MPC Red Dragon Day 1a: Level 5-8 (Blinds 300-600, Ante 75)

1.35am: Marvanek is the Man... To Catch

Someone had to get there eventually and we can report that Michael Marvanek is the first player to reach the illustrious six-figure chip stack. The hand that saw Marvanek's stack soar into the dizzying heights of over 100,000 in chips was a doozy. We arrived at the action with a A♣7♥K♦ flop on the felt and with Marvanek and one opponent opting to check. On the 4♥ turn, Marvanek led for 3,000 and his opponent made it 9,000 to go. Marvanek hesitated for only a moment before making the call.

The river fell with a J♠ and it was once again on Marvanek, who opted to check. This time Marvanek's opponent bet 17,500 and Marvanek moved all in for approximately 39,000. Marvanek's opponent quickly called and mucked just as quickly when Marvanek turned over his Q♥T♥ for broadway. With that, Marvanek is easily the chip leader with around 105,000 in chips.

1.20am: Cheam Churned Home

Alvin Cheam recently wandered past the media desk with a beer in hand and so it was pretty obvious he had recently found the rail. Apparently Cheam ran his A♣K♥ into the A♥A♠ of an opponent and wasn't able to improve. Better luck next time!

1.05am: Level Up, Blinds 400-800, Ante 100

12.50am: Safe Fold for Karita

When we arrived at Yu Kurita's table, there was a board showing 4♠5♥T♥5♦ and Kurita was involved in a massive pot against one opponent. There was already 15,000 in the middle at this point and Kurita's opponent checked the turn. Kurita bet 7,000 here, leaving herself with around 10,000 behind, and her opponent quickly jammed his stack in the middle. Kurita went deep into the tank, eventually shaking her head and sliding her cards into the muck.

"Did you have aces?" asked a player not involved in the hand.

When Kurita replied that she did in fact have aces, her opponent revealed his 5♠2♠, showing Kurita that she made a great fold.


Yu Kurita took a hit, but still survives

12.35am: Past Dragons

With a bit of a lull in the action during these mid stages of Day 1a, we thought we would take a look at last year's MPC: Red Dragon(s).

It wasn't quite a year ago that the largest-ever Red Dragon Main Event field took to the felt of PokerStars Macau. Exactly 635 players more than doubled the HK$3,000,000 guarantee, with a monster prize pool of HK$6,297,676 being up for grabs. In the end it was Nicky Tao Jin who won the title, picking up HK$1,192,500 when he defeated Abhishek Goindi heads-up.

The number set in February was always going to be hard to match, but a respectable 391 players created a HK$3,888,212 prize pool in June of 2012. This event would break open the PokerStars blogosphere when Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin would claim her second MPC: Red Dragon title - the first and only player to achieve this feat.
With 253 players already partaking in this year's MPC: Red Dragon Main Event, and with one more Day 1 flight to come, it is almost guaranteed that we surpass the 397-player field set back in June. Whether or not we can see a field that rivals the 653-player record remains to be seen, but only time will tell!

12.25am: Level Up, Blinds 300-600, Ante 75

12.15am: Break it Up

The approximately 175 remaining players have been sent on another ten-minute break. It will be back to the action soon!

12.05am: Time Ticks on as Plenty Remain

The clock has just ticked into the AM here in Macau, but you wouldn't know that if you strolled through the PokerStars Macau poker room in the Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex. There are currently around 180 players till surviving and a majority of them are wide-eyed and ready to play into the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately around half of those players are expected to hit the rail before the night is over, so let's charge along and see who survives the night!

11.50pm: Back to the grind for Lam

Charles Lam has been nursing a stack of well under the starting 15,000 in chips and will have to continue grinding after chopping up an all-in hand. We recently arrived at Lam's table to find Lam out of his chair calling for diamonds. Lam was all-in holding A♦Q♦ and was coming up against the A♥Q♣ of one opponent. Lam was holding to hope that the diamonds would come, but the 7♠3♠K♦6♣Q♥ was no help and sent Lam back to the grind station.

11.35: Level Up, Blinds 200-400, Ante 50

11.30pm: Woo-Hoo for Raymond Wu

Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu has just found himself partaking in a big hand over on his table and we were there to catch all the action. It began with Wu opening it up to 700 from early position. Wu would receive two calls here, one from the cut-off player and one from the big blind. On the 6♦3♣K♥ flop, The big blind checked and Wu bet 900. Calls from Wu's two opponents would see an 8♥ hit the turn and Wu bet 2,500 when his opponent checked. Both players again called and a Q♦ completed the board on the river.

It didn't take long for Wu to get all his chips in at this point, tumbling his remaining 7,125 onto the felt. The cut-off player thought for a while, then called, while the big blind got out of the way. At showdown, Wu casually flipped over K♠Q♠ and his opponent mucked. With that, Wu is now sitting behind a very healthy stack of around 27,000 in chips.


The deadly stare of TeamPokerStars Pro Raymond Wu

11.10pm: Steicke Back Alive

We aren't sure how it happened, but well-known Hong Kong based Aussie David Steicke once again has a pulse in this tournament. Seeing his stack move around 7,000 during the early stages of the tournament, Steicke is now sitting behind a strong stack of around 30,000 in chips. Steicke certainly knows what it takes to make a deep run in PokerStars Macau events, with his most recent exploit seeing him finish 5th in the High Roller event at the Asia Championship of Poker back in November of last year. Let's see if Steicke can see similiar success here in the Red Dragon!

11.00pm: Entrants Confirmed

The number of entrants for this first of two Day 1 flight has been confirmed! Exactly 253 players began the evening - that's a solid field and will see the MPC: Red Dragon easily crush the HK$3,000,000 guaranteed prize pool.


What all the MPC: Red Dragon hopefuls are playing for

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau