MPCC Day 1a: Levels 1 & 2 (blinds 100-200)
4:10pm: Ten-minute break
3:50pm: Spets strikes
Our early chip leader appears to be Sweden's Roger Spets who just took another healthy pot from David Steicke. The board read A♠K♠7♦9♣J♦ when Steicke called the bet of 2,500 from Spets who showed A♦K♣. Steicke mucked and is down to just a few thousand in chips as Spets moves up to 45,000.
Of course Spets is no stranger to these parts with a string of results throughout Asia. He final tabled APPT events in Manila and Seoul during season one, and added a trophy to his collection with a win in a six-handed side event at the APPT Cebu last year.
3:40pm: Brkovic out, Powell in
Aleks Brkovic cleaned up on the cash games last night, which is a good thing, as his tournament has come to a rather sudden end. According to tablemate Dan Neilson, Brkovic pushed a flush draw into the set of Gyeong Tae Yoo. Brkovic missed his flush and was sent to the rail.
As one Aussie departed, another arrived as Brkovic's seat was taken by late registrant Julian Powell.
3:30pm: Dodds on the decline
One of the great things about poker in Macau is that it's still evolving. Players are learning new tricks and you'll see some different lines that perhaps you wouldn't normally see in other regions of the world. Joel Dodds was just faced with an interesting line of betting from his opponent Jukka Juvonen on a board of 9♠4♠K♠6♥6♣.
In position, Dodds raised his Juvonen's flop bet of 1,000 to 3,000, and then fired 4,700 on the turn when checked to. Juvonen called, and once they got to the river Juvonen led out for 5,000. Dodds thought for a few moments but let his hand go as he slipped to 14,000.
3:10pm: Level up, blinds 100-200
3:05pm: The power of the all-in!
Asians are known for their love of the gamble, and although we're yet to see any early eliminations the players aren't afraid to move their chips around as Jackie Glazier just discovered.
Catching the action on a flop of A♦4♠9♠, Glazier's opponent check-called 600, and again for 1,100 on the A♥ turn. When the river landed the K♥ her opponent immediately announced "ALL IN!" in a massive overbet.
Glazier rocked back in her chair and asked for a count, but before the amount could be determined her cards were sent into the muck. Glazier slips to 17,000.
2:55pm: Form doesn't fade overseas
Dan Neilson has been in red-hot form during 2010 and it seems that he's remembered to pack his form into his suitcase to Macau.
Catching the action on the river on a board of 4♣T♦3♣K♦A♥, Neilson bet what appeared to be 3,500 with next-door neighbour Aleks Brkovic taking a few moments before making the call. Neilson showed 3♥3♦ for a set as Brkovic mucked. Neilson jumps to 26,000 in the first level with Brkovic down to 14,000.
2:45pm: A couple of late arrivals
A few more late arrivals include Joel Dodds, Sammy Youssef, Dave Ewing and Hong Kong based Australian David Steicke.
Steicke has some impressive numbers in Macau with his poker career kick started at the APPT Macau High Rollers event in 2007. His love of the high stakes thrill has seen him final table and win multiple High Rollers titles including the AU$100,000 buy-in event at the Aussie Millions in 2009 worth AU$1.2 million.
Steicke is also well-known for his ability to amass a massive day during day one of a tournament, so we'll be keeping a close eye on his progress today.
2:30pm: It's a loaded field
It's a small but stacked field here for the opening flight of the Macau Poker Chip Championship Main Event. On our first lap of the room we've spotted Aleks Brkovic and Dan Neilson who have travelled all the way from Australia just to sit directly next to each other. There's also Jonathan "xMONSTERxDONGx" Karamalikis, Kristian Lunardi, Steve Leonard, Matthew Pearson, Roger Spets, Tony Dunst, Mike Watson, Daren Yoon, Leo Boxell and Andrew Hinrichsen.
Also featuring in today's field are PokerStars Team Asia Pros Celina Lin and Raymond Wu, defending champion Devan Tang, Daoxing "Bobo" Chen and Hong Kong's Justin Chan who recently took down the Macau Millions title.
However the toughest table of the day is undoubtedly one against the rail which features well known Singapore pro Ivan Tan, Jackie Glazier, Nathanael Seet, Kai Paulsen and five-time WSOP bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro.
It's great to see Lisandro in today's field and it's been another incredible year after he took down the £5,000 Pot Limit Omaha WSOPE event in September for his fifth bracelet. With results all over Europe, America and Australia, this is the first time we've seen Lisandro in a major championship event in Macau. Lookout Asia!
There are also a swag of locals in the field, who I'm sure we'll get to know better as the week progresses!
2:10pm: Shuffle up and Deal!
The players have taken their seats in the PokerStars Macau poker room in the Grand Lisboa Casino for Day 1a of the Macau Poker Cup Championship.
After a warm welcome by PokerStars Macau Operations Manager Danny McDonagh, the dealers were given the orders to "Shuffle up and Deal!"
At kick off there are currently 96 registered entrants with a few late-comers still expected. Players will start with a 20,000-chip start bank and we're anticipating playing eight one-hour levels today.
1:40pm: PokerStars Macau promoting the game of poker throughout Asia
The red carpet has been thrown down and the paparazzi are in town as the PokerStars Macau poker room is currently a frenzy of activity with close to 100 photographers enjoying the pre-match promotions that are underway.
2005 World Series of Poker champion Joe Hachem was the centre of attention as the hundreds of camera flashes would've been close to giving him an epileptic fit. After answering a few questions he was joined by defending MPCC champ Devan Tang and local model Dada for a game of "guess the card". It's a great game that you can play at home. Find the hottest girl in the room and get her to make shapes with her body and then you try and guess which card she is representing! Highly recommended!
The PokerStars Team Asia members were then introduced to the media with Bryan Huang, Celina Lin, Raymond Wu and Tae Joon Noh posing for photographs and answering a few questions.
After a glass of celebratory champagne, the Team PokerStars Pros then played a game of Texas Holdem (which involved several all-ins) and the local paparazzi were loving every minute of it. While there was plenty of fun to be had, these promotions are all about spreading the word of poker in Macau. For a long time PokerStars Macau and the Team PokerStars Pros have helped to nurture the game in Asia and we're sure many of the photographers we saw here this afternoon will go back to their local rags with a story to tell.