MPC20: Gao the Goliath Dominates Day 1b

Exactly 60 players survived Day 1b of the MPC20 Red Dragon Main Event.

And 59 of them didn't fare anywhere near as well as chip leader Lei Gao.

It was a huge day at the felt for Gao as he navigated through the 294-player field with ferocious confidence to finish with 245,100 in chips. So ferocious in fact that every player in the casino knew when Gao raked in a pot as he stood out of his seat and shouted in joy, giving out several fist pumps to go along with it.

Gao sent several players home over the course of the day, always managing to find the cards he needed. Gao held pocket sevens late in the night and hit a set to send home a player holding Ace-King. Then Gao hit trips when he held J-8 and sent home a player who was all in holding Q-6. Both of these time Gao let out what became his trademark shout of glee.

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Gao accumulated chips and he didn't care he knew it

One of Gao's Day 1b highlights was when he slammed down his 8♠7♠ after sliding in a big bet on the river of a 4♠T♦2♦3♣K♥ board. His lone opponent had tank-folded and it made Gao very, very happy. Maybe his reactions weren't exactly by the book when it came to poker etiquette, but Gao was having a good time and ended up with 245,100 reasons to be happy.

Considering players only started the day with 15,000 in chips it is not too surprising that Gao was the only player to finish with a stack in excess of 200,000. The next closest player was Zhaojun Ruan with 171,900 and from there it was Kai Bai (137,900), Sailesh Verma (134,500) and Runcheng Wu (124,300) who rounded out the top five chip counts.

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Only 59 survived in the PokerStars LIVE at the City of Dreams poker room

As is usually the case on Day 1 of poker tournaments, more players hit the rail than those that survived. Some of those who hit the rail on Day 1b include Abichek Goindi, Darren Judges, Aussie Millions runner-up Kenny Wong, ACOP Main Event champion Sunny Jung, ANZPT Auckland champion David Lim and 2011 ANZ Player of the Year Shaq Lin. Former MPC Red Dragon champions Patrik Lee, Kenny Leong and Wing Cheung Chong were also eliminated.

Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Raymond Wu were another couple of casualties on Day 1b. Wu was eliminated late in the day after nursing a short stack for several levels, while Lin's day was much shorter. Lin ended up four-bet jamming holding pocket sixes against an opponent she had history with and unfortunately ran into pocket nines. No help came for Lin and just like that she wouldn't be able to add a third Red Dragon title to her resume.

Make sure to check out the live updates for full Day 1b action.

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No third dragon for Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin

The third and final Day 1 flight of the MPC20 Red Dragon Main Event begins in around 11 hours time at 3:00pm local time. It's going to be a massive day, with the team here at PokerStars LIVE Macau expected in excess of 400 players. If there are that many players, we will have a new record field size! Be sure to join us for all the action tomorrow!

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Asia Pacific Poker Tour