Macau Millions Day 1a: Levels 11 - 15 (blinds 4,000-8,000, ante 1,000)
Day 1a concludes - Haifeng Xue leads the way
That's a wrap from the PokerStars Macau Poker Room as our field of 127 players have been reduced to the final nine. It was non-stop action today right from the opening bell, as the fast structure and gambling mindset of our players allowed for an entertaining day of poker.
Our lone Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin was unable to make it through the day when her pocket kings were cracked in the early stages, as the money was reached just inside a full fifteen levels of play.
End of day chip counts:
Haifeng Xue (China) - 262,500
Wen Lin Wang (China) - 171,500
Brice Renaud (France) - 159,000
Chun Jui Lin (Canada) - 110,500
Jacky Mok (Hong Kong) - 71,500
Jing Yi Zhu (Australia) - 70,500
Che Kung Lam (Hong Kong) - 64,500
Gerald Wong (Hong Kong) - 64,000
Jason Hoang (Canada) - 59,000
All nine players are guaranteed HK$8,000 in prize money. They also have the option of returning tomorrow to try and cash once again and perhaps better the mark they have set today. They'll have to grab some rest and return to the Grand Lisboa Casino tomorrow at 2:10pm for Day 1b of the Macau Millions. Until then, it's good night from Macau!
2:40pm: No prizes for the bubble boy
The bubble has burst and unfortunately it's a low point for David Lo. After progressing well throughout the day, Lo moved all in preflop with A♠Q♣ but Wang Wei Lin woke up with Q♦Q♠ in the big blind and made the call.
The board ran out 9♣7♦8♣3♦T♥ to leave Lo to ask, "Is there any prize for being bubble boy?"
"Yes, there is!" replied Danny McDonagh without missing a beat, "You get to come back and play again tomorrow!"
2:25am: Bubble time
"It's bubble time!" announced Danny McDonagh as the players formed the final table of ten. "If you bubble today, you get six more goes, so don't feel too bad!"
The next player eliminated will have to rebuy if they want to progress in this tournament while the remaining nine will reach Day 2 and be guaranteed a payday of HK$8,000.
2:20am: The final ten
Haifeng Xue has just taken out another player to bring us to our final table of ten players.
Xue raised the button before the small blind moved all in from the small blind for an additional 25,000. He was hoping for a fold holding Q♠5♠ but Xue sighed, "I have to call" as he felt pot-committed with his A♠2♠.
The board arrived 7♥K♠K♥A♣Q♣ and Xue claims another victim to jump to a massive 270,000 chips.
2:00am: Marlboro extinguished
Hanbing "Marlboro" Wang was the early pace-setter today but his run has come to a screeching halt after running his 9♣9♠ into the Q♠Q♣ of CJ Lin. The chips were in preflop and the board ran out T♦3♣A♦6♥K♣ to send Wang to the rail.
Meanwhile Lin is up to 140,000 and in good shape.
1:55am: Chip leaders
As we get to the pointy end of proceedings, there are three players with very healthy chip stacks and a clear lead over the rest of the field.
Haifeng "Hai" Xue - 160,000
Jacky Mok - 135,000
Brice Renaud - 125,000
1:45am: Woe for Wu
Bo Wu is the next to fall as just 15 players remain alive in today's flight. Wu moved all in from the button with A♦8♠ but was called by Jacky Mok's A♣J♣.
Wu was looking for an eight but once the flop landed he was only looking for the exit. The 3♣2♣6♣ flop gave Mok the nut flush and left Wu drawing completely dead. The 9♥ turn and 7♥ river completed the board to eliminate Wu from the tournament.
1:40am: Stall tactics
"Players don't waste time! I'll check your cards!" was the threat from Danny McDonagh after repeated warnings to all players to avoid deliberate time-wasting and stalling during hands. With a fast structure, there is just no room for players to be deliberately stalling to try and reach the money. McDonagh himself has called the clock on players on several occasions now, and players will be subject to a possible penalty if they are caught out.
1:30am: The once mighty are now falling
Some of our big stacks from earlier in the day are now on struggle street as the chips are moving around the table at a rapid rate.
Brine Renaud is back down in the back after doubling up Andrew Marks. The board read 3♥3♣A♣6♠2♠ when Marks' all-in bet was called by Renaud. Marks opened 3♦Q♥ for trips to double up to 55,000 and leave Renaud on 35,000.
Meanwhile another one-time chip leader in Dang Quan Dai was just spotted making a hasty exit from the poker room. It's safe to assume he's busto and steaming.
1:25am: Sometimes just close your eyes and gamble
Sometimes in poker, you just gotta gamble. Just close your eyes and stick it in. It's not fun when the blinds are high and your stack is low, but it's no good getting blinded out. That's the attitude of Che Kung Lam adopted when a player on the button moved all in on Lam's big blind. He was short-stacked. He needed to double up. So he called with 3♥5♠. It got even uglier when his opponent opened 3♠3♦ to leave Lam in terrible shape.
The table was giggling as Lam tried to justify his decision, but they were in hysterics when the board was spread 7♣Q♣Q♠4♣6♣ to give Lam a backdoor straight for an almighty double up! He's now up to 40,000 and with head above water once again.
1:15am: Jiang busts
Haifeng "Hai" Xue is now up to 92,000 to be at the front of the pack as the chips are swinging wildly here in the late stages of Day 1a.
Xue got most of his chips when his J♣J♥ held against the 9♥9♦ of Wayne Jiang. The chips were in preflop and the board ran out Q♦7♣T♦K♦T♠. Xue is now sitting with a big stack as Jiang's stack is no more.
1:00am: Tan out
The final nine players from today's flight will be male dominated after our last female player in Jay Tan has hit the rail. She was short-stacked and moved all in for around 15,000 with king-jack but Harold Tsakmaklis woke up with ace-king in the big blind and made the call.
The board ran out Q♣3♥8♥4♦K♣ to see Tan eliminated as 23 players remain.
12:55am: Lin will take a chop
Action folded to Hung-sheng Lin in the cutoff position and he moved all in for a total of 27,100. Next to speak was Brice Renaud on the button who deliberated for some time before finally announcing a call. The blinds scampered for cover and the cards were on their backs.
Lin opened A♠5♥ and stood up in resignation at the sight of Renaud's dominant A♦Q♣. But it wasn't over quite yet as the board remarkably ran out K♠2♠J♣J♠J♦. Both players played the trip jacks with ace-king kicker to chop it up!
"This is why I never win tournaments!" exclaimed Renaud in despair. Lin stays alive while Renaud went for a little walk to cool off.
12:45am: Wang sets up
Wenlin Wang is looking good to reach Day 2 after flopping a set to eliminate an opponent. Holding 9♣9♥, Wang moved all in and was called by a player holding A♣J♠. The rail let out a collective "oooh" when the flop landed A♦J♣9♠ as both players hit it hard. Wang's set was still in front and it stayed that way on the 2♠ turn and 4♥ river.
12:35am: Play resumes
The final 27 players are back on the felt with the next two hours likely to determine who will reach our final nine, and who will have to come back and do it all again tomorrow.
Brine Renaud, Dang Quan Dai and Wayne Jiang are the chip leaders at around the 80,000-chip mark. The blinds are now 1,200-2,400 with a 300 chip ante, which puts out average stack at a little over fifteen big blinds.