PokerStars Championship Macau: Zigao Yu leads after Day 1A

April 03, 2017

Let’s face it. Nobody ever won anything on Day 1A of a Main Event. The plan is usually straightforward. Survive the day and go on from there. A big stack helps of course, but you have to be in it to win it, and you can’t live by that type of fortune cookie wisdom if you’re knocked out before the real fun starts. You know, the bit where they give you the money.


All of which is easier said than done, and if you’re one of the 60 or so players eliminated after today’s six levels you might not want to hear it. In fact it’s best not to tell them. Change the subject if you can. And whatever you do don’t say “better luck next time”. In the history of poker that has never gone down well.

The flip side to all that is around 130 players made it through today, from a field of 193, led by chip leader Zigao Yu with 162,400.

zigao_yu_macau_med1a.jpegChip leader Zigao Yu (foreground)

It was a solid performance by Yu today, one that will represent the high water mark for those taking their seat on Day 1B tomorrow. Others to finish well included Daniel Laidlaw on 135,300, Ryan Yu with 125,200, and Bryan Huang on 83,400, all of whom will be listed on the day’s chip count page, which will appear here when it’s made available.

As players file out with the slightest of springs in their step we now wait for Day 1B, which starts tomorrow at the less familiar time of 6PM, which is 6AM ET and 11AM BST. We hope you can join us but if not you can catch up on our live updates from throughout the day.

Until then, good night from Macau. – SB


Day 1A coverage archive

7:44pm: Late double for Troyanovskiy
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy is now back up to the day’s initial starting stack following a late double up.

It came from a shove into Yuki Ko’s 5,775 river bet on a Q♥10♠5♦Q♦A♦ board for an additional 7000 chips.

Despite holding J♦7♦ for a made flush Ko didn’t look happy about the prospect of handing over any of his chips. And his inkling was right – Troyanovskiy flipped over 5♣5♥ for a made full-house.

It looks like he’ll be coming back for Day 2 on Wednesday as the clock is paused and the floor announces five hands left to play. –DJ

7:30pm: Some scores
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

While Daniel Laidlaw has the tentative chip lead right now with 127,000, others are enjoying good starts to the Main Event. Tamara Bremner is up to 85,000, while Frenchman Fabrice Soulier is on 75,000. Bryan Huang and Nick Petrangelo sit a table apart, and have 78,000 and 55,000 respectively.
Others play on.

Sam Greenwood has 35,000 while two seats to his right sits Fabian Quoss with 23,000. Daniel Nielsen, the man with the beard reminiscent of a man returning form the Klondike gold rush, has 26,000 on Petrangelo’s table, while Isaac Haxton, who finished in the money in the Super High Roller earlier today, has 24,500. – SB

7:15pm: Wang won’t quit
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Yang Wang just raked a pot after utilizing some preflop aggression. The action began when he raised to 1,300 from under the gun and Georgios Zisimopoulos next to act re-raised to 3,600. It folded around to Julien Rouxel and he opted for a cold four-bet to what sounded like 8,600.

The decision fell back on Wang but he wasn’t done, reaching deep before dropping a total of 18,500 into the middle. Zisimopoulos went into the tank but he couldn’t stick around, surrendering his hand and the decision over to Rouxel.

It was then Rouxel’s turn to tank, but after a couple of minutes he also gave it up. With that pot Wang climbed to 58,000 in chips. — BK

7:05pm: No mo’ Ho
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

As we enter the last level of the day, Maria Ho has suffered a late blow.

We picked up the action on the river with Ho facing an effective all-in for 15,000 from Viktor Jensen in the big-blind on a 5♥10♠Q♠K♣5♣ board.

Ho threw in a chip to indicate a call before Jensen flipped over J♥9♠ for a well disguised straight.

Ho looked like she knew the news before it came, mucking her hand and making a quick escape from the poker room. –DJ

7pm: Dammit for Hamnett
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

As the fifth level of the day came to an end, so did Benjamin Hamnett’s Main Event. On a board of 2♥2♠4♠5♠ James Tian moved all in. Hamnett didn’t take long to call either, but winced as Tian turned over A♠Q♠. That was the nut flush, which had Hamnett’s K♠8♠ beaten.

Hamnett stood to leave, and would stay that way, the 10♥ river card changing nothing. He wasn’t exactly happy, but then why would he be. Tian up to 42,000. – SB

6:55pm: No read from Kitai this time
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Davidi Kitai is among the late registers here on Day 1A. But it wasn’t the best of starts for the Belgian all-time money leader and infamous soul-reader.

Kitai opened the action to 1200 in late position and received two calls behind.

The flop of A♠4♥8♦ prompted checks all round, before Kitai continued the pressure on the 10♠ turn – which was called by one opponent.

The river was Q♣ which Kitai checked. When his aggressor continued for 4,000, Kitai decided to call. But even his otherworldly reading powers couldn’t have predicted his opponents Q♠4♦. Ouch.

Kitai is now down to 22,000 and a look on his face like he’s sucked on a giant lemon. I believe Steve O’Dwyer has a stash of sweeter (and luckier) fruit on his table over at the high-roller that he might want to borrow as we move into Level 6. –DJ

6:45pm: Gruissem out, while Laidlaw extends lead
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Chip leader right now is Daniel Laidlaw. He has moved up to 160,000 as we approach the end of the fifth level of play, with one more left to play. Whether or not he had anything to do with the demise of Philipp Gruissem is unclear. Gruissem spent the day in the seat next to Laidlaw and is now out. – SB

6:30pm: Good for Yu
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

There was around 20,000 in the pot and the cards were spread 5♦A♥6♦ when we arrived at the table. After an all-in for 29,850 the decision was on Zigao Yu.

He looked tormented at the predicament he had found himself in, standing up from his seat to study both the board and his opponent. After a few moments Yu did commit to a call and saw he’d need to fade a few outs to end his tablemate’s tournament run.

Yu: A♣Q♣
Opponent: A♦J♦

Yu had the best of it with the superior kicker but his opponent had every diamond in the deck along with the three remaining jacks as outs. Fortunately for Yu the 3♣ turn and Q♥ river saw his ace queen remain the best of it.

Yu now has 118,000 to play with. — BK

6:20pm: Liu leaves us as Agarwal chips up big
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Xuan Liu’s Main Event run has come to a close after she was on the unfavourable end of a three-way all in.

The flop was a monochrome 7♣9♣K♣ and Liu checked it over to Sven Andersson who checked it over to Vinay Agarwal. The latter fired for 2,500 before Liu moved all in over the top for 11,075. Andersson called to put her at risk and, after a moment of deliberation, Agarwal also committed his stack with a jam for 37,100.

Andersson went into the tank for over two minutes before calling to see his flush was dominated by Agarwal’s.

Liu: K♥9♦
Agarwal: Q♣J♣
Andersson: 6♣3♣

Liu had outs to a full house but the 6♥ turn and 10♦ river offered no help. She was eliminated as Agarwal’s queen high flush held to scoop the pot. He rocketed to just shy of 100,000 while Andersson was left with 17,500 in chips. — BK

5:55pm: Law laid down by Laidlaw
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Daniel Laidlaw opened from under the gun, making it 600 to play. Jan Petzholdt called, as did Koon Ng on the button, before Philipp Gruissem raised to 5,100 from the big blind. And so they went around again, Laidlaw calling while Petzholdt and Ng passed.

To the flop: A♦J♠10♦

Gruissem checked to Laidlaw who bet 5,100. Gruissem called.

They saw a turn card 6♥, but here’s where things came to an end. Gruissem checked again, leaving it to Laidlaw to bet another 11,500. Too rich for Gruissem, who cut his losses. He drops to 33,000 while Laidlaw extends his overall lead on the day, up to 115,000. – SB

5:50pm: Moraes makes an exit
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Rafael Moraes was the latest Main Event casualty after a cold deck saw him sent packing. Moraes got the last of it in preflop versus Liwein Sun and was chasing a king to stay alive.

Moraes: K♣K♦
Sun: A♣A♦

The J♠6♠7♠2♦10♠ board couldn’t save Moraes and he exited the tournament area. Sun is now shining with 56,000 in chips. — BK

5:40pm: Girls out in force
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Yet more familiar faces have joined the field here in Macau for Day 1A, with several female pros’ in the mix.

At the middle of Level 4, it’s Xuan Liu who leads the way among the 7 women that remain. Hot off the heels of her $250,000 WPT Fallsview Poker Classic win earlier this year she sits on 62,000 chips. Liu is followed by former near-November niner Gaelle Baumann who sits on 37,000 chips, around average. Maria Ho is also here and sits with a stack of 17,500. –DJ

5:30pm: Break

Players have left for their second 15 minute break of the day.

5:25pm: Kings
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Isaac Haxton had looked down at pocket kings, and probably figured this was a hand to pull back some of the chips he’d lost in the four levels played so far today.

He was up against Georgios Zisimopoulos, who had opened for 700 in early position, and Zigao Yu on the button, who had raised to 2,100. This was Haxton’s moment.

Taking his last 6,250, he moved all-in. He then watched as Zisimopoulos decided to call, sending the action around to Yu, who had no choice but to fold, not that he wanted to.

So how about those kings?

Well, Zisimopoulos had called because he’d looked down and found kings too.

“Chop?” joked Zisimopoulos, as the board was dealt with little drama and the pair of them chopped up Yu’s raise and the antes. – SB

5.12pm: Take my Mahhoney
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

What would you do with K♣A♠ facing a 3-bet on the river?

The board is Q♥7♠4♥K♥3♣ and you’ve just opened for about a third of the pot. That raise is for a good third of your stack- but there’s also 15,000 in the middle to be won, or about half your entire stack.

Doesn’t feel great does it? The flush. That darned flush! He got there didn’t he…

This is what I imagined was playing out in Wenwu Xue’s mind when he found the price of his thin river bet of 1,400 raised to 6,500 by PokerStars qualifier Patrick Mahoney.

After playing it out for a while in his head, Xue decided to make the call. And it paid off.

Mahoney flipped over 8♥7♦ – a decent bluff, but not enough to put Xue off. –DJ

5pm: Li lifts
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Yan Li kicked things off with a raise before Yang Wang three-bet from the big blind to 2,800. Li came back over the top for a total of 7,000 and Wang made the call to see a flop of Q♣J♠5♣.

Wang checked it over to Li and she immediately moved all in for 18,750. Wang almost beat her into the pot but saw that he was drawing thin to eliminate Li when she revealed A♠A♣ – well ahead of Wang’s A♦Q♦.

The 6♦ turn and 8♦ river changed nothing and Li’s pocket aces held to see her double through. Wang on the other hand fell to a still-healthy 62,000 in chips — BK

4:45pm: The plum plays
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

You might have read of a lady who two days ago gave Steve O’Dwyer a lucky mango. For the record O’Dywer is still very much in the Super High Roller event, down to five players, and which you can read about here.

The lady came over to the Main Event a few moments ago, and spotting Sam Greenwood came over to give him a report on O’Dwyer, or more specifically her mango, which most players have now accepted is a lucky mango and well, there’s nothing any of us can do about that.

Greenwood shared in her joy, before figuring he could use some help too.

“I need a lucky mango,” he said. “Do you have another?”

“No,” replied the lady. I only have one. But I do have a plum.”

In the circumstances Greenwood was happy to take anything, and the lady duly plunked a plum – a lucky one – on to his stack.

Just how lucky? We should know by about 8pm tonight. – SB

4:30pm: Tian takes a big pot
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

James Tian is now stacking chips after flopping the joint and getting paid on the river by Amirhossein Ahmadzadehvatani.

The board was spread 8♥A♥8♦2♥6♦ and after Tian checked it over to Ahmadzadehvatani he made it 3,250 to go. Tian then decided to play for it all, moving his entire 23,575 into the middle. Ahmadzadehvatani made the call but saw the bad news when Tian tabled A♣A♦ for aces full of eights.

Ahmadzadehvatani nodded with resignation as he fell to 21,000 while Tian climbed to 52,000 in chips. — BK

4:10pm: Alner and Troyanovskiy chop it up
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Tom Alner would undoubtedly have some great memories in this poker room. Macau has been kind to the Englishman who has won the Red Dragon title not once but twice. To raise another trophy here this week, however, he’ll have to do better than chop pots – something he just did with Russian superstar Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

Alner opened the action with a raise to 450, and after a call from Shinobu Tanaka, Troyanovskiy squeezed to an even 2,000. Alner played back at him with a four-bet for 5,100, and with Tanaka out of the way, Troyanovskiy called to see the 10♣7♣A♦ flop.

Alner continued for 4,000 which was met with a call before the 7♥ fell on the turn. After another barrel for 7,000 from Alner, Troyanovskiy raised enough to cover Alner’s 11,500 behind. The latter quickly called it off and the two turned their hands over to see they’d be getting refunds.

Alner: A♣K♦
Troyanovskiy: A♠K♠

The inconsequential 5♣ completed the board and both Alner and Troyanovskiy had their bets returned. — BK

4:10pm: J C down even more
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Poor ol’ JC Alvarado.

After losing half his stack on the last hand of level 2, and with 15,000 behind, he opened the action to 600. It prompted two calls from the cut-off and the button and a 3,700 re-raise from the small blind. Alvarado flatted the raise, as did the two opponents to his left.

The flop was 10♥2♠5♥ which was checked around before Alvardo took charge again on the Q♠ turn, betting 5,600.

But Quan Zhou who sits on just under $1 million in live tournament earnings had other ideas. He re-raised to 15,600 – enough to put Alvardo effectively all-in.

Clearly agitated, Alvarado let it go. He’s now down to just 10,000 chips from his 30,000 starting stack. –DJ

3:50pm: Better safe than sorry
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Usually any pause before a showdown suggests that the player yet to show has been beaten. It’s a simple process. You call and your opponent shows, at which point if you’re beaten you figure you may as well fold.

Well most of the time.

On a flop of Q♦3♠J♦ Isaac Haxton had his bet called by Keisuke Hikosaka. They both checked the K♣ turn, and when Hikosaka checked the 2♣ river Haxton fired one last time, making it 2,200 to play. If the check had suggested any hesitation on the part of Hikosaka it was misleading. He went immediately to his chips to call.

Haxton turned over his A♣Q♣. Hikosaka paused — suggesting he’d been beaten. Then he turned over what was a winning K♠10♠. He seemed unsure until Haxton tapped the table to tell him it was good. – SB

3:30pm: Hamnet holding on
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Benjamin Hamnet is still in the hunt after tripling up his short stack.

On a flop of J♦10♠8♦ Hamnet shoved from the big blind for his last 2,675 and was called in two spots. Despite having his tournament life at risk Hamnet didn’t look fazed, pouring himself another cup of tea as his two opponents checked it down through the 7♦ turn and 10♥ river.

“I have to show first?” Hamnet asked before casually flipping over 10♦9♦ for a straight flush.

“I wanted to get out of my chair and act like I was drawing dead,” he continued with a laugh.

Hamnet now has around 11,000 in chips at his disposal. — BK

3:15pm: Zhang crosses Quoss
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

It’s been a tough start to the level of Chunguang Zhang, zipped up in black leather. He lost a pot against Tamara Bremner’s flush, and then took on Fabian Quoss with similar results.

Quoss opened for 550 in middle position and Zhang called from the small blind. The flop came 9♣7♠A♦. Quoss bet again, which Zhang raised to 1,375. Quoss called.

The 6♣ turn card was checked for the 7♣ river. Here Quoss checked to Zhang, who bet another 2,150. Quoss didn’t need much thinking time, calling after a few seconds. Zhang grinned. He was beaten, and folded without showing, which allowed Quoss to win without showing. — SB

3:10pm: Yuen six-bet jams
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Lau Man Yuen was the beneficiary of a 40,000-chip pot, much to the chagrin of Liang Che.

It had already been three-bet before the action landed on Yuen and he put in a cold four-bet to 3,300 from the hijack seat. Liang Che was on his direct left and came in with a cold five-bet for an even 10,000.

It folded back around to Yuen and he tossed his last 19,400 into the middle. Che called it off and the cards went on their backs.

Yuen: A♥A♦
Che: A♣K♣

Yuen was in great shape to secure the double up, and despite a sweaty turn card, he managed to fade danger as the board ran out 8♠6♣7♥Q♣J♠.

He stacked up his newfound chips while Che dipped to 22,000. — BK

2:40pm: End of Level 2
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Players are taking their first 15 minute break of the day.

2:35pm: Go go Guo
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

On a board of 2♦5♥Q♥Q♣K♥ Dong Guo had some thinking to do. Xuan Liu, with an enormous bar of Milka chocolate next to her stack, had bet 2,000 and was waiting for his response. When it came it wasn’t exactly a welcome one. He raised to 6,500. Now Liu had some thinking to do.

Dong_Guo_Macau_med1a.jpegDong Guo

She thought, then grinned, and then accepted that she’d have to let this hand go. She mucked, dropping down to 14,500. Guo meanwhile, a familiar face in these parts, is up to 50,000. – SB

2:33pm: J C crucified
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

It wasn’t the best of hands for J C Alvarado on the last hand before the break.

Alvarado was the aggressor, after 3-betting an already large open from Jianbo Jiang in early positon to 10,300.

Jiang looked confused. “Aces?” he probed before flat-calling.

The 5♥Q♣3♦ flop slowed the action down with both players checking. It was Jiang however who picked up the action again by c-betting relatively small on the 2♦ turn and 10♠ river with two quick calls from Alvarado.

At showdown Jiang turned over K♠K♦ – Alvarado tapped the table before mucking. He’s now down to 12,000 from his 30,000 starting stack. –DJ

2:30pm: A few more notable faces
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

As we come to the end of Level 2, a few recognizable faces have woken late from their slumber.

John Juanda is one of them. He’s joined by a whole host of others that include Tim Adams, Jack Salter, Bryan Huang, Troy Queneville and Fabian Quoss.

Nick Petrangelo is also here, and was a little disappointed to see 2016 GPI Player of the Year, David Peters in the seat to his left.

But his seat draw could be worse… I’ve just seen the grim-reaper himself pull up a seat. –DJ

PSC Macau_Manuel_Kovsca_Lingling Nie 221.jpg

2:25pm: Give it to Greenwood
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Sam Greenwood hasn’t had the best start in this Main Event but he’s fighting back after taking down a three-bet pot.

It was Fabian Quoss who opened the action with a raise to 400 but after Tamara Bremner made the call, Greenwood squeezed to 1,400 from the cutoff. Both Quoss and Bremner flicked in the call and the flop was spread Q♥5♦9♦.

The action was checked around and the A♥ arrived on the turn.

This time there were only two checks and when the option landed on Greenwood he fired a delayed continuation bet. That was enough to get it done as Quoss and Bremner both relinquished their hands.

With that pot Greenwood moves back up to 26,500 in chips. — BK

2:10pm: Local heroes
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

To non-Asian audiences, it’s easy to miss some of the bigger names in Asian poker in the field today. Right now they include the likes of Bryan Huang, Dong Guo, Xuming Qi (runner-up in the MPC26 high roller event), Quan Zhou and Wei Zhao, widely considered to be one of the best online player in Asia. All have taken a seat for Day 1A of the Main Event. – SB

2pm: Push it to Petrangelo
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Nick Petrangelo is having a great week in Macau so far. He chopped the HK$80k event three-handed just a couple of days ago and is off to a good start in the Main Event.

In a recent hand, players went three-way to a 7♣2♥J♠ flop and after Nerijus Luksa checked from under the gun, Petrangelo fired for 550. Ka Kwan Lau was next to act and he wanted to play for more, bumping it up to 1,575.

Luksa quickly folded and with Petrangelo making the call the dealer turned the 8♣. Petrangelo checked it over to Kwan who continued for 3,700 which was met with a call before the 5♠ river completed the board.

The action was checked through on the end and Petrangelo tabled A♥J♥ to scoop the pot and climb to 34,000 in chips. — BK

1:50pm: Learning on the job
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

You don’t come to Macau for peace and quiet. Or if you did you’d be a little taken aback by the noise level in the tournament room.

At one end there’s the bar, playing music around the clock. Downstairs, below the mezzanine, the casino gaming floor comes complete with occasional jackpot winners in no mood to celebrate quietly. Then there the increasingly busy tournament room and the announcements for players over the public address system. Love it or hate it, you can’t say there’s a lack of atmosphere.

And there’s a new noise today, that of the Q & A featuring Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier.

These sessions are a great way to learn, and when open to all attract a crowd of regular and new players. You can hear first hand what it’s like at the cutting edge of the game, while asking questions to improve your own. Today’s session takes place in the Hard Rock Cafe, alongside the playing area; all of which is audible to the main event field. This presents the unique scenario whereby you can learn something about, say, post flop play, while actually playing a hand post flop. – SB

1:40pm: The Peters Projection
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

David Peters was among the first to take a seat in the Main Event this afternoon, and he’s started with intent.

After Huu Nguyen of Vietnam opened for 375 in the cut off, Peters raised to 1,200 on the button, which Nguyen called for a flop of 3♠2♥J♥.

Nguyen check-called Peters bet of 1,300 on the flop. Then on the 6♠ turn Nguyen checked again, only this time he passed to Peters’ bet of 3,500. – SB

1:30pm: Taking your chances
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

If you’ve experienced arriving in a new culture before, one completely different to your own, you might be familiar with the process of staring at labels wondering what it is you’re drinking, eating, and whether it’s supposed to be drunk or eaten at all.

Non-native guests of the Hard Rock will be familiar with this. The mini bar contains a drink that could be beer, or could be a sugary treat for children. For the non-native speaker though it was impossible to tell (thankfully we all speak a little Dutch and understand what Heineken means).

Benjamin Hammett got a little taste of this, so to speak, as he took his seat today. He had with him a bottle of something, which he took sips from. A player a few seats along asked what it was and Hammett joked “whisky”, but looking at the label it could have been. That or cough syrup. Hammett though had decided to take his chances with what he said was supposed to be fermented tea. But he kept looking at the label to make sure. – SB

1:20pm: Sharks beginning to circle
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Things may have started slowly but the field has quickly become host to a flurry of impressive players and an all-round stellar line up.

Joining the hunt alongside the other notables we’ve already mentioned include Sam Greenwood, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Xuan Liu, Daniel Dvoress, Wei Zhao and Ike Haxton.

Haxton jumped straight in after he was eliminated from the Super High Roller in 13th place. He only just survived the bubble to lock up HK$676,000 (~$87,000) and will be looking to go 12 places better in this Main Event. — BK

1:05pm: Early skirmishes
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Sam Greenwood just played out a small pot against Chunguang Zhang.

On a flop of 2♠8♣7♠ Greenwood’s bet was called for a 3♠ turn card, which Greenwood checked before calling Zhang’s bet of 375. On the Q♥ river card Greenwood checked again and watched Zhang, dressed head to foot in black leather, bet 1,500. Greenwood’s curiosity was too much and he paid up. Zhang showed A♠9♠ to win the hand. – SB

1:15pm: A river war
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

It’s not often you see a 4-bet pot in the first level of Day 1A. Especially with a pot starting at barely over 400 chips.

The battle began with Iranian high-roller Ali Reza Fatehi over-betting the minuscule pot to 2,200 on a 7♥6♠6♣6♥A♦ board. His adversary was Russian qualifier Asker Aloev who retaliated by bumping it up to 8,000. But Fatehi was having none of it and announced re-raise to a cool 22,000.

It was enough for Aloev to wave the white flag and admit defeat. Fathei, who took home just under $1 million in the EPT 12 Super High Roller in Monte Carlo is now on 47,000 chips – not a bad start to the day for him. — DJ

1pm: Shuffling your way over the language barrier
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Tables here are nine handed, which means the player in the fifth seat should be directly opposite the dealer. The message was late getting to one table, where former November-Niner Antoine Saout arrived to squeeze himself into a seat between four others who hadn’t yet got the memo.

Eventually one of them cracked, and not speaking the language of the others, waved them around the table to make more space. Vaulting over the language barrier they all agreed, six grown men, beginning a leftward shuffle together, and in unison, without saying a word. — SB

12:55pm: Greenwood gets started
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Sam Greenwood has arrived for the Main Event. He took his seat two to the left of Fabian Quoss, unpacking first a phone and then a tablet, marginally bigger than the phone.

He immediately got stuck in, winning a small pot by betting on the flop against PokerStars qualifier Tamara Bremner. – SB

12:50pm: More notables trickling in
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

We’re approaching the end of the first level here and the field is getting close to eclipsing 100 runners already.

Arriving to join the growing pack include Pat Mahoney, Sergio Aido, Benjamin Hamnett, Huidong Vu and Fabian Quoss. Quoss has over $9.6 million in live earnings so an impressive run here this week could see him surpass the eight-figure mark. — BK

12:30pm: What time do you call this?
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

It’s the start of a new era in Macau, but also the era of a new start, so to speak. The 12 noon kick off time is not exactly standard in Macau, which typically hosts event later in the afternoon, which then play later. Tomorrow’s Day 1B is arguably more forgiving to the late sleeper, starting at 6pm tomorrow evening and playing till 2am. – SB

12:20pm: Familiar faces at the felt
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Things have just kicked off and we’ve already spotted a few notables among the action.

The most accomplished in the pack appears to be American pro David Peters with $15 million in live cashes to his name. Peters claimed the ACOP High Roller title in this very room last November and will be looking for another huge score this week in Macau.

Also in the hunt so far are Daniel Laidlaw, Kelvin Beattie, Dong Guo, and 2016 APPT Manila champion Linh Tran.

Macau is notorious for its late nights and with the time only just ticking past midday we’re expecting a host of late entrants as the day progresses. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for any more familiar faces. — BK

12:10pm: Play starts
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Cards are in the air in the Main Event. Plenty of tables and a steady, if leisurely flow of players filling up seats. Plenty of complimentary Red Bull available when they arrive. — SB

11:50am: The Main Event steps up
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

We’re ten minutes from the start of play in the Main Event. It’s a relatively short day on the schedule today, with six 75-minute levels to be played, bringing things to a close at around 8pm tonight. — SB

11:30am: The Main Event steps up

while the Super High Rollers play on to a winner (follow updates of that here) the PokerStars Championship Macau Main Event starts today. We’ll have live updates every step of the way in both events, with Main Event coverage starting at 12 noon local time. — SB

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Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship Macau and all other Festival and Championship events.

Also all the information is on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Dan Jones and Brad Kain. Photography by Neil Stoddart.


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