PokerStars Championship Macau: A bold start from Joachim Bold bags him the Day 1B lead

Usually by 6pm on a Day 1B of a PokerStars Championship Main Event, you're just a couple of hours away from the end of the day. But everything's different here in Macau.

Today's play didn't kick off until 6pm - presumably so the locals could finish work and get here on time to try their luck - and that tactic seems to have paid off. We had a big field here tonight with 321 total entrants, which combined with yesterday's 193-strong field means we've so far had 505 runners. Entry is still open until the beginning of Day 2 tomorrow, mind.

NEIL0744_Joachim_Bold_PCM2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bold by name, bold by nature

The player who had the best evening session of all was Germany's Joachim Bold. He collected most of his 130,500 chips when his pocket pocket aces beat Jianjing Zhang's pocket queens. That stack is good enough to lead all of the approximately 200 survivors, who include the other big stacks of Yeo Meng (128,700) and Yuexin Wang (121,100).

While it was a good night for Bold, it wasn't for many of the PokerStars Team Pros. Chris Moneymaker lost all his chips early on when his set of kings lost to a broadway straight. Celina Lin and ElkY couldn't survive the day either. And let's not forget about Felipe 'Mojave' Ramos, who had his aces cracked in the typical brutal fashion (Hand history).


Tough break for Ramos

Hope for the red spade is not lost though. Team Pro Aditya Agarwal is still alive, as is Team Online's Randy 'nanonoko' Lew. There are too many other known names left for us to list them all, so let's just pick out Kitty Kuo, Martin Kozlov, Kahle Burns and Manig Loeser as some who are all still alive and will be returning tomorrow.

We'll have the full end-of-Day-1B chip counts for you ASAP, as well as the Day 2 seat draw.

Otherwise, that's a wrap for tonight. We'll be back for Day 2 at 2pm tomorrow, so make sure you join us back on the PokerStars Blog then. We managed to bring you an update every five minutes today, so why would you even think about looking any where else? --JS

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1:55am: Call call call
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

While gambling is serious business in Macau, poker can be a bit of fun. Despite the fact we lost a player in this hand, everyone was in good spirits - even the departed.

It started with a 1,225 open from Korea's Soo Jo Kim, which was flatted by Beh Kok Weng. Yosuke Tagagi then min-three-bet to 2,450, which Kim called. Weng then made a big raise to 41,225, putting both players all in. They both call.

Kim - A♠K♣
Weng - A♦K♥
Tagagi A♥J♠

What made this hand funny was that all players were calling for different things simultaneously. "Jack!" said Tagagi. "Black!" said Kim. "Chop!" said Weng, the only non-greedy one.

The flop came T♦2♣4♣ helping Kim. "Jack!" said Tagagi. "Chop!" said Weng. "Clubs!" said Kim, who had changed his tune.

The turn was the 8♣.

"No club!" shouted Weng. "Club!" shouted Kim. "JACK!!" said Tagagi.

The river was the 9♣.

"No!" said Weng. "F**k!" said Weng. "Bye!" said Tagagi.

Kim now has 80,000, while Weng drops to 95,000. --JS

1:50am: Wei to go
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Liu Wei has been eliminated in brutal fashion after the ol' limp shove appeared to have worked a treat until the poker gods punished him.

Wei limped for 500 before Jordan Westmorland bumped it up to 1,750 to go. Roman Papacek was next to act and he opted for even more, raising again to 4,100. The action folded back around to Wei and he found it fitting to jam for 28,750.

Westmorland surrendered and while Papacek went into the tank looking seriously suspicious he couldn't let it go. Papacek called it off and rolled his eyes when he saw Wei's hand.

Wei: A♥A♣
Papacek: A♠K♣

"Of course," Papacek muttered, but his tune would quickly change.

The flop of 6♠2♠7♣ was met with a couple of "Whoa"s as Papacek picked up a flush draw, and while the 5♣ turn was a brick, by the river the "Whoah"s had been upgraded to fully-fledged "Wow"s as the J♠ arrived to complete Papacek's flush.

Papacek fist pumped before scooping the pot to eclipse 100,000 in chips while Wei was left with nothing but a bad beat story. -- BK

1:45am: Five more hands
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Day 1B is drawing to a close in Macau. There will be five more hands before bagging starts. -- HS

1:40am: Booze
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Four glasses of red wine just arrived at Kitty Kuo's table, the waiter carrying a tray directly to Kuo who demonstrated prior experience of relieving a waiter of two wine glasses, as did Wen Lin Wang in seat one next to her.

Kuo passed a glass to Edgard Raffoul in Seat 3, and another was sent in the direction of Joachim Bold, who at first didn't understand why he was invited to the party...

"You made a mistake so they brought them anyway."


Kitty Kuo shares a joke with Wen Lin Wang

It wasn't clear whether his mistake was to order incorrectly, or whether he'd made a mistake in a hand and they were making him feel better for his loss. Either way, a glass of wine will usually take care of all that, and Bold promptly came around to thank them, clinking glasses as if they'd pulled off the coup of the century, or at least the day, which they probably had. - SB

1:35am: Agarwal's shove gets through
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

It's getting to that point in the day where the blinds and antes are going up and things are getting expensive. In short, it means we're seeing a lot of shoves.

This one came from Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal on the turn. Pre-flop there were four players in the mix. When the 3♥2♥4♠ hit the table Agarwal continued with a 3,000 bet. It prompted a quick fold and two calls behind.

The turn was T♥ which Agarwal saw fit to shove with. He received two quick folds and Agarwal scooped the 20,000 pot. --DJ

1:30am: Last level fallers
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

The pace of exits is picking up now as the blinds and antes start to bite a bit. In the last hour we've waved goodbye to: Yuanye Chen, He Liu, Kok Yong Chong, Chang Hau Huang, Yu Li, Hang Li, Hui Wang, Zdravko Duvnjak, Jiayi Jin, Lee Wai Kiat, Bo Ouyang, Wei Hsiang Yeu, Romain Lewis, Mikhail Petrov and Koen Breed.

For Breed it means he now has more time to devote to further side event success, the Dutchman took down the 818 runner National Championship here yesterday. --NW

1:25am: Lim loses a little
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Two-time APPT champion Aaron Lim is in the running today and he just lost a small pot after doubling up a short-stacked opponent.

Lim opened to 1,300 before the short stack pushed all in for 2,950. Yinfei Xiao called from the big blind but Lim shoved all in over the top with enough to cover the roughly 30,000 of Xiao.

Xiao decided against it and Lim flipped over K♠Q♥, behind but live versus the at-risk player's A♥6♥. The 4♥T♦2♥4♠J♠ runout failed to help Lim and the pot was pushed to his tablemate.

Lim still has 31,500 in chips to play with. -- BK

1:20am: Drama at the condiments stand (and other untold stories)
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

It's been a busy day in Macau, and with plenty going on in front of us it's been difficult to cover every story, as we'd like.

So alongside those we have written, there are those we have been unable to write, at least not beyond the headline.

So what were those stories? Here are a few that will have to wait at least another day.

"Drama at the condiments stand!"
"Is that Darus Suharto?"
"Did she spill the soup?"
"If a players is in a hand, but doesn't have a player ID card in front of him, do they still exist?"
"Can shouting at a tournament director change their decision?"

Maybe tomorrow. - SB

1:15am: Pocket 8's LOSE?!
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

I've been banging on about pocket eights all day. And with good reason.

I've seen them win EVERY TIME.

I've seen players get it in bad with them to hit a set, I've seen them go in good on at least three occasions and hold. I've been mesmerised by their prowess, at their seemingly unshakeable magical powers here in China.

Well now - I take it all back.

After calling all three streets with 8♦8♣--the board was 5♠5♦T♠9♣7♦--Bobby Zhang couldn't hold against Chung Yu's A♠A♣ after the board ran clean. He now sits on 42,000 chips.

Pfft, pocket eights. --DJ

1:10am: An online hand in the live arena
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

"That's a good one," said Sofia Lovgren. She was one of many players who'd come to see what all the commotion at the table containing Zhao Hongjun. He finished eighth in yesterday's Super High Roller but it looked as if he was going to crash out of the Main Event on Day 1. He'd three-bet shoved for 13,175 with A♠Q♠ and Duane Baillet had made an easy call with K♥K♣.

The J♦8♣A♦ flop put Hongjun in the lead. There was some low murmuring at this occurrence. The K♠ turn gave the advantage back to Baillet and it was followed by a few "wows". The river was - can you guess yet? - the T♥ filling Hongjun's straight and completed a three street suck-re-suck-re-re-suck run out. Scenes.

After that hand Baillet - who remained impassive throughout - is down to 24,000. --NW

1:05am: Set over set
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

There was a crowd, there was an all-in, and there was a bad beat for someone. Hang Li was looking down at the table, specifically at his pocket sixes and the set he'd flopped. The thing was Zhi Min Pun had also flopped a set, of sevens, and when the money went in he was inevitably left with a smile on his face, and a stack of 59,000. Li managed a smile on his face too, but was on his way to the rail. - S

1:03am: Chew's juicy secret
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Stevan Chew has had a tumultuous day at the felt so far but he just took down a three-way pot with some post-flop aggression.

The flop read 2♣9♥T♦ and Chun Wong led at it for 2,200. The bet was met with a call by the player in the hijack before Chew bumped it up to 7,000 from the cutoff.

Wong folded it and while the hijack looked suspicious he also decided to let it go.

"What you have?" the hijack queried Chew in broken English.

"Secret," Chew quipped back.

The two exchanged some more banter as Chew stacked up a new total of 42,000. -- BK

1am: Looser aggressive
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

With a level to go some players are feeling the strain. Yixin Wu stood up from his seat and began punching his leg to get the blood circulating, a lesson in not sitting with your legs folded beneath you on the chair.

Behind him an other player was twisting himself to shake some energy back into his system, while a table along a player in an Ed Hardy short was stretching every bit of himself, including arms pits, chin and cheeks.

It's not clear whether he worked but he made enough noise to suggest he was stretching something, including the imagination. - SB

12:55am: Guess which hand wins...again
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

It's been a good couple of days for Aussie Kahle Burns who came fourth in yesterday's Super High Roller for $415,000.

He called a late open from Yat Wai Cheng directly to his right for 1,100. When Cheng continued on the 7♦7♣5♠ flop for 1,800, Burns followed suit.

The T♥ turn didn't slow down the action, with Cheng putting in another 1,800 bet. Again Burns came along.

The river was a relative brick 3♣ which Cheng continued on by betting 5,700. But it wasn't enough to deter Burns who snapped it off without putting another chip in the middle.

Cheng turned over K♠Q♥ for a three-street bluff and Burns tabled 8♠8♣ to scoop the lot.

If one thing's clear from our time in Macau so far it's that pocket eights are the stone cold nuts. Whether you get it in good with them or you get it in bad - we haven't seen them lose at any point today. -- DJ

12:50am: Lin loses it all with aces
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin has come up short after a painful beat brought an end to her tournament run.

Lin got it all in pre-flop with A♠A♥ against an opponent's K♣Q♠ but failed to hold when the cards fell Q♦Q♥6♦T♥J♦ to see her tablemate make three of a kind.

Lin took to Twitter to vent.

-- BK

12:45am: Randy rallying
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Team PokerStars Online Pro Randy Lew hasn't had the best Day 1B so far but he's rallying back after taking a pot from Jordan Westmorland.

Westmorland brought it in for an early position raise to 900 and was called by Lew on the button and Liu Wei in the big blind. The flop came down 5♣5♥K♦ and after two checks it was Lew's turn to speak. He took the betting lead with a barrel for 1,050 and after Wei folded, Westmorland stuck around to see the T♥ appear on the turn.


Jordan Westmorland tells Adrian Attenborough about it

Westmorland checked again but quickly gave it up when Lew fired for 2,250. The Team Pro scooped the pot and rebuilt to 22,000. Despite losing the hand Westmorland still has 31,500 in front of him. -- BK

12:40am: Oops
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

I don't know what the Chinese word for "Ooops" is but I'm fairly certain that's what Jianbiao Zhong said in a pot he just played against Jun Zhou.

The hand happened in a flash. Zhong raised to 1,200 from under the gun, Zhou three-bet to 3,700 from early position, it folded back to Zhong and he snap four-bet to 13,700 and Zhou beat him into the pot. He was all-in for 16,700 and it was at this point that Zhong realised that he was a) behind and b) priced in to call. He also now let out the "Oops".

Having put in the extra it was time for the reveal. Zhou had K♠K♥ and had Zhong's K♦Q♥ crushed. The Q♦J♥8♥ flop gave Zhong a pair but he still trailed. The 8♠K♥ turn and river kept Zhou in front and he doubled up. --NW

12:35am: Lew Loo
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Team PokerStars Pro Randy "nanonoko" Lew has managed to fly under the PokerStars Blog radar so far tonight, but I did just catch him winning a small pot. Junzhong Loo opened to 1,050 from the cutoff, and it folded to Lew in the big blind. He three-bet to 3,000, and got Loo to lay it down. Lew has 17,500 now. --JS


Randy Lew

12:30am: Ready for anything?
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

There's nothing worse than arriving at a poker tournament ill prepared. It was with this in mind that Soo Jo Kim came to work today, with enough possessions to fill a small suitcase.

They're all perched in front of him, between his chips and his chin. There's a phone, his headphones, his headphone case, a large hold all for things like wallets and Id, plus his sunglasses case, presumably with sunglasses in them.

In short Kim is ready for anything.

Well nearly everything. Perhaps not James Chen.

Chen, who yesterday finished seventh in the Super High Roller event, was looking at a flop of 7♣T♣J♦ which had been checked to him by Yosuke Takagi. He checked too, which opened the way for Matas Cimbolas to bet 2,450. Kim was happy to call. But while Takagi passed, looking at his cards one last time to say goodbye more than anything, Chen had a hunch, and decided to follow it.

He slipped in two yellow chips, a raise of 10,000. Cimbolas folded, and while he was prepared for a lot of things, Kim wasn't prepared for this. He folded too and Chen stacked up his new chips - up to 70,000 now, and with now luggage. - SB

12:27am: Wakeman wins a small one
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Matthew Wakeman has had a decent Day 1B so far. He's almost doubled his starting stack now after raking another pot.

Wakeman opened to 1,000 under the gun and was called in three spots by Jin Hwang Yong next to act, Hui Wang on the button and Tommy Velliama in the big blind.


Matthew Wakeman: A small one

The dealer fanned a flop of 7♦4♣5♠ and it was checked through to Yong who wagered 3,000. Wakeman was the only caller and the two of them saw the 4♥ arrive on the turn.

The action was then checked all the way down with the J♦ completing the board and Wakeman tabling A♦5♦ for the winner.

After that he sits with around 55,000 in chips. -- BK

12:25am: Heading home, or at least somewhere else
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

"You don't have to go home but you can't stay here." So sang Semisonic on their seminal* 1998 hit Closing Time. It's a feeling Amanda Caines, Weijian Xie, Sheng Sun, Shaoqing Liu, Jose Ortiz, Michael Walsh, Tomas Jozonis, Alex Jennings, Viliyan Petleshkov, Yifan Zhang, Rory Young, Jamie Whyte, Karim Rebei, Guillaume Diaz and Thomas Ward will know well as the lights have gone out on their Main Event chances. --NW

*A matter of opinion --Ed

12:20am: Egan stays alive
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Michael Egan has just doubled up after calling an all-in on the flop.

The action came when Egan's initial open was bumped up to 4,100 by Zhiziong Tan. Egan re-clicked it up to 11,100, which Tan called.

The flop of 8♠6♣8♦ prompted a quick shove from Tan who was first to act. And Egan called it off with his remaining 22,000 chips.

Tan showed K♦A♥ and Egan's J♠J♣ held for him to double up. Egan now holds 55,000 chips. -- DJ

12:15am: Meng sparkling
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

The board already read J♥4♣T♥Q♣ when Pieran Liu had raised Yao Meng's bet of 2,000 to 5,500. In front of Meng was her stack, a complete mess if we're honest, there having been no time between her winning the last hand, and playing this one to stack them neatly.

She fidgeted a bit and waved her fingers around as if counting. Liu waited, but it looked like from a position of strength.

But Meng, who wears a skirt the colour and substance of a disco ball, was not done. She called and took things to a river. Mess or no mess, she had enough chips to make like difficult for someone.


Yao Meng and her discoball skirt

The river was the 3♥. Meng immediately bet 4,000 and waited. She riffled a bit, but figured the housekeeping - tidying up all the 100s she had spread out before her - could wait. Liu meanwhile looked on, and then figured the game was up.

Only then did Meng resume stacking her chips, making neat piles worth 10,000 which when joined together will add up to more than 79,000. - SB

12:10am: Ramos not only in James Chen's bad books, but the Poker Gods' too
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

This was a very interesting hand, so sit back and get comfortable as I talk you through it.

It started with a standard 1,000 open from Matas Cimbolas in the hijack, which was called the by the player in the cutoff. Malaysia's Beh Kok Weng three-bet to 5,000 on the button, and the small blind folded.

PokerStars Team Pro Felipe Ramos was in the big blind, and he went into the tank. He shuffled his chips, peeked back at his cards several times, but didn't act. After a couple of minutes James Chen (to Ramos's left) called the clock. Ramos shook his head in disappointment.

"I gave you a long time," argued Chen, as the floor staff arrived to begin Ramos's countdown. And so the clock started ticking.

About halfway through the minute, Ramos counted out a squeezy four-bet to 13,900 and it folded back to Weng on the button. He called.

The dealer spread a T♦K♣2♣ flop, and after 30 seconds or so Ramos announced he was all-in. Weng snap-called for his entire 34,300 stack.

Ramos - A♦A♥
Weng - T♥T♠

A brutal flop for Ramos had left him drawing to two cards in the deck (or runner runner straight cards). The 5♥ turn wasn't the ace he needed, and nor was the J♦ river. Ramos shook his head in disappointment once again.

We don't know why the Poker Gods weren't on Ramos's side in this one, or indeed haven't been for this event so far. He told my colleague earlier "I've lost every pot I've played." Sadly for Mojave fans, here's another to add to that list.

He's still in, at least. Ramos has 7,500 left, while Weng is up to 100,000. --JS

12:05am: No Luk for Kan
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

This hand lasted almost ten minutes and ended with an elimination. Timpson Luk began proceedings. He raised to 900 from under the gun, Raiden Kan called from UTG+1 and Hang Li then squeezed to 2,600 from the cutoff. Both opponents called.

The 4♦7♦J♠ flop was checked through and the 8♣ fell on the turn. Luk checked the action to Kan and he bet 3,500. That saw off Li but Luk was going nowhere and he check-raised to 8,500.

This sent Kan deep into the tank. Nope scratch that, he was south of deep as he stayed there for over four minutes. When he emerged it was to move all-in and Luk snap called.

No surprise really given he had J♥J♦ for top set. Kan was drawing thin with T♦T♠ and he didn't connect with the 7♥ river and was eliminated. --NW

12pm: Agarwal scoops a small one
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Indian Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal has just scooped a small pot at the far end of the poker room here in Macau.

Following an UTG open to 900 and a call from Jiabin Cui one seat around, Agarwal flatted from late position.

Following two checks ahead of him on the 8♠2♥7♥ board, Agarwal continued with a 1,700 bet. The UTG player got out the way but Cui called.

The turn was a pure brick - 2♠, which changed nothing for either player as they both checked.

The river was the 7♣ pairing the board. This time it was Cui's turn to lead - betting 2,500. Agarwal took his time before eventually calling. Cui flipped over K♥J♥ for a busted straight draw, with Agarwal's 6♥6♣ being good enough to scoop the pot.

He's now up to just over the day's initial starting stack. --DJ

11:55pm: Caines can't hold
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Amanda Caines is the latest Main Event casualty after moving her super short stack in preflop and being run down by Corey Hochman.

Caines was down to just 1,600 and committed it before Hochman called to put her at risk.

Caines: A♠2♦
Hochman: K♥9♥

Caines did have the best of it but the Q♦K♦3♥ flop wasn't what she wanted to see. With the 5♥ turn and 8♥ river improving Hochman to a flush it only rubbed salt in the wound for Caines as she was sent hurtling to the rail. -- BK

11:50pm: Tonight's gonna be a what?
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

As the sound of Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night rattled through the soon-to-be-sent-back-for-a-refund sound proof doors of the Hard Rock Cafe, Yixin Wu was about to find out.

He'd opened for 500 which Qiao Heng, who wears a shiny silver top, zipped up to his chin - as if trying to sweat off a few pounds to make his jockey weight -raised to 1,600 with a confidence that would put lesser men on the back foot. But Wu was ready to take a stand. He called, and they saw a flop.


Wu checked, leaving it to Heng to bet 2,000. It looked like this might be enough, and Heng sat riffling as he waited for the inevitable fold. But Wu didn't fold. He raised to 5,500.

Heng stopped riffling. Then, cautiously, he paid to see the 3♣ turn card. Now he seemed on the defensive.

Wu had one move left. He shoved for 11,275. Tonight might not be a good night for Wu, but this was a good hand. He's back up to 25,000, while Heng drops slightly to 21,000. - SB

11:45pm: Better to Burns out than to fade away
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Joining Manig Loeser and James Chen in the "I final tabled the Super High Roller yesterday and won hundreds of thousands of dollars" club is Australia's Kahle Burns.

He was just in a pot against Yai Cheng in which an A♣7♥A♦ flop had been dealt. I didn't see that action though, so let's skip ahead to the 3♠ turn. Cheng checked it and Burns led out for 1,600. Cheng obviously had some tricks up his sleeve though and check-raised it to 4,500. After around half a minute Burns made the call.

The river came the 5♣ and Cheng went even bigger. The bet was 10,500, but Burns thought better of calling and let his hand go quickly.

He has 35,000 right now, while Cheng has climbed to 42,000. --JS

11:42pm: Le leaves us
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

It's all over for Ngoc Khanh Le who ended up on the wrong end of a flip versus Junzhong Loo.

Le committed his last 7,500 pre-flop and it folded all the way around to Loo in the big blind. The jam couldn't get through the final man as Loo called to put Le at risk and the cards went on their backs.

Le: A♦J♣
Loo: T♠T♥

It was a fair fight and while Le improved on the river when the cards fell 9♦8♥5♥7♠J♠, Loo's pocket tens improved further to a jack high straight. That was well and truly good enough to send Le packing and see Loo's stack build to 57,000. -- BK

11:40pm: Chew takes a chunk out of Caines
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

If my eyes were seeing things correctly Amanda Caines had bet just 400 into a pot of over 10,000 on the river of a J♦2♣9♣2♥9♥ board. Stevan Chew was her opponent and he raised it up to 8,000. Caines deliberated for a while before making the call. Chew turned over Q♠Q♦ and Caines mucked. She's now down to around 12,000 while Chew is up to 48,000. --NW


Amanda Caines and Stevan Chew

11:30pm: Fifteen minute break
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

That's the end of Level 4 and players now take a 15-minute break. They'll return to play two more levels before the day is done. -- HS

11:25pm: All the stars
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

A very tough table has developed this evening featuring Felipe Ramos, James Chen, Adrian Attenborough and Matas Cimbolas, among others. Three of them were involved in consecutive pots, with Cimbolas and Chen prevailing in the first and second, respectively.

In the first Gregory Heaver opened to 700 under the gun and Cimbolas called from one seat to his left. It was those two alone to a flop of A♥K♠6♣ and Heaver continued for 1,100. Cimbolas called.


Matas Cimbolas: Tough draw

The 3♥ appeared on the turn and Heaver's check allowed Cimbolas to assume control. He bet 2,000 and Heaver folded instantly.

On the next hand, Ramos opened from the cutoff, making it 800 to play. Chen three-bet his button, putting 2,300 out there, and Ramos called.

The flop had a lot of paint. It was J♣Q♥K♦ and Ramos checked. Chen bet 1,200 and Ramos had seen enough. -- HS

11:22pm: Xiao wants to see the river, won't pay
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Sorry Yinfei Xiao. If you're facing a bet on the turn and then want to see the river, you have to pay the toll. It's not rabbit hunting season here in Macau.

He'd got involved in a pot against Darian Tan Kok Fye and Tzu Chien Lo. The three of them had gone to a 8♥5♦7♠ flop on which Tan had bet 1,500. Lo then raised to 4,500 and the action was on Xiao. He put his sunglasses on and it helped him make his decision, which was to call. Tan folded so it was heads-up to the 5♠ turn.

Xiao checked and Lo bet 7,500. Xiao had just 12,000 back so it was a decision for most of his chips. The sunglasses came off and he tanked for ages before folding. It was at this point that he asked the dealer if he could see the river. She genuinely looked confused at this request and it was pointed out by the other players that she shouldn't deal the river! Pot to Lo. --NW

11:20pm: Deeply mediocre
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

I thought I had a cast-iron read on Raiden Kan. But I don't.

Kan is watching catch-up TV on an iPad that he has propped on the table in front of him. It's not a small iPad and it's not discretely propped. It's massive and it has its own stand, which keeps it very erect on the elbow rest around the table. If his opponents were to look into his mirrored shades, they would be able to see precisely what he is watching.

Anyway, the read: when Kan presses pause he is going to play a pot.

He did it three times previously when I walked past, hitting pause to peek at his cards in the big blind and then calling a raise in front of him. He'd then restart the show when the hand was done.

However, he also just played a pot yet didn't freeze the action. It meant that a) my read was terrible and b) what looks like a hugely mediocre soap opera played out on screen while what turned into a hugely mediocre hand of poker played out on the table.

The pot started with a raise from under the gun from Xiao Lin. Michael Song called on the button and Kan called from the big blind, but he let his show play on.

The first three cards out were the A♣6♥T♥ and Kan checked. He was latterly the only caller when Lin bet 850.

Two players looked at the 6♣ turn and both checked. Then the 2♣ fell on the river and Kan bet 1,800. A man walked into a room and looked menacing in a soap-opera fashion, then a woman fluttered her eyelashes and the director cut away.

Lin folded, allowing Kan to rewind if he wanted to catch all these thrills.

Kan, for the uninitiated, is a bit of a legend in these parts. He won the Macau Poker Cup in October 2011 and has been there or thereabouts in scores of big tournaments held in PokerStars Asia. -- HS

11:20pm: Bold doubles as Zhang hits the rail
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Here's how...

An open from middle position prompted a three-bet from Jianjing Zhang to 1,500. Joachim Bold - sat directly to Zhang's left - bumped up the price to 5,000. The initial opener folded and Zhang called.


Joachim Bold: Big pot

The flop came 3♠8♣7♣, at which point Zhang led for 4,000. But almost even before Zhang had a chance to put his bet down on the table Bold announced he was all-in.

Zhang sighed, head in his hands, before throwing his remaining three yellow chips - worth 15,000 into the middle.

Bold turned over A♠A♦ and Zhang Q♠Q♥ - as Bold scooped a 30,000 chip pot. It put Bold up to around 103,000 which is the top of the charts.-- DJ

11:18pm: Add a little bit of Salter to your Francolini
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Now I'm not saying that most Italian names sound like types of pasta, but Francolini could definitely be a sausage and fedelini dish, right?

Add a little Salter to that dish and you'd get Italy's Mauro Francolini.

Picking up the action on the K♦Q♠J♣ flop (talk about connected) Louis Salter checked it to Francolini and he opted to check it back. The turn brought some action though as Salter led out for 3,000 on the 9♥. Francolini called.

On the J♠ river, which paired the board, Salter fired once again for 7,600, but Francolini didn't hesitate to call. Salter showed the A♣4♠, but ace high was no good against the Italian's T♣T♦ straight. He has 44,000 now, while Salter is still comfortable with 51,000. --JS

11:12pm: Did he have the aces?
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

The early levels of this tournament are being played with more bonhomie than usual. Perhaps it's the late start, the short day (six levels instead of eight) or a combination of both. Either way, Konstantin Pogodin, Kunal Patni and Dianlei Zhang just played a pot that showcased some of this sprit.

It was Pogodin who got the action started. He raised to 700 from the hijack and Patni, who was on the button, then three-bet to 2,000. Zhang was in the big blind and he took it upstairs, making it 4,300 to play. This escalation saw off Pogodin but Patni wanted to see a flop.

That flop fell J♣4♦6♦ and a bet of 5,000 from Zhang was enough to win the pot.
"Show one," pleaded Patni and Zhang acquiesced to this request and even let Patni choose which card. He then flipped the chosen card to reveal the A♠.

"Ace-king?" asked Patni. There was no answer, Zhang just smiled, he'd given enough free information away already it seems. --NW

11:10pm: No more Mr Weis guy
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

A final update about phone-pokering short stack Oliver Weis: He's out. Not a good day on either the live or online felt for the young German. --JS

11:05pm: Ship it to Shen
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Jose Ortiz is on the ropes after paying off Jingjun Shen's river bet in a recent hand.

The community cards read J♣K♦5♥T♥7♥ and with an already bloated pot hovering at around 23,000 in chips, Shen wagered 17,000 for most of his stack. Ortiz took his time with the decision for almost two thirds of his remaining chips, but unfortunately for the Englishman he ended up making the incorrect choice.

Ortiz called it off to find out he was behind Shen's A♥Q♣ for a turned Broadway straight. Shen now sits with almost three times the average stack with 92,000 while Ortiz drops to 8,000 in play. -- BK

11pm: Rockyoke
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Usually the dominant sound in a poker room is the monotonous riffling of chips, but not here at the City of Dreams.

The poker room is located in close proximity to the Hard Rock Café and tonight, like every night, there's a live rock band in the house. They're banging out some classics and modern favourites. It's not to everyone's taste. Many players are using headphones to listen to sounds of their own choosing. Matas Cimbolas however was bopping along to Inner Circle's, Sweat. The 23-year-old wasn't ever born when that 1992 release hit the charts. That makes me feel old. --NW

10:55pm: If only He Liu his opponent had a straight
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Fresh from his third-place finish in last night's HK$400K Super High Roller (in which he won a cool $530,689 US), Manig Loeser had no action in front of him and opened to 900 on the button. Both the blinds called, and three players saw a flop.

It came J♥8♦6♠ and Christoffer Stahle checked to the big blind of He Liu, who checked too. Loeser continued for 1,300, Stahle folded but Liu called.

The turn was the Q♠ and both checked, bringing the T♣ on the river. Liu now led out for 3,100 but Loeser snap-called. Liu had rivered two pair with the J♦T♦, but that was no good as Loeser had 9♥5♠ for a straight. He's up to 37,000 now, just ahead of Liu who was left with 36,000. --JS

10:50pm: Lin leaves
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Celina Lin is out. This has been a very bad opening to this tournament for Team PokerStars Pro with Lin joining ElkY and Chris Moneymaker on the rail.

celina_lin_pscmacau_d1b.jpegCelina Lin

Aditya Agarwal and Felipe Ramos are still seated, and there may well be a nanonoko somewhere out there. We just haven't spotted him yet. -- HS

10:45pm: A few big stacks
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

As far as anybody can see, Yuexin Wang is still the chip leader. He has about 98,000 at the moment having pushed on from the elimination of Liow Ming Kee (9pm post).


Other big stacks sit with Leo Hon Cheong (85,000), Corey Hochman (83,000) and Yat Wai Cheng (70,000). There will likely be about 20 players out there with similar stacks to those. -- HS

10:40pm: When you bite off more than you can Chew
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

It was a bit of a cooler for Aussie Stevan Chew who just lost a big pot despite having both trip-queens and a made flush on the river.

I joined that action on the river to see Chew lead heads-up with a 12,500 bet on a 4♥3♥Q♠Q♦T♥ board.

After a little while his opponent, Corey Hochman called.

Chew flipped over K♥Q♥ - surely good enough right?


Hochman flipped over 3♣3♦ for a full-house, and is now up to just over 50,000. Ouch. --DJ

10:35pm: Sergeev? Check. His buddha? Check. Masseuse? Missing.
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Sergey Sergeev is a happy man right now. He won his seat into this Main Event in a satellite which finished not long ago right in front of our media desk. He's now sat in the Main Event along with his trademark buddha card protector, but one thing's missing: the man known for his marathon massage sessions isn't currently being massaged.

sergey_sergeev_pscmacau_d1b.jpegSergey Sergeev

Still, it's only a matter of time until a masseuse becomes available I'm sure. So while we're waiting to begin timing it once it begins (in Malta we timed his massage at 12 hours straight!) I thought I might as well watch some action at his table.

This hand started with a 700 open from Siarhei Chudapal under the gun, which got a call from Seng Yee Leow in middle position. It folded to Sergeev in the big blind and he called, bringing a 5♣5♦J♠ flop. Sergeev checked, as did Chudapal, letting Leow in for a 1,100 stab. It went fold, call, and they were heads up to the turn.

That card was the A♣ and when Chudapal checked Leow continued for 2,000. Call.

The board paired once again on the A♠ river and Chudapal checked once again. Leow made it 4,900 at this point, pushing Chudapal into the tank before he eventually made the call. He'd then instantly muck when he saw Leow's A♦J♦ for a boat.

Chudapal is now down to 16,000 while Leow climbs to 40,000. --JS

10:30pm: Farrington finds some more chips
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

We arrived at the table on the river with the board showing 7♣3♠7♦K♥A♠ and two active players. They were Frederik Farrington and Jesus Sanchez Blanco, and with Farrington first to act in the under the gun seat, he fired for 4,000 into a pot of just over 6,000.

Farrington looked comfortable, taking a swig of beer as Blanco deliberated. After a minute in the tank Blanco let it go and was left wondering as Farrington tabled the 8♥ with a smile.

Blanco was left with a still-healthy 26,000 while Farrington improved to 48,000. -- BK

10:25pm: Lucky eight for Loeser?
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Yesterday in Macau Manig Loeser recorded the biggest live cash of his career. The German grinder finished third in the HK$400,000 Super High Roller, winning HK$4,124,000 (about US$530,000).

He's just joined the action in the Main Event and drew a seat at table eight. He'll no doubt recognize Elliot Smith and Viliyan Petleshkov among his tablemates. Will table eight prove lucky for Loeser? Only time will tell. --NW

10:20pm: The early end of ElkY
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

ElkY is out. This one was pretty gross. He flopped a set of fives and they got the money in, but his opponent turned a set of jacks. Adios ElkY. -- HS

10:15pm: Chou flush with chips
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

I joined the action to see a big pot in progress between Zhong Jian Biao and Chien Fa Chou. There was already 6,000 in the pot and they'd reached the turn of a Q♥K♦6♥3♥ board. Chou was in the small blind and he checked. Biao bet 2,500 and Chou then check-raised to 7,500 total. Call from Biao.

The T♣ completed the board and Chou slowed down as he checked. Biao took the opportunity to bet 13,000 and, after about 15 seconds in the tank, Chou called. Biao tapped the table to indicate it was a good call and then showed A♣2♥ for ace high. Chou could beat that and beat it handsomely as he rolled over 7♥5♥ for the turned flush. He's now up to 60,000, while Biao is down to 25,000. --NW

10:10pm: From Friesland to Macau
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

As reported a few minutes ago, Rinnert Sinnema is out. A word about him: Sinnert was one of the Spin & Go qualifiers to this tournament, having fired up PokerStars in his home in Friesland, on the north-west coast of the Netherlands, and won a package to a place he had never even heard of.

He said he never in a million years imagined he would be visiting a place so far away from the town he has lived in for all of his 64 years. (Just take a look at Friesland, by the way. Why would you ever leave?)

He has two grand-daughters and one grandson, and plays poker online when he is not looking after them, or at work. He works in a large warehouse in Friesland. He has been playing poker for about 10 years, mainly online.

His excursion to the PokerStars Macau Main Event has ended prematurely, but we hope it was fun while it lasted for Sinnert. -- HS

10:05pm: Lovgren needs a king, but Egan's hogging them
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Sofia Lovgren and Michael Egan have been enjoying some nice chit-chat for the first few levels of play, but I've just seen them clash in a pot that could have potentially been massive.

sofia_lovgren_pscmacau_d1b.jpegSofia Lovgren

Egan opened from the UTG+1 seat to 600 and it folded right around to Lovgren in the big blind who called. They saw an A♣9♦T♦ flop and both checked to the T♠ turn. Now Lovgren led out for 800 but Egan didn't budge, bringing the Q♣ on the river. Both checked it down.

Lovgren showed her Q♠J♣ quite comfortably, but Egan had that beat with his K♣K♥.

"Why couldn't a king have come?!" said Lovgren, or something along those lines. A king on the turn or river would have given her the nuts and Egan a set, but it wasn't to be.

Egan is now playing 33,000, while Lovgren is on 28,500. --JS

10pm: Pocket 8's win from behind...again
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Obviously. We're in China!

This time it was Chinese pro Xixiang Luo's turn to suffer the wrath of the 8's when Alexandre Moreau went over the top of his initial 3-bet to put Luo all-in.

Luo quickly called, removing his signature pyramid card protector from to show Q♣Q♥ against Moreau's 8♠8♦.

But, you could almost feel it coming when the 8♥ hit the flop and held. The bad-beat sees Luo down to just 10 big blinds. -- DJ

9:55pm: Hall of Shame
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

It's that strange time in the tournament where the number of players involved is staying pretty static because they're registering about as quickly as they're busting.

There are 313 players entered so far and 265 seated. It means 48 have already been knocked out.

The latest hall of shame features: Man Ho John So, Ernest Guthrie, Xin Jin, Vicente Fiorese, Aslan Esenkulov (will he be resurrected like his leonine namesake?*), Chul Woo Jung, Nicholas Horton and Rinnert Sinnema.

*No. -- HS

9:50pm: Fall-Lin down
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

PokerStars Team Pro Celina Lin enjoyed a nice dinner before the beginning of play today:

However, she's not had a nice start to the event, having seen her 30,000 starting stack drop to 15,500. --JS

9:45pm: Weis' phone sesh is over
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Remember earlier how we told you that Oliver Weis was playing on PokerStars on his phone whilst also playing this event? Well, that phone sesh is over. Live poker isn't going too well for him either right now, as he's only got 6,300 in this event.

His tablemates Jianjing Zhang and Tommy Hjerting Bech were involved a big pot though. Zhang limped under the gun and when it folded to Bech in the cutoff he raised it to 1,600. Zhang then made a raise himself up to 3,500, which Bech called.

They saw a Q♣Q♦5♠ flop and Zhang immediately led out for 5,000, which Bech didn't take long to call. The turn was the 3♦ and that blank killed the action. Check check.

On the 5♦ river, Zhang insta-checked and after a little think Bech checked it back. Zhang showed the 9♦9♠, but Bech had that beat with his T♣T♠. He's up to 38,000 now, while Zhang is down to 20,000. --JS

9:40pm: If you're seeing aces, you're folding aces
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Panayotis Flourentzou has a T-shirt that reads, "Are you seeing aces?" He never showed his cards at the end of the following pot, but there's a chance he was seeing precisely that. He could easily have played aces like this.

Flourentzou opened the pot with a raise to 500 from UTG+1. So far, that's consistent with aces. Anthony Diotte called in the hijack and Revaz Eliava called in the big blind. (Side point: this represents Australia v Canada v Georgia, respectively; poker the international game.)

The flop came K♣9♣Q♥ and Revaz bet 700 at it pretty quickly. Flourentzou called--consistent, I think you'll agree--and Diotte also called.

The turn was the J♣ and Revaz now checked. Flourentzou checked behind too and then Diotte bet 2,700. Revaz was no longer interested, but Flourentzou called. All of this, in our amateur opinion, is still consistent with aces.

The 8♠ fell on the river and Flourentzou checked. Diotte now bet 7,500.

OK, so imagine you really are seeing aces. It's an agonised fold, isn't it? Whether or not that's what Flourentzou actually had, he did indeed let his hand go.

Diotte, who made the final table in Panama last month, now has 58,000. That's a good start. -- HS

9:35pm: Cold five-bet from Cheng
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Tony Cheng isn't here to play around. The 2015 APPT Macau champion just took down a pot with some powerful preflop aggression.

Kahle Burns got it started with an under the gun raise to 525 before the player next to act reraised to 1,050. It folded around to Masato Yokosawa and he opted for a cold four-bet to 3,500.

That wasn't enough for Cheng who decided to enter the pot with a five-bet from the big blind to 8,000. Burns quickly gave it up, and despite the other two active players giving it some thought they both decided to give it up as well.

Cheng chipped up to 40,500. -- BK

9:30pm: Not So bad
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Down to just under ten big blinds Man Ho John So moved all-in with Q♦T♦ and Winfred Yu looked him up with A♣J♦. It was looking grim for So but he flopped best on Q♣3♦4♣. The 6♣ turn and 8♠ river kept him in front, and in the tournament. --NW

9:25pm: The river saves Sinnema
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

After an early position raise to 500 from Viliyan Petleshkov, Dutch PokerStars Qualifier Rinnert Sinnema moved all-in. He had just 3,150 in total and Petleshkov called off the extra chips required.

Sinnema: A♥8♥
Petleshkov: K♥K♦

The 2♠T♥3♥ gave Sinnema a flush draw. The 9♠ turn was a brick but the 6♥ river kept Sinnema's hopes in this tournament alive. He's still short on chips, but he's got almost 7,000 now. --NW

9:20pm: Felipe update
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

A quick Felipe Ramos from the most recent break. "I've lost every pot I've played." Thanks Felipe. Better luck from hereon. -- HS

felipe_ramos_pscmacau_d1b.jpegFelipe Ramos

9:15pm: Mortensen meets the Van Beest
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Morten Mortensen is well known on the Euro poker scene, what with one of his most notable cashes coming from a tenth-place finish at EPT13 Barcelona for $110,335. He's arrived here in Macau for this Main Event, but we're going to have to wait a bit longer to see if he plays any differently on Asian soil.

He's not in this hand, but his new tablemates Yifan Zhang and the magnificently named Cornelis Van Beest were.

Van Beest opened to 600 and was instantly three-bet by Zhang to his left up to 1,650. It folded back to Van Beest (I just like writing that name now) and he called. The board ran out 2♠4♠9♠K♠4♥ and it checked all the way down, meaning cards were flipped. Van Beast showed the Q♣J♣, but that was behind Zhang's A♥8♦ for ace high. That aggressive light three-bet won some extra chips for Zhang, and defeated the Van Beast. --JS

9:10pm: They gone
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

The following players all failed to make the first break of the day: Yu Song, Ping Chen, Shabtai Koren, Lui Luk Ting Patrick, Tommy Coker, Liow Ming Kee, Guoliang Wei, Duy Manh Ho and Seng Yee Leow. --NW

9:05pm: Lin v Lin
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Celina Lin has joined the action and the Team PokerStars Pro was immediately involved. She opened to 550 from under the gun and action folded through a table including Martin Kozlov and Raiden Kan and all the way to Xiao Lin in the small blind. He called.

The flop was the 4♥T♥3♣ and Xiao Lin check-called Celina Lin's bet of 500. Then the Q♠ fell on the turn and it went check, bet (1,500) and a call again.

The river was the 8♥ and Xiao Lin now led for 1,900. Celina Lin quickly folded. -- HS

9pm: The hunter and the hunted
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Someone was trapping somebody else in a hand that just played out between Liow Ming Kee and Yuexin Wang, but it was far from certain who was hunter and who was prey. Only Wang really knew, and he now has about 70,000 chips as proof.

yuexin_wang_day1b_psc_macau.jpgYuexin Wang: Hunter

Wang opened from UTG+1 and Kee three-bet his small blind, making it 2,150 to go. Wang four-bet to 5,300 and then after pondering his options for a long time, Kee five-bet to 12,450.

Someone had a big hand. That much was clear.

Wang now assessed his options and opted to call. It took them to a flop of A♣3♣6♠ and Kee immediately moved all-in. This seemed to be a pre-meditated move, but he was devastated when Wang immediately called.

Kee: K♥K♦
Wang: A♦A♥

How about that. Flop a set of aces and watch someone jam into you.

Kee heads out the door, while Wang is soaring. -- HS

8:55pm: Lucky 8's for Lin
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

In China 8 is considered the luckiest number. So when it comes to poker, forget about pocket aces - it's all about them pocket 8's.

The 8's turned out to be especially lucky for Ting Lin just before the break. After calling Nianqing Wang's open, Duane Baillet put his remaining 23,000 chips in the middle on a 9♠8♥2♥ board. After a long tank Nianqing Wang folded and Lin called.

Baillet flipped over 9♣8♠ for two pair, and Lin flipped over - you guessed it - pocket 8's.

"I had pocket aces!" shouted Wang in Cantonese. "I knew you had all the 8's!" -- DJ

8:50pm: Back from the break
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

And before you know it we're into Level 3.

8:45pm: Break time

That's the end of the level. Players are taking their first 15 minute break.

8:42pm: Lau eliminated
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It wasn't good news for the 2015 Asia Player of the Year Alan Lau who was knocked-out at the end of Level 2.

I arrived at the table to see him heads up with Jixue Yin and the all-in triangle in front of him for his remaining 15,500 chips on a Q♠J♦2♥3♠3♣ board.

After a long tank his opponent Jixue Yin made the call.

Lau didn't look pleased flipping over his A♦5♦.

But Yin did - showing A♣Q♥ and building his stack up to 55,000 chips. - DJ

8:41pm: ElkY arrives
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

ElkY is in the house and the Team PokerStars Pro has been placed at the same table as Dong Kim and Kahle Burns. The latter and ElkY soon got involved in a conversation about computer games with Dota and Starcraft the topic of conversation.

While this was going on the two also played a pot together with Burns calling a pre-flop raise from ElkY. The Frenchman bet the 2♦3♠T♦ flop, Burns folded and the pot went to ElkY. Throughout the hand the discussion never stopped. --NW

8:40pm: Eight is great
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Tobias Ziegler did enough betting to make it seem as if he could beat a weak eight, but Roland Yu ended up scooping a small pot as reward for his persistence.

Ziegler opened from the cutoff and Yu defended his big blind, taking them to the flop of 5♥5♦6♣. Yu checked and Ziegler bet 225. Yu called.

The turn was the J♦ and Yu checked again. Ziegler fired again, this time for 900 and Yu called once more.

The 8♣ fell on the river and Yu didn't change his checking approach. Zielger, however, didn't put out any more chips and Yu turned over his K♦8♦, which was good. -- HS

8:35pm: A wise bet from Wang, an unwise call from Weis
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It's not been the best start for Oliver Weis in the Main Event, but maybe he's having better luck online. He's currently playing on PokerStars on his phone while simultaneously holding real cards.

After Wen Lin Wang opened to 350, he picked up a calls from Edgard Raffoul and Jianjing Zhang before Weis squeezed it up to 1,500 on the button. All three called.

Four to the flop, it fell Q♠8♦7♦ and interestingly Wang led out for 4,500. Both Raffoul and Zhang folded, but Weis made the call. The thing is, he might have been a bit distracted by his online play; he only tossed in 1,500 thinking the bet was only that much. When he realised his mistake, he put in the extra 3,000.

The turn was the K♠ and play slowed here. It went check check to the 3♥ and Wang picked up where he left off, betting 8,400 after a minute in the tank. Weis now entered the tank himself, and was in there for a good few minutes (I'm pretty sure he played five online hands in that time).

He eventually made the call, but mucked when Wang showed the 8♥8♠ for a flopped set. That brought Weis down to 13,000, while Wang is now up to 48,000. --JS

8:30pm: Minutes later...
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Chris Moneymaker is now out.

8:25pm: Pogodin punishes Moneymaker
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker is hurting after a rough river which saw Konstantin Pogodin take a big chunk out of his stack.

It was Dianlei Zhang who got things started with a preflop raise to 475, and after Kok Yong Chong called, Moneymaker three-bet to 1,150. Pogodin cold-called on the button and, after Zhang threw his hand away, Chong made the call and the flop fell Q♠5♦T♠.

chris_moneymaker_pscmacau_d1b.jpegChris Moneymaker

Chong checked it over to Moneymaker and he continued for 1,600. Pogodin called, Chong folded, and the dealer turned the 6♣.

Moneymaker fired again, this time for 3,000, and Pogodin called to take them to the K♦ river. After another 5,000 from Moneymaker, Pogodin reached for more and made it 13,000 to go.

"Really? You called with like ace-jack of spades?" sighed Moneymaker.

Moneymaker still committed the chips and saw Pogodin flash A♣J♣ for the nuts on the end. Revealing K♠K♣ for top set Moneymaker wasn't happy as most of his stack went the way of Pogodin, who now has 47,000 at his disposal. Moneymaker on the other hand is left nursing just 4,100 -- BK

8:20pm: Xiao ships it
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Yinfei Xiao wore the look of a man confident he had the best hand. He was all-in for right on 18,500 and it was Qi Luo who was faced with the decision of calling or folding. He'd already committed 1,850 to the pot but this was a hefty chunk more to call. Eventually he elected to fold and Xiao showed A♣K♠.

Was it a flip or did Xiao have him dominated? We'll never know. --NW

8:15pm: Four-way fizzle out
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Here's a pot that had all the makings of a humdinger, but ended up dinging very few hums.

It started when Jiayi Jin opened to 400 from under the gun and Thibaut Blondel called a couple of seats around, followed by Yap Jun Wah on the button. Jiabin Cui found something he liked in the big blind and three-bet to 2,500.

Jin tanked and called. Then Blondel also called. Wah got out the way.

The flop brought the K♣A♥4♥ and it checked around, meaning the 7♦ came on the turn for free. Cui checked and Jin, the pre-flop raiser, bet 4,000. Blondel quickly folded, but Cui called.

The 4♣ completed the board and they both slowly checked. This was a fizzle out, but Jin didn't seem to like it when Cui tabled his K♣J♦ and it turned out to be the winner. -- HS

8:10pm: Tan's 'sick' bluff gets through
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

I arrived at table 22 to see 25,000 chips in the middle and all the cards laid out on the table.

Zhixiong Tan had 8,000 chips out in front of him for his river bet and his heads up opponent Yixin Wu was in the tank. The board read A♠9♠J♦6♠9♣ and Wu was clearly facing a big decision.

A player who saw me jotting on my notepad was keen to tell me the action. "Dude - it was like, an open to 350 [Wu] then a 3-bet to 1250 [Tan] and a 4-bet to 3750, and this is PRE-FLOP."

It was Tan who had been the aggressor all the way along, and had been until this point to build the pot to just under the size of a starting stack. After a while, Wu sighed and let it go.

Tan couldn't resist showing the bluff, before flipping over T♠7♣.

"Sick" said Wu with a shake of the head. - DJ

8:05pm: Smith's fast start
Level 2: Blinds 75/150

There are two Elliot Smith's I've heard of. One is a much loved American singer/songwriter who passed away in 2003. The other is a Canadian poker pro with $1.7 million in live earnings to his name.

One of them just sat down.

After Mikhail Petrov opened to 400, Yunsong Lai three-bet to 1,150 and that got a call from He Liu in the small blind. Elliot Smith (the poker pro) was in the big blind in his very first hand (he'd only just received his chips) and he then raised it all up to 4,700. Everyone folded relatively quickly.

Welcome to the table Mr Smith. --JS

8pm: Adding to the roll call
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Among the local heroes playing today are Zhixiong Tan, 2016 Macau Millions winner Alvan Zheng, APPT10 Macau Main Event winner Jian Guosun, Chenan Lin, Bobby Zhang, Peter Chen and former APPT Macau winner Tony Chang. -- SB

7:55pm: Kan can't call
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We caught the action on the turn with the board showing 3♥9♥2♥2♣ and Raiden Kan first to act under the gun. Kan checked it over to Michael Song on the button and he made it 2,100 to go.

Kan called and the 7♦ completed the board. After another quick check from Kan, Song peeked back at his cards and bombed it for 15,000. Kan folded almost immediately and Song was awarded the pot.

That hand takes Song back up to 29,000 while Kan dips to 25,000. -- BK

7:50pm: Over promising, under delivering
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Finding a big pot in the early stages of a poker tournament is a tricky business but I'd looked to have stumbled onto one that was taking place over on table 26.

Angelina Rich had raised to 400 from under the gun and picked up calls from Thibaut Blondel and Roman Korenev - the two players to her direct left. The action folded to Jiabin Cui, who was in the small blind, and he raised it up to 2,575. This was getting interesting. Even more so when Korenev called.

roman_korenev_pscmacau_d1b.jpegRoman Korenev

The two of them went heads-up to a flop, which fell 3♥K♥T♠. No betting on the flop and there would be none on the 4♥ turn. The Q♣ completed the board and, it has to be said, Korenev really didn't look interested at this point. Cui came out firing for 5,000 and Korenev instantly mucked. --NW

7:45pm: AA in the house
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Team PokerStars Pro has another representative sitting down. It's India's Aditya Agarwal, otherwise known as "intervention". He is No 1 on the India money list in online poker and fourth in the live money list. He is, in other words, pretty good.


Team Pro's Indian boss Aditya Agarwal

Other familiar faces now seated include Chen An Lin, Leo Cheng and Adrien Allain.--HS

7:40pm: If Yu don't him by now, Yu will never ever ever know Yu...
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150


Enough singing. Winfred Yu is in the house, and has sat down at Sofia Lovgren's table. Yu sits at no.3 on Hong Kong's all-time money list, but the popular player is also known for organising some of the biggest cash games in Asia.


Winfred Yu

My colleague Howard Swains overheard Lovgren saying that this was her first time playing poker in Asia, so what better player to play with than the action man himself?

She was busy winning a pot when he sat down. On an 8♥4♣2♣ flop, Zhenru Xie checked to her and Lovgren made it 1,900 (there must have been some decent pre-flop action). Xie made the call and the dealer burned and turned the T♣. It checked to the 8♦ river which paired the board, and there'd be no more betting on this street. Lovgren showed the Q♦Q♦ for a cagey check, while Xie had only the 4♠3♠. She's up to 34,000 now. --JS

7:35pm: One for the typesetters
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It's not often you get to make weak jokes in poker hand reports by the medium of HTML tags so you shouldn't pass up the chance if you find one.

Three players went to a flop for 500 apiece, with Jianjing Zhang in the hijack, Oliver Weis in the cutoff and Joachim Bold on the button. (It looked like it went limp, limp, raise, call, call, but I'm not 100 percent on that.)

Anyway, the flop fell 2♦9♥4♥ and after Zhang and Weis checked, Bold bet 750. Only Weis called.

The 6♦ fell on the turn and it went: check, bet 2,000, fold.

Where's Dave Italics? -- HS

7:30pm: More joy for Dilijiang
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

One of the many age old poker theory questions is just how valuable is a double up in the early stages of a poker tournament?

While we can't answer that question, it's certainly been a superb springboard for Dilijiang A, who doubled up early on with aces against kings. Since then he's been very active and has increased his stack further, now playing around 68,000. Whenever we've walked by his table he's been involved in a pot, and we witnessed the most recent one against Thomas Ward.

The two players had reached the turn of a Q♥4♣5♠T♥ board and there was roughly 4,600 in the pot. The action had been checked to Ward and he bet 3,200. Call from A.

The J♣ completed the board and A elected to lead, he bet 7,500 and Ward thought for about 10 seconds before mucking. --NW

7:25pm: Tang hurts Ho
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

David Tang is stacking chips after putting Duy Manh Ho to a decision for his entire stack.

Ho brought it in for a preflop open to 300 and, after the player on the button called, Tang squeezed to 1,800 from the big blind. Ho stuck around and with the button out of the way the dealer spread a flop of K♥K♦Q♥.

Tang checked it over to Ho and he took the betting lead with a wager for 1,500. Tang called and the A♣ rolled off on the turn. Both players then opted to check before the 8♥ landed on the river.

A final check from Tang prompted Ho to fire for an even 5,000, leaving himself only 3,000 behind. It quickly became apparent to Ho that Tang had sprung the trap when he pushed all in over the top. Despite the price Ho was getting he made a disciplined laydown, tabling J♥2♥ for a rivered flush before the pot was pushed to Tang.

That hand takes Tang's total to 47,000. -- BK

7:20pm: Diotte running hot
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Make that two more decent size pots for Anthony Diotte.

We picked the action up on the flop in the first one. There was 2,800 in the middle already, with Diotte in the small blind seat and Wen Chen in the UTG seat. The flop showed the 8♦8♥J♦ and Diotte led out for 900, which Chen called.

On a 5♦ turn Diotte slowed down, checking it to Chen who took control of the betting with a 1,600 wager. Call. The 7♣ then completed the board but there'd be no more action. Diotte showed the K♠J♠ and his top pair was good as Chen mucked.

In the very next hand, action folded to Diotte on the button and he made it 300. Yu Song called out of the big blind, before checking the 3♣6♥K♣ flop. Diotte made a 400 c-bet and Song quickly called leading to a 7♦ turn. Song (who did everything quickly) checked again before check-raising Diotte's 950 turn bet to 2,200. The Canadian called though.

On a J♠ river Song fired again for 3,200 and Diotte called. Song showed him the Q♣2♣ knowing she was beat with her busted flush draw, and Diotte showed the 6♣[23s] for two pair and the win.

After all this, Diotte is up to 49,000. --JS

7:15pm: Disciplined play from Chew and Hochman
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Flop a set, get your chips in, right? How about if you turn it? Still get your chips in, right? No, as it turns out. This pot was played with a spectacular amount of discipline by Stevan Chew and Corey Hochman, who were both clearly away of the dangerous board they were staring at.

I only arrived on the turn, which is a shame because it would have been interesting to know how they had got to this position. Four cards were out: 2♣4♦9♣6♠ and Chew checked. Hochman bet 2,425 and Chew called.

The 3♠ came on the river and that was four to a straight. Chew took a long time to bet the 2,600 he eventually found. It would have cost him at least one time-bank chip in the Super High Roller tournament that he played earlier in the week.

Hochman did not play that event, but he too would have needed a time-bank chip for his next decision. He took a good minute before checking his cards and then raising to 6,000.

Chew sigh-called pretty quickly and Hochman turned over 2♥2♠ for a flopped set. Chew then exposed his 6♣6♥ for a turned set.

Net result: set over set for surprisingly little. -- HS

7:10pm: The Salter siblings
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Another day, another Salter brother. Jack Salter played the Main Event yesterday and made it through with 86,900 - he's busy playing the HK$200,000 Single Day High Roller today. But his brother, Louis, is among the 225 strong field (now 241 - Ed) on Day 1B.

While it's Jack who's the more well known of the two Salter brother, Louis has quietly racked up almost $1 million in live cashes. That sum includes a second place finish here in the City of Dreams in a HK$25K event in November 2014. --NW

7:05pm: Song is singing, Shih left sighing
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

A few minutes into level one and it was Song Li who came out singing against Kenny Shih.

With about 6,000 in the pot on a flop of 6♣7♣Q♠, Song led on the 7♠ turn with a large bet of 4,500. Shih promptly called.

The river 6♦ paired the board, but Song was un-phased. He led out once again with a monster bet of 11,300. Shih let out a sigh before reluctantly calling with A♠A♦.

But it wasn't enough. Song showed the 5♦7♥ for the full-house to Shih's verbal disappointment.

A Chinese media commentator also watching the hand told me Shih muttered "a ruder version of 'too bad'". Oh dear. --DJ

7pm: Sungwon Lee wins one, see?
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Having noticed Aussie high roller Stevan Chew with cards in front of him on a 6♦Q♦7♥ flop, I decided to hang around. He was heads up in a pot with Calvin Sungwon Lee, and there was 850 already in the middle. Chew was in the hijack (or utg+1, whatever you prefer), while Lee was in the big blind.

Did Chew open to 400 and Lee called? Did Chew open to 200 and get three-bet to 400? The pre-flop action is anyone's guess.

Anyway, Lee led out on the flop though for 400, and Chew called. That brought a J♣ turn card, and as it so often does on turn cards, it went check check.

When the 3♦ river landed Lee picked things back up again for 800. Chew didn't like the sound of that and let his hand go. --JS

6:55pm: Wakeman calls Kolbaia
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We arrived at the table to see 4,500 in the middle and the community cards all face up. The board read A♥7♠2♠A♦6♣ and Levan Kolbaia led at it for 2,500 from under the gun plus one.

Matthew Wakeman was in the small blind and after a moment of deliberation he committed to a call and saw that it'd paid off. Wakeman held 9♥9♣ which was just good enough to take the pot from Kolbaia and his 8♠8♦.

After that exchange Wakeman moves to 33,800 while Kolbaia falls to 25,500. -- BK

6:50pm: Lovgren loves the limpers
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Sweden's Sofia Lovgren is in the mix here today. She's had a bit of a dry spell when it comes to live poker cashes of late (her last one coming from the Estrellas High Roller in Barcelona, 2016) but what better place to get the ball rolling again than here in Macau? 'Tis the City of Dreams, after all.

She just took down her first pot, although it was only a small one. Zhenru Xie kicked off the limp-fest under the gun, and Lovgren, Yixin Wu (cutoff), Michael Egan (button) and Man Ho John So (big blind) came along too. They went five-ways to the 7♦J♥8♠ flop which checked to Lovgren. She made it 300 to go, and everyone said no thanks. --JS

6:45pm: Egan picks one off
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Michael Egan's stack is going in the right direction in the early stages after the Australian picked off a tablemate's bluff.

The board was spread 4♣5♣K♥9♣ and Egan checked from the under the gun seat before the player in the cutoff fired at it for 550 in chips. Egan made the call and the 2♠ arrived on the river.

Egan checked a final time before being faced with a bet of 2,000. It took about 30 seconds for Egan to decide on a call and it turned about to be correct.

He was shown 3♦2♦ for a bricked straight draw that rivered bottom pair but and that was no good against Egan's A♥K♠. The latter raked the pot and moved up to 34,500. -- BK

6:40pm: Moneymaker in the shade of the Sun
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

There will likely be action on Chris Moneymaker's table today, where there's at least one other player present who knows a thing or two about unlikely poker tournament victories. Much like Moneymaker was the unknown quantity who ended up schooling the World Series veterans in 2003, nobody gave Jian Guo Sun a hope when he made the final table of the APPT Macau Main Event in May 2016, but he came through.


Jian Guo Sun

Sun is today sitting to Moneymaker's left, and looks about as unassuming as he did when he won that tournament. But folk should beware: he is a menace.

Jiaxiu Liu is also at that table. -- HS

6:35pm: Going for a Song
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

There have been two exits so far, joining the aforementioned Ping Lin on the rail is Jianzhong Song. --NW

6:30pm: Diotte takes the pot
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

PSC Panama final tablist Anthony Diotte is off to a nice start. Picking up the action on an A♦3♥7♠ flop, his sole opponent Jixue Yin checked and Diotte made it 200 to go. Yin then made a huge raise to 2,000 and Diotte - a little taken aback - called.

The turn came the 5♥ and Yin didn't slow down, this time making it 3,000 to go. Diotte matched it again and this 100+ big blind pot went to a K♣ river. Now Yin slowed down and checked, and this also took Diotte by surprise. He was happy to check it back and showed the A♣J♣ for top pair, which was beating Yin's 4♠4♦. --JS

6:25pm: Aces are ace for A
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Dilijiang A is the early chip leader here on Day 1B, having just doubled up. I arrived to see a huge pot being pushed his way and his hand - A♣A♠ - face up on the felt. While the 3♣J♣7♥4♠6♣ board was still visible his opponent's were later discovered to be pocket kings. That opponent was Ping Lin. --NW

6:20pm: Notable names
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Things have only just begun and already it's easy to see that this will be a star-studded field. 2016 Asia Player of the Year Jack Wu has pulled up a seat. He's sitting right beside Team PokerStars Pro Felipe Ramos.

Some other familiar faces we've spotted include Kitty Kuo, Ying Lin Chua and 2015 ACOP runner-up Thomas Ward.

kahle_burns_pscmacau_d1b.jpegKahle Burns

It also appears that a strong Australian contingent are out in force. Joining Kahle Burns, Michael Egan and Martin Kozlov that we've already mentioned are Stevan Chew, Matthew Wakeman, Alex Lynskey and Rory Young. -- BK

6:15pm: Kim versus the humans this time
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Dong Kim is in the house, sitting on the same table as Kahle Burns. Who is Dong Kim? Come on, this is a poker blog. Kim is probably better known as "Donger Kim" at the online tables, where he is a regular at the highest stakes against the toughest opponents, and where he won the SCOOP Heads Up High Roller among other accolades.

dong_kim_pscmacau_d1b.jpegDong Kim

Kim is also part of a four-man team who recently took on the most advanced poker-playing AI bot; arguably the most significant poker showdown of recent years. You can follow their exploits on Reddit.

Whatever happens, Kim is going to find today's tournament far easier than playing the AI. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. -- HS

6:10pm: Nice start for Kalbaia, So-so start for Egan
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

First level action, particularly when most tables only have three or four players sat down, is rarely the most exciting. I tell you this to prepare you for what you're about to read.

One hand I caught was between Levan Kalbaia and Lul Lik Tung Patrick, and it started with a button open to 200 from the former. The small blind player folded (yep, there were only three players) and Patrick defended his big blind. They saw an 8♣2♥9♥ flop, on which Patrick led out for 200. Call.

The 8♦ turn paired the board, but Patrick continued for 500. Kalbaia matched that and the dealer laid the 9♠ on the river, double pairing the community cards. Patrick made it 1,000, Kalbaia called, and Patrick showed the J♦7♠ for a busted straight draw. Kalbaia showed the J♠8♥ for eights full and took it down.

On my way back, I caught Michael Egan opening the button on his three-handed table to 250. Man Ho John So called out of the small blind and the two checked down a 5♠7♠Q♦2♦8♣ board the whole way. So showed the 3♣3♦, and that little pair was good.

Now that's what I call first level action. --JS

6:05pm: Cards in the air, faces in the field
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Cards are promptly in the air for Day 1B of the Main Event, and there are already close to 200 players sitting down. They include Kahle Burns, fresh from the final table of the Super High Roller yesterday, as well as Michael Egan, who also went deep in the $400,000 event. Martin Kozlov, who played but whiffed the SHR is playing this one, as well as Roman Korenev and former EPT Player of the Year Fernando Britto. -- HS

6pm: And we're off
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We're underway on Day 1B of the Main Event. A full six levels of play to come.

5:30pm: Let's fill the room

Good afternoon/evening/morning and welcome back to Macau for Day 1B of the $42,400 PokerStars Championship Main Event. This is coming to you from the PokerStars LIVE! card-room at the City of Dreams Casino and should be a thriller.

You could join us in Macau. Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Yesterday's Day 1A attracted 193 players, of whom 117 survived, and today we play another six 75-minute levels in what is likely to be a packed house.

The action begins at 6pm local time so stick with us for the duration wherever you are. -- HS

PSC Macau_Velli-164_Location.jpg

It's certain the City of My Dreams. You?

Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship Macau and all other Festival and Championship events.

Also all the information is on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $40,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Dan Jones, Brad Kain, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Macau