APPT Macau: Fighting for chips, sharing grins

They've played nearly five one-hour levels here on Day 1a of the ACOP Warm-Up in Macau, meaning they've crossed the halfway point for play today. The mood is upbeat here in the Grand Waldo Conference and Exhibition Centre where the tourney is taking place, with lots of smiles and evidence of fun being had, even as the fight for chips continues.

Of the 167 players who began the day, there are still about 110 left with chips. Perhaps it stands to reason that they're more likely to be smiling than the ones who've already left us.

A quick pass between the tables reveals a number of familiar figures sitting around them, including those known here in Asia and from other APPT events, as well as those who've made their mark elsewhere.

Hirotoshi Nakabo is here, sitting with just a little less than the starting stack of 20,000 at present. Nakabo is fresh off winning Event 6, the Six-Handed National Championship where he took away a nifty $304,600 HKD payday. So, too, is Yosuke Sekiya, current leader in the Asia Player of the Year standings. Sekiya is sitting with about 26,000 at the moment as they near the end of Level 5.

Nick Wong is here, another player well known here in Macau, with about 16,000. Wong participated in that Macau High Stakes Challenge "Super High Roller" event a couple of months ago, the one with the massive $2,000,000 (HKD) buy-in (with rebuys!). He took third in the event, thereby earning himself a massive payday worth more than $3.2 million USD. And he's still smiling...


Nick Wong

Other APPT notables with chips include Abhishek Goindi (38,000), Carlos Chang (36,000), Kenny Shih (32,000), Sangeeth Mohan (32,000), Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im (32,000), and Team Online Pro Naoya Kihana (23,000).

We've spotted a few of our Australian friends in the field. Jeff Rossiter (56,000) and David Allan (44,000) have both done well for themselves during the first half of the day, while their countryman Andrew Hinrichsen (28,000) has also chipped up.

2010 NAPT Venetian winner Tom Marchese (29,000) is here. So is the young German, Dominik Nitsche, hoping to add further to a tremendous 2012 that has included winning his first WSOP bracelet. Nitsche has accumulated 56,000 chips to this point.

Speaking of the WSOP, 2010 WSOP Main Event third-place finisher Joseph Cheong is sitting with about 36,000 at present. Players have been swapping stories and keeping things jovial at his table, too.


Joseph Cheong

Cheong is one of a few players in today's field with deep WSOP ME runs under their belts along with Kenny Shih and Andrew Hinrichsen who finished 18th and 23rd, respectively, in the 2011 Main Event.

2012 World Championship of Online Poker Player of the Series Mikal "mikal12345" Blomlie is here as well, sitting with about 22,000 at the moment. And Gordon Huntly of the U.K. has one of the bigger stacks in the room at the moment with about 58,000, which perhaps explains his mischievous look.


Once they reach the end of Level 6, the remaining players will take a 40-minute break, then return for two more one-hour levels before calling it a night. Two more hours left to improve their chip positions... and keep their moods bright.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Day 1a