APPT Macau: Moneymaker's appeal crosses all borders
By Landon Blackhall and Sean Callander
The big names are taking it easy during the early stages of day 1B of the PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event, here at PokerStars Macau in the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino.
TeamPokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker and Raymond Rahme, who surprised everyone when he arrived today, were here shortly after the opening but Lee "Final Table" Nelson and Joe Hachem have decided to recharge the batteries and will be here for tomorrow's day 1C flight. It may be Moneymaker's first trip to Macau, but the locals clearly know the face, as shown by the crowd packed around the rail watching his every move.
We've spotted a Singaporean sling at table 19 with two of the nation's top players Ivan Tan and Nathanael Seet just three spots apart. Tan was second in this event two years ago and final-tabled the APPT Macau High Roller in 2008, while Seet placed sixth in last year's APPT Auckland Main Event.
Two players who've enjoyed plenty of success in Asia, American Casey Kastle and Korea's Steve Yea are in today's field along with a gaggle of young Aussie contenders - Daniel Neilson, Jonathan Karamalikis, Julian Powell, Kristian Lunardi, Aaron Benton and Tom Rafferty, along with New Zealand's number one ranked online player Neil puggy82 Stewart.
At the other end of the experience scale, we're delighted to see 2001 LA Poker Classic winner Young Phan and we can't forget the clown prince of Aussie poker Dennis Huntly, who's been a great supporter of the APPT over the past three years.
It's Chris Moneymaker's first trip to this part of the world and, not surprisingly, the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner is taking time to adjust with his stack down to 15,000 in the early going. Tablemate and fellow PokerStars.net Team Pro Raymond Rahme also started slowly, having lost a couple of small pots but is back to around the starting stack of 20,000.
But the player who's had the worst of it in the first level was Korean PokerStars.net Team Asia Pro Tae Jun Noh. On a board of 4♣ 6♦ Q♠ 8♦ 8♣, Noh fired out a bet of 4000 into a pot worth about 6000. His opponent in the cut-off called; Noh turned up A♦ A♣ for the overpair, but looked sick as his opponent rolled up 8♠ 7♠ for rivered trips.
And how's this for a first - the opening 60 minutes of play passed without a single elimination. Having covered every minute of every event on the APPT, we're pretty sure this is some sort of a record.