APPT Macau: Ruins to riches, welcome to day 1B
If there's an ideal time to take a leisurely walk around Macau, it's in the early morning, before the humidity kicks-in and the city comes to life.
To be honest, this is a city that never really sleeps - more than a few insomniacs could be seen squinting their eyes as they left the tables and wandered into the morning sunlight.
First stop on our morning jaunt was to the ruins of the Church of St Pauls. Considered by many to be the greatest monument to Christianity in Asia,
The church was built in 1602 by the Jesuits and all but the front section with its statues and engravings was destroyed by fire in 1835. The ruins were key in the United Nations 2005 decision to designate Macau as a World Heritage Site. The church now resembles a facade used in a Hollywood movie - a face without a body.
The steps in front of the church are a good place to take a breather, as it's a steep hike from the Grand Lisboa to the ruins of St Pauls. But it's all; downhill on the return trip, where we found our way to a path leading around the banks of the Pearl River, which is also the border between Macau and mainland China.
All of a sudden, a piercing scream breaks through the morning smog. Someone drowning? A poker player lamenting a bad beat? A diner regurgitating a three-day old piece of dim sum? Nope, just an early-morning thrill-seeker hurling herself off Macau Tower.
The 338m-high structure is the only place in the world where the public can climb to the very top, via 100m of vertical ladders on the tower's mast. The tower also boasts the world's highest bungy jump platform at 233m.
Members of Team PokerStars famously took this leap two years ago on the APPT's first trip to Macau - the locals still talk in hushed terms about the ungodly scream that emerged from Team Australia's Emad Tahtouh as he soared like a wounded eagle!
It's just a short walk from Macau Tower back to the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino, where today's 1B field has started to arrive for their shot at Asian poker immortality in the HKD $40,000 buy-in PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event. We're expecting yesterday's figure of 119 players to be surpassed, taking the total number of players so far to almost 300.
Today's field includes a pair of world champs and Team PokerStars Pros - Team USA's Chris Moneymaker and Aussie icon Joe Hachem. The players who shared the spoils in last year's APPT Manila Main Event, winner Van Marcus and runner-up Tae Jun Noh are preparing to take their seats, as are PokerStars Sponsored Player Lee "Final Table" Nelson, PokerStars Macau satellite winners James Potter, Kelly Flynn, Dave Lee, Kevin Ko and William Te along with PokerStars Qualifiers from as far afield as Russia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Chile, the USA and across the Asia-Pacific region. Global game - you bet, cards will be in the air soon.
The structure for today's play is seven one-our levels:
Level 1: 50/100
Level 2: 100/200
Level 3: 100/200 (ante 25)
Level 4: 150/300 (ante 25)
Level 5: 200/400 (ante 50)
Level 6: 300/600 (ante 75)
Level 7: 400/800 (ante 75)
Here's a moving pictures look at what we have in store.
Watch APPT Macau 09: Day 1B Introduction on PokerStars.tv