MPC27: Gu rides off on Red Dragon lead after Day 1A

It seems like just yesterday that we were talking to you about Dragons in Macau.

That's because it was. The Baby Dragon played down to a champ last night, which you can read all about here. But with that one over, it was time to move on up to the MPC27 HK$15,000 Red Dragon Main Event with its HK$10 million guarantee.

It was actually back in February that we last covered this event, making this the second Red Dragon of 2017. These are the largest freeze-outs in the Asia Pacific region, with 1,216 runners taking part in February's MPC26. While that Day 1A brought in 304 runners, this one appears to be well on its way to besting that total field size with an impressive 328 player's anting up the buy-in by the time registration came to a close.


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Good day for Obara

The plan was to play 12 45-minute levels, and when all was said and done the man who bagged the most was Huafeng Gu with 179,300. Due to the large field and several big stacks developing late in the day, his chip leader status was closely contested by Feng Xuefeng with 157,200, and Jun Obara with 156,900. It looked like Obara was going to bag the lead right until the end, when both Gu and Xuefeng pipped him to the post during the last few hands.

Other big chip stacks belong to Fat Chong Wong with 130,200 and Ming Yang Liu with 128,100. Meanwhile, two prominent players who will be making a return on Day 2 are reigning Asia Player of the Year Jack Wu and reigning Red Dragon champion Alan Lau.

Lau slayed the dragon at MPC26 for a payday of HK$3,265,000 ($420,674) and is still in with a shot at defending his title this week. Lau is also the current Asia Player of the Year frontrunner after taking down the six-handed event just a few days ago. Lau and Wu bagged up 60,600 and 25,500 respectively.

Of course, where there are survivors there must be casualties. As this was a freezeout rather than a re-entry, that means the Red Dragon is over for the likes of Winfred Yu, Dhaval Mudgal, Fuk On Wong and Elan 'the call centre' Zak (scroll down to 6:10pm for explanation of that name).


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Yu's through

A total of 97 players survived the day, and you can view all the end-of-day chip counts here - but they won't be back in action until Wednesday's Day 2. In the meantime we've got Day 1B and the HK$100K Single Day Single Re-Entry High Roller tomorrow, both of which we'll be covering right here on the PokerStars Blog.

Scroll down to catch up on all of the day's coverage. Then join us back here at 1pm local tomorrow for more action from Macau. See you then. --JS


LIVE COVERAGE ARCHIVE

• PLAYERS: 97 (of 328)
CHIP COUNTS | ALL RED DRAGON / MACAU POKER CUP INFO | DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS
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11pm: Done and dusted
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

That's it - chips are being bagged and players are heading out for the night. We'll be back with a full wrap shortly. --JS

10:35pm: Final seven hands
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

It's customary for the current chip leader to draw the remaining hands but with all the frontrunners still so close in stacks the hand draw honour has gone to 2016 ACOP Super High Roller Champion Yuan Li.

Li pulled the card reading 'seven' so that's how many hands we have until the end of proceedings. -- BK

10:25pm: Neck and neck
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

The end-of-day chip lead is anyone's guess at the moment as a whole bunch of players have similar stacks with no one really running away from the pack.

It's not long now until we draw for the last few hands so stay with us for the conclusion of MPC27 Red Dragon Day 1A to find out who takes the top spot! -- BK

10:10pm: No chips left for Cheong
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

As the penultimate level of the day comes to a close so too does Fung Ping Cheong's tournament. Cheong found his last 22,400 in the pot preflop and was not only at risk but dominated by Weibo Qi.

Cheong: A♦J♥
Qi: A♠K♦

Cheong needed help but wouldn't get it on the 4♠2♠Q♦A♥7♣ runout. He leaves us a little short of a Day 2 appearance while Qi stacks up a new total of 53,000. -- BK

10pm: Set over set, FML
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Losing all your chips in a set over set scenario is always pretty brutal - just ask Fuk On Wong.

He got all his chips (around 25,000) in with the 7♣7♠ on a Q♣T♠3♥7♦ board, only to find he'd been called by Mayank Agarwal with the Q♠Q♥.

The case Q♦ hit the river for good measure, making it quads for Agarwal and an early night for Wong.

Agarwal is up to 65,000 now. --JS

9:50pm: Chien takes chips from Cheekuri
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Kalyan Cheekuri brought it in for an under the gun raise before Jen Yen Chien three-bet to 8,600 from the hijack. Cheekuri stuck around to see the flop land T♣9♠5♣.

Both players checked and the K♥ arrived on the turn. Another check from Cheekuri prompted a delayed continuation bet of 7,500 from Chien, which Cheekuri called to bring the 8♣ river.

A final check from Cheekuri was met with a barrel of 12,000 on the end from Chien, which Cheekuri snapped off only to see he was beat. Chien tabled A♠A♥ and Cheekuri immediately shook his head before flashing the K♣.

Chien rakes in that one and now 90,000 in chips while Cheekuri was left with 31,000. -- BK

9:45pm: Qiu catches the bluff, still loses
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jiefeng Qiu opened to 4,000 and was called by Simon Burns in the hijack. Ping Cheong then defended his big blind and the trio went to a 2♥9♠K♠ flop.

It checked to Qiu and he continued for 5,000, which got call from Burns and a fold from Cheong. The turn then came the 9♥, pairing the board, and both opted to check.

The 4♥ river saw Qiu check again and now Burns decided he'd take over the betting. He made it 8,000, and Qiu began studying his opponent. After a minute or so he tossed in a call, and Burns rolled over the A♦J♥ for just ace high to go with the nines on board.

Problem was that Qiu only had ace too with his A♠T♣.

"I knew you bluff!" said Qiu, explaining his decision. Alas for him, Burns was bluffing with the best of it and now sits with 76,000 while Qiu is on 25,000. --JS

9:40pm: Faces from the crowd
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Here's a little look around today's field. --JS


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9:35pm: Spidey senses Changting-ling
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Action folded to Changting Chen in the cutoff and she moved her Spiderman bobblehead card protector to take a peek before opening to 3,000. Her only caller was Ping Cheong on the button so it went heads up to a flop.

That fell 8♥3♠8♠ and Chen continued for 4,000. Cheong then stared at board as he thought about what to do. His decision was to put his entire 21,400 in the middle.

Chen now had a decision for most of her chips, and Cheong was showing a lot of strength. She picked up on that, and decided to let her hand go this time.

Cheong showed that with great power poker, comes great responsibility in stacking chips. --JS


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Chen (and Spiderman) let it go

9:20pm: Ship it to Shen
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Zejin Shen has doubled his stack and then some after a preflop confrontation saw him turn over the best of it. Following an open to 2,500, Shen three-bet shoved from the big blind for 11,800, only to be called off by the initial raiser.

Shen: A♦4♦
Opponent: K♦T♥

The 9♠A♠4♣ flop was great for Shen and he'd locked up the pot by the 4♥ turn. A little unnecessary icing on the cake saw Shen make quads on the 4♠ river and the 25,000-chip pot was pushed his way. -- BK

9:15pm: Fuk up
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

It's fist pumps for Fuk On Wong after a big fade saw him score a double up.

After the dealer spread a flop of 9♣J♥4♠ Wong pushed his remaining 18,000 into the middle with Q♦9♦. The man on the button called it off with Q♣T♠ for an open ended straight draw and Wong had some danger to dodge.

The 5♣ turn was safe and so too was the 2♣ river as the pot was pushed to Wong. He now sits with over 40,000 for more than double starting stack. -- BK

9:05pm: Not long left
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We're down to 171 players now with an hour and a half left to play on the day. You'll be able to find full end-of-play chip counts here when the bags are brought out. --JS

8:55pm: Wang gets one back
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Having had to lay his pocket kings down earlier, Hui Wang just took down a pot and chipped up without ever having to show his cards.

After the hijack opened, Kaiyu Zhen made the call in the cutoff. That invited Wang in from the button, followed by Hidetoshi Suzuki in the big blind. They all saw a 4♠6♥2♣ and one by one, slowly but surely it checked to Wang's button.

He led out for 4,900 and it folded to Zhen. He took a good look at Wang's stack, but ultimately decided to lay it down. --JS

8:35pm: Final break

The remaining players have gone on their last 15 minute break of the night. When they return, they'll play three more 45-minute levels. --JS

8:35pm: QI
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

In the UK, there's a popular game show called QI (which stands for Quite Interesting). The aim of the game is to score points by answering stupidly hard questions, but also by dropping interesting related facts along the way.

Why do I tell you all this? Well, there's a player called Tiansheng Qi, and he just eliminated Kunlei Xie. That's quite interesting...right? RIGHT?

Here's how it happened. It was all in pre-flop - the T♦T♣ for Qi up against the A♦Q♣ of Xie. The flop fell T♥9♠9♥ just about locking up the hand for Qi, who yelled out a loud "YES!"

The 4♥ and 2♠ completed the board and about 30,000 shipped Qi's way, as Xie made his exit. Qi is up to around 70,000 now. --JS

8:25pm: Liu lifting
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Renzhi Liu was down to under 11 big blinds but he's added a healthy boost to his stack after winning a crucial coinflip.

After Xiao Feng raised to 2,300 from the hijack, the cutoff called before Liu moved all in from the small blind for 10,875. Feng moved all in over the top and the cutoff announced fold before flipping over T♣9♣. That went into the muck and both Liu and Feng tabled their hands.

Liu: J♣J♦
Feng: A♠K♦

Feng cried for a king but the deck wouldn't oblige as the sweaty 8♦5♦3♦5♥8♥ rolled out to see Liu's pocket jacks hold. With that pot he moves up to 27,000 in chips. -- BK

8:20pm: Wang's kings
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Pocket kings. Pocket bloomin' kings, eh? What a hand. They don't come around often, but when they do, it's special. You feel like a million bucks.

Until a Q♣A♥A♣ flop comes down, that is. That's the situation Hui Wang just found himself in.

He'd opened to 2,300 only to get three by Jianchen Gu on the button to 6,300. Back to Wang, he took his time but eventually called, only to fold to an instant 10,000 c-bet from Gu.

Wang flipped his kings over as he folded. We didn't see Gu's hand, but if you ask me, he looked happy with himself rather than sad he didn't get more action with an ace or better.

Then again, why would you ask me? I'm just a scribbler. --JS

8:10pm: Yan falls to Yang
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Ziqin Yan had been accustomed to the danger zone for a few orbits before he finally committed his short stack with Q♦6♦. Not the ideal holding to be all in for your tournament life with but Yan found out he was actually dominating Chongxian Yang who had 7♣6♣.

Unfortunately for Yan that wasn't enough as the 9♣T♠5♣ flop fell to give Yang a gut shot straight draw and he hit it on the 8♦ turn. Dead to a seven for a chop Yan couldn't catch up as the T♦ river paired the board and signalled the end of his Red Dragon run.

Yang meanwhile climbs to 88,000. -- BK

8pm: When will see Yu again?
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Nothing to report other than Winfred Yu has been eliminated. He was spotted making his way out of the poker room, and a quick look over at his now-empty seat shows he left his Hard Rock Cafe dinner behind. --JS


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Yu's out

7:50pm: Lu goes down the Pan
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Zhenhua Lu and Yuefeng Pan just tangled in a big pot which has shot the latter up the chip count leaderboard.

It all started with an innocent 800 limp from Japan's Hidetoshi Suzuki in the UTG+1 seat. That folded to Pan on the button who called, before Lu raised it up to 3,200 from the big blind. Suzuki got off his bike and left, but Pan called to see a flop.

That came the Q♦6♠T♥ and Pan called a c-bet (which I think was 2,200), taking them to the T♦ turn, pairing the board. This time Lu checked, and Pan checked behind.

The 7♠ river prompted Lu to resume his aggression. He led out for 7,500, and Pan tanked a bit on his decision. Eventually though, he pulled out a big stack of chips and slid a raise to 22,000 over the line.

Lu took his time, but eventually made the call. Pan confidently turned over the 6♦6♣ for a full house, and Lu tapped the table as he mucked. He's down to 16,000 now, while Pan is up to 75,000. --JS

7:40pm: Zak's sent packing
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

We've just seen old 'Calling Station' himself, Elan Zak, sent to the rail. And it was his old 'nine-three' buddy Zhe Li who played executioner (scroll down to 6:10pm if none of that makes any sense to you).

Li had opened to 2,000 and Zak was all in for his last 1,225. He was chatting about the hand prior to this one when we arrived, so I can only assume he'd just lost all his chips.

Anyway, Li had the 8♥6♥ and Zak held the K♦8♦, so there wasn't a nine or three in sight. The T♦9♣K♠ flop was great for Zak, but the 7♥ turn gave Li a straight and Zak was left drawing dead to a chop. The A♦ river changed nothing, and he said his goodbyes and left. --JS

7:30pm: Mudgal makes an exit
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Dhaval Mudgal claims to be India's best poker player but unfortunately for the self-professed wizard he won't be adding a Red Dragon title to his resumé this week.

Mudgal had a frustrating time on the felt this afternoon, having to lay down overpairs on bad runouts and getting four-bet with medium strength holdings. His final hand came about by way of a cold deck when Mudgal picked up Q♣Q♦ but promptly ran it into a tablemate's A♠A♥.

The T♣2♥4♣5♦7♠ run out offered no help and Mudgal was sent packing halfway into Day 1A.

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Dhaval Mudgal

7:20pm: Notable chip counts
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

It's a mixed first half of proceedings for a few of our notable names among the field. Here's how some of them stack up.

Alan Lau - 46,000
Gab Yong Kim - 14,000
Dhaval Mudgal - 13,000
Winfred Yu - 11,500
Jack Wu - 10,000

7:10pm: Double elimination
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

An interesting hand just played out which saw two players bust.

It started with a 1,500 under-the-gun open from Say Chin Ng, which was flatted by Jiaping Zhou to his left. Wenlong You then shoved all in for his last 3,900, before Lin Kay Yip did the same for his 3,650.

Back to Ng, he then raised it again to 8,000, and Zhou went into the tank before eventually calling. It took a while for the dealer to sort out the two side pots, but when all was settled he put out a K♠K♦6♥ flop.

Prior to that board, You and Yip were in good spirits despite being at risk. While they were joking, Ng thought for a while, picking up chips, before eventually deciding to check. Zhou checked it back.

The turn was the 7♠ and this time Ng led out immediately for 10,000. Zhou was frustrated, but at least he knew he'd get to see Ng's hand if he folded. He did just that, and all the cards were flipped.

You: A♥K♥
Yip: 9♦8♥
Ng: 7♦7♣

Poor old You. He'd just about flopped the nuts but found himself drawing to four cards in the deck. "I need a ten!" called Yip, while Ng had hit the absolute gin card with the full house; sevens full of kings.

The river was the Q♥ and that changed nothing, meaning both You and Yip were sent to the rail. Ng started stacking his 65,000 stack, but not before getting into a little argument with Zhou, presumably about raising again pre-flop with pocket sevens. --JS

6:55pm: Lucky ladies for Lu
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Wei Hsun Lu was hovering around the dangerzone until a recent double up has seen him pick up a little breathing room.

It was opened to 1,450 before Lu three-bet jammed for 6,125 from the button. The action folded back around to the original raiser and he called to put Lu at risk.

Lu: Q♥Q♦
Opponent: T♥T♣

Lu was in great shape to stay alive and things only got better on the Q♣6♥3♦ flop as he improved to top set. Needing to fade just running tens he had half a sweat on the T♦ turn card but the 6♦ river was safe to see him move up to 13,500. -- BK

6:45pm: No can do says Yan Du
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Yan Du just made an excellent call for a large chunk of her remaining chips.

The hand started with a 1,400 open from Dhaval Mudgal which Du defended from the big blind. The dealer spread a 3♦3♣9♦ flop, and Du check-called a 2,000 continuation bet.

That brought a turn card: the K♠. Both checked, and the river brought more royalty with the Q♣. Du checked once more, and Mudgal picked up where he left off, betting 4,500.

Du had a good think about it. If she called and was wrong, she'd have little over 10,000 remaining. But folding was something she couldn't do.

She called. And with the A♣9♣ for third pair to the board, she was right. Mudgal rolled over the A♦T♥ for ace-high and dropped to 12,600, while Du is up to 26,000. --JS

6:40pm: If your name's not down, you're not coming in
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Registration is now closed for Day 1A, with 288 of 328 total entries still out there.

If you wanted to play but haven't yet, don't fret. Day 1B kicks off tomorrow at 2pm local time, and then there's a Day 1C flight at 7pm on Tuesday. --JS

6:20pm: Scheduled break

Players have left the tournament floor for a 15-minute break.

6:15pm: Wu can dodge bullets
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Yi Chen Wu will be counting his blessings after almost running a huge hand into an even bigger one, but ultimately getting away from it.

It appeared there had already been some action before we moved in to check it out with 2,800 in chips sitting in front of Wu. He was in the tank deliberating over the 11,925 all-in jam that had followed.

The wager was for most of Wu's stack and he seemed visibly torn over the predicament. After a few minutes and some words back and forth in their native tongue Wu decided to find a better spot.

He flipped over Q♣Q♦ to reveal that he'd made a big fold, and was immediately relieved when his opponent flashed A♠A♦. Wu managed to doge the bullets and still has a stack of 10,200. -- BK

6:10pm: Dialling in on the call centre
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Canada's Elan Zak has a favourite hand: nine-three off suit.

How do we know? Well, he just told the entire table, and must have recently won a pot with it when we arrived at his table.

"I'm the call centre, right guys?" he asked his table. "The calling station?"

"Yes! Calling station!" replied several people.

"I'm never folding nine-three in a cash game," he said. "And Jerry Yang won the World Series of Poker Main Event with nine-deuce, right?"

We're just going to assume that's right, as we have action to bring you.

Zak opened and was called by Zhe Li in the big blind. "You have nine-three?" asked Zak. "Yes!" answered Li. "Which suits?" Zak interrogated to no answer.

The flop fell J♦T♣2♣ and both checked to the K♥ turn. Li check-called a bet before checking the 8♥ river, which Zak checked back. The Canadian turned over the A♣K♣ and that got taps on table as Li showed his hand before mucking. We didn't catch what it was, but we know it wasn't nine-three from Zak's reaction.

He's up top 30,000 now. --JS


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Zak - the self-proclaimed call centre

5:55pm: Lee hits Huang to double up
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Kwanhee Lee is still in the Red Dragon race after getting his chips in with the best of it and holding against Zhihong Huang.

Lee three-bet shipped for 5,300 over Huang's open, and while Huang didn't look thrilled by the spot he was in, he eventually decided to call it off before seeing the bad news.

Lee: J♣T♦
Huang: 9♠9♦

It was a nineless 7♠5♦Q♦Q♣4♣ runout and Lee secured the double up as Huang was set back to 37,000. -- BK

5:50pm: Relaxed under the gun
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

You know how when a player opens from under the gun, you usually put them on a strong range? Well, those players in the UTG seat know that too. That means there's potential for opening weak hands from first position in a hope you'll get respect.

That being said, it's unlikely to be profitable in the long run with so many players behind you looking to call or raise.

It worked out for Ngoc Khanh Le just now though. He made it 850 to go under the gun (I'll tell you what he had a bit later) and got two callers in Peter Chu and Yan Gao from the big blind. They saw a 5♠6♠A♠ flop, and it went check check check.

The K♦ made an appearance on the turn and Gao checked it. Le continued for 1,300 which shook off Chu, but Gao made the call to see the 3♦ river. Action slowed down with two checks.

Gao turned over the 4♠3♥ for a rivered pair, and for a second there that looked like it was going to be good. Once Le computed what his opponent had however, he flipped over the 8♦6♦ for a flopped pair of sixes that were good for the win.

The 8♦6♦ is a very pretty hand. But is it 'under-the-gun open' strong? Yes, according to Le. --JS

5:40pm: Stay energized!
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

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 1A. -- BK

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5:35pm: Qin countdown
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Ziqin Yan made it 800 to go from middle position, and it folded to the big blind of Chen Qin. He made the call to see the 5♥6♣2♣ flop, and then checked it to the raiser. Yan continued for 1,000, and Qin came along.

The turn came the K♦ and Qin checked once more. Yan didn't slow down, continuing for 2,200, and once again Qin called to build a healthy pot.

They saw the A♦ complete the board, and Qin checked a final time. Yan then made it 6,000, and after a long tank the clock was called of Qin. With just a few seconds left he folded to leave himself with 10,500, while Yan is up to 18,000 - still below the starting stack. --JS

5:25pm: If Yu don't know, then now Yu know
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Winfred Yu is in the house.

The man responsible for organising some of the biggest cash games here in Macau was last spotted just a few days ago in Barcelona at the PokerStars Championship.

He's not the only person who has flown in from Europe, mind. Germany's Martin Finger is also here, but not yet playing the Main Event. Finger is deep in a HK$50,000 No Limit Hold'em side event, which has HK$1.74 million up top and 26 players remaining.

The immaculately-suited Quan Zhou is here too, fresh from his final table at the €10K High Roller in Barcelona (ninth for €91K). He's also playing side events currently. --JS

5:15pm: Shao back over start stack
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Binfeng Shao is stacking chips after taking down a pot with no contest.

Yan Du kicked things off with an under the gun raise, only to be called by the player on the button and Dong Guo in the small blind. It was then on Shao in the big blind and he reached deep, raising it up to 2,800 to go.

That was enough to make Du relinquish her hand, and both the button and Duo quickly did the same.

Shao flashed T♥T♣ and scooped in the pot to move to 21,000. -- BK

5pm: Good old Day 1 action
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

While this is still a Day 1 of a poker tournament - in which nobody can win, nobody gets paid, and nobody is guaranteed to make the money - at least in Macau there's decent action right from the off. The players here ain't scared of putting chips in the pot early, let me tell you.

For instance, a quick 'lucky eights' update: I just saw a guy call a 5,000 bet on the river of a board with a king, queen and jack on it with pocket eights. The guy who bet turned over the Q♣T♣ for second pair, and a very successful 'lucky eights' value bet.

But anyway, here's an actual hand I caught that went on for way longer than it should have.

It started when Zhiyi Feng opened to 400, and got called by Dong Woo Lee to his left. Changjae Lee then called from the small blind and Xin Chen defended his big blind.

The dealer spread a 5♦7♥8♠ flop and it checked to Chen. He put out 1,300, and the original raiser Feng got out the way. Lee then went into the tank, before bumping it up to 2,800. Lee (Changjae Lee, that is) went deep into the tank for a good few minutes before eventually the clock was called.

When the floor arrived, Lee realised it was him the clock was called on. Problem was, he didn't even realise he still had cards! After a rather embarassed fold, action was back to Chen. He wasn't done on this street and re-raised to 6,000, and finally Lee (Dong Woo) made the call.

The turn was the 2♣ and now it was Chen's turn to tank. He thought for a while before checking, and Lee checked it back, bringing the Q♦ river. Chen checked again, and Lee did the same.

Chen flipped over the J♦8♣, but that was trailing Lee's 8♦7♦ for a flopped two pair. She was so happy to take it down she even took a photo on her phone.

She's up to 35,000 now, while Chen is still healthy with 34,000. --JS

4:45pm: Wu walks away after back to back beats
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Haokun Wu's Red Dragon has already come to an end after he lost almost everything to Zhe Li, and then the last 100-chip in the subsequent hand.

On a board of 4♠3♦2♣9♦Q♦ Li bet 10,550 from the small blind holding K♠K♥ before Wu called to see he was behind with T♠T♣. That left Wu down to a stack of just 100 which he flicked into the middle in the following hand.

That hand went six-way to the flop and by the river with the cards in the middle reading 8♦7♠Q♠6♠2♣ Wu's K♥7♣ was no good against an opponent's Q♣T♥ for top pair.

Wu departs and Li now has 49,500 to play with. --BK

4:30pm: Liang flops the nuts
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

After Ming Cai opened from the cutoff, he got two callers: Lin Kay Yip on the button and Quiwen Liang flatted from the big blind. They saw an 8♣J♦7♦ flop, and everyone checked.

That took 'em to a 2♣ turn, and now Yip led out for 750 when it checked to him. Liang then raised it up to 1,600, which got rid of Cai but didn't shake Yip.

Finally the Q♥ river landed and Liang continued for 2,100. It didn't take Yip long to call, but he'd muck when Liang flipped the T♠9♥ for the nut straight. --JS

4:05pm: First break of the day

It's time for a 15-minute break.

4pm: Yuan sticking around
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

Qi Yuan has had a rough start today but he's back in the fight after doubling up through Zhe Li. Following an open, Li three-bet to 1,325 and Yuan col four-bet jammed for 3,550. It folded back around to Li and he looked torn between knowing he had the best hand and feeling priced in.

"Nice fold," joked his tablemates as Li sat in the tank, but he finally made the call and the cards went on their backs.

Yuan: A♣K♦
Li: K♥Q♣

The 7♦5♠4♣2♦9♦ runout brought no danger for Yuan and he collected the pot with ace high. He's back to 8,000 while Li dips to a still healthy 27,500. -- BK

3:45pm: Huge flip sees Zhou double
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

Wei Zhou now sits among the early chip leaders after scooping a mammoth pot and climbing to 34,200.

The community cards were already all dealt and they read A♥2♠A♠5♠A♣. The player who had just had his stack decimated held J♥J♣ but that was behind Zhou's A♦K♦ for quad aces.

We aren't sure when all the money went in but regardless it seems like a frosty start for Zhou's opponent. Zhou meanwhile must be loving his good fortune. -- BK

3:35pm: Could be a record breaker...
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

We've got 295 entrants currently up on the board, and that means this Day 1A is on pace to be the biggest ever.

At the last Macau Poker Cup, Day 1A of the Red Dragon attracted 304 runners, which broke the turnout record. Well, we're almost there already and there's a few hours of registration still to go. --JS

3:25pm: Lucky eights!
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

When we were here for the PokerStars Championship Macau in April, we quickly realised that pocket eights are considered the nut starting hand among locals. Eight has long been considered a lucky number in Chinese culture, so it's not surprising.

'Lucky eights!' was a common call we heard then, and while we didn't hear it during this hand, we've had our first pocket eights sighting of the trip so far.

The hand started with a 250 open from Min Soon Lim in the cutoff, which Heng Wang then three-bet to 700 from the small blind. Yan Gao made the call from the big blind, and Lim came along too.

The three saw a 7♠6♠2♥ flop, which checked around to the 9♥ turn. There'd be no delayed c-bet from Wang who opted to check again, and that let Gao take the betting lead for 1,500. Lim called, but Wang let it go.

The 2♦ both completed and paired the board, and Gao decided to check. Lim checked back, and rolled over the winning 8♠8♦ when Gao showed his A♥3♥ for a missed flush draw. --JS

3:15pm: Sui showing who's boss
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Hin Sui has shown that he isn't shy moving chips around - he just committed almost half of his stack preflop in a recent raising war.

It was clear that there had already been significant action as the button had 3,100 in chips out in front of him before Sui put in another raise to 11,000. The button deliberated for two minutes but ultimately let it go, and while Sui peeked back at his cards, he mucked them face down and left his opponent wondering. -- BK

Sui is off to a great start, now sitting with 26,500 at his disposal.

3pm: First elimination, first chip leader
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Right before the clock ticked into Level 2, we had our first bust-out.

Picking up the action on a 4♥K♠3♣6♠ board, Zhongxi Huang led out for 1,300 and Kuok Fong Chen made the call. Over to Jingchaio Xiao, he made a big squeeze to 9,100 and all eyes were on Huang.

After a minute or so of thinking, he tossed in four blue 1K chips, thinking that was enough to call. When he was informed that it would actually cost him an additional yellow 5K chip, the confusion started.

Huang had essentially called, but still needed to put the 5,000 in. Meanwhile, action had moved to Chen. While was he considering what to do, Huang shoved for 11,000 more. He was then told to take back the shove and put the 5,000 in instead.

Got it so far? Cool.

Chen then started laughing, a bit surprised at how quickly things had escalated. He folded after a couple of minutes tanking, and that meant it was heads up to a river.


MPC27RedDragonMEDay1A_006.jpg

Chen has a chuckle

The dealer put out the Q♦, and Huang checked. Xiao instantly put him all in, and Huang snap-called.

Xiao flipped over the 7♥5♥ for stone-cold nuts, and Huang could only muck. As both began with the starting stack, that meant he hit the rail with a sigh. Meanwhile, Xiao is our chip leader with a little over 40,000. --JS


MPC27RedDragonMEDay1A_007.jpg

Xiao's at the top right now

2:50pm: Mudgal making moves
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

India's Dhaval Mudgal is starting the day off on the right foot after taking down a recent pot that went four-handed to a flop.

We caught the action on the turn with the board showing K♦6♦3♦5♣ and after the small blind checked, Mudgal did the same from the big blind. The under the gun player fired for 600 and both Dong Guo in the big blind and the player in the small blind folded.

When the action landed on Mudgal, however, he bumped it up to 1,600. Under the gun flicked in a call and the 3♠ rolled off on the end. The action quickly went check check and Mudgal tabled 7♠6♠ for the winner. -- BK

2:35pm: Field swells as familiar faces join the hunt
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

We've already seen 251 players pull up seats here in the Red Dragon, and there are a few notable names among the pack.

Perhaps the most familiar face is reigning Red Dragon champion Alan Lau, who shipped this very event back in February for HK$3,265,000 ($420,674). He's back to defend his title this week and, as the current leader in the Asia Player of the Year race, he'll be looking to scoop up some more valuable APOY points.

Also spotted were Dhaval Mudgal, Huidong Gu and Dong Guo as mentioned below. We'll keep an eye out for any more prominent players making use of late entry. -- BK

2:15pm: Guo big or Guo home
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

The keen Macau railers among you will know of Dong Guo (or Guo Dong, depending on your preference). The Beijing-native has almost $1 million in live earnings, most of which have come right here in Macau.

For the less-'Vegas of the east' initiated, you might remember Guo from our PokerStars Championship coverage back in April. He finished tenth in the Main Event then for HK$291,300 ($37,481), but was chip leader for much of the way after David Peters bluffed of his stack to him.

Anyway, I tell you all this because Guo is back here doing what he does best. He cashed this very event back in February, so let's see if he can...GUO (sorry) back to back this week. --JS

2:05pm: Dragons all around
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

So you see that red dragon statuette below? Turns out that's not just a cool little one-off.

The first 1,500 players in this event have received their own mini red dragon, so all 254 players registered so far here on Day 1A have one in front of them.

It's only a matter of time before we see them being used to announce all ins, right? Who needs a triangle when you can stick a dragon in the pot? --JS


MPC27 Red Dragon trophy.jpg

2pm: Cards in the air!
Level 1: Blinds 25/50

Action is now underway for the MPC27 Red Dragon.

MPC27 Red Dragon ready to fire up!

Welcome to PokerStars LIVE Macau where today we'll see Day 1A of the HK$15,000 Red Dragon take flight. The flagship tournament of the series boasts a HK$10,000,000 guarantee and with the Baby Dragon event breaking records already this week we could see another Red Dragon record set over the coming days.

Last time it was Alan Lau lifting the Red Dragon trophy at MPC26 when he steamrolled his way to victory and pocketed HK$3,265,000 ($420,674). Lau reclaimed the spot of current frontrunner in the Asia Player of the Year Race after he took down the 6-handed event just a few days ago so he has even more incentive to try and defend his title.

Play gets underway at 2pm local time (GMT+8) so stick with us here at the PokerStars Blog for all reports direct from the tournament floor! -- BK

Live reports from Macau by Jack Stanton and Brad Kain. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau.

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Red Dragon