APPT Macau: Hello old friend, nice to see you again
Two years ago, UK-based Vietnamese player Dinh Le wrote himself into the Asian poker history books when he won the first APPT Macau Main Event, worth USD $222,640.
Le, who earned the nickname "All-in" thanks to his fearless aggression, claimed the scalp of 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem on the way to that memorable victory.
Fast-forward 21 months, and they're at it again. In an intriguing coincidence, Le and Hachem (who finished eighth here in 2007 APPT) have been drawn at the same table here at PokerStars Macau in the 2009 APPT Macau Main Event.
The pair have been carefully side-stepping each other in the early going, and Le watched on as the Team PokerStars Pro took down a nice pot when he pushed Andrew Hinrichsen out of the way with pocket eights on a board of 7♠ 2♠ J♦ J♥ 6♠.
We're in China, so it's not surprising that the eights have been prominent early. PokerStars Sponsored Player David Wang of Taipei took red eights to the dance against an opponent's Q-10. The flop of 9♣ J♥ 7♠ was a little scary, but the turn and river bricked out 5♠ 2♠, crippling his opponent down to around 2000. Wang moved up to 35,000 after that hand.
It's been a miserable start to the day for the highly respected JC Tran, who held just 2500 in chips when he committed his remaining chips with A♥ K♣, and found himself up against the A♣ J♥ of Yevgeniy Timoshenko. The board of 9♥ 7♣ [10c] Q♦ J♣ gave Tram some nervous moments before he doubled to 5500.
Tran's good mate David "Chino" Rheem has also made a rocky start, losing half of his stack when he bet aggressively into another player on a board of 7♣ K♠ A♦ 3♥. It went check-check on the river A♣, and Rheem mucked almost instantly before his opponent showed K♦ 2c].
Rheem's day isn't going to get any better in the short-term, as the larger-than-life Aussie pro David Saab has just been moved to an adjacent table. Saab is bouncing around like a five-year-old who's overdosed on raspberry cordial, but he is effervescent personality and boundless enthusiasm adds an X-factor to every tournament he plays.
Some of the early movers in today's field have been Sida Yuen (44,000), Michael Woo, Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier (35,000), Corwin Cole (31,000) and David Chiu (30,000).