for Qicheng Du, who opened for 8,500 and picked up three callers. The dealer laid out a 5♠5♥6♦ board and Du checked to the button who fired out 13,000, only for big blind Zhou Tong to check-raise to 40,000.

Du flat-called and everyone else melted away.

Tong jammed his remaining chips on the turn and Du called quickly again, tabling A♣A♦ to Tong's significantly inferior 6♠4♠.

The K♥ on the river kept the advantage intact and Zhou Tong's chips were all moved over to Du's stack, now a much-improved 250,000. --RS

2:30pm: The new and the re-born
Level 10: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

With registration still open for the first two levels today, we're seeing some fresh faces and some players trying again, bringing the total number on entries up to 100.

The new: Jinghui Ying, Quan Zhou, Ari Engel, Yutong Zhang, Kun Wang, Cenlia Chen, and Masaki Nakano.

The returning: Mike Adamo, Wai Wa Chan, Wai Kiat Lee, Yingui Li, Mian Wei and Jiaxiu Liu. --MC

2:15pm: Gathy gets it in early, busts
Level 10: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Back to Belgium for Michael Gathy?

Michael Gathy came back with fewer than 40,000 chips today and wasted little time in getting them in.

He made his move from under the gun holding T♥9♥ before Kin Wang successfully isolated him by moving all-in form the next seat. He opened A♥K♠ and survived an 8♦8♠6♣3♥8♣ board. Gathy tapped the table and walked off. --MC

2:01pm: Off to the races
Level 10: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Matt Moss is still the man of the hour.

Players have opened their bags, stacked their chips and play has once again resumed in the HK$80,000 high roller.

We start in Level 10 so players will have to contend with blinds of 2,000/4,000 and an ante of 500. As a reminder registration is open for two more levels so we could see a few more players join the action in addition to a few re-entries. --AC

Here's a look at the top 10 chip counts to start the day:

First NameLast NameCountyTableSeat Chip Count
Matthew Peter JamesMossUK37 534,500
BenLaiHong Kong19 475,500
MikitaBadziakouskiBelarus84 462,500
Terry LeonSchumacherBelgium55 341,000
DongGuoChina82 335,000
XixiangLuoChina71 330,500
YongboGuanChina29 295,000
Juan CarlosAlvarado Mexico22 290,000
DashengChenChina13 288,000
ShashankRathiIndia68 254,000

HK$80,000 High Roller set to play to a winner with $30,000 Platinum Pass on the line

The HK$80,000 high roller is here for a good time not a long time.

One of the crown jewels of the Macau Poker Cup the tournament promises one of the biggest prize pools despite the relatively small field.

Of course players will have to get through an elite field that includes some of the best high-stakes players from Macau and the rest of the world.

Last night saw 87 players join the action with 56 players making it through the day.

The overnight chip leader ended up being none other than English pro Matt Moss who finished with 535,000 chips. Moss is on a bit of a hot streak here in Macau with a 20th place finish in the Red Dragon Main Event already in the books.

We're set for a big day of poker today as the high roller is set to play all the way to a final table and then to a winner with the eventual winner walking away with a $30,000 PokerStars Platinum Pass to the 2019 PSPC.

Registration will be open for the next two levels so we could see that field bumped up by a significant amount. Unlimited re-entries as well so there could be some players who bust and buy back into the tournament.

Either way it's sure to be a compelling day of poker from the PokerStars LIVE Macau poker room. --AC

PokerStars Blog reporting team at the MPC: Marc Convey, Arthur Crowson and Rod Stirzaker. Photography by Long Guan & Kenneth Lim Photography. Videos by Alex Pinkett and James Beer of 23 Digital

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