APPT Macau: Steicke v Chan, a clash for the ages

By Landon Blackhall, level 1 update

Though the locals have come out in force this year for the PokerStars.net APPT day one flight, the internationals are getting involved in some heavy action in the early going.

In particular, table seven is bound to offer some of the best play today, which sees Hong Kong-based Australian poker icon David Steicke (fresh from his APT High Roller triumph), PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Grant Levy and two-time WSOP Main Event champion Johnny Chan. Forget Ali versus Frazier, this is the ultimate battle of poker heavyweights.

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Grant Levy: "Hang on these guys look familiar!"

In one hand we encountered, Levy raised it up pre-flop to 275 from under the gun. The action folded around to young online poker pro Joel Dodds who called from the button.
On a flop of 8♥ 7♣ 6♠, Levy opened for 525 and Dodds called, then check-called Dodds' bet of 1,025 on the turn of the 4♥. Both players checked the river [10c]; Levy rolled up [10s] 8♠ for two pair and Dodds nodded at him to signify that it was good enough as he mucked his hand.

The Australians are already off to a flying start, but Sydneysider Mark Cornwall has had a little bit of Chinese luck fall his way; we caught him turning over 2♠ 2♣ after the action was complete on a board that read 2♥ A♠ Q♣ 2♦ 3♣. Two multiplied by four is eight, which is considered a very lucky number in Eastern culture. As a result he's up to 43,000 in chips.

Some of the other notables we've spotted include Emad Tahtouh, who arrived late but according to the PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro: "I'm looking forward to getting in on the action!"

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Fifth in the APPT Macau High Roller here two years ago, Emad Tahtouh is out for another big result

ANZPT Melbourne final table participant Ben Savage and 2005 WSOP Six-handed bracelet winner Isaac Galazan, Will Ma (sixth in the 2008 APPT Macau High Roller event) and Sean Keeton, who was fourth in the $5000 WSOP six-handed event at the 2009 WSOP, are also in action today.

The atmosphere is tense in the Grand Lisboa Poker Room. With 119 starters confirmed in today's day one flight, the action has been extremely tight; as such, we have only lost one player in the first level: PokerStars Qualifier Aleksei Rostunov.

The "all-in" disc was pointing from Rostunov towards his opponent, PokerStars Player Stephen Costello. He could only shrug his shoulders and watch as the chips were shipped in Costello's direction. Midway through level two, six players have already been eliminated.