Rono Lo Finishes In 2nd Place For HK$932,000
Just as we write about Tollefsen’s small ball game the Norwegian changes gears abruptly and moves all-in from the button on hand eleven of heads-up and is quickly called by Lo. The cards go on their backs and it is Lo who is in front.
Rono Lo: K♦10♥
Henrik Tollefsen: 9♦7♣
Every time Lo has got his chips in behind he has doubled so we are not sure what’s going to happen when he gets it in ahead but he is the at risk player.
The flop of 5♥6♠Q♥ gives Tollefsen some gutshot outs to go with his Nines and Sevens and he duly spikes the 9♠ turn to take the lead. Lo will need either a King or a Ten to stay alive.
The tension is palpable as the dealer burns and turns… the 2♣ river meaning we have a winner. Rono Lo departs in 2nd place making a cool HK$932,000 and we have our High Roller champion in the form of Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen.
Tollefsen Plays Small Ball
After Lo’s two double-ups Tollefsen has changed gears and is now playing small ball. So far it appears to be working out for him and out of the five hands of heads-up play we have had since Lo has doubled Tollefsen has won four of them, all of which he has done without showdown and without a flop. Lo has now dropped back down to 1,100,000 and Tollefsen has climbed back up to 4,800,000.
Double Double For Lo
Just two hands into heads-up and Rono Lo has managed to bag a double up after moving all-in pre-flop with A♦4♦. Tollefsen makes the call with a dominated 9♦4♠ and the board runs out A♠6♠Q♦7♠. Despite picking up a backdoor spade draw the river bricks off and the 2♣ lands to double Lo up to 1,200,000.
Tollefsen tries to finish Lo off a few hands later with the two getting all the chips in again; the Norwegian’s Ace Nine leading Lo’s King Eight but Lo spikes a King to climb back up to 2,300,000.
Daniel Xiong Finishes 3rd For HK$621,000
Things have not been going Daneil Xiong’s way and that trend continues as our two short stacks battle it out for second place. Lo moves all-in for just under 400,000 the very next hand with Q♠2♠and Xiong makes the call for his tournament life with K♣9♥.
Despite Xiong having the best hand the flop of 2♣10♦Q♥ gives Lo the lead and while the 10♥ turn gives the Malaysian a brief glimpse of hope it is cruelly dashed when the 6♠ lands on the river.
We are now heads-up, with Henrik Tollefsen holding a commanding chip lead with 5,400,000 in chips to Rono Lo’s 600,000 and the end looks like it could be in sight.
Tollefsen Steamrolls Table, Lo Doubles
With the exception of one hand Henrik Tollefsen has effectively steamrolled the table and has won five out of the last six hands since play restarted. The sixth hand is an interesting one as both Rono Lo and Daniel Xiong are looking decidedly short.
Lo is down to just 180,000 – less than one big blind – and is all-in from the big blind and Xiong – sitting on the button – isn’t looking that much healthier with just over 550,000. Xiong looks down to see A♠2♠ and moves all-in, Tollefsen folds and Lo turns over 9♥6♣.
The flop brings both players something coming down 9♠6♠Q♣. Xiong’s rail is calling for a spade, Lo’s rail is screaming for red cards and the 9♦ hits the turn to give Lo the full house. A dejected looking Xiong sits back down in his chair and Lo rises to just under 400,000.
1:00am: Level 22 Begins, Blinds 100000/200000 (30000)
12:50am: 10 Minute Break
Double Up For Xiong
With Tollefsen playing both his button and small blind aggressively Daniel Xiong has been struggling to find a good spot and has been blinded down to 450,000. This all goes in when Lo folds the button and Xiong ships A♦2♣ from the small blind.
Tollefsen calls with 8♣5♦ and Xiong is on his feet calling for an Ace for the double up. The poker gods are listening and the board runs out 10♦7♣7♥Q♣A♥ to see him double up.
Tollefsen is still very much in the driving seat as our chip leader though with 4,000,000 for two-thirds of the chips in play. Lo and Xiong have 1,100,000 and 900,000 respectively.
Tollefsen Punishes But Lo Recovers Yet Again
While Daniel Xiong has managed to make a little back and is sitting on a stack of 1,100,000 Rono Lo has not been as fortunate and is being roundly punished by Tollefsen who is now flexing his big stack muscles.
The Norwegian is getting aggressive from the small blind and raises to 320,000 and after a lengthy dwell Lo calls from the big blind but can only muck when Tollefsen moves all-in on the J♣Q♠2♦ flop to drop down to 465,000.
Tollefsen tries to administer the coup de grâce the very next hand and the two get it all-in pre-flop when the Norwegian moves all-in from the button holding J♣8♣ and Lo calls it off with a dominated J♦3♦.
However, just when it looks like it’s Lo could be on the way out the 2♥3♠10♥ flop throws him a lifeline and no eight on the 10♦ turn and 6♥ river see the Macanese player climb back to just under 900,000.
12:10am: Level 21 Begins, Blinds 80000/16000 (20000)
Tollefsen Turns The Screws
On the last hand at this level it is Henrik Tollefsen who is turning the screws at present. The object of his torture an unfortunate Daniel Xiong who has not recovered from losing that earlier hand with pocket Fives against Lo’s 7♦3♦.
Lo limps yet another button and when Xiong completes the small blind and Tollefsen checks his option we go three-way to a J♣9♣9♠ flop.
First to speak Xiong counts out two stacks of chips and adds some more for good measure for a bet of 250,000. Tollefsen eyes him coldly from across his mountainous stack before announcing an all-in bet. Lo folds and after a big sigh so does Xiong. That sees the young Malaysian player drop to 725,000 and Tollefsen climb to over 3.5 million.
Henrik Tollefsen – 3,200,000
Rono Lo – 1,500,000
Daniel Xiong – 1,300,000
Lo Stages Comeback
Both Tollefsen and Xiong are doing their best to finish off a wounded Rono Lo but the Macanese player is dodging, weaving and hitting at just the right time.
It looks like he’s circling the drain when he gets it in pre-flop for his last 650,000 with 7♦3♦ in the small blind and runs into Xiong’s 5♣5♠ but the Q♦K♦A♥ flop keeps Lo’s hopes alive.
The Q♠ turn changes nothing and Xiong pleads “No diamond…” as the dealer peels off the river. Daniel gets his wish and the river is indeed not a diamond. It is however a 7♣ to grant Lo yet another double up to 1,300,000. So the poker gods do hear prayers, they just don’t answer them in the way you expect.
Tollefsen Avoids Bad Beat, Lo Takes A Hit
We’ve just had the biggest pot of the tournament so far in what proved to be a suck re-suck gem of a hand. Sitting in the small blind Tollefsen opens for 300,000 and Lo calls from the big blind after Xiong folds the button.
The flop is a decidedly wet 9♥Q♦J♥ and Tollefsen c-bets 355,000 into 630,000 only to see Lo move all-in. Tollefsen tanks but does make the call, rolling over K♦K♠.
However, he has been outflopped by Lo, who is holding Q♠9♣. The Macanese player does not hold his lead for long though with the J♣ pairing the turn to give Tollefsen a better two pair. The 8♣ river earns the Norwegian the double up and he romps into the chip lead with a stack of 3,400,000 while Lo drops to 550,000.
This drops still further as Lo is systematically bullied by both his opponents until he snap calls a Tollefsen small blind shove – the Norwegian shows K♥10♦ and has Lo’s K♦6♦ on the ropes, especially when the flop comes down Q♠J♥Q♦.
The 5♣ turn leaves Lo needing one of the decks three remaining sixes and he binks one when the 6♥ hits the river to bring him back up to just over 600,000. Lo survives but is not out of the woods yet and is still our short stack.
11:30pm: Level 20 Begins, Blinds 60000/120000 (10000)
Xiong Takes Down Another As Blinds Rise
Following up his earlier success Daniel Xiong is keeping up the aggression and is starting to punish Lo’s small blind limps from the big blind. When Lo completes from the small blind Xiong makes it 290,000 to go and Lo calls pretty quickly.
Lo leads the 4♦7♦9♣ from for 300,000, which is a round a half pot bet, and Xiong smooth calls after thinking it over. It doesn’t look like Lo likes this turn of events, or the turn for that matter and checks the 7♥.
Needing no further encouragement Xiong fires a chunky 480,000 bet, leaving what looks to be 650,000 behind. That’s enough to take it down and he climbs to 2,700,000 while Lo sinks to 1,800,000.
Mr. Feeling Wonderful Claws Some Back
Things were looking a little dicey for Daniel Xiong earlier as he bled back some chips to the table but some acute gear changing and canny play has seen the young Malaysian claw some chips back from current nemesis Rono Lo.
Lo has been confusing the table with some funky play and likes to limp strong and also with trash to keep his opponents guessing. As is his wont after Tollefson folds the button Lo completes from the small blind.
Xiong looks like he is thinking about raising but eventually elects to check and we see a flop of 5♥10♥7♣. Lo leads for 100,000 and Xiong take his customary 30 second tank before announcing a raise, making it 240,000 to go. That’s enough to send Lo’s cards into the muck and Xiong is back up to 1,600,000.
Lo Leading Final Three
With all three stacks being pretty close play has been a little cagey so far since we have returned from the break.
However, this seems to be suiting our chip leader Rono Lo who has been capitalizing on the other two players reluctance to engage and he has scooped six out of the eight hands players without showdown to further increase his lead and is currently sitting on around 3,000,000.
Daniel Xiong is the table shortstack with about 1,100,000 and Henrik Tollefson has about 1,900,000.
10:50pm Level 19 Begins, Blinds 50000/100000 (10000)
Stacks And Facts
With Daniel Xiong folding in the face of some Rono Lo aggression just before the break the stacks are:
Rono Lo: 2,185,000
Henrik Tollefson: 2,095,000
Daniel Xiong: 1,640,000
We have just discovered an interesting if little known fact courtesy of Daniel Xiong’s fellow countryman and fourth place finished Victor Chong, who assures us that Daniel’s nickname is ‘Mr. Feeling Wonderful’. Make of that what you will folks, but with a guaranteed HK$621,000 payday we’re pretty sure that Daniel is feeling pretty good about himself right now.
10:40pm: 10 Minute Break
Double For Daniel
We were just about to post some chip updates but the lie of the land is changing rapidly now we are three-handed. The top three pay out spots have significant jumps with the winner walking away with HK$1,465,000.
Second place is worth over half a million less coming in at HK$932,000 with third place good for HK$621,000.
Daniel Xiong is still our shortest stack but the playing field is looking quite level at present as the Malaysian player has just managed to double up through former chip leader Rono Lo.
Lo, the tournament’s sole remaining Macanese player opens for 300,000 from the button and Xiong moves all-in for what looks to be about 850,000 from the small blind. Henrik Tollefson folds the big blind and Lo makes the call.
Daniel Xiong: 9♣9♠
Rono Lo: K♠Q♦
Xiong is on his feet screaming for a low flop but doesn’t get one, though does keep his lead when the dealer spreads 10♣A♠2♣.
“Give me a Deuce!” cries Xiong and it seems the poker gods are listening as the 2♣ hits the turn.
Xiong’s cries of ‘Yes!’ quickly turn to ‘No!’ on the K♣ river until he realizes that gives him a nine-high club flush and a double up to 1.8 million. Lo drops to 2 million after the hand meaning that currently our chip leader is Henrik Tollefsen with a stack of 2.1 million.
Victor Chong Finishes In 4th Place For HK$488,000
Just as the blinds go up we lose another with Malaysia’s Victor Chong becoming our latest casualty. Chong moves all-in from under-the-gun for 435,000 and action folds around to Henrik Tollefsen in the small blind who makes the call.
Chong, holding Q♣10♦, finds himself racing for his tournament life against the 3♣3♥ of Tollefsen.
However, Tollefsen’s Threes aptly remain in the lead when the board runs out 2♠K♣7♠8♦4♣ meaning we are now down to our final three.
10:00pm Level 18 Begins, Blinds 40000/80000 (10000)
Rathi Finishes In 5th Place For HK$355,000
Players are now dropping like flies and no sooner have we lost Zhou then Shashank Rathi joins him on the rail. Despite doubling up the hand after taking that big hit against Tollefsen the Hong Kong based player is still dangerously short with a stack of just over 250,000.
Sitting in the small blind Rathi ships this into Tollefsen’s big blind, the Norwegian makes the call and the cards go on their backs.
Shashank Rathi: K♣6♥
Henril Tollefsen: 5♠4♦
Rathi needs to hit and does do when the flop comes down 3♠K♥Q♦. It looks like Rathi is all set for another double up but the poker gods have other ideas and the 5♦ turn and 4♣ river give Tollefsen two pair to bring us down to our final four.
Zhou Finishes In 6th Place For HK$311,000
Quan Zhou’s final table run has come to a close with the Chinese player all-in for his last 200,000 or so holding 2♠2♣. Rono Lo looks him up with A♠7♠ and when the board runs out K♠7♣9♠8♠A♣ Lo’s overkill with the nut flush and two pair means we are down to five.
Zhou And Tollefsen Double
Our table shortstack is now Quan Zhou who has just 40,000 after making a big fold against Rono Lo earlier. This all goes in shortly afterwards with both Tollefsen and Chong calling from the blinds.
Zhou fist pumps on the K♣9♦6♠ flop leading us to believe that he has a King and when Tollefsen and Chong check down the K♦ turn and the 8♠ river our Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction are proved correct. Zhou shows K♥5♠ for the triple-up to 200,000 and Tollefsen wins the side pot with Jack-high.
Tollefsen wins the next hand too for slightly more chips – squeezing for victory for the second time in a big hand against Shashank Rathi. It started with a Rathi cut off limp for 60,000 and Tollefsen squeezes the button for just over 600,000.
Rathi tanks but eventually makes the call and these two players are very close in chips though Rathi has Tollefsen covered by 100,000.
Shashank Rathi: A♥J♦
Henrik Tollefson: A♦10♦
Tollefsen is the at risk player so needs to hit to stay alive and does so when the flop falls 10♥3♣5♦. The Q♥ turn gives Rathi some extra outs but none materialize on the river meaning Tollefsen takes down a huge pot and is up to 1.2 million while Rathi drops to 100,000.
The Seventh Samurai
With the elimination of Li-Ta Hsu earlier our new table short stack is Japan’s Makoto Yoshimichi who is running on fumes with a stack of 125,000. Yoshimichi manages to get an under-the-gun shove through to climb up to just over 200,000 but busts the very next hand in a blind on blind confrontation with Daniel Xiong.
Xiong puts Yoshimichi in from the small blind with A♦6♥ and the Japanese player makes the call for his tournament life with Q♦5♥. The board runs out 6♠K♠K♣J♥4♣ and we lose our first in-the-money finisher. Yoshimichi departs in seventh place with HK$267,160 for his two days of hard work.
Tollefsen Squeezes Back
Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen has edged his way back into contention in just two hands. The first saw him double through Shashank Rathi to climb back up to what looks to be 550,000.
The very next hand sees Malaysia’s Daniel Xiong open under-the-gun open for 95,000. Rathi flats from the cut off and action is on Tollefsen on the button. This looks like a great spot to squeeze and after mulling it over Tollefsen comes to the same conclusion and moves all-in.
Xiong grudgingly folds and after thinking it over for 30 seconds so does Rathi. Tollefsen obligingly shows both players the 6♦ before raking in the pot to climb up to 850,000. Xiong has around the same and Rathi looks to have about 650,000.
9:20pm Level 17 Begins, Blinds 30000/60000 (5000)
Chong Ducks And Dives As Hsu Becomes Bubble Boy
For a minute there Victor Chong was teetering on the edge of elimination. Down to his last 150,000 after losing a hand to Rono Lo the Malaysian player went into shove mode to bring his stack back up to 225,000.
Chong shoves for the second time in a row from the cut off against Li-Ta Hsu, who has around 270,000. It’s a tough spot for Hsu but he decides that A♣5♥ is ahead of Chong’s range here and makes the call. Hsu’s right and is leading Chong’s Q♥J♣ until the flop comes down 2♦K♠J♦.
The 4♥ turn gives Hsu some additional gutshot outs but an unhelpful 2♣ river sees Chong double to 405,000 while Hsu is left with just 45,000 for his 5,000 ante and one big blind.
Unsurprisingly Hsu is all in from the small blind the very next hand with Rono Lo limping from late position and Makoto Yoshmichi checking his option in the big blind.
Both Yoshimichi and Lo check the J♣J♦7♠ flop and after the Japanese player checks the Q♠ turn Lo leads for 90,000. That’s enough to take the hand heads-up and the cards go on their backs.
Li-Ta Hsu: 9♦10♦
Rono Lo: A♠2♠
Lo’s Ace-high spade flush draw is leading as despite Hsu making his straight on the river it is unfortunately the K♠ to give Lo the nuts and burst our bubble. All 7 remaining players are now guaranteed a HK$267,160 pay day.
Lo Cements Lead
The first hand back after the break is a doozy – players have just taken their seats and are straight back into the action with Quan Zhou and Rono Lo our two protagonists for a second time.
Zhou opens from middle position for a min-raise to 80,000 and Lo calls from the cut off meaning we go heads-up to a flop of 8♣2♣3♠. First to act Zhou c-bets for 100,000 and Lo makes the call.
The turn brings the 4♠ and a 160,000 second barrel from Zhou, which Lo again elects to just flat call. The J♠ river completes a back door spade flush and Zhou fires for a third time, leading out for 300,000. This is developing into a huge pot – should Lo make the call there will be over 1 million chips in the middle.
However, Lo chooses not to call, instead announcing ‘raise’ and counting out 600,000 in total. Zhou quickly calls but can only shake his head sadly, folding 4♥4♣ face up when Lo shows A♠6♠ for the rivered nut flush.
That puts Lo waaaaaay out in front with 2,350,000 in chips while Zhou is left short with just 305,000.
8:40pm Level 16 Begins, Blinds 20000/40000 (5000)
Seat 1: Quan Zhou – 1,267,000
Seat 2: Shashank Rathi – 1,239,000
Seat 3: Henrik Tollefsen – 273,000
Seat 4: Victor Chong – 273,000
Seat 5: Rono Lo – 1,317,000
Seat 6: Daniel Xiong – 837,000
Seat 7: Li-Ta Hsu – 330,000
Seat 8: Makoto Yoshimichi – 369,000
8:30pm: 10-minute Break
Discretion Before Valor
A strange hand has just developed between our two big stacks Quan Zhou and Rono Lo. It’s Zhou in the drivers seat this hand, opening from the lo-jack for 70,000 and Lo makes the call in the small blind. Daniel Xiong mulls it over but folds the big blinds and we go heads up to a flop of J♣7♥2♦.
Both players check and see the A♦ turn for free with Lo leading out for a tickly 55,000 into the 210,000 pot; Zhou calls and we’re off to see the river, which is the 4♥.
We’re not sure whether Lo has a read on Zhou or just decides that discretion is the better part of valor because after counting out 200,000 in chips Lo open folds his cards, showing the table 9♣. Zhou wins the hand and the pot, kindly showing us A♣4♣ for a rivered two pair. That means our top two stacks look pretty close with both sitting on around 1.3 million.
Chandra’s Exit Brings Bubble
As the final table’s shortest stack for a while now Kunaal Chandra has been walking a fine line between victory or tournament death and has just found the latter.
Down to his last 135,000 Chandra moves all-in from under-the-gun and after asking for a count Rono Lo makes the call from the cut off. The blinds get out of the way and the cards go on their backs.
Kunaal Chandra: K♦3♦
Rono Lo: A♥6♥
As the at risk player Chandra needs some help and the flop brings something for everyone, falling 3♣9♦6♦. The appearance of the A♣ turn leaves the Indian player needing a diamond and while the K♣ river gives him two pair it’s not enough to beat Lo’s Aces-up and we have our first casualty of the final table. That puts Lo firmly in the drivers seat and he is now our new chip leader with a stack of 1,350,000. We are now on the bubble with the next elimination guaranteeing our remaining seven players a payout of HK$267,160.
Lo Limps For Victory
Introducing an interesting change of pace Rono Lo has opted to limp the last two hands. While he took down the first uncontested the second proved to be a lot more interesting.
Sitting in middle position Lo limps for a second time picking up callers in the form of Li-Ta Hsu on the button and both Kunaal Chandra and Quan Zhou in the blinds and we go four-way to a flop of A♥8♣Q♠.
It’s all check so we get to see a turn, which is 4♥. Following checks from both Chandra and Zhou in the blinds Lo leads for 100,000 and is looked up on the button by Hsu while the other two bow out.
The river is 7♣ and Lo fires again, this time for 150,000. Hsu tanks but does make the call, only to pitch his cards into the muck when Lo shows A♠Q♦ for a flopped top two pair. That sneaky play brings Lo up over the 1 million mark while Hsu drops to around 450,000.
7:50pm: Level 15 Begins, Blinds 15000/30000 (5000)
Our chip leader is still currently Quan Zhou who is sitting on what looks to be 1,250,000. Zhou is closely followed by Shashank Rathi who has 1050,000.
The rest of the field stacks up as follows:
Daniel Xiong – 965,000
Rono Lo – 620,000
Li-Ta Hsu – 600,000
Victor Chong – 400,000
Makoto Yoshimichi – 320,000
Henrik Tollefsen – 300,000
Kunaal Chandra – 220,000
Runner Runner Rathi
Sometimes poker is a cruel game and Lady Luck is a capricious mistress, something Henrik Tollefsen has just discovered. In an echo of one of our first final table hands Tollefsen opens for just over a min-raise from under-the-gun and Shashank Rathi again chooses to defend his big blind.
The flop comes down a coordinated but rainbow 4♦5♣7♥ and after Rathi checks his option Tollefsen c-bets 56,000, which Rathi quickly calls.
The K♣ turn brings another check from Rathi and a slightly bigger bet of 101,000 from Tollefsen. Rathi quickly slides out the call and the dealer peels the J♦ river.
Now Rathi springs into action and he quickly leads out for nearly a full pot bet of 300,000. Tollefsen looks bemused but obviously has something decent as he does make the call, only to dejectedly flick his cards into the muck when Rathi rolls over K♠J♠ for runner, runner two pair. That brings Rathi back over the 1 million mark while Tollefsen drops to 250,000.
Chandra Take A Hit, Then Doubles
We missed the action while posting the last hand just before the blinds went up but India’s Kunaal Chandra took a big hit towards the end of the last level and was left with just under 70,000.
Level 14 has just kicked in and Chandra opts to make his stand with A♠Q♥ moving all-in pre-flop for 68,000. Henrik Tollefsen makes the call from the button holding K♠J♦, and with a stack of around 950,000 he has the chips to spare.
Chandra flops top two when the cards come down A♦Q♣9♥ though he’s not out of the woods yet as a Ten would give Tollefsen Broadway. The A♣ turn however, secures Chandra the double up and he climbs to about 150,000.
7:10pm Level 14 Begins, Blinds 12000/24000 (4000)
Zhou Edges Into Lead
So far the chip lead has changed hands three times on our final table. No sooner has Daniel Xiong taken the lead then he relinquishes it to Quan Zhou. Sitting in middle position Xiong opens for 43,000 and both Zhou and Shashank Rathi in the small and big blind respectively make the call and we go three-way to a flop of Q♥K♣7♦.
Both blinds check and Xiong c-bets 86,000. Zhou calls pretty quickly and after Rathi folds out we go heads-up to the Q♣ turn. Zhou checks and after thinking it over so does Xiong so we get to see a river, which brings the 2♥.
We can’t see this changing much though it does mean that all the draws have missed. Zhou counts out some chips, then counts out some more chips, recounts his stack and now leads out for 204,000.
Xiong looks unhappy but obviously feels he is behind and eventually finds the fold dropping down to just over 1 million. Zhou is now our chip leader with around 1.2 million.
Rathi Slips Up With Big Slick
A massive pot has just developed between chip leader Shashank Rathi and Daniel Xiong meaning that no sooner has Rathi edged out in front then he is right back down in the pack scraping it out with the rest of the medium stacks.
Rathi is the architect of his own downfall when he opens to 48,000 from middle position and action folds around to Xiong in the small blind. The Malaysian player likes to take his time over his decisions and this hand is no exception and he thinks it over for a good minute or so before announcing ‘raise’ and making it 80,000 more to go for a bet of 128,000 in total.
Rathi three-bets to 278,000 in total (150,000 more) and Xiong quickly calls. The flop comes a low but connected 8♣6♥7♠ and Xiong wastes no time in moving all-in for 301,000 in total.
Rathi seems taken aback by this turn of events and hits the think tank for a good 6 minutes. With just over 990,000 behind this bet represents a good third of his stack. Eventually though he does call only to discover some distressing news, his A♣K♥ is behind to Xiong’s K♦K♣.
The turn and river run out 9♦ and 8♠ meaning Xiong doubles to take the chip lead with a stack of 1.2 million while Rathi drops down to 692,000. Quan Zhou is in second place at present with just over 1 million, closely followed by Henrik Tollefsen on 950,000.
Rathi Takes Lead
Shashank Rathi is wasting no time here and is powering into the chip lead taking down back-to-back hands to edge into pole position. India’s Kunaal Chandra kick starts the action with a raise to 43,000 picking up two callers in the form of Rathi and Rono Lo in the hi-jack and big blind respectively.
Lo checks the 2♣6♣3♦ flop and Chandra c-bets 55,000. Rathi tanks for a minute before cutting out a large stack of yellow 5k chips for a re-raise to 155,000 in total; this is enough to get Lo to bow out quickly and after mulling it over Chandra also folds meaning Rathi rakes in the pot and climbs to just over 1.2 million in chips.
6:30pm: Level 13 Begins, Blinds 10000/20000 (3000)
Rathi Takes Down First Final Table Pot
With 9 players remaining and only the top 7 getting paid at least two of our remaining final tablists will be leaving empty handed. Sitting under-the-gun Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen gets the action underway with a raise to 38,000 and it folds around to Shashank Rathi in the big blind who choses to defend and we go heads up to a 9♦J♠J♥ flop.
Rathi checks, Tollefsen continuation bets 36,000 and the dealer burns and turns 4♦. This brings checks from both players and the A♣ river brings no more action either meaning Rathi’s 9♣7♠ is enough to take down the first final table pot.
6:25pm: Final Table Begins, Blinds 8000/16000 (2000)
6:10pm: 10-minute Break
We have our final table with the landscape looking like this:
Seat 1: Quan Zhou, China – 1,059,000
Seat 2: Shashank Rathi, Hong Kong – 1,027,000
Seat 3: Henrik Tollefsen, Norway – 961,000
Seat 4: Victor Chong, Malaysia – 264,000
Seat 5: Rono Lo, Macau – 225,000
Seat 6: Daniel Xiong, Malaysia – 615,000
Seat 7: Li-Ta Hsu, Chinese Taipei – 724,000
Seat 8: Makoto Yoshimichi, Japan – 415,000
Seat 9: Kunaal Chandra, India – 510,000
Hero To Zero
While Eddy Kim began the day as our chip leader tournament poker can be a fickle mistress and the ground can fall out from underneath your feet at any time. Unfortunately Kim has just discovered he has been sitting on a sinkhole.
A spot of earlier misfortune has seen Kim drop from 600,000 to what looks to be just over 300,000 and when he decides to defend his big blind against a late position shove of 178,000 from Japan’s Makoto Yoshimichi this falls still further.
While Yoshimichi is the at risk player his 7♣7♥ is in front of Kim’s A♠2♠ and stays that way when the board runs out Ace-less and spade-less. Yoshimichi climbs to 325,000 and Kim is left with what looks to be around 125,000.
This finds it’s way into the middle a scant few hands later when Kim shoves from late position with J♠4♠ and Li-Ta Hsu wakes up with A♠10♦ in the big blind and decides it’s good enough to defend with. Kim misses the flop meaning Hsu’s Ace high is enough to take down the pot and show Kim the door. That puts Hsu up to 724,000 and means we now have our nine-handed final table. We’ll post the chip counts and remaining players shortly so watch this space.
Ho Bows Out To Tollefsen
Cheng Ho has been ducking and diving for a while now but has just run into a body blow and been floored by Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen. All of the eliminations recently have seen all the chips go in pre-flop and this hand is no exception.
Getting dangerously short Ho moves all-in for his last 130,000 in chips holding Q♥10♦ and Tollefsen makes the call with the dominating A♦Q♦. Tollefsen pairs his Queen on the Q♠6♥J♣ flop and the turn and river run out 9♦ and 5♣ respectively meaning we are down to our final ten players. One more bust out and we have our final table.
Chandra KO’s Yang
We have just lost another player in the form of reigning APOY Jian Yang. At this stage in the tournament it’s about avoiding the car crashes as much as it is about running good. Unfortunately for Yang he has just run his A♠Q♣ into the A♣K♠ of Kunaal Chandra who has Yang well covered.
Both players miss the board meaning Chandra’s King kicker is enough to send Yang to the rail in 11th place while Chandra climbs to what looks to be around 600,000 or so in chips.
Kim Starts Comeback At Teng’s Expense
Eddy Kim has recovered from his earlier misstep against Quan Zhou, but it has come at the expense of Victor Teng. The two get all the chips in pre-flop with Kim’s 10♠10♦ slightly ahead of Teng’s A♠K♥.
Teng is the at risk player and finds no help when the board runs out 2♠2♥8♦8♥J♠ and we are down to 14 players. Kim climbs back up to 600,000 after the hand and he is now just a double up away from the chip lead, which is still held by Zhou who is sitting pretty on 1.2 million.
Last Gasp For Laidlaw
There has been a slew of action as the blinds continue their irrevocable rise. Australia’s Daniel Laidlaw has become our latest casualty as the action heats up in a car crash hand against Henrik Tollefsen. The two players got all the chips in pre-flop and it looks like we could even have a three-way all-in as big stack Shashank Rathi mulls it over for a bit but eventually decides discretion is the better part of valour and folds.
The cards go on their backs and it looks like Laidlaw is going to need some help to stay alive.
Daniel Laidlaw: A♣10♦
Henrik Tollefsen: 10♥10♣
The flop brings something for everyone coming down A♠10♠J♣ and despite pairing his Ace in the window Laidlaw still trails to Tollefsen’s set of Tens. The turn and river run out  and  respectively and we lose another. Tollefsen climbs to 600,000 after the hand.
5:20pm : Level 12 Begins, Blinds 8000/16000 (2000)
Vietnamese player John Huang has become our latest casualty to shrink our remaining field down to 15 players. All the chips found their way into the middle of the table pre-flop in a blind on blind battle between Hoang and tablemate Victor Chong with Hoang moving in from the small blind for around 150,000 holding K♥8♦ and Chong making the call with A♥4♣.
Chong pairs his Ace on the A♠Q♠2♠ flop leaving Hoang drawing pretty thin. There is no miracle runner runner and Hoang is left on life support with just 10,000 in chips.
This all finds it’s way into the middle next hand following a Victor Teng open for 25,000 and a call from Japan’s Makoto Yoshimichi. Teng leads out for 22,000 on the 7♠10♥2♠ flop, Yoshimichi calls and we go three way to the Q♦ turn.
Teng shoves for 150,000, Yoshimichi bows out and Hoang finds out the bad news – his Q♠3♣ is behind to Teng’s K♥K♦ and we are down to 15.
Kim Missteps, Quan Takes Lead
All it takes in No Limit Texas Hold’em is one mistake and the tournament landscape can drastically change. That’s just happened here on both of our two remaining tables. The biggest change in stack has just happened over on table one in a hand between Quan Zhou and Eddy Kim.
While we missed the pre-flop action we caught the rest of the carnage as it unfolded. Quan looks like he was the pre-flop raiser but has checked his option on a flop of 3♦6♠6♥. This opens the door for Kim who leads out for what looks to be around 30,000 only to see Quan check-raise to 75,000 in total.
Kim wastes no time making the call and we go heads-up to the K♣ turn. Quan checks for a second time, Kim fires for 60,000 and Quan check raises a second time. This looks obscenely strong but does little to deter Kim who mulls it over for a minute or so before calling…
The river is the 9♦ and Quan Hollywoods it up making as if to shove the river before checking. Kim thinks it over before opting to lead out for 140,000 leaving himself 370,000 behind. Quan has around 550,000 behind so it’s a significant decision and he tanks for what feels like an eternity before being clocked by Kim.
That galvanises Quan into making the call and Kim can only sigh as he rolls over A♦7♦, which is behind to Quan’s 10♥10♦. That misstep sees our chip lead change hands and Quan becomes the first player to break the one million chip mark – he has 1.1 million in chips while Kim drops to 370,000.
Shashank Rathi has been no slouch over on table 2 though, taking a pot off Cheng Ho on the river to climb to 950,000 in chips.
4:40pm Level 11 Begins, Blinds 6000/12000 (1000)
Chen Ho has just made his first step on the road to recovery after getting his Kings cracked earlier, though it was at the expense of Daniel Laidlaw. Ho moved all-in pre-flop for what looks to be about 130,000 or so with A♥7♣ and Laidlaw defends his blind with 8♣8♦.
The board runs out 7♣9♥K♣A♣2♠ and Ho is back in contention with a stack of around 270,00 while Laidlaw drops to just under 100,000.
Big Chick Kills Last Woman Standing
The field’s last remaining female player, PokerStars Pro Celina Lin has just departed, busted at the hands of neighbour Huidong Gu. All the action happened pre-flop with Lin shipping for 95,000 from late position and Gu tank calling from the hi-jack.
Tollefsen and Laidlaw fold out of the blinds and the cards go on their backs, Lin’s 6♥6♦ racing against Gu’s A♦Q♦. The flop is an unforgiving A♥10♦J♥ and while Lin picks up backdoor flush outs and additional chop outs when the Q♥ lands on the turn the 7♠ river sees our sole remaining PokerStars Pro head for the exit. Gu climbs to 380,000 after that timely catch.
Tollefesen Cracks Cowboys
Henrik Tollefsen has got his Day 2 off to a great start. The Norwegian was unlucky to get his pocket Kings cracked by Daniel Laidlaw’s Ace Jack late yesterday but it seems the boot is on the other foot today.
Sitting in early position with 73,000 Tollefson open shoves with A♣9♣ and is snap called by satellite qualifier Cheng Ho who has woken up with pocket Kings.
Unfortunately for Ho the Norwegian pairs his Ace to climb to just over 150,000 in chips while Ho drops down to around 140,000.
First Blood To Kim
Chip leader Eddy Kim has picked up right where he left off yesterday and has sent our first casualty to the rail. Cards are no sooner in the air before Richard Hu disappears in a flurry of chips. Hu, one of our shorter stacks with just over 13 big blinds, moves all-in with King Seven offsuit and Kim tanks for a minute before making the call with 5♣5♠.
Hu fails to pair his Seven or King and we have our first casualty of the day. That puts Kim on over 900,000 in chips – at least 200,000 more than next nearest rival Shashank Rathi. Of course this being tournament poker anything can happen and there is still a long way to go.
Short stack Liang Yu who returned with just 31,000 (3 big blinds) followed Hu to the rail shortly afterwards so we are now down to two tables.
4:00pm: Level 10 Begins, Blinds 5000/10000 (1000)
We Have Ignition
Cards are in the air for Day 2 of the High Rollers. Blinds are 5000/10000 with a 1000 running ante. Stay tuned as we bring you all the action as the afternoon progresses and we crown our eventual champion.
High Rollers return for more!
Welcome back to PokerStars LIVE Macau for our continued coverage of the Macau Poker Cup High Roller Event. Yesterday we saw a field of 59 turn out for the HK$80,000 buy-in event, and after the first day of play, we’ve reduced that number to an even 20. However only seven of them will reach the money, and only one will take home the HK$1,465,000 top prize as our champion.
The player with the best shot at the title is Hong Kong’s Eddy Kim, but there’s a host of talent still lurking in this field including 2014 APPT Seoul High Roller champion Quan Zhou, reigning Asia Player of the Year Jian Yang and Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin.
TOP TEN CHIP COUNTS
1. Edward Kim (Hong Kong) — 755,000
2. Rono Lo (Macau) — 698,000
3. Shashank Rathi (Hong Kong) — 653,000
4. Quan Zhou (China) — 518,500
5. Daniel Xiong (Malaysia) — 450,500
6. Kunal Chandra (India) — 314,500
7. Victor Teng (Australia) — 299,000
8. Li-ta Hsu (Chinese Taipei) — 297,500
9. Huidong Gu (Macau) — 279,000
10. Makoto Yoshimichi (Japan) — 229,000
Day 2 will recommence at 4:00pm local time where will we continue until a champion is crowned. Stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog for all the live action as it happens!