MPC26 Red Dragon: Day 1A coverage archive

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JP Kelly

That's it for Day 1A.

After 12 levels of play, JP Kelly is leading the field with 247,300. Kelly has several tournament wins and more than $2.6 million in live tournament earnings. Kelly finished 12th in the HK $258,000 Macau Super High Roller back in 2012, but hasn't scored another cash in Macau since. He'll be looking to add to that this tournament. There's still a ways to go though. Out of the 300 players that started the day, only about 100 made it to the bag and tag.

Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody was one of those survivors. The British Team Pro started the day late and struggled to get a hold early on but managed to score an elimination and keep rising. Cody will now start Day 2 with 58,400.

But not everyone was so lucky. In fact, the vast majority weren't. Players like Chen-An Lin, Louis Salter, Nikita Luther and Chao Zhang all took their shot but none of them were able to make it through the day.

While the survivors will have a few days to rest, the Red Dragon won't. Tomorrow will bring Day 1B of the MPC 26 Red Dragon and it'll look a lot like today. Play will start at 2pm and we'll have another 12 levels of play.

Chances are it'll be bigger than today so stay tuned for more action straight from the 26th Macau Poker Cup. --AV

10:20pm: Final six hands
Level 12 - Blinds 1,00/2,000, 200 ante

Only six hands remain here on Day 1A.

10:20pm: Action slowing
Level 12 - Blinds 1,00/2,000, 200 ante

As we approach the end of the day the action has noticeably slowed down. Players seem to be tanking longer and playing tighter in a bid to hang on to Day 2.

There isn't long to go and it looks like JP Kelly is still out in front. Let's find out if he can maintain the chip lead in the dying stages. -- BK

10:05 pm: Rushing down
Level 12 - Blinds 1,00/2,000, 200 ante

Players keep falling and we're nearing double digits for the Day 1A field. Only about 105 players of the original 300 remain and there's about 30 minutes of play left.

That number could very well dip into the 90s before the day is done. But when some fall, others rise. JP Kelly appears to be in the lead, but anything can change at a moment's notice. -- AV

9:55pm: Kelly KO's one
Level 12 - Blinds 1,00/2,000, 200 ante

JP Kelly has emerged as one of the chip leaders here as we approach the end of the penultimate level on Day 1A, he now sits with just shy of 200,000 after sending a tablemate home.

We caught the action with the board reading J♣3♣9♦5♥5♠ and after the player in the big blind checked his option, Kelly moved all in with enough to cover the big blind's last 38,000 in chips.

The latter called it off after a moment's pause and was shown Kelly's J♥4♥. The player in the big blind couldn't beat it, throwing his hand into the muck and exiting the tournament area. -- BK

9:44pm: Rising and falling
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600, 200 ante

Joseba Armendariz had a mighty lead a few levels ago, but it's slowly dipped.

He recently lost a few more chips after he doubled up Kanghua Dong. It was a small double up though, only worth about 15,000. Dong moved all-in after Armendariz raised and Armendariz called with T♣3♣. It would have to be a nasty board for Dong's Q♣Q♦ to get cracked, but the J♠6♠7♣A♦A♣ brought no such nastiness.

Dong doubled to about 30,000 while Armendariz dropped to about 155,000. Armendariz is still well above average, but a few players are starting to catch up.

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Joseba Armendariz

One of them is JP Kelly, who's also crossed the 100,000 chip mark. Kelly is sitting with about 115,000 even after losing a small pot.

Action folded to Kelly's small blind that hand and he raised to 5,000. The big blind called and both players checked the Q♠K♠6♦ flop. They checked again when a 2♥ came on the turn and a 7♠ completed the board. Kelly bet 3,500 and mucked instantly after the big blind called.

Kelly is near the top of the leaderboard and is looking to add a Red Dragon cash to his already impressive resume. -- AV

9:30pm: Cody continues cruising
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600, 200 ante

Jake Cody has been active lately. He just made a few chips in back-to-back pots.

The first saw an early position open to 3,200 before Cody three-bet to 8,800 next to act. The action folded all the way around and he scooped the pot and climbed to 48,000.

The very next hand Cody raised to 3,700 under the gun plus one, and after picking up one caller, the player in the cutoff moved all in for 16,200. Cody put in another raise which prompted the initial caller to table pocket threes and toss them into the muck.

Cody: A♥T♣
Cutoff: A♠K♣

Cody was dominated but the T♦6♥K♦J♣Q♣ saw the hand result in a chop. Players were returned their wagers and a small profit on top. -- BK

9:10pm: Cody Conquers
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200, 200 ante

Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody came in late and has been trying to get momentum ever since.

He might have gotten what he was looking for.

Cody was still at about starting stack when he raised to 2,500 from middle position and the big blind moved all-in for 13,800. Cody quickly called and turned over A♣J♦ to the big blind's 8♠7♣.

Cody was in the lead, but the flop was a treacherous 6♥Q♠5♥. Cody was able to avoid disaster with a Q♥ on the turn and a K♠ on the river though.

The big blind hit the rail while Cody chipped up to about 40,000. We'll see if the Team Pro can keep building. -- AV

9pm: Dong doubles
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200, 200 ante

It folded around to Kanghua Dong in the hijack and he moved his last 15,200 into the middle. Zhou Tong made the call from the cutoff and with the rest of the table out of the way both players tabled their cards.

Dong: 4♠4♦
Tong: A♠Q♠

They were flipping and Dong had the best of it when all was said and done - the K♠2♦J♣7♥6♣ runout seeing the pocket fours hold.

Dong moved up to 32,000 in chips. -- BK

8:50pm: Yue got it
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200, 200 ante

Xiaoyan Yue has administered an elimination after a shortstacked opponent moved all in on the button for 6,900 and Yue raised to 12,000 from the small blind. Joseba Armendariz was in the big blind and he tanked for around two minutes before calling.

The flop landed A♠J♠K♣ and Yue continued for 8,000. Armendariz both tanked and called again before the 2♥ arrived on the turn. The action was checked through and again on the 7♥ river.

The button revealed A♥2♣ for two pair but it was inferior to the two pair of Yue's A♣J♦. The latter stacked the pot, the button left the tournament area, and Armendariz still commands the chip lead with 160,000 in play. -- BK

8:40pm: Still in it
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200, 200 ante

Chao Zhang is staying alive.

She raised to 2,600 from early position recently and got a call from the button. When the flop came K♠4♥4♠, Zhang moved all-in for 15,000.

The button thought for a second and then folded. The hand put Zhang up to about 30,000 as she hunts another Red Dragon cash. Nearly a year ago today, Zhang was making her deepest run in the MPC 24's Red Dragon.

A total of 1,075 players signed up for that one and Zhang breezed past the bubble. Her tournament finally came to an end in 76th though, a finish she received HK$29,000 for.

We're still days away from knowing this Red Dragon's prize pool, but we know Zhang is hoping to get another piece of it. -- AV

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Chao Zhang

8:25pm: Break it up
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000, 100 ante

The tournament is at its final break of the day.

Only about half of the players that signed up for the tournament are actually going to take it. Only around 160 players out of 304 are left after nearly 9 levels of play.

That number will keep dipping rapidly as players come back to 600/1,200 blinds and a 200 ante. The starting stack is but a mere 17 big blinds in Level 10.

After that level there will only be two more before players bag and tag for the night. After that they'll get a few days rest before they come back for Day 2 on wednesday. -- AV

8:20pm: Yea fills up
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000, 100 ante

Steve Yea just doubled up through Jile Zhou - leaving the latter with just 4,500 left in play.

The board was spread T♦T♥6♥K♠6♣ and Yea had T♣9♣ open in front of him as the dealer was cutting out his last 16,400. Zhou mucked and was forced to match as he dropped to just 4.5 big blinds.

Yea now has a stack of 54,000 in chips. -- BK

8:10pm: HK$50,000 money bubble
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000, 100 ante

While the Red Dragon rages on across the tournament floor the HK$50,000 NLH event is now on the direct money bubble.

There are 13 remaining and 12 paying places, with Winfred Yu and Sergio Aido still in the hunt, and Shashank Rathi leading the way. -- BK

8pm: Armendariz dips a bit
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000, 100 ante

Joseba Armendariz dipped a bit, but not too much. Kanghu Dong just wasn't afraid to push back.

A player in early position raised to 2,2000 and Armendariz called from the button. Dong was on the small blind and made it 7,000. The original raiser folded and Armendariz thought for a bit and then called.

The flop came down Q♥3♥T♦ and Dong bet 11,000. Armendariz thought for a bit, but it was too much this time.

Armendariz folded but is still near the lead with about 195,000. Dong on the other hand rose to about 60,000. -- AV

7:45pm: Armendariz shoots to the lead
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800, 100 ante

Joseba Armendariz has skyrocketed into the chip lead after simultaneously eliminating one player and decimating the stack of another.

Armendariz was all in preflop for 65,700 against a player with just 13,800, and the other just covering Armendariz. His K♥K♦ was in great shape versus A♦K♠ and A♣K♣ and he managed to fade danger as the community cards fell 2♦8♥T♥7♠5♣.

The pocket kings held and Armendariz's doubled up and then some with his already impressive stack. He now sits as the commanding chip leader on a stack of right around 150,000. -- BK

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Chip boss - Joseba Armendariz

7:40pm: Rising tides
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800, 100 ante

The occasional bustout has turned into a steady trickle of eliminations.

A starting stack is almost a short stack and players are shoving all across the tournament area. Some get it in good, but get called by better. At one table, two players were standing up, one with a pair of tens and another with a pair of queens.

The chips were being pushed to the pocket queens while the player with tens was shaking hands and picking up his stuff.

At nearly the same time, a player was losing with pocket tens a few tables over. His tens turned into a set on the flop, but his opponent hit a straight on that same flop. The table let out a collective "Ohhhhh" as the flopped set hit the rail.

It's not safe for short stacks and it's only going to get riskier we have four more levels to go. -- AV

7:25pm: The Day 1A field
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800, 100 ante

The numbers are in. Well, number: 304.

That's the total number of entries we saw for Day 1A of the Red Dragon. This makes today, February 12th, 2017, the year of the rooster, the largest Day 1A in Red Dragon history.

It's gonna be a big one.

The largest Red Dragon ever held was just last September, but that was during the year of the monkey. We're done monekying around. MPC 26 is a contender.

China is the most represented country in the field so far with 176 players and Taiwan comes in second with 26. There are 21 players from Hong Kong and no other jurisdiction broke the double-digit mark. -- AV

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7:15pm:Rebei rocked by Shi
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800, 100 ante

"What the f**k is this!?" cried Karim Rebei over and over as we rushed to the table to see what the commotion was about.

The board was spread 6♥K♦J♣T♣9♣ and all but 1,100 worth of chips were being raked from Rebei's stack. Rebei had A♠K♠ in front on him but it wasn't enough against Kai Shi's 9♦6♦ for a rivered two pair.

The distraught Rebei watched as almost his entire stack was pushed to Shi, who now boasts a stack of 33,000. -- BK

7:05pm: Step it up
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800, 100 ante

It's that time of the tournament again, the time that only comes 12 times in nine hours. It's level up time.

7:00pm: Zhao zips one out
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600, 75 ante

Zhiyong Long raised to 1,500 from middle position and action folded to Wei Zhao on the big blind. Zhao called and the flop came 5♣Q♥7♠. Both players slowed to a check, but action picked back up when the 7♣ came on the turn.

Zhao checked, Long bet another 1,500 and Zhao called. The 4♥ completed the board and both players slowed to a check again. Zhao turned over 5♣4♠ for fives and sevens while Long mucked.

Zhao took down the pot and chipped up to about 26,000. -- AV

6:50pm: Luther eliminated
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600, 75 ante

Nikita Luther had been nursing a short stack for a while but her tournament is now over after getting the last of it in preflop and getting run down.

After an under the gun raise to 1,400, Luther moved all in for 3,900. The player in the cutoff made the call but the initial raiser moved all in over the top to isolate. That worked and with just Luther and the isolator still active, the cards went on their backs.

Luther: 8♠8♦
Under the gun: A♣K♣

It was a fair fight but when all was said and done, Luther's pocket eights failed to hold, ending her tournament run just past the halfway mark here on Day 1A. -- BK

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Nikita Luther

6:40pm: A good one for Guo
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600, 75 ante

Dong Guo and Patrick Lui were faced with a T♥Q♠2♣5♥ board and action was on Guo. The Chinese pro was on the small blind and he stared at the board. He looked at the pot, about 15,000, then at his opponent's stack, about 30,000.

Guo checked and Lui put in a bet of 10,000. Guo acted a lot quicker this time and moved all-in for about 35,000. Lui quickly folded and Guo chipped up to about 60,000. -- AV

6:30pm: Chuttani chops one down
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600, 75 ante

Sahil Chuttani ended up on the right end of a coinflip to send a tablemate packing.

After an early position all-in jam for 8,325, Chuttani made the call to find out he was flipping for the pot.

Chuttani: 9♠9♦
Opponent: A♠K♥

The 3♣7♠6♥7♦5♠ run out saw the pocket nines hold and Chuttani deliver the elimination and climb to 43,000 in chips. -- BK

6:15pm: Time for a break

It's time for another 10-minute break. Coverage will resume momentarily. -- BK

6:00pm: This is Sparta
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400, 50 ante

The Red Dragon did it, it made it to a smooth 300 players on Day 1A. Late registration is still open for another 20 minutes so there's a chance the clock will keep ticking up. We did just see Elliot Smith sign up for the tournament and take a stack.

Smith is a pretty large dude wherever you are and he sticks out even more in Macau. He's no stranger to the city though. The Canadian player has cashed in Macau before, including a Red Dragon cash back in 2013.

Smith is back on the hunt for another Red Dragon cash along with the the 300 other players in the field. -- AV

5:45pm: Gu gets Zeng to make a big fold
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400, 50 ante

The board was a very-connected K♥A♠K♠J♦T♣ and Linglin Zeng led out from the small blind for 3,000. Huidong Gu was the only other active player and he decided to put in a sizable raise to 11,000 - leaving himself just 1,500 behind.

That forced Zeng deep into the tank. With only 20,500 behind the decision was for more than half of her remaining chips. After a couple of minutes clearly tormented Zeng tossed T♠T♦ face up into the muck.

With Zeng relinquishing the full house the pot was pushed to Gu, who now sits with 23,000 to play with. -- BK

5:30pm: HK$50,000 approaching the bubble

While the Red Dragon is still in its early stages, three of the tables in the poker room play host to the final 19 players in the HK$50,000 NLH event.

Only 12 of them will lock up a payday and tension is building as the bubble looms.

Some of those still in contention include Stevan Chew, Kelvin Beattie, Linh Tran and Sergio Aido. They'll all be chasing a top prize of HK$1,220,200. -- BK

5:20pm: Cody comes in
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300, 25 ante

And we have our first Team PokerStars Pro in the field.

Jake Cody has taken a seat over at table 20. He's got a white hat and short pinkish hair. We don't recall ever seeing Cody at the Macau Poker Cup and his resume shows that the British Pro has never cashed in this continent.

Perhaps it's a New Years or Chinese New Years resolution. Maybe the Red Dragon's mighty roar beckoned Cody from halfway across the world or maybe it was the prize pool. Whatever it was, something has brought Cody to Macau and he's looking to cash big at the Red Dragon.

He recently won one small pot. A player in early position raised to 600 and two players called from middle position. Benjamin Gonzva called from the button and Cody made it 3,500 from the big blind. One by one, Cody's opponents folded and Gonzva was the last one to release his hand.

Cody took down the pot but he's still at about starting stack with 21,225. He'll need to win a few more pots if he plans to take down the Red Dragon. -- AV

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Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody

5:05pm: Li lives
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300, 25 ante

Hang Li's tournament is still alive after getting it in good and doubling up against tablemate Jerry Goh.

We arrived at the table to see 2,200 worth of chips in front of Goh, and Li with his whole stack of 10,175 in the middle. Goh called it off to put Li at risk and the cards went on their backs.

Li: A♠Q♦
Goh: A♦9♥

Li had the lead and jumped further in front after making Broadway on the J♣T♣K♥ flop. The 3♣ turn and 7♥ didn't change anything and Li secured the double up.

Goh, meanwhile, dropped to 13,000 in chips. -- BK

4:55pm: Level up
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300, 25 ante

Another 40 minutes, another level. --AV

4:50pm: Guo dips but still strong
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200, 25 ante

Dong Guo was staring down Chao Shen and all Shen had done was raise to 600 from early position.

Guo eventually called from middle position and the two exchanged some words and laughs. The rest of the table folded and the flop 5♣5♠J♣. Shen bet 800 and there were a few more words and laughs.

Guo threw in 800 and a J♥ came on the turn. Shen slammed his hand down hard for a check and Guo checked back. A K♣ completed the board and Shen bet 1,500. Guo called but then mucked after Shen tabled Q♠J♦.

Despite losing the hand, Guo is still well above average with about 50,000. --AV

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Dong Guo

4:45pm: Chen check-raises
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200, 25 ante

Dong Chen's stack is moving in the right direction after a well-timed check raise saw him rake a pot from Masahiro Marumoto.

The flop was spread 5♠7♠J♠ and Chen checked from the big blind. Marumoto took a stab at it for 1,700 from late position but Chen had other plans - raising it up to 3,600.

That was good enough and Marumoto threw his hand away. Chen flipped over the Q♣ before raking the pot and climbing to 26,000. Despite the setback, Marumoto still has a very healthy 41,000 in chips. -- BK

4:30pm: Lin leaves Su hurt
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200, 25 ante

Ting Lin just got the best of Tianhong Su in a three-bet pot to build her stack to a new height of 32,000.

Lin opened the action to 400 from the hijack before Su reraised to 1,200 on the button. Lin called and the flop fell 9♠5♦A♦. Lin check-called a bet of 1,500 and they went to the K♠ turn.

Lin checked again and after a long sip of coffee, Su opted to do the same. The dealer presented the 7♥ river and Lin led out for 2,800. Su looked back at his cards but couldn't commit to a call, relinquishing his hand and dropping to 7,100 in chips. -- BK

4:25pm: Back for more
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200, 25 ante

While the Red Dragon has some speedy 40-minute levels, it's a little slower than what Zhao Wei is used to. Wei is an online regular that frequently plays and beats high-stakes turbo heads-up and 6-max matches.

Wei's incredibly successful online, but he's also been making a name for himself on the live circuit. Wei has more than $300,000 in live tournament earnings and a lot of that came from tournaments here at the PokerStars Live Room in Macau.

Wei won a HKD $11,000 Deepstack Championship in 2015 for HKD $422,400 and final tabled the high roller in MPC 24. One thing Wei hasn't been able to do yet is score a Red Dragon cash. Wei did finish 14th in the Baby Dragon event last MPC, but a full-blooded Red Dragon cash has eluded him till this very day.

We'll see if Wei can turn that around in number 26. --AV

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Wei Zhao

4:15pm: Back for more
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200, 25 ante

Players are back from their 10-minute break and cards are back in the air. The sound of riffling chips has also reemerged and it'll be another three levels before there's another pause. -- AV

4:05pm: Scheduled break

Players have stepped away for their first break of the day. Coverage will resume in 10 minutes. -- BK

4pm: Patni punishes Meng
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Kunal Patni has had a great start to the day and that trend has continued after he picked up pocket aces and held on versus Long Meng.

On a flop of K♥J♠5♠ Meng checked it over to Patni who bet 2,450. Meng then put in a check-raise to 7,500 and Patni stuck around to see the Q♦ arrive on the turn.

Meng continued for 12,000 and Patni called again before the 2♥ rolled off on the river. The action went check-check on the end and Meng tabled A♦5♦ for a pair of fives, but that was no good against Patni's A♠A♥.

That pot sees Patni push his stack up to 53,000 while Meng was left with just 14,500 in chips. -- BK

3:45pm: Gan makes the nuts
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Soon Ann Gan just decimated Eric Soh's stack to score himself a big pot.

We arrived at the table with the community cards showing T♥5♥6♣7♦4♥ and Gan bet around half pot with 7,500 from the under the gun seat. Soh was the only other active player and with just 9,000 in his stack the decision was for most of his chips.

Ultimately Soh did commit to a call before seeing the bad news. Gan tabled A♥J♥ for a rivered nut flush to rake in the pot and leave Soh with just 1,500 to play with. -- BK

3:35pm: Bull fueled Dragon
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

The PokerStars Blog team also comes from far and wide. Brad Kain barely made it from Australia. He just got a few hours of uncomfortable plane sleep and Alexander Villegas is fighting off jet lag from Vancouver's 16-hour time difference.

If it weren't for Red Bull, chances are you'd be reading nothing but gibberish as our faces would be smushed up on the keyboard sleeping. Red Bull is the official energy drink provider for PokerStars LIVE Macau. --AV

3:25pm: Dragon demographics
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

The Red Dragon attracts players from all corners of the world.

It attracts most of them from China though. The vast majority of the players in the field thus far hail from China with more than 120 players while Taiwan comes in at a distant second with about 20. Singapore, Japan and Korea are nearing the double digits in terms of players while Ireland has the strongest European showing with two players. Spain and France are the only other two European countries with a presence in the field, each have a player a piece.

The United States tops representation from the Americas with three players. It's friendly neighbor to the north, Canada, is the only other American country with a player in the first few levels of the Red Dragon.

These numbers are still swelling though since players can register for Day 1A until level 6, or 18:20 local time. If you can't make it to Macau before then, you still have another few days to make it to the Red Dragon.

Tuesday will host Day 1C. It's the last starting day and that one will kick off at 19:00 with late registration open until 23:20.

There are currently 263 players in the field and the last time the Red Dragon set a record, just 248 players signed up for Day 1A. We'll see how big this one can get. -- AV

3:15pm: Chui chipping up
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Ray Chui just added a healthy chunk to his stack after a river shove saw him take down the pot.

The board read 7♥6♦3♦3♥Q♥ and with a lot of chips already in the middle, Chui's opponent fired for 6,500. Chui decided to move all in over the top with more than enough to cover his tablemate's 13,500.

The jam was good enough to take it down and Chui chipped up to 48,000 in chips. -- BK

3pm: Yau five-bet jams
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

It's only the second level of the tournament but that hasn't stopped players already opting to play for all of their chips.

After a raise to 250, Yen Yau three-bet to 650 next to act in the hijack. It folded to Wenyi Xue on the button and he put in a cold four-bet to 1,900.

The action folded back around to Yau and after a minute of deliberation he announced he was all in for 22,500 with just enough to cover Xue.

Xue gave it some thought but ultimately threw his hand away. -- BK

2:47pm: The changing dragon
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

All creatures evolve, even dragons.

As the 26th Macau Poker Cup kicks of its title event, the Red Dragon, it's hard not to remember its path across the city. It was once a tournament at the Grand Lisboa before it moved to the Grand Waldo. Then the dragon found a more permanent home at the PokerStars Live Room at the City of Dreams.

As the festivals and tournaments kept growing, the tournament moved to the second floor of the casino, where it currently resides along with its baby dragon and several other tournaments that precede it.

Despite its constant evolution and PokerStars' changes in 2017 to form global festivals and championships, the Macau Poker Cup has remained a staple of poker in the Asian continent. It's a biannual holiday for poker lovers that's potentially much more profitable for players.

The elaborate trophy has brought riches to qualifiers and prestige to pros looking to add it to their resume. Only a few people have been able to catch this elusive evolving creature more than once, but that doesn't stop hordes of people from trying.

Hundreds more will try in the next few days. -- AV

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Fred Leung announcing the shuffle up and deal.

2:30pm: Han hits a flush
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Fei Han is stacking chips after taking from tablemate Jing Xie.

We caught the action on the flop of T♥2♥3♠ with Xie leading from the small blind for 550. Han made the call and the dealer turned the J♥.

Xie fired again, this time for 1,150, and after another call from Han the 5♠ completed the board.

Xie slowed down on the end with a check to Han, who bet 2,500. After looking back at his cards Xie flicked in a call to see he was beat by Han's 7♥6♥ for a flush.

Han moved up to 22,800 in chips while Xie dipped to 14,700. -- BK

2:20pm: Familiar faces in the field
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

We've only just begun but there seems to be a few notable names among the pack.

Artem Lobus made a final table appearance in the Baby Dragon last night and he's back today to try his luck in the Red Dragon. Joining him are Dong Guo, Nicky Wong, Chen-an Lin and Kunal Patni to name a few.

There's still a line at the registration desk so we'll be sure to keep an eye out for any other familiar faces joining the hunt. -- BK

2:00 pm: Cards are in the air
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

It's February 12th and the clock just ticked past 2 p.m. You know what that means right? It means it's time for another Red Dragon.

Day 1A has officially kicked off and players are starting to trickle into the tournament area. There are about 175 so far. They'll all start with 20,000 chips and a dream. Blinds start at 25/50 and we'll play 12, 40-minute levels before players can call it a night.

Follow all the action right here and get involved on Twitter by using the hashtag #MPC26 -- AV

Red Dragon ready to fire up!

It's almost time to lower the drawbridge as Day 1A of the MPC26 Red Dragon is upon us.

This season sees the flagship tournament sporting a few new changes. The buy-in has increased from HK$12,000 to HK$15,000, the guaranteed prize pool has jumped from HK$6 million to HK$10 million, and the start bank has climbed from 15,000 in chips to 20,000.

Last time it was Tom Alner lifting the trophy and taking home HK$2,509,000 after claiming his second Red Dragon title here in Macau. The only other person to achieve such an impressive feat is Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin - who finished runner-up in the Baby Dragon last night! They're both expected to join the hunt for the Red Dragon this week and chase an unprecedented three-peat.

Alner's triumph was over a record-breaking 1,145-player field, and with the Baby Dragon breaking a field record of its own already this week, hopes are high for another huge turnout.

Now all that's left to do is wait until 2pm local time where we'll see cards in the air and another Red Dragon in full swing. Be sure to join us then! -- BK

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Reporting in Macau brought to you by Alexander Villegas and Brad Kain. Photography by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau.

Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau