MPC21: Zhang leads Day 1b by a nose

Finding the end-of-day chip leader during the last ten minutes of the day is an important business for a poker blog. Yes, we may be days away from the final table, or even the money bubble, but locating the big stack on any given day is part of the job description. The photographers need to take that picture so we can send praise to the player that worked so hard (or got lucky enough) to finish with the largest stack.

On Day 1B of the MPC21 Red Dragon Main Event we found it hard to find the chip leader. Of the 42 survivors out of a 148-player starting field, there were at least five players with around six figures and no clear leader amongst those five. Just to be safe, the photographers took pictures of all five of those players.

Now, we present to you one of those pictures and the man we call the Day 1B chip leader.

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The mysterious Day 1B chip leader

That happy looking player you see above goes by the name Emning Zhang. He has every reason to be happy - 115,100 reasons in fact. While he's not well known here at PokerStars LIVE Macau, Zhang was actually one of the players who caught our attention early in the day. He made a big call for effectively his tournament life with T♣T♠ on the river of a J♦5♥2♥K♠2♠ board and it was the correct call as his opponent had A♣4♣ for just ace-high.

One of the other four players who had big stacks, though ultimately not as many as Zhang, was Bin Hu. A big day at the felt saw Hu finish with 109,700 in chips, which is the third largest stack overall behind Darian Tan (112,600) and Zhang. Hu managed to get his hands on plenty of those chips when he held pocket tens and had an opponent all in with pocket queens. Hu hit a set of tens and that was that.

They may not have finished near the chip lead, but as they very well know, you don't need the chip lead on Day 1 to win a poker tournament. In fact, these two players know that's the case when winning this very tournament as between them they have three Red Dragon titles.

I am talking about Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Raymond Wu.

Lin, who is the only two-time Red Dragon champ, finished Day 1B with 55,400 in chips, while fellow Red Dragon champ Raymond Wu finished with 34,800. Lin was down to around 5,000 at one point during Day 1B but built it back up throughout the day and ended up cruising into Day 2.

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Can Celina Lin win a third Red Dragon?

One other Team PokerStars Pro played Day 1B and he will likely be a little envious when he sees that both Wu and Lin made it through the night. Of course, he will be happy for them, but he would be much happier if he was there with them on Day 2.

This time I am talking about Bryan Huang.

It was a relatively short day at the felt for Huang as his tournament life came to an end when he ran ace-queen into pocket aces.

You can't win them all.

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Bryan Huang will have to be happy with playing side events this coming week

The 42 total survivors from Day 1B will be back at the felt for Day 2 on Monday. Before then, a new batch of players will take to the felt for the third and final Day 1 flight. That begins at 3:00pm on Sunday and the PokerStarsBlog will once again be on hand providing live updates from the floor of PokerStars LIVE Macau. Until then, you can click here to check out all the end-of-day 1B chip counts and can find an archive of the live updates from the day by clicking here.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau