APPT Macau: Chieng chops through field to lead day 1A
Perhaps the fact that there is so much to do in Macau explains why Pan Xiao Long seemed not unduly fussed to lose his 20,000 chips in the first hand he played, his two pair no good against Jan Boyes' flopped set. But whatever he was thinking after that little mishap, we were happy to take it as a sign that we were to be treated to a day of action rather than a day of survival. Nothing happened over the course of the following seven hours to change our minds as the 88 starters on day 1A, the first of three starting flights, were cut down to 43 at the end of play.
Yet despite the significant pots flying around every table, no single player seized the lead and ran with it throughout. Several climbed to the summit, like the Russian Vladimir Geshkenbein, winner of the APPT Macau high roller event here last year, and Jesse Habaak, Michael Durrer and Alex Loon, but none could stay there.
Instead our chip leader would emerge from the shadows, and from beneath a black hoodie, in the last level of play. Alex Chieng from France bagged up 113,100 after a frenetic end that included his elimination of PokerStars qualifier Aaron Walters. Walters had flopped a flush draw, Chieng two pair, and nothing changed on the turn and river.
Durrer still finished strong on 94,475, second in chips, but third behind Chieng was Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu on 87,475. It was Wu who accounted for the demise of Geshbenbein, turning a gutshot straight to win a big pot late in the day that left the Russian bagging up 49,600.
Wu was one of four Team PokerStars Pros playing today. Bryan Huang didn't make it through, busting early after a miserable start, but Celina Lin (31,450) and Marcel Luske (15,775), who had kicked things off with the 'shuffle up and deal', will be back on Friday once all three day ones have concluded.
A word about the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino. Fantastic. No frilly writing, no unnecessary adjectives. Just fantastic. With the PokerStars Macau Poker Room set right in its heart, there are few better places to play out a $5,000 tournament (or $40,000 in local Hong Kong dollars). They love their cards here, but the day was played in an excellent spirit, with no histrionics, whooping or slamming of fists on tables.
In summary, we have a lot to look forward to for the rest of the week.
You can see the full overnight counts on the chip count page, and you can enjoy all of today's events in more glorious detail by reviewing our reports from today. Click on these links in any order, but we suggest going from top to bottom would make more sense:
That's it from the Grand Lisboa. My thanks to fellow scribe Tim Duckworth and to snapper Joe Giron, who's photographs are © - so keep your mitts off. We're now signing off to enjoy some local cuisine.
Thanks for reading.