MPC21: High roller event Day 1 updates

High Rollers Day 1 Summary

As mentioned earlier the Red Dragon main event may have concluded but that by no means finishes the action for the weekend. The 2-day High Roller attracted 59 big spending hopefuls, all stumping up the HK$80,000 entry to swell the prize pool to an impressive HK$4,439,160.

However, only seven players will be making any money, cashing for a minimum of HK$267,160 with the lions share of HK$1,465,000 going to the player who successfully circumnavigates the tournament minefield.

Just 20 players managed that feat today with Hong Kong's Shashank Rathi taking an early lead after busting India's Prann Sharma on level one after the latter tried to turn his pocket Tens into a bluff on the river on a 9♥9♦K♥9♣A♠ board. Rathi made the call with K♦[10d] to double up to 200,000 and did not look back, leading the field for the majority of the day.

Another player who is well in contention is Macau's Shing Fung Rono Lo. With final tables in the EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller and 2013 WSOP APAC High Roller already under his belt Lo is no stranger to the giddy heights of high rolling success and gave Rathi a run for the chip lead at several points as play progressed.

Malaysia's Daniel Xiong was another who chipped up early his 5♦5♣ flopping a set and rivering quads in a hand against Asia Player of the Year Jian Yang. While Yang was down he was by no means out, battling back from this early set back to make the cut for Day 2.

However, a last minute misstep from Chunlei Zhou - known better to the online community as 'PatPatPanda' and 'SamRostan' - saw Korea's Eddy Kim edge into the chip lead as play drew to a close.

‪1. Edward Kim (Hong Kong) -- 755,000‬
‪2. Rono Lo (Macau) -- 698,000‬
‪3. Shashank Rathi (Hong Kong) -- 653,000‬
‪4. Quan Zhou (China) -- 518,500‬
‪5. Daniel Xiong (Malaysia) -- 450,500‬
‪6. Kunaal Chandra (India) -- 314,500‬
‪7. Victor Teng (Australia) -- 299,000‬
‪8. Li-ta Hsu (Chinese Taipei) -- 297,500‬
‪9. Huidong Gu (Macau) -- 279,000‬
‪10. Makoto Yoshimichi (Japan) -- 229,000‬

Other notables to make it through are: 2014 APPT Seoul High Roller champion Quan Zhou and PokerStars Pro Celina Lin.

For a full break down of the remaining players and stacks click HERE.

Play resumes tomorrow at 4pm local time so join us then for more tournament thrills and spills.

Carnage At The Close

Tournament director Gerardo Gil Alim calls the last three hands prompting an explosion in the action as several players depart in a flurry of cards and chips.

Panda's are an endangered species and Chunlei 'PatPatPanda' Zhou is not helping their numbers here in the High Rollers by becoming one of our last gasp casualties in a rather unexpected and sizable pot against Korea's Eddy Kim.

Kim opened the action from early position with a min-raise to 18,000 and Zhou, sitting to his direct left, responds with a re-raise to 40,000 in total. Kim doesn't look like he's messing around though and promptly moves all-in. However, this does not deter Zhou who makes the call.

Crab is a delicacy and Kim certainly enjoyed a tasty treat when Zhou rolled over pocket Threes, which are well behind to the Korean's pocket Jacks. There is no miracle three and PatPatPanda goes the way of the dodo and heads for the rail.

This last minute hurrah good not have been timed better for Kim, who just edges into pole position and takes the chip lead with a stack of 755,000 as play draws to a close.


Korea's Eddy Kim busts Chunlei Zhou to take the chip lead

Rollercoaster Ride For Lin

The field's last female player and sole remaining PokerStars Team Asia pro Celina Lin has endured a rollercoaster ride of a day so far. Lin managed to run her 100,000 starting stack up to 150,000 by level 7 but then suffered a few set backs and bled all of her 50,000 profit back to the table before getting it all in on level 9 with A♥J♥ against a short stack's middle position shove for 50,000.

Unfortunately for Lin her opponent has J♠J♣, which hold to give the short stack a much-needed double up. Left with just 47,000 Lin was fortunate enough to wake up with A♦Q♥ the very next hand after Daniel Laidlaw min-raises from late middle position with [10s]8♠.

Lin ships for her last 47,000 and, fresh from his double up against Henrik Tollefson, Laidlaw has chips to spare and makes the call. While both players miss the flop, Laidlaw pairs his Eight on the turn meaning Lin will need either an Ace or a Jack to say alive.

Fortunately for Lin this story has a happy ending and an Ace on the river sees her climb back up to just over her original 100,000 starting stack while Laidlaw drops to what looks to be 150,000.

Quan Waves Bye Bye To Chan

Always an entertaining player to watch, China's Quan Zhou has a habit of bidding goodbye to any opponent unfortunate enough to bust at his hand. While this is often amusing for the rest of the table and the rail it's bound to leave a mark on the player unlucky enough to bust.

The unlucky opponent in question this time around is Wai Leong Chan and despite making the final table in the Red Dragon main event Chan was unable to get anything going here in the High Roller. Chan's demise came after he open shipped what looks to be around 65,000 or so with K♥[10s] from middle position only to see Zhou snap call from the big blind holding A♣K♣.

The J♥Q♥7♣ gives Chan a glimmer of hope and some extra outs though the 8♣ takes some of these away.

"Bink?" utters Chan hopefully as the dealer peels off the river which is... the 8♠ so no bink for Chan who heads for the exit with the salutations of Zhou ringing in his ears.

Laidlaw Cleans Up With Ajax

It looks like the second bullet is working out for Daniel Laidlaw who has just bagged himself a double up at the expense of Henrik Tollefson. It's Rono Lo who lights the blue touch paper with an open limp from early position before Tollefson adds more fuel to the fire with a raise to 25,000 from middle position. Laidlaw, sitting directly to Tollefson's left, then re-raises all-in for 88,000 in total.

Lo, who easily has both players covered with a stack well over 600,000, asks Tollefson how much he is playing and it looks like the Norwegian has a further 150,000 behind. That seems a little too much for Lo, who bows out of the hand and after Tollefson makes the call the cards go on their backs.

Henrik Tollefson: K♦K♣
Daniel Laidlaw: A♠J♦

The Aussie is in desperate need of help and receives it immediately when the dealer spreads the flop and the window card is the A♥. The rest of the flop is distinctly King-less and runs out 7♥4♥3♠[10c] meaning Laidlaw climbs to 190,000 or so, while Tollefson drops down to just under the 100,000 starting stack mark.

Chip Counts

Shashank Rathi has managed to grind his way back into the chip lead with a stack of what looks to be around 730,000. Rono Lo is still very much in contention with 650,000 and Quan Zhou rounds out our top three with 460,000.

Other notables are as follows:

Daniel Xiong - 450,000
Kunaal Chandra - 400,000
Chunlei Zhou (SamRostan) - 200,000

12:45am: Level 9 Begins, Blinds 4000/8000 (1000)

Woe Is Wu

We noticed Raymond Wu has exited the tournament but unfortunately missed his exit hand. However, fellow PokerStars pro Celina Lin was kind enough to talk us through the action.

Raymond departed back on level 6 with blinds at 1500/3000 with a 500 running ante after choosing to defend his big blind with A♣4♠ when an opponent raised to 6,500.

The Q♣9♥2♣ flop brings no help for Wu but with 18,000 in blinds and antes in the middle he obviously had plans for a later street and opted to check call his opponents 7,000 continuation bet.

The J♥ turn brings checks from both players and when a third club in the form of 4♣ hits the river Wu decides to make his move and leads out for 13,000 into a pot of 32,000.

Wu's opponent raises to 50,000 and Wu three-bet jams for his remaining 135,000. Unfortunately for Raymond his timing is a little off and he is quickly called by his opponent who has hit the board in the face holding J♣9♣ for a flopped top pair and flush draw, a turned two-pair and a rivered flush and that is the end of Wu's High Roller tournament.

High Point For Lo

It's been a fairly cagey level so far, but then with the average stack being 218,000 or around 35 big blinds there is still plenty of play left and we will have one more level after this one.

We have a new chip leader in the form of Rono Lo who had reached a high point of 710,000, though he has just sent some of this Celina Lins way. We caught the action on a flop of Q♠7♥[10h] as the field's sole remaining Pokerstars Team Asia Pro check calls a Lo bet of 11,000.

The Q♣ turn brings checks from both players and when the K♣ lands on the river Lin looks to bluff catch with her K♦T♦ and checks. Lo does not oblige however, checking behind before showing one card, the 2♥. This and Lo's other card go into the muck after Lin shows her hole cards to take down the pot and climb up to what looks to be around 145,000 or so. Lo is still our chip leader with just over 700,000 but Shashank Rathi is not that far behind on around 600,000.

12:05am: Level 8 Begins, Blinds 3000/6000 (500)

Chen Looking Short, Laidlaw Rebuys

Since losing around half of his stack to Shashank Rathi APOY leaderboard number one Pete Chen is looking precariously short and has dropped down to just over 25,000 in chips.

Chen's attempt at a double up also backfires when he moves all-in with K♠Q♣ and is quickly called by Quan Zhou, also holding K♥Q♦. Unsurprisingly the result is a chop meaning Chen stays alive for now, even making a slight profit on the hand after sharing the blinds and antes with Zhou.

Australia's Daniel Laidlaw has plumped for a rebuy and is sitting on the same table with a brand new 100,000 stack so we'll have to see if this second bullet works out for him.


Daniel Laidlaw is now on his second bullet

Chip Counts

Shashank Rathi is our runaway chip leader at present with well over 650,000 with the average stack being 190,000. Other notables are as follows:

Daniel Xiong - 370,000
Rono Lo - 315,000
Makoto Yoshimichi - 300,000
Chunlei Zhou - 280,000
Kunaal Chandra - 270,000
Henrik Tollefson - 110,000
Jian Yang - 90,000
Celina Lin - 90,000

11:25pm: Level 7 Begins, Blinds 2000/4000 (500)

Two More Casualties

Our high rollers have not been shy about moving the chips around the table today and out of our 59 initial entries just 34 remain. Two of our latest bust outs are Chinese Taipei's Terry Fan and Canada's Cheryl Peng.

While we missed his exit hand the sharply dressed Fan was kind enough to give us the details of his demise:

"I picked up JJ and lost to J9 off suit on 589 board,' said a dejected Fan, 'All the chips went in on the Ten turn and a 9 on the river gave my opponent the unbelievable two-outer 9..."

Peng fell to the panda power of Chunlei Zhou, her pocket Tens not enough to best Zhou's pocket Queens.

The clock has been paused briefly as the remaining 34 players move over to the other side of the card room to escape the live music blaring out of the Hard Rock Café but will play resume shortly for level 7.

Welcome To The Shashank Show

The High Roller tournament is quickly turning into the Shashank Rathi show, a fact Australia's Daniel Laidlaw has just discovered to his cost. Laidlaw has struggled to gain any traction here at PokerStars Macau so far today and things only got worse when he opened for 6,500 in middle position.

Rathi three-bets to 15,000 from the big blind and being as he has been quite active at the table and shown down a wide range of hands Laidlaw decides to shove for his remaining 65,000 or so with A♣K♣. Unfortunately for Laidlaw though, Rathi has the goods and quickly calls with A♥A♠.

The case Ace hits the flop and with only a single club in sight as the board runs out A♠3♥Q♥2♠6♣ that's all she wrote for Mr Laidlaw.

"Easy game..." quips Rathi's tablemate Pete Chan as the Hong Kong player scoops in yet another pot to bring him up to 640,000 in chips and further extend his lead.

It's A Set Up...

Sometimes it can be tough to win even a single hand in poker, a fact China's Chao Chen has just discovered to his cost. A late arrival to table three Chen has found himself seated between Jun Zhou and Cheng Ho and his tournament is not quite going as planned.

Despite Chen's 8♣8♠ dominating Rono Lo's 2♥2♣ pre flop, a kindly flop of undercards to his pair on a board of4♥5♥7♦ AND turning a set when the
8♥ lands on the turn Chen can only manage a chop when the 6♠ hits the river.

To rub further salt into the wound Chen manages to run into Jun Zhou's flopped set of Fours a scant few hands later meaning his 100,000 starting stack slips to a much diminished 50,000. Jun on the other hand has seen his earlier misfortunes reversed and has climbed to the giddy heights of 450,000 in chips.

10:30pm: Level 6 Begins, Blinds 1500/3000 (500)

Rathi Extends Lead

As level five draws to a close Shashank Rathi is still out in pole position, the Hong Kong player padding out his already ample stack further at the expense of current APOY leaderboard number one Pete Chen. We caught the action on the river on a board reading A♦9♥8♣7♥6♣ and with over 60,000 already in the middle of the table Chen leads out for 22,500.

Rathi calls pretty quickly and despite Chen holding top pair top kicker with A♥K♣ he finds out the bad news - Rathi's 8♣6♠ has just rivered two pair to bring him over the half a million chip mark. Chen slumps to 50,000 while Rathi rises to 550,000.

A Tale of Two Zhou's

It would appear that the second time's a charm for Quan Zhou. On his second buy-in of the day for his one re-entry Zhou is running a lot better this time around. We arrive at table five just in time to see Zhou value bet the river to the tune of 18,000 on a Jack-high board where all the draws have missed. His opponent, Liang Yu makes a crying call only to insta-muck his hand when Zhou flips over pocket Kings to take down the 50,000-chip pot. This brings Zhou's stack up to 227,000 with the average stack size coming in at 146,000.

Zhou's fellow tablemate and namesake Chunlei Zhou (SamRostan) is not doing quite so well after opting to call Hai Bo Chu's late position shove.

Chu moved all-in from the button for 50,300 with the speculative J♣6♠ with Zhou making the call from the big blind with A♦5♦. The K♠K♣7♠ brings Chu no help and things are looking grim for the Australian on the 8♠ turn before salvation in the form of the J♦ river brings Chu back to just over his original 100,000 starting stack while Zhou drops down to around 160,000.

9:50pm: Level 5 Begins, Blinds 1200/2400 (400)

Chip Counts

Daniel Xiong has just been moved to the same table as our current chip leader Shashank Rathi, who is sitting to his direct left, which should make things interesting for the young Malaysian...

Other notable big stacks include:

Kunaal Chandra - 400,000
Dong Guo - 255,000
Makoto Yoshimichi - 250,000
Chunlei Zhou (SamRostan) - 210,000
Jun Zhou - 200,000
Daniel Laidlaw - 125,000


As a player you don't see quads all that often, though during a tournament all kinds of monster hands make an appearance. Unfortunately for Jian Yang the reigning APOY has just found himself on the wrong side of one in a hand against Malaysia's Daniel Xiong.

With 35,000 in the pot on a board of 5♥[10c]2♦J♥ Yang leads out for 15,500 in early position. Xiong mulls over the decision before making it 32,000 to go in total, which after some careful consideration Yang calls.

The dealer burns and turns the 5♠ river to pair the board and Yang quickly cuts out a stack of yellow chips for a bet of 30,000. Xiong counts out his chips before restacking them neatly and moving all-in for 62,700 in total. Yang calls almost as soon as Xiong's chips are over the line but can only pitch his cards into the muck and count out the bet when the Malaysian turns over 5♦5♣ for quads.

Yang slips to 140,000 after that little misadventure while Xiong climbs to 134,000.

9:10pm: Level 4 Begins, Blinds 1000/2000 (300)


We used the short break to scout the lie of the land and it looks like we have a rather decisive chip leader in the form of Shashank Rathi who is sitting pretty with around 480,000.

PokerStars Team Asia Pros Celina Lin and Raymond Wu both look to be around the 100,000 starting stack, APOY Jian Yang has just over 200,000 as does tablemate Dong Guo.

Both Xiongzhen Wu and Quan Zhou have opted for another bite of the cherry and are on their second bullet of the day.

9:00pm: First Break

Wen Crushes Cowboys

The dust has barely settled over on Shing Lo's table before the action heats up over on table two and we have a pre-flop all-in between Xiong Wen and Alvin Zhang.

It looks like a blind on blind confrontation and Wen has shipped his 60,000 stack into Zhang and has been quickly called and from the look on Wen's face he's knows he could be in a spot of bother.

He is indeed, his A♠3♠ trailing to Zhang's K♥K♠ meaning Wen is going to need some help. He receives a little help by pairing his three when the board runs out 3♣7♦8♦5♣ and then a lot more as the A♥ hits the river to a groan from Zhang.

This gives Wen Aces-up and he scoops the 120,000 pot while Zhang is now perilously short with just 12,000 left.


Alvin Zhang's Cowboys fall to Xiong Wen's mighty A♠3♠

Lo On A High

After despatching the unfortunate Quan Zhou earlier Shing Lo's stack is moving in the right direction and he has just padded it out further at the expense of tablemate Jun Zhou.

We caught the action on the turn on a flop of Q♠9♥[10c]9♠ and it looks like Zhou has opted to defend from big blind pre-flop as, with 92,000 already in the middle, this is shaping up to be a sizable pot.

Zhou checks the 9♠ and after tanking for a minute or so Lo follows suit and the dealer rolls over the river, which is the Q♣. Zhou checks again opening the door for Lo to bet and he does so, to the tune of 30,000.

Zhou is getting just over 4-1 should he chose to make the call, and he does so but can only pitch his cards into the muck with an extremely unimpressed look on his face when Lo flips over Q♥J♥ for trip Queens. Zhou slips down to 46,000 and Lo rises to 189,000 making him our current chip leader.

8:20pm: Level 3 Begins, Blinds 800/1600 (200)

Numbers on the Rise

Despite our two early eliminations player numbers continue to rise and we now have 44 entries, 42 of whom are still in contention. Australia's Daniel Laidlaw is sitting over on table two, high roller Winfred Yu is here, as is high stakes online player Chunlei Zhou, better known to the internet as 'PatPatPanda' or 'SamRostan'.

A suited and booted Terry Fan is looking quite dapper in a rather shiny grey suit over on table three and with the High Roller satellite concluding our seven lucky winners have just entered the fray.

Action Heating Up

The hefty HK$80,000 buy-in and 40-minute levels is not slowing down the action any, in fact some of our players are getting the chips in with an almost reckless abandon.

Unfortunately for China's Quan Zhou this has not worked out quite how he would have liked. Short stacked before the start of the hand it looks like Zhou has shipped for his last 20,000 or so from under-the-gun and been looked up by neighbour Rono Lo in the big blind.

Zhou is in great shape, his Ace Queen leading Lo's Ace Jack, until that is the J♠ makes an unwelcome appearance on the river and we lose our second player of the day on just the second level.

7:40pm: Level 2 Begins, Blinds 600/1200 (100)

Shashank Picks Off Bluff

Player numbers have now climbed to 37 and we also have our first casualty of the day just 35 minutes into the action.

We missed the pre flop betting but there must have been some as there's 12,000 in the middle in a three-way pot between Shashank Rathi, Sharma Prann and Alvin Zheng.

Both Rathi and Prann check the all red 9♥9♦K♥ board and Zhang opts to take a stab for 5,500 from the button, however, this thins the field not at all as both players make the call. The 9♣ turn is where things start to heat up and after Rathi checks from the small blind Prann leads out for an overbet of 40,000 into 28,500.

That's enough to get Zhang to bow out but Rathi is going nowhere and makes the call for just under half of his remaining stack.

The river is the A♠ and another check from Rathi prompts Prann to pull the trigger and he quickly moves all-in. Rathi hits the think tank hard and clearly does not like the Ace. He does not seem to be a believer though and eventually does make the call for his remaining 46,000 prompting Prann to roll over [10s][10h] for the full house. It's not enough though: Rathi flips over his K♦[10d] to scoop the rather chunky 200,000-chip pot. This leaves Prann looking decidedly short stacked and he busts shortly afterwards.

Level 1 begins, Blinds 500/1000

With a 100,000 chip starting stack and 40-minute levels there is plenty of play as we kick off level one with 500/1000 blinds.

PokerStars Team Asia Pros Celina Lin and Raymond Wu are expected. Norway's Henrik Tollefson is sitting over on table one along side Pot Limit Omaha champion Li-Ta Hsu and reigning Asia Player of the Year Jian Yang.

Current APOY leaderboard front runner Pete Chan has just taken his seat over on table two next to Alvin Zhang and if we hit our expected 80 runners there will be 1,200 player points up for grabs which could see the landscape change drastically. Chan is the third player to take the top spot this week, but he has a rather commanding 1,116 point lead so it looks like he has that locked up for now.

7:00 pm: Show time

Cards are now in the air in the High Roller. So far we have 25 runners but we expect that figure to climb steadily as the evening progresses with late entry open for the next four hours.

Last time there were two starting tables and we finished with 63 runners and poker players are notoriously late risers. Plus the HK$11,000 satellite is still running, which will award a further seven seats.

Time for the High Rollers!

The Red Dragon may have wrapped up last night, with the title and HK$1,667,000 top prize heading the way of China's Zhenru Xie, but that doesn't mean the action has slowed down here at the 21st edition of the Macau Poker Cup. The series runs right through until August 17th with several exciting side events set to capture the imagination of locals as well as visitors who are still in town.


The feature event of the remaining schedule is undoubtedly the HK$80,000 High Roller Event. Spread over the coming two days, the interest level for this event has been enormous, so the PokerStars Blog team have been called in to cover all of the action.

PokerStars Macau's Fred Leung commented on social media his expectations for the event:

"Predicting a big turnout for the 80K High Roller at MPC21. How many you ask? Min. 80 with a chance at 100 runners. You heard it here."

If that's the case, then we're looking at a near HK$8 million prize pool!

Day 1 will kick off at 7:00pm so stay tuned for all the thrills and spills live from the floor of PokerStars LIVE Macau.

Ben Wilson
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau