MPC Red Dragon Main Event Day 1a: Levels 7-9 (Blinds 500-1,000, ante 100)

8:30 p.m: Ten-minute break

8:25 p.m: Two pair no good for Mariakis
Both Michael Mariakis and Chao Li committed 3,500 preflop to see a 4♣6♦5♥ flop fall with the action checking round.

When the 8♣ was delivered on the turn, Mariakis checked and Li pushed out 4,300 only to have Mariakis check-raise to 9,600. Li called as the A♥ on the river was checked by Mariakis.

Li carefully placed out a 17,400-chip bet which Mariakis swiftly called only to have Li show his 7♠7♥ for a turned straight.

"I had two-pair!" sighed Mariakis as he mucked and slipped to 28,000 while Li collected the pot to move to 115,000 in chips.

Chao Li

Chao Li launches himself into the six-figure club

8:15 p.m: Double digits
As another player unfortunately found themselves on the rail, the tournament is now down to just double digits with 99 players remaining in contention.

With a further ninety-minutes of play remaining in the day, that number is expected to dip even further with hopes that roughly 80 players will be able to bag and tag at days end.

8:05 p.m: What to do with Wu
After only finding a double several minutes earlier, Raymond Wu has just seen half his stack shifted to the opponent on his direct left in a four-bet pot.

Following preflop action, the dealer revealed a A♦2♠9♥ flop which brought about a continuation-bet from Wu before his opponent on the button made it an additional 3,800. From the cutoff, Wu responded by making it a further 6,000 to his opponent before he opted to ship his stack all in.

With Wu covered, he calmly dropped his cards towards the muck to relinquish the pot and slip to 16,500 in chips.

Raymond Wu

Been that kind of a day for Raymond Wu

8:00 p.m: Wu spikes to stay alive
Raymond Wu opened with a late position raise only to have an opponent in the blinds three-bet enough to put Wu all in.

The Team PokerStars Pro would make the call for his final 13,600 but table a dominated A♣[10c] to be up against his opponent's A♠Q♦.

Fortunately for Wu, the board ran out [10h]6♥7♣3♥K♥ to see him spike the double to move to over 31,000 in chips.

7:50 p.m: Level up, blinds 500-1,000, ante 100

7:45 p.m: "Couldn't get him to fold?"
With around 7,000 in the middle and the flop reading 7♥6♦5♥ we found David Ewing moving all in for his last 11,000 against two players.

Fellow local regular and part-time Australian Charles Chua was standing beside Ewing channelling his famous Macau run good (following back-to-back APPT Main Event and High Rollers Event final tables in 2008) before one of Ewing's opponents made the call.

Ewing: A♦7♣
Opponent: A♠7♠

"Couldn't make him fold?" asked Chua in the direction of Ewing as the meaningless 4♣ and 5♦ on the turn and river saw the pot chopped up.

"Nope. Guess not!" responded Ewing as he returned to 14,500 in chips.

7:36 p.m: Yueh nipped
Chipping up early in a tournament can do wonders for how you can progress throughout the day the remainder of the tournament. Being able to use a big chip stack to your advantage separates the best players from the good ones.

Unfortunately for Lee Yueh, he was unable to push his early chip up and currently finds himself on the rail.

With a raise to 1,800 from late position, Yueh moved all in for 10,400 from the small blind. His opponent made the call tabling his A♦J♦ to be in the lead against the dominated A♠5♦ of Yueh.

The board was spread Q♥3♦A♣6♣4♠ to see Yueh eliminated.

7:30 p.m: Slowing down
However you want to put, there is no blueprint, map or timeline to the speed at which a poker tournament plays. The ebbs and flows of a tournament are dictated by so many factors, that it is impossible to predict when there will be a lightening session of eliminations or a dullness in action.

Currently we are in that dullness of action.

Although the average stack sits at a little above the 30-big blind mark, action has slowed right down with players treading cautiously as they approach the final few levels of the night.

We expect things to pick up soon, but until then, sit tight and pray to the poker Gods that some aces versus kings confrontations occur soon!

7:10 p.m: Level up, blinds 400-800, ante 75

7:05 p.m: Vericel loses flip
Simon Vericel opened the pot to 1,700 only to have a player in late position make a hefty three-bet shove.

Asking for a count, the dealer firstly instructed Vericel that it was slightly over 21,000, before adjusting her statement to something around the 20,000-chip mark.

"I was originally thinking that I would call anything under 20,000!" stated Vericel before a player on the table re-counted the stack to amount to exactly 19,900.

"Do you want to flip?" asked Vericel.

"It's up to you!" stated the all-in player.

"Well I know that!" sparked Vericel before he splashed the pot with four yellow 5,000-denomination chips to make the call.

Vericel: A♥K♦
Opponent: [10s][10d]

The [10h]6♦5♠ flop saw Vericel drawing incredibly slim, and when the turn and river fell the A♦ and A♣, Vericel doubled his opponent up while slipping to 34,600 in the process.

"I wish it was over 20,000!" joked Vericel as he looked down on what remained of his chip stack.

Simon Vericel

Simon Vericel contemplating his decision with ace-king

6:48 p.m: Mariakis continues chip accumulation
Catching the action on the flop of A♠5♥2♠ and roughly 5,000 in the middle, Michael Mariakis called an opponent's all in that amounted to 14,050.

Mariakis: A♥2♥
Opponent: K♠Q♠

Mariakis managed to fade spades as the turn and river landed the 3♦ and A♦ as the Australian collected the pot to move to 78,000 in chips.

6:40 p.m: Wu on rise
After losing roughly half his stack in one of the first hands he played, Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu has been struggling ever since.

Although he took a dip even further at one stage, Wu has managed to slowly claw his way back into contention, and with his last table just breaking, Wu is now sitting with an impressive 41,000 which he will likely use to further his new-found chip stack at his new table.

6:30 p.m: Play resumes
Roughly 140 players still remain in today's flight as the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event continues.

Tim Duckworth
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau