PokerStars Championship Macau: Tan’s the man with Peters in hot pursuit at Day 3 end

April 06, 2017

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Xuan Tan out in front

It’s been another eventful day here in Macau as Day 3 of the PokerStars Championship Main Event comes to a close.

Of the 151 hopefuls that started the day, just 37 remain to battle it out for their share of the HK$20,796,800 guaranteed prize-pool. Leading the pack is Xuan Tan who sits on a whopping 1.38 million chips. His nearest successor is Yan Li who sits on 1.002 milion, and David Peters in close-third following a late double-up against Ro Woong Park on 875,000.

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Great day for Peters

But how did we get here?

It was all doom and gloom at the start of play as we awoke to rain. But players flocked to their seats in high-spirits of crossing the line and making the money. And with a $3,130,000 (HKD) prize-up top (or $402,862) it was worth battling to get there.

But not everyone would.

Early eliminations included Dan Smith (who bizarrely turned up today wearing a dressing gown – either a prop-bet or a late wake-up after the player’s party last night perhaps?), Roman Korenev, Linh Tran and James Rann.

And although they went home empty handed, their early eliminations were perhaps easier to take than those that fell at the final hurdle. With 104 players remaining and 103 paid, it was the unfortunate turn of Xiaojan Luo to be today’s bubble boy.

His bust came after calling an effective all-in for the rest of his chips on a King high board. But his K♠Q♠ wasn’t enough to trump McAulay’s A♠A♦, as play continued and the remaining players pocked a minimum of HKD$62,500 for their efforts.

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The Luo down

As par for the course though, the bust-outs came shortly there-after. And they came quickly claiming Sofia Lovgren, Van Sang Nguyen, Hao Su, Xin Liu, Jun Liu and Yuki Ko to whittle 103 down to the remaining 37 players.

They’ll be back tomorrow at 12pm sharp local time to resume the action. As will we to keep you in the loop on how they get on.

Join us, won’t you? –DJ

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12:10am: Tan’s the man
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Play has officially ended and it’s Xuan Tan who still holds the chip lead with 38 left. We’ll be back with a full wrap of the day shortly. –JS

12am: Ko KO’d
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Yuki Ko falls in the last few hands of the day. It was a coinflip with Dzmitry Rabotkin that stopped him from surviving to Day 4. Ko was down to his last 130,000 and got it in preflop.

Ko: K♦Q♦
Rabotkin: 7♠7♥

Ko was already tapping the table to concede defeat by the turn when Rabotkin spiked a set on the 3♥10♠8♠7♣10♣ run out.

Ko leaves the poker room a little earlier than the rest of the field will tonight while Rabotkin climbs to 680,000. –BK

11:55pm: Four more hands
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Han Yu has been eliminated in 39th, and the clock has now been paused. Players will play four more hands before chips are bagged and tagged, and right now it’s Xuan Tan who’s still out in front. –JS

11:40pm: Down the Liu
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Van Sang Nguyen, Hao Su, Xin Liu and Jun Liu are the latest players to fall. –JS

11:30pm: Bech in the game
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Tommy Hjerting Bech just received a blessing in the form of a river card. He was all in for his last 69,000 and dominated by Fabrice Soulier when they got the money in preflop.

It was Bech’s ace eight to Soulier’s ace king and things looked pretty dire for Bech by the turn with the board showing 10♥4♣J♦2♣. That all changed when the 8♣ rolled off on the river to keep Bech’s Main Event dream alive.

Bech secured the double up while Soulier fell to 325,000 and took to his phone to text about the bad beat he’d just received. –BK

11:20pm: You never know what he has
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

David Peters has just doubled up. Surprised? No, neither are we.

He opened the hijack to 23,000 and was three-bet to 60,000 by Ro Woong Park. Back to Peters, he flatted and the flop fell 2♥10♥6♣. Both checked.

When the 3♣ turn landed, Peters paused for a long time before eventually leading out for 75,000. Park then looked at the dealer and made a triangle shape with his fingers, indicating he was all in.

Peters snap called, and here’s why:

Peters – 4♦5♦
Park – 8♣9♣

Peters had turned the nuts, but Park had plenty of outs he could hit on the river to eliminate the American. However, it came the 5♥ and Peters locked up the win.

In the very next hand, Peters opened to 23,000 again. “I have no idea what you have!” said Dong Guo, before calling in the big blind. He’d then fold to a c-bet on a 9♦2♥K♠ flop.

Peters is up to 880,000 now, while Park drops to 270,000. –JS

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Peters leaves opponents confused, and with less chips

11:10pm: Sofia says her farewells
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Sofia Lovgren leaves us after picking up pocket kings backfired on her.

She was scalped by Julius Malzanini after he put Lovgren to the test on the turn. Before that though, Malzanini checked from the big blind on a flop of 5♥2♠4♦, and Lovgren fired for 26,000 from the under the gun seat. Malzanini made the call and they went to the 10♦ turn.

Malzanini checked again and Lovgren continued for 46,000. After taking his time, Malzanini moved all in for 264,000 more – enough to cover Lovgren’s 210,000 behind.

“Pocket fours or fives?” pondered Lovgren aloud.

Ultimately she called it off and saw the terrible news that she was already drawing dead. Malzanini had flopped the good with A♠3♥ for a wheel and there wasn’t a card in the deck that could save Lovgren.

The dealer presented the 3♠ river anyway as Lovgren left her seat and headed for the cashier. –BK

11pm: Li gets the best of Hata
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Aymon Hata was in the cutoff and peeked down at something he wanted to open with. There was no action in front of him, so he made it 25,000 to go and only Yin Li called out of the big blind.

They saw a 3♠6♦A♦ flop and Li checked it, letting Hata continue for 22,000. She called and the turn came the 6♥. This went check check.

When the 4♦ river hit, it put three diamonds on board. Li checked, and Hata slid out a bet of 45,000. But Li obviously had some secret plans, and put in a check-raise to 110,000. Hata had to think for a minute or two but eventually laid it down.

Hata is on 535,000 now, while Li is up to 609,000. –JS

10:50pm: Death by quads for Lu
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

I’ll be honest, I didn’t see all the action. I did however get to the table in time to see all the cards laid out, Ryan Lu walking away, Ro Woong Park scooping the chips and the rest of the table taking photos of the board on their phones.

The board read 9♥K♣9♣7♣2♦ and Yu’s hold cards were 8♣10♣ for the flush. Not bad.

But not good enough.

He’d been hit by Park’s quad-bike: 9♦9♠.

Nh. –DJ

10:40pm: Big slick double for Xu
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Zinan Xu has had the perfect start to Level 19. He open-jammed from the hijack for 123,000 and it folded to the big blind of Van Sang Nguyen, who asked for a count. Then he called.

Xu – A♣K♦
Nguyen – A♠J♥

The board ran out 4♥Q♦7♠3♠8♣, getting Xu out of the dangerzone. He’s on 258,000 now, while Nguyen is down to 195,000. –JS

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Who can? Zinan can

10:37pm: 90 minutes and counting
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

AAAAANNDD away we go. Last level. Who will survive the day? Stick with us. –JS

10:21pm: Last break

The 46 remaining players are taking their last 15-minute break of the night. Back shortly. –JS

10:21pm: Metalidi gives nothing away
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

On the final hand before the break a big hand was developing between Artem Metalidi and Tianyuang Tang. I arrived to see K♦8♥6♣A♥ laid out on the board, and a bet of 141,000 laid out in front of Metalidi.

Tang (who I should add has a mask over his face to hide tells) wanted a read on Metalidi. And he did everything he could to get one. He stacked chips, un-stacked them. Raised them up and down, leaning over to gaze into his eyes, moved around to get Metalidi to look at him.

But nope – he couldn’t get absolutely anything from Metalidi who sat staring down at the table without moving a muscle.

After a good 10 minutes of this, and now five minutes into the break, Metalidi called the clock.

On hitting the countdown from 10, Tsang threw his cards high in the air to hit the muck. He tapped the table half in annoyance, half in respect for a nice hand. Metalidi scoops another 100,000 and goes from strength-to-strength. –DJ

10:20pm: Yu can do it
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Han Yu is stacking chips after ending up on the right end of a coinflip against Soichiro Kojiya.

Yasuki Tsuji started things with a raise to 18,000, and after Kojiya called, Yu shipped it for 88,000. Tsuji let it go but Kojiya made the call and the cards went on their backs.

Yu: 10♠10♣
Kojiya: K♠Q♥

Yu’s pocket tens would prove good on the 2♣9♥4♣2♠9♦ run out to see him secure the double up and knock Kojiya back to 455,000. –BK

10:15pm: A stack-off between Liu and Yu
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jun Liu just added 200,000 chips to his stack after piling the pressure on Ryan Yu.

Following Liu’s open to 18,000, it was Yu’s turn to act the aggressor by 3-betting to 47,000. It was called and the 7♠J♦5♦ hit the felt for a flop. Liu checked, and Yu bet another 46,000 before receiving a call.

It was on the turn when things really started to heat up. Liu checked once again before Yu pushed in a big stack of yellow 5,000 chips representing a 100,000 bet.

Not content to let him get away with it, Liu formed a triangle sign with his hands in retaliation to indicate all-in.

Yu let it go and his stack has taken a big blow. –DJ

10:10pm: Another masterclass from Peters
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

We never saw David Peters’ cards in this hand, so he could have had the absolute stone cold nuts for all we know. Regardless of what he had, it certainly looks impressive when you shove over a big pot-sized flop bet and get your opponent to snap-fold.

Peters was in the cutoff and opened to 18,000, which folded to Jun Liu in the big blind. He made a three-bet to 45,000, and Peters matched it.

On the 10♥2♥9♦ flop, Liu decided to continue with a pot-sized bet of 95,000. Peters, as calm and cool as ever, took his time but eventually announced he was all-in for 230,000 total. Liu snap-folded (but you already knew that).

Peters is on 410,000 right now, while Liu has 470,000. –JS

10pm: Adios for Aido
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Sergio Aido says goodbye after running a good pair into the better one of Jianbo Jiang.

We didn’t quite catch how much Aido was playing or when the money went in but Aido had 10♥10♣ face up in front of him, Jiang was showing Q♥Q♦, and the board read 8♠8♦9♥8♣6♦.

That was all she wrote for Aido – at least he gets to visit the cashier on the way out. –BK

9:55pm: A walk in the park for Guo
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

I arrived to see 40,000 chips in the middle and a hand in progress between Dong Guo and Ro Woong Park.

Guo had led out with a 28,000 bet on the 9♠9♣2♦ flop and was quickly called by Park.

The turn was the 4♣ – a relative brick which saw two prompt checks.

Guo lead out again on the river with a near pot-sized bet to 85,000. Park asked for a count before eventually making the call.

Guo showed J♦9♥ for a full-house and Park tamely mucked. Guo is now back up just over 300,000. –DJ

9:45pm: Nine lives for Zhu
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jun Zhu is counting his blessings and thanking his lucky cat card protector after an eventful runout saw him avoid elimination and double up.

Yuki Ko was first into the pot with a raise to 18,000 before Zhu picked up his cat and plonked it out in front of him to signal that he was all in. It folded back around to Ko and he called off Zhu’s 121,000.

Zhu: 10♥10♦
Ko: K♥Q♥

Zhu was flipping a coin for his tournament life and things weren’t looking good by the 6♦Q♠8♦ flop. The turn, however, well that was another story as the 10♣ arrived to guarantee Zhu the pot. The 5♣ river made it official and the dealer pushed the chips to Zhu.

“Lucky cat,” said Zhu and he raked in the pot.

Ko was left with 255,000 after the flip. –BK

9:40pm: One hand at a time
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Ask great tournament players for tips and they’ll likely say something along the lines of “take it one hand at a time.”

In poker blogging, however, that’s not really the case. If a really good one is happening in front of you, then sure – focus your attention solely on that. But if a bunch of hands are starting at once, sometimes you end up following four hands at a time.

I say this from experience.

Just now, I watched Renjun Yang open to 17,000 but get three-bet to 51,000 by Daniel Laidlaw on the button. Everyone folded, including Yang.

Simultaneously on another table I saw Xin Liu open to 18,000 under the gun, after which everyone folded.

At the same time I saw Wenlong Jin open to 18,000 and get flatted by Kiryl Radzivonau in the cutoff. They saw a 3♠6♦8♠ flop and Jin check-folded to a 25,000 bet.

And while all that was going on I saw chip leader Artem Metalidi open to 18,000 in the hijack and get three-bet to 50,000 by Yuki Ko in the cutoff. Metalidi called to see the 9♥3♣Q♠ flop, which both checked, resulting in the 7♥ turn. Metalidi now led for 75,000, and got Ko to lay it down.

Now I need a break. –JS

9:30pm: Metalidi knows what Lovgren has
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

And in this instance, I mean it quite literally.

Bear with me on this – it’s quite the bizarre one.

Sofia Lovgren opened the action and was called by Artem Metalidi on the button. But… Lovgren hadn’t seen the call. So, thinking she’d won the pot she flipped over A♣ before reaching out to scoop it up.

It was only then that she realised her mistake. “Agh!” she yelped. “I thought you said I’d won the hand!” she said to the dealer who was about to take her cards away.

After a few seconds of utter confusion Lovgren decided to pick up her card, turn it back over and continue to play the hand with her opponent knowing full-well what one of them was. The table looked bemused, but there were no complaints, and action continued to the flop.

It was 9♦7♥2♠. Lovgren led with a 20,000 bet after Metalidi checked and was quietly called. On the 5♠ turn both opponents checked.

With no ace in sight on the 3♠ river, Metalidi decided to lead, betting out a whopping 135,000 chips. Lovgren snapped it off. Sofia’s other hole card was the 9♥ for top-pair. But it wasn’t good enough against Metalidi’s 5♥5♦ for a set.

Metalidi now sits on a chip-leading stack of over 700,000, while Sofia is down to 420,000.

Turns out knowing one of your opponents hole cards can come quite in handy. –DJ

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Tip: don’t show Metalidi a card

9:20pm: Tsuji safe
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Yasuki Tsuji is not only still in the tournament but scored himself a double up after picking up pocket kings and getting maximum value.

Tsuji raised to 20,000 under the gun before Petar Kalev played back at him from the cutoff with a three-bet to 40,000. Tsuji then shipped it all in and wagered his last 97,000. Kalev snapped it off and the two of them flipped their hands over.

Tsuji: K♠K♦
Kalev: A♦Q♦

Tsuji had the best of it and even extended his lead on the K♣5♥8♠ flop. He let out a fist pump but froze up as the J♥ turn arrived to give Kalev four outs to Broadway. Luckily for Tsuji the 4♦ river was safe and he secured the double up.

Kalev meanwhile now sits with 155,000 in play. –BK

9:10pm: Peters folds, but still ends up paying it off
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Ro Woong Park had just won a pot, as he was still stacking chips when I arrived. Play folded to David Peters in the small blind who just called, and now Park – chips still in hand – raised his big blind to 23,000. Call.

They saw a 3♦J♠6♦ flop on which Peters check-called a 25,000 c-bet. That led to the 3♣ on the turn and Peters checked again, before Park checked back.

On the 4♠ river Peters checked a third and final time, but Park was done checking. He made it 40,000, and at this point a waitress came up behind Peters with a bill for some food or drink he’d ordered. She didn’t bother him though; he was far too focused.

In the end Peters decided to fold, and turned around to sign his name. The American is on 510,000 currently, while Park has 470,000. –JS

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Peters: “Waitress, this isn’t the check I wanted.”

8:50pm: Penultimate level
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Bums are back in seats for the second to last level of the night. That means we’ve got three hours of action left. –JS

8:37pm: End of Level 17

Players are now on a 15 minute break.

8:36pm: Andrulis annihilated
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Kristijonas Andrulis has just been KO’d by Zedao Ma for his remaining 120,000 chips.

I picked up action on the flop of Q♥4♦A♥. Play had been opened by Andrulis, who was 3-bet by Ma before a shove and both players getting their chips in the middle.

Andrulis flipped over A♠K♦, but it wasn’t enough to trump Ma’s A♠4♠ for a flopped two pair as the board ran clean. –DJ

8:35pm: Out on a Lim
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The latest player to fall is Yohwan Lim. Picking up the action on a 10♥7♥5♣ flop, Aymon Hata and Xin Liu checked over to Lim who bet 24,000. Hata flat called, only for Liu to then shove for 120,000. Over to Lim, he was in the tank when I arrived and stayed there for another minute or so. Eventually, he called.

Hata folded quickly and the cards were flipped: 5♦7♦ (two pair) for Liu, K♠10♣ (top pair) for Lim.

It would have to be a ten or king to save Lim, but instead the turn and river were bricks. Lim said his goodbyes, while Liu is now on 250,000. –JS

8:33pm: Peters puts the pressure on
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Whenever I watch David Peters play I always think how much of a nightmare he must be to play against. His table presence is up there with the best of them and his quiet demeanor screams at 100 decibels that he knows more than you, as well as exactly where he is in every hand.

This came to the fore In a hand he played against Ro Woong Park. I only saw the post-flop action but on a 7♣J♥A♥ flop, Park (small blind) checked, Peters (button) bet 18,000 and Park called. On the 4♠ turn Peters bet a further 73,000 and again Park called.

On the 4♠ river Peters would empty the clip. He fired out 200,000, which was almost a pot sized bet. Park had around 280,000 back and he spent a long time thinking over his decision, during which Peters just stared blankly ahead without a care in the world. Eventually Park folded and Peters won the pot. –NW

8:30pm: McAulay makes an exit
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Daniel McAulay won’t be surviving Day 3 here – he was just eliminated at the hands of Sofia Lovgren.

It was Jun Zhu who got the ball rolling with an open to 14,000, and after Lovgren called, McAulay tossed his last 23,000 into the middle. Zhu made the call but with the window now open, Lovgren decided to move all in with enough to cover Zhu’s 260,000 behind. Zhu let it go and the cards went on their backs.

McAulay: K♥Q♥
Lovgren: 10♠10♥

They were off to the races but it was Lovgren who would come out on top when the board ran out 4♣5♦4♠3♥9♥ to see the pocket tens hold.

McAulay’s day was done but Lovgren moved up to 580,000 in chips. — BK

8:27pm: Yu peeved about pre-flop fold
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Winfred Yu, with about 220,000 at this stage, is wanting to get his chips in the middle.

“All-in on the turn from me,” he said at the end of a recent hand. The problem was that Yu had folded pre-flop and was unhappy that the board would have brought him two pair.

“You think you’re ahead?” said an incredulous Wu Huihan, who had actually been involved in the hand, but had folded on the turn in the face of aggression from Dzmitry Rabotkin.

To rewind: Huihan opened the pot from the hijack, making it 13,000 to play. Rabotkin three-bet from the cutoff, putting 34,000 out there, and action made its way to Yu in the big blind. He later declared his hand to be A♣10♣ so we’ll believe him. However he folded to Rabotkin’s three-bet, an action he would come to regret.

Huihan called and the heads-up flop fell 4♣A♠Q♣. Huihan checked and Rabotkin bet 32,000. Huihan called. The turn was the 10♦ at which point Yu wandered over to a spectator on the rail and whispered, “So tilting. Ace ten of clubs. I had to fold to the three-bet.”

Huihan checked and Rabotkin continued his line. He bet 60,000 and Huihan folded.

The pot went to Rabotkin, who is Belarus’s last representative in the field. Yu then told the table about his pre-flop fold and added, “I want to gamble.”

Huihan said, “You don’t gamble.” That remains to be seen. — HS

8:24pm: Lovgren finds some luck
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

And she finds it late in the deck…

The action opened with Lovgren raising to 13,000. This was quickly re-popped by Daniel McAulay in the small blind to 41,000.

After some time, Lovgren (on around 244,000) shoved and Mcauley threw in a couple of chips to indicate the call.

McAulay flipped over A♦K♣ which Lovgren didn’t look best pleased about before revealing her A♠Q♥ holding.

It was all looking good for McAulay on the 9♥6♣7♠ flop, and again on the 5♣ turn. With only a Queen to save her or an eight for the chop, things weren’t looking good. The dealer then burned a card, and turned over the river card to reveal… Q♣.


Bad news for McAulay but good for Lovgren who’s now up to just under the half-million mark. –DJ

8:21pm: Yu’s not Guoing for it
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Dong Guo just managed to increase his short stack a little with some tricky small blind play. It folded to him pre-flop and he just completed the big blind, and Ryan Yu checked his option.

The dealer spread a 7♥6♣5♦ flop on which Guo fired out 6,000. Yu made the call and the turn was the Q♠, which Guo then checked. Yu then became the aggressor, making it 23,000.

Gup had 66,000 or eleven big blinds behind, and he decided to play for it all. He shoved and Yu had a tough decision to make if the few minutes he spent thinking are anything to go by.

In the end he laid it down and kept the rest of his 306,000 stack intact, while Guo increased to 101,000. –JS

8:19pm: Late-position raising battle
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Fabrice Soulier seemed to absolutely love his seat assignment at the start of the day and rocketed up the leader board thanks to his customary Gallic aggression. However, he’s been seated for the past little while to the right of Elliot Smith and he’s not getting anything through anymore.

Smith looks like the kind of guy who would be happy to give you and your board a ride to the beach in the real world, but he’s not going to give anything away at the poker table.

Just recently, it looked like there had been a late-position raising war between the two as Soulier had 38,000 out in front of him in the cutoff and Smith had 85,000 in front of him on the button. That looked like at least a three-bet and a four-bet, and probably actually a four-bet and a five-bet. Either way, Soulier didn’t want any further part in it and folded.

Smith has 530,000 to Soulier’s 355,000. — HS

8:16pm: But who’s the biggest?
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Thibaut Blondel and Aymon Hata are sitting on different tables and were both not involved in the hands in progress. However they were both idly riffling a stack of blue chips, which is entirely their prerogative as poker players in a six-day tournament.

But those blue chips were actually more significant than they might have thought. All of their other chips were in neatly-stacked, easily-countable piles of 20s and Blondel’s totalled 750,000 to Hata’s 760,000. In short, whoever was riffling the most blue chips was the tournament chip leader.

Although it’s difficult to be 100 percent accurate, it actually looked as though they were riffling almost exactly the same amount, which gave Hata’s stack a 10,000-chip advantage over Blondel’s. Those two have clear air at the summit at time of writing. — HS

8:13pm: What a mistake to make
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Anyone who’s played a decent amount of live poker will tell you that when peeking at your hole cards, you can sometimes mistake a four is an ace, and only realise your mistake on much closer inspection. In most cases this leads to disappointment, but for Avraham Oziel it proved to be a very timely mistake.

Ping San Chan had raised from under the gun and Oziel had called from one seat along. Chan then bet the 10♦10♥7♦ flop and Oziel stuck around. On the J♥ turn Chan fired again and this time Oziel moved all-in for 201,000 total. Chan called and then looked dumbfounded when Oziel turned over 10♣4♦ – otherwise known as the Jake Cody. Oziel then explained how he’d come to see a flop with that hand. Essentially he thought that the four in his hand was an ace and had he known it was a four then he wouldn’t have called. This mistake had cost Chan and the 5♠ river kept Oziel in the lead.

He’s up to around 500,000 while Chan was left with just 25,000 and was eliminated a short time later. –NW

8:10pm: Lovgren’s happy ending
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Picking up the action on a 3♣2♦3♥ flop, Artem Metalidi checked to Sofia Lovgren and she led out for 23,000. Metalidi made the call to see a 10♣ turn and checked once more, but this time Lovgren checked behind.

The river was the 6♥ and now Metalidi came out swinging with a big 86,000 bet, which was roughly pot-sized. Lovgren counted her chips, stacked them all neatly, placed her fingers around them like she was ready to push, but then quickly folded her cards.

In the very next hand she did the same thing but with a different ending. It folded to her in the cutoff and she opened to 13,000. Daniel McAuley was in the big blind and the Brit three-bet to 46,000 only for Lovgren to jam. He folded quickly and she took it down.

Lovgren currently sits with 250,000. –JS

8:07pm: Yu doubles…again
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

After making an unbelievable hero river-call with just a pair of 2’s on the river earlier on in the day, Zinan Xu has had a bad couple of levels. This time he doubled up Ryan Yu, who on the contrary has had a great few levels after doubling up twice in short succession.

This one came when Xu opened-up the action in early position and was 3-bet by Yu on the button. It prompted a shove from Xu for 186,600 chips, which was snapped off by Yu.

Xu showed 8♣8♦ and Yu A♦A♣. The board ran clean and the Canadian is now up to 420,000. — DJ

804pm: Lai loses with ladies
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Yunsong Lai just made an exit after a rough beat sent him reeling from the tournament floor. Lai got his last 100,000 or so in with the preflop lead against Kiryl Radzivonau.

Lai: Q♠Q♦
Radzivonau: 7♥7♣

The K♦5♣K♠ flop was danger-free but the 7♠ was the death knell for Lai’s tournament life. With just two outs left to save him the deck wouldn’t oblige as the J♦ river signalled the end.

Lai made his way to the payout desk and Radzivonau moved up to 345,000. — BK

8:01pm: Shoving table
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

There’s a lot of shoving going on on Table 5, where short stacks appear to have accumulated.

Van San Nguyen shoved on Winfred Yu–a four-bet jam after Nguyen opened the cutoff to 13,000 and Yu three-bet the button to 31,000. Nguyen moved all-in, which covered Yu’s last 150,000. Yu gave it up.

Not long later, Chun Ho Edward Yam open-pushed for 58,000 and Vitaly Tevis, with about 100,000 in his stack, pondered for a good long while in the big blind. Tevis folded. — HS

7:58pm: Family pot
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

At this stage of a tournament it’s rare for a post-flop pot to involve more than three players, but it seems not all the players got that memo.

In a recent hand Yan Li raised from under the gun and picked up five callers (yes five). In fact, it’s easier to tell you who didn’t call – Zedao Ma was the only player who wasn’t invited to the post-flop party.

On the J♣9♠5♥ flop Li c-bet 56,000 and Ryan Yu was the only caller. The J♥ fell on the turn and Li slowed down as she checked to Yu. He bet 50,000 and pretty swiftly Li check-raised all-in. Yu had about 210,000 back and elected to preserve his remaining chips as he folded. –NW

7:56pm: Burns beaten
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Well, well, well. Pocket eights beaten. It turns out, contrary to the report at 7:30pm below, that Ivan Deyra can beat the best hand in the continent.

It was actually the exact same set-up as described in that post: Deyra with A♣Q♠ against Kahle Burns’s 8♣8♦. They got it all in pre-flop for Burns’s last 100,000 or so and this time Deyra won the race.

The complete board read 10♦A♦6♣2♥J♣ by the time it was done. Burns made the final table of the Super High Roller event, but is not going back-to-back. He is out in around 60th.

Deyra, meanwhile, now has 275,000. — HS

7:54pm: Peters getting busy
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

David Peters’ stack has shot up almost 100K since we last caught up with him. He didn’t win much in these two hands though.

Peters opened from the cutoff to 14,000 and everyone folded. He’d open the very next hand too to the same amount from the hijack, and this time Fulong Chen defended his big blind.

Heads up to a flop, it fell 3♦4♥2♣ and Chen check-called a 13,000 c-bet. Both would then check the 8♥ turn, leading to the 2♠ river, pairing the board.

There’d be no more action however as both checked it down. Chen showed the A♠J♥ which certainly had showdown value on this runout. It had so much showdown value, in fact, that Peters also showed down the exact same hand (A♣J♦).

After the pot was chopped Peters sits with 494,000, and Chen has 158,000. –JS

7:51pm: Aido all in
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Sergio Aido was just awarded a decent pot after clashing with Yuki Ko.

We picked up the hand on the turn where Ko had checked from the big blind on a board of A♠2♥10♠J♥. Aido then made it 55,000 to go and Ko called to see the 7♣ river card.

After a final check from Ko, Aido dropped some chips into the pot and announced he was all in. Ko couldn’t contest and slid his hand face down into the muck.

Despite losing the hand Ko still has 380,000 in play, while Aido eclipses the 300,000 mark. — BK

7:48pm: Rabotkin racks ’em up
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

When Vitaly Tevis faced an all-in against his 15,000 open from Dzmitry Rabotkin in the big blind he admitted he was a little stumped.

“I really, genuinely, don’t know what to do at this point,” he confirmed after a long tank.

A call would see him down to just six big blinds – so the call would essentially be for his tournament life.

After the clock was called on him shortly-thereafter however, he was forced to make a decision. And he decided to call.

When Rabokin flipped over his 10♠10♣, Tevis slammed the table before showing his 8♣8♠.

The board ran 4♣3♠A♦9♦3♥ and sees Rabotkin climb his way back up to the tournament average with 258,000, while Tevis is left crippled. –DJ

7:45pm: Tan tans Ma
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Xuan Tan is cruising this evening and has now built his stack up to 615,000. The latest victim was Zadao Ma, who has to make do with about 180,000 right now.

Tan opened the pot in question to 13,000 and Ma called in the small blind. Two of them surveyed the J♠2♥3♦ flop and it went check (Ma), bet 18,000 (Tan) and call.

They both checked the K♠ turn and then the 9♣ fell on the river. Ma checked again and Tan bet 54,000. Ma called and Tan turned over J♥9♦ for flopped top pair, rivered two pair.

Ma let out a yelp and mucked. He was trying to tell us he’d been rivered and I’m going to choose to believe him. — HS

7:40pm: Chan’s the man
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

I’d already seen Pin San Chan shove once during this level, on that occasion, it had been for 88,000 and he’d managed to get the two players who’d already put chips in the pot to fold.

ping_san_chan_pscmacau_d3.jpegPing San Chan

When I next saw him in action he’d chipped up to the point where he could open with a normal raise, rather than a shove. He made it 15,000 from early position and the action folded to the Han Yu in the big blind. He took a look at Chan’s stack – it totalled 142,000 – and then moved all-in.

This sent Chan into a riffling frenzy and after a dozen or so riffles he decided that he was willing to play for all his chips and made the call. Yu rolled over A♦J♥ and it was a race as Chan held pocket sevens. They say it’s hard to make a pair in this game and the 2♦6♦2♥Q♠Q♣ board meant that Chan’s hand held up. He climbs to around 295,000 while Yu drops to 240,000. –NW

7:36pm: Peters on the up
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It’s looking ominous for the rest of the field now because David Peters has 405,000 chips and David Peters is very good at poker.

In the most recent hand he played, he got to a flop with Ryan Yu, which fell 10♠K♥9♠. Yu bet and Peters called. The 3♦ appeared on the turn and Yu check-called Peters’ bet of 34,000.

The 5♣ then fell on the river and Yu checked again. Peters bet it for 60,000 and Yu folded. It took a long time to play out, but the result was predictable from the start.

Yu has 225,000 still, but now has Peters two seats to his left. — HS

7:34pm: Ko catches Jiang
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Yuki Ko is climbing after picking off a sizable river bluff by Jianbo Jiang.

It was a 2♠5♥3♥7♥2♣ board and Ko checked it over to Jiang on the button. Jiang loaded up and slid a tower of chips worth 110,000 into the middle. Ko only took a few seconds to toss a chip of his own into the pot and signal a call, one that turned out to be good, as Jiang revealed 10♠9♠ for stone cold nothing.

Naturally that wasn’t good against Ko’s J♥J♣ and he scooped the pot to move up to 420,000 in chips. — BK

7:30pm: Deyra can’t beat eights
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ivan Deyra is good, but he’s not beat-pocket-eights good.

The money in this one probably went in pre-flop as Shyngis Satubayev only had about 90,000 to his name. But he also had 8♠8♥ and that was clearly going to win the race against Deyra’s A♠Q♣.

So it came to pass. The board was K♥8♣5♠10♦7♠ with the flopped set the bare minimum Satubayev will have expected.

Deyra is down to 100,000 while Satubayev is up to 200,000. — HS

7:25pm: Elliot Smith and his four ducks
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

This morning I went out for a walk here in Macau and ended up in a zoo. I saw monkeys, lemurs, ostriches and the like, but what I didn’t see were any ducks. It turns out Elliot Smith has them all.

In this hand Chuanshu Chen opened to 14,000 in middle position and Elliot Smith called from the small blind. The two went heads up to an A♦7♠2♣ flop, which both checked.

On the 2♥ turn, Smith led out for 15,000 and Chen made a call pretty sharpish, resulting in a river card: the 3♣. Smith bet 40,000 and Chen…well, Chen quickly put 55,000 in the pot. Only afterwards did he say “Call”.

Smith rolled over the 2♦2♠ for quad deuces, and Chen showed the A♥ but mucked his other card.

elliot_smith_pscmacau_d3.jpegElliot Smith

“Didn’t he raise?” Smith then asked. “It’s only 55k, it’s not enough,” explained the man sat next to Chen, Kiryl Radzivonau. “It would have to be half of your bet more.”

Turns out Smith missed out on an at least an extra 20,000 by a single chip. Still, he’ll be happy to be up to 485,000, while Chen is down to 38,000 now. –JS

7:20pm: Yu doubles through bad-beat
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

After losing a big pot to Ro Woong Park a hand before, Canadian Ryan Yu just got lucky against Dong Guo. With around 70,000 behind, action was opened by Dong before Yu formed a triangle sign to the dealer to announce his all-in.

After a little while (but not too long) – Park called. He flipped over A♣A♥, which was way ahead of Yu’s 10♦10♣. When the 10♠ hit the flop Yu proclaimed “Slow-roll justice!” as an Ace failed to hit on the turn or river.

“What?!” replied Jong. “That wasn’t a slow-roll, you’re the shortest stack – why would I care?”

I’m not sure it was an intentional slow-roll, or even a slow-roll at all. And after a while, I don’t think Yu knew either, apologising to Guo before stacking his chips.

Either way, slow-rolls are kind of a tradition here in China, so if it was meant, it’s just par for the course. Yu is now back to 162,000 –DJ

7:15pm: Kim KO’d by Lisawad
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Soo Jo Kim’s tournament has come to an end after a cooler saw him get the last of it in versus Pakinai Lisawad.

On a flop of 10♥9♥8♦ Lisawad checked from the big blind before Kim fired for 15,000 from the button. Lisawad then announced he was all in with enough to cover Kim’s 90,000 behind. Kim looked back at his cards and didn’t hesitate long before calling it off.

Kim: 9♣8♣
Lisawad: 7♥6♣

Lisawad had flopped a straight to trump Kim’s two pair, and while Kim had outs to a full house, none would arrive on the 4♣ turn or Q♣ river. Kim was sent to the cashier while Lisawad climbed to 280,000. — BK

7:12pm: Good start for Lovgren
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Sofia Lovgren just started the new level well with a little more than a double up.

After Yuki Ko opened for 20,000 in the cut off the small blind called before Lovgren shoved in the big for 86,000. Ko called, turning over Q♠Q♥ to Lovgren’s A♣5♣.


Sofia Lovgren: Double

The board was kind to Lovgren, landing A♠2♥9♣4♣J♣ to boost her stack to about 175,000. Ko meanwhile drops to 205,000. – SB

7:10pm: Off they go
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Away they go again. The plan now is to play three more levels of 90 minutes apiece. There’s poker all the way to midnight for the survivors–and for you, the reader. — HS

6:08pm: Dinner break
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

That’s the end of Level 16, but players are now off on a 60-minute dinner break. Back at 7pm. — HS

6:08pm: Hata takes even more from Sarmiento
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After emerging the victor of their 500,000-chip battle just a few minutes earlier, Carlos Sarmiento found himself facing-off against Aymon Hata once again.

This time the action was blind-on-blind with Sarmiento completing in the small blind to face a re-raise to 15,000 by Hata. He called and action went to the flop.

The cards that landed on the table were 9♠10♥3♣. Sarmiento checked, and Hata lead out for 11,000. With a hint of bitterness from their earlier battle, Sarmiento re-raised to 31,000.

The turn was the A♠, at which Sariento decided to lead out. He bet 35,000, which was promptly called.

On the 9♥ river, Sariento – almost without batting an eyelid – moved a large stack of blue 1,000 chips into the middle. It didn’t even look like he’d counted them. It turned out to be just under 50,000 which Hata called immediately.

With that, Sariento mucked his hand immediately and Hata didn’t even have to show his cards to scoop the pot. — DJ

6:07pm: Burns building
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Kahle Burns has had a very swingy day so far but at the moment he’s enjoying some of the nicer side of that variance.

We arrived at the table in time to witness the turn action with a boad of 8♣4♥9♠8♦. Burns led at it for 18,000 from the big blind and Graeme Siow made the call in the under the gun seat. The 2♣ rolled off on the river and Burns announced that he was all in.

Siow didn’t take long to call but saw he was behind the 8♥5♠ of Burns who’d turned trips.

Burns builds to 150,000 again while Siow dips to 95,000. — BK

6:06pm: What took you so long?
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

I arrived at the table to see that Albert Paik had shoved on the river of a 2♣A♣9♥9♦5♠ board. There was already roughly 140,000 in the pot and Paik’s shove was for an effective 70,000 as that’s all that Renjun Yang had left.

I don’t know how long Yang had been thinking for at this point but a couple of minutes passed and Kristijonas Andrulis decided to call the clock, complaining that Yang had taken long enough already. The floor arrived and Yang’s final minute in the tank commenced. With about two seconds left he called and Paik sheepishly turned over 4♣4♦.

Yang showed A♠K♣ and the table erupted. They couldn’t believe that he’d taken so long to call with that. “You’re wasting our time,” said one player. “I thought you had ace-jack or ace-ten,” said another. “It was for my life,” protested Yang. Despite all the protests the fact remains that he had made a good call and the pot was his. –NW

6:06pm: Wakeman with a decision
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The board was dealt 8♣9♦2♦7♣Q♦, a bet of 80,000 had been made by Xuan Tan, so all we were left waiting for was a decision from Matthew Wakeman.

matthew_wakeman_pscmacau_d3.jpegMatthew Wakeman

Wakeman was covered, so this was his tournament life, but his expression was that of a man itching to call. He was a bundle of energy, riffling chips with both hands and leaning forward. Then finally…

“At the risk of looking like a moron…”

Wakeman called. Tan turned over Q♥8♥, which Wakeman looked at knowing that his tournament was at an end. Energy now gone, he said nothing as he left. Tan is up to 440,000 – SB

6:05pm: Lovgren goes for the KO, but instead doubles Ko
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sofia Lovgren’s stack has just taken a big hit as Yuki Ko just doubled up through her. I missed the action, but in the end Ko was all-in with the K♠9♠ on a 2♠J♠3♠Q♥6♥, giving him a king-high flush, while Lovgren had the A♠10♦ for a busted nut-flush draw. Lovgren had to pay off the 126,000 that Ko had behind.

She’s down to 104,000 now, while Ko moves up to 292,000. –JS

6pm: Sarmiento’s snugness helps Hata
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Carlos Sarmiento is kicking himself after a tight lay-down cost him a pot worth over 500,000 in chips.

It folded around to Zihan Cong on the button and he moved all-in for 77,000. Sarmiento called that all-in, but Aymon Hata also decided to move all-in from the big blind with enough to cover Sarmiento’s 190,000 behind.

Sarmiento stood up and put his hand on his hip, clearly in pain over the predicament he was in. Sitting back down, Sarmiento took a good two minutes to finally decide to let it go, before seeing that he would’ve been flipping for the rest of it after folding A♣K♣ face up.

Cong: 9♣5♦
Hata: 10♠10♣

Cong meanwhile had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar and didn’t get away with it when the community cards fell 3♠4♠K♠K♥J♥.


Aymon Hata: Out front

Kong hits the rail while Hata emerges as one of the clear frontrunners with over 600,000. — BK

5:57pm: Fruity
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Two things about playing poker in Macau that you must know:

1. Pocket eights (or “lucky eights”) are always the stone cold nuts.

2. Anyone who has fruit next to their chips will almost always run good.

We’ve seen pocket snowmen win a dozen or so pots throughout this tournament so far, and of course we saw Steve O’Dwyer take down the Super High Roller earlier this week thanks to his lucky mango.

Trying to replicate O’Dwyer’s success is Yen Chen, who has his own lucky apple in front of him. How lucky is this apple? Well, it just helped him flop trips, we know that much.

He opened this pot to 12,000 and was called by Thibaut Blondel in the cutoff. The big blind called too and the flop came down K♠7♣K♥, on which Chen made a 12,000 c-bet. Blondel called, the big blind folded.

On the 9♥ turn, Chen fired again for 33,000. Call.

The board was completed by the 8♣ and now Chen bet 40,000. Blondel went into the tank for a minute or so before making the call, only to see Chen turn over K♣Q♥. Blondel showed his J♦J♠ after accepting defeat and dropping to 155,000.

Chen and his lucky apple are up to 320,000 now. His table better hope he doesn’t pick up pocket eights, or there will be no stopping him. –JS

5:55pm: Luska trumps Tsuji
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

PokerStars qualifier Nerijus Luska just scooped an 80,000-chip pot.

The action came with Luska min-opening to 12,000 which received two calls behind. As first to act, Luska lead on the flop which read Q♣4♠7♣ by betting out 18,500. It prompted a fold and a quick re-raise from Yasuyuki Tsuji to 44,000.

The action slowed down on the 5♦ turn, which was checked by both players.

On the juicy 6♣ river however, Luska bombed it. He counted out 70,000 chips before adding another 6,000 on top before shoving them in the middle. It caused Tsuji to give him a stern look before letting it go. –DJ

5:52pm: Liu loving life
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It takes some heart (and courage) to call off 30 something blinds on the bubble with ace-queen. That’s what Jun Liu did a couple of hours ago and since then he’s gone from strength to strength. He’s currently got a stack of 527,000 and that puts him very close to the top of the chip counts and perhaps at the very top. –NW

5:50pm: Lovgren up a little
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sofia Lovgren just increased her stack to around the 180,000 mark after a hand against Yuki Ko.

Ko opened for 12,000 in middle position before Lovgren raised to 30,000 from the small blind. Ko called.

The flop came 5♣9♠K♣, which was checked, as was the 9♣ turn. Actually the K♦ river card was checked both ways also, leaving Lovgren to show her A♦10♣ to win the hand. Ko drops slightly to 135,000. – SB

5:45pm: Big in Japan; huge pot for Kojiya
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Japanese player Soichiro Kojiya is up to 450,000 after winning a huge pot against Yan Li. It was actually James Tian who help really provide the fireworks in this hand. He shoved for 43,000 from early position and Li raised to isolate. She made it 90,000 to go and Kojiya then, in Li’s words, snap shoved.

soichiro_kojiya_pscmacau_d3.jpegSochiro Kojiya

Li wanted a count. It was 209,500 total and she peeled off the 109,500 more it would cost to call and assessed what she had left, which was about 250,000.

It was clear by this stage that this was no Hollywood act, she had a big hand and a tough decision. Ultimately she elected to call and saw the bad news when Kojiya turned over A♥A♠. Li opened Q♥Q♦ while Tian held A♣8♥. The board came 4♣2♣K♥A♦10♦ meaning Tian was sent to the rail and Li had to send almost half her chips to Kojiya. –NW

5:42pm: Aidon’t know how he does it
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sergio Aido just seems to go deep in everything these days. His stack has been trending upwards throughout this level, with this being the latest pot won.

After Jun Zhou opened to 10,500, Aido flatted on the button and the big blind called too. Three players saw the 9♠9♦K♣ flop, which checked to Aido. He came in for a bet of 12,000, which shook off the big blind before Zhou raised to 30,500. Aido called.

The turn was the 3♣ and Zhou slowed down, checking once again. Aido made it 24,000, and there’d be no raise this time. Zhou folded and has 325,000, while Aido is up to 285,000 now. –JS

5:40pm: Lai says bye-bye
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Kwok Lai has hit the rail after shoving over an open with A♣Q♥ for his remaining 52,100 chips.

It was called by Aymon Hata who held J♦J♣.

The K♠K♦4♣9♦7♠ board wasn’t enough to save Lai who receives $62,500 HKD for his efforts. –DJ

5:36pm: Out of Luk
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Tim Luk is the latest player to depart from the main event. He shoved for 56,000 in the small blind holding J♣10♦ but ran into Avraham Oziel in the big blind with A♥10♥.

The board ran 8♥6♥7♦4♦7♠ to dispatch Luk. Meanwhile Oziel is up to 350,000. – SB

5:35pm: Another player gone
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

A small gain for Pakinai Lisawad who knocked out Xiang Zhu a minute ago. Zhu had moved all-in for 33,500 and sheepishly turned over 7♠4♠ when Lisawad called and flipped up A♥K♦.

The board was straight forward, coming as it did K♣4♦8♦8♥K♥. – SB

5:30pm: Burns rides the rollercoaster
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It appears that Kahle Burns had doubled up since we last saw him but he’s just given some back. The beneficiary was Zihan Cong who has found a little breathing room now after a bad beat from Nerijus Luksa earlier.

We arrived just in time to see the dealer cutting down Cong’s 37,500-chip stack. The board read J♠4♣8♦3♥J♥ and Cong had 9♠9♦ open in front of him. That was good against the A♦6♦ of Burns who paid Luksa and dropped back down to right around 100,000.

Cong on the other hand moves up to 85,000. — BK

5:25pm: Lisawad’s woes
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It’s been a tough day for Pakinai Lisawad. The overnight chip leader was under siege almost from the start, and his stack of 301,000 has now been whittled away to a little less than 100,000.


Pakinai Lisawad

He just lost a hand to another former chip leader Joachim Bold. Having called Bold’s bet on the river, Lisawad winced at the sight of a turned set of fives, which beat whatever hand he decided to muck rather than show – his face took several seconds to return to normal. — SB

5:21pm: Karamanishvili KO’d
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It’s the hope that kills you. That and having the worse hand. Levan Karamanishvili and Petar Kalev had both got all their chips in the middle at some point during this hand and If I was a betting man I’d have the flop as the hot favourite.

I’d arrived as the tournament staff were counting down the stacks of the two players and saw that Karamanishvili had K♠8♠ and Kalev held Q♣Q♠. The reason the flop looked like the flashpoint of this hand is that the full board was 5♠7♣6♠A♥3♥. That flop had given Karamanishvili an open-ended straight draw, a flush draw and two over-cards. He’d missed his boatload of outs, though, and now had to wait to see if he had any chips left.

The stacks were really close, really, really close in fact so they needed to be double and triple checked. With those checks complete it was established that Kalev had 142,500 and Karamanishvili 142,000. Karamanishvili was covered by the slimmest of margins and he had to go. –NW

5:20pm: Meet the gang: Kojiya, Paik, Chan, and Metalidi
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

I was hanging around one particular table for a while, because every time I went to leave the action kicked off. Sat at the table were Sochiro Kojiya, Albert Paik, Ping San Chan and Artem Metalidi (among others), all of whom would be involved.

The first of one of the more interesting hands I saw started with an under-the-gun open to 12,000 from Kojiya, which Chan called on the button and Metalidi called out of the big blind. They saw an 8♦10♠2♦ flop on which Kojiya continued for 15,000 after it checked to him. Chan folded, but Metalidi called.

A 4♥ turn landed and it checked to Kojiya again. He made it 30,000 this time, and got Metalidi to fold.

In the next hand Paik opened and Kojiya called out of the big blind. When the 8♥5♠7♠ were dealt, Kojiya check-called a 15,000 bet, before checking the 9♠ turn, as did Paik.

The river came the 9♦, pairing the board. Kojiya checked a final time and Paik made it 20,000, which was quickly called. Kojiya showed the 8♦2♥ for a pair of eights to go with the nines on board, but Paik had turned a straight with his A♣6♦ and he raked in the chips.

After a few more hands I got chip counts. Paik has 458,000, Kojiya has 216,000, Metalidi has 311,000, and Chan is on 305,000. –JS

5:18pm: Guo loses a small one
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It’s been a good few days for Dong Guo.

A quick glance at his Hendon Mob page tells us that Macau has been good to him over the years – and he’ll be adding another Macanese pay-out to his list soon with all remaining players now in the money.

He’s sitting on a smidgen under 400,000, which was reduced just a little a few moments ago.

With 80 remaining in the field he lost around 40,000 chips to a river shove from Liang Xu. The board read 6♣10♠A♥A♦Q♥ and Guo had opened for 15,000. But the shove from Xu at a little over 60,000 proved too steep for Guo and he let it go. — DJ

5:15pm: Bold bullies Zhu
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

End-of-Day 1A chip leader Joachim Bold is still in contention and continuing to build – he just raked a pot from Xiang Zhu.

Players went three-handed to a flop of 5♠9♥6♦ and after Matthew Wakeman checked from the big blind, Zhu bet 20,500. Bold made the call from the cutoff and with Wakeman out of the way the dealer turned the A♥.


Joachim Bold

Zhu continued for 53,500 – leaving himself only 43,000 behind – and he looked a little unsettled when Bold instantly moved all-in behind him. Bold’s jam was for 114,000 so Zhu had a decision for his tournament life.

After a minute in the tank Zhu opted to let it go, and he still seemed in good spirits, laughing despite having just lost over half his stack. Bold now has 240,000 to play with. — BK

5:10pm: Making anonymity pay
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Kristijonas Andrulis didn’t want to show his player ID card. He considered it bad luck, so had it turned face down by his chips. He showed me, but insisted he turn it over again at once. No reporter was going to mess with his hot streak. If that meant remaining anonymous then so be it.

But I did get his name, because he’d just one a sizeable pot against Soo Jo Kim – proving that something was going right, whether it was the ID card or not.

Weirdly Kim had his card hidden too, but was having none of the success of Andrulis.

Kim opened for 11,500 before Andrulis raised to 27,000 in the cutoff. Kim called for the 6♠9♦A♣ flop, which was checked for a 10♣ turn. Andrulis fired out another 24,500, which was called, and then bet another 68,500 when the action was again checked to him on the A♠ river. Kim was ready to call once more, but showed nothing when Andrulis turned over A♥6♥.

So in short he’s turning over winning hands, just not his ID number. He’s up to nearly 300,000. It’s working out fine. – SB

5:05pm: Va Va Vu
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

A lifeline for French player Bernard Vu who got a much needed double up at the expense of Liang Xu. Vu was down to just 31,000 by the time he took a stand. He got it in good too, his A♠9♠ against Xu’s Q♥J♦. The 4♥9♦4♦A♥10♠ board meant the best hand held (shock horror!).

The outcome of the hand is that both players involved now have around 70,000.

Vu finished runner up in the APPT event here last May and clearly enjoys his time playing in PokerStars LIVE! Macau. –NW

5pm: Chen topples Jaksland
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The pre-flop action is unknown but on a 3♠Q♠2♦ flop Peter Jaksland open shoved for 41,000 into a pot of 43,000. Yen Chen was his opponent in the hand and he wanted a count before he decided what to do. His request was answered and, after thinking for about a minute, he made the call.

Jaksland opened A♣2♣ and he was trailing to Chen’s red sixes. The K♥ turn and J♦ river kept Chen in front and Jaksland said a few words in Danish to Morten Mortensen and then exited to collect his winnings. –NW

4:55pm: Luksa’s luck continues
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The Poker Gods seem to be smiling on Nerijus Luksa today. He just caught another favourable runout to keep his tournament alive.

Luksa raised to 11,500 from early position before Zihang Cong played back at him from the button with a three-bet for 27,000. Luksa made the call and the dealer spread a flop of 7♥10♥3♠.

Luksa checked it over to Cong, and when the latter continued for 27,000, Luksa shipped it all in for 71,000. Cong snapped it off and Luksa saw he had some catching up to do.

Luksa: 9♠9♦
Cong: K♠K♣

The J♣ turn card brought Luksa a little more hope with outs to a gutshot straight, but it was the 9♣ on the river that improved him to a set and kept him in the running.

“You’re so lucky today!” said tablemate Yan Li, who was the victim of Laksa’s last lucky break.

“Second time,” confessed Luksa, before stacking up a new total of 230,000. — BK

4:55pm: Hata doubles through Burns
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

When action folded around to the small blind of Aymon Hata, he completed to 5,000 and Kahle Burns checked his option. The dealer spread a 3♦7♥6♦ flop which Hata checked, letting Burns bet 11,500. Hata waited a little before calling.

The turn was the K♥ and Hata checked again. Burns continued with his pot-size betting trend and made it 33,500. Hata called again, his hand visibly trembling a little as he placed the chips in.


Aymon Hata and Kahle Burns: Neighbours at war

Finally the 5♦ river landed, putting three to a diamond flush out there. Hata insta-shoved, Burns insta-called, but mucked when Hata showed the 9♦7♦ for a flush.

The shove was for 88,000, which means Burns’s stack takes a huge blow down to 60,000. Hata is up to 260,000. –JS

4:50pm: Xu scoops the biggest pot of tournament
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It was the last hand before the break and it turned into the biggest pot we’ve seen all day.

It involved a giant amount of tanking, a giant amount of chips and a giant river hero call. Here’s how it all went down.

Action was folded around to Fabrice Soulier who raised it up to 9,000 in the small blind. Zinan Xu looked down at his cards in the big blind and re-clicked it to 26,000. Soulier paused before calling.

The flop was J♣2♦9♠, which prompted a check from Soulier, who was first to act. Xu led out again with a 16,000 bet. Soulier paused once again before calling.

The turn was the 3♣ – in typical fashion Soulier checked, and Xu led. This time for 41,500 chips. A big bet, but Soulier didn’t seem fazed, and called once more.

The river was the J♦. And for the first time Soulier covered his mouth to hide his face before counting out chips to lead. And lead he did – and he did it big. After counting up a seemingly endless amount of yellow chips, each worth 5,000, Soulier dropped 84,000 chips in the middle of the table to build an enormous pot.


Zinan Xu: Hero

Then Xu went into the tank. And the tank went on and on, and on a little more.

After about eight minutes the clock was called on Xu as most players left the table for the break. With 10 seconds left, Xu slammed his calling chips in the middle

The hands?

Soulier: A♣10♣
Xu: A♥2♥

Yes friends, a pair of twos were enough to scoop the biggest pot of this tournament and propel Xu into the chip lead. Easy game eh? — DJ

4:45pm: Lam chopped
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Poker, like life is not always fair, just ask Louis Lam. He got his stack of 30,000 in with A♥Q♠ and was in dominating shape against Niall Murray’s A♠10♠. But it was domination rotation on a 10♣3♠K♠7♦9♣ run out and Lam headed to the payouts table. Meanwhile Murray is up to 160,000. –NW

4:25pm: Break time
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Players are taking a 15-minute break, but we’re just writing up details of a spectacular hand at the end of the last level in which Zinan Xu made a brilliant hero call to win a 440,000 pot. Stand by.

4:25pm: Clear as day
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As far as affectations go, wearing glasses without lenses in is a peculiar one. But, I suppose in this enlightened age we all have as much claim to myopia as anyone else, so who are we to judge.

Had I been less pre-occupied by dealer’s lens-free miracle glasses, and looking instead through my own, I might have seen the action up to the flop of A♣J♦5♠ in the hand that would see Qifeng Duan move all-in for his last 50,000 behind a post flop bet from Thibaut Blondel, who wasted little time in calling.

Blondel: A♦Q♥
Duan: A♥10♥

The turn J♥ and river 4♥ sent Duan to the rail. Meanwhile Blondel now has more than 450,000. – SB

4:20pm: Loeser loosens and loses
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

One of the Germans on the final table of the Super High Roller a few days ago is very well known. His name is Fedor Holz, aka CrownUpGuy.

The other one isn’t quite as well known, but a deep run here to add to his third place SHR finish could change that. His name is Manig Loeser, aka the guy who just opened two hands in a row and lost them both.

In the first his 9,000 button open was three-bet to 21,500 by Dong Guo. Loeser folded.


Manig Loeser

Then, in the next hand, Loeser opened to 9,000 again from the cutoff when it folded to him. This time Guo just flatted, and Petar Kalev called from the big blind. The three saw a 3♠A♣7♦ flop which checked to Loeser. He continued for 10,000, Guo folded and Kalev called.

The turn was the 10♣ and both checked to the 3♣ river. Now Kalev led out for 38,000, and after a minute spent thinking Loeser folded.

Kalev’s on 145,000, Guo has 250,000, and Loeser has 160,000. –JS

4:15pm: Luksa-ck
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Wherefore art thou lucky mango? Where is your fruit now? Yan Li, the lady responsible for the whole lucky mango syndrome, just lost a hand in which she had the dominating hand. She should probably get to the fruit and veg shop during the break.


Yan Li: Doing all right despite the lack of fruit

She held A♣Q♣ and was up against Nerijus Luksa, who was all-in for 39,500. Luksa held A♠10♣ and connected with the 10♦9♣4♠3♣5♦ board to survive. To be fair to Li she seems to be managing all right without any fruit, she’s got 440,000 right now. –NW

4:10pm: Sealing the deal
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

You know when someone says at the poker table: “What do you want me to do? Do you want me to call or fold?”

Well that’s usually code for “Please give me more information”. However in a hand between Panagiotis Makridis and CJ Seal, in which Seal was doing the asking, it was 100 percent genuine.

The two Australians seemed like good buddies and they had the shared camaraderie of having both squeaked into the money. Makridis had now shoved his bowl of rice in – just 21,500 – and action had folded to Seal, who was in the big blind.


Panagiotis Makridis

He had just 21,000 total and said: “This is the best hand I’ve seen in hours.” He then asked the loaded question.

Makridis then said: “I want you to call,” and quick as a flash Seal’s chips were in the middle.

He turned over A♦J♥ and Makridis showed A♣5♠. The 8♦2♣10♠Q♦2♠ board kept Seal in front and left Makridis with just a single ante.

That went in on the next hand and there was no miracle comeback. –NW

4:05pm: False alarm
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Tim Shun Timpson Luk opened for 9,500 and found Yohwan Lim in the seat next to him ready with a raise to 27,500. The action was folded around to Fulong Chen in the small blind who sat and thought for a while before amassing a four bet of 68,000.

Luk asked for a count, while Lim looked on with his hand over his face, which he didn’t need to do as his face was already covered by a surgical mask. It looked like a big pot brewing, but when Luk folded, Lim followed suit. A false alarm. – SB

4pm: Tseng says goodbye
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The floodgates appear to be open with the short stacks getting in and gambling now that they’ve guaranteed a return on their investment.

Wei Ming Tseng was the most recent of those to exit – he ran into Elliot Smith and a monster hand.

Tseng piled it in from the big blind over Smith’s under the gun open and Tseng quickly found out he’d likely be saying goodbye to his remaining 38,500 in chips.

Tseng: A♥Q♠
Smith: K♥K♦

Tseng needed to improve but couldn’t do it as the cards fell 2♣8♠[h]7♣8♣. He leaves us with a mincash for HK$62,500 while Smith builds to 435,000. — BK

3:55pm: Let the post-bubble bust-out bonanza begin
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

As ever following the bursting of the bubble, we see a host of short-stacks shove to either double quickly or head home with money in pocket.

John Gallager was one of those out directly after the bubble. He got his remaining four big blinds in with J♥10♥ only to face the Q♣Q♥ of Michael Kane. Kane scooped the small spot as Gallager walked happily to the pay-out desk.

The next to go shortly there-after was Roman Papack whose shove with A♦8♣ was no good against Fulong Chen’s 4♣4♦.

Stay tuned as the field whittles down over the next few hours. –DJ

3:50pm: First Aido
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

In the first hand after the bubble burst (actually it was the second hand, but my headline wouldn’t work then) everyone folded to Jun Liu on the button and he came in for a 9,500 open. Sergio Aido was in the big blind and made the call, before insta-checking the A♠3♦9♣ flop. Liu continued for 7,000 and Aido called.

The 9♦ turn paired the board, and Aido checked again. This time Liu did too.

When the 5♦ hit, Aido started counting out chips and he took over the betting lead with a 19,000 wager. Liu took his time, picked his cards up in front of his face for a closer look, and made the call.


Sergio Aido: A new home in Asia

While he got a good look at them, we never saw his cards. He mucked when Aido showed the J♠9♠ for trips. Aido increased to 188,000, while Liu dropped to 270,000. –JS

3:45pm: First out
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

And on the bursting of the bubble 103 mobiles phones were suddenly swiped, and text messages sent. Maxime Adam had just enough time to send his before moving all-in with ace-jack, only to run into ace-king, making him the first player to finish in the money. – SB

3:40pm: Xiaoyang Luo bubbles the Main Event
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The bubble has burst and 103 players are all indebted to Daniel McAulay, who was the man who made it pop. This was no short-stack shove of a bubble hand, there was play down the streets on this one. The action was started by Xioyang Luo, who raised to 9,000, McAulay three-bet to 28,000 and Luo called.


Daniel McAulay: Bubble burster

The flop fell 10♥K♦4♠ and Luo check-called a bet of 25,000. On the 5♠ turn Luo checked once more and McAulay jammed all-in. Luo had about 115,000 back and he elected to call them off.


Xiaojan Luo, seated, takes his elimination in his stride

Once action at the other tables had completed they could turn their cards over. Luo had K♠Q♠, good for top pair and a flush draw. McAulay had A♠A♦ though and Luo was in rough shape.

He had 13 outs to win the pot on the river but the 8♦ was not one of his lucky cards and just like that the bubble has burst. –NW

3:35pm: Another bubble double
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Players are still one shy of the money after Tianyuan Tang was at risk but managed to survive the all-in confrontation.

The action folded around to Han Yu on the button and he pushed all in with enough to cover both the players in the blinds. Tang made the call from the small blind for his last 49,500, and with the big blind out of the way, players were instructed to keep their cards hidden until the hands at every other table were completed.

When they were given the all clear, Yu tabled a modest 9♣5♥ and Tang flipped up 7♠7♦. Players from neighbouring tables gathered around to sweat the action and a potential guaranteed payday but it wouldn’t come just yet as the board ran out 10♠2♥6♠A♠Q♥.

That means we still have 104 runners and hand for hand continues. — BK

3:30pm: Bubble up for Liu
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Gutsy. That’s the best way to describe Jun Liu’s decision to risk his chips on the bubble. He three-bet to 28,000 over the top of Shyngis Satubayev’s open. The latter then raised all-in and Liu called all-in straight away. Satubayev had 139,000 total so he had a comfortable stack.

Satubayev: K♦Q♠
Liu: A♣Q♥

Liu had put it all on the line with ace-queen, that’s some stones right there. The 9♣3♥8♦7♥4♣ board meant Liu held and he did a fist pump upon seeing the river card. Hand for hand play continues. –NW

3:25pm: “Here we go…”
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

“Here we go,” tournament director Rex Cheong said over the microphone. He lives for this moment, to announce the called all-ins to the room. Full details of what Cheong told the room will be with us shortly but [spoiler warning] the bubble has not yet burst…


Here we go! Rex Cheong on the mic

3:15pm: It’s tanking time
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It’s that time once again where we wait, and wait, and wait a little more… to crown the unfortunate bubble boy or girl. With the floor calling hand-for-hand at 104 players remaining of the 536 that started on Monday, we’re now one just one away from the money.

And with the min-cash sitting at $62,500 HKD (or US $8,125) – everyone’s hoping to make it over the line.

On quick inspection of the shorter stacks, there are a handful hovering around the five big blind mark. Quite short, but it’s unlikely to burst within the next few minutes at least.

Watch this space. — DJ

3:10pm: Stone bubble
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

They’re on the stone bubble. Hand for hand play has commenced. — HS

3:06pm: Should I fold or should I Guo?
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

This hand took way longer than it needed to, making Aslan Esenkulov’s elimination right before the money even more painful.

Dong Guo opened under the gun only for Esenkulov to jam for 35,000 a seat along. As the players were folding around someone accidentally folded out of turn and play was paused for the floor to be called. Why? I don’t know, and neither did David Peters.

“He just folded out of turn, let them play the hand!” a usually stoic Peters said aloud. That’s what happened eventually and it folded back to Guo went into the tank. He had plenty of chips to make the call, but still went into the tank. Eventually he matched the bet though.

Guo had the K♦10♦ while Esenkulov was in front with his J♥J♠. A bad flop brought the K♥4♣10♠ giving Guo two pair, and while the Q♠ turn gave him straight draw outs he couldn’t connect with the 8♠ river.

Esenkulov leaves us empty handed, while Guo is up to 300,000. –JS

3:05pm: Tu tanks and tanks
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

A middling-sized pot had developed between Yohwan Lim and Nan Tu. Well, for Lim it was middling, for Tu this was pretty much his tournament. There was 44,000 in the middle by the time they reached the river of a 7♥2♥Q♠2♦J♣ board. Lim bet 31,500, which was about half of Tu’s remaining chips.

The Chinese player tanked, tanked and then tanked some more. Eventually Kiryl Radzivonau had taken all he could stand and he called the flop. Tu continued to tank, but he eventually folded. -NW

3pm: Deyra denied
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Ivan Deyra is forging a solid reputation for himself on the European poker scene, and he’ll know that if he has designs on the game’s top echelons he’ll need to learn how to read random opponents very quickly.

So far, so good. He has more than 250,000 chips and he also just made a good lay down when faced with some aggression from Peter Ping.

Deyra opened the button to 11,000 and Ping three-bet from the big blind, making it 30,000 to play. Deyra motioned that he wanted to see Ping’s stack and Ping handily cut it down into manageable, easily countable smaller chunks. He had 110,000 back.

Deyra was clearly wondering whether there was a cavalier bluffing element to Ping’s move. (Ping, it should be noted, is a high roller regular with close to $1 million in tournament winnings. He is no slouch and won’t be one just to eke into the money.)

In the end, Deyra thought better of it and folded and Ping said he could see one card. Deyra indicated which one he wanted, and Ping showed him the K♦. Bryan Huang then said that he would have chosen the other one, and so Ping showed him that too. It was the A♦.

Deyra seemed happy with his decision. — HS

2:50pm: Bubble bashers
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Levels have now increased to 90 minutes in length and as the players return to action they’re just four places off the money. The big stacks, who’re in position to take advantage of the bubble include:

Fabrice Soulier – 393,000
Albert Paik – 370,000
Yan Li – 376,000
Elliot Smith – 351,000
Van Sang Nguyen – 350,000
Xuan Tan – 344,000
Viktor Ivanov – 325,000
Soichiro Kojiya – 315,000
Daniel McAulay – 315,000

2:35pm: Hanging on
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It’s going to be a long break for the short stacks in the tournament. Those who look most like bubbling include: Maxime Adam (39,500), Roman Papacek (20,000), Nerijus Luksa (29,900) and Aslan Esenkulov (36,500). They’re off on a 15-minute break now, with 107 players remaining and 103 to be paid. –NW

2:33pm: Kicked in the Shin
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Today was supposed to be a cruise for Hyoseob Shin. He bagged up 236,500 chips at the end of a glorious day yesterday and today was meant to be all about coasting into the money and then going all the way towards a potential final table.

Well, it might now be a struggle just to cash.

He has only 61,500 now having lost a pot of more than 150,000 to Ronaid Yu. It was a battle of the blinds, with what was likely betting on every street of a low board. The problem was that there were two sixes on it and Yu had A♣6♠.

Shin paid off a shove of 53,800 on the river with 10♦10♣. — HS

2:30pm: Mugging complete
Level 14 – 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Well, we’ve found him, the unluckiest man in Macau.

We wrote earlier about Egor Bulychev, who lost a race with ace-king against queens. Well, he just had ace-king beaten again by the J♥7♥ of Zhi Min Pun (who flopped two pairs), a pot that left him with 5,600 chips.

On the next hand Bulychev found ace-queen. With so few chips “shoved” seems the wrong word, so lets say he nudged his chips all-in. Pun thought for a second and then called, laughing as he turned over J♦3♠.

Those of us who’d watched Bulychev during this level though knew the writing was on the wall.

The flop came 5♠9♥6♣3♦7♦ to complete the mugging. Bulychev grinned, and took a long sip of water. But his eyes were on the bar in the distance. And who could blame him? – SB

2pm: The Laidlaw of the bubble
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

We’re getting to the point now where the bubble really is starting to affect the decisions the players are making and the following hand is a classic example.

Xiang Zhu was the player who got things started. He raised from the small blind, Daniel Laidlaw then made it 18,000 from the big blind and Zhu four-bet to 45,000. Would that be the end of things. No. Laidlaw simply moved all-in. He was the covering stack and Zhu now had a big decision for his final 85,000. He tanked for a decent amount of time, which was perfectly understandable. He clearly had a big hand but didn’t want to bust out so close to the money. Eventually he folded, but he so very clearly didn’t want to. –NW

2:25pm: Blame Aido
Level 14 – 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Actress and poker player Yao Meng is out of the Main Event. Details are unclear, but it was Sergio Aido who sent her to the rail just short of the bubble. Aido is on form and now up to 370,000 . – SB

2:20pm: Names for your new novel
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

A word for potential novelists: if you’re thinking of setting your next books in Asia but need some ideas for names, read about poker tournaments. You can learn hundreds of new ones. Here, for instance, are the players out of this tournament in the past hour (fair warning, not all are Asian):

Hau Minh Nguyen, Tyron Krost, Andrew Hinrichsen, Guofeng Wang, Stevan Chew, Antoine Hasbani, Jingxuan Zhu, Dan Smith, Beh Kok Weng, Wen Chen, Alexandre Moreau, Jung Chou Lee, James Chen, Angelina Rich, Dawei Zeng, Paul Vehvilainen, Ihar Pliashko, Tao Fan, Nino Franz, Alex Ward and Vinay Agarwal.

It think H.G. Wells got there first on Moreau, but go for your life on the other ones. — HS

2:15pm: Kim wins a race to survive
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Heard the one about the Ukrainian, the American and the Korean? It goes like this. Artem Metalidi raised to 7,000 from under the gun, James Tian smooth called from the button and Soo Jo Kim then shoved for 102,100. The Ukranian stepped aside but the American elected to look up the Korean’s shove.

Kim rolled over A♠K♣ and he was off the races against Tian’s pocket jacks. The Q♠5♦K♦ flop made this an uneven race and Kim held on the Q♣8♠ turn and river. –NW

2:10pm: Good timing for Chen
Level 14 – 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

A double up for Feng Wen Chen whose pocket queens survived a race against Egor Bulychev’s ace-king.

The board ran 10♦8♣6♦J♦7♥ to swing things in favour of Chen, who was in for 70,400. We’re down to 112 players with 103 finishing in the money. – SB

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

Here are a few of today’s players:


Carlos Sarmiento


Elliot Smith


Sai Wu


Yan Li


Dan Smith

2pm: Ishibashi over Burns
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

“What do you have?” asked Kahle Burns to Tsuyoshi Ishibashi after that latter had moved all-in. Understandably Ishibashi remained silent, tapping his hand on his leg to the rhythm of whatever music he was listening to. Ishibashi had shoved from the big blind for 37,900 into a pot of around 22,000. Burns was staring at the 10♣8♦7♣ flop and trying to make sense of it all.

He twirled a few chips in his fingers and looked even more intently at the flop. Burns, who came fourth in the Super High Roller a few days ago, had a stack of 160,000 and really seemed flummoxed as to what to do. Eventually, he folded and Ishibashi flashed the 10♥ as he took the pot. “Good hand, you had me beat,” said Burns to him as he took a sip of tea. –NW

2pm: Call for you sir… it’s a Mr Loeser
Level 14 – 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

I’d never watched a man get knocked out of a tournament this big while on the telephone before, but that’s what just happened to Antoine Hasbani. Which was a surprise really given that he’d called the all in of Manig Loeser.

Loeser: 10♥9♥
Hasbani: A♥Q♣

Before the board was dealt Hasbani’s phone rang. He ignored it as the board was dealt 10♠9♦4♠J♦4♣ amid “wows” from those around him, at which point Hasbani took the call.

My Arabic is rusty, so I can only guess what Hasbani told whoever had called at such an inopportune moment. But stepping away from the table he remained on the phone as the dealer counted Loeser’s all-in (34,500) and then counted what Hasbani had left (34,500), and then informed Hasbani (who had since returned to his seat) that he was actually out.

Hasbani paid no attention any of these details, and concentrated on the phone call instead, walking away as if nothing had happened. – SB

1:55pm: Paik assumes top spot
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Albert Paik’s day today has been all about picking off bluffs. And it’s been working pretty well for him. He has 445,000 chips, which is the likely lead at this stage.

The APPT Seoul champion didn’t win this small pot, mind you, but given that it took place at the exact time I was counting his chips, you’re getting to read it anyhow.

Paik opened the pot, making it 7,000 to play from the button. Ryan Yu called in the big blind and the two of them–Paik, from the United States, and Yu, from Canada–made it a North American battle at a flop of 9♠6♦3♥. Check, check.

The 8♠ came on the turn and Yu now bet 12,000. Paik called. Then the K♦ came on the river and Yu bet again. Was this one a bluff? Could Paik pick it off again? We’ll never know. Paik folded. — HS

1:50pm: Ward over Chen
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Weihang Chen got his remaining shrapnel in with A♥Q♠ and was up against Alex Ward, who had pocket tens. Although two overcards to the tens appeared on the board it was the two that didn’t help Chen. He whiffed completely and Ward is now up to just over 100,000. –NW

1:45pm: How now Zhou?
Level 14 – 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Body language can be deceptive, sometimes deliberately so, but there were moments in this hand where Jun Zhou looked beaten, only to show the winner at the end.

He’d opened on the button for 7,000, which Michael Egan called in the small blind for a flop of A♣J♥3♥. That was checked for the 4♥ turn card. Egan threw in 10,000 and Zhou did the same.

On the 2♥ river, Egan took a peak at his cards and bet 15,000. It looked like a stand off – who, if anyone, had the flush? Zhou looked the most concerned, right up to the point where he raised to 45,000. At which point he leaned back in his seat with his arms crossed – not exactly a “how d’ya like them apples” moment, more a “it’s out of my hands” play.

For his part Egan looked unflustered. Just suspicious, looking back and forth between the board and Zhou. Then he called.

Zhou leaned forward in his chair. There was a slight hesitation before he turned over A♥4♦, which looked pretty good to me, and to Egan, who folded without showing.

Egan drops down to 40,000 while Zhou now has around 235,000. There are 123 players left – 20 more eliminations before the money. – SB

1:40pm: Never in doubt
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Pocket eights. Still the nuts.

Weihang Chen got the last of his chips in with the 100 percent guaranteed insurance of a pair of pocket eights–8♦8♣ to be precise. Pakinai Lisawad, the overnight chip leader, called with 9♠9♥ and it only remained to be seen in what manner the nines would lose.

Actually, they didn’t lose. But they didn’t win either. The board ran A♥2♣3♣4♥5♠ and they chopped it up. –HS

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

There’s another HK$200K Single Day High Roller taking place today and it may well be that Dan Smith hops into that one as he’s just busted out of the Main Event. In his exit hand, Vitaly Tevis raised to 7,000 and Smith then jammed all-in. Ryan Yu was interested to know how much the shove was for – it was just over 64,000 – and having seen how much it was he then called, which forced Tevis out.

Smith: A♥Q♦
Yu: 10♦10♥

The 8♦2♦6♥ flop kept Yu in front and Smith asked the dealer for a diamond. No dice on the 5♠ turn though. Smith then pushed his Q♦ towards the spot where the river would be dealt as the dealer delivered the J♦ on fifth street. “She wants to hang out with her friends,” joked Smith when the hand was over.

It was reasonably close between Smith and Yu’s stack, but Yu had Smith covered and is up to around 150,000 now. –NW

1:30pm: Ko takes the shine off Weng’s tournament
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Yuki Ko is flying up the counts again and now sits with 255,000. He just took the last of the chips belonging to Beh Kok Weng, which leaves the field minus a man whose phone cover is fashioned after a bottle of kitchen cleaner.

Ko actually got some bonus chips too, previously belonging to Tianyuan Tang, in a hand that got a bit crazy pre-flop. It looked a lot like Ko opened from under the gun and then Weng moved all-in for 30,200 from the cutoff.


Yuki Ko: Flying start

Tang, in the small blind, called the shove, but then Ko four-bet to around 100,000, which was more than Tang had behind. It got beautifully animated at this point with most noise emanating from Weng. Tang folded whatever he had, leaving Weng to shout, “Ace-King!”

He was imploring that to be the hand of his opponent, but it wasn’t. Ko had A♦A♣ and Weng’s A♥K♣ was in dire straits. The flop brought the usual gasps as it was ace-high, with a backdoor straight draw for Weng. But it missed and he is out, short of the money. — HS

1:25pm: Another one gone
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

We’re inching closer to the bubble now and Wen Chen is the latest player to fall a little short of the money. He shoved for 33,000 exactly on a 9♦8♠5♣ flop. Yohwan Lim had already bet 5,200 on this street and debated long and hard before making the call. He showed Q♦8♣ for second pair and Chen had put his tournament life on the line with J♥10♥.

Plenty of outs then but the A♦ turn and K♥ river kept Lim in front and he’s up to 260,000. With that elimination there are 131 players remaining. Only 103 get paid so the bubble is unlikely to burst during level 14, which has just begun. –NW

1:15pm: Latest eliminations
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

All the following have something in common:

Linh Tran: toast
James Rann…out the door
Tou Ta-Wei: Ta-Went more like
Roman Korenev: krushed
Zhaojun Ruan…out the door
Junzhong Loo: flushed
Xiang “Down The” Pan
Carsten Jeppesen and Corey Hochman: Just out.

1:10pm: Peters and his trippy chips
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

David Peters has a playbook fatter than almost anybody in the game. The top-ranked live tournament player of last year has just about every weapon in his armoury. Today he is a short stack, but is somehow still managing to confuse his opponents.

Here’s a pot in question. Peter Jaksland opened to 5,600 and Peters called in the cutoff. Zigao Yu then three-bet into those two opponents, making it 11,400 from the big blind. Jaksland called and Peters called too.


David Peters

All three players checked the flop of J♣5♦8♠ and then the 5♠ turned. Yu bet 17,000, Jaksland folded, but Peters called.

The 6♠ came on the river and Yu checked. Peters said that he was all-in and the triangle was duly deposited in front of him.

Yu took a little while to think about things, but only belatedly seemed to realise that this shove wasn’t actually all that big. Peters had multiple towers in front of him, but didn’t have any 5,000-denomination chips, which are the biggest currently in play, and he also didn’t have that many 1,000-denomination chips. Almost all of his stack was 100-denomination chips.

In short, Peters’ stack looked a lot more valuable than it actually was.

Eventually, Yu decided to ask for a count. He was told it was just short of 40,000. Ah, still too big. Yu folded.

“His chips are tripping me out,” Dan Smith, seated the other side of the dealer, said of Peters. Peters, as is customary, said absolutely nothing.– HS

1:05pm: Is it possible to fall asleep in the middle of a hand?
Level 13 – 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

For a second it looked like Pakinai Lisawad had fallen asleep – all while playing heads up on the river, and with the action on him.

The board was J♣K♣4♣3♠5♦. Lisawad, the chip leader coming into today, was slouching forward, his hand propping up his head, and the distinct look of a man whose “last night” was still very much “this morning”. Then what must have been an internal alarm went off in his head, and he blinked himself back to life. He checked.

He was up against Michel Abecassis, who was very much awake. He’d found aces, and was in the process of reassuring himself that there was nothing Lisawad had that might threaten them. Satisfied, he called, and showed his hand.

He was right, Lisawad showed A♠10♣ and conceded the pot. He also sat up a bit, which given the money bubble is coming into view, is probably a good idea. – SB

12:55pm: Andrulis takes a hit, still flying
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Of the 536 players who entered the Main Event there were five players – 0.93% of the field – from Lithuania. Just one member of that quintet returned today and he was doing a good job of flying the flag.

Kristijonas Andrulis started the day in 16th spot with a stack of just over 195,000. He’d had a great start to the day as he’d run it up to 340,000. However, he just had a little accident in a hand against Jingxuan Zhu. The latter opened to 5,400 from the hijack and called after Andrulis had three-bet to 18,000 from the button.

On the 8♣J♠8♥ flop Zhu checked, Andrulis moved all-in and Zhu called off his final 43,300. Andrulis showed A♦K♥ and Zhu revealed that he’d outflopped him with K♦J♦. The Q♠7♠ turn and river kept the Chinese player in front and dropped Andrulis down to 280,000. That’s still plenty. –NW

1pm: More fallers
Level 13 – 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

In addition to Difelice, the early casualty list includes the following: Mikita Badziakouski, Georgios Zisimopoulos, Lee Hon Cheong, Erich Stadler, Yuening Chen, Satrya Teja, Sergey Lebedev. — HS

12:55pm: Defelice busts
Level 13 – 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The eliminations are coming at pace now, with Alex Difelice the latest to be sent to the rail.

He was all in against Levan Karamanishvili whose pocket eights would get the better of Defelice’s J♦9♦ on the A♣5♣4♥K♦4♠ board. He took it gracefully, but with a good chunk to disappointment to go with it. Karamanishvili edges up to around 150,000. – SB

12:50pm: On the Lam
Level 13: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The all-in triangles are coming out to play. There was one in front of David Peters, but he didn’t pick up any callers. However, there was also one in front of Louis Lam on the neighbouring table, and he got action from Paul Vehvilainen.

Vehvilainen was one of the overnight big stacks, returning with 195,600. But he’s lost about half of that, including the 46,200 that he has now paid to Lam.

These two hands played themselves though, even if I don’t know how the money actually all went in. Vehvilainen had Q♦Q♣ in the cutoff and Lam had K♣K♠ in the big blind and that was only ever going to end one way.

The board kept the kings in front. It came 9♣6♥9♠6♦A♠ and Vehvilainen cut out the chips to give to Lam. — HS

12:45pm: A present? You decide
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

A curious pot this in which the best hand may have been folded on the flop and the winning hand got there the hard way. It was Albert Paik who began proceedings, he raised to 5,000 from the cutoff, Alexandre Moreau smooth called on the button and Junzhong Loo then three-bet to 18,400 from the small blind. Both players called so we already had a bloated pot of over 60,000 by the time a 3♦2♣9♣ flop hit the felt.

Loo kept up the aggression, he led for 16,500 and Paik then raised to 50,000. Moreau shot back in his chair, he clearly wanted to continue in the hand, but 50,000 was a lot to do so. He reluctantly folded and Loo then committed his chips, which amounted to about 70,000 total. Paik called the extra and showed 8♣6♣ and Loo turned over A♦Q♥. He had no pair but he was in front. The 9♠ turn kept it that way but the 6♦ river meant Paik won the pot. Loo had maybe expected to be flushed out of this tournament but instread Paik had paired up to win.

“You’re ahead of aces there, he gave you a present,” said Shyngis Satubayev to Paik after the hand. While you can debate if Loo gave Paik a present, we politely suggest that Satubayev go look at an odds calculator. Paik would’ve been well behind to aces in this spot. –NW

12:40pm: Guo going strong
Level 13 – 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Dong Guo is something of a legend in these parts, with seven titles to his name (including a WPT) in the past three years alone. He just took his stack up to the 200,000 mark in a hand against Chen-An Lin, who’s also no slouch.

After Guo opened for 5,200 in the cut off he watched Lin raise to 13,400 on the button. After some thinking he then called to see the 7♦6♣Q♥ flop. Guo checked and then took a minute before calling Lin’s bet of 11,500.

But on the turn card 7♥ the initiative shifted back to Guo, who grabbed some yellow from his stack (each worth 5,000) and bet 35,500. Suddenly it was Lin doing the thinking, which led to a reluctant fold. – SB

12:30pm: Teja turns into trouble
Level 13: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

There are just so many ways poker hands can go wrong. Just ask Satrya Wijaya Teja. He returned today with 81,000 and now has 18,200 after shipping a bunch to Yen Chen.

It started when Teja opened to 5,200 from under the gun and Chen called two seats around. They then saw a flop of 4♠J♥2♠ and Teja bet 5,000. Chen called. The turn was the 9♦ and Teja bet 10,100. Chen called.

By the time the river was out–the 6♣–Teja had second thoughts. He checked. But now Chen took over and bet 25,000 leaving himself shrapnel behind. Teja then looked at his own stack and determined that he’d be pretty low if he called and was wrong. But call was the right play, he decided.

Chen rolled over 9♣9♥ and Teja was just about to expose his own hand with the confidence of someone who thinks he has won when he noticed the turned set. He mucked instead and now faces an uphill battle to make the money. — HS

12:25pm: Nice turn of events for Murray
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Having returned with just under 15 big blinds, UK PokerStars Qualifier Niall Murray was always likely to have to get busy to stay in the tournament. Ten minutes in he found a spot to do so. He shoved for 29,200 from the hijack, Stevan Chew re-raised all-in and everyone else folded.

Murray: A♠10♠
Chew: K♣Q♦

The Q♥5♠K♦ flop gave Chew the lead and he said to Murray: “You have some nice turns.” The J♣ fell on fourth street. “Like that one,” deadpanned Chew. The 8♥ completed the board and Murray doubled to 67,000 while Chew slipped to 35,000. –NW

12:20pm: In, out, then in again
Level 13 – 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

One minutes you’re in, the next you’re out, only to find you’re in again. Dzmitry Rabotkin had opened for 6,000 before Paul Vehvillainen to his immediate left raised to 12,500, prompting Rabotkin to stop slouching and sit up straight. When the action was folded back to him Rabotkin announced all-in, and Vehvillainen called.

Rabotkin: J♣J♦
Vehvillainen: A♠9♠

The flop came 3♣A♣K♥, at which Rabotkin laughed, and got ready to leave. The turn though brought the Q♣ and the river (if we hadn’t already telegraphed this enough) the 10♥. Rabotkin had to look twice, and it was only when Jainbo Jiang on his right tapped one of his the face up jacks that he caught on. Meanwhile Vehvillainen’s head had dropped.

Rabotkin is back in again, a double up taking his stack back towards the 130,000 mark. – SB

12:15pm: Ready-made Pun
Level 13: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Poker hand reports are often headlined by dreadful puns. It passes the time. And here’s a player who can help us raise the bar: Zhi Min Pun. Literally everything he does is a pun.

Not only that, but Pun is playing early assassin on Day 3 of the PokerStars Championship Main Event. He knocked out both Georgios Zisimopoulos and Erich Stadler on the same had, essentially doubling his overnight stack of 88,000.

That’s the best possible start for Pun and headline writers across the room. — HS

12:10pm: Shoving early
Level 13: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Oftentimes the period before the bubble bursts is characterised by tight play, but always the period immediately at the start of a new day is loose. What will prevail this afternoon?

Based on the evidence of a first walk through the tournament room: the latter.

On the opening hand, Ihar Pliashko open-jammed from the cutoff for his 30,900 and Maxime Adam, who had 53,200 in his stack, wanted a count from the big blind. Pliashko told him quickly because it was the exact amount that had been on the seat draw all night, and Adam folded.

Over on Table 16, Chenxiang Miao open-shoved for his 41,000 from under the gun and action made it around to Angelina Rich in the big blind. She had only 22,000 in her returning stack and folded. — HS

12:05pm: Too much party?
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The PokerStars Players Party was last night at Pacha Nightclub and perhaps a few of the players who’re still in the Main Event over indulged. There were a noticeable number of empty chairs at the start of play. Nino Franz, Albert Paik, Bryan Huang, Dilijiang A and Egor Bulychev are just some of those who’re yet to turn up.

None of the above are perilously short-stacked though, Franz’s stack of 81,400 is the shortest of the five. –NW

12pm: Cards are in the air
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Players are in their seats and Day 3 is under way. — SB

11:45pm: Welcome to Day 3

Good morning everyone. In keeping with the rather erratic schedule we’re back to a 12 noon start for Day 3 of the PokerStars Championship in Macau. But that’s where the familiarity ends. There are seven levels scheduled for today. The first two levels will be played at 75 minutes, with five more at 90 minutes, taking us through to about midnight.

It also means the bubble will burst at some point today, most likely within the first two levels, which will provide some early drama. — SB

macau_skyline_pscmacau_d3.jpegWe’re in there somewhere…

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

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