APPT Macau: Day 1a live updates, levels 5-8 (Blinds 500-1,000-100)

8:45pm: Day ends, Su leads
As we noted just a few minutes ago, Shih Chieh Su looks to have finished the day with the lead We have him on 171,800 as the chips go the in the bags. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 players are finishing up the night. We'll have a full wrap-up in just a bit. --BW

8:30pm: The battle for the lead
As we approach the end of the day it appears that Shih Chieh Su from Chinese Taipei may have edged into the lead with the duo of Kiwis in Thomas Ward and Jackson Zheng also in contention for the end-of-day chip lead.

However they'll have to get busy if they are to surpass Su who recently padded his stack with a nifty flop check-raise. It was a monotone 8♦9♦6♦ flop that saw Su check to his opponent who bet 6,000. Su responded with a check-raise for an additional 9,700 which was enough to take it down.

Su flashed the K♠ as he raked in the chips to move up to 150,000.--HC

8:20pm: Ivey flexes
With a raise to 2,100 from middle position, Phil Ivey made the call to see a flop of 9♦J♣9♥. The continuation-bet of 3,100 was matched by Ivey as the 7♣ hit the turn.
Both players checked and the river delivered the 5♣. Ivey's opponent tried to take it down with a bet of 7,300 but Ivey splashed the pot with enough yellow 5,000-denomination chips to put his opponent all in.

The railbirds quickly gathered around as Ivey was finally tangling in a big pot, but his opponent let it go to see Ivey move up to 75,000 approaching the end of the day's play.--BW

8:10pm: Barrett blasts through Behling
After raising two hands in a row, Josh Barrett was happy to look down at the pocket rockets and raise it up for the third time. Nico Behling had seen enough and, next to act, shoved all in for his last 14,000 with ace-ten. It was unfortunate timing as Barrett made the easy call and his aces held when there were no surprises on board.
Barrett is now up to 73,000. --HC

8:00pm: Team PokerStars update
We've just checked in on our Team PokerStars Pros with both Alex Kravchenko and Raymond Wu progressing well in the APPT Macau Main Event.

Kravchenko is situated on one of the overflow tables outside of the poker room so updates have been scarce, but the Russian has chipped up to 40,000. Meanwhile Wu is motoring along nicely and looking likely to be well placed for Day 2 with a stack of 85,000 chips.--HC


7:55pm: Levy five-balls
There's nothing much sweeter than a five-bet bluff (perhaps a six-bet bluff?), but Grant Levy just flexed his muscle with a nice move to collect a nice preflop pot.

With a raise to 2,000 in front of him, Levy raised it to 6,550 before his opponent four-bet another 7,150. It was back with Levy and with deep stacks in hand, he decided to up the price with a five-bet worth another 9,450 on top. His opponent deliberated for some time but eventually released as Levy flashed the table the old J♥Q♠. He's now up to 105,000.--HC

7:45pm: Ivey update
One of the great facets to the game of Phil Ivey is how he is able to accumulate chips at a rapid rate, seemingly without ever putting himself at any significant risk. I recall back at the 2009 WSOP during his epic Main Event run, how difficult it was at times to report Ivey in any big hands.

The same could be said for his progress so far today. As much as we're on Ivey watch, it's proving very difficult to grab him in any hands of note. That hasn't stopped Ivey from building a stack of 60,000 chips and, to further prove our point, his stack mostly consists of smaller 25 and 100-denomination chips from all the blinds and antes that he's picked up with little opposition.--HC

7:45pm: Last level
Players are now working with 500-1,000-100 blinds for the last level of the night.--BW

7:15pm: Zheng straight to the top
Kiwi Jackson Zheng has assumed the tournament chip lead with a stack of 120,000. Zheng flopped a straight holding 5♠4♠ on a 3♣6♣2♣ and got action from an opponent who went with his T♠T♣ overpair.

The turn was the J♥ and river the 5♥ to jump Zheng to the top of the counts. It's not all good news for Zheng however as he was recently moved to the same table as Phil Ivey.

"How do you like my table draw?" Zheng said with a wry smile as we wandered past. --HC

7:05pm: Gao-a-go-go
We didn't see all the action, but the result was clear as Jie Gao stood from the table and clapped his hands with delight after scooping a big pot.
On the river, the board read Q♣5♣J♣3♥9♥ with Mishel Anunu firing 8,000 into two opponents. Gao made the call before AJ Bertenshaw also came along to the showdown.
Anunu showed Q♦T♥ for top pair but Gao opened A♦A♠ which was good as Bertenshaw mucked. Anunu is down to 35,000 with Gao now up to 65,000. --HC

7:00pm: Anuar's soul read
Mohamed Dawood Anuar is now wielding an impressive stack after making a big river call that drew gasps from his tablemates. It was recalled to us that Anuar check-called on the flop and turn, before leading on the river on a board of [k][7][3][3][A]. His opponent responded with a river raise but Anuar made a huge call with pocket sixes which proved to be good as his opponent showed down [j][8].

Anuar is based in Singapore but actually works for the US military at security checkpoints in Afghanistan. He's currently on leave at the moment for three weeks and decided to spend some of that valuable time on the poker tables here in Macau. It's proving worthwhile so far as Anuar is now up to 90,000 in chips.--HC

6:50pm: Back for two more
The players are back in their seats for two more levels before breaking for the night. --BW

6:40pm: Break time
Everybody left in Day 1a has two more levels to play. For now, they're on a ten-minute break before coming back to 400-800-75 blinds. --BW

6:35pm: Ivey's revenge
Jenn, our Japanese blogger, reported a bit ago that Yuji Masaki ended up on Phil Ivey's table today. The last time they met was at the WSOP where Masaki had doubled through Ivey. Today, Ivey got his revenge after flopping trips with ace-four on a 4-4-8 board. When a ten hit on the turn, Masaki got all his chips in with jack-ten. Ivey made an unnecessary full house on the river.

This time Ivey hit trips and improved to a full house with A-4. The board came 4-4-8 with a T on the turn and that's when Masaki put the rest of his chips in with J-T. Ivey had 17,000 to Masaki's 36,000 and he doubled up.

Masaki said he was happy to play with Ivey again. "He doesn't talk at the table, but he plays in a lot of pots and it's really interesting to play with him. I'm glad I got another opportunity to see him in action."--BW

6:00pm: Steicke gets sticky
David Steicke opened with a raise from middle position to 1,800 with Haifeng Xue defending his big blind with a call as the two saw a heads-up flop of 3♥3♣K♣.

Action was checked and the turn brought the A♣. Once again it was check, check, to see the K♠ repeat on the river. Xue gave a chuckle to the dealer before tossing out a pot-sized bet of 4,000. Steicke was a non-believer as he bumped it up to 10,000 but Xue didn't take long to make the call.

Steicke proudly opened 4♠6♦ as he played the board, but Xue scooped when he opened K♦2♦ for a full house. Steicke slips to 41,000 as Xue, who is currently ranked fourth in the Asia POTY race, climbs up to 58,000. --HC

5:40pm: War erupts in the cash game area
A massive argument has just erupted on the floor but it actually wasn't from the tournament area. Instead, it was on a nearby cash table, with the decibel level high enough to grab most of the room's attention.

We'd love to tell you what it was all about, but with the verbal war erupting in Chinese, we don't have any specific details. However it was serious enough for the two locals to be up on their feet and in each other's face. With most of the table basically shouting at each other we were expecting a few kung-fu moves to be unleashed at any moment but security were quickly on the scene to dampen the mood. It was actually the first time we've ever seen the Grand Lisboa Casino orange-jacket brigade have to attend to something that was somewhat security related.

Eventually the matter was resolved, we assume, as the players got back down to business, much to the relief (and amusement) of the nearby tournament players.--HC

6:11pm: From the mouth of Raymond Wu
Among the Team PokerStars Pros in the field today is local fan favorite Raymond Wu. Our Lynn Gilmartin caught up with Wu during the last break for a few words. --BW

6:07pm: Ivey looking toward Day 2
If anyone thought Phil Ivey's return to live poker tournaments was going to be a quick affair, they might want to think again. Ivey has doubled his starting stack since his arrival in Level 2. He just added about 7,000 to his stack. On a board reading 5♠8♥J♣7♠, he faced a beat of 4,500. With nary a thought, he bumped it to 15,000. After a long think, his opponent mucked, leaving Ivey to quietly stack up the chips. --BW

5:41pm: Level 6
Blinds are now up to 300-600-50. --BW

5:40pm: A Dutch stack
It's hard to pinpoint a definitive chip leader but one man who is definitely towards the top of the tree is Dutchman Roel Pijpers.

Pijpers is based out of Thailand and a regular on the Australasian poker circuit with a string of results in the PokerStars Macau Poker Room. His best result came in the HK$3,000 side event at the July Macau Poker Cup where he finished in second place for HK$80,250 (approx US$10,302). There's obviously a long way to go in this one but he'll be looking to better that score in the APPT Macau Main Event.--HC

5:30pm: Raid on APOY?
As you might have read, this event will end up determining who wins the Asia Player of the Year award. Hung-Sheng "Shaq" Lin has been crushing the leaderboard all year and looked like a lock for the top spot. However, Malaysia's Raiden Kan has made a late surge and currently sits in the second spot. Kan is in the field today and looking for a deep run. Given a good enough run, he could overtake Lin. Kan recently told us, "I've got a big chance now and I'm very confident."

Right now, Kan is the top money winner with more than HKD $1.7 million. He won the recent Macau Poker Cup championship. --BW

Thumbnail image for raidenkan3.jpg

Raiden Kan

5:20pm: Kanaan in control
ANZPT Sydney champion Michael Kanaan is now sitting pretty after a big double up when his pocket aces were paid off. The chips were in preflop with Kanaan holding A♦A♥ as his opponent pushed with J♥J♣.
The board ran out T♦A♠7♠2♠3♥ to improve Kanaan to a set for the double up to 50,000.--HC

5:15pm: Powell power
Adjusting to the style of play of the local players is one of the toughest elements to deal with for first-time visitors to Macau. One player who doesn't have that problem is Australian Julian Powell who is a regular in the cash game circles in this region.

Powell is now up to a healthy 42,000 after a creative play snuck through his opponent's defences. We arrived to see a flop of 6♦Q♣7♥ with four players in the pot. Action checked to a late position player who bet 1,500 which found one caller before the big blind check-raised to 3,600 with a strong play. However Powell's play was even stronger as he check-raised over them all, making it 8,600 to go.

After pause for deliberation, Powell's opponents each gave it up, as he flashed A♥T♠ for just ace-high.

"Everyone on this table is playing too tight!" chirped Powell as he raked in a nice pot.--HC

4:53pm: Johnny Chan to play Day 1b
While we're still about 19 hours from the start of tomorrow's Day 1b, we've just been given word that Johnny Chan will be joining us for APPT Macau. He's just been announced as an official lDay 1b entry. --BW

4:39pm: Masaki vs. Ivey, Round 2
Our Japanese blogger Jenn reports that Phil Ivey's return to live poker has re-introduced him to an old foe. In the 2010 WSOP Main Event, a player from Japan named Yuji Masaki in seat 3 doubled up through a famous professional poker player named Phil Ivey in seat 6. Masaki virtually busted the legend from the Main Event with that hand. Now, here at none other than the APPT: Macau, the two players are at the same table again, Masaki in seat 3 and Ivey in seat 6. Masaki was also on the final table in the 2008 APPT Seoul.


4:38pm: Back to Earth for Hinrichsen
Australia's newest WSOP bracelet winner, Andrew Hinrichsen, won't be adding an APPT title to his poker resume after his recent elimination from the Macau Main Event.
As recalled to us, Hinrichsen got involved on a [t][9][7] multi-way flop with jack-ten but ran into the pocket queens of Paul O'Brien. Hinrichsen couldn't improve on the [a] turn or [k] river and was sent to an early exit.

4:37pm: Return to action
The Day 1a players are back in their seats for 200-400-50 blinds at level 5.


Live APPT Macau updates are brought to you by Heath "TassieDevil" Chick and Brad Willis

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Macau