APPT Macau: Slow road in China
By Landon Blackhall and Sean Callander
The second of the three day-one flights here at PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event at PokerStars Macau in the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino is slowly taking shape, well, very slowly.
Just 18 of the 125 players have been sent to the rail in the first 210 minutes of play; glacial progress but a clear indication that the Macanese locals are not overawed by the big names who've flown in from around the world, including Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker and Raymond Rahme.
Moneymaker has had a bumpier ride today than a ferry in a typhoon but has managed to recuperate after a couple of hands against two PokerStars Qualifiers: Russia's Evgeniy Ivanov and Canadian Andrew Chen.
He was wounded by Chen in the first hand after the money was all-in the middle pre-flop when Chen's pocket tens held up against Moneymaker's hand on board that ran out 8♠ Q♦ 3♠ Q♣ A♥.
However he would get those chips back courtesy of Ivanov - with the flop reading A♥ 3♣ 4♦, Ivanov fired out 1500 and Moneymaker called. Ivanov would then check-fold on the turn of the J♦ after Moneymaker's bet of 4000. Moneymaker smiled as he turned up 7♣6♣ for nothing but air. "The money goes to Money," PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Tony Hachem chirped from the rail.
The trash talk and joking between Aaron Benton and Dennis Huntly can still be heard above the splashing and riffling of chips on table nine. Benton is keeping with Asian culture and respecting his elder, calling Huntly "Uncle Den Den". Dennis' frown deepens with each passing minute.
Aussie online wunderkind Jonathon Karamalikis is struggling - not with the poker, but with against double-decker ham-and-cheese toasted sandwich and potato waffles. "I love the food here!" he managed between mouthfuls. The Adelaide youngster is sitting pretty with 40,000.
Californian Young Phan reached the top of the chip count, albeit briefly. After amassing a stack of 60,000 in the early going (impressive given so few players have been eliminated), he is now down to 35,000.
Special mention to 2005 Victorian Poker Championships Main Event winner James "Welcome Back" Potter, who is making a return to the felt after recently celebrating the birth of his second daughter.
One of the most respected players in Aussie poker, Potter is also making a splash in the poker media, with regular columns in PokerNews Australia and Penthouse magazines and a hosting role on the PokerNetwork Hour, Australia's only weekly poker radio show.
Gregarious and engaging away from the table, Potter has his game face on today and has steadily chipped his way up to 28,000 as he eyes a second APPT Macau Main Event cash after finishing 30th in 2007.
Potter is well inside the top 10 stacks, along with birthday boy Dave Lee (44,000), Raymond Rahme (34,000), Tom Rafferty (34000), Aaron Benton (33,000), PokerStars.net Team Asia's Tae Joon Noh (28,000) and Dennis Huntly (28,000).