2012 MPCC Day 1b: Level 3-4 (blinds 150-300, ante 25)
7.25pm: Second Break of the Day
The approximately 130 remaining players have been sent on a 10-minute break.
7.15pm: How Go the Team Pros
The three remaining Team PokerStars Pros are still alive and kicking and you could even say two of them are prospering. Bryan Huang is currently sitting behind a stack of around 40,000 and his fellow Team Pro Raymond Wu has around 43,000. Vivian Im isn't doing quite as well, currently having a stack of around 15,000. Huang has had plenty of success at the MPCC in the past, finishing in 5th place in the 2009 MPCC Main Event. Similarly, Wu has had some success at the Macau Poker Cup, winning a HK$10,000 buy-in event in 2010. Wu also had a deep run in the 2009 MPCC Main Event, finishing in 17th place.
7.00pm: The Rich Get Richer
At the moment, no player can touch Yanqin Huang. A huge start to the day has seen Huang's stack rise to just under 100,000. No player managed to do the same until much later in the day during yesterday's action. We recently caught up with the action on the turn of a 5♦8♦7♦J♣ board, with Huang involved in a hand against Macau regular Richard Hu. Huang checked here and Hu bet 3,200. Huang then put in a raise big enough to put Hu at-risk should he decide to call. Hu thought for a long time, eventually having the clock called on him. Hu opted to let go of his hand and with that Huang raked in another large pot.
6.45pm: Nicky Back on the Up
Nicky Tao Jin currently leads the Asia Player of the Year leader board, but was struggling early and was looking like he wouldn't be adding any points to his tally in the MPCC Main Event. However, that has all changed very recently, with Jin suddenly having a pulse, now sitting behind a stack of more than 20,000.
We recently watched a hand that began when a player in middle position opened the pot to 700. Jin three-bet to 1,850 and the original aggressor made the call. On the 4♠6♦9♥ flop, Jin's opponent checked and Jin confidently bet 2,600. A quick fold would send the handy little pot to Jin as he is looking dangerous to continue his great run on the Asian poker circuit.
6.35pm: Two Champs Remain
It has just been announced to the PokerStars Macau poker room that the 2009 MPCC Main Event champ Devan Tang has been eliminated. That means that the 2010 MPCC Main Event victor Julian Hasse and last year's champ Raiden Kan are the two remaining players who have the ability to become two-time MPCC champions.
6.25pm: Level Up, Blinds 150-300 (Ante 25)
6.20pm: How Are Those Chips Looking
Right now there are four players who are clearly leading the rest of the field in terms of chips, with Yanqin Huang holding the largest stack of them all with around 80,000. The closest to Huang are Hirotoshi Nakabo (66,000), Jay Tan (65,000) and Kenny Wong (58,000). Some of the players who are struggling include Sam Razavi (14,000), Sangeeth Mohan (11,000), Nick Wong (10,000) and the current Asia Player of the Year leader, Nicky Tao Jin (7,000).
6.05pm: Tang Struggles, Finds Lucky Chop
The 2009 MPCC Main Event champion Devan Tang hasn't had a great start to the day, seeing his stack fall to around 5,000. Tang recently found himself at risk of being sent home, getting all his chips in the middle in a blind versus blind situation. Tang held A♣2♣ from the big blind, while his opponent in the small blind held A♦6♦. When a 5♥8♠9♥ flop was dealt on the felt, it wasn't looking good for Tang, but fortunately runner-runner eights on the turn and river meant that it was a chopped pot. Back to the drawing board for the inaugural MPCC Main Event victor!
5.55pm: Two Years Ago
With the 2010 MPCC Champion Julian Hasse in the field today, we thought we would take a look back on this back when he won it two years ago.
If there was a poker boom for tournaments in Macau then it likely happened between the year 2009 and 2010 and that can be seen in the huge increase in numbers in the MPCC Main Event. A massive field of 254 player piled into 2010's MPCC and with 2009 only hosting a field of 158 players, it is clear from the 2010 MPCC Main Event and even this year's event, that poker has come a long way in Macau. The prize pool was a very large HK$4,626,864 in 2010 and an eclectic field of some of the best players in the world would be fighting it out for a HK$1,064,000 first-place prize. By the time only a final table of nine remained, players from seven different nations were being represented - these included China, Singapore, Japan, Australia, USA, United Kingdom and Germany. In the end it was a German player going by the name of Julian Hasse who was crowned the victor, with Hasse now becoming a very familiar face on the Macau poker circuit.
Of course, as we alluded to, Hasse is in today's field and will be looking to recapture the glory he found two years ago. Interestingly, all three of the past champions are in the field today,with Devan Tang (2009) and Raiden Kan (2011) also joining Hasse at the tables.
5.45pm: Big River for Tan, Bad River for Hu
Jay Tan is currently sitting behind one of the largest stacks in the room, courtesy of a big pot she recently took down against Richard Hu and one other opponent. We arrived at the table on the 9♣A♥A♠ flop, with Tan checking out of the big-blind position, the player directly on her left checking and Hu also checking from the button.
When the dealer flipped over a Q♥ turn, the action was checked to Hu and he bet 2,000. Tan then quickly raised it up to 5,200 and the player on her left got out of the way. An 8♦ completed the board on the river and this time Tan would simply tumble a large pile of chips onto the felt - more than enough to cover Hu's stack of around 15,000. Hu went deep into the tank before eventually letting his hand go with a smile. As Tan raked in the handy pot, she tabled A♣8♣ for a big rivered full house.
5.35pm: Home Time For Celina
Walking through the PokerStars Macau poker room and we bumped into Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin. Usually that would be quite pleasant, but unfortunately it was far away from the tournament area and after putting two and two together, we realised she must have been eliminated. Lin was happy to fill us in on her elimination. Apparently Victor Chong had been the table captain all day, even calling off an opponent's four-bet shove after three-betting with 7♣4♣. It was the loose aggression of Chong that would eliminate Lin, but unfortunately this time Chong would wake up with a hand.
The last hand of Lin's tournament saw her open to 550 from under the gun holding pocket jacks. Chong then three bet to 1,500 with pocket queens. One player flat-called behind Chong and Lin opted to shove for around 11,000. Chong snapped Lin off and the other player got out of the way. No help came for Lin and with that, it was all over for the lovely lady of Team PokerStars. Then there were three!
5.25pm: Play Resumes
The players are back from their break and ready to play another couple of levels here at the 2012 Macau Poker Cup Championship Main Event. Registration is now closed and we will be sure to let you know of the official numbers and prize pool once they are made available. The early word is that it is just over 180 players who have sat down here on Day 1b.