APPT Macau: Standing room only
By Landon Blackhall
Any sceptics who question the potential for poker in Asia should take a walk through PokerStars Macau at the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino this evening. There's a nice crowd playing on the baccarat tables, but the poker room is the heart of the action; abuzz with excitement, cheers and the endless sound of clacking chips.
With the last chance satellite for the PokerStars.net APPT Macau main Event underway (where 12 seats have been guaranteed), along with the HKD $5000 Seven-handed No Limit Hold'em event, some tasty cash games and the day 1B flight of the Main Event, there's not a spare seat in the house.
Dealers have just dealt the first hand of the final level for second of three day one flights in the Main Event, with 71 players remaining of the 125 who took their seats early this afternoon.
Dennis Huntly (currently on 18,000 in chips) has been a weapon of mass distraction on table two, laughing and cracking jokes with his tablemates, including poor Kevin Ko, a PokerStars Macau satellite winner from the US who isn't sure what to make of the true-blue Aussie and his sharp-as-a-knife sense of humour.
Meanwhile on table 21, fellow Melburnian Michael Marvanek has also taken the opportunity to liven up everyone's mood, citing German PokerStars Qualifier Erol Kankoc for a conduct violation: "triangle abuse" (he's moved all-in with his short stack several times and stolen the blinds and antes). Kankoc has been keeping the peace by showing every hand with which he's pushed.
Though Marvanek may be struggling on 18,000 in chips, he's looking forward to celebrating his birthday by making it through to day two before hitting some of Macau's nightspots.
The action has come alive in the past hour, with three of the main recipients Kristoffer Myhre (148,500), Dutch PokerStars Qualifier Roel Pijpers (98,500) and USA's Victorino Torres (98,500). Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker is also well positioned on 65,000.
Other notables still in the hunt to progress include PokerStars Sponsored Player Van Marcus (51,500), Young Phan (35,500), Daniel Neilson (34,500) and Jonathan Karamalikis (29,500).