Sunny shines at Macau Poker Cup Championship
Every time we walk into the PokerStars Macau Poker Room there's something special in the air. Maybe it's the luxurious surrounds of the Grand Lisboa Casino which set the scene, full of thousands of wealthy locals who love nothing more than to splash some cash and get their gamble on.
As you make your way past the sea of Baccarat tables and enter the poker room you can't help but become consumed by the enthusiasm of the players. They just love poker over here, and over the past few years we've seen consistent growth in player numbers - something that hasn't happened anywhere else in the world.
There were big hopes that the Macau Poker Cup Championship would again set a new high as the finale for a season full of record setting events. While we won't have confirmation until tomorrow, today's starting field of 121 represents substantial growth on last year's Day 1a field of 104, and we are well on track to better last year's total of 254 players.
Among today's starters were the likes of Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu, Victor Chen, Lee Nelson, Michael Mariakis, Juicy Li, David Steicke, Will Jones, Brice Renaud, Neil Arce, Percy Yung, Justin Chan, Curly Seal, previous MPC Red Dragon winner Kwan "Spiderman" Mah, the number one ranked Asia POTY player Hung-sheng Lin and the defending champion Julian Hasse.
Many of those notables had solid days on the felt with Lee Nelson the highest profile casualty in the early levels of play. Nelson took an early crippling blow before losing a race with pocket eights against ace-queen to make an early exit.
However the day undoubtedly belonged to the man known as "Sunny" as Hyungsun Jung was an early chip leader before ending the day with a bang. Jung caught most of his chips early in the day when he made two pair to fade his opponent's flush draw before a final surge in the dying minutes with a flopped set left his opponent's top pair drawing dead.
Jung bagged up a mammoth 159,125 at the end of the day for a clear chip lead with Richard Hu (110,750) and Johan Hirvonen (85,575) the next best.
PokerStars sponsored player Neil Arce (62,100) had a solid day to finish just outside the top ten, while International poker star David Steicke (48,475) and Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu (46,975) are also in good shape.
With a commanding lead in the Asia Player of the Year race, Hung-sheng Lin added to his points this week with two final tables in preliminary events, however it was a rare tough day on the felt for Lin today. He had his tournament life on the line with A♣4♣ against an opponent's pocket jacks, but managed to spike an ace to survive and bag up a below-average stack of 30,550 in chips.
Another to scrape through was the defending champion Julian Hasse. It's great to see the German back in Macau to defend his crown, and despite picking up some chips early, Hasse could only nurse his way to a stack of 13,225 by the end of the day.
"I started well and after level 3 I had 35k. Since then I couldn't win a pot." said Hasse. Optimistic, the German poker pro added, "There's always a chance to win. I still feel confident.
With the official MPCC Player's Party rocking Macau this evening, expect a few blurry eyes tomorrow as Day 1b kicks off in the PokerStars Macau Poker Room at 2:10pm (GMT+8). We look forward to your company once again!