MPC27: Fernandez finds chip lead on Red Dragon Day 1B

Jesus Espinosa Fernandez bags chip lead on Day 1B

The second of three Red Dragon Day 1 flights is now in the books after another 12 levels of play saw 388 try their luck on the felt. With yesterday's 328 in attendance that takes our running tally up to 716.

Of those among the action today it was Spain's Jesus Espinosa Fernandez who emerged as the frontrunner in the dying stages. Fernandez found the lead in one of the final hands of the night, and with no previous cashes in Macau, he'll be looking to keep up his momentum and change that this week. Fernandez has 206,500 to play with on Day 2 after eclipsing Day 1A big stack Huafeng Gu who bagged 179,300.

Before Fernandez shot through to the lead it was Steve Yea who was looking likely to take the spot of end-of-day captain with 152,700. Yea is no stranger to poker in Macau with live cashes here dating back to 2008. It was also where he picked up his biggest live score of $250,000 for a runner-up finish in an APT.

MPC27 Steve Yea.jpg

A good day for Steve Yea

Another notable who finished seventh in chips with 137,000 is 'Derx' Kwok Chun Lai. He has slayed the Baby Dragon twice in the past and will have a shot at unifying the trophies if he can conquer the Red Dragon this week.

Also among the action today was past Red Dragon champion Ying Lin Chua who emerged victorious at MPC24 for a payday of $245,000. Unfortunately for Chua he won't be claiming a second title as he couldn't survive to Day 2.

Those lucky enough to secure a seat will have a day off tomorrow as Day 1C fires up. That'll see a later start with a kick-off time of 7pm. While we sign off from the Red Dragon for now, you can still tune in to the coverage of the HK$100,000 Single Day High Roller by clicking here, or scroll down below to read all about today's Day 1B action. -- BK

That's a wrap!

Players are now bagging and tagging. We'll have a full recap of the day as soon as all the numbers are finalized.

Final six hands

There are only six hands remaining here for Red Dragon Day 1B.

10:05pm: Zhang exits
Level 11: 800/1,600 (200 ante)

The penultimate level of Day 1B will be as far as Ning Zhang gets - he was just sent packing after finding out top pair was no good.

The flop read 3♣8♦T♦ and Zhang committed his last 17,000 in chips, only to be snapped off by his tablemate with way the best of it. Zhang held Q♠T♠ but wasn't looking good versus the 8♠8♣ middle set.

Zhang did pick up four outs to a gut shot straight on the 9♥ turn card but the 5♥ bricked off to see him eliminated.

9:45pm: Choong chips up through Zhu
Level 11: 800/1,600 (200 ante)

We might have to retract our previous statement about Jingxuan Zhu running good. He just lost a pot to Kian Weng Choong.

On a flop of 9♥3♣J♦ Zhu checked from the hijack over to Choong on the button and he picked up the betting with a wager for 3,200. Zhu then put in a check raise to 9,200, and Choong stuck around to see the Q♠ arrive on the turn.

The action was then checked through before the K♠ completed the board.

Zhu checked a final time but Choong reached for chips and bet 13,500. Clearly displeased, Zhu went deep into the tank, thinking for over three minutes before flashing the Q♦ and folding.

He still has a mountain of 95,000 in chips, while Choong is catching up, now with 65,000 of his own.

9:25pm: Zhu runs good
Level 10: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Jingxuan Zhu is running hot as we just found out. A crowd of players was gathered around his table where a sick runout had just transpired. We didn't catch when all the money went in but Zhu had just sent a tablemate packing by spiking a two outer on the river.

The recent evictee had K♥Q♥ and flopped huge on the K♠8♥4♥ for top pair and a flush draw. At that point, it was way ahead of Zhu's T♠T♥ but after the 7♠ turn, the T♣ rolled off on the river to improve Zhu to a set and see him scoop up a huge pot.

He now sits among the frontrunners on the chip counts with 110,000 in play.

9:05pm: Luo lives
Level 10: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Mingjie Luo still has a shot at making Day 2 after getting his chips in the middle in a dominant spot and holding to double up.

Following an early position open, Luo three-bet jammed for 9,000, and when his short stack was called off the cards went on their backs.

Luo: A♣K♠
Opponent: K♣J♥

Luo was looking to fade a jack and he was successful as the community cards came down 4♦5♥4♣8♣2♠. He's now back in the mix with right around 20,000.

8:35pm: Take a break

Players have commenced a 15-minute break. Coverage will resume momentarily.

8:30pm: Tight is right for Li
Level 9: 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Yan Li has been steadily building all day and she just displayed some of the discipline that's helped her do that. When the action folded around to Li in the hijack she opened to 2,500, only to see a three-bet to 8,000 from the player in the big blind.

Li didn't think long before folding A♠T♣ face up, and was promptly shown that she'd made the right choice as the big blind flipped up A♦K♣.

Li has spun up her starting stack of 20,000 to 85,000 now, and with an APPT Manila High Roller title and $364,721 in live tournament earnings, she's one to watch in this Red Dragon.

8:10pm: Falcon flying home
Level 9: 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Michael Falcon may have had a stellar week recently at PokerStars Festival Macau but his Red Dragon dream has come to an end here on Day 1B.

Falcon was down to 12,900 and he moved all in preflop from middle position. He was called by the player next to act and when the rest of the table folded Falcon saw he was in terrible shape.

Falcon: A♥7♦
Opponent: A♠A♣

Falcon was already out of his seat and a step away from the table when he spied the T♥9♠6♥ flop present him with a gutshot straight draw. Falcon could've caught an eight or running hearts to take down the pot and stay alive but the 6♠ turn and Q♥ river signalled the end of his tournament run.

7:50pm: Lai leaves us
Level 8: 400/800 (100 ante)

Patty Lai has been relegated to the rail after an all-in shove gone wrong in a recent hand.

It folded to Lai in middle position and she moved all in for 8,200. The action folded all the way around to the big blind but he snapped it off and immediately tabled 9♠9♣. Lai's K♦3♦ was in rough shape and the 5♦8♣Q♥T♣A♦ runout offered no help.

Lai's elimination takes us down to 260 remaining on this Day 1B flight.

MPC27 Patty Lai.jpg

Patty Lai

7:30pm: Chip count update
Level 8: 400/800 (100 ante)

We've spotted a few more notable names among today's bunch that had previously eluded us. Bobby Zhang is in the hunt and fresh of a Baby Dragon final table appearance. Zhang was just seven spots off taking home his second Baby Dragon trophy and time will tell if he can clutch his first Red Dragon one.

It looks like he's faring well so far. Here's how he stacks up against the other familiar faces in the field.

Yan Li - 74,000
Bernard Vu - 38,000
Bobby Zhang - 26,000
Geoffrey Mooney - 22,000
Patty Lai - 9,000

7:10pm: Tsu'per active
Level 7: 300/600

Chia Tung Tsu has scooped up another pot with some strong postflop aggression.

After the dealer fanned a flop of 8♠7♥3♣ the small blind decided to lead at it for 5,500. Tsu clearly wanted to play for more, announcing all in from the under the gun seat with enough to cover her opponent.

"That's three hands in a row," a tablemate whispered our way as we watched the action unfold.

The small blind couldn't call off for his tournament life and the pot was pushed Tsu's way. She's now sitting pretty with 51,000 at her disposal.

6:50pm: Zhai rakes one in
Level 7: 300/600

Bin Zhai is building back after a rough start - she just moved all in and got it through to pick up a crucial pot.

We caught the action on the turn with the board spread Q♥5♣4♠K♠ and three active players. The first led for 3,000 and after the second folded, Zhai decided it was time to make a move, shoving for a total of 7,950.

The bettor deliberated for right around a minute before finally folding as the pot was awarded to Zhai. That pot takes Zhai almost back to the starting stack of 20,000.

6:20pm: Scheduled break

It's time again for a 15-minute break.

6:05pm: Stay energized!

The Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon has a great schedule that excludes too many particularly long days but fatigue at the table can still play a part in a player's success.

Lucky for those here in the PokerStars LIVE Macau room, Red Bull, the event's official energy drink provider has lived up to their name. They've stocked fridges full of Red Bull varieties around the tournament floor - available to the players free of charge!

We've already spotted a heap of players taking advantage of the free Red Bulls. We'll see if that extra energy kick can help them at the felt here on Day 1B. -- BK

MPC27 Red Bull2.jpg

5:50pm: Hand it to Han
Level 6: 200/400

Liwei Han just took down a pot after picking off a bluff from tablemate Yazhou Chen.

It was Chen who opened the action with a cutoff raise to 1,300 before Han three-bet to 3,200 from the big blind. Chen had just 11,000 behind but he made the call to see the flop land 8♣6♣7♥.

Despite the preflop action both players checked through on the flop and the 6♦ turn, before the K♠ finally completed the board.

Han checked a final time and Chen took a stab at it for 2,500. Han didn't take long to flick in a call with 9♠9♣ which was good against his opponent's A♥Q♥ for just ace high.

5:30pm: Big one for Bernard
Level 5: 150/300

Bernard Vu is now sitting pretty after being at risk for his tournament life and fading danger to more than double up.

He committed his chips on the turn with the board reading Q♣4♠J♣8♥ with Vu holding A♦Q♦ for top pair top kicker. Vu discovered he had to dodge 11 outs as his opponent had A♣8♣ for a pair and the nut flush draw.

The 3♥ river was met with a fist pump from Vu as his pair of queens held and he increased a big boost up to 35,500.

5:10pm: Big laydown from Chen
Level 5: 150/300

Chuanshu Chen is still in the hunt for the Red Dragon title but he's been left wondering whether or not his big fold was correct.

The flop read 3♥T♣T♦ and after Chen checked from the big blind, the only other active player shipped all in for 23,750 despite the pot being less than 10,000. The decision was for Chen's tournament life at he only had 19,200 in his stack.

The two of them exchanged some banter and laughs before Chen ultimately threw K♥K♦ face up into the muck.

"Nice bluff," joked a tablemate as the pot was pulled away from Chen who now sits with less than start stack.

4:55pm: Hao hits two pair
Level 4: 100/200

Peng Hao has moved up to over double starting stack now after cracking the pocket kings of Dokyun Kim. Players were three-handed on the turn with 9♣5♠8♣J♠ face up in the middle of the table. It was checked twice over Kim and he barrelled for 3,200.

Hao made the call from the small blind as did the third party in middle position and the 6♥ completed the board. That card was met with three checks and Kim tabled K♠K♣ for the overpair. He quickly found out that was no good, however, as Hao revealed 9♦8♦ for a flopped two pair.

That pot takes Hao up to 44,700 from a starting stack of 20,000.

4:35pm: Mu'ving on up
Level 4: 100/200

Dapeng Mu is stacking chips after a well-timed check raise saw him take some chips from Zhenyu Kuang.

The board read 6♥J♥A♦A♠ and Mu checked it from the small blind before Kuang made it 5,075 to go from under the gun. Mu only had 9,825 in his stack and he put it all in the middle. Despite the jam being for less than a min-raise, Kuang couldn't commit the chips.

He mucked and began shaking his head as Mu collected the pot to build to around 22,000.

4:05pm: First break of the day

Players have stepped away from the tournament area for a 15-minute break.

3:50pm: Chua chasing another Red Dragon title
Level 3: 75/150

Ying Lin Chua conquered the Red Dragon back at MPC24 for a payday of $245,000 and he's back to try and do it again. Chua just made the most of late registration and pulled up a seat.

MPC27 Ying Lin Chua.jpg

As for our other notables, here's how they currently stack up.

Patty Lai - 18,600
Bryan Huang - 14,800
Bernard Vu - 13,300
Michael Falcon - 9,200
Juicy Li - 6,100

3:35pm: James Jams
Level 3: 75/150

New Zealand's Kevin James is showing he's not afraid to get his stack in after a postflop three-bet jam saw him commit all of his chips.

The small blind checked to James on a flop of A♠5♠2♦ and James fired for 1,100. Bryan Huang next to act made the call before the small blind played back with a raise to 2,700. James wanted to play for more and he ripped all in for 17,425.

Huang snap-folded but the small blind went into the tank for over two minutes. Ultimately James' bet was too strong and he was awarded the pot when the small blind folded.

3:15pm: Huang joins the hunt
Level 2: 50/100

Number 1 on Singapore's all-time money list Bryan Huang was just spotted pulling up a seat.

Huang had his biggest live score to date here in Macau back in November when he final tabled the Asia Championship of Poker Main Event for $162,565. We'll be keeping an eye on his progress to see if he can make another deep run this week.

As for other notables, most of them are absent from the Red Dragon field as the Single Day High Roller across the room has attracted their attention. You can follow along with how that's doing by clicking right here.

3pm: Falcon firing away
Level 2: 50/100

We're only an hour into proceedings and Michael Falcon has already found his entire stack in the middle. After a raise to 225, Falcon defended his big blind to see a flop of 9♥4♠J♥.

Falcon then opted for a check-raise over the continuation bet, bumping it up from 275 to 600. He was called and the 3♦ fell on the turn.

Falcon didn't hesitate to overbet jam for 5,800 and that was enough to see him collect the pot. After a rough start that pot sees him fighting back to a stack of 7,500.

2:40pm: Lee lifting
Level 1: 25/50

James Lee is in the building and already chipping up in the first level.

He led out from the small blind for 2,100 on a flop of 3♥6♦5♣ before both the under the gun player and the man on the button called. The K♦ arrived on the turn and Lee reached for chips again, this time firing for 5,000.

Under the gun peeked back at his cards before letting it go and the button did exactly the same. The pot was pushed Lee's way and he moved up to 26,000 from a starting stack of 20,000.

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

It's still early here on Day 1B but we've spotted a couple of players that we know.

Michael Falcon is here fresh off a stellar performance at PokerStars Festival Manila. Falcon was frontrunner in the Main Event for most of the tournament and ultimately finished third for $48,714. The notable thing about his final table appearance was that he kept swapping seats to the neighbouring table where we was simultaneously playing the PokerStars Cup final table. We'll see if he can have another sick run in Macau this week.

Also in the mix is Juicy Li who took down the record-breaking High Roller event at MPC26. For that impressive finish Li pocketed $313,867 and she'll be looking for another huge payday in this Red Dragon.

2:05pm: And we're off!
Level 1: 25/50

Cards are now in the air for Red Dragon Day 1B.

Red Dragon Main Event Day 1B set to start

Welcome back to PokerStars LIVE Macau where soon we'll see a new batch of poker hopefuls wander in and begin their quest to slay the Red Dragon!

Yesterday was a Red Dragon Day 1A record with 328 in contention and things are only expected to get bigger as the week continues. Of those who ponied up the HK$15,000 and took a seat it was Huafeng Gu who accumulated the most chips across 12 levels of play. Gu set the pace by bagging up 179,300 and will be the one to chase for players in today's Day 1B flight.

We'll see cards in the air from 2pm local time (GMT+8) so check back with us then for all your live coverage needs.

Red Dragon Day 1B reports by Brad Kain. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau.

Brad Kain
@PokerStars in PokerStars Macau