MPCC Day 2: Levels 7 & 8 (blinds 500-1000, ante 100)

2:10pm: Ten-minute break

2:00pm: A double Stecker

Mike Stecker moved all in from late position for his last 11,500 chips with pocket fours with Yann Pauchon making the call on the button with A♥J♦.

The board ran out 8♠K♣6♠8♣4♥ to give Stecker a full house and a double up to 25,000 to leave Pauchon with just 17,5000.

1:50pm: On the mark

"Someone is seriously marking these cards!" exclaimed Tony Hachem as he stared intently on the 5♥ in his hands.

After showing the card to tablemates Tony Dunst and Con Tsapkounis, and holding it up into the light, they confirmed that indeed there was a mark on the card.

With the language barrier, or perhaps simply not understanding what all the fuss was about, the dealer took the card, put it into the deck and proceeded to shuffle the next hand. The players looked blankly at each other with a wry smile and play continued on!

1:40pm: Calling the clock

Earlier on today Tournament Director Danny McDonagh warned the players about taking too long to make decisions. He said players were taking too long on previous days, and that he wouldn't hesitate in calling the clock on any player who continued to take lengthy periods over their decisions.

Already we've seen several instances today, as illustrated in the previous hand, which should ensure we move along at a steady pace today.

1:35pm: Tang and Tan tangle

Defending champ Devan Tang was just put to a decision for most of his chips and it was a decision he didn't take lightly. The board read Q♣5♣7♠ and with a little over 12,000 in the middle, Ivan Tan moved all in for 33,300.

Tang deliberated and the clock had to be called before he gave up his hand. Tang is back to 36,000 with Tan at 45,000.

1:25pm: Movers and shakers

As we enter the second level of play Kent Del Rosario has moved into the chip lead with 130,000 and he sits alongside fellow big stack Julian Hasse on 120,000. Will we see a monsterpotten develop on this table?

Other movers today include Andrew Hinrichsen and Tom Grigg who are both close to 100,000. These two young guns are known for their ability to accumulate massive stacks as their aggressive style is very much hit or miss.

We just watched Grigg tick his stack over the 100,000 mark after putting Frenchman Cedric Raffi to the ultimate test. Grigg opened from early position before Raffi popped it up another 6,500 in the small blind. Grigg thought for a few moments before moving all in as Raffi tanked before folding his hand.


Tom Grigg relaxes behind his big stack at the MPCC

1:10pm: Level up, blinds 500-1000, ante 100

1:05pm: Hachem dethroned

Just when we thought Joe Hachem's day was going to settle down, the Team PokerStars Pro has crashed out of the tournament. Kent Del Rosario opened with a raise which Julian Hasse called before Hachem raised it up to 10,000. Del Rosario called but Hasse then moved all in. Hachem called off his last chips as Del Rosario folded his ace-queen.

Hachem tabled pocket kings but Hasse connected with one of his two outs holding ace-king when an ace hit the flop to eliminate Hachem from the tournament.

1:00pm: More birthday love for Lin

Celina Lin must think all of her birthdays have come at once as she's managed to go from 8,000 to 70,000 within the first level of play.

Once again she's bruised overnight chip leader Oleg Gersten. Lin opened with a raise, Gersten three-bet, Lin moved all in and Gersten made the call with pocket sixes, only for Lin to open the pocket rockets!

The board ran out 7♦Q♦5♥7♥A♦ as Lin's 34,000 stack was doubled up.


It's been a nice birthday so far for Celina Lin

12:55pm: Boxell on the rail

The boys back home in Australia have been railing the progress of Aussie poker stalwart Leo Boxell over here in Macau, but unfortunately we report that their man has been sent to the rail.

Boxell's last stand came when he was all in with king-jack on a king-high flop, but his opponent's flush draw landed on the river and Boxell's run was over.

12:45pm: The Joe Hachem show rolls on

It's turning into the Joe Hachem show so far today, as the 2005 World Champion has been right in the middle of the action this afternoon, but he should settle down a little bit now after finding a virtual triple up to get well out of the danger zone.

We arrived at the table with the board reading 8♣A♥7♥ and a bet of 5,500 in front of Hachem. Asusa Maeda moved all in over the top before Marcin Czeck called all in from the big blind. Back with Hachem and two players all in, Hachem didn't hesitate in committing his last chips.

Hachem showed A♠8♠ for two pair as both opponents were on flush draws with Maeda's Q♥9♥ drawing better than Czeck's 8♥4♥.

The turn was the 4♦ to give Czeck two pair but he couldn't improve further on the 3♠ river. Czeck is out, Maeda takes a hit as Hachem is now up to 48,000.

12:35pm: Double for Joe

It's been a roller coaster start to the day for Aussie Joe Hachem. He's just found a much needed double up to get himself back to around 18,000 in chips.

Catching the action on a flop of 2♣J♠5♣, action checked to Julian Hasse who fired 3,350 before Hachem check-raised all in. Asusa Maeda released as Hasse called off a few thousand more with his 6♥6♦, only to find he had two outs against Hachem's J♦T♣.

The turn was the K♦ and Hachem got a small scare as the river was a close 5♥ as he nearly gets back to his starting stack.

12:30pm: Basile busts

Tony Basile has been eliminated when his pocket kings were up against king-queen and the ace-ten of Dave Ewing. However the board fell Ewing's way as it ran out 5-A-2-A-Q to send Basile to the rail.

12:25pm: Hachem halved

As one PokerStars Team Pro gets a double up, another has taken a hit as Joe Hachem has run into a cooler situation to lose half his stack. It was Hachem's Q♦Q♠ up against the A♥A♠ of Asusa Maeda with Jukka Juvonen also in the hand with ace-king.

The board was spread 9♥4♥3♦7♥6♠ to give Maeda a triple up, while Hachem's last 4,450 were doubled in the sidepot as Juvonen was crippled. Hachem is now down to just 9,000 in chips.

12:20pm: Birthday girl gets a present

Just as she asked for in her opening speech, Celina Lin has received the birthday gift she was looking for as she has doubled up through Oleg Gersten.

It was Lin's A♥Q♠ racing against Gersten's pocket jacks as the board fell 3♠A♣8♣5♥6♣ to pair up Lin's ace for the double up to around 17,000 chips.

12:10pm: It's moving day at the Macau Poker Cup Championship

Once again the PokerStars Macau poker room at the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino is buzzing with excitement and anticipation as Day 2 of the Macau Poker Cup Championhip is about to kick off.

Some days as a tournament reporter you arrive at day two with the feeling that it's "just another poker tournament". However that is certainly not the case here in Macau, as you are engulfed by the enthusiasm of the locals who rarely see tournaments as big as this one. There are plenty of local media around throwing themselves into their reports, photos and videos with great vigour, while the players nervously mingle. For many of the players, it's a huge day that provides them with the opportunity at life-changing fortune. It's a world apart from World Champion Joe Hachem or five-time WSOP bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro, who have little prove but treat every tournament and every chip like it's their last.

We have a long day ahead to go from the current 141 players down to a final table, which we may not end up reaching. It will be a maximum of eleven levels, with a 75-minute dinner break planned after level six.

The players have taken their seats, unbagged their chips and eyes off their foes, before the mic was handed to the birthday girl, PokerStars Team Asia Pro Celina Lin.

"I'm thrilled to be able to share my birthday with you all, and there's no shame if you want to double me up!" commented Lin as the cards are now in the air!