APPT Macau: Lin rides poker's new wave in Asia
By Landon Blackhall and Sean Callander
Amid the rapid growth of poker in Asia, Taiwan counts as a newcomer on the scene. However, it's widely recognised as one of the boom markets in Asian poker, as reflected by a sizeable delegation from the island, which lies off the south-east coast of mainland China.
One of the chip leaders in the early going today is Jonathan Lin (holding just under 50,000). He started playing poker while studying abroad - small stakes to start before moving on to more serious money.
Lin has been a regular tournament and cash game player at the PokerStars Macau Poker Room, since it launched in 2008. Besides crushing the cash games regularly at the Macau poker rooms he has made his mark as a talented tournament player, featuring in the celebrity poker TV show Let's All-in in Taiwan as a celebrity player and tournament director.
Other Taiwanese players in today's field include Lin's PokerStars.net teammate Raymond Wu, PokerStars qualifier Carlos Chang, Jung Chou Lee and Peter Wang.
Lin's tournament is off to a promising start, but it's already over for Australian online young gun Jay SEABEAST Kinkade. On a board that read 8♠ 6♣ 9♠ 2♥ 9♥, the all-in plaque was in front of French player Bernard Vu who had tabled A♥ A♣ for the winning hand. After all the chips were cut down, it was Kinkade that came up short.
Kinkade looked clearly miffed as he picked up his bag to exit the poker room - it didn't help that Vu was showing off to a nearby cameraman, happily waving and smiling as he stacked up his newly acquired chips.
But his celebratory mood didn't last long. Holding pocket eights, Aussie Sean Keeton was in a race against Vu's A-K and found himself behind on the flop and turn of [10d] 2♥ K♥ 7♠. However, as Chinese luck would have it, the 8♥ sailed down the river!
Nearby on table two, Charles Lam came unstuck in a big hand against PokerStars Macau satellite winner Jao Tin. Lam called Tin's raise of 700 to see a flop of A♦ K♠ K♥. Tin checked to Lam who fired out 1,500. Tin called, then led out for 2,300 on the turn of the A♠.
Lam flat-called and checked after Tin on the river Q♥. Tin turned up A♣ [10h] for a full house; Lam slammed the table with his hand and flashed a king before throwing his cards into the muck. Tin moved back up to around 18,500 in chips whilst Lam went back down to 47,500.
It's also been a tough day at the office for David Steicke, but he managed to double up to 26,500 after moving all-in preflop holding K♥ K♣. He found himself ahead of the A♠ Q♦ of Swedish PokerStars Qualifier Rasmus Åkerblom. The flop of 6♥ K♠ [10h] put Steicke further ahead and the turn and river would run out 9♦ Q♠.
We're coming up to the second break of the day, with 93 of the 119 starters set to return for level five. Japan's Kazuki Ikeuchi (52,000) holds a narrow chip lead from US PokerStars Player Brandon Demes (50,000) with Jonathan Lin, Mike Kim, James Akenhead and Wally Sombero all close behind.