MPC27: Two-time High Roller champion James Chen leading again

Day 1 of the MPC27 HK$80,000 High Roller came and went in just six hours today as we saw 97 entries in the mix across nine 40-minute levels of play. They were made up of 85 unique players and 12 re-entries.

Of the players who pulled up seats it was James Chen who bagged up the most chips when all was said and done. Remarkably, Chen has won this exact event around this time for the past two years running. He took the crown in the High Rollers at both MPC23 and MPC25 for a combined ~$425,000.

Either of those victories on its own is an impressive accomplish let alone both and being in pole position for a third run at it. Chen will be taking 660,500 back tomorrow for Day 2 where we'll see if he can achieve the seemingly impossible.

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Who knew crushing High Rollers would make somebody smile?

Joining Chen tomorrow will be a whole host of notables including Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew. He couldn't get much going today and finished with 67,000 from a starting stack of 100,000. Lew will be looking to spin it up on Day 2 and chase down the final table.

Also among those making a return for Day 2 will be Michael Soyza (447,000), Linh Tran (389,000), Martin Finger (350,000), Scott Davies (338,500), Raghav Bansal (152,000) and Yuki Ko (128,000).

That will be from 2pm local time (GMT+8) tomorrow when we play down to a champion. Will Chen pull off a miracle to close out the trilogy or will someone else rise to the occasion? Join us right here on the PokerStars Blog to find out.

Day 1 complete

We'll have a recap of today's proceedings as soon as all the numbers are finalized.

2pm: Final few hands
Level 9: 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

As chip leader, James Chen pulled a card for the end-of-day hand draw - he picked the one reading 'six'.

That's how many hands are left in the day.

1:45am: Chen continues to chip up
Level 9: 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

If James Chen ever lost the chip lead at some point he definitely has it again after scooping a pot to eliminate a player and climb to 660,000.

The community cards were all dealt out and read T♦5♥J♠2♦7♦ when Chen bet 115,000 on the end. The man to his right was already all in but the decision for the final wager was down to Mike Huang.

He ultimately folded and told Chen that he had folded pocket queens.

"You get to see it anyway," said Chen as he had to table his hand due to the all-in plater.

Chen flipped over pocket fives which was way the best of it against the all-in players ace ten.

"That was a bad river for me," Chen continued.

"Yeah, action killer," Huang agreed.

1:30am: Updated chip counts
Level 8: 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

James Chen - 520,000
Michael Soyza - 420,000
Martin Finger - 360,000
Linh Tran - 270,000
Scott Davies - 190,000
Tom Alner - 165,000
Randy Lew - 125,000
Russell Thomas - 95,000
Raghav Bansal - 90,000
Pete Chen - 80,000
Chung Yuan Yu - 65,000
Kitty Kuo - 35,000

1:10am: Ko on the comeback trail
Level 8: 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Yuki Ko was nursing a short stack but he's gained a little breathing room after catching a double up.

Ko moved all in preflop for 23,500 and it folded around to the big blind who called it off to put Ko at risk.

Ko: Q♠J♦
Big blind: A♠7♣

Ko was behind until the 3♥K♥J♥ flop saw him spike a jack, and the 7♥ turn or 6♦ river couldn't put a stop to him. Ko doubles to 50,000 in chips.

12:50am: Bad luck to Yu
Level 7: 1,000/2,000 (200 ante)

Winfred Yu's High Roller chances are no more after getting it in good but coming up short.

Yu moved all in preflop for 36,800 before the big blind called it off to put him at risk.

Yu: A♥Q♥
Big blind: A♦T♠

Yu's hand was dominating but a ten in the window on the 6♦4♠T♥ flop put an end to that. By the T♣ turn he was already drawing dead before the 5♠ river even arrived.

12:35am: Soyza flushes Yang
Level 7: 1,000/2,000 (200 ante)

Michael Soyza continues to climb after making a flush and getting paid by Feizhi Yang.

Winfred Yu opened the hijack to 5,000 and both Yang and Soyza called from the cutoff and big blind respectively. The three of them checked around on the Q♥3♥6♣ flop before Soyza and Yu checked again on the K♥ turn.

Yang made it 7,500 to go but Soyza played back at him with a check-raise for 21,500. Yu quickly mucked and Yang called to see the 9♠ river card.

Soyza continued the aggression with a barrel for 37,500 and Yang paid it off. Soyza tabled 8♥6♥ for a flush which was good to scoop the pot and take his stack up to 230,000.

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Michael Soyza

12am: Break o'clock

It's time for a 15-minute break.

11:50pm: Busto for Burns
Level 6: 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Simon Burns was the latest High Roller casualty after he ran into Shaoqing Liu's set.

Players were three-handed to a flop of 2♥T♦9♦ and after the big blind and Burns under the gun check it, Liu fired for 5,600. The big blind called but Burns put in a raise to 20,000. Both of his opponents called and the 4♥ appeared on the turn.

The big blind checked, Burns continued for 36,000, and the Liu moved all in over the top. A quick fold from the big blind saw Burns toss in his remaining 50,000 or so and cards went on their backs.

Burns: A♦2♦
Liu: 9♠9♥

Burns had bottom pair and the nut flush draw but was drawing relatively thin versus Liu's 9♠9♥. The 5♠ river couldn't save Burns and he departs while Liu climbs to 235,000.

11:30pm: Cold deck freezes Yap's chances
Level 6: 800/1,600 (200 ante)

MPC24 High Roller champion Wayne Yap has been eliminated at the hands of Red Dragon final tablist Mike Huang.

Yap's last hand saw Huang button-raise before Yap played back at him for 10,000 from the big blind. Huang called and the flop was spread 6♣6♦Q♦. Yap continued for 3,500 and was called before the 7♦ turn card arrived.

Again Yap barrelled, this time for 5,000, and Huang called to see the 7♥ river double-pair the board. Yap then overbet jammed for around 80,000 and Huang snapped it off. Despite having the nut flush with A♦8♦ Yap immediately stood up knowing he must've been beat. That hunch was correct as Huang tabled Q♠6♠ for a flopped full house.

Yap takes a walk while Huang builds to 290,000 in chips.

11:15pm: Updated chip counts
Level 5: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

James Chen - 450,000
Mike Huang - 200,000
Michael Soyza - 170,000
Yuki Ko - 150,000
Tom Alner - 140,000
Chung Yuan Yu - 135,000
Linh Tran - 130,000
Scott Davies - 125,000
Martin Finger - 120,000
Raghav Bansal - 115,000
Sergio Aido - 110,000
Pete Chen - 110,000
Michael Addamo - 100,000
Simon Burns - 95,000
Wayne Yap - 90,000
Randy Lew - 85,000
Winfred Yu - 80,000
Kitty Kuo - 75,000
Russell Thomas - 45,000

10:55pm: Tran the terminator
Level 5: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

APPT Manila Main Event champion Linh Tran just sent a tablemate packing with the help of some cowboys.

The flop read K♦A♣Q♣ and Tran led for 13,000 before his opponent moved all in. Tran beat him into the pot with a monster and the two of them revealed their hands.

Tran: K♥K♣
Opponent: A♥5♥

Tran had a hammerlock on the pot and by the 2♥ turn he'd guaranteed it would be pushed his way. The inconsequential 5♠ rolled off on the river and Tran completed the elimination and moved up to 135,000 in chips.

10:35pm: Chen now chip leading
Level 4: 500/1,000 (100 ante)

James Chen has quite the resumé in Macau - most notably winning both the MPC23 and MPC25 High Roller events for a combined ~$425,000.

Unsurprisingly, he's at it again here, so far crushing another High Roller in Macau. Chen has 335,000 now which puts him at a commanding chip lead after he took a pot from the MPC24 High Roller champion Wayne Yap.

The hand saw Mike Huang open the action with a raise to 2,500, and after he picked up two callers including Yap, Chen squeezed to 10,000 in the small blind. It folded around to Yap who stuck around and the flop was spread 3♣J♥9♥.

Both players checked it and again through the 5♦ turn before the Q♠ landed on the end. Again it went check check and Chen tabled K♥Q♦ for the winner.

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James Chen (right) chipping up as usual

10:20pm: Huang catches Jun
Level 4: 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Mike Huang is stacking up chips after picking off a bluff from Bao Jun.

On a flop of 9♦A♦6♣ Jun checked from the big blind before Huang bet 5,200. After a call from Jun the dealer burned and turned the Q♣. Jun check-called again, this time for 7,300, and they were off to the 5♦ river.

Jun then loaded up and took a stab at it for 13,000 holding just Q♦J♥ but Huang quickly called it off with A♥Q♠. Huang's two pair was good and he moved up to 130,000.

9:45pm: First break of the day

Players have commenced a 15-minute break.

9:40pm: ACOP Super High Roller Early Bird Special

While this High Roller is cruising along we thought it'd be a good time to tell you about the Asia Championship of Poker and its Super High Roller Early Bird Special.

The ACOP is the richest poker festival in the Far East and runs from October 13-29. They're now offering complimentary hotel nights for pre-registering the Super High Roller on October 21-23.

You can read all about it right here.

9:35pm: The sharks are circling
Level 3: 400/800 (100 ante)

The field is now up to 71 entries here for the High Roller.

Some of those who have joined since we last mentioned are Winfred Yu, Kitty Kuo, Simon Burns, Raymond Wu, Scott Davies, Tom Alner and Kunal Patni.

One person who won't be playing is the reigning champion Juicy Li who had to leave before midnight due to a visa limitation. Li told us that she didn't want to risk missing ACOP so she decided to head back home on time.

9:20pm: Straight to the lead for Yu
Level 3: 400/800 (100 ante)

Chung Yuan Yu has emerged as an early chip leader here after almost stacking Takashi Ogura.

We raced over to catch the cards after hearing a commotion on Table 2 to see a huge pot being pushed Yu's way. The board read 3♣J♦4♣5♥7♣ and Yu had 7♠6♥ in front of him for a straight, good against Ogura's 5♠5♦ set.

Ogura shipped all but 15,700 Yu's way and he now sits as the frontrunner with 215,000.

MPC27 Chung Yuan Yu.jpg

Chip leader Chung Yuan Yu

9pm: Lew loses a few
Level 2: 400/800

Team PokerStars Online Randy Lew hasn't had the start he'd been hoping for just yet. He's now a little under starting stack after losing a recent pot.

Lew fired for 3,300 on a flop of 7♦3♦4♥ and the button called before the 8♠ arrived on the turn. He continued for another 3,400 but the button instantly splashed out a raise to 7,000.

That was enough to force Lew out as his cards sailed into the muck.

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Randy Lew

8:40pm: Field swells and a Team Pro enters
Level 2: 400/800

The field has grown to 51 now with 10 players from the satellite expected soon.

Among the late entrants is Team PokerStars Online Randy 'nanonoko' Lew. Also pulling up seats were Yuki Ko, Takashi Ogura, Raghav Bansal, Russell Thomas, Wayne Zhang and Benjamin Hamnett.

We'll keep you posted if any other familiar faces get in the mix.

8:20pm: Not so standard for Nishiyama
Level 1: 300/600

Hiroshi Nishiyama has just given players a very stern warning not to mess with him. It came in the form of a monstrous jam in the first couple of orbits.

It was raised to a 1,500 (standard)before Nishiyama just ripped all in for his entire 100,000-chip starting stack (not standard).

The whole table snap-folded and he received some baffled looks as Nishiyama took down the pot to add a couple of chips to his stack.

8pm: Notables out in force
Level 1: 300/600

It may be a small field so far but it's a stacked one.

Martin Finger, Sergio Aido, Linh Tran, Michael Soyza and Chung Yuan Yu are all in the mix.

Mike Huang has also jumped in after his eighth-place finish in the Red Dragon today. And two-time MPC High Roller champion James Chen has also pulled up a seat.

We're now up to 34 players and still waiting on the satellite runners to join the hunt.

7:45pm: Cards in the air
Level 1: 300/600

And they're off!

So far there are 22 players registered and there will be nine more joining from the live satellite soon.

High Roller starts at 7:30pm

As the Red Dragon storms home with its exciting conclusion across the tournament floor, its almost time for the High Roller event to fire up.

The two-day tournament boasts a HK$80,000 buy-in and unlimited re-entries with a shot clock format.

Last time it was Juicy Li who lifted the trophy at MPC26 when she overcame a record field of 130 entries to take home ~$313,000. Li is in town again and expected to join the hunt and attempt to defend her title.

Time will tell who else gets among the action. It'll all kick off at 7:30pm local time (GMT+8) so be sure to check back with us then!

High Roller reports by Brad Kain. Photos by Long Guan from Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau

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Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau