APPT Macau: The hunger for chips
Big stacks are emerging, players are falling. The $25,000 (HKD) ACOP Warm-Up event field continues to winnow, with players eyeing the big board more frequently as the money bubble looms closer.
Through four one-hour levels of play today just 66 players remain from the starting field of 358. Exactly two-thirds of them -- 44 -- will be making the cash. Today's plan is to play no more than 10 levels, with those players who survive coming back for tomorrow's Day 3 to decide a champion.
We were talking about cake a little while ago. That provided a nice snack for some. In a couple of hours the dinner break will come. But for now all anyone hungers for are more chips with which to compete.
With 66 players left, that means about half of those who began today have left us, each one's departure preceded by an all-in bet. Dealers position a small triangle next to the at-risk player's stack whenever that happens, and fortunately there are plenty of them available.
Among the more recent departures have been Dominik Nitsche, Toni Lechich, and Jordan Westmorland. The latter had built a big lead-challenging stack earlier before running into trouble and finally being eliminated.
Meanwhile other players are starting to distinguish themselves from the field by accumulating ever growing towers of yellow (5,000) and blue (1,000) chips.
Renyong Hu of China has about 250,000 sitting in front of him now as play begins in Level 13. Hiu Man Ng of Hong Kong as almost that many as well. And Adam Latimer went on a heater during the last couple of levels to increase his chip count to around the 235,000 range.
End-of-Day-1a chip leader David Martirosyan of Russia remains healthy with just under 200,000, while the Russian Andrey Shatilov has steadily increased to about 170,000.
And both Joseph Cheong and Johnny Chan continue to thrive, with both players hovering around the 150,000-chip mark.
Chan had a big boost to his stack a while ago in a hand that saw him facing a single opponent calling his flop bet after the first three cards came 6♦6♥8♥. The turn brought the 2♥ and a disinterested-appearing check from Chan. His opponent took that action as an invitation to bet 18,000 -- close to the size of the pot -- and Chan responded with an all-in shove which his opponent quickly called.
Chan quickly flipped his cards over -- A♥4♥ for an ace-high flush -- still retaining the same impassive look as he did. His opponent exhaled loudly, turning over K♥Q♥ for the second-best (and dead-drawing) hand.
The dealer dealt the meaningless river, and Chan scooped the pot, still expressionless. It was satisfying, sure. But there are more chips out there to be had. The hunger remains.
They'll play two more one-hour levels, then have a 45-minute dinner break before continuing. Food and nourishment will be the priority then. But right now, the only thing that satisfies is chips. More and more chips.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.