2017 ACOP: Dominik Nitsche leads final 23 in Main Event, Le Jossec hunts second ACOP title

October 26, 2017

It’s not easy starting strong and ending strong, but that’s exactly what Dominik Nitsche did in day 3 of the 2017 ACOP Main Event.

The German pro started the day first in chips and continued his steady ascent throughout the day. Nitsche stack got a big boost on the bubble and he finished the day with 2,563,000. While Nitsche rose all day, more than half of today’s starting fell. Some players who fell early in the day include Bryan Huang, Christian Christner, Maria Ho and Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal.

A total of 84 players came back for day 3, and after seven levels of play, only 23 remain. Nitsche bagged a monster stack, nearly 1 million ahead of the closest contender, Brian Altman, who finished with 1,536,000 million.


Dominik Nitsche

Daniel Dvoress (214,000) Dan Smith (478,000), Stephen Chidwick(777,000) and Terry Tang (764,000) all made it through. The 2014 ACOP Main Event champion, Gabriel Le Jossec, also survived and is coming back short with 188,000. Check out the day 4 seat draw for a full list of counts.

These 23 are all that remain from the original 308 players that signed up for the 2017 ACOP Main Event. It was the largest ACOP Main Event field in history, which created a whopping HK$28,674,800 prize pool.

While it took hundreds of players to create, the prize pool would only go to three dozen of them. We hit that mark in the last level of the day after a lengthy bubble, which saw action in three different levels.

Hand-for-hand started after Jason Les fell in 38th to leave us with our final 37 players. Les fell at 11:00pm and we didn’t lost another player until 1:41 am.

During the nearly three-hour bubble, Dominik Nitsche took a monster lead by calling off a big bluff from Brian Altman, who was second in chips at the time. Nitsche emerged through the poppage with 2.3 million, more than five times the average stack at the time. While Nitsche flourished on the bubble, someone had to fall. That unlucky player was Tse An Lee who was chipped down to just two big blinds before moving all-in from under the gun with A♣10♣. Altman called from the big blind with 8♠2♦ and hit a pair of eights to burst the pesky bubble.


Tse An Lee

Lee left with nothing, but the final 36 players all became at least HK$186,000 richer. With that much already locked up, players started flying out the door. While it took nearly three hours to lose one player, we lost 13 more in the last 75 minutes of play.

The final 23 are now guaranteed HK$228,500 and they’ll come back at 2pm local time on Friday. Join us here at the PokerStars Blog as they play down to a final table.

• PLAYERS LEFT: 23 (of 308)
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3:20am: Done
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dominik Nitsche’s table was the last one to finish and the German pro is ending the day with the lead 2.6 million. All stacks are bagged and tagged, stay tuned for a wrap of the day’s events.

3:05am: Five more
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

As chip leader, Dominik Nitsche had the honor of drawing a card to see how many hands we’ll play before the end of the night. He drew a five.

3am: Guerrero gone
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jimmy Guerrero will be licking his wounds after a rollercoaster run out came to a bitter end for him.

Brian Altman jammed on the button with enough to cover both players in the blinds and Guerrero called off from the small blind. Guerrero’s A♦K♥ was in great shape against Altman’s K♣10♣, but Guerrero stood up from his seat at the sight of the 10♦Q♠Q♦ flop.

He sat back down when he made Broadway on the J♠ turn, but the 10♠ river spelled disaster and saw him jump straight back up and head to the payout desk.

Guerrero departs while Altman climbs higher to 1.7 million. — BK

2:55am: Brutal end for Westmorland
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jordan Westmorland looked to the heavens after he was rivered to bust in nasty fashion. His chips went to Dominik Nitsche who extended his lead, rising to around 2.5 million.

Westmorland raised to 30,000 from middle position and Nitsche defended his big blind. The flop spread 5♥7♥10♠. Westmorland continued for 47,000 and then called all-in for a little over 200,000 when Nitsche shoved.

Nitsche: K♠10♣ for top pair
Westmorland: K♥K♣ for an over pair

The board ran out 8♣10♦ to make the German winning trips. –MC


Jordan Westmorland

2:50am: Three tables
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jiaxiu Liu fell in 28th shortly before Jack Wu, bringing us to a stunted final three tables with 26 players. The floor redrew and player now have the following seats:

Table 1
Seat 1: Dominik Nitsche
Seat 2: Guoliang Wei
Seat 3: Song Yang
Seat 4: Jordan Westmorland
Seat 5: –Empty–
Seat 6: Billy Argyros
Seat 7: John Myung
Seat 8: Aaron Been
Seat 9: Wei Liu

Table 2
Seat 1: Terry Tang
Seat 2: Yuliyan Kolev
Seat 3: David Laka
Seat 4: Zhaojun Ruan
Seat 5: Dan Smith
Seat 6: Yuan Li
Seat 7: Hung Wang
Seat 8: Atanas Kavrakov
Seat 9: Gabriel Le Jossec

Table 3
Seat 1: Nan Hong
Seat 2: Brian Altman
Seat 3: Jimmy Guerrero
Seat 4: Daniel Dvoress
Seat 5: Alan Lau
Seat 6: Tom Alner
Seat 7: Ying Kit Chan
Seat 8: Qiang Fu
Seat 9: Stephen Chidwick

2:40am: Smith straightens out Wu
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dan Smith moved up to 482,000 after he got lucky to bust 2016 Asia Player of the Year, Jack Wu. The latter moved all-in for 98,000 from the small blind and Smith tank called in the big blind.

Wu: J♣9♦
Smith: 9♠8♣

The board ran 7♠6♠9♣5♠K♥ to make Smith a straight. –MC

2:35am: Wei wins one
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Guoliang Wei has secured himself a double up after moving all-in for 160,000 from the cutoff, only to be called by Atanas Kavrakov in the big blind.

Wei: A♦J♥
Kavrakov: A♠9♥

Wei had the dominant hand and it only got better on the 2♦J♦6♥ flop. Needing to fade running nines to stay alive, he locked up the pot by the 7♥ turn card. The 5♦ river, a mere formality, as Kavrakov cut out a stack for Wei and dropped to 380,000. — BK

2:30am: Frosty deck sees Alner take a chunk from Smith
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Tom Alner and Dan Smith basically just swapped chip stacks after a cooler saw them collide in a big pot.

Shaoqing Liu raised to 25,000 first before Alner three-bet to 66,000. The action then fell to Smith on the button and he took his time before shoving with enough to cover both opponents. Liu folded, Alner snapped for 341,000 effective, and Smith saw the bad news.

Alner: A♥A♦
Smith: A♣K♥

Alner was a strong favourite and Smith couldn’t overcome the odds as the community cards came down J♣2♥9♠9♥Q♥. Almost half of Smith’s stack was sent Alner’s way and Smith was sent spiralling back to 410,000. — BK

2:25am: Cohen falls in 31st
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

The final female in the field, American Sam Cohen, has hit the rail.

She was in early position and moved all-in for 238,000 with A♣J♣. Alan Lau was on the button and made the call with J♦J♥. The board ran Q♣4♦J♠9♣2♠ to make Lau a set with the case jack. Cohen finished 31st while Lau moved up to around 1.2 million. –MC

2:15am: Li fades the flush
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Yuan Li is stacking chips after getting it in good and holding against Aaron Been.

The two of them went to a flop of K♣6♣3♥ and after Li bet 68,000, Been moved all-in with enough to cover Li’s total of 138,000. Li joined him in the pot and they flipped their hands.

Li: A♠A♥
Been: 10♣9♣

It was Li’s overpair versus a flush draw and the Q♦ turn and 6♦ river bricked off to see the aces hold. Li fist pumped with joy as he was pushed the pot while Been fell to 295,000. — BK

2:05am: End of Wayne’s world
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Wayne Zhang got unlucky in one hand and got very short, then he busted soon after.

Zhang lost with A♥Q♥ to Wei Liu’s A♦Q♦ – the latter hitting a flush on the river – and then busted to the same player two hands later. Liu opened to 26,000 with 9♥9♦ and called after Zhang moved all-in for 39,000 with A♠4♠. The board ran Q♣K♣2♣10♥8♥ and Liu moved up to 515,000. –MC


Wayne Zhang

2:00am: 2016 champ downed
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There won’t be a back-to-back ACOP Main Event this year after the elimination of Vladimir Geshkenbein.

He raised from the cutoff before Terry Tang three-bet all-in from the small blind.

“I only looked at one card,” said Geshkenbein. He then looked at the second one and called all-in for around 150,000.

Tang: 9♦9♣
Geshkenbein: A♦J♦

The board ran K♦9♠8♥Q♠6♠ to give Tang a winning set. Geshkenbein was eliminated in 35th while Tang moved up to 890,000. –MC

1:55am: Myung moves in and doubles
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Table 1 is definitely the short stack hangout. Not one of the nine players seated has an average stack at their disposal.

One man who just got a little less short though was John Myung who doubled up through Yuan Li. It was Li who opened the action with a preflop raise to 28,000 from the hijack before Myung shoved on the button for 111,000. Li called it off and players turned over their hands.

Myung: K♠J♥
Li: A♣9♣

Myung needed help and managed to get enough by the time the river card rolled off the deck. Myung doubled through while Li was left with 170,000. — BK

1:50am: Damian Zachowicz first out in the money
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Damian Zachowicz was just one of a number of players shoving after the bubble burst. His all-in, for 121,000, was called though and he failed to find a three-outer to stay alive.

Zachowicz made his move from UTG+1 and was called by Alan Lau on the button.

Zachowicz: A♦9♣

Lau: J♠J♦

The board ran Q♦10♦2♣4♥3♠ and Lan moved up to 1.05 million –MC

1:41am: Pop pop!
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Some people doubted it would ever happen, but the 2017 ACOP Main Event bubble has finally burst.

The bubble boy was Tse An Lee, who moved all-in for his final 26,000 from under the gun. Action folded to Brian Altman on the big blind and he called with 8♠2♦. Lee was in the lead with A♣10♣, but Altman hit a pair of eights on the flop of a 7♠8♥5♦6♦7♥ board to finally burst the bubble.

Altman chipped up to about 1.1 million while Lee was the last player to leave this tournament empty-handed. –AV


Tse An Lee

1:35am: New level
Level 20 – Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Players came back from break, completed an uneventful hand at 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante and now we’re a few hands into level 20. No double ups or busts yet, the bubble continues. –AV

1:07am: Bubble break
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The bubble hasn’t burst, but everyone’s getting a 15-minute break from it anyways. Players will come back and play one more hand at 5,000/10,000 blinds before they rise to 6,000/12,000 with a 2,000 ante.

That will be the last level of the night. –AV

1:00am: Alner alive as bubble refuses to burst
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We’re still on the bubble here as Tom Alner got it in good and faded the run-out to stay alive.

Alner moved his last 191,000 in preflop, holding K♥K♣ against Yuliyan Kolev who had Q♠Q♦. Once again, everyone swarmed around the table and once again, they quickly disbanded after the 6♣J♠9♠6♦7♥ run out saw Alner hold and double up.

Kolev is still crushing with 1.3 million in chips. — BK


Tom Alner

12:45am: Sturdy bubble
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

This bubble was built tough. The final 37 are still trying to knock one more player out so the rest can cash for a minimum of HK$186,000. There are plenty of short stacks so that coveted burst should come soon. Right? –AV

12:30am: Geshkenbein gets no action with aces
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Dominik Nitsche opened, Vladimir Geshkenbein jammed for 150,000 approx and Nitsche folded. Geshkenbein showed aces. That’s the bubble for you. — HS

12:20pm: Clash of the titans
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Our first and second chip leaders ended up in an enormous pot, greatly shifting the stack sizes up top. First Brian Altman opened in middle position and Dominik Nietsche called in position and Vladimir Geshkenbein’s big blind call made it a trio going to the flop.

That came: 2♣10♠10♣

When the cards came out, Geshkenbein and Altman both checked and Nitsche put 25,000 over the line. After Geshkenbein folded, Altman upped it to 77,000, which Nitsche called.

The turn was a K♦ and Altman bet 62,000 this time which Nitsche matched. The 4♥ river was dealt and Altman made it a very large 365,000 – more than many players have in total.

Nitsche asked for the dealer to confirm how much it was and made a very speedy call. Altman showed a bluff with Q♠J♠ and Nitsche’s J♣10♦ was good.

Nitsche’s stack is now the equivalent of almost 15 percent of the total chips in play, making him very formidable indeed. Meanwhile Altman was shaking his head as he drops down to 830,000. -LY

12:10am: Smith shares with Wu
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Jack Wu moved all in under the gun for 112,000 and Dan Smith called next to act. The rest of the table folded and when the two were given the all-clear from tournament officials they revealed their hands.

Wu: Q♥Q♦
Smith: J♠J♥

Players from neighbouring tables gathered around to sweat a potential bubble burst but Wu’s queens held on the 7♠3♣K♣9♦7♥ run out. He doubled through to leave Smith with around 700,000.

Hand for hand play continues. — BK

12:05am: Nitsche leaves Zhang on fumes
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

In another hand-for-hand hand, Dominik Nitsche raised to 20,000 from under the gun. Yang Zhang was on the button and decided to call the chip leader.

The blinds folded and both players checked the K♥J♣J♦ flop. The turn was a 3♠ and Nitsche bet 80,000. Zhang called and an A♥ completed the board. Nitsche threw out another bet, for 90,000, and Zhang called.

Nitsche turned over J♥4♥ and Zhang mucked, leaving himself with just about 100,000. Nitsche on the other hand extended his lead to 1.8 million. –AV

11:55pm: Chan survives
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

On the ninth hand of hand-for-hand play we had the first all-in and call. It resulted in a bubble up for Ying Kit Chan.

The hand began with Yuan Li bringing it in for a raise. He made it 23,000 to go, Chan then three-bet to 60,000 from a stack of 172,000 and the action passed back to Li. The 2016 ACOP Super High Roller champion thought for over a minute and then re-raised to 153,000. About 15 seconds later Chan committed the rest of his stack and Li called off.

They had to wait for the rest of the hands to finish but then the hands could be revealed. A large crowd looked on as Li turned over 5♣5♠, Chan revealed his cards one by one to show Q♠Q♥.


Ying Kit Chan: Queens good

The K♥7♠9♠ was clean for Chan, but the 6♥ turn gave Li some additional outs. The A♦ was a brick though and Chan survived. Li is down to 230,000. –NW

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11:50pm: A pair of pocket pairs
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

There had obviously been some betting going on by the time I joined the action on Table 3. The reason I know is the pile of chips sitting next to a board that read 7♣7♠6♠8♣.

Qiang Fu had position on Wei Liu and he bet 65,000 after Liu had checked to him. The last card out was 6♦ and when Liu checked again, Fu had real trouble checking it back and seemed to regret not betting again. When the cards were turned over…

Fu K♠K♥
Liu J♦J♥ -LY

11:45pm: Slooooow
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We’re on the stone bubble where, as ever, it’s going to be sporadic action at best. But it’ll be pretty good when it does break out, so bear with us. In unrelated, but coincidental, news the Hard Rock Cafe band is cranking out Don’t Stop Believin’. Hope there for the short stacks. — HS

11:40pm: Wayne versus Terry
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

A couple of classic Chinese names here battled pre-flop. Terry Tang made a good fold to Wayne Zhang and the bubble went on.

Tang opened to 20,000 and then tank-folded, showing ace-jack, after Zhang three-bet shoved for 141,000. Tang was very happy with himself when Zhang opened a pair of aces. –MC

11:35pm: Top and bottom
Level 19 – Blinds: 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

They return looking for the bubble boy or girl. Here are the top five stacks…

Name Country Chips
Brian Altman United States 1,465,000
Dominik Nitsche Germany 1,455,000
Yuliyan Kolev Bulgaria 1,170,000
Atanas Kavrakov Bulgaria 896,000
Dan Smith United States 840,000

…but perhaps it’s the bottom five who are most significant at this stage:

Name Country Chips
Wayne Zhang China 143,000
John J Myung United States 126,000
Ryan Yum Hong Kong 114,000
Jack Wu Taiwan 110,000
Tse An Lee Singapore 103,000

11:20pm: Break time

That’s the break. They’re still on the stone bubble. We’ve seen five hands of hand-for-hand play. — HS

11:15pm: Aces, OKAY?!
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The last hand to conclude in level 18 saw another battle between Jimmy Guerrero and Terry Tang, the latter finding another big pair.

Guerrero opened to 22,000 from the cutoff before Tang three-bet to 62,000 from the next seat. Guerrero came back with four-bet to 172,000 but had to admit defeat and fold once he was jammed on.

“Aces, OKAY?!” Shouted Tang as he slammed A♠A♦ down on the table. That put him up 650,000 and Guerrero down to 250,000. –MC

11:10pm: Lau clashes with Calzada
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

After Alan Lau min-raised from under the gun, he only faced one caller and that was David Laka Calzada who was in the big blind.

On a 8♠9♣3♣ flop, Laka Calzada check raised Lau’s 20,000, making it 60,000 and Lau made the call. On to the 4♦ turn and it was checked by both. Then on a J♦ river, Laka Calzada led for 85,000 and Lau went into the tank for several minutes.

As we are hand for hand, a few of the other players popped over to see what was going on. When Lau eventually made the call, he turned over a set with 9♥9♠, which beat Laka Calzada’s rivered top pair with Q♠J♠ and then immediately apologised for the delay, citing the bubble as the reason for him taking so long.

Calzada waved his apology away. -LY

11pm: Les leaves us, bubble begins
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

We’re now on the direct money bubble after Jason Les was sent railward. He was short stacked with 66,000 and moved it all in preflop. The action folded around to Yuliyan Kolev in the small blind and he moved all in to isolate. The big blind folded and the cards went on their backs.

Les: K♣8♣
Kolev: A♥9♠

Les was live and while he hit the flop, Kolev hit it harder when the 10♠A♦K♠ came down. Neither the 4♦ turn or 9♦ river could turn the tables for Les and he was eliminated two shy of a payday.

Following that exit the tournament is now hand for hand. — BK

11pm: Qi calls off, busts
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

If you were in Xuming Qi’s shoes would you have you’ve called off in this spot?

There were 39 players left at this stage so three spots from the money and you’re in the big blind with 87,000. The action folds to the small blind (Hung Tu Wang) and he shoves all-in.

What do you call with? Got your range down? Time is up… Qi held A♦5♦ and decided it was good enough to go with. He was up against Q♣7♣ and was therefore a 58.3 percent favourite to survive.

The Q♠[5♣2♥Q♣K♣ board was all Wang though and Qi busted. We’re now two off the money here in Macau, although we’ve got news of another bust out coming right up. –NW

10:58pm: Queens grant Wei a double
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Guoliang Wei’s queens held to help him double up his 186,000 stack.

The hand had started with Song Yang raise to 20,000 from early position. Wei was in the big blind and made his move, and it took several minutes for Yang to call.

Wei: 9♥9♦
Yang: Q♠Q♦

The board ran J♥5♦6♥3♣4♦. Song dropped to 220,000. –MC

10:55pm: Small pots and a slow down
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Walking around the last five tables, play seems to be slower than before the break. This could well be as a result of the close proximity to the bubble or possibly it’s just a coincidence…Hmmm. Anyway, whatever the reason, there are just a few smaller pots to report here.

In one, Dominik Nitsche double barrelled out of position on the turn and river, versus a missed flop continuation bet on a 7♦7♠2♦4♦A♦ board. His aggression worked and he took it away from Song Yang.

In another hand on Table 1, John Myung faced a three-bet after making it 20,000. Billy Argyros’s bet of 75,000 stopped Myung in his tracks and he needed some time before folding. It was right as Argyros showed the table his pocket aces.

Finally Daniel Dvoress successfully three-bet all in after Dan Smith had raised in front. He needed it as his all0in was for 108,000, not much more than a third of average stack at this point. -LY

10:50pm: Altman five-bet rips it
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Nan Hong opened to 18,000 from the cutoff before Brian Altman three-bet to 54,000 from the small blind. Hong wanted to play for more and he reached even deeper, four-betting to 150,000.

Altman came back over the top with a five-bet jam for enough to cover Hong’s 400,000 and the latter was sent into the tank. Hong finally let it go and we’ll never know if Altman had a monster or was simply exploiting the imminent bubble as his cards went face down into the muck.


Nan Hong: Forced to four-bet fold

What we do know is that he’s now up to 1.4 million in chips. — BK

10:45pm: Smith cracks aces
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The field is down to 39 players and Dan Smith is up to 920,000 after cracking aces. The unfortunate player on the wrong end of the stick was Yu Han.

Han raised to 18,000, Smith three-bet to 70,000 from the small blind, Han shoved for roughly 300,000 and Smith called.

It was J♦J♣ for Smith and A♣A♦ for Han. The 2♦9♣J♥ flop was on the money for Smith and he held on through the 9♦9♠ turn and river. –NW

10:40pm: A king-high off?
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Stephen Chiwick’s table mates were trying to guess his hand as the Brit tried to work out if he could chop a pot with neighbour, Atanas Kavrakov, on showdown.

Chidwick had started the pot with a button raise to 16,000 and found one caller in Kavrakov. The Bulgarian then led for 20,000 on an 8♣6♦7♠ flop and Chidwick called. The J♦8♠ turn and river were checked through and Kavrakov opened K♦Q♥.


Stephen Chidwick, left, and Atanas Kavrakov

Chidwick smiled when he eventually released his hand to the muck to drop to 625,000. Kavrakov moved to 930,000. –MC

10:35pm: The end for Chen
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

It’s bad news for fans of Pete Chen as he’s just been knocked out of this tournament in 41st place, five spots from the money.

It was back to back hands that did for Chen, with the first of the two far more significant.


Pete Chen: Pocket queens no good

Chen had pocket queens and found himself up against one of the only two pre-flop hold’em hands that he didn’t want to see. Qiang Fu had the kings and the cowboys held up on J♥5♦6♦3♠9♥ board.

The stacks were incredibly close and after that loss Chen was left with only 4,000. On the next hand a quarter of his stack went in as an ante and the rest from the small blind.

Nobody got involved in the hand until David Laka Calzada min-raised from the button. Alan Lau called the extra 8,000 from the big blind and the flop fell J♣A♦9♥.

Laka Calzada bet 16,000 and Lau folded. Chen opened 8♣8♠, would the eights prove lucky?

Not this time as Laka Calzada’s J♦9♦ held up on the K♣2♣ turn and river. –NW

10:31pm: Terry tips the balance in his favour
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Terry Tang has risen to 540,000 after making a full house versus Jimmy Guerrero, who dropped to 390,000.

Tang opened to 18,000 from under the gun and was only called by the Frenchman in the big blind. The flop fanned 2♣K♥J♣ and Guerrero check-called 15,000 before he led for 25,000 on the Q♣ turn. Guerrero called the raise pretty quickly but took all the time on the river when he checked to face a 110,000 bet.

I think he said that he had a flush as he was deliberating. After a few minutes the clock was called on him and he let it run all the way down before he called. Tang opened Q♦Q♠ for a full house and blew a kiss to his railing girlfriend after Guerrero mucked. — MC

10:30pm: Wu lays the trap for Smith
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jack Wu tried getting tricky with pocket aces and he managed to get a little value from Dan Smith who held rags.

It folded around to Wu in the small blind and he limped in before Smith raised to 24,000 from the big blind. Wu called and they were off to a flop of 9♦Q♦K♣. Both players checked it once and again on the 8♥ turn card.

The 5♣ river prompted one last check from Wu before Smith took a stab at it for 30,000. Wu looked back at his cards then tossed in a call and Smith flipped over 6♥3♣ for an air ball which definitely couldn’t top Wu’s A♠A♥.

They both shared a laugh at each of their hands and Wu raked in the pot to climb to 235,000. Smith still has 440,000. — BK

10:25pm: Cagey chip leaders
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Not only are the tournament’s two largest stacks on the same table but Dominik Nitsche and Brian Altman (for it is they) are two seats apart. It means that Nitsche is in the big blind when Altman is on the button, so the potential for pots played between them is high.


Dominik Nitsche: Not what you want to see in the big blind

Here’s one, although it didn’t quite have the dramatic denouement the exposed cards suggested it might.

Players folded to Altman’s button and he opened to 18,000. Nitsche called from the big blind and then both players checked the 6♠7♥8♣ flop.

The 3♥ didn’t look particularly meaningful, but it prompted a check from Nitsche, a bet of 38,000 from Altman and a call.

The 5♥ river completed just about all draws, but Nitsche opted to check again. Altman pounced with a bet of 75,000 and it immediately became clear that Nitsche hadn’t been laying a trap. He let it go.

Nitsche has 1.42 million. Altman has 1.3 million. A dust-up between them could be immense. — HS

10:15pm: Zhang down to zip
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Bobby Zhang was the shortest stack at the start of the level and the Australian player didn’t quite manage to hang on to make the money.

Dominik Nitsche was the player who took him out – the chip rich get richer and all that. Nitsche opened to 16,000 from under the gun and called after Zhang shoved for 48,000 from UTG+1.

Nitsche: K♣6♣
Zhang: 10♦9♦

Zhang had live cards but the 9♠K♠A♥ flop wasn’t what he wanted to see. The 2♦7♠ turn and river didn’t help his cause and he headed to the rail. Forty one players remain, 36 get paid. –NW

10:05pm: Chidwick steals from Zhang
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Players had a flop of 5♥6♥A♥ in front of them and were three-handed to it. Wayne Zhang was playing from middle position, Stephen Chidwick on the button and Jordan Westmorland from the big blind.

Westmorland checked and Zhang made it 28,000, which Chidwick called. Wesmorland moved aside. There was the A♥ on the turn, pairing the top card and bringing a third heart out. This time Zhang opted to check and when Chidwick bet 65,000, Zhang didn’t need long to know what to do and folded. -LY

10pm: How to avoid going broke, Guoliang Wei edition
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Dominik Nitsche’s mouth fell open. He couldn’t quite believe what he’d just seen and the German pro has played a lot of poker.

Nitsche had a minor role in the hand, which played out like this. Guoliang Wei opened to 20,000 from UTG+1 and we’ll tell you his holding now. He had K♥K♦. Song Yang called from middle position and Nitsche did likewise from the big blind.

On the 10♦4♠J♣ flop, Wei c-bet 27,000 only for Yang to make it 66,000 to go. Nitsche took one look back at his cards and then folded. Wei took some time to come to his decision but it was to call.


Guoliang Wei: Kings no good

The 8♥ fell on the turn, Wei checked it over to Yang and he bet 95,000. This bet again sent Wei into the tank. The hand had been going on for over five minutes already, but again he called.

The 9♠ put four to a straight on board and Wei again went for a check. Yang thought for less than 20 seconds before he too checked. Wei tunred over his hand and Yang banged his fist on the table, which is usually a sign of anger.

Then he flipped his cards. He had A♠A♦ and was obviously frustrated that he hadn’t managed to stack Wei in the hand. It was at this point that Nitsche looked up to see what the two players had.


Song Yang: Wanted more

A quite remarkable hand and one that leaves Wei with 130,000 and boosts Yang to 545,000. –NW

9:55pm: Bad timing costs Ho
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Maria Ho was the first player to bust since we returned from dinner break, and it was a case of bad timing for the Los Angeles pro.

The action folded to her on the button and she moved all-in for 76,000. Stephen Chidwick was in the big blind and snap called.

Chidwick: A♠A♣
Ho: A♦10♦

The board ran 10♠5♣6♣Q♦3♣ and Chidwick moved up to around 550,000. –MC

9:50pm: Let’s burst the bubble
Level 18 – Blinds: 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Players are back in their seats and the bubble is hovering on the horizon. Forty-four left, 36 paid. Let’s name the unlucky eight.

8:55pm: Dinner chips

Here’s the Top 10 as they go to dinner. Full counts are on the chip-count page.

Name Country Chips
Dominik Nitsche Germany 1,370,000
Brian Altman United States 1,150,000
Atanas Kavrakov Bulgaria 983,000
Yuliyan Kolev Bulgaria 950,000
Dan Smith United States 560,000
David Laka Calzada United Kingdom 550,000
Jimmy Guerrero France 550,000
Nan Hong China 515,000
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 464,000
Yuan Li China 450,000

8:55pm: Dinner time
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The 44 remaining players are now heading to their dinner break. We’ll have full chip counts for them very soon, so don’t you go anywhere. — HS

8:50pm: Smith bluff fail
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

As the bubble looms, expect the big stacks to apply pressure where they can. Dan Smith just tried that with a bluff but unfortunately for him, his opponent, Yuliyan Kolev, also has a big stack, and had the hand to call.

Smith bet 75,000 on the turn and 180,000 on the river from UTG+1. Kolev was in the big blind and check-called both bets, he took a few minutes on the river though. The final board read J♦7♣5♥9♠5♣ and Smith tabled Q♦10♦, losing out to A♠J♣.

That dropped Smith down to 540,000 and put Kolev up to 940,000. –MC

8:45pm: Chidwick eliminates Wong
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It was all in pre-flop for Kenneth Wong who staked his 102,000 stack on K♥Q♥. Maria Ho thought about it but eventually passed and it was only Stephen Chidwick who was interested enough to call from the big blind with A♦Q♦.

Wong was a long way behind and needed something special in order to have a chance of making the money.

It looked for a moment as if that might just happen, with 5♣J♥9♥ giving Wong a ton more outs, with a gutshot and flush draw to add to his live king.


Stephen Chidwick: On the rise

Somehow he missed it all as the Q♠ turn and 4♠ river brought the sweat to an end for Chidwick. It’s goodbye to Wong and Chidwick’s stack is now knocking on the door of the 400,000 mark. -LY

8:40pm: Mini by name but not by buy-in
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

As the Main Event closes in on the bubble, at the opposite end of the card room another High Roller is just getting started. Although it’s called the Mini High Roller, with a buy-in of $HKD 80,000 (US$10,000), it’s got a buy-in that eclipses most Main Events.

More than 50 players have already taken their seats in the event, including plenty of the usual suspects. Ike Haxton and Mike Watson both busted out of the Main Event today and have hopped straight into the Mini High Roller. Other well known players already seated include: Justin Bonomo, Timothy Adams, Dietrich Fast, Nick Petrangelo, Martin Jacobson, Adrian Mateos, Steffen Sontheimer and David Peters. — NW

8:35pm: Dvoress dusts some off to Smith
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1000)

Daniel Dvoress has less than 200,000 in chips now after losing a pot to Dan Smith.

Smith checked from the big blind on a board of 2♥8♥6♥9♣ and Dvoress bet 75,000 from under the gun. Smith tossed in one 5,000-chip to signify a call followed by the other 14 and the dealer presented the Q♣ river card.

Smith checked a final time and after a minute of deliberation Dvoress did the same to see Smith’s 8♦6♠ for two pair. Dvoress mucked and the chips went to Smith who now has around 800,000. — BK


Dan Smith has bottle

8:30pm: Chidwick pushes the big stack about
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It’s been pretty much an unstoppable upward surge from Atanas Kavrakov today, but when given the chance to knock out Stephen Chidwick a moment ago, Kavrakov passed it up. We’ll never know if that was a smart play, but the only thing more dangerous than Chidwick on your table is Chidwick with a big stack at your table, so Kavrakov decided to keep him relatively short.

There was actually a pretty slow start to the hand with Chidwick completing from the small blind and Kavrakov checking his option in the big. They also checked the 3♦8♦Q♦ flop.

The 3♥ on the turn brought another check from Chidwick, then a bet of 14,000 from Kavrakov. Chidwick raised to 55,000 and Kavrakov called.

The Q♠ gave all kinds of possibilities to players in the blinds pre-flop and Chidwick represented that he was strong. He moved in for 127,000.

Kavrakov went through a few choice facial expressions, but folded to the unflinching Chidwick who sat motionless throughout.

Kavrakov has 940,000 still. Chidwick has about 250,000. — HS

8:25pm: What do you think Ruan had?
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Brian Altman is still chipping up and he added another tidy sum to his total in a hand versus Zhaojun Ruan.

After Altman opened from the cutoff for 14,000, he was faced with a 50,000 re-raise from Ruan on the button. His four-bet to 130,000 was enough to convince Ruan to fold but before he did, he gave Vladimir Geshkenbein a cheeky look, then threw his cards in face down.

Geshkenbein looked amused and challenged everyone to guess what Ruan had just mucked.

“You’ll never guess,” he said, adding “I’ll give any of you 100/1 and you don’t even have to name the suits.”

No one took the bet so I guess we’ll never know. Still, we can play along – what do you think he had? -LY

8:20pm: Qi gets there in the end
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Xuming Qi was made to sweat but got there by the river to luckily double through Damian Zachowicz. Qi moved all-in for a 62,000 from the button and Zachowicz made an easy call from the big blind.

Zachowicz: J♠J♣
Qi: 6♦7♥

The board ran 9♦10♥6♦J♦8♠. Zachowicz turned a set but Qi rivered a straight. Zachowicz saw the funny side of the hand and dropped to 260,000. –MC

8:15pm: Kim KO’d by Han
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

This was almost a double KO but Tom Alner made a smart pre-flop pass to survive.

Dong Kim shoved for 77,000 from the cutoff and Yu Han re-raised all-in from the button. His stack totalled 204,000 and Alner, who was in the big blind, had had about 140,000 back. He passed pocket nines (he didn’t show but there’s no reason to doubt him) and the cards of the two all-in players were then revealed.

Kim: K♥J♠
Han: Q♠Q♦

The 5♦Q♥6♠ flop left Kim drawing thin. The 9♦ resuscitated his hopes slightly, but the K♣ river wasn’t the miracle he needed.

That leaves us with 46 players and 36 get paid. With less than 30 minutes until the players get sent on a 60-minute dinner break, it’s likely to be an uncomfortable break for the short stacks. –NW

8:11pm: Lau increases his lead…
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

…not in this tournament, but in the Asia Player of the Year race. His lead over second placed Sparrow Cheung was already healthy and they both final-tabled the same side event last night. It was the flipout event and Lau finished seventh, while Cheung came 10th.

Lau is still in the Main Event, but cashing won’t earn him any points. Only top 10 finishes count. He’s got a stack of 170,000 presently.

Incidentally, the reigning Asia Player of the Year, Jack Wu, is also still in this tournament. –NW


Jack Wu: Reigning POY

8:10pm: Showdown win for Zhang
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Arriving to see all the community cards out and at least 75,000 in the middle, two players had decisions to make on a 6♥2♠3♠A♦K♠ board.

Wayne Zhang was first to act and, after a long pause, he bet what looked to be 63,000. Then it was Wei Liu’s turn to think.


Wayne Zhang: two pair

He made the call and saw Zhang table his two pair with A♥6♣. It was good enough and Liu didn’t bother to show his cards. -LY

8:05pm: Geshkenbein leaves Les with less
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

In a pre-flop all-in encounter Vladimir Geshkenbein, the defending champion, held 5♠5♣ and Jason Les held two overs, A♦Q♦ to be exact. The 9♠Q♥5♦J♣4♠ run out favoured Geshkenbein. He was all-in for 90,000 so doubles to around 197,000, Les is down to 65,000. –NW

8pm: End of the line for Xu
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Donghui Xu is the latest Main Event casualty. He was just sent packing at the hands of Han Yu.

Xu was short and moved in pre-flop holding A♠8♦ before being called off by Yu in the small blind with K♥Q♣. Xu had the lead but it wasn’t enough by the river when the board ran out 2♣6♠8♣5♣9♣ and Yu spiked a four-card flush.

Xu dropped his head into his hands before accepting his fate and leaving his seat. Meanwhile Xu moved up to 235,000. — BK

7:55pm: Okada sings his last song
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ken Okada failed to spin up his short stack and busted to Song Yang. He moved all-in for 44,000 from early position and was successfully isolated by Yang who moved in for 285,000 from the hijack.

Okada: K♣10♠
Song: A♦Q♥

The board ran Q♣9♦A♥6♦6♠ to make Song a winning two pair. –MC

7:50pm: Tong’s tournament comes to an end
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

After going up and down and up and down, Zhou Tong’s hands are now empty. He has just busted. Tong committed his remaining chips from the button and both blinds called to put him at risk.

Zhaojun Ruan and Vladimir Geshkenbein checked it all the way to the river of a 9♦J♥8♣3♦6♣ board, at which point Ruan bet 20,000. Geshkenbein folded the 10♠ face-up and mucked.

Tong showed A♥Q♦ for just ace high and Ruan had flopped the joint with Q♠10♦. He is up to 640,000 after delivering that knockout blow. –NW

7:45pm: Nitsche busts Wang to surge into the lead
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Dominik Nitsche is well and truly the chip commander now after eliminating Chunqing Wang in a huge pot that took close to 10 minutes to unfold.

They recently played a hand that went 12 minutes into the break where Wang super-tanked on the river before finally folding a set. Not long later they were back at it with another epic hand with Nitsche jamming on Wang.


Dominik Nitsche and Chunqing Wang: Epic duel

We caught the action at the turn on a board of 5♣Q♦7♦9♣ and after Nitsche checked in the big blind, Wang fired for 25,000. Nitsche reached deep and raised it up to 125,000, immediately met with a not-this-again laugh from Wang. A minute passed and Wang made the call, however, and the 10♦ landed on the river.

Nitsche moved in with enough to cover Wang’s roughly 300,000 forcing him to dive deep into the tank all over again. Seven minutes went by before someone finally called the clock and a tournament official began the 60-second countdown.

With about 15 seconds left Wang called it off holding Q♥9♦ for two pair but saw that he was beat by Nitsche’s K♦6♦ for a rivered flush.

Wang stood up and made his exit as Nitsche built his chip-mountain to a new peak of 1.2 million. — BK

7:40pm: Yang Zhang in pain
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ten minutes into Level 17 and we have an all-in situation.

Yang Zhang opened to 14,000 from under the gun and, when it folded to Hung Tu Wang in middle position, he moved all-in for 162,000.

Zhang went deep into the tank and looked like he hated his life, at one point putting his head in his hands as he deliberated what to do. He finally folded and showed 10♠10♥ and asked Wang to show too but that didn’t go his way either as Wang sent his cards into the muck.

Immediately after, Zhang was moved table – maybe things will fare better for him there. -LY

7:35pm: More for Kavrakov
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Atanas Kavrakov continues to build a serious stack in the Main Event. He’s up to 870,000 after winning a pot against Wei Liu.

Those two and Terry Tang took a K♣4♦Q♣ flop and the action was checked to Liu. He bet 22,000 and Kavrakov was the only caller.

The 3♠ fell on the turn and Kavrakov check-called a further 35,000. On the 8♠ river Kavrakov mixed it up as he led out for 70,000.

After a minute or so of tank time Liu called, but he mucked upon seeing Kavrakov’s K♥Q♠. –NW

7:30pm: Another dip on the Tong roller coaster
Level 17 – Blinds: 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Zhou Tong’s day has been anything but steady. The high roller’s fluctuations must be ageing the man. His latest dip saw him drop to 11,000 after he doubled up Yang Zhang.

Zhang moved all-in for 85,000 from middle position and Tong called from the big blind.

Tong: A♣10♣
Zhang: K♠J♠

The board ran Q♥J♥J♣Q♣2♦ to make Zhang a full house.

Edit: Tong doubled the very next hand. This ride is not over yet. –MC

7:25pm: Hmmm minty
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Players are back from the break and there’s a new chip in play. The lime/mint green chip is worth 25,000. Meanwhile the 500 chips have gone as the ante is now 1,000. — HS

7:10pm: The cash draws closer
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

As we head into another break, let’s have a look at who’s left. There are only 53 entrants across six tables, so around two thirds of the remaining field will take home some money today.

Those in a good spot are Brian Altman, our current chip-leader with more than 700,000. Jimmy Guerrero and Atanas Kavrakov are hot on his tail.

Jason Les, Zhou Tong and Donghui Xu have a lot of work to do, sitting at the bottom of the leader board but as we all know, that could change at any time.

Let’s take 15 minutes to gather our thoughts. -LY

7:07pm: Huang’s bad level ends on a downer
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Bryan Huang will want to forget level 16 in a hurry. He dropped down to 55,000 after doubling up David Laka Calzada.

Laka Calzada raised to 10,000 from the hijack and called after Huang three-bet to 37,000 from the small blind. The 9♠5♥A♥ flop was checked before Huang checked to face bets of 72,000 and all-in for 199,000 on the J♠Q♦ turn and river.

He called both times but mucked upon seeing Calzada’a J♥J♣ for a tuned set. Calzada nodded in appreciation after Huang said nice hand. –MC

7:05pm: Tong chipping up again
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Zhou Tong remains on the comeback trail and just picked up a triple up, pushing him beyond 130,000. He didn’t seem massively happy about it, mind you, but that’s only because he flopped a monster and wished he had more chips to start with.

The hand began with Vladimir Geshkenbein opening to 11,000 from early position and then Chin Wei Lim three-betting to 28,000 one seat along. It came around the Tong who pushed for 33,000 total.


Zhou Tong: Uptick again

Before committing any more chips to the pot, Geshkenbein wanted to make sure that Lim wouldn’t be able to raise again if Geshkenbein only called. The floor supervisor confirmed that that was the case and Geshkenbein called the shove. Lim called to for only 5,000 more.

The dealer put the Q♠Q♦J♦ on the table and Tong gave something away about his hand when he tutted and showed his cards to his neighbour Jason Les. Neither Geshkenbein nor Lim seemed to notice, though, and checked it.

The turn was the 4♣ and Geshkenbein put out a bet of around 60,000. Lim quickly folded.

Geshkenbein turned over K♣Q♥ but Tong had J♠J♥ and, after the 4♣ river, began to stack up his newly-acquired chips. But if only he’d had more, huh? — HS

7:02pm: Year of Bulgaria
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

There are three Bulgarians left in the field and it’s Atanas Kavrakov who’s faring best of the triumvirate.

He is up to 670,000 – the second biggest stack in the tournament – after winning a hand against Ralph Wong.

In the hand that took him to those heights, Wong opened to 11,000 from the cutoff, Kavrakov three-bet to 34,000 from the small blind and Wong called.

The 10♥3♦7♦ flop checked through and Kavrakov then bet 27,000 on the 5♠ turn. Call from Wong. The 4♦ river completed flush and straight draws and Kavrakov moved all-in for an effective 90,000, which is what Wong had left.

There was no tanking from Wong, he had a brief think and then folded. –NW

7pm: The start of a comeback for Tong?
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After losing a large hand not long ago, Zhou Tong was looking to get it in as soon as possible. He had 14,500 sat in front of him and when it folded to him in the cutoff, he threw his small stack of blues in.

Chin Wei Lim was getting too good a price to fold and when the cards went over, Tong was the favourite for a second time.

Tong A♥3♣
Lim 8♦9♥

It looked bad for Tong on the 7♦8♣3♦ flop and by the time the K♠ came on the turn, he has stood up from his seat. There were only three outs that can save him…

And the A♠ river was one of them!

He can’t relax just yet as his 35,500 is only around six big blinds. It is a start though. -LY

6:55pm: Kim and Wu get it through
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We just witnessed two shoves in quick succession on neighbouring tables.

The first was Dong Kim who moved in from the big blind after Tom Alner raised to 10,500 and Guoliang Wei called from the small blind. Kim jammed for 76,500 which was enough to elicit two folds.

The next hand involved Xin Jin and Jack Wu and they had already made it to the river when Wu put Jin to a decision for his stack. The board read 4♠Q♠9♠4♦10♠ and Jin led out from the big blind for 13,000, only for Wu to raise enough to cover Jin’s 110,000.

Jin couldn’t call it off and the pot was awarded to Wu who climbs to 275,000. — BK

6:45pm: Guerrero got the goods
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jason Les has been a force all tournament, rarely out of contention near the top of the counts. Poker can be a funny old game though, run kings into aces and it can all be taken away, or most of it.

Les and Jimmy Guerrero got into a preflop raising war, the latter five-betting all-in for 332,000 and getting called.

Guerrero: A♠A♣
Les: K♠K♣

The board ran a blank 5♠8♥5♦6♣3♦ and Les dropped to just 31,000. It wasn’t long ago that it was Guerrero who needed to hit, but now he’s flying high with 650,000+. –MC


Jimmy Guerrero: Right side of the cooler

6:40pm: More than a double for Guerrero
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After Vladimir Geshkenbein opened to 11,000 in early position, he was called in three spots. Jimmy Guerrero flatted the cutoff, Hung Tu Wang the button and Zhou Tong in the big blind.

With a flop reading 4♠7♠8♥, Tong led out of position for 22,500, Geshkenbein folded and Guerrero pushed it all over the line, for a total of 137,000.

This was too much for Wang but not for Tong, who made the call with top pair Q♠8♠.

Meanwhile Guerrero need to hit with 10♥9♥, but with overs and an up and down draw, it was a sweat for Tong.

The 4♣ was not what Guerrero was looking for but the 9♣ river was. “Yes,” he said as he tapped the table.

That hand sees him increase to 322,000 and, sadly for Tong, he is down to fumes with 17,500. -LY

6:35pm: Cohen finds the hero in Liu
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sam Cohen has doubled to 396,000 after Jiaxiu Liu hero called her with ace high and was wrong. He dropped to 400,000.

Cohen opened to 11,000 off the button and called Liu’s 30,000 three-bet from the big blind. Liu then went on to check all three streets of a 2♠J♦9♥4♥8♠ board to face bets of 27,000, 38,000 and all-in for 100,500.

He called all the way with A♦K♠ but Cohen tabled J♠9♠ for two pair and scooped. –MC

6:30pm: Dvoress wants diamonds
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We’ll cut to the chase. Tom Alner raised to 11,000 from the hijack, Daniel Dvoress made it 41,000 from the big blind, Alner shoved for 206,000 and, after getting a count, Dvoress called.

Dvoress: A♦K♦
Alner: A♠K♥

Dvoress held a slight mathematical advantage but after the 7♠7♣4♣ flop the pot was always ending in a chop. The 9♥10♥ turn and river completed the formalities. –NW

6:25pm: Xin Jin wins
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Until the table recently broke, Xin Jin was sat directly on Dan Smith’s left. Perhaps position was what helped him win two consecutive pots against Smith.

First of all Jin opened for 12,500 under the gun and only Smith called, in the big blind. It was a 10♥5♦9♠ flop and Xin won it with a simple continuation bet.

The very next hand, it was folded to them both in the blinds. Smith made it 12,500 from the small and Jin called in the big. When the cards came 6♠4♦A♦, Smith bet small, for 8,000. Xin chose to raise it up to 25,000 and Smith peeled.

On the 3♣ turn, it was checked to Xin who barrelled for 30,000 and Smith folded.

We’ll never know if Xin was using his positional advantage or if he had the goods but either way, he won the chips and that’s what counts. -LY

6:20pm: Haxton hits the rail
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Ike Haxton was left in real trouble by Song Yang not long ago and Yang finally finished him off shortly after.

Haxton put his last 8,500 in the middle pre-flop and was called by both Ken Okada and Yang in the small and big blind respectively. The flop was spread 2♦9♦8♦ and Okada led for 6,000. Yang flicked in a call and the 5♣ fell on the turn. Okada barrelled again, this time for 15,000, and Yang called to see the 9♥ river card.


Isaac Haxton: Down and out

Okada checked it on the end but Yang loaded up and fired for 45,000. It took about 30 seconds for Okada to pay it off with Q♦7♦ for a flopped flush which was trumped by Yang’s 9♠2♠ for a rivered full house. Both of them were well ahead of Haxton’s K♥5♠ and he was relegated to the rail. — BK

6:18pm: Yu got to Han it to him
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It’s like Yu Han has a hex over whoever sits in the three seat at this table. He’s in Seat 1 and has been using the three seat as his personal ATM all day. First it was Dmitry Yurasov who took a battering and now it’s Tom Alner.

Dong Kim was the pre-flop aggressor in the latest pot. He opened from the cutoff, Han called on the button and Alner stuck around from the big blind. The 7♥10♣4♥ flop checked through and the 6♣ fell on fourth street.

Alner led for 35,000 and Han was the only caller. The 9♣ river meant the board got straightier and flushier and Alner checked the action to Han.

Han had 119,000 back and wagered it all. This was not what Alner wanted, his reaction to the bet said as much and after thinking it over for a minute or so he mucked his hand. –NW

6:15pm: Painful bet-fold for Huang
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Bryan Huang had the, “Why didn’t I just call?” look on his face in a big hand versus Jiaxiu Liu. He ultimately folded on the river and dropped to 230,000.

The pro from Singapore raised to 11,000 and was called by Liu in the big blind. After Liu checked the 8♥6♣3♦ flop, Huang continued for 9,000 Liu called.

Liu check-called another 29,000 on the Q♣ turn before he led himself for 20,000 on the Q♠ river. Huang raised it to 125,000 but Liu wasted little time by three-betting all-in for 366,000.

Hung folded after a few minutes’ deliberation. That put Liu up to a commanding 595,000. — MC

6:12pm: Fu back in contention
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Qiang Fu now has a stack with which to challenge again–about 300,000 actually–after all but felting Xin Liu in a battle of the blinds. Details are very scarce beyond the fact that Fu’s A♦K♣ connected with the board of K♦2♥5♥8♠J♦ and Liu was left with only 7,000 chips after doubling up his neighbour. Liu looked a bit hard done by, so I’m guessing he had a big pair that was outraced.

With 2,500 of his remaining crumbs in the pot from the small blind next hand, Liu was soon knocked out. — HS

6:10pm: Ho hit by Lu
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Maria Ho has dropped to 270,000 after a pot against Wei Lu and Jordan Westmorland.

It was Lu who brought it in for a pre-flop raise for 12,000, and after Ho called in the cutoff, Westmorland did the same from the big blind. The flop came down 5♥K♦J♥ and Westmorland checked to Lu who continued for 21,000. Ho and Westmorland both called and the 6♠ arrived on the turn.


Maria Ho

Westmorland checked again and Lu sized up to 60,000 this time. Ho called again but Westmorland let it go before the 10♥ river was revealed. Lu made it 100,000 on the end and Ho went deep into the tank. After a few minutes of thought she finally folded and the pot was pushed to Lu. He now has 440,000 in play. — BK

5:55pm: Haxton down to dust
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

A cooler of a hand has left Ike Haxton with only two big blinds.

He three-bet to 26,000 from the button and Song Yang, who had opened to 10,000 from middle position, called the extra. So heads-up to a 4♣7♦K♣ flop they went, Song checked and Haxton bet 11,000. There was no call this time, instead Song check-raised to 30,500 from a total stack of 110,500. This sent Haxton into the tank and he emerged with a call.

The 5♠ landed on the turn and Song moved all-in. After a couple of head nods from Haxton he called the shove and showed A♣K♦.

Song had slow-played A♠A♥ though and was ahead in the hand. The 5♣ completed the board and Song took the pot. –NW

5:50pm: If you don’t ask….
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Mike Watson got very unlucky to bust just now at the hands of Zhaojun Ruan. Both had the same made straight on the turn but Ruan called for the card he needed for a bigger one and the poker gods delivered on the river.

Watson opened to 10,000 from under the gun and was called in two spots. The flop fell 9♦J♣7♦ and Ruan led for 5,000 from the big blind. Watson raised to 25,000 and Ruan was the only caller. The turn brought the 8♣ and the chips went in, Watson being the all-in player for his last 80,000.

Ruan: K♥10♣
Watson: A♦10♠


Mike Watson: The laughing stopped

Ruan called for a queen and it duly came in the form of the Q♦. Watson made a hasty exit and Ruan stacked up 500,000. –MC

5:45pm: Lim doubles with aces
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Malaysia’s Chin Wei Lim started off today with Stephen Chidwick attacking from the right and Jordan Westmorland to his left, which resulted in a torrid first couple of levels. He’s got a table move now, but was only able to carry about 70,000 chips to his new assignment.


Chin Wei Lim: Nice time for aces

No worry, though. He just doubled that. He found A♥A♠ in a pot against Jimmy Guerrero, who had Q♠Q♦. In it went, the board was dry, and Lim has 30 big blinds again.

Guerrero has about 211,000 still in his stack. — HS

5:40pm: Han makes a move on Liu
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

This was one of those annoying hands that crept into the break, leaving its players with only about half their allocated 15-minute pause.

There was an early position raise from Yu Han to 9,000 and Shaoqing Liu called directly on his left before a call in late position. Then Guoling Wei, in the big blind, joined them.

However after a 8♣7♣3♥ flop, the preflop raiser checked it through and it was Liu who took the baton, betting 12,500. Both Wei and Han called and but either the 10♥ turn or the 39,000 bet from Liu pushed out Wei and it was heads up to the river.

When A♦ fell, Han decided to lead for a round 50,000 and Liu went deep into the tank. And when I say deep, about half the length of the 15-minute break deep.

At one point it looked like he was going to fold as he took his chip protector off his cards and sighed but then he stopped himself, thought about a minute longer and made the call with Q♦10♦.

Han showed 6♠4♠ for a bluff so Liu won the lot. -LY

5:35pm: Top five
Level 16 – Blinds: 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

As we head into Level 16, the chip-count page has had a new lick of paint. Head over there for the full current chip counts. Here’s the top five:

Name Country Chips
Brian Altman United States 633,000
Dominik Nitsche Germany 625,000
Atanas Kavrakov Bulgaria 577,000
Dan Smith United States 571,000
Chunqing Wang China 480,000


Bryan Altman: Leader

5:15pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 15. The 60 remaining players are off for a break. — HS

5:10pm: Smith gives the crowd what it wants
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Yuan Li loves a good bluff, whether he is responsible for it, whether he’s the victim of it, or whether he can just watch it from close quarters. That’s why he’s especially enjoying sitting next to Dan Smith today. Included in Smith’s full complement of skills is the knowledge of how to execute a bluff.

Like this one.

Qiang Fu opened from under the gun. He made it 9,000 to play. Smith called on the button, and that was the first step in a dastardly plan.

The two blinds left them to it and the dealer dropped the Q♠9♣3♠ on the table. Fu bet 14,000 and Smith called.


Dan Smith: Is this man bluffing?

The 7♦ came on the turn and both players checked. There was no indication that Smith liked this board at all, until after the 2♣ river.

Fu bet 25,000 and, after assessing all the options, Smith announced that he was all-in, with his 500,000+ stack covering the 190,000 Fu had back.

Fu looked peeved, and folded his A♣Q♥ face up.

“Show the bluff, show the bluff!” Li implored his neighbour. Smith doesn’t often give away information for free, but even he was persuaded by the sheer delight Li seemed to take in the possibility that Smith had made top-pair fold to a worse hand.

Smith wasn’t going to deny them. He tabled A♠K♣ and went soaring even higher in his opponents’ estimation.

“That’s the one time,” Smith said.

Despite huge stack and stetson hat, Smith actually isn’t table captain there any more. Atanas Kavrakov has nearer 600,000 so may have picked some up from Smith in the last level. — HS


Atanas Kavrakov: Challenging Smith

5:05pm: Altman aiming even higher
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Brian Altman is continuing to exert his dominance, now extending his chip lead even further to over 600,000.

On a board of K♦K♠8♦7♣ Canlin Chen checked in the big blind before Altman fired for 25,000 from the under the gun seat. Chen made the call and the J♥ completed the board.

Chen checked a final time and Altman took his showdown value with a check back after spiking the river with J♦10♠. That was ahead of Chen’s J♣8♥ as Altman’s kicked played.

Chen now sits with 140,000. — BK

5pm: Nikov doubles through Chen
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It was a classic flip for Dobromir Nikov and Canlin Chen, who were off to the races. Nikov had the slight edge with the pair J♦J♣ to Chen’s over-cards A♦K♣.

Nikov had opened to 7,000 on the hijack and Chen went over him to 29,000 from the button. When the action came back to Nikov, he pushed the lot for 125,000 and Chen made the call.

The flop came 9♦Q♣7♦8♠3♠ and queen high board was no good for Chen. Nikov is now sitting on more than 250,000. -LY

4:55pm: Nice call
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

If you followed our coverage of the PokerStars Championship Macau event back in April, you’ll be familiar with the name Terry Tang. He finished runner-up to Elliot Smith in that event. He is–how shall I put it?–deliberate in his actions. He likes to take his time.

He was facing a river bet of 45,000 from Jordan Westmorland. Tang took a look at the 5♠3♥4♣Q♥4♥ board and cut out the 45,000 from his stack and placed it to one side. He then counted up his remaining chips.

His next move was to place his right headphone back into his ear. This was clearly a two headphone decision he was facing. His head bopped along to the beat for a few seconds and he then placed the calling chips over the line.

“You got it,” said Westmorland as he showed 10♠8♥. Tang opened 8♣5♦ for second pair. “Nice call,” said Westmorland.

After that hand Tang is up to 270,000 and Westmorland is down to 230,000. –NW

4:50pm: Hong pushes Haxton off
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Arriving at the table in time to see 8♠2♣7♠ already out, there was still plenty to see as Haxton and Hong locked horns post-flop.

Haxton had made a bet of 8,500 out of position and Hong raised it to 23,000 behind. Haxton wasn’t put off, four-betting 50,000. Play slowed significantly at this point with Hong considering what to do for some time. He even took his 23,000 chips back over the line and started riffling them – was he going to call or raise?

It turned out to be a raise, he pushed all of his 5,000 chips, leaving only a pile each of blues and pinks and effectively committing himself to an all-in.

Haxton got the message and snap folded. -LY

4:45pm: Smith stacks Christner, takes the chip lead
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

“Good luck guys,” said Christian Christner to the table as he left. His chips were being pushed in the direction of Dan Smith, who told us that he had pocket jacks against Christner’s ace-king.

The pair held up and that pot has taken Smith up to 585,000, which looks to be good for the chip lead. He’s just taken delivery of an ice cold Tsingtao, does beer taste better with the chip lead? Almost certainly. –NW


Christian Christner: Stacked

4:40pm: Made for TV
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Jamie Lunt has just hit the rail in a hand that tells you two important things about ACOP action. Firstly, there’s always an outdraw waiting to happen. Secondly, you can’t beat Vladimir Geshkenbein.

Geshkenbein is the defending champion here, and got his buy-in to this year’s renewal as part of last year’s prize. But it was looking pretty gloomy for Geshkenbein when he got the last of his chips in with an ace that was dominated in not one, but two places. But then…

Actually, let’s start at the beginning. Geshkenbein opened to 8,500 from a stack of about 56,000. Hiroshi Nishiyama called from one seat to his left, but then Lunt moved all-in for almost exactly the same-sized stack as Geshkenbein.


Vladimir Geshkenbein: Unbeatable

The defending champion had another look at his cards but called it off. And then Nishiyama, who had about 100,000 more than both of them, gave them both a spin. This was a potential double knock out.

On their backs:

Nishiyama: A♠K♥
Lunt: A♦Q♠
Geshkenbein: A♥10♥

Lunt loved the flop. It fell 3♠4♣Q♣, and he pointed at the queen he had before him. But then the turn was the K♦, which prompted a wry chuckle from Lunt and Nishiyama, the latter of whom had now gone into the lead.


Jamie Lunt sees the funny side

But then, boom, there was the J♦ on the river to smash Geshkenbein and earn him a full triple up. Lunt was out and Nishiyama was pegged back. There’s still hope for a back-to-back from Geshkenbein, while we all learn again: Never celebrate too soon. — HS

4:35pm: Stack attack
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Here’s an update on how some of the best-known players in the field are faring. Brian Altman, Alan Lau and Dominik Nitsche remain among the cream of the crop. Lau, already Asia Player of the Year elect, is just making sure. Current average stack with 64 left is 240,000.

Name Country Chips
Brian Altman United States 515,000
Dominik Nitsche Germany 455,000
Alan Lau Hong Kong 425,000
Daniel Dvoress Canada 376,000
Gabriel Le Jossec Amar Canada 360,000
Bryan Huang Singapore 345,000
Dan Smith United States 335,000
Jordan Westmorland United States 320,000
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 315,000
Jason Les United States 315,000
Samantha Cohen United States 285,000
Nan Hong China 285,000
Wayne Zhang China 280,000
Yuan Li China 270,000
Christian Christner Germany 225,000
Koray Aldemir Germany 180,000
Vladimir Geshkenbein Switzerland 180,000
Aaron Been United States 160,000
Maria Ho United States 158,000
Isaac Haxton United States 153,000
Vasilios Argyros Australia 125,000
Michael Watson Canada 101,000

4:30pm: Energy building
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It was the player’s party last night, which means several folk in the room are a little low on energy. Not to worry: Red Bull is the official energy drink of PokerStars Macau and there are refrigerators full of the stuff, so swing by if you want a can.

Daniel Dvoress is far too professional an operator to have been living it up at the party, but having played all three days of the Super High Roller (before finishing fourth) and then still being alive in this event, he’s been dipping into the cooler too.


Daniel Dvoress: Red Bull model

4:25pm: Wu calls correctly
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Yuan Li and En-Ching Wu were facing an action-heavy board of 10♣J♦J♠Q♠8♦.

Wu made a bet of 16,500 on the river and Yuang Li went over the top to 51,500. It wasn’t an easy call for Wu, who spent some time thinking about it. But when he did eventually call and the cards went over, he found out it was the correct decision. His Q♣10♥ beat Li’s K♥7♣ bluff.

A nice call and a nice stack for Wu, who pulls up to almost 200,000 and is closing in on average stack with 65 left. -LY

4:20pm: Yelping Li
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There was a yelp from Table 7 and that meant a pot for Yuan Li. Details are scarce, except for the fact that Jie Xu’s A♥10♥ had not hit against Yi’s 4♣4♥ and that was the last pot Xu played. Li, who has gone from strength to strength since his remarkable debut last year, when he won the Super High Roller, now has north of 300,000 here (but his chips in tall, impossible-to-count, towers).

Other players recently eliminated include: Na Wei, Lija Lander and Martin Finger. Billy Argyros, previously reported out, is not. — HS

4:15pm: Chidwick takes it on the turn
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Stephen Chidwick is chipping up and that’s bad news for the rest of the players in this tournament and, more immediately, the other players at his table.

The UK pro, who is closing in on $10 million in lifetime live cashes, opened to 8,500 from the hijack and picked up calls from Jordan Westmorland (button) and Terry Tang (big blind).

The 4♣Q♦J♣ flop was checked through and the 3♦ fell on the turn. With the door open to take control of the betting, Tang led for 12,000 but Chidwick immediately wrestled back control by raising to 33,000.

The action was too much for Westmorland, who folded, and Tang’s cards soon went in the same direction. Pot to Chidwick, he’s up to 270,000. –NW

4:10pm: Wong applies pressure
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Chin Wei Lim and Ralph Wong went at it in a pot shortly after the break.

In a late-position battle, Wong opened to 10,500 from the cutoff and Lim promptly raised it up to 23,000. Wong went into the tank before making the call. To the flop we go…


It was a drawy board and, after Wong checked to Lim, he made it 18,500, slightly smaller than pre-flop. Wong then upped it to 45,500 with Lim matching him. After a 9♣ came on the turn, Wong moved all-in and Lim couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. – LY

4pm: Ho ho ho – no laughing for Yu
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Maria Ho has done an absolutely extraordinary job with a short stack in this tournament. She had what seemed like crumbs for much of yesterday, but remained patient in such a well-structured tournament and returned today for another chance to build the stack.

And then it came.

Winfred Yu, another tournament short stack, open pushed his button for something in the region of 60,000 and Ho, in the big blind, called with A♠9♠. Ho had Yu covered by about 100,000 and so Yu was at risk with his K♣8♥ to Ho’s A♠9♠.

The flop of 9♣10♠J♣ gave a pair to Ho, but a straight draw to Yu. However the turn of 6♠ and river of 9♥ hit only Ho and Yu home.

Ho now has about 180,000 and can push on from here. — HS

3:55pm: Ngu gets another jam through
Level 15 – Blinds: 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The basics of this hand are as follows: raise, jam, fold. However there was a good deal of chit-chat too, involving most players around the table. I’ve no idea what was being said, which brings us back to the basics…

So, Wei Liu opened to 9,000 from early position and Jessica Ngu moved all-in from the small blind for 59,500. Bryan Huang folded his big blind but Liu was very tempted to put Ngu under threat.

He went through the motions of cutting out calling chips, holding them in his hand in a motion to put them over the line, dragging them back, talking, laughing and staring at his opponent.

Ngu stared back and was also chatting back. It didn’t appear as though she was thrilled by what was going on, but I can’t tell for certain. The dealer made some comment, but it didn’t stop the animated banter. A few other people joined in too.

It really looked as though Liu was going to call, but he eventually open-folded 7♥7♦. Ngu lives to banter another day. — HS

3:40pm: Altman and Lau soar again
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As Level 15 gets under way, there’s a clear sense of deja vu. Dominik Nitsche may have slipped back a bit but, as was the case yesterday, Brian Altman and Alan Lau have soared. Altman leads again now, with about 530,000. Lau’s 460,000 looks to be in second place. — HS


Alan Lau: Threatening the summit again

3:35pm: Level ends
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

That’s the end of the first level of the day, during which 10 players were knocked out. They include: Chenbei Li, Daria Feshchenko, Bernhard Steiner, Donghui Xu, Rainer Kempe, Yian Zeng, Benjamin Hamnett and Aditya Agarwal. We’ll have a quick spruce of the chip-count page while players take their break. — HS


Daria Feshchenko: First level faller

3:30pm: Smith ships one
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Dan Smith and Christian Christner were sat at the same table on Day 2 and they’ve drawn the same table again here on Day 3. If the Super High Rollers didn’t already know each other’s game reasonably well they’ve had some time to get better acquainted and they just clashed in a pot.

It was opened by Smith, he raised to 7,000. En-Ching Wu called and Christner then three-bet to 31,000 from the small blind. Smith was the only caller.

The flop was wetter than an otter’s pocket, falling 10♣J♥Q♥.

Christner checked and Smith did likewise. The A♠ fell on the turn and Christner check-called a bet of 35,000, which took them to a 2♦ river.

Again Christner checked and once more Smith was bet. It was 75,000 for Christner to continue, but he mucked and slipped to 240,000.

Smith is up to roughly 325,000 after that hand. –NW

3:25pm: Is this the first suck out of the day?
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It was a cooler for Wayne Zhang who ran J♣J♥ into Shaoqing Liu’s K♠K♣. The chips were all in pre-flop when I arrived on the scene and were just being turned onto their backs.

Jimmy Guerrro told me that he had opened first to 7,500. Zhang had increased it further, to 26,000, before Shaoqing Liu cold four-bet jammed the lot. With Guerro getting out the way, Zhang made the call and it was he who was all-in for 137,000.

A flop of 2♥9♣5♦ was laid out and Liu’s pair of kings was holding strong.

Then came a J♦ on the turn, which was met with a lot of noise from several of the players at the table and with no king to follow on the river 4♠, Zhang doubled through Liu.

Zhang, who is considered to be among the best young players in the region, now has 350,000. – LY

3:20pm: Westmorland at the double
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jordan Westmorland has been coming to the Asia Championship of Poker every year for six years. In that time, the itinerant American has called at least three different countries his home (most recently Bali, in Indonesia, I think, but definitely also Thailand and Australia) and he couldn’t miss it this year either.

Westmorland, known as JW_PRODIGY online, is sticking around in this event too having just scored a double up through Chengbei Li.

Li opened the pot, making it 7,000, and Westmorland three-bet to 35,000 from the big blind. Li four-bet jammed with the covering stack and Westmorland called off for a total 130,000.

Westmorland’s A♣K♠ needed to hit against Li’s 2♥2♣ and it did so immediately thanks to the K♥ in the window. The rest of the board was dry and Westmorland hits around 275,000. Li is now licking his wounds — HS

3:10pm: Two Wongs make a (hand for) Wright
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It was a battle of the Wongs as Kenneth Wong took on Ralph Wong in a recent hand at table four. [Reported by Nick Wright. This is great content! — ed.]

Kenneth was all-in for 60,500 with A♠Q♦ and looking for help against Ralph’s J♣J♦. The K♦5♥J♥ flop reduced his chance of an outdraw to less than 14 percent but the 10♠ pinged in for Kenneth on the turn.

There were full house outs for him to dodge on the river and the 9♦ river meant he survived. –NW

3:05pm: Nishiyama wins it on the river
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Hiroshi Nishiyama and Vladimir Geshkenbein got tangled in a pot that went all the way to the river.

Having turned up to see the turn already out, the two players were considering their options on a K♣5♥A♠Q♠ board.

Geshkenbein checked and Nishiyama had made it 32,000 to call, which Geshkenbein did. Then it was down to the 9♥ river and both players elected to check. The showdown was:

Nishiyama A♥6♣
Geshkenbein Q♦10♦

It was top pair versus second pair and Nishiyama collected the pot.- LY

3pm: Huang climbing
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Bryan Huang is on the move in the right direction. The man from Singapore has added almost 100,000 to his overnight stack and now sits with around 260,000.


Bryan Huang: Who you lookin’ at?

He may have been tempted to speculate for a little more a few minutes ago but, after he opened to 7,000 under the gun, he soon fell out of love with his hand when Song Yang jammed for 67,000 from the button. — HS

3pm: Ngu survives
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Did Jessica Ngu want a call? We’ll never know but she seemed mightily relieved that her three-bet shove had made it through uncontested.

In the hand in question Yang Zhang opened to 7,000, Hung Tu Wang called and Ngu then shoved for 60,500. Zhang didn’t need any time at all to make his decision, which was to fold, but Wang went into the tank.

He made it to at least stage three of five on the “tank call” chart, as he cut the calling chips out from his stack and riffled them while making his decision.

He too folded though, which is the point at which Ngu let the poker face slip. Still, I think adding almost 33 percent to your stack without showdown is reason enough to be relieved. –NW

2:55pm: Lee over Haxton
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Going into Day 3 we were expecting the shortest stacks to be looking for a chance to make their move. Tse An Lee is one such player. He has drawn one of the toughest seats in the room, sandwiched between Isaac Haxton on his right and Dominik Nitsche on his left. Nevertheless, he didn’t let that put him off in a pot where Haxton opened to 7,500 on the button. Lee three-bet his 40,000 all-in and managed to get it through. – LY

2:50pm: Fat lady sings for Song
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jianzhong Song was down to his last 25,000 chips and he got them in pre-flop against Daniel Dvoress. It looked like he did so in a fairly unconventional fashion, with an early-position raise (not all-in, but what looked like 15,000) and then, after Dvoress three-bet his button, Song did indeed call off for 10,000 more.

Anyway, the point was that Song had a dominated ace with A♦6♦ to Dvoress’s A♠K♣ and nothing hit on a Q♥5♦8♠J♣4♣ board.

That put Dvoress up to 360,000 and the fat lady sung for Song. — HS

2:45pm: Yurasov put to the test
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Yu Han is giving Dmitry Yurasov a torrid time today. I’d already seen the Chinese player get the better of Yurasov in one pot and he just repeated the trick.

Joining the action on the flop, Yurasov (small blind) bet 11,000 with the 2♦A♣4♠ out. Han, who was on the button, made a big raise to 60,000 in total.

It was a literal head scratcher for Yurasov, who had 95,000 back. Effectively then this was an all-in or fold situation for the Russian player and, after much deliberation, he settled on a fold.

He’s dropped to 95,000 from a start of day 172,000, whereas Han is up to 290,000 from the 223,500 he began with. –NW

2:40pm: Hamnett toast
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Benjamin Hamnett is wandering through the cash-game area with a pot of tea, suggesting quite clearly that his Main Event is over. Actually, as I type, it looks like he’s going over to another tournament area and will maybe be looking for a High Roller satellite or the Mini High Roller event, both of which get started this afternoon too. But his Main Event challenge has ended, that much is for sure. — HS

2:40pm: Tong takes out the last of Team PokerStars Pro
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

For Aditya Agarwal, it has been a very short day indeed. Coming back for Day 3 with just under 40,000 meant he would be looking for a spot to double as early as possible.

Agarwal found the spot when he three-bet jammed his 37,500 over a raise by Zhou Tong. Tong needed a little time to think but made the call and the cards were turned over.

Agarwal: K♦J♦
Tong: A♣9♣

Agarwal needed to hit but the board couldn’t get there for him. With Agarwal quickly leaving the room, Tong scooped one of the first eliminations of the day and netted him around 80,000 chips in the process.


Aditya Agarwal: Red Spade flying at half staff

That’s the end of the Red Spade interest in the Main Event, but plenty of side events still to play, and a big few months still in store for our Indian Team Pro. – LY

2:35pm: Overnight chip leader* busts
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

We’ll let you behind the curtain to tell you about Fengwei Huangfu. Occasionally the wrong information is recorded on the overnight chip count list, usually because the tournament staff miss a comma or mistype what the player has written on their chip bag. (Occasionally the player has purposely written the wrong amount, the wee scamps.)

Last night, in Huangfu’s case, it was reported on the player list that he had 565,000 chips. That would have been good for the chip lead as Dominik Nitsche, the player reported as having the chip lead, had bagged 519,000. Turns out that Huangfu had 56,500 not 565,000. It also turns out that he didn’t have a long stay in this tournament on Day 3.

As I approached his table I saw that he was all-in for just 3,000, Ying Kit Chan called and Yang Zhang then re-raised to 12,000. It folded back to Chan and he called. The flop came 9♦4♠9♥ and Chan check-called a bet of 10,000.

Huangfu was busy typing away on his phone at this point, presumably telling someone that he had “lol smashed the flop”, or that he was “about to go busto”.

The 7♠ hit the turn and curiously Chan elected to lead out. He bet 30,000 and Zhang went deep into the tank, so deep that James Romero – who is short on chips – called the clock.

Before the countdown began Zhang folded and the cards could now be flipped. Huangfu showed A♥3♠ and was drawing dead against Chan’s 7♣7♥.

The 2♦ river completed the board and Huangfu was sent on his way. –NW

2:31pm: Kempe wins a small one
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jarred Graham opened to 6,500 and it looked like he was going to take down the pot uncontested, that is until Rainer Kempe called from the big blind. The 6♣Q♦9♦6♥8♥ board wasn’t to either players liking though as six swift checks took them to showdown. Kempe opened 5♣5♠ and Graham mucked. –NW

2:30pm: Picking on Croc
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Billy Argyros seems to be opened a lot of pots, but with Pete Chen, Alan Lau and Martin Finger to his immediate left, he’s not certain to get a lot of this through.

In a recent pot, Argyros and Finger got to a turn with only 39,500 in the pot. The four exposed cards were 5♦2♣10♦J♠. They checked. Then the 8♠ completed the board and Finger, who was in the big blind pre-flop, bet 29,000. Argyros made Finger keep his poker face intact for a good three or four minutes, but then mucked.


Billy “The Croc” Argyros

On the next hand, Argyros opened again, this time 7,500. He faced a near-immediate three-bet from Chen, who made it 22,000, but then Lau four-bet his button to 55,000.

The decision past back to Argyros and he quickly folded. But Chen paused a moment before pushing for around 180,000 total. Lau sigh-called but there was nothing dramatic when the two players rolled over A♠K♠ and A♦K♦, respectively.

The board actually had four clubs on it, so had Argyros folded even one of those, he’d have tripled up. But let’s not allow results-oriented thinking to infect us. They chopped up the Croc’s 7,500 and the blinds. — HS

2:25pm: Jung takes from Nitsche
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

With Day 3 under way, I turned up at our chip leader’s table in time to see a bunch of action going on.

The flop was 4♣8♣9♣ and there was been a 16,000 bet from the button and a three-bet from Kyung Sik Jung to 35,500 from the big blind. Dominik Nitsche flatted on the hijack and the button got out of the way.

On to the 2♦ turn and Jung led again, this time for 41,000 and again Nitsche kept his position and called. On the 4♥ river, both players took a more tentative line with a check apiece and when Jung turned over Q♥9♥ for two pair, Nitsche threw his hand into the muck.

That’s a decent start to the day for Jung. – LY

2:20pm: Crocodile tank
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Billy “The Croc” Argyros has made a habit of deep runs in Macau, and he is wily enough to know you need to take a bit of time before you make your decisions, even if everyone around you may be going slightly mad.

In an early hand today, Argyros opened to 7,500 from early position and Damian Zachowicz then jammed for 81,500 more from the big blind.

“There’s no way I’m going to rush this,” Argyros said as he rocked back and pondered his decision. After a minute or so, it was clear: this was a fold. The Croc will wait for a better spot to snap. — HS

2:13pm: Wu over Fu
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

En-Ching Wu has picked up an early double up, but the dealer made him sweat.

Wu opened to 7,000 from early position and then faced a three-bet of 17,000 from the big stack of Qiang Fu to his left. Action folded back to Wu and he took a couple of breaths then shipped them in–about 65,000 more.

Fu called instantly and, upon the cards being exposed, it was clear this hand was brought to you from the Dept. of No Brainers. Fu had Q♥Q♠ to Wu’s A♠K♦.

The first four board cards edged Wu nearer the door. They came 8♦3♦7♥6♣. But then the A♥ popped out, greeted by a fist clench from Wu and he survives to fight another few hands at least. — HS

2:08pm: Giddy up cowboy
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

If you had any doubt as to where Dan Smith is from you just need look at his head. For today the talented American is sporting a cream coloured Stetson. Is it a lucky charm? Who knows, but Smith dragged the first pot of the day.


The Western stylings of Dan Smith

He’s got 2016 ACOP Super High Roller winner Yuan Li and Christian Christner, who’s cashed in both the Super and Single-Day High Rollers here in Macau for company. –NW

2:05pm: Wong gets them in
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

As you’d expect for a man sitting with 10 big blinds, Ken Wong was quickly all-in this afternoon. He pushed his chips over the line, sat back and waited. But nobody called him, and his hunt for a double up continues. — HS

2pm: Action stations
Level 14 – Blinds: 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Off they go on what should be a chaotic day. — HS

1:30pm: Bubble day

Good afternoon once again and welcome back to the PokerStars LIVE! card-room at the City of Dreams for the resumption of play in this 2017 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) Main Event. We have 84 players left and only 36 will be paid, and the high probability is that we hit the money at some point today.

There’s still a lot of poker to play before that, though, with the likes of Team Pro Aditya Agarwal looking to build from a short stack while all of Dominik Nitsche, Alan Lau, Daniel Dvoress, Isaac Haxton, Christian Christner and Sam Cohen hope to consolidate their great showings yesterday.

dominik_nitsche_acop_main_opener.jpgDominik Nitsche: Leader

But here’s the thing about tournament poker: they can’t all have it their own way. We’ll be on hand as they determine which way the cookie is going to crumble.

The field is stacked still and there’s a lot of money on the line. Play begins at 2pm and they will play seven 90-minute levels. It’s going to be tough.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event: Marc Convey, Brad Kain, Howard Swains, Alex Villegas, Nick Wright and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Kenneth Lim Photography.


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