Johnny Chan headlines record-setting APPT field in Macau
It's safe to say that Macau can lay claim to be the hottest poker destination in the world right now. It's a big call, but the numbers don't lie as once again PokerStars Macau have defied the worldwide poker trends to post another record-setting field.
The cash games have always been big, but now the tournaments are even bigger.
Today was Day 1b of the PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event and after 269 entrants yesterday, there were high hopes that we'd push the 500-player barrier for this event. Well, that barrier wasn't just passed but it was smashed as another 306 took to the felt to produce a total field of 575 for the HK$30,000 Main Event.
It's an enormous result and sets a new attendance record for the APPT, bettering the previous best of 561 set at the APPT Sydney Grand Final back in 2007. Players have come from a total of 54 countries across six continents to be a part of this event.
To further illustrate the global reach of this event was the quality of the field that took part.
Today's field was highlighted by the presence of ten-time WSOP bracelet winner and poker legend Johnny Chan, previous APPT Macau champions Dinh Le, Eddy Sabat and Victorino Torres, as well as Team PokerStars Pros Bryan Huang, Celina Lin, Vivian Im, Max Lykov and two-time LAPT champion Jose "Nacho" Barbero.
Most of those notables had a solid day on the felt, with Lin, Sabat and Lykov the only casualties towards the end of the day. Lin lost a key flip with ace-queen against pocket nines, while Sabat similarly couldn't connect with ace-king against an opponent's pocket queens.
While the pace of play was a little reserved on Day 1a, things motored along more quickly on Day 1b as just 149 survived the day.
The talking point at the day's end wasn't with the chip lead of Chinese Taipei's Jun Sha, but instead the verbal spat that followed a devastating blow to 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton. After having his pocket aces cracked by Andrew Ong's flush draw, the two exchanged some not-so-friendly words that led to Ong having to take a walk to cool down. Such is the nature of poker, that one bad beat can be the difference between fortune and failure, as Benton was eliminated soon after as Ong ended the day as one of the big stacks.
If you're not a fan of words, and prefer to see what happens when you mix a Gilmartin with a McDonagh in front of the camera, then check out this wrap video of the Nightly Notables:
Top Ten Chip Counts (end of day 1)
Chieh Su Shih - 171,800
Jun Sha - 169,400 (PokerStars Macau Qualifier)
Daniel Francis - 154,100 (Poker Stars Player)
Bryan Huang - 154,100 (Team PokerStars Asia)
Carlos Chang - 147,900 (PokerStars Player)
Andrew Ong - 145,900
Daniel Chua - 145,900
Fabian Spiedelmann - 142,800 (PokerStars Qualifier)
Erdenebold Begzjav 142,400 (PokerStars Macau Qualifier)
Zheng Tai Tan - 141,000
With 304 players still alive tomorrow for Day 2 we have an interesting scenario with a staggered start time. Tables 1-25 scheduled for a 12:10pm start and Tables 26-31 starting at 12:30pm. By the time each "flight" plays twenty minutes we should be in a position where all remaining players will be able to squeeze into the PokerStars Macau Poker Room at the same time.
It should be another exciting day as we play another eight levels or so to try to start to put a dent into the mass of humanity that is our APPT Macau Main Event field. We look forward to your company once again!