MPC Red Dragon Day 1A updates

3:10am: Done

Day 1A of the Red Dragon Main Event has come to a close. Stay tuned for a full wrap of today's events.

2:55am: Lohia keeps it coming

Sailesh Lohia scored another one.

Former Red Dragon champion Patrick Lee had managed to survive a double up and a few beatings, but he wouldn't survive Lohia's monstrous stack.

Lee moved all-in from the cutoff and Lohia called from the button.

Lee: A♠[10h]
Lohia: A♦K♠

Things had been going well for Lohia and this hand wouldn't be any different. The board came K♥J♦6♥K♦9♣ and Lee was eliminated.

Lohia got the victory and was then chosen to pick how many hands we'd play to end the day.


Level 12: 1,000/2,000 blinds, 300 ante

2:45am: Dare for aces

"Did you see that hand?" Levi Dare asked. "The one with the aces?"

We failed to catch the hand but Dare's chips were hard to miss. Lots of the chips came from Georgy Belyanin, when Dare held the aces.

Belyanin had raised to 2,600 preflop and Dare called, bringing a queen-jack-five flop. Belyanin bet 5,000 and Dare raised to 15,500.

Belyanin had about 80,000 behind, "And he put it all in," Dare said. "I only had 45,000 behind and I called."

Dare, as we know, turned over aces. Belyanin turned over king-10 for a straight draw. The turn and river didn't complete Belyanin's draw and Dare chipped up to 120,000.

Belyanin was then eliminated a few hands later when he got the rest of his chips in against Sailesh Lohia. Lohia showed jacks while Belyanin turned over ace-jack.

Belyanin couldn't improve and was eliminated.

2:30am: A bit short

The floor has announced that we won't be playing a full 12 levels. Instead, we'll only play half of Level 12 and send the players of Day 1A on a two-day break.

2:20am: Sliced

The tournament has now dipped to the below 30 percent mark. Raymond Wu announced the shuffle-up and deal nearly 8 hours ago and in that time the field has been devastated.

There were 209 players who signed up for Day 1A and now only 62 remain. The remaining players represent 29.66 percent of the original field and there's still more poker to be played.

Level 11: 800/1,600 blinds, 200 ante

2:05am: Lee stays alive

Patrick Lee has been struggling to stay alive.

The former Red Dragon champion knows what kind of madness it takes to win this event and he's knee deep in it today.

Lee had just managed to double-up at his table and was quickly faced with a decision for all his chips.

Patrick Lee Day1A.jpeg

Patrick Lee

Lee and Levi Dare were faced with a 5♠6♣3♦ flop and Lee put out a bet. Dare made it 4,500 more and Lee called.

The second the 6♠ came on the turn, Dare threw in a pile of yellow chips worth 30,000. The call would put Lee's tournament life at risk and the former champ tanked.

"What do you got?" Dare asked after a while. "You tell me, I tell you."

Lee shook his hand and kept thinking.

"Jacks? Tens?" Dare inquired. "You got lots of outs if you do."

Lee didn't respond and threw his hand in the muck, leaving himself with about 26,000. Dare, who was short stacked just a few levels ago, is now sitting behind a large stack of about 115,000.

1:45am: King of the hill

It's tough at the top.

Whoever comes out on top of this event will not have had an easy road. Chip leaders don't seem to last more than a level and play has gotten a bit emotional. Every few minutes there's a slam on the table or loud, quick-fire words in one of several languages heard throughout the tournament floor.

Sailesh Lohia was our most recent chip leader and has surpassed all odds by managing to hold on for a while.

Georgy Belyanin, Lohia and Levi Dare were faced with a Q♦K♥8♦ flop in a raised pot. Belyanin checked from the big blind and Dare bet 3,500 from early position. Lohia called, Belyanin folded and a [10d] came on the turn.

Dare checked and Lohia bet 5,000. Dare then made it 13,000 and Lohia called, bringing a 2♥ on the river. Dare checked and almost mucked when Lohia checked back.

Dare opted not to muck and reluctantly turned over J♣8♠ instead. Lohia showed K♣J♦ and took down the pot.

Dare would then get a few chips back from Lohia.

Dare raised to 2,500 from early position and Lohia called. The flop came 6♦A♠6♥ and Dare bet 3,000. Lohia called, a 3♣ came on the turn and Dare checked. Lohia fired away for 6,200 but folded after Dare moved all-in.

Dare was able to recoup some chips but Lohia is still leading with about 130,000.


Sailesh Lohia

Level 10: 600/1,200 blinds, 200 ante

1:20am: One more

Players are on their last break of the day as the blinds are getting bigger and several stacks are getting smaller.

There's been plenty of all-ins throughout the tournament area. It's that time of the night when short stacks are opening up their range and big stacks are frequently calling.

The tournament has lost another table and only 81 players remain.

There are three more levels of play tonight and then Day 1A will come to a close.

1:10am: They keep coming

Another chip leader has popped his head out from behind a recently-created monster stack.

Sailesh Lohia raised to 2,500 from the cutoff and the button moved all-in for 17,900. Action folded back to Lohia who made the call.

Lohia turned over 8♥8♠ while his opponent showed J♥7♥.

The board came Q♦[10h]6♠A♠2♣ and Lohia absorbed his opponent's stack. The victory gave Lohia 125,000 and the tournament chip lead.

12:55am: Top speed

Another table has just broke here in Day 1A. This brings us down to our final 90 players and they're sprawled across 10 tables.

The field has been more than halved and we still have three levels of play to go.


The ever-shrinking field of Day 1A

Level 9: 500/1,000 blinds, 100 ante

12:35am: Big stack poker

Nick Wong is nearing the six-figure chip mark.

The Hong Kong businessman has had good results in high roller tournaments throughout the area and now he's got a big stack in the Red Dragon.

The large stack has a power of its own and has helped Wong chip up even more. Wong raised to 1,800 from early position and a player moved all-in for 8,100. Action was folded back to Wong.

Nick Wong Day 1A.jpeg

Nick Wong

Wong thought for a bit, counted out his chips and reluctantly called, showing 2♠2♠. Wong looked relieved when his opponent turned over A♣J♥ and was even more relieved when the flop came 2♣6♣4♠.

Wong won the hand and mentioned he was really glad his opponent didn't have threes.

"It would've been really embarrassing," Wong added. "It sucks to raise the big stack. I had to call."

Wong now has about 96,000.

12:10am: Wu out

Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu has been eliminated from the tournament.

Wu was faced with an uphill battle throughout most of the day. The Team Pro had been shortstacked for some time and was left with about 5,000.

Faced with a limp, Wu moved all-in and his opponent thought. His opponent thought some more and finally came out of the tank with a call.

Wu turned over J♠8♠ and his opponent showed the hand he'd been thinking about calling with for so long: 5♥4♥.

The flop was a swift, cruel K♣9♥4♦ for Wu. The turn was a Q♣ and the 9♣ came on the river, cementing Wu's fate and prompting a celebratory outburst from his opponent.

"I told you not to play Day 1A," fellow Team Pro Celina Lin said when Wu joined her on the rail. Now that they're on the same side of the rail, the Team Pros will join other players at the designated party spot for Day 1A: Club Cubic.


Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu in and out on Day 1A

Level 8: 400/800 blinds, 100 ante

11:50: Chinese Poker

PokerStars staff here at the MPC are proud to announce that they'll be sponsoring the Chinese Series of Poker (CSOP). The series' next event will be held in Sanya, Hainan next month, from May 15-19th.

They expect a field of about 500 players and are excited to be a part of the ever-growing poker market in Asia.

For more information, players can visit the CSOP website.*

*It's in Chinese

11:35pm: Counting chickens

Bharat Naidu has been running well and chipping up, but poker is cruel.

Naidu raised to 2,600 from the hijack and Georgy Belyanin re-raised to 7,000. The big blind moved all-in for 12,000 and action was back on Naidu.

Naidu thought for a while, announced all-in and threw in a chip.

Now it was Belyanin's turn, it took a bit longer for him to call. When Belyanin did call, Naidu jumped out of his chair, screamed "Yes!" and flipped over A♥A♦.

The poker gods don't take too kindly to that.

Belyanin showed J♣J♥ and the big blind turned over A♠7♠.

The flop came 8♠2♦Q♦ and the at risk players stood up. Then a J♦ came on the turn and Belyanin let out a "yes" of his own.

The river was a [10s] and the big blind was eliminated. Belyanin got more than a double up and is now at about 60,000. Naidu on the other hand is down to about 85,000, still good for the top of the leader board.

Level 7: 300/600 blinds, 75 ante

Dealer Day1A.jpeg

11:15pm: Break

Players are now on their second break and we're halfway done with Day 1A. We'll return to 300/600 blinds a 75 ante and six more levels of play.

11:00pm: More for Naidu

Bharat Naidu has gone from possible second place to commanding chip leader. Naidu is now sitting behind more chips than anyone in Day 1A with 110,000.

Most of Naidu's chips came from two key hands. One was a three-way all-in. All the chips went in preflop and Naidu held kings against an opponent's pocket 10s and another player's ace-queen.

The kings held up and Naidu eliminated some players.

"But I won a bigger pot before that," Naidu said. There was a jack-ten-five board and Naidu was sitting with ace-jack.

He moved all-in and the player in the big blind called with ace-queen. The big blind would not improve and Naidu would chip up.

10:50pm: Break before break

The floor has announced another table break. This leaves the tournament at 144 players as we've lost 65 so far.

Level 6: 200/400 blinds, 50 ante

10:35pm: On top

A new batch of leaders begin to emerge. As we're about to enter level 6 of the event, we have one stack closing in on 60,000 and another surpassing 70,000.

One of them is manned, the other isn't.

Bharat Naidu is seated behind the manned stack with 59,500.

Then we have a monster stack with an empty chair. While the chair has been empty for a fair part of level 5, it still belongs to Nick Wong.

Wong is currently leading the tournament with nearly 75,000.

10:15pm: Redistribution

Our tournament chip leaders have redistributed their chips back to the people of Day 1A.

Ahmed Karrim's stack has returned to a bit above starting and Michael Tang is at about 25,000. While Tang is still above average, his stack has dropped from the commanding 44,000 he held a few levels ago.

With blinds starting to rise quickly, big chip shifts will become more and more frequent.

Level 5: 150/300 blinds, 25 ante

9:50pm: It's official

The numbers for Day 1A are in.

Day 1A attracted a total of 209 players. With two more Day 1s to go and Day 1C expected to sell out, the tournament staff is feeling pretty good about breaking that record.

The number to beat is 635.

The next two days will hopefully bring those players and a few big names. Lacey Jones, Naoya Kihara and Johnny Chan are all expected to make an appearance at this Red Dragon. Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang, Celina Lin and Vivian Im are also scheduled to attend.

In addition to those poker stars, a few Taiwanese celebrities will grace the tournament with their presence. Taiwanese TV personality Alex Niu and music-superstar MC Hotdog will be joining the field in the next few days.

Day1A field.jpeg

9:35pm: Even Wu

Raymond Wu is wavering around starting stack.

His sunglasses are on and he's been involved in a lot of pots. In one of them, Abhishek Goindi raised to 650 from the cutoff and Wu raised to 1,550. Goindi thought for a while and called, bringing a [10d]8♣K♦ flop.

Wu bet 2,000 and Goindi thought a bit longer before calling again. The turn brought a 3♥ and Wu moved all-in.

Action went to Goindi who folded after giving it some thought.

Wu then took down the following hand. A player called from early position and Wu raised to 600 from the button. The blinds released, the player in early position called and the flop came 5♠J♣[10c].

Wu bet 750 when checked to and his opponent folded.

Wu now has around 14,000 and.

Level 4: 100/200 blinds, 25 ante

9:00pm: Break

Players will be given a 10-minute break every three levels and their on their first one.

Break Day1A.jpeg

8:50pm: Emerging

We're still early in the tournament, but a few stacks have started to grow faster than the others.

When the cutoff called, Michael Tang raised to 700 from the small blind. The cutoff called and the flop came J♦3♦6♣, both players checked. A K♥ came on the turn and there was another round of checks.

The river brought a K♠ and Tang bet 1,000. The cutoff folded and Tang raked in another pot, putting his stack up to about 44,000.

Ahmed Karrim has also built a small tower. His stack is currently worth 34,000.

8:35pm: Newcomers

We had a late addition to the field. He owns a rare piece of jewelry.

WSOP bracelets are rare, but WSOP APAC bracelets are even rarer. The first WSOP APAC was held just a few weeks ago and only five bracelets were awarded.

One of those bracelet winners was Jim "Mr. Big Queso" Collopy.

Collopy has decided to follow up his recent win with a visit to PokerStars LIVE at The City of Dreams where he'll try to win a dragon.

8:25pm: Reminders and changes

APPT President Danny McDonagh took the microphone and gave players a quick announcement.

"Just a reminder, this is not a re-buy event," McDonagh said. "This is a real tournament. A freezeout. You get one shot."

There might have been some confusion before, but now players are fully aware that you only have one chance to capture the Red Dragon. Well, until the next MPC.

A few moments later McDonagh told players that Day 1A is now officially nine-handed, giving players a bit more room at the tables.

Level 3: 100/200 blinds

8:15pm: Numbers

The floor has passed out some unofficial numbers for Day 1A. So far there are a total of 204 players in the field and -- not surprisingly -- a large portion of them hail from China.

There are 67 players from China with another 18 coming from Hong Kong and 5 players from Macau.

Taiwan will be next in numbers with 17 players, including Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu.


Team PokerStars Raymond Wu and Shaq Lin

8:00pm: A schedule

The floor has worked their magic and decided Day 1A will last 12 levels. That will work out to 8 hours of play plus whatever breaks are scheduled for the day.

Either way, play will continue to the wee hours of the morning.

Level 2: 50/100 blinds

7:35pm: Forties

The Red Dragon Main Event will feature a slightly different structure. All Day 1s will see 40-minute levels while future days will see levels go up to 60-minutes.

Also displaying the number "40" is the hot dog stand near the media table. Pre-packaged hot dogs with packets of mustard and ketchup are being sold for HKD $40.

Coincidence? Conspiracy? Who knows. We'll bring you more as the situation develops.

7:20pm: Scanning the field

After starting off the Red Dragon Main Event, Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu took a seat right next to another familiar face. The 2011 Asia Player of the Year, Hung-Sheng "Shaq" Lin, is seated to Wu's immediate left.

While poker sparks and dragon breath are certain to fly at that table, there is more action peppered throughout the tournament area.

Wu isn't the only former Red Dragon victor present today. Nicky Jin, Patrick Lee and Victor Cheng have all won a Red Dragon and are in the hunt for their second here in Day 1A.

Kenny Shih and Hong Kong pro Sparrow Cheung have also been spotted behind sunglasses and poker chips.

We'll keep an eye out for more.

7:00pm: Shuffle up and deal

PokerStars country manager for Macau, Fred Leung, took the microphone and welcomed players to PokerStars LIVE at the City of Dreams.

"It's our brand new home," Leung said. Leung then introduced the crowd to a familiar face and voice, Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu.

"This has always been my favorite event and it's great to see it grow every year," Wu said. "Good luck everybody. Dealers, shuffle up and deal."

Wu then rushed off to his table to start playing. The Team PokerStars Pro will be hunting for his second Red Dragon victory.

Play is now underway.

6:50pm: Ready to go

The Red Dragon is back and stronger than ever.

Poker's best-looking trophy has been resting in the artificially-lit cave of The City of Dreams casino for far too long.

It's ready to be unleashed.


This is the 18th installment of the Macau Poker Cup (MPC) and the Red Dragon Main Event is about to start. While registration is still a few days from closing, the event is already boasting a prize pool of HKD $5,000,000.

Tournament staff is expecting to break that guarantee as well as a record. The record for largest tournament in Asia is 635 unique players, a number we might surpass in the next few days. But if the record is broken, the Red Dragon won't be snagging a title away from anyone. The record was set during this same event back in February 2012.

While players have been lining up to register for the past two hours, they've just started to take their seats in the tournament area.

The HKD $11,000 buy-in will give players a starting stack of 15,000 and blinds will start at 25/50.

Alex Villegas
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau