MPC25: Day 1A coverage archive

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Yandong Liu leads after Day 1A of the MPC25 Red Dragon

The first MPC25 Red Dragon Day 1 flight has come and gone after today saw players battle through 12 levels of play. When late registration was locked out it was 248 who had pulled up seats - a good sign that we could potentially break the field record for two series running.

The Day 1A field back in March was only 205 runners when the MPC24 Red Dragon proved itself the biggest freezeout tournament in the Asia-Pacific (ultimately garnering a field of 1,075). With that in mind organizers are optimistic for back-to-back record breaking runs.

Today's story, however, belongs to Yandong Liu. He stayed off the radar for most of the day before making a late charge to bag up the chip lead in the closing stages. Liu was the only player to eclipse the 200,000-chip mark, finishing up with 203,600 at the conclusion of play.

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Day 1A chip leader Yandong Liu

We couldn't find a record of any live cashes for Liu but he has put himself in a good position to potentially change that here this week. Liu will be the one to chase for those taking a shot at Day 1B tomorrow.

Meanwhile 54 others have guaranteed themselves a place joining Liu on Day 2 come Wednesday. Some of those who made the cut include Dong Guo (166,800), Wei Zhou (66,500), Pete Chen (58,000) and Tom Alner (44,000).

For others though it was a tale of woe as many fell by the wayside. Chen-an Lin was the only Team PokerStars representative to join the Red Dragon field today but his tournament came to an end during Level 5.

Similarly the reigning champion Ying Lin Chua couldn't hang on. He lost all but two big blinds when his pocket aces were cracked by Ssu Yu Yeh's set of jacks. He got the last of it in the middle in the very next hand with pocket deuces but couldn't hold and was sent packing.

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Eliminated - Ying Lin Chua

Now it's time for our Day 2 qualifiers to have two days rest while two more flights of poker hopefuls wander in to the room here at PokerStars LIVE Macau. We'll be back again from 2pm tomorrow for all the action of Day 1B. In the meantime you can view the full list of end-of-day chip counts right here.

We hope you can join us tomorrow!

10:15pm: Five hands remaining on Day 1A
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Current chip leader Yang Dong Liu was given the honor of drawing for the last remaining hand count. He pulled a five so that's how many more hands our players will battle through before play concludes.

It won't be long now before we find out who survives to Day 2 and if Liu can hold onto the title of chip boss just a little longer. Stay with us for a full wrap of the day's proceedings shortly!

10pm: Liu leading the way
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Yang Dong Liu has usurped the chip leader throne with a late charge here to now sit with a mountain in front of him. Liu was the first to eclipse the 200,000-chip milestone, now sitting with 215,000.

We're into the final level of the night now and Liu is comfortably in front at this point. Let's see if can maintain his lead. Here's how he stacks up in relation to some other players.

Yang Dong Liu - 210,000
Jason Shao - 170,000
Dong Guo - 160,000
Elmar Torrente - 130,000
Pete Chen - 58,000
Tom Alner - 24,000

9:40pm: Hebtte hit by bricks
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Frederic Hebtte opened to 3,400 from early position before the player in the small blind moved all in for his last 21,200. With the decision back on Hebtte he appeared torn as he sat in the tank. After two minutes of deliberation Hebtte made a disgruntled call to see his T♦9♦ was flipping against 5♥5♣.

The 7♦J♠5♦ flop was huge for Hebtte. While he didn't technically hit, he improved to both flush and gut shot straight draws. The Q♠ turn improved him again to an open ended straight draw but regardless of all the outs, the 3♣ river meant he would lose the hand and around three quarters of his stack along with it.

9:20pm: Wei ahead
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

A giant outburst of varying emotions just came from a table in the corner of the poker room. We rushed over to see what all the commotion was about and saw three players with their hands face up - two of whom were out of their seats before heading to the exit.

Zhao Wei was the one who had finished them both off after what appeared to have been a sick runout. Wei had A♥A♣ for the nuts on the Q♠A♠3♦A♦5♥ board, ahead of Q♥Q♦ for queens full and Q♣3♣ for a flopped two pair.

Wei raked in the pot with a smile as his tablemates were split between staring in disbelief and discussing how sick the hand was. With those added chips Wei now sits with 64,000 at his disposal.

9pm: Alner takes a hit
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Tom Alner has had a good day at the felt so far but he just encountered a setback after a preflop confrontation. Alner got it in with a shortstack but unfortunately for the Englishman he had run into a monster hand.

While Alner held a respectable A♦T♥ he was up against K♥K♦. He found top pair on the 6♣T♦4♥ flop but it wouldn't be enough as the 8♥ turn and 9♥ river meant the overpair would hold.

Alner still has 39,000 to play with despite losing that hand.

8:40pm: Zhang finds a double
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Hailun Zhang had dipped into the danger zone but now has some breathing room after doubling his short stack.

After a preflop raise to 2,800 from late position, Zhang moved all in from the small blind for around 11,000. The jam was quickly called and players tabled their cards.

Zhang: K♠Q♥
Opener: K♣9♣

Zhang had the lead and held it as the board ran out [6s[]ts]6♣A♥Q♣. He climbs to 23,000 and now has almost 20 big blinds.

8:20pm: Final break of the night

The remaining players are taking minutes respite. We'll be back soon!

8:15pm: Falcon flying high
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Michael Falcon has established himself as the chip leader in the latter stages of Day 1A here. After still hovering around starting stack during Level 5 he has done well to push forward and assert his dominance.

Dong Guo was able to just take some chips from him, however, with a turn raise in a recent hand. The board read 5♣4♥5♠T♠ and after Falcon fired for 9,000 Guo came back over the top for 21,500. Falcon let it go and while he lost that pot, he still maintained the chip lead with just shy of 100,000 in play.

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There's a new sheriff in town - Michael Falcon

7:55pm: Big turnout
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Late registration was closed out after Level 6 so we now know that we have a total of 248 entrants here on Day 1A.

An impressive turnout and the good news is that when the Red Dragon field record was broken back in March with a total of 1,075, Day 1A only attracted 205 runners to the felt. With that in mind organizers have high hopes of setting another record here this week!

7:35pm: Alner on the rise
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

It was almost three years ago to the month when Tom Alner won the Red Dragon Main Event for HK$823,000. He's back in Macau this week to have another run at the title. Alner is also fresh off an MPC24 final table in the same event and is already building a stack here today. He opened the betting preflop with a raise to 1,700 and when it folded around to the player in the big blind he opted to defend.

The flop fell 9♣7♥5♥ and Alner continued for 1,800 when it was checked his way. The bet was met with a call and the dealer turned the 6♥. The action went check check and the 2♥ arrived on the river.

The big blind checked a final time before Alner tossed 5,000 into the middle. That was good to win the pot and Alner stacked up 36,000 in chips.

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Tom Alner

7:15pm: Hebbte holds for a triple up
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Belgium's Frederic Hebbte is stacking up chips after almost tripling up against two players

The three got all the money in on a 7♦6♠5♦ flop with Hebbte holding Q♦Q♣ for the best of it but still with a few cards to fade as his opponents held 9♠9♦ and 8♠8♦.

"High card. High card. High card" Hebbte chanted after the 3♠ turn arrived.

The deck obliged as the 6♥ river completed the board and locked up the pot Hebbte. He sent one opponent home and took a chunk from the others stack as Hebbte catapulted himself up to a stack o 47,000.

6:55pm: Wu dominates Dong
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Jack Wu brought it in for a raise to 1,200 and both Dong Guo and the player in the big blind called to see a flop of 9♣4♥4♠. It was checked to Wu and he continued for 1,900. Guo called, and with the third party out of the way, the dealer turned the T♥.

Wu checked his option this time and Guo took the betting lead with a barrel for 4,500. Wu moved all in over the top for less than a minraise but it was clear Guo had been caught out when he slid his hand over to the dealer.

Wu tapped the table moved up to over 20,000.

6:35pm: Liu lives on
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

We would love to say we spotted MPC23 runner-up Shao Po Liu but saying he made himself known is probably a more appropriate way of putting it. Liu was cheering boisterously as we made our way over to see the fallout of a big hand.

It appeared to be a three-way all in with the board reading K♦2♦7♣6♥J♣. One hand was already in the muck, one player was showing A♠K♠ and Liu was sitting with K♥J♠ in front of him. He'd caught a lucky river card to keep his tournament dream alive, and wasn't shy about celebrating.

Liu regained composure and offered condolences to the player he had knocked out and the other tablemate he had just taken a big pot from. That pot was worth approximately 42,000 in chips and Liu stacked it up after the dealer pushed it his way.


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6:10pm: Scheduled break

It's that time again. Players are now on a 10 minute break.

6:00pm: Reigning champion Chua felted
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

The MPC24 Red Dragon champion Ying Lin Chua was here today to try and defend his title but unfortunately he has found the rail just before the halfway point here on Day 1A.

It was a one-two punch that saw Chua eliminated, with back to back hands rendering him first crippled and then finished off. The first hand he had his pocket aces cracked by Ssu Yu Yeh's J♥J♣. With the board showing 7♠5♥J♠3♥ Yeh moved all in for around 5,000 and was snapped off by Chua before he saw the bad news. The river was a brick and Chua's stack was decimated down to 800 for only two big blinds.

He called all in the very next hand after Jun Yi Ong raised to 900 before him. The player in the big blind also flicked in a call and the three of them went to a flop of Q♠Q♣3♥. The action was checked but when the T♠ turn rolled off the big blind led out. Ong quickly folded and Chua saw his 2♥2♣ was no good versus 5♣3♣.

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Ying Lin Chua won't be going back-to-back

5:45pm: Wei Lin wins one from Daryanani
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

We arrived at the table to see the turn action as the cards read 5♦3♣2♦4♣ with two players active. It was on Haney Daryanani first and he fired for 2,000 of his approximately 10,000-chip stack.

Wei Lin was on the button and with the decision on him, he thought about it for a considerable amount of time, and then played back at Daryanani for 4,500. Daryanani threw his hand away almost immediately as Lin was shipped the pot and moved up to 37,000 in chips.

5:30pm: Falcon fires into Tian
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Denmark's Michael Falcon has moved back up to around starting stack after taking a pot from Jun Tian. The community cards showed J♦5♦A♠3♠6♥ and Falcon dropped 4,000 worth of chips into the middle.

Tian reached for his cards but then sat for around 30 seconds weighing up his options. In the end he decided on a fold and Falcon raked one in to build his stack back to around 14,000.

5:15pm: Chen-an Lin sent packing
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

There is now an empty seat where Team PokerStars Pro Chen-an Lin once sat. Rumour has it he was spotted leaving the tournament floor.

We'll keep an eye on Twitter or see if we can track him down to find out exactly what happened.

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Presumed eliminated - Team PokerStars Pro Chen-an Lin

5:00pm: Guo getting it done
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Dong Guo has been one of the more active players today. He just took down another pot after a huge flop and a couple of value bets.

The flop read 8♠3♦A♠ and Guo bet 1,150 before Mangling He raised to 2,900. Guo opted for a call and they went to the 7♥ turn. Despite the flop check raise Guo led at it for another 2,000 and this time Mangling He just called.

The 6♦ arrived on the end and Guo made a final wager of 2,700. Mangling He made a quick call but he threw his hand in the muck even quicker when Guo tabled A♣A♦ for top set.

That hands sees Guo move up to 34,000 in chips.

4:45pm: Stay energized!
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

The Macau Poker Cup 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 out 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 1A.

4:25pm: Daryanani doubles through Mudgal
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Haney Daryanani looked like he was having a rough start this afternoon but he's back with a fighting chance after doubling up through Dhaval Mudgal.

The two got all the money in preflop, both holding monsters, but Daryanani with way the best of it.

Daryanani: A♠A♥
Mudgal: A♣K♥

Daryanani was looking good to double up and his aces held as the cards fell Q♣5♦2♥5♥T♣. He stacked up a total of 18,000 while Mudgal was knocked back to around 9,000 in chips.

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Still in the hunt - Haney Daryanani


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4:00pm: First break of the day

Players have stepped away from the tournament area for a scheduled break. Coverage will resume in 10 minutes.

3:50pm: Field update and ACOP announcement
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

We're only 10 minutes away from our first break of the day and the field has continued to build. So far 221 players have taken seats and by our count eight of those have already been eliminated. With the opening Day 1 flight typically the smallest, things are looking good for another massive turnout here this week.

Late registration is still open and will remain that way until Level 6 concludes at around 6:20pm.

As our remaining 213 players prepare to go on break it's a good time to remind you about the upcoming Asia Championship of Poker beginning next month. Asia's richest poker festival sees world class players from all over the globe flock to Macau to vie for poker glory and huge prizes. You can check out the schedule and read what's in store right here.

3:30pm: Jang puts the pressure on
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Hosung Jang is steadily climbing after playing back at Ming He.

While we missed the start of the action, Jang had 1,250 out in front of him, and with blinds at only 100/200 it is probably safe to assume it wasn't an opening raise. Ming He was on the button and he made it 3,650 to go.

Jang wanted to play for more and he announced all in with enough to cover He's 10,500 behind. He deliberated for over a minute but ultimately he threw the hand away.

Jang scooped the pot and climbed to 26,000.

3:10pm: Ong owns Yeh
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Jun Yi Ong just collected a nice pot after a well-sized river bet into Ssu Yu Yeh.

The board read T♠9♣7♥5♥J♠ and Yeh, first to act, checked after some time in the tank. Ong flicked a single 5,000-denomination chip into the middle and the decision was back to Yeh.

She counted out her own stack and shuffled her chips for around a minute before committing to a call. Ong turned up T♥8♥ for a rivered straight which was good to take it down. Yeh dipped to 7,000 in chips.

2:55pm: Cooler leaves Ling crippled
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

We just witnessed a sick hand on Table 20. The cards were spread 2♦5♠5♣A♦A♠ and Jia Xiang Ling had tabled A♥9♥ for a runner-runner full house. Little did he know he was drawing dead from the flop until Hailun Zhang revealed 5♥5♦ for flopped quads.

A tablemate snapped a photo with his phone as the sizable pot was pushed over to Zhang. He is now one of our front runners with 28,000 as Ling drops to only 1,000 in chips.

2:40pm: Action early as Guo gives it up
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

It's only the first level here but that hasn't stopped players from pushing all in with their whole stacks.

We arrived at the table to see three tablemates involved in a raising war, one of which was Dong Guo. He had 1,050 out in front of him but Mangling He had bumped it up to 2,150 after him. It folded around to the player on the button who put in another raise to 3,350.

"Is that a raise? F**k!" Guo said with a laugh before throwing his hand away.

Mangling He wasn't fazed though, pushing all in for almost starting stack to put himself at risk. The button didn't hesitate long before relinquishing his hand and He collected the pot.

2:20pm: Notable names among the pack
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

There are already 178 players who have pulled up seats this afternoon. With six levels of late registration that number is expected to climb.

Those already spotted on the felt include reigning champion Ying Lin Chua, APPT Manila final tablist Seongsu Kong and prominent poker pro Dong Guo.

The lone Team PokerStars Pro is Chen-an Lin who will likely be joined by more teammates soon.

2:05pm: Shuffle up and deal!
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Cards are now in the air for Day 1A.

There will be 12 40-minute levels today so play will conclude around 10:30pm tonight. Players start with 15,000 in chips and Level 1 is 25/50.

Now it's time to hit the tournament floor - stay tuned!


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1:30pm: Day 1A starting soon

We're only 30 minutes away from kicking things off here in this MPC25 Red Dragon Main Event!

A huge field is expected this week and our first batch of players are now wandering in to the poker room here at PokerStars LIVE Macau. Those poker hopefuls will be ponying up HK$12,000 and chasing a slice of the HK$6,000,000 guarantee and looking to take home the most coveted trophy in poker.

The action gets underway at 2pm local time. Stay with us all week here on the PokerStars Blog for your live coverage needs direct from the tournament floor.

PokerStars Blog reporting in Macau brought to you by Brad Kain. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau.

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Brad Kain
@PokerStars in 2016