MPCC Day 1b: Levels 3 & 4 (blinds 150-300, ante 25)

6:20pm: Ten-minute break

6:05pm: Guarantee blown away

With 152 entrants today combined with the 102 from yesterday, we have an official number of 254 entrants for the 2010 Macau Poker Cup Championship. This is an excellent result for PokerStars Macau as the prize pool will smash the HK$3.5 million guarantee.

We'll have the official payouts for you shortly.

5:50pm: Benton quadded

Aaron Benton had a healthy stack a short while ago but we just wandered past his table to see the last of his chips move into the middle with ace-jack against an opponent's pocket kings. It was all over on the flop of K♣K♠5♣ as his opponent landed quads to leave Benton drawing dead. The turn was the 4♦ and just to rub some salt in the wound, the river fell the A♥.

5:35pm: From Starcraft to PokerStars

A recent table break has produced an interesting new lineup as PokerStars sponsored Guillaume Patry has been seated to the direct right of Steven Mykhaltso.

Both players are based in South Korea and are well known for their talents in another game. Following in the footsteps of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, these two are highly talented Starcraft players with Mykhaltso playing under the well-known handle "Smuft".

Mykhaltso and Palty have now turned their attention to the world of poker and a big result here in Macau could become very big news amongst gamers in South Korea. Palty is currently up to 30,000 with Mykhaltso hovering around starting stack.

5:20pm: Level up, blinds 150-300, ante 25

5:15pm: The sniper silenced

While we were gathering the details of Aaron Benton's double up, tablemate Dennis Huntly called out to us to stick around as some big action was about to unfold.

He was right. It appeared that there was a raise and call before Gersten Oleg raised it 4,350 more in the small blind. Huntly was the original raiser, (opening from his favourite sniper position to the right of the hijack), and he went all in for a total of 9,900 before the player in the middle also moved all in for 11,525. With so much in the middle, Oleg made a crying call, knowing his pocket jacks were probably in trouble. Huntly showed pocket queens as the third player opened pocket aces.

Of course in this three-way cooler, it's an unwritten law of poker that the worst hand always wins but we had to wait until the river as the board was spread 5♠8♦8♣7♣J♣. Oleg took out two players to move up to 66,000 in chips.

"Oh well, it could be worse, I could've lost with aces!" sighed Huntly. "I guess this is what High Rollers events are for!" he added as he headed off to get himself unstuck.

4:55pm: Benton doubles up

2009 APPT Sydney champ Aaron Benton has just recalled to us the details of his recent double up at the expense of Tony Chang.

Benton limped preflop with pocket sevens and then called the raise of Chang to see a gin flop of Q-7-4. Benton check-called 3,000 on the flop and another 6,800 when a five hit the turn, before jamming all in when an eight completed the board.

After some friendly banter Chang called with king-queen as Benton showed his set to double through to around 42,000.

4:45pm: Hu's heater too hot for Hachem

With a limp in early position by Richard Hu, play folded around to Joe Hachem in the small blind who raised to 1,250.

"C'mon mister!" poked Hachem at his opponent. "I think I'm going to win this one!"

Hu responded with a re-raise of an additional 3,050 which Hachem quickly called.
The flop landed 7♠T♥5♥ and both players checked as the 5♦ hit the turn. Hachem checked again and Hu bet 5,500 which was enough to force a fold from the Team PokerStars Pro.

"What a heater!" said Hachem, referring to the run of Hu which now sees him sit behind a stack of 65,000. "I had a real hand there too," added Hachem as he slipped to 22,000.

4:25pm: Asian poker stars hit the rail

A couple of the PokerStars Team Asia Pros have taken a hit with one sent crashing to the rail.

On the final hand before the last break we lost Tae Joon Noh. He was down to his last 6,000 chips when according to his tablemates, he was all in with king-queen against an opponent's pocket nines. The baby flop was monotone spades giving Noh outs to his overcards and flush draw but the turn and river bricked out to eliminate the young Korean from the tournament.


PokerStars Team Asia Pro Tae Joon Noh has been eliminated

He was soon followed by Victor Chen who won't be able to improve on his ninth place ranking in the Asian Player of the Year race in this tournament after being eliminated.

Bryan Huang has also lost a chunk of change to slip back down to 10,000. Germany's Julan Hasse was the benefactor as he moved up to 60,000.

4:20pm: Play resumes

The players are back with registration about to be locked out, so we should have confirmation of final numbers for you shortly.

William Pastout from the United Kingdom is our likely chip leader at this stage with around 60,000, while Hong Kong's Tony Chang sits with about 50,000. Team PokerStars Pros Bryan Huang and Joe Hachem have also progressed well in the early levels.