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

4:10 p.m: Ten-minute break

3:55 p.m: Lowe flushed with chips
With over 8,000 in the pot and the board reading 4♦7♦9♦Q♣6♦, we found Victor Chen firing out a bet of 4,000 after also betting the turn.

His lone opponent in the hand -- South African Justin Lowe -- deliberated for a few moments before splashing the pot with his call.

"Flush?" asked Chen as he tabled his A♠2♥ for a complete airball and just ace-high.

Lowe breathed a sigh of relief and tabled his K♦J♠ for a king-high flush to take the pot and send Chen down to just 8,000 in chips.

3:45 p.m: Where all those chips come from?
Although we were able to detail how Michael Mariakis was gifted his new-found chips, the same cannot be said about the following two players who have just launched themselves to the top of our chip leaderboard.

Firstly we noticed Tom Alner of the UK sitting with 29,700, but it is Will Cheong who stands above them all with an amassed 48,500 in chips. Cheong made a name for himself when he final tabled the 2008 APPT Macau Main Event where he would finish in sixth-place for a HK$442,500 payday before registering a further three more cashes here in his home casino.

Will Cheong

Current chip leader Will Cheong

3:35 p.m: More arrivals
More players are continue to arrive in today's flight with Nathanael Seet and Winfred Yu being the most notable of those recently taking their seat.

3:30 p.m: Level up, blinds 100-200

3:25 p.m: Bobo exits in double elimination
Daoxing "Bobo" Chen limped in from early position only to have Michael Mariakis bump it up to 400. The player on the button called, as did a player from the blinds before Chen moved all in for a further 11,950 to the remaining players.

Mariakis went deep into the tank uttering a few words in the direction of Chen. Chen however casually took a few sips of his bottled water giving the Australian not a single thing to influence his decision in any substantial way. Eventually Mariakis made the call to put the 2010 APPT Macau third-place finisher at risk before the button surprisingly committed his final 6,000.

Chen: K♥6♥
Button: Q♠T♠
Mariakis: K♦K♠

Unfortunately for Chen and the button player, they would be unable to spike significantly enough to overtake Mariakis' lead as the final board was spread A♣6♣2♣4♠8♥ to see Mariakis pushed the pot to move to 31,500 in chips.

Daoxing Chen

Daoxing "Bobo" Chen hits the rail early

3:13 p.m: Win for Ewing
Mostly known for his cash game prowess both online at under the moniker "u_dirty_dog" and here in Macau, David Ewing doesn't just have one string on his bow as he often dabbles in tournaments.

Cashing in the Macau Poker Cup in March last year, it is Ewing's showing at this year's Aussie Millions that gives him his best result to date as he finished runner-up to Mike Shklover in the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha for AU$55,000.

Wandering over to Ewing's table however, we saw him sitting at the basement end of the chip counts with roughly 8,000. With a raise to 300 from the lo-jack, Ewing made the call from the cutoff to see a [10s]J♠8♣ flop fall. His opponent checked, and Ewing fired out 425.

Once Ewing's opponent made the call, he would be forced to call another bet -- this time amounting to 625 -- as the 9♦ graced itself with its presence on the turn. Ewing's opponent again check-called as the [10c] completed the board on the river. However Ewing's third barrel of 1,600 would go uncalled as he raked in the pot to move to back to nearly 10,000 in chips.

3:03 p.m: Mariakis rivered
Michael Mariakis opened to 300 from under the gun and was called by his opponent next to act, as well as the big blind to see the dealer spread a Q♣J♦4♦ flop fall.

Mariakis continued for 800 and was called by just the big blind before both players tapped the table when the 6♣ landed. The river of the [10h] also saw both players refuse to commit any chips as the big blind tabled his A♦T♦ for a rivered third pair.

"Hit the river huh..." muffled Mariakis as he shook his head and tossed his cards to the muck. Although looking visibly distressed, Mariakis still remains alive -- albeit with a slightly smaller stack then he would like -- with 11,525 in chips.

2:53 p.m: Paulsen and Bobo enter
As the blinds kick up to 50-100, two more notable players have just been spotted in the room.

Macau frequenter Kai Paulsen is currently seated on one of the outer tables -- and with six Asia-based cashes including three Macau Poker Cup ones, he'll be looking to increase those statistics here and add to his US$450,000 in tournament winnings.

Highly popular player Daoxing "Bobo" Chen is also in today's field. Chen's deep run -- that resulted in a third-place finish for HK$1,855,000 -- in the 2009 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau Main Event catapulted his name into local stardom due to his unorthodox play and unusual antics is currently located on a table with Australian Michael Mariakis.

Kai Paulsen

Kai Paulsen enters the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event

2:50 p.m: Level up, blinds 50-100

2:45 p.m: Wu arrives and loses early
Team PokerStars Pro: Asia member (from Chinese Taipei) Raymond Wu has just taken his seat in today's field.

Unfortunately for the highly skilled player, he has seen his starting stack nearly halved after losing a pot on one of the first hands he played. We are unsure of the exact action, but Wu currently sits with just 7,900 in chips -- but with that still being nearly 160-big blinds -- Wu has plenty of time to recover and make a run at amassing a healthy day one chip stack.

2:30 p.m: New name, same winning style for Im
Vivian Im -- formerly known as Young-shin Im -- was officially announced as the fourth member of Team PokerStars PRO: Asia to join a stable that features Celina Lin (China), Raymond Wu (Chinese Taipei) and Bryan Huang (Singapore).

Last November, Im became the first female to win an Asia Pacific Poker Tour event when she stood atop the 236-player field in Cebu to collect PHP 5,810,000 in prizemoney. Not only has she got a strong live resume, but the South Korean has also achieved Supernova Elite status on PokerStars and has beaten some the biggest cash games here in Macau.

Being seated on one of the outer tables, we found Im in a pot against two players with the board reading 8♠9♣4♥ and roughly 2,000 in the middle. The small blind led out for 600 to force the big blind's cards into the muck, but it would be Im that made the call as the 8♦ rolled off on the turn.

The small blind checked, and when Im tossed in 1,025, the small blind instantly mucked to give Im the pot to keep her winning ways going.

2:22 p.m.: A few names
Although players are still making their way onto the tournament floor, today's field is made up of mainly local and PokerStars Macau frequenters.

Vivian Im and her partner Kim Gap Young are in attendance, while Singaporean Ivan Tan, as well as Australian's Andrew Scott, Michael Mariakis and David Ewing have also taken their seat.

2:15 p.m: Today's format
Today (and tomorrow) will see each player begin with a 15,000-chip starting bank and play ten 40-minute levels before calling it quits.

There are nearly twenty tables currently being used, and with registration open for a further two hours, a few more are expected to be formed.

2:10 p.m: Day 1a underway!
The rain from yesterday has now been replaced by a few glistening rays of sunshine, and although it is a typical day here in Macau, many have ventured inside to take part in the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event.

The HK$11,000 Main Event offers a HK$3,000,000 guaranteed prizepool, and just like the previous running of the Red Dragon, it seems as though the guarantee will again be smashed as players are currently filtering through to the PokerStars Macau Poker Room to take their seat in the final edition of this event for the year.

PokerStars Country Manager Fred Leung has welcomed the players to the PokerStars Macau Poker Room in the Grand Lisboa Casino while Tournament Director Danny McDonagh was handed the microphone to instruct the dealers to shuffle up and deal!

Macau Poker Cup starting table

Tim Duckworth
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau