MPC Red Dragon Main Event Day 3: Levels 18-20 (blinds 8,000-16,000, ante 2,000)

Ten-minute break

3:15 p.m: Quads for Tarnopol
Xiaobo Zhou opened to 44,000 only to have Daniel Tarnopol move all in for 259,000. Tetsuya Tsuchikawa made the call from the big blind before Zhou open-mucked his A♥J♣.

Tarnopol: 9♣9♥
Tsuchikawa: A♦J♦

The 9♦[10d]8♥ flop gave Tarnopol a set, but left Tsuchikawa with outs to a straight and flush draw, but when the 9♠ was delivered on the turn, Tsuchikawa would be left drawing dead as the meaningless 4♦ completed the board on the river.

As Tarnopol moved to 560,000, Tsuchikawa was left with just 70,000 in chips.

3:10 p.m: Lu five-bets
Wenlong Jin opened the button to 40,000 only to have Chen Lu three-bet the small blind to 90,000. Jin popped it up to 160,000 only to have Lu immediately move all in for roughly 510,000.

Jin took his time before eventually finding a fold to see Lu awarded the pot.

3:05 p.m: Lee holds with aces
Patrick Kar Keng Lee was all in for his last 240,000 against Wenlong Jin.

Lee: A♠A♣
Jin: Q♦J♦

The board ran out K♠3♣6♥[10s]4♥ to see Lee double as Jin slipped to under the 1 million-chip mark.

3:00 p.m: Final table nearly set
Although the payouts show a jump for tenth place -- meaning that the final table would be ten-handed -- the staff here at PokerStars Macau have ruled that the final table will be a nine-handed affair.

2:55 p.m: Zhang exits
One-time chip leader Yang Zhang has just been felted by Wenlong Jin. Zhang committed his final 185,000 holding A♥7♠ to be up against Jin's A♣Q♠.

The final board read 8♠[10c]2♦5♦8♣ to see Zhang's dominated ace failing to improve, and consequently forcing him to exit to the rail in 11th place.

Yang Zhang

Yang Zhang -- 11th place

2:50 p.m: Chen culled
From the button, Jianyu Chen pushed all in and Wenlong Jin made the call from the big blind.

It would be Chen's 5♣5♦ up against the [8][7] on Jin, and when an eight landed on the flop and no five would follow, Chen would be forced to exit in 12th place.

2:40 p.m: Wang walks
Daniel Tarnopol opened to 35,000 from the hi-jack and Jun Chen made the call from the cutoff. With the action on the short-stacked Zou Wang, he moved all in for 123,000 to force Tarnopol's cards into the muck as Chen made the call.

Wang: A♦7♦
Chen: Q♦Q♠

The board was spread [10d]Q♥2♠K♥9♣ to end Wang's tournament in 13th place as Chen moves to 1,350,000 in chips.

Zuo Wang

Zuo Wang (China) -- 13th place

2:20 p.m: Level up, blinds 8,000-16,000, ante, 2000

2:10 p.m: Tsuchikawa clips Chung
Zuo Wang opened to 28,000 from the cutoff and Tetsuya Tsuchikawa made the call from the button to see a 9♣A♣6♥ flop fall.

Wang check-called a 32,000-chip bet from Tsuchikawa as the J♠ on the turn went check-check. With the river landing the 5♥, Wang pushed out 36,000 and was quickly called by Tsuchikawa.

Wang tabled his A♦[10s], but it would be Tsuchikawa's A♠Q♣ that would see him collect the pot to move to 250,000 in chips.

1:55 p.m: Lee doubles through Chmiel
From the small blind, Pawel Chmiel moved all in and Patrick Kar Keng Lee made the call for his final 186,000.

Chmiel :A♥6♦
Lee: 7♠7♦

The board was spread 5♣3♠J♠4♦J♦ to ensure Lee the double to 370,000 as Chmeil slipped to 600,000 in chips.

Patrick Kar Keng Lee

Patrick Kar Keng Lee raking in the double

1:45 p.m: Osamu straightened out
Catching the action on the turn with the board reading 9♦3♣7♠2♥, we found Jun Chen moving all in. His lone opponent in the hand -- Japanese player Kishimoto Osamu -- made the call to be at risk.

Osamu: [3][3]
Chen: 8♣6♠

With Osamu in commanding shape, the 5♠ spiked on the river to send Osamu out the door in 14th place as Chen climbs to 1,300,000 in chips.

1:40 p.m: Wong bested by Wenlong
We aren't exactly sure when the money went into the middle, but with Wenlong Jin's A♠Q♦ tabled against Tommy Kai Wong's [A][9] we saw a board spread of Q♣7♣9♣7♠K♠.

With Wong unable to best his dominating opponent, the American was forced to hit the rail in 15th place as Jin moves to 780,000 in chips.

1:35 p.m: Shabannezhad Zhou'd
Xiaobo Zhou opened to 28,000 only to have Hossein Shabannezhad move all in for roughly 180,000. Zhou made the call once the action returned to him.

Zhou: K♠J♠
Shabannezhad: 5♣5♠

The board was spread [10s]9♦J♣3♥A♦ to end Shabannezhad's run in 16th place as Zhou moves to 1,325,000 in chips.

1:30 p.m: Chikusa crushed by Chen
With Japan's Makoto Chikusa seeing the last of his 130,000 enter the pot from the big blind after the small blind in Jun Chen popped it up. Chen made the committed call as the cards were tabled.

Chikusa: A♠K♠
Chen: K♣Q♦

With Chikusa in dominating shape, the J♠9♦[10h] flop saw him heavily outdrawn and needing to spike a gutshot queen to stay alive. Unfortunately for the Japanese player, the turn and river landed the 4♣ and 3♠ to see him exit in 17th place as Chen moves to 830,000 in chips.

1:20 p.m: Level up, blinds 6,000-12,000, ante 1,000

1:10 p.m: Ten-minute break

1:05 p.m: Four-bet win for Lu
Chen Lu opened to 25,000 and was called by Yang Zhang before Makoto Chikusa made it 95,000 from the big blind.

Lu reacted by four-betting all in for 361,000 to force both Zhang and Chikusa's cards into the muck.

1:00 p.m: Hao halted by Zhou
Jishui Hao pushed his short stack all in and Xiaobo Zhou made the call.

Hao: A♥5♠
Zhou: K♥J♥

The board was spread 8♣4♥2♣J♣4♦ to see Hao fall in 18th as Zhou moves to 1,227,000 in chips.

Jishui Hao

Jishui Hao -- 18th place

12:50 p.m: 1.1 milli for Zhou
Jun Chen opened with a raise and was called by PokerStars Macau Qualifier Konstantin Pogodin from the button, along with Xiaobo Zhou from the big blind.

The flop of A♣4♦5♥ was checked round to Pogodin who moved all in for 270,000. Zhou tanked for nearly ninety seconds before making the call as Chen folded.

Pogodin: A♦5♣
Zhou: 3♦2♦

With Zhou flopping the wheel, the 6♠ and [10h] on the turn and river wouldn't be what Pogodin was looking for as he was bundled out the door in 19th place as Zhou soars to 1,100,000 in chips.

12:40 p.m: Lee gets legs on river
Patrick Kar Keng Leng found himself all in preflop for roughly his last 100,000 against Yang Zhang.

Leng: [10h][10s]
Zhang: A♠6♠

With Leng in great shape to double, the A♦[JhA♥ flop would see slip behind as the K♣ landed on the turn. Although now gaining four outs to a gutshot, he would only need his two-outer when the [10d] landed on the river to ensure him the double as Zhang shook his head in frustration while slipping to 320,000 in chips.

12:35 p.m: More eliminations follow
With the action continuing at its extremely fast pace, Aaron Rong, David Kai-kwong Man and Alex Er have all been eliminated in 20th, 21st and 22nd place respectively.

At the same time, Makoto Chikusa has chipped up to 680,000 through Jishui Hao when his [A][Q] held true against [K][Q] on a queen-high board.

12:30 p.m: Petersen and Kishimoto exit
Kevin Petersen found himself all in preflop against Jun Chen.

Petersen: K♣Q♠
Chen: A♠Q♣

The board ran out 6♣7♣2♦6♦[10c] to see Petersen eliminated and Chen move to around 400,000 in chips.

Simultaneously Makoto Horikawa saw his [A][K] get outdrawn by his opponent's A♠Q♥ after all the money went in preflop. The board of J♦9♣Q♣9♦A♦ was spread to see Horikawa unfortunately forced to the rail.

12:20 p.m: Rapid fire frenzy sees Zhou go to seven-figures
Only a couple of hands had been dealt for the day and three players were headed out the door.

The most recent one saw Dai Wei Yein see his 8♣8♠ crushed by the Q♥8♥ of chip leader Xiaobo Zhou when the board was spread 4♥K♣3♥A♥J♥. With Yein on the rail, Zhou moved to 1,077,000 in chips after eliminating him, and Per Ulrik Anderson a hand earlier with A♣3♣ against Anderson's pocket queens.

12:10 p.m: Play resumes
The remaining twenty-six players are in their seats and the cards are back in the air for the recommencement of play. As was the case yesterday -- we will endure one-hour levels until just one player remains.

With three final tables being conducted today, the most noteworthy one is the HK$30,000 High Rollers event that sees 18 players return from the 53-player starting field.

William Te from the Philippines is the chip leader with 168,500, but notable players Nobbi Tanaka (134,600), Neil Arce (88,700), Sixiao "Juicy" Li (80,000), Charles Chua (74,500) and Raiden Kan (42,200) all remain in contention to make the money when play recommences at 1:00 p.m. (GMT+8).

1st -- HK$477,872
2nd -- HK$304,100
3rd -- HK$202,700
4th -- HK$159,300
5th -- HK$115,300
6th -- HK$101,400
7th -- HK$86,900

Finally the day has arrived where a new Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event Champion will be crowned.

With so much on the line today, there is a slim chance that it will be a short day as play will likely stretch into the early hours of tomorrow as winning this tournament not only means so much due to the HK$1,039,700 first prize and coveted trophy, but for the respect earned in the Asia-Pacific region for conquering such a tough tournament.

China's Xiaobo Zhou is the best placed to go the distance today after soaring up the leaderboard in the final few hands to amass an 844,000-chip stack -- nearly 240,000 more than his nearest rival. China dominated for the majority of the day, and it is no surprise to see the top three spots held by previous chip leaders all hailing from the Middle Kingdom.

Xiaobo Zhou

Chip leader Xiaobo Zhou from China

Although China is the dominant favourite, players still remain from Poland, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Denmark, Iran and the United States to mark this game -- and the Macau Poker Cup -- as a truly International affair as the final twenty-six line up as following:

Table 15
Seat 1: Hossein Shabannezhad (Iran) - 193,000
Seat 2: Dai Wei Yein (Hong Kong) - 111,000
Seat 3: Jun Chen (China) - 227,000
Seat 4: Kevin Petersen (Thailand) - 153,000
Seat 5: Per Ulrik Andersen (Denmark) - 111,000
Seat 6: Konstantin Pogodin (Thailand) - 266,000
Seat 8: Aaron Rong (Malaysia) - 79,000
Seat 9: Xiaobo Zhou (China) - 844,000

Table 16
Seat 1: Jishui Hao (China) - 368,000
Seat 2: Tetsuya Tsuchikawa (Japan) - 129,000
Seat 3: Makoto Horikawa (Japan) - 58,000
Seat 4: Andrew Kai Wing Chung (Hong Kong) - 200,000
Seat 5: Daniel Tarnopol (Thailand) - 381,000
Seat 6: Makoto Chikusa (Japan) - 172,000
Seat 7: Jianyu Chen (China) - 258,000
Seat 8: Kishimoto Osamu (Japan) - 215,000
Seat 9: Alex Er (Singapore) - 194,000

Table 20
Seat 1: Zuo Wang (China) - 254,000
Seat 2: Tommy Kai Wong (United States) - 206,000
Seat 3: Yang Zhang (China) - 605,000
Seat 4: Pawel Chmiel (Poland) - 280,000
Seat 5: Patrick Kar Keng Lee (Singapore) - 142,000
Seat 6: David Kai-kwong Man (Hong Kong) - 406,000
Seat 7: Jun Wah Yap (Malaysia) - 258,000
Seat 8: Wenlong Jin (China) - 333,000
Seat 9: Chen Lu (China) - 520,000

Play is set to begin at 12:10 p.m. (GMT+8) and finish when just one player has all the chips, the majority of the loot and the title of Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event Champion! The PokerStars Blog will be heavily updated with all the live updates throughout the day, so make sure to keep your browser refreshed as we play down to a champion.


Tim Duckworth
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau