APPT9 Macau Day 3: Rise and fall

Empires rise and fall.

Poker can be a cruel mistress at the best of times. Those who get their hopes up sitting behind a mountain of chips often get their heart broken. As is the way of tournament poker.

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We in the media can be guilty of putting too much emphasis on the chip leaders. They're the focus in most of the end-of-day articles and tend to receive more coverage than any other in the field. But, as we were reminded during the first two hours of Day 3 here, things can change at a moment's notice.

Just ask start-of-day chip leader Xiaohua Fu.

He started in pole position today with a mammoth 724,000 in chips - more than triple the average.

Before the end of the second level of play here this afternoon, Fu found himself on the rail. Let's take a look at how someone who seemed like a shoe-in for final table found the exit so early.

Fu took a hit early when he found himself on the wrong end of a flip. After Cheng Ho jammed his last 130,000 from under the gun, Fu snapped it off in the cutoff as soon as the action got to him.

Fu: 9♦9♥
Ho: K♥Q♣

It was a fair fight and Fu held through the flop of 2♥3♥7♣ and A♣ turn. It meant Ho was down to one chance at pairing his king or queen, and the K♣ river delivered to keep his tournament alive, contributing to Fu's eventual demise.

The next spot that saw Fu's chip stack cut in half was a clash with France's Nicolas Cardyn. Fu made the raise to 17,000 from under the gun before calling Cardyn's 41,000 three-bet. The flop landed 5♦6♦T♣ and Cardyn continued for 50,000. Fu then popped it up to 112,000 and his opponent pushed all in for only 111,000 more.

Fu reluctantly called it off with 9♥9♠ but was crushed by Cardyn's K♣K♥. The 5♥ turn and 2♣ river saw the Frenchman hold to take over a quarter million chips from the former chip leader.

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Xiaohua Fu peddles a short stack before his elimination

A few more dicey confrontations saw Fu doubling up Choon Siang Tan and being caught out bluffing by Qu Liu to drop down to only five big blinds. Not long after Fu found himself at risk after getting his last 41,000 in the middle preflop against Cheng Ho.

Fu: Q♦6♦
Ho: 3♦3♥

The board ran out 8♥T♣9♥A♠A♣ with Ho's pair holding to seal Fu's fate, and the player who had a commanding chip lead less than two hours prior was no more.

The crew at PokerStars TV caught up with Fu last night before his unexpected early exit this afternoon.

And as the tournament progresses the current chip leader is Yat Wai Cheng, but on second thoughts, maybe we shouldn't make a point of that. We'll be watching as the chips continue to change hands here, stay tuned to the APPT9 Macau page to keep up to date with all of the action.

Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau