MPC Red Dragon Day 1B live updates

MacauPokerCup_thn_promo.jpg3.40pm: Two more hands
Danny McDonagh has declared that we'll play two more hands until the end of the night. There's no way in the world anyone is catching Tomaz Yip in that time, which means he'll be your overnight leader. A full wrap is on its way.

3.30pm: No stopping Tomaz Yip
When you're hot, you're hot and at the moment Tomaz Yip is as hot as they get. He just took A♣K♦ up against Hossein Shabannezhad's pocket kings, all in pre-flop, and wouldn't you know what came on the board?

It ran A♦8♦2♣A♥3♥ and sent Shabannezhad back to his hotel room about five minutes earlier than everyone else. Yip moves beyond 200,000.

3.25am: Twenty minutes
We're going to play 20 minutes of this last level before bagging and tagging begins. Oh, and England have just gone 1-0 against Sweden in Kiev.


3.15am: Japanese chop
Nobuhiro Yabuuchi, of Japan, was in a great spot to double up his stack of 11,700. He open shoved from late position with A♠Q♥ and was insta-called by his countryman Takuo Serita, who was packing only A♦8♥.

But one by one, the cards conspired against Yabuuchi. They came 2♠4♣4♥5♣3♣ and that's a split pot.

Nobuhiro Yabuuchi

2.55am: Mohan v Huntley
Sangeeth Mohan has a tattoo on his left forearm that shows an ace of spades above the legend: "ONE LIFE, ONE CHANCE". This hand report would have been far better had he been able to show the ace of spade in his hand, but even if he had it, he was given no need to reveal.

Mohan opened to 2,500 from early position and both blinds called. It was Gordon Huntley in the small blind, the Scottish player who recently won in Sydney on the ANZPT. The three of them saw a flop of Q♠7♥[10d] and after both blinds checked, Mohan bet 3,500. Only Huntley called.


Gordon Huntley

The turn was 5♠ and Huntley checked. Mohan bet 6,500 and this time it was good. Huntley folded and Mohan raked that one.


Sangeeth Mohan

2.40am: Chips
We're now back and playing the final hour of the day. Here are some notable stacks:

Tomaz Yip - 185,000
Xujun Huang - 111,000
Chul Woo Park - 85,000
Celina Lin - 45,000
Vivian Im - 29,000
Ted Wang - 42,000

I must also take this opportunity to apologise in advance for a slow-down in updates from this stage on. If you thought the coverage was stuttering before, you should see it when England are playing in Euro 2012.


2.30am: Break
And with that, players go for their final ten minute break of the night. When they return, they will play one and a half levels and if they're still around after that, they'll come back on Sunday.

2.20am: Maeda downed
Jenn Barr of brings us the latest update on the Japanese players. Well, on one of them at least. And it's not great news:

"Azusa Maeda was up to about 38,000 at one point but now he's out. He lost the bulk of it with 7♦9♦, with which he limped in early position. There was one more limper and Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im raised to 2,200 in middle position, which only Maeda called.

The heads-up flop was 6♦7♥9♠ and Maeda led out with 4,500 which Im called after thinking a bit. The turn was 4♠ to which Maeda put 10,000 on, leaving 13,000 behind. Im thought even longer this time but eventually called.


Asuza Maeda

The turn was 4♣ and this time Maeda checked and so did Im, apparently wondering if Maeda had a set. She had pocket kings and Maeda was crippled.

After that he was blinded down to 10,500 and shoved it all in to a raise to 2,000 with [A][Q], only to run into kings yet again. This time his cards didn't hit and his Red Dragon event ended.

2.15am: Anyone to challenge Westmorland? Yip!
We thought it wouldn't be possible for any player to catch Jordan Westmorland's day 1a leading stack of 269,000. But with still a couple of levels left to play today, Tomaz Yip has come from nowhere to amass a stack of about 180,000. No one really knows how he has done it, but there it is for all to see. He is now a clear chip-leader.

Just recently he took a pot from Celina Lin, when it looked like he called from the big blind after she opened from under the gun. I'm not at all sure how the hand played out, but by the time the river was out there was about 15,000 in the pot and this board: K♦2♦2♥5♠5♦.

Yip bet 10,000 at it and after a long dwell, Lin called. She was shown Q♠2♣ for her troubles and that full house was good.

2.05am: Shaq attacked, dead
Hung-sheng Lin - otherwise known as Shaq - is out. After a skirmish with nines against ace-jack, he was left with one chip, worth 100 points. That's an ante at this stage of the game.

We've all heard the chip-and-a-chair stories, the sensational comebacks from nothing to claim a miraculous title. But it wasn't to be this time. He had hope, finding pocket sixes, but someone else had kings.


Hung-sheng Lin - aka Shaq

That's the end of that for Shaq.

2am: Beat that
News from both Team PokerStars Pro Asia playing today: Celina Lin is flying, up to 63,700. And although Vivian Im was also going great guns, she has just run headlong into the second straight flush (at least) of the day.

Im had an off-suit king-ten on a board of 9♣J♣Q♣, which would ordinarily be pretty solid. But she faced resistance from not one, but two opponents, one of whom was Chul Park, of Korea.

All three of them got it all in on the river. Im had that straight, the third player also had an off-suit king ten for another straight. But Park had K♣[10c] for the nuttiest nuts. That tripled up Park and took a slice out of Im.

She is still looking fine, with the right side of 30,000. But it was once much more.


1.45am: Maizland mown down
Michael Maizland is out. The American found jacks at the same time that Hoi Tung Ip found kings and though they didn't get it all in pre-flop, they sure did after a flop of 6♠5♠7♠.

Maizland had opened pre-flop and then called Ip's three-bet to 3,000. Then after that flop, Maizland shoved for about 20,000. Ip thought about folding but then called. When Maizland tabled his J♥J♦, Ip was delighted to slam down the K♦K♠.

The turn and river were blanks.

1.35am: Long night
As you can see from the time stamp up there, we are already into the early hours of tomorrow - and we're not done yet. There's still about another three levels until we're done today.

The good thing about poker though is that it remains such an intense pastime that players can stay awake for huge long sessions. The Texas Rounders used to go through the night, then tomorrow, then the next night, then the next day and on and on.

It's pretty similar here in Macau. Everyone is on the very edge of their seat.


He fiercely defends every big blind

1.30am: Chips
Fewer than half today's starting field now remains, but no one is really making the charge into three figures that Jordan Westmorland managed yesterday. Here are a few counts of some notables. Xujun Huang still has his game face on, and he's a safe bet to be the first beyond 100,000.

Celina Lin - 48,000
Gabyong Kim - 43,000
Gordon Huntley - 23,000
Gregory Lane - 55,000
Hung-Sheng Li - 25,000
Toma Tsugunari - 61,000
Vivian Im - 54,000
Xujun Huang - 91,000


Toma Tsugunari


1.05am: Tam tames Rong
Aidan Tam, a PokerStars qualifier from Canada, has just knocked out Yu Cheng Rong in an all in pre-flop confrontation. Tam had A♥Q♥ against Rong's 6♠6♣ and rivered a queen.

Meanwhile, Gregory Lane is now on the same table as the Japanese player Toma Tsugunari. The latter has about 58,000 chips, which is slightly more even than Lane's 55,000-odd. Both of them look like they are keen to play a few pots, so there could be fireworks there.

We are now down to 81 players on the day, from the starting 148.

12.45am: Hia down, Im up
Christine Hia is out. Most of the damage was done by South Africa's Jooste Corneliu when the two of them got their short stacks in with big aces. Corneliu had A♦Q♦, which stayed better than Hia's A♣J♦.

That left Hia with about three big blinds, and they vanished soon after.


Christine Hia

Better news for Vivian Im. The Team PokerStars Pro from Korea has about 35,000 chips and is heavily involved in just about every pot on table 12. Although she was forced to fold in one hand by Zhengwei Ni's shove on a flop of 9♥7♠3♦ (Im had opened the button and Ni had called from the small blind) she got chips back, and more, on the very next hand.

In this one, Im went to the flop with Tomas Samol and Azusa Maeda - K♠4♥5♣ - and called Maeda's bet of 2,200. The 8♣ turned and after both her opponents checked, Im bet 3,000 and won.

12.30am: Pleasing the public
You'd have to go a long way to find a tournament director more laid back than Danny McDonagh. It's true enough that you have to go quite a way to find Danny McDonagh himself - he started life in Australia and is now Director of Live Operations here at PokerStars Macau - but beating him is all but impossible.

Not only does McDonagh have the audacity to announce a poker tournament that begins at ten minutes past the hour (and duly starts it bang on time, every day) but he just also bowed to player power and agreed to put the Euro 2012 football match on the big screen in the tournament room.

It scarcely mattered that there was a live satellite with their tournament clock on that screen. "The satellite will go to manual clock," McDonagh said over the mic, as the right channel was sought for the football.


Tournament room today. The big screen in question is on the right

As it happens there's a tempest raging in Donetsk at the moment, meaning the game between France and Ukraine is actually suspended. So the satellite players got a reprieve and can now see their clock. But one suspects the football will be back - rightfully - when England and Sweden take to the (dry) field in a couple of hours.


12.25am: Break time
That's the second break of the day at the end of level six. They will return in ten minutes for level seven.

12.20am: Chip leader
Although it's pretty much certain that no one is going to catch Jordan Westmorland's overnight total from day 1a - he bagged a sensational 269,000 at the end - there are a couple of stacks developing here that indicate a clear intention to run him close. Xujun Huang has about 85,000 at the moment, and I'd say that's good for the lead.

12.05am: Double up for Choi
Yujung Choi is one of two Korean women on table 12 today. The other is Vivian Im. But while Im is prospering with more than 20,000, Choi just had to survive an all in to remain in the field.

She could have found a worse hand to get all her chips in with - Choi had A♥A♦ and was up against K♦K♥. There was no outdraw, so Choi doubled her 8,000 back up to beyond her starting stack.


Yujung Choi, on day 1B in Macau

12am: No no Niu
Alex Niu, our celebrity from Chinese Taipei, is out. I didn't see the hand, just the empty seat, but I suspect he looked something like this on busting:


Alex Niu, bust

11.45pm: Come in Tokyo!
This comes from our correspondent Jenn Barr, who is writing in pictures over on our sister site. "Tetsuya Tsuchikawa busted from the SB. With a raise preflop Tsuchikawa and 2 others flat-called and the flop came K♠6♠[6]. With a raise and re-raise Tsuchikawa got it all in on that flop with AKo while the opponent that covered him had A♠7♠ and a spade fell on the river."


Tetsuya Tsuchikawa

11.35pm: Chinese, or Austrian, aces
I've just learnt a new piece of poker terminology: apparently pocket fours are known as Chinese aces. In this instance, though, a more appropriate name for them is Austrian aces as the PokerStars qualifier Gregory Lane has just busted his Chinese opponent, Haifei Hu with those pocket fours. Oh yeah, probably best to mention that Hu had real pocket aces and suffered a grim beat.

Lane opened the button, Hu three-bet from the small blind and Lane four-bet jammed. Hu had the easiest call of his life and his bullets were way ahead of the Austrian's fours. But a third four came on the turn and Hu couldn't re-draw on the river.

Hu departs and Lane stacks up close to 50,000. Those Austrians, they come over here, stealing our lucky hands...

11.30pm: Up against the Wallstrom, wriggles out
What kind of flop do you want to see when you've checked your option in the big blind with 4♠5♥. Something like 6♥4♣4♥ will do it, right?

Well, that's assuming that your opponent, the dastardly Shaobo Liu, hadn't volunteered his participation in this pot with 9♥4♦. In truth, I didn't see how this played out, but those were definitely the hands and it was Hans Wallstrom in the big blind.

Wallstrom looked like he bet the flop, Liu shoved over the top and then Wallstrom called and must have been sure he was ahead - until he saw that monster in Liu's hands.

However Wallstrom is not yet free to go watch his native Sweden's Euro 2012 match against England tonight. The turn and river came K♥A♦ and they chopped it. Phew.

11.05pm: Aces cracked
Table 14 has just broken, but Xiao Jia probably wishes it could have happened an orbit or so earlier. He just had his aces cracked by Ling Kay Yip's pocket queens in a 35,000 pot. Yip is now stacking those up, leaving Jia with less than 10,000.

Three of table 14's players will need to make their way quick-smart to table six, where play was paused momentarily. They were suddenly down to six players after a rash of eliminations. I'm not sure who did the damage and who was hurt, but as they awaited their new table-mates, Sze Chung Tong was sitting with about 39,000 chips and Martin Cheung about 37,000 so it's a fair bet they were involved at some point.


10.40pm: Numbers and counts
Ah, my mistake. Registration is actually now closed and today there were 146 players joining the fray. Add that to yesterday's 110 and we're up to 256. We'll need 244 tomorrow to reach 500, so that may be out of sight. But you never know.

At this stage, 128 players remain and here are a selection of chip counts:

Celina Lin - 17,500
Alex Niu - 6,300
Will Lin - 16,200
Xujun Huang - 48,000
Gordon Huntley - 25,000
Tetsuya Tscuhikawa - 52,000
Gregory Lane - 32,000
Edward Yam - 37,000
Vivian Im - 16,300
Ning Sun - 33,000
Azusa Maeda - 19,000

10.25pm: Bashful Ishibashi
It's never that easy to get players off hands at the Red Dragon Series, much less when they've turned a set. Tsuyoshi Ishibashi will tell you that. He just stacked off to Xiao Ming Liang.

Ishibashi opened from the cut off to 550. Liang called from the button, as did the player in the big blind. That took them to a flop of 3♦5♦[10d]. After two checks, Liang bet 1,050, which was enough to get the big blind out the way.

But Ishibashi wanted to play on. He called. That took them to a 9♣ turn and prompted a bet of 6,000 from Ishibashi. That pretty much put Liang all in, but he was only too happy to make up the rest anyhow, moving in for about 2,000 more.

Ishibashi now learned that he was the player with the smaller stack, but had no choice but to call, tapping the table as he turned over K♦Q♣. Liang had 9♦9♠ and although there was still a diamond draw for Ishibashi, the river was a blank.

The two players' stacks were almost identically sized, but Ishibashi had marginally fewer and went looking for the door.

10.10pm: Break time
That's the first break of the day and registration is only open for one more level. When we return in 10 minutes, we'll play another 40 minutes play and then that's it for late registrants.

10pm: Leaders and slackers
The table with our two Taiwanese celebrities hasn't been too kind to them so far. Alex Niu only has about 6,000 chips left, while his neighbour Wei Lin doesn't have many more.

But Xujun Huang is making hay over there at the moment, and has assumed an early chip lead with about 47,000. He appears to be exceptionally active, but can also fold a hand apparently. Just before the latest break, he got out the way when Quan Zhou decided to fight fire with fire.

Zhou opened from the button to 600. William Te called from the small blind and Huang made it 1,800 from the big blind. Zhou almost immediately announced a four bet, asking 4,000 to play. Both folded.

9.30pm: Turning Japanese
Jenn Wed, who is blogging in Japanese for PokerStars, has just handed over some details of the notable Japanese players in today's field. They include:

Azusa Maeda - Second in WSOPE 6-max event in 2011, winner of bounty side event at APPT Cebu, top 10 in two events at Aussie Millions this year, four final tables last year in various side events

Tetsuya Tsuchikawa - seven final tables in the past year including first in the deepstack event this week and a side event in APPT Cebu. Runner-up in the August 2011 MPC Red Dragon event

Nobuhiro Yabuuchi - six lifetime MPC cashes, half of which were in the main event

Tsugunari Toma - four final tables at MPC/MPCC last year and 13th in last APPT Macau event in November, also 2 cashes at Aussie Millions this year in teams event and $1500 side event

Tsuyoshi Ishibashi - four final tables in MPC events in the past year as well as notable finishes in other predominant events in Asia (APT events)

Takuo Serita - seventh at IFP invitational in London last November

One of those players - Maeda - just won a small pot from Vivian Im, with whom he is sharing table 12 today. Maeda made it 525 to go in late position and Im called on the button. That enticed Tomas Samol in from the big blind.


Azusa Maeda

The three of them saw a flop of J♥4♥8♥, which Samol checked. Maeda bet 650 and Im called. Samol got out the way.

The Q♠ turned and Maeda bet 1,250. Im let it go. It's not the most interesting hand, I'll admit. But it offers an excuse for a picture of Vivian Im, the Team PokerStars Pro Asia.


Vivian Im, Team PokerStars Pro, in Macau


9.20pm: Nut flush no good
The stereotype, of course, is that players in Macau will get their chips in with any old filth and hope to hit a flop. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's all about gambling with junk - one suspects, for instance, that the chips would have gone in the middle on this following hand regardless of the poker room location around the world.

There was a commotion on table 11 where the flop was already out - 9♦[10c]8♦ - and Fangsi Wen had made a standard sized bet. One seat to his left, Edward Yam moved all in for a little more than 11,000. (We're in level two folks.)

That got the chattering started, but when Wen called, it got even more fevered. And then we saw the hands, and it all made sense: Yam had 7♦6♦ for the flopped straight, with a straight-flush draw. Meanwhile Wen had A♦J♦, for the up-and-down straight draw, two over-cards and the nut-flush draw. Gulp.

But the drama wasn't even finished yet. The [10d] made Yam's straight flush, but didn't even lock off the hand. Wen still had the Q♦ as an out, for a higher straight flush.

That would have been too much, though, and the river was a blank. Regardless, there's a buzz around that table: "Straight flush, straight flush!" chattered all and sundry as Yam counted up his newly-acquired wealth.

9.05pm: Magic chair
Yesterday, seat three on table 12 was occupied for all eight hours by Victor Chen, whose stack yo-yo-ed up, down, up again throughout the day. He was one of the first players to double up, but then slid some, before launching a late comeback.

Today, the seat is occupied by Ning Sun, who has started off his day in the same way as Chen. He's one of the first to double up, through whichever player temporarily occupied seat nine. That's the empty seat on the table and one can only assume Sun pinched his chips.

8.55pm: Ball, ball, ball. Footie, footie, footie
Of course, as is the case at any major tournament, poker website apparel dominates in Macau this afternoon, followed closely by Ed Hardy's gaudy gear. But with Euro 2012 also in full swing on the other side of the world, there are also a good number of football kits adorning the players and spectators.

Edward Yam has nailed his colours to the mast with a France national team jersey. But he is being watched over by a rail-bird filling out an England top in a manner best described as "complete". Put it this way, this fellow has a few inches even on Frank Lampard.

Roy Wan is wearing a Manchester United T-shirt that proudly declares "We Are The Champions". Yes, it's from 2006-07. Meanwhile Kinesh Pather is only one of at least three people in the room in a Barcelona track-suit top.

Arguably the best gear - in uniqueness, if not affiliation - is being worn by Munkh Natsagdorj. He is wearing an embossed track-suit top declaring him a member of the Chelsea Mongolian Supporters Club.

All this football nonsense is a long-winded way of indicating that action has been impossibly slow in these opening couple of levels. I don't even think anyone is out yet, which is frankly preposterous for a tournament held in Macau.


8.30pm: More notables
Big thanks go out to Fred Leung, PokerStars Macau's tireless country manager, for pointing out another clutch of notable players in today's field. We also have the following:

Hung-sheng "Shaq" Lin -- 2011 APOY, 2011 Macau Millions winner
Tetsuya Tsuchikawa -- Red Dragon runner up (Aug 2011)
Nobuhiro Yabuuchi -- Japan Poker Tour president
Haifeng Xue -- Red Dragon runner-up (June 2011)
Gab yong Kim -- Vivian Im's boyfriend who learned poker through ElkY. Third place in APPT Cebu 2010.
Wing Cheong Chong -- retired businessman from Hong Kong, known for super aggressive play -- APPT Macau 2010 runner-up, Red Dragon winner (Dec 2008)
Gordon Huntley -- ANZPT Sydney 2012 winner, APPT Manila 2010 runner-up
Ted Wang -- Second all time list for most final tables from China
Justin Chan -- 2010 Macau Millions winner

8.15pm: Eyes on Taiwan
There are already 140 entrants registered for today's festivities, and if past history is anything to go by, we will be well advised to look for the Taiwanese players in the field.

Taiwan (also known as Chinese Taipei) has a population of 23 million - and a good many of them are learning to dominate on the poker tables.

In 2009, the Asia Player of the Year was from Taiwan - Kitty Kuo, who does most of her playing in Las Vegas, but also picked up a 12th place on the APPT in Macu in 2010.

The following year, Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu was runner up in the prestigious Player of the Year race. And then in 2011 Hung-Shen "Shaq" Lin took the honours. (His brother was third in the same ladder.)

Lin leads today's Taiwanese charge in the Red Dragon Main Event. He is joined by Fenix Hsu, a fearsome online player, who goes by the name EMPShockwave at the cyber-tables, and Alex Niu, a Taiwanese celebrity, sponsored here into the Red Dragon series.

Niu is seated one seat along from Will Lin, a music producer of some repute. Lin has a string of production credits to his name in his native land, and is now going to attempt to produce some poker magic.


Alex Niu, left, and Will Lin

I'll try to keep an eye on all of them.

7.55pm: Stars twinkling
If yesterday offered the chance for some of the more uncelebrated poker players to make a bid for the headlines, today is when some of the stars come out to play. Already confirmed in the Day 1B field are three Team PokerStars Pro Asia: Vivian Im, Celina Lin and Raymond Wu.

Im was the 2010 APPT Cebu chmpion in season four, and was runner up in the Red Dragon Main Event in February 2011. Lin was the first female to win a Red Dragon in July 2009.

Wu also won the Red Dragon, in March 2010, and was the runner-up in the 2010 Asia Player of the Year.

That's just a start. Stay tuned for more details of our field today.

7.30pm: Second of three
Good morning/afternoon/evening, wherever you are, to live coverage of Day 1B of the Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon Series Main Event (or MPC:RDSME as all the cool kids call it).

Yesterday we welcomed 110 players to the Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino in Macau for the opening flight. Jordan Westmorland destroyed that field, heading the 28 players who survived the day with 269,000 chips. That's a near 18-fold increase on his starting stack, and I'll be amazed if anyone else gets even close over the next two starting flights.


Our tournament room

I say that even knowing that today will be a significantly larger field, it being Friday night in Macau. And Friday night means gambling night. The buy-in here is HKD $11,000, which equates to something like USD $1,400. The guarantee is HKD $3 million, which sounds best in its native language.

Last June, this event attracted 447 players total, and there's every indication that figure will be surpassed. It could get mighty frantic today.

Play will begin at 8.10pm local time and we will play eight hours. That will mean about 10-and-a-half of the brisk 40-minute levels. If yesterday is anything to go by, this place will be strewn with wreckage from about half an hour in until the end. There's a lot of space to store the flotsam in this cavernous venue.


PokerStars Macau poker room

Join us here for all most some of the action.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Red Dragon