MPCC Day 1b: Levels 1 & 2 (blinds 100-200)

4:10pm: Ten-minute break

2010 Asia Player of the Year race is heating up!

The ten MPCC championship events this week will also count as points towards the Asia Player of the Year leaderboard. It's been a tightly contested race all year, with Bryan Huang holding the lead ahead of fellow PokerStars Team Asia Pro Raymond Wu. Macau Millions winner Justin Chan sits in fourth, while the queen of poker in Asia, Celina Lin has snuck into the top ten.

There's several players inside the top twenty who are playing in today field including Kenichi Takarabe, Michael Mariakis, Cedric Raffi, Roel Pijpers and James McCarty.

The winner of the Asia Player of the Year award will receive a one-year sponsorship deal with PokerStars Macau.

2010 Asia Player of the Year Top Ten *
1 Bryan Huang (Singapore) - 3016
2 Raymond Wu (Taipei) - 2604
3 Kenichi Takarabe (Japan) - 2232
4 Justin Chan (Hong Kong) - 2070
5 Wei-en Shih (Taipei) - 2040
6 Tom Chou (USA) - 2020
7 Fan Liu (China) - 2016
8 Hung-sheng Lin (Taipei) - 1992
9 Victor Chen (Taipei) - 1726
10 Celina Lin (China) - 1707

* leaderboard prior to the start of the MPCC series


Asia Player of the Year points leader Bryan Huang

3:45pm: The Sniper survives

Dennis "The Sniper" Huntly has been on the short stack early on today but he just survived an all-in clash with a small profit after chopping the pot with Gersten Oleg.

After a raise to 650 from early position, Huntly moved all in for 6,575 with Oleg moving all in over the top from the small blind to force the preflop raiser to fold. Huntly showed A♣K♣ and Oleg A♠K♥ as they chopped it up on the board of 2♣4♦9♠T♥6♠.

Huntly has been stirring up plenty of heat on his table after exchanging a few words with Tony Chang earlier in the day over the rules of betting out of turn. "The Sniper" has his target and is ready to strike!

3:25pm: Back-to-back Hash under the weather

"I made a full house against this guy and then lost with pocket sevens against ace-king to give it back again!" exclaimed Tony Hachem to us as he described his day so far.

Coming off an incredible ANZPT season where he claimed back-to-back Player of the Year titles, Hachem is feeling a little under the weather today, but determined to make a strong showing on the Asian tour events to finish the year on a high note.

Hachem also has a dilemma on his hands as he needs to decide on his new acronym nickname for us bloggers to have some fun with. Previously it was BOJ (Brother of Joe) but that nickname is now well and truly behind him, as it looks like BTB (back to back) and TTC (two-time champ) are the new contenders.

3:10pm: Level up, blinds 100-200

3:00pm: Kroesen feeling flushed

Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang has got off to the perfect start after collecting a big pot against Australian Ricky Kroesen.

We arrived at the table to find Kroesen deep in the tank with a bet of 9,550 in front of Huang on a board of 5♠K♠6♦2♥3♠. After several minutes of thought Kroesen tossed out two yellow 5000-denomination chips but slammed the table in disgust when Huang showed A♠T♠ for the nut flush.

Kroesen is crippled to just 4,000 while Huang is now up to 34,000.

2:55pm: Hachem ships it

Looks like 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem is getting a little taste of the Asian gambling bug after a big river overbet in a recent pot. In a three-bet pot, Hachem check-called 1,600 on the flop and the turn was check before the river landed to complete a board of 9♣5♣T♦Q♥K♣.

Hachem then decided to move all in for over three times the size of the pot. His opponent let it go and Hachem padded his stack to move up to around 25,000.


Joe Hachem in action at the Macau Poker Cup Championship

2:45pm: Marcus drops by

Not a lot of action to report in the early stages of play as our field currently stands at 145 entrants. One notable to arrive into the PokerStars Macau poker room was Australian Van Marcus. With entourage in tow, Marcus wandered the poker room to say hi to some familiar faces, although we're unsure at this stage if the 2008 APPT Manila champ will actually be taking a seat in today's field.

2:30pm: A few more names

Besides the earlier mentioned pros, a few more notable players have been spotted including Ricky Kroesen who is tablemates with Bryan Huang, Chong Wing Cheong, Steve Yeh, Tom Grigg who has been joined at his table by Joe Hachem, Con Tsapkounis, Daniel Laidlaw, Tony Basile and Dennis Huntly who finds himself seated with Aaron Benton. Also in the field is PokerStars sponsored Neil Arce, Victor Chen, Raiden Kan, Jackson Zheng, Roel Pijpers, Michael Mariakis, Guillaume Patry, Terry Fan, Nobuhiro Yabuuchi and Elton Tsang.

There's also a big crew in town from the Western Australian Poker League who have made their annual trip to the Macau Poker Cup Championship.

It's been announced that so far there are announced 140 entrants in today's field, which is a huge result for PokerStars Macau. Registration is still open and there are a few late-comers at the cashier right now. We'll have the official numbers, as well as the prize pool information for you once registration is locked out.

2:15pm: Yann straight into the action

On the first hand of play, with the blinds at 50-100, Yann Pauchon grabbed two blue chips and one black chip and tossed them into the middle. That's right, a raise to 2,100. When he received some puzzled looks from his table, he soon realised he'd grabbed the wrong chips.

"I thought it said 100 on the chip, not 1000!" exclaimed Pauchon. However his pain was compounded further when an opponent re-raised to 6,000. Pauchon was forced to fold and his opponent flashed K♠K♣. Anything to grab a headline hey Yann?

However a few moments later Pauchon took advantage of his earlier blunder when he raised to 2,100 again, this time deliberately with pocket queens. He found two callers and flopped a set to win a healthy pot and get himself back up to 24,000. Order restored.

2:10pm: Take two at the MPCC

Welcome back to the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino in Macau for our continued coverage of the 2010 Macau Poker Cup Championship. It's the climax of another exciting year for poker in Asia and the PokerStars Macau poker room which has established itself as the home of poker in Macau.


The PokerStars Macau poker room at the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino

Today is the second and final flight in the HK$20,000 MPCC Main Event, with another strong field expected. Yesterday we saw 102 entrants, so barring any national emergencies we should be able to easily surpass the 151 players who entered last year's event as smash the guaranteed HK$3.5 million prize pool.

The MPCC Day 1B line up will be highlighted by the 2005 WSOP World Champion and Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem who was already spotted in town as he joined in the press conference before play yesterday. Joining him today will be PokerStars Team Asia Pros Bryan Huang and Tae Joon Noh, 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton and back-to-back ANZPT Player of the Year Tony Hachem.

It was Hachem who was given the honour of being surrounded by the bevy of PokerStars beauties for the official welcome and "shuffle up and deal". The players have taken their seats and cards are now in the air. We'll once again be playing six one-hour levels today, which should see us to the Noodle Bar at around 8:30pm this evening.