APPT9 Macau Day 1a: The stage is set
It's been an epic lead up this past week here at PokerStars LIVE Macau, and now the stage is set.
A rare sight after a hectic few days sees the poker room somewhat empty at the moment, but before long it'll be buzzing as poker hopefuls take their seats for the first Day 1 flight of this year's APPT Macau Main Event.
Expectations are high as we reach the back end of what has already been a fantastic festival. The fields have attracted impressive numbers and that looks set to continue. The HK$50k Freezeout generated a prize pool of HK$3,692,790 (~US$475,000) and while that wraps up today, a fresh batch of players will roll in as the Main Event kicks off.
Those making a deep run in the HK$50K will be missing from the Main Event field today and will likely try their luck on Day 1b tomorrow. China's Sheng Sun leads that field, with other notables Scott Davies, David Steicke and Percy Yung still in the running.
The focus will no doubt be on the Main Event though, and with a HK$25,000 (~US$3,200) buy in we should be able to add another healthy prize pool to the tally this week. Last year saw HKD$11,021,140 (~US$1,422,000) on offer and it was China's Jiajun Liu who claimed the lion's share, topping the 494 player field for a HK$2,776,000 (~US$360,000) payday.
The action commences at 2pm local time today, with Late registration open for the first four hours of both the Day 1 flights. Players start with a 20,000 start bank and blinds at 50/100. The tournament will run as an official four-day event before we crown a new APPT Main Event champion come Sunday.
In the meantime we'll be keeping an eye out for any familiar faces floating around. USA high roller specialist Steve O'Dwyer was spotted not long ago, he'll be looking for another big score here in Macau after taking down the ACOP Super High Roller in November for HK$14,050,000 (US$1,811,638).
On top of big prizes and titles, Asia Player of the Year points are also on offer this week. Players will be chasing China's Yuguang Li who leads the way after a phenomenal week in March saw him ship both the Macau Poker Cup High Roller and the Red Dragon event. We will also be paying close attention to the APOY standings as APPT Macau shapes the leader board for the second half of the year.
We're nearly underway here as the poker room is filling with players. Some are still registering, others are taking their seats while a few are helping themselves to the cooler full of Red Bull. As the official energy drink provider for PokerStars LIVE Macau, cans of Red Bull are available free to players all week here.
PokerStars LIVE Macau's Fred Leung has just grabbed the microphone and announced shuffle up and deal. With that the Main Event is off and running. There are live updates at the top of the APPT9 Macau page, while there will also be feature stories all week long.
All the players will be using the hashtag #APPTMacau on Twitter, so why not get involved at home as well! In the meantime you can check out what happened when the PokerStars.tv took a trip to nearby Hong Kong below.