2016 ACOP: David Peters pushes ahead on Day 1 of the High Roller

Six levels down and Day 1 of the HK$250,000 High Roller is done and dusted. 62 took a shot this afternoon and that's just one shy of last year's total - but with late registration open for the first hour of Day 2 tomorrow it's almost certain we'll be eclipsing 2015's turnout.

It was a murderer's row of the poker elite in attendance. The likes of Ike Haxton, Dominik Nitsche, Daniel Dvoress, Roman Korenev, Justin Bonomo, Steve O'Dwyer, Stephen Chidwick, Faraz Jaka, Mikita Badziakouski, Dietrich Fast, Mustapha Kanit, Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Jack Salter all among the host of notable names that pulled up seats.

After six levels of play, however, it was David Peters who rose to the top. Peters got things going early on and by the third level of play he was already one of our big stacks. He kept the heater alive when his A♣T♦ knocked out Weizhou Zha who held A♦K♦ on a board of T♣4♠8♠6♠8♦. That pot took Peters up to 545,000 in chips and he continued in fine form for the rest of the day to bag up almost double that by the end - finishing with 1.057 million when all was said and done.

Peters has an astounding $12,690,661 in live cashes to his name and will be looking to add another big score to that résumé this week.

2016 ACOP High Roller Day 1 chip leader David Peters.jpg

Too many chips to stack for David Peters

Before Peters' run to the lead though there were a few who fell by the wayside and won't be returning for Day 2. Christian Christner was the first of those to make an exit. He made a big hand against an even bigger one when he called off on the river holding A♣K♦ on a board of 4♦K♥7♥4♥3♦. That was no good against Andrew Graham's 7♣7♦ and he took an early lead by sending Christner packing.

Another 16 followed Christner out the door as the day kicked on and ultimately we were left with our 45 Day 2 qualifiers.

Among those is the only Team PokerStars Pro who joined the action - Yaxi Zhu. She had a great day on the felt, bagging up 546,000 by the conclusion of play. Her teammate Bryan Huang was nearby but too busy making the final table of the Main Event. He'll be back tomorrow in a bid to take home the title, the trophy and HK$6,684,000 as Day 2 of the High Roller recommences.

2016 ACOP High Roller Yaxi Zhu.jpg

Team PokerStars Pro Yaxi Zhu

You can join us again tomorrow for coverage of both those tournaments - the exciting conclusion of the Main Event and Day 2 of the High Roller. We'll have everything you need directly from the tournament floor. We hope you tune in!

12:30am: Play concludes

That's the end of Day 1. At this stage it looks like David Peters is out in front. We'll have a full recap of today's proceedings when all the numbers are finalized. Stay tuned!

12:20pm: Michael Egan exits
Level 6: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Australian Michael Egan leaves us after getting his short stack in against Philipp Gruissem. It folded around to Egan on the button and he moved his last 49,500 into the middle. Gruissem made the call to put Egan at risk and with the big blind out of the way the two of them tabled their hands.

Egan: Q♦J♦
Gruissem: A♦9♥

Egan was behind and while he had live cards he couldn't catch up when the board ran out 7♣8♥4♣T♣5♣.

Gruissem collected the last of Egan's chips as the latter departs in the final level of the night.

12:10am: Lucky catch for Kanit
Level 6: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Mustapha Kanit just caught a miracle river card to keep his tournament alive and make a big dent in Dominik Nitsche's stack during a recent cooler.

With the community cards showing 9♣9♠4♠3♣ Kanit was first to act and he moved all in for 117,000. Nitsche snapped it off with a flopped full house and the cards went on their backs.

Kanit: T♥9♥
Nitsche: 4♥4♣

Kanit was drawing thin to make a bigger full house but the 3♠ river repeated on the end to see him improve to nines full to win the hand.

That unfortunate hand for Nitsche sees him drop to 90,000 in chips.

11:50pm: Huang hits a flush
Level 6: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

"Yay! Yaxi I win! I don't bluff!" called out Shan Huang to the Team Pro on the neighbouring table.

The board read 9♣2♥2♠T♣6♣ and Huang's A♣J♣ was good for the nut flush by the river.

"I feel so nervous. I was worried about a full house" Huang continued.

His bet of 85,500 was paid off on the end and with that Huang stacks up a new total of 260,000.

11:30pm: Yaxi Zhu takes chips from Chao
Level 5: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

The only one flying the flag for the PokerStars contingent, Yaxi Zhu, is moving up the chip counts after clashing with Shih I Chao in a recent pot.

The cards were spread 5♠T♠4♦Q♥9♣ and Chao led the river from the big blind for 55,500. Zhu was in the under the gun seat and gave her decision considerable thought before finally sliding in a raise for 136,500. It was then Chao's turn to take his time as he utilized the tank.

"Jack" called tablemate Steffen Sontheimer to Jack Salter on the adjacent table, "I'll give you a $100 freeroll if you can guess the action."

Salter walked over to sweat the hand momentarily until he had to return to his seat to avoid missing a hand.

In the end Chao tapped the table and threw his hand away as another railbird yelled out "bluff!"

Zhu smiled and raked in the pot to take her up to 365,000 in chips.

2016 ACOP High Roller Yaxi Zhu.jpg

All smiles for Yaxi Zhu

11:15pm: Lee looking strong
Level 5: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Hun Wei Lee has pushed ahead to emerge as one of the chip leaders here on Day 1 after taking a pot away from Mikita Badziakouski.

The board read 2♣5♦J♣7♠ when we arrived on the turn to see Badziakouski check to Lee who bet 30,500. Badziakouski came over the top with a raise to 110,000 and after Lee called the Q♣ rolled off on the river.

Badziakouski opted for a smaller sizing on the river with a bet of 80,000 but Lee took the chance to move all in over the top for a total of 346,000. After a noticeable gulp Badziakouski took his glasses off and tried to work out the correct move.

The bet was for most of Badziakouski's stack and he was clearly tormented by the spot he was in. After two minutes in the tank Badziakouski asked to confirm Lee's count again. It would take another minute for Badziakouski to decide when eventually he threw his hand into the muck.

The chips were slid over to Lee as he moved up to 700,000 and Badziakouski fell to 345,000.

10:50pm: Peters puts an end to Zha
Level 5: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

When we got to the table Weizhou Zha was out of his seat and shaking his head. He had A♦K♦ in front of him but it looked like he'd been sucked out on by David Peters who held A♣T♦.

The board was spread T♣4♠8♠6♠8♦ and Peters had spiked a ten which was enough to end Zha's tournament run.

Zha stopped the dealer from mucking the cards as he took a photo before exiting the tournament area. As he leaves us Peters climbs to 545,000 in chips.

10:35pm: Play resumes

The 56 remaining players are back in their seats and cards are in the air.

10:20pm: Take a break
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

It's time for a 15-minute break. Coverage will resume momentarily.


10:10pm: Field grows with more notables
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

The tournament is now up to 61 total entries and a few more familiar faces have decided to join us.

We now have a Team PokerStars Pro in the mix with the late arrival of Yaxi Zhu. Her teammate Bryan Huang might like to join her but he's busy in the Main Event across the tournament floor with only seven remaining.

Also now seated in the High Roller are Salman Behbehani, Senh Ung, Winfred Yu, Sergio Aido, Thomas Miller, Matthew Wakeman and Mustapha Kanit.

2016 ACOP High Roller Mustapha Kanit.jpg

The always animated Mustapha Kanit

9:55pm: Sun shuts down Zha
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Sheng Sun is stacking some newly acquired chips after a tricky line against Weizhou Zha.

Zha brought it in for a preflop raise to 5,600 before Sun bumped it up to 17,500 from the small blind. Zha flicked in a call and they went to a flop of J♠3♣A♦.

Sun continued for 20,000 and Zha called to see the 4♦ turn.

After a check from Sun, Zha took the betting lead with a barrel for 27,000. Sun then sprung the trap and made it 67,000 to go. Zha thought about it for a minute but decided against it as his cards sailed into the muck.

The pot was awarded to Sun and he moved up to 290,000. Zha on the other hand fell to 225,000 in chips.

9:35pm: Guo goes for it
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

After a raise to 4,500 from Roman Korevnev, Dong Guo called next-to-act, and then the action was on Justin Bonomo on the button. He squeezed to 16,000 and Stanley Choi decided on a cold call from the small blind.

Korenev finishing off chewing his chocolate bar before tossing in a call before it was back to Guo. He opted for a huge jam for close to 300,000 in chips.

After eyeing off his stack Bonomo quickly let it go, and both Choi and Korenev did the same. Guo scooped that one and continued building his stack.

9:15pm: Big stacks as we reach 56
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

The field has now hit 56 total entries and with Christian Christner's departure 55 players are still in the running. Here's some of our early frontrunners and how they stack up.

Andrew Graham - 580,000
Justin Bonomo - 485,000
David Peters - 440,000
Xixiang Luo - 420,000
Weizhou Zha - 360,000

2016 ACOP HighRoller Andrew Graham.jpg

Leading the way - Andrew Graham

9pm: Peters picks one off
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

The stack of David Peters is moving in the right direction after he just raked in another pot - this one was against Sheng Sun.

On a board of K♠Q♦4♦8♦ Sun took a stab at it for 25,000 from the big blind and Peters called from the button before the 8♦ arrived on the turn.

The J♥ river saw Sun give up on the end as he checked it over to Peters. He checked behind and Sun tabled A♠6♠ for ace high. Peters had that beat flashing Q♠T♠ for second pair to win the hand.

Peters was awarded the pot and moved up to 440,000 in chips.

8:40pm: Christner the first to go
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

We've just ticked into the third level of the day here and already a player has been sent packing. The unfortunate title of first evictee goes to Christian Christner.

The board read 4♦K♥7♥4♥3♦ and Christner checked from under the gun. Andrew Graham was the only other active player and he moved all in with enough to cover Christner's 170,000 behind.

In the end Christner felt his hand was too strong and called off with A♣K♦ but it was no good against the full house of Graham who held 7♣7♦.

Christner tapped the table and departed as the first exit of the day. That takes us to 47 players still at the tables but late registration is still open until the end of the first level tomorrow.

8:20pm: Play resumes

Players are now back in their seats and the action is back underway. The field is now up to 48 runners.

8:05pm: Scheduled Break

It's time for the first break of the day. Play will resume in 15 minutes.

8pm: Haxton gets it through
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

All the community cards were face up on the table when we caught the action. The board read 2♥2♦7♠K♦A♥ and Mikita Badziakouski checked in the big blind. Ike Haxton was the only other active player and he pushed all in for his last 56,600 into a pot of around 100,000.

Badziakouski didn't look pleased, immediately taking off his sunglasses and shaking his head. He contemplated his options for over a minute before ultimately relinquishing his hand.

The pot was pushed to Haxton who stacked up a new total of 160,000 while Badziakouski dropped to 370,000 in chips.

7:40pm: Chen nearly hero calls for tournament life
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

You could say James Chen is somewhat of a High Roller specialist. He's the only one to ever win two Macau Poker Cup High Rollers and he's in town this week to try and take out the ACOP High Roller as well.

He and tablemate Xixiang Luo got into a heated dispute over a missing ante not long ago and that may have played into the levelling war that just happened in the hand that transpired.

On a flop of 2♠9♣7♠ Luo checked it over to Chen who fired for 11,000. Luo then check-raised to 41,500 and Chen stuck around to see the 5♥ turn.

Luo then loaded up and slid out a tower worth 105,700. Chen eyed his own stack before committing to a call and the 8♦ fell on the end to complete the board.

After five seconds Luo moved in for the rest of it with enough to cover Chen's roughly 90,000 behind. That sent Chen deep into the tank. After three minutes of deliberation he had a question about the rules.

"Am I allowed to open my hand or is it dead?" Chen enquired.

A tournament official was beckoned over and Chen was told he was not allowed to open his hand. Chen then decided to give it up and tabled A♥Q♣. Luo started laughing at the fact Chen was even considering calling with just ace high.

"Best hand until the river. Maybe still was" Chen lamented as the pot was awarded to Luo.

2016 ACOP High Roller Xixiang Luo.jpg

Xixiang Luo is enjoying himself

7:20pm: Bonomo breaking away
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Justin Bonomo just extended his chip lead even further after making the right move against tablemate Hun Lee.

We arrived at the table to see the board showing Q♠7♥8♣3♥J♦ with Bonomo on the button and Lee in the big blind.

It appeared that Lee had check-raised Bonomo's bet of 38,000 up to 122,000 on the end. Bonomo motioned to see Lee's stack and found that Lee had only a touch over 100,000 behind. Despite his opponent having more than half his stack in the middle, Bonomo moved all in with enough to cover Lee.

Lee snap-folded and Bonomo moved up to a new total of 460,000 in chips. He now sits with almost double starting stack early into Level 2.

7:05pm: Gruissem gets some back
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Steve O'Dwyer raised to 2,800 from under the gun and Philipp Gruissem flat-called to see a flop of 9♠J♣7♣. O'Dwyer continued for 3,500 and Gruissem called again before the 2♦ appeared on the turn.

After O'Dwyer checked to give up the betting lead, Gruissem took it from him with a barrel for 8,500. O'Dwyer studied Gruissem as the latter shuffled chips and after around 45 seconds O'Dwyer called. The 7♥ river completed the board and the action went check-check on the end.

Gruissem had the best of it with Q♥Q♣and after losing a little early he rebuilds to 245,000 in chips.

6:50pm: 37 and counting
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The High Roller field is now up to 37 runners with Dominik Nitsche, Dietrich Fast, James Chen, Michael Egan, Michael Addamo and Vladimir Dobrovolskii all taking their seats.

Registration is open all day and one hour into Day 2 so that number is expected to continue rising.

6:40pm: Bonomo building early
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Justin Bonomo finished runner up in the Super High Roller for HK$5,595,000 earlier this week and he's back to try and go one better in this High Roller. Things are looking good for Bonomo so far as he has emerged as one of the early chip leaders.

He just scooped a pot from Dmitry Yurasov. We caught the action amidst an apparent preflop raising war with Bonomo on the button and Yurasov in the small blind. Some of the bets had already been raked in but it looked like Yurasov had put in another 26,000 before Bonomo had made it an additional 32,000 on top.

Yurasov called and the flop fell 5♥8♣J♦. After a check from Yurasov, Bonomo continued for 37,000. That was good enough to take it down and Bonomo climbed to 345,000 in chips.

6:20pm: Stacked field
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

We've only just begun and this tournament and it's already shaping up to make for some spectacular viewing. There are only three tables in action at the moment and already it's a who's who of the world's poker elite.

Already in their seats are the likes of Ike Haxton, Justin Bonomo, Stephen Chidwick, David Peters, Paul Newey, Quan Zhou, Sergey Sergeev, Daniel Dvoress, Dong Guo, Christian Christner and Dmitry Yurasov.

Also spotted lurking around the tournament floor and registration desk are Mikita Badziakouski, Steve O'Dwyer, Faraz Jaka, James Chen, Michael Egan and Michael Addamo. Time will tell if they decide to pull up seats.

6:05pm: Cards in the air
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

PokerStars LIVE Macau's Fred Leung just took to the microphone to welcome the High Roller players and announce for dealers to begin.

Leung also informed those listening that this is a freezeout event and players start with 250,000 in chips. The blinds commence at 500/1,000.

Shuffle up and deal!

Welcome to the ACOP HK$250,000 High Roller

As the Main Event races towards a final table the HK$250,000 High Roller is about to start firing up! Cards will be in the air from 6pm local time.

The plan for today is to play six one-hour levels with play finishing up at around 12:30am. Those who survive will return tomorrow from 2:30pm for the penultimate day where they'll battle down to a final table.

Registration will be open until the end of the first level on Day 2 and tournament officials are optimistic for a good turnout.

As always we'll have all your live reporting needs right here on the PokerStars Blog and you can also follow along with the Main Event coverage at this link.

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PokerStars Blog reporting team at 2016 ACOP: Marc Convey, Brad Kain and Howard Swains. Photography by Long Guan/Kenneth Lim Photography. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau