MPC Red Dragon Main Event Day 1a: Levels 1 - 3 (blinds 100-200)

4:10pm: Ten-minute break

4:05pm: "Bad luck"

We arrived on a flop of T♥4♦J♠ to see Sweden's Roger Spets check-call for 825 before the 6♦ hit the turn. Spets checked and his opponent bet 1,000, but Spets came back with a check-raise to 2,600. His opponent quickly called and the river was the 2♥.

Spets casually tossed out a 5,000-denomination chip which was enough to put his opponent all in. He obliged with a call.

"Bad luck," was all that Spets could offer as he opened 6♠6♥ for a well-disguised set to send his opponent to the rail. With that pot, Spets moves up to 20,000.


Nice turn card for Swede Roger Spets

3:50pm: Huang flexes

Bryan Huang has just flexed his muscle to take down a healthy preflop pot. Huang started things off with a raise to 500 from under the gun and found three callers, before the player in the big blind popped it up to 2,200. This allowed Huang to put in a four-bet to 5,150 which folded out his opponents, including the reluctant big blind player. Huang is up to 34,000.

3:40pm: Tran makes courageous call

You need plenty of courage to play tournament poker at the highest level. You need to ensure that you don't play scared, you are not afraid of elimination and you need to trust in your reads. It's very easy to sit back and wait for pocket aces, but sometimes they just don't come. Winning tournaments requires something more, and Linh Tran just displayed it with a tremendous call on the river with his tournament life on the line.

Tran was in the tank with a huge decision after his opponent moved all in at a pot already worth around 13,000 on a board of J♦8♣9♦4♠A♠. A wrong call and Tran could be going home as he deliberated for many minutes before sliding out his last 10,750 chips.

His opponent tapped the table and sheepishly opened T♦K♠ for just king-high as Tran showed J♥K♣ for a great call with second pair. Tran is now up to 33,000 chips.

3:20pm: Huang can't catch a river

Catching the action on a flop of Q♠8♦7♣, Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang led out from the small blind with a bet of 350. This brought one fold before the player on the button raised to 1,050. Huang took a few moments before matching the bet as the 4♥ hit the turn.

Huang checked and his opponent bet out 1,450. That wasn't enough to shake Huang as he came along to see the K♥ finish the board on the river. Huang checked and his opponent quickly checked behind.

Huang flashed 5♦4♦ for a pair with busted straight and flush draws which wasn't enough as his opponent showed Q♠T♥ to take it down.

3:00pm: We didn't miss anything

"You just missed my double up!" chuckled young Aussie Will Jones as we wandered past his table. "It might be my only chance to get a mention in the blog!" We were planning to write about Jones as the end-of-day chip leader, but since he replied that wasn't going to happen, we thought we should mention his double up.

As recalled to us, Jones raised with [t][7], flopped an open-ended straight draw, and then made his straight on the turn. The chips went flying into the middle as Jones' opponent held the bottom end of the straight. Jones is spending some time in Macau grinding the cash games, but they'll have to wait as his tournament is off to a good start as he moves up to 26,000 chips.

2:45pm: Bobo splashes around

Daoxing Chen is an interesting character. Popularly known as "Bobo", we first noticed Chen back at the 2009 APPT Macau Main Event when his unorthodox play, unusual antics and constant time wasting saw him finish 3rd for a massive US$239,327 score.

Unfortunately Bobo hasn't made an impression in any tournament since, and perhaps it's because of "marginal" plays like this one.

With a couple of limpers and a raise to 400 in front of him, Bobo decided to re-raise to somewhere around 14,000, leaving himself just small change behind. It was a strange overbet, but it worked. The table folded around and Bobo proudly flashed the 7♣5♣ and raked in the small pot. Unorthodox indeed.

2:40pm: Wu claims early scalp

Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu has gone for a bit of walk to leave his stack to fend for itself. He doesn't need to worry too much after eliminating the first player of the day to give him a nice early buffer over the field. It was Wu's pocket aces against an opponent's pocket jacks on a nine-high flop that saw Wu move up over 25,000 chips.


Raymond Wu is off to a fast start at the MPC Red Dragon Main Event

2:25pm: A few names

It's a local-dominated field here on Day 1a but there is a sprinkling of International flavour with several players travelling from overseas for this event.

Some of those spotted on our early rounds of the field include Will Cheong, Brice Renaud, Ivan Tan, Chong Wing Cheong, Kai Paulsen, Victor Chen, Justin Chan, Thommy Lam, Sparrow Cheung, Gordon Huntly, Ira Blumenthal, Melvin Matibag, Roger Spets, Daoxing "Bobo" Chen, Natanael Seet, Will Jones, Dave Ewing, Mikael Rosen and the defending champion Mark Benasa.

We've also got all three PokerStars Team Asia pros in the field today with Raymond Wu, Celina Lin and Bryan Huang all taking their seats for Day 1a of the Red Dragon Main Event.

2:20pm: Today's format

The players are starting out with 15,000 in chips with the blinds at 25/50. Each level will be 40 minutes in duration and we believe that play is scheduled for seven hours on each of the opening day flights. There are close to twenty tables in operation with registration open for the first two hours.

2:10pm: Day 1a underway!

The mass of poker players have found their way from registration desk to seat as they settle in for a long afternoon ahead on Day 1 of the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event. The HK$11,000 Main Event offers a HK$3,000,000 guarantee which is expected to be blown away over the next two days.

PokerStars Country Manager Fred Leung has welcomed the players to the PokerStars Macau Poker Room in the Grand Lisboa Casino before issuing instructions to dealers to shuffle up and deal!