Tuesday, 29th November 2022 07:49
Home / Uncategorized / 2016 ACOP: Last-gasp Team Pro collision sends Christner to ACOP chip lead


Christian Christner: Swiped chip lead at last opportunity

This time last year, Jimmy Zhou won $5,885,000 along with his ACOP Main Event title, and the headline news from the PokerStars LIVE card-room at City of Dreams Macau tonight is that whoever succeeds him will get even more.

Over another seven levels on Day 1B, 189 players registered to play this $100,000 Main Event, which brings our two-day total to 294, already 34 more than last year’s field. With registration open until the start of play tomorrow, there’s a pretty good chance we’ll get to 300 players.

The seven levels today contained a lot of thrills and spills, but none that gave us any significant clues as to the identity of Zhou’s successor. Such is the nature of tournament poker that even though Christian Christner bagged up the most chips–137,000, from a starting stack of 30,000–he is still odds against even making the final table.

The top of the counts is a great place to be–no one can deny that–and proves what a superlative day Christner had, ending with him snatching the lead by eliminating Team PokerStars Pro Kosei Ichinose on the last hand of the night. (Edit: Belatedly, word reaches us that Ichinose actually survived, with 100 chips–precisely one ante.) However there are no guarantees in this game.

What we do know for certain is the identity of numerous players whose race is already run. Bulgarian bracelet winner Simeon Naydenov was one of the first players knocked out today, but he was followed fairly rapidly by Steve O’Dwyer, whose aces all-in pre-flop couldn’t hold against Ace-Queen, and Isaac Haxton, who had Kings cracked by Nines.

Celina Lin watched Haxton’s elimination first hand, shortly before she ran Kings into Aces, and then lost the last of her chips in the last level, with Aces losing to Tens. That’s what happens sometimes. Vladimir Troyanovski, Dietrich Fast and Paul Newey were also among those knocked out today.

The likes of Chan Wei Leong (124,200), Dejan Boskovic (121,200), Sunyun Sheng (114,300), Takashi Ogura (112,100) and Martin Stausholm (96,900) will tell a more cheering tale. They are among the big stacks tonight, in a tournament that also still features Yuan Li (85,500), Justin Bonomo (17,900) and Tobias Ziegler (68,500), who made the final table of the Super High Roller, as well as Yaxi Zhu (58,600) and Chen-an Lin (46,000).

It’s also worth noting that three November Niners made it through: JC Tran (55,700), Russell Thomas (14,300) and Federico Butteroni (11,900) bagged chips. But there’s a WSOP Main Event champion still involved who pre-dates the November Nine era. Mansour Matloubi, the 1990 winner, flew under the radar all day and finished with 50,400. Here are the full counts for all remaining players.

The survivors from two starting flights converge tomorrow to play another five levels–here’s the seat draw–before heading off for the legendary player’s party. If anyone survives that, they can come back on Thursday and hope to play deep into the big money and for a place beside Zhou on the list of winners.

Look through today’s coverage below, then join us again at 2pm tomorrow.


Day 1B is a wrap!

That’s all she wrote for Day 1B.

It looks like Christian Christner is our end-of-day chip leader after eliminating Team PokerStars Pro Kosei Ichinose in the final hand of the night.

We’ll have confirmation and a full recap of today’s proceedings right here on the PokerStars Blog soon. — BK

11:05pm: Seven more hands
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 50)

The tournament clock is stopped and they are now playing the last seven hands of the day. Who on earth put a seven in the deck? Anyway, such is life. We’ll come back soon with a full recap of the day and the identity of the chip leader. It looks like being Dejan Boskovic, but plenty can still change.

11pm: Jaka making strides
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 50)

Faraz Jaka was under starting stack recently but a recent flurry has seen him build to almost double that.

In the latest pot he scooped, Pete Chen was first to raise with an open for 1,400 before Jaka three-bet to 4,500. It folded to Yuan Li and he opted for a cold four-bet to 10,300. Chen quickly got out of the way but Jaka called it to see the 89J flop.

Despite the preflop action the flop went check-check and the 3 appeared on the turn.

Li was first to act and he checked it over to Jaka who took the lead with a bet of 6,500. Li didn’t look impressed and turned up AK before flipping it back over and tossing it into the muck.

Li still has 78,000 worth of chips in play and Jaka is now stacking a new total of 59,000 — BK

10:40pm: Stausholm stacking
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 50)

Martin Stausholm just eclipsed the six-figure chip mark after a hand against Faraz Jaka.

Jaka opened the betting from early position with a raise to 1,400 before Stausholm popped it up to 4,500 next-to-act. It folded back around to Jaka and he made the call to see a flop of 6K5.

Jaka checked his option before Stausholm continued for 3,800. A call from Jaka saw the dealer turn the 9. Both players checked it through to the 5 river where Jaka checked for a final time.

Stausholm had other ideas, however, reaching deep into his stack and blasting 12,000 into the middle. Jaka had just 25,500 behind and couldn’t make the call.

The chips were pushed to Stausholm who now has over 100,000 in play. — BK

10:30pm: Checking in on the three Red Spades
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 50)

Team PokerStars Pro Asia may have lost its leading light with Celina Lin’s elimination a short while ago, but there are still three bearers of the Red Spade involved.

Kosei Ichinose has about 58,000, Yaxi Zhu has about 48,000 and Chen-An Lin has about 51,000. None of those are chip-leading stacks, but they’re around 20K more than players started with today and it’s good to show a return on investment.

Ichinose was just involved in a small pot against Shashank Rathi, but this wasn’t one to remember for Ichinose, for anyone actually. Ichinose opened to 1,500 from the hijack and Rathi called from two seats to his left, placing his chips on the actual button as if to make a point.

The big blind also called, and that meant three players saw a flop of 3K7. When action checked to him, Ichinose bet 1,400 and only Rathi called.

The 6 came on the turn and Ichinose checked. Rathi bet 2,600 and Ichinose folded. See, you’ve forgotten it already.

There’s half an hour until the end of play. –HS

10:20pm: Lin’s aces are the last she sees
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 50)

Celina Lin’s rough day at the office is over. And she went out with the best hand possible: AA. The only problem was that she was up against a pair of tens that made a set on the flop.

Lin admitted that she only called a three-bet pre-flop in a bid to get maximum value, but with a short-ish stack, she wasn’t going to get a fold from tens if she had jammed.


Celina Lin: Sick of aces

So that’s the end of the road for the Team PokerStars Pro, who must be sick of the sight of aces today. — HS

10:15pm: Tran takes one from Drinan
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

JC Tran’s stack is slightly bigger now after he took a few chips from Connor Drinan.

Tran opened to 1,500 and it folded around to Drinan in the big blind. Drinan picked up a 1,000-denomination chip and kissed it before tossing it on top of his big blind for a call – which was met with laughs from his tablemates.

“I think I’m gonna lose this hand, I’ve been running too good” Drinan predicted.

The dealer presented the 510J flop and after a check from Drinan, Tran continued for 2,000. Drinan tossed in a call and the 4 landed on the turn.

Another check from Drinan prompted a bet of 4,500 from Tran and that was enough make Drinan fold.

“I had eight-nine off” Drinan confessed after folding the open-ender.

He still has a huge stack of 94,000 despite that setback, while Tran climbs to 49,000 in chips. — BK

2016ACOP_MainEvent_Day1B Connor drinan.jpg

Connor Drinan

10:10pm: Nikolaev straightens out Cheng
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Nikita Nikolaev just doubled up through Leo Cheng, jamming for his last 16,625 into a pot of about 50,000 and a board reading 65J9J.

Nikolaev showed 78 prompting the dealer to declare it at first as eight high. But there was a very well concealed straight in there, which hit on the turn.

Cheng tried to muck his cards but was forced to show–that’s the rule with a called all-in–and he had AQ and a hero call that went awry.

I have absolutely no idea how they built a pot of this size with these cards, but that’s how it ended. — HS

10:05pm: Ziegler stacking chips
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Tobias Ziegler finished 4th in the Super High Roller for HK$2,459,000 this week and he’s looking for another impressive finish in this ACOP Main Event. So far his chances are looking good after raking in another healthy pot.

On a board of 9A1027 Ziegler bet almost full pot for 12,500 into the only active opponent. Ziegler’s tablemate couldn’t decide on an action and after a couple of minutes in the tank a clock was called.

A tournament staff member was beckoned over and after another minute of deliberation the hand was ultimately dead. The dealer retrieved the dead hand and awarded the pot to Ziegler, who now sits with 61,000 in chips. — BK

9:55pm: Boskov emerges to challenge Addamo
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

Dejan Boskov, sitting on the same table as Yaxi Zho, has about 130,000 chips now and that is marginally ahead of Michael Addamo for the biggest stack in the room at this stage.


Dejan Boskovic: Moves into contention

Meanwhile, the Winfred Yu table (as featured many times below) has now broken, scattering the sharks through the field. Russell Thomas, for instance, is now sitting to Boskov’s immediate right. — HS

9:37pm: Last break of the day
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Jusst one more level to play after a 10-minute break. –MC

9:36pm: Don’t be sad, we’re not at a Wakeman – I’m still alive
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

He may have been short, but his was still alive and now Matthew Wakeman is almost healthy after a double up. He was down to 7,675 when he was all-in and found a customer in the shape of Ro Woong Park.

Wakeman: QQ
Park: 1010

The board ran 82QA[j]d to make the Aussie a set. –MC

9:35pm: Quads for Soyza
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Michael Soyza had a tumultuous start to Day 1B but he’s back over starting stack now after finding quads and getting maximum value from Zhao Ruan.

Soyza raised to 1,200 from the hijack seat and Ruan called on the button to see the AQQ flop. The action went check-check and the 3 arrived on the turn. Soyza made a delayed continuation bet for 1,800 and Ruan called before the Q brought trips on board for the river.

Soyza then moved in with an overbet jam for 13,400 to send Ruan into the tank. Ultimately Ruan called after giving it some thought and saw the bad news when Soyza tabled QJ for four of a kind. Ruan’s A4 full house couldn’t compete and Soyza moved up to 33,900. — BK

9:30pm: #bustonoko
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

No further explanation necessary:

9:20pm: Who shot JFK?
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Winfred Yu’s conspiracy theory about the line-up of Table 6 today is surely only gaining credibility. Ben Hamnett has been knocked out now, but arriving in his place: Vladimir Geshkenbein. Yes, that’s the EPT Main Event and APPT High Roller-winning Vladimir Geshkenbein.

So we’ve a WPT champion there. We’ve had a SCOOP champion there. We’ve still got a November Niner there. And now we have an EPT champion there. And that’s just the start of it. — HS

9:15pm: Bigger and better
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

We’re coming towards the end of Level 6 and, after another 10-minute break, the next will be the final level of the day. The tournament information board shows 187 players have now registered for this event and, if you add that to yesterday’s 105, we have comfortably beaten the 260 who played this event last year.

Jimmy Zhou was last year’s champion, winning $5.885 million (US $750,000 approx), and so this year the winner will get even more. If you’re in Macau–or even if you’re not–get yourself over to PokerStars LIVE at the City of Dreams and buy in. Registration is open until the start of play tomorrow.

The fantastic structure means that even at the start of Level 8 tomorrow, your starting stack will be worth 33 big blinds. Roll up, roll up.

9:10pm: Mis-click click-back
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Ognjan Dimov is closing in on the 100,000-chip mark having taken a decent pot from Michael Addamo and leaving Addamo on almost exactly the same count.

They managed to get about 24,000 in the pot pre-flop and then saw the dealer deliver the 79K. Addamo, who was UTG+1 pre-flop, bet 4,000 and Dimov, with the button still in front of him, called.

The K came on the turn and Addamo now put out a far more sizeable bet of 14,000. Dimov may or may not have been wanting to raise when he pushed 24,000 forward. It looked as though he may have miscounted how many gold chips Addamo had put forward to bet, and had actually been wanting to call. However, he quickly saw the error of his ways and put another 4,000 forward to represent a legitimate raise, a click-back.

Addamo had about 100,000 in his stack still, which was four times what Dimov still had behind. Addamo folded.

Dimov said something to Addamo that I didn’t quite catch, showing him the AK as he did. With a hand that strong–ie, top two and a redraw to the nut flush, plus position on Addamo–it seems likely Dimov was only trying to call and extract some more on the river.

As it was, he had to make do with enough to put his stack very close to triple figures. — HS

9:05pm: News in brief
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

A few happenings from one corner of the tournament floor:

– Former APPT champion Yuguang Li’s stack has been fluctuating. He folded to a barrage of pressure from a player to his left, then got them back from JP Kelly in a battle of blinds. He raised Kelly’s flop bet, then went on to bet 7,00 and 16,000 on the turn and river. The final board read 44689 and Kelly folded on the river to drop to 40,000. Yuguang moved up to 90,000.

-Former PCA champion Dimitar Danchev has been eliminated. He three-bet-called all-in with AK but his opponent had KK and improved as the board ran K83510.

– Kitt Kuo’s at that table and has got herself back to almost starting stack. There was a raise to 1,200 before another player threw in some chips. It was more than a call but not enough for a three-bet, but seeing as it was more than 50% of a call, he had to min-raise to 2,000. Kuo might’ve seen an opportunity to exploit as she four-bet to 6,000 and both opponents folded. –MC

8:50pm: Corner of superstars
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Winfred Yu is furious. Well, he’s not really, but he’s pretending he is. “There’s something wrong with this table!” he shouted. “They put all the best guys here.”

Dong Kim has been knocked out now, but his vacant seat has now been filled with Sergio Aido, fresh from back-to-back final tables in Manila. Aido is actually going from tough table to tough table. He was recently seated with Henrik Tollefsen and Wayne Zhang, who is considered in these parts to be the absolute real deal.

Zhang has only been on the live scene four about two years, but has more than 30 major tournament cashes. He has taken a couple of successful forays to Europe recently too and his star is still in the ascendant.

Until the Aido/Zhang/Tollefsen table was broken, you could find all of the following in a very small part of the room:

Martin Stausholm — 105,000
Henrik Tollefsen — 90,000
Winfred Yu — 53,000
Christian Christner — 52,000
Pratyush Buddiga — 50,000
Justin Bonomo — 50,000
Senh Ung — 44,000
Nick Wong — 33,500
Wayne Zhang — 27,000
Ben Hamnett — 19,000
Sergio Aido — 17,000

That’s the area of the room that is being broken, so there will be blessed relief from the pain for all of them when they’re scattered through the field soon. — HS

8:45pm: Updated chip counts
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Here’s how our PokerStars Team Pros and some of the notable players currently stack up:

Xin Jin – 94,000
Connor Drinan – 59,000
Yaxi Zhu – 53,000
Kosei Ichinose – 52,000
Chen-an Lin – 51,000
Stevan Chew – 41,000
Kitty Kuo – 31,000
Thomas Miller – 29,500
Pete Chen – 29,000
Faraz Jaka – 28,500
Wayne Zhang – 28,000
Dominik Nitsche – 27,500
Dietrich Fast – 24,000
Celina Lin – 18,000
Frederico Butteroni – 17,000

— BK

8:40pm: Big stack watch
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Daniel Dvoress is the target for today’s players. He ended Day 1A as the big dog on 139,500. So how are today’s players getting on? Here’s some who have got closest to Dvoress so far:

Michael Addamo – 117,000
Martin Stausholm – 97,000
Hongjun Zhao – 95,000
Henrik Tollefsen – 85,000
Yu Guang Li – 78,000
Leo Chen – 72,000

8:30pm: A Fast recovery
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Dietrich Fast has had a rough Day 1B so far (see 6pm post) but he’s climbing back after winning a pot with a river bluff against Yury Gulyy.

Pete Chen started things off with an under the gun raise to 1,100 and after Fast called on the button, Gulyy did the same from the big blind. The 576 prompted checks from both Gulyy and Chen before Fast took the betting lead by firing for 1,800.

Gulyy stuck around and with Chen’s cards in the muck the dealer turned the 3.

It was then checked through to the 3 river. Gulyy checked a final time and Fast had a stab at it for 3,600. Gulyy let it go and Fast slammed down KQ with such force that the king flew straight off of the table.

Fast’s tablemates let out a collective laugh as he smiled and scooped the pot after a successful bluff. He now has over 16,000 at his disposal. — BK

8:20pm: Chit chat around the room
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

It’s been a while since we checked in on the table of entertainment, but things are still going strong. Ben Hamnett is also there–a man with a WPT title to his name and $1.3 million in recorded live tournament winnings–among Nick Wong, Winfred Yu, Martin Stausholm, Senh Ung and Dong Kim.

Although Alan Lau was knocked out and is now in a rowdy $500 re-buy event, Russell Thomas, the former November Niner, has taken his place.

Hamnett, Kim and Thomas are involved in one conversation, while Yu and Wong chatter away. They barely took a breath as they played a hand against one another in the blinds.

Wong called from the small blind, but Yu raised to 1,600. Wong called and the two of them checked the flop of A83.


Winfred Yu: Socialite

Wong also checked the Q turn, but called Yu’s bet of 2,000. Then they both checked the K river. Wong showed his Q6 but Yu’s A4 was best.

On the subject of conversation, Sergio Aido has taken the seat vacated by Mikita Badziakouski and was immediately welcomed to the table by Shan Huang. They met one another in Manila last week, where they both played the big tournament out there.

Huang seemed delighted as he now had someone to talk to again, having been engaging Badziakouski in conversation earlier. I watched the two of them talk for quite a while actually, thinking: “Where else but at a poker table would a middle-aged Chinese businessman be discussing Filipino city infrastructure with a Belorussian internet whizz?” But that’s exactly what was happening.

And now it’s a middle aged Chinese businessman and a Spanish internet whizz. Subject of conversation: to be determined. — HS

8:10pm: Play resumes without Troyanovskiy and Newey
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

The players are back in their seats for the penultimate level of the day. One man not back is Vladimir Troyanovskiy though.

Just before the break, he moved all-in for 5,000 and was called by Min Soon Lim.

Troyanovskiy: 99
Lim: AK

The board ran A1035J and Troyanovskiy was gone before the river was dealt.

The level did actually start with Paul Newey still involved, but five minutes later he making the walk of shame. He’s had a great week though and was still smiling. –MC

7:55pm: Break time
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Ten minutes off and then back to it, folks.

7:50pm: Kelly’s back showing he’s still got it
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

JP Kelly was seen as a natural tournament player when he hit the UK circuit 11 years ago. He immediately put a string of results together, a wave of success he would ride to the top of the game. Multiple sponsorships followed and the highlight of his career came in 2009 when he became the first person to win WSOP bracelets on either side of the Atlantic. He did it in the same year too.

Kelly’s love with tournaments waned and he became a cash game specialist. He spends a lot of the year playing out here in Macau, and that’s the main reason he hopped in the Main Event today. Has he still got it?

Looks that way!

He added a few more chips to the pile recently too. He was in the big blind and facing a player on the button. Kelly led out for 1,700 on the river of a 8310J3 board and his opponent called. The Brit opened A10 for second pair and he took the pot after his opponent mucked. –MC

7:40pm: Gulyy going upwards
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

We reported at 5:15pm about how Table 16 looked like one of the toughest in the field, and apparently it wasn’t tough enough as Dietrich Fast has now been added to the line-up.

That hasn’t stopped Yury Gulyy from stacking chips, however, as he just took a pot from Faraz Jaka and Stevan Chew.

Jaka kicked things off with a raise to 1,000 and both Gulyy and Chew called from the small and big blinds respectively to see a flop of J4K. The action was checked around and the 6 rolled off on the turn.

Gulyy then took the betting lead with a wager for 2,100 and after both Jaka and Chew called the 8 completed the board. Gulyy loaded up again, this time firing for a hefty 6,200. Chew folded but Jaka went into the tank.

After a minute’s consideration Jaka gave it up and Gulyy raked in the chips to climb to 38,000. — BK

7:30pm: Worst hand good
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

There was about 23,000 in the pot, a board of 35910J exposed, and three players still with cards. Senh Ung, who would have been under the gun pre-flop checked. Nick Wong, who would have been in the cutoff, also checked and that put the decision on Martin Stausholm.

Ung had taken a while to make his decision and Wong had taken even longer. Stausholm also seemed to be thinking about doing something other than what he did. He checked too.

Ung turned over his KK with a face that seemed to say, “I don’t think this is ahead. But it might be.” Wong chuckled and turned over QQ, possibly thinking he got out of this one lightly.

But then Stausholm turned over 99 and had turned his under-pair miraculously into the best hand, with only the potential flush stopping him getting more value there. –HS


Senh Ung: Kings no good

7:25pm: Celina Lin’s personal blog
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

At least it feels like that way this level. Maybe the Team PokerStars Pro isn’t happy until all three bloggers on the team have covered in her a hand. Well, if that’s the case (it’s not), then she’s got the full house.

She opened to 1,000 from the cutoff and was only called by Sai Wu (again) in the next street. The flop fell 232 and Lin continued for 800. Quick call. Lin bet another 1,300 on the J turn and received another quick call. The board completed with the 10 and both players checked. Lin opened AK and lost out to Wu’s 66. She dropped to 16,000 as Wu rose to nearly 40,000. –MC

7:20pm: Kings good this time for Celina Lin
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Not long ago Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin lost the majority of her stack by running pocket kings into the pocket aces of Sai Wu. This time it was the same hand and the same opponent but a different result.

The Team Pro took to Twitter to fill her followers in on how it went down.

— BK

2016ACOP_MainEvent_Day1B Celina Lin.jpg

Celina Lin

7:15pm: Badziakouski almost good enough to fold, but not quite
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Mikita Badziakouski has been eliminated. We missed his exit hand, but most of the damage was done moments before in a huge pot versus Macau reg Henrik Tollefsen.

They were heads-up to the turn where the board read A1052. Badziakouski was in the small blind and everything about his body language suggested he was in a pickle. There was around 22,000 in the middle and Tollefsen was all-in for 21,900.

Badziakouski smiled, blew air out of his lips, rubbed his face, fidgeted in his seat, looked at Tollefsen and giggled before saying, “Should be such a great fold.”

It would have been a great fold too, but he called with 55 for set, behind to the Norwegian’s bigger set with 1010. The river was the 4.

“Nice hand,” said a gracious Badziakouski.
“Thanks,” Tollefsen replied.

Badziakouski was left with 6,160 out was seen leaving the tournament room shortly afterwards. –MC

6:50pm: Li torment Zhou
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

It’s probably a little early to be anointing a new king of aggression at the PokerStars LIVE Macau card-room, but it really does come to something when you have Quan Zhou wearing an expression so pained it seems like someone had murdered his favourite pet.

However, that’s what comes of playing a pot with Yuan Li, a man whose confidence is sky high after his Super High Roller victory yesterday.

Li opened to 1,000 from mid-position and Zhou, hitherto among the top three or four players in the world most likely to be labelled a lunatic, three-bet to 2,725 from the button.

It came back to Li, and he four-bet to 7,100, leaving 13,150 behind. Zhou didn’t seem to like this one bit, but opted to see a flop. It came 592.

Li had first dibs and, lo and behold, he bet 6,000. And then it really did look as though Zhou was going to cry. He looked at Li’s chip stack and then at his own, before counting out not what it would cost to call, but what it would cost to match all of Li’s chips. He clearly knew they were playing for stacks.


Yuan Li: Not one single one given

If he was to double up Li, he would be left with only 8,300 and that seemed to play dreadfully on his mind, even though he seemed anxious to call as well. If it wasn’t so sad, it would have been amusing to see a man so conflicted.

In the end, as though heroically overcoming a massive magnetic force compelling him to call, Zhou folded. Li slid his cards forward, another threat calmly dealt with. — HS

6:40pm: Sai “King-cracker” Wu
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

A little earlier on, Isaac Haxton was eliminated by Sai Wu when his Kings couldn’t beat her set of nines. Wu has just beaten Kings again to win another huge pot–although this time she did it the more conventional way. She had Aces.

Celina Lin was the unfortunate holder of the Kings this time–KK to Wu’s AA–and the board ran 3824Q.

Lin had Wu covered, so the Team PokerStars Pro is still involved with about 8,000. However Wu’s double up was for 22,125, so she is closing in on 50,000 now. — HS

6:35pm: Jin jumps in front
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Xin Jin appears to be our chip leader as we approach the halfway point of Day 1B. He has been the biggest benefactor of what his tablemate Matthew Wakeman described as a crazy table.

Jin just raked in another pot, this time from latecomer Kitty Kuo.

Jin made it 1,000 to go on the button and Kuo put in a three-bet to 3,500 from the big blind. After a call from Jin the dealer revealed a flop of 7K9.

Kuo surrendered the betting lead with a check first-to-act before Jin fired out for 4,500. About 15 seconds later Kuo decided to give it up and pushed her hand into the muck.

She falls to right around 25,000 as Jin climbs even further and is the first to eclipse the 100,000-chip mark. — BK

6:30pm: Tran hiding in the shadows
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Wander over to table 12, where Connor Drinan can found, and peer to seat nine and you’ll see none other than JC Tran in attendance. We know it’s him as he has a Sacramento Kings cap atop of his head.

Tran is a legend on the game with earnings that top $12million over a 13-year career. He was seen in Asia a fair bit at the back-end of the last decade, when poker started to boom around these parts, but his results over the last few years have been exclusively in North America. –MC

6:25pm: Back at it
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Off they go again, with 90 minutes on the clock. JP Kelly has just showed up to join the party. Kitty Kuo was one of the last to register before the break.

6:16pm: Break time
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

That’s the end of Level 4 and a 10-minute break. The next three levels are 90 minutes each. — HS

6:15pm: Li shows Sondtheimer she’s not to be messed with
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Yan Li won her seat to the Main Event in a satellite tournament here at PokerStars LIVE Macau on Sunday, and, having secured qualification, she wandered over to rail the Super High Roller event clutching her golden ticket in her hand.

She may well have been watching Steffen Sondtheimer play in that tournament–he joined the fray on Sunday–but today she is getting to see him at much closer quarters. He’s on her direct left.

But if Sondtheimer thought he could push Li around, he’s got another thing coming. She played back at him in a pot just before the break and forced the German pro to fold despite committing more than 10,000 to the pot.

Li opened to 700 from the hijack and Sondtheimer made it 2,500 from the cutoff. Everyone left them to it and they saw the flop of 8J4. Li checked, Sondtheimer bet 3,400 and Li called.

The turn was the K and Li checked again. Sondtheimer bet 5,300 and, after a pause for thought, Li moved all-in for about 18,000 more.

Sondtheimer folded as quickly as someone who may have been attempting to bully a less-experienced player. In your face.

(It should be noted that Li has long established that she is no slouch. She won the $200,000 High Roller at APPT Manila in August.) — HS

6:10pm: Yum, give the chips to Pratyush
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Don’t mess with Pratyush Buddiga this week. He just bubbled a Super High Roller in Manila and is no mood to mess around.

That may not be the case, but he played a pot just now like it was. Ryan Yum opened to 700 from the cutoff before Buddiga three-bet to 2,050 from the next seat. Yum came back with a four-bet to 5,000 but had to admit defeat and fold when the American jammed for 21,300. –MC

6:05pm: Xuan Liu leaves us
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Xuan Liu has been felted at the hands of tablemate Ro Park.

Liu moved all in on a flop of 10JJ and was called drawing dead to running cards holding AK to Park’s QJ flopped three of a kind.

The 10 turn sealed her fate as Liu was up from her seat and ready to depart. Shaking a fellow player’s hand she headed for the exit as Park collected the pot and pushed his stack up to 36,000. — BK

6pm: Fast, furious and a flush
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Dietrich Fast stopped the blog to tell us of his up and down day so far.

He won a big pot in level three when holding queens and he thought he was all set to have a 110k-stack in this level when he flopped a flush. Unfortunately for him, Huidong Gui had flopped a bigger flush and got a double up to over 80,000.

Fast has 12,000 left to play with. It’s not all bad news for the German though as he was just delivered a lovely looking plate of seafood linguine. — MC

5:45pm: Kempe’s kings krushed
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Rainer Kempe found KK under the gun and made a raise. He picked up four callers, including Leo Cheng in the cutoff and Sergio Aido on the button, plus the two blinds. This is another difficult table, also featuring Dominik Nitsche. Nitsche, Chen and Kempe all played the Super High Roller, and Aido only missed it because he was at the final table of a huge tournament in Manila.

Anyway, back to the hand in question. If Kempe was concerned by the number of callers, he’d have been delighted with them when he saw the flop. It came QK6 and top set was the nuts. After two checks, Kempe bet 1,600 and only Cheng called.

The turn brought the A and Kempe now bet 3,900. However Cheng seemed to like the card too. He jammed for about 25,000 and had Kempe’s 17,800 covered. Kempe called pretty much instantly and showed his kings. But Cheng’s 10J now had him beat: it was the perfect run-out for the big-hand-cracking jack-ten suited.

Kempe hits the rail, while Cheng moves up to 75,000. — HS

5:40pm: Tollefsen takes one from Huang
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Norway’s Henrik Tollefsen won the MPC High Roller event here in Macau in 2014 and he’s back to try and make a deep run in this ACOP Main Event. So far his stack is moving in the right direction after winning a hand versus Shan Huang.

It folded to Tollefsen on the button and he raised to 800 before Huang played back at him from the small blind for 2,500. The two exchanged some friendly banter before Tollefsen flicked in a call and the flop landed 6J10.

Both players checked and the dealer turned the 9.

Huang checked again but Tollefsen reached into his stack and fired for 3,200. Huang couldn’t stick around and surrendered his hand as the pot was pushed to Tollefsen.

Tollefsen climbs to 34,000 while Huang falls to 27,000 in chips. — BK

5:30pm: Ichinose at another tough table and Buchanan at no table
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Kosei Ichinose may have been a relieved man to have gotten away from his original tough table, but his new one is not that much better. He found himself out of position to Russell Thomas and Dietrich Fast. He does have position on Huidong Gui though and just won a small pit of him.

The Team PokerStars Pro opened to 700 from UTG+1 and was called in two spots. The flop fanned 268 and Ichinose continued for 1,100. Only Gui check-called from the big blind but he folded to a 2,000 bet on the Q turn.


A day to forget for Buchanan

Being at that table is better that being at no table though. Shawn Buchanan was spotted slowly walking out of the room. It seems he never recovered from his bad start. –MC

5:15pm: Zhou takes one from Ng on tough table
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Another hand featuring APPT Macau High Roller runner-up Quan Zhou. He just managed to rake in a pot against Ho Ng.

Zhou brought it in for a raise to 550 from under the gun before Ng bumped it up to 1,500. Zhou called and the flop came down 3KQ. After a check from Zhou, Ng put in a continuation bet for 1,300, and Zhou made the call.

The 8 turn was checked through before the 5 completed the board. Zhou then took the betting lead with a bomb worth 5,400. Ng couldn’t match it and he surrendered to see Zhou scoop it up and rise to 32,000 in chips.

Zhou won’t be in for an easy ride today, however, with his table comprising 2015 November Niner Frederico Butteroni, 2014 Asia Player of the Year Pete Chen, seasoned pro Faraz Jaka (who has over $5 million in live earnings alone) and Stevan Chew – who shipped the APPT Seoul High Roller, APPT Melbourne $10,000 Challenge and the Deepstack Extravaganza event in Las Vegas (and final tabled the ACOP High Roller) all since April last year for a combined total of over half a million dollars. — BK

5:10pm: Zhou at home
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Chinese players have been showing up on the European Poker Tour for a good few years now, attracted especially by the Super High Roller events. Quan Zhou was one of the first to come, and he is a regular still, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. He’s here in Macau today, the city in which the majority of his major live results have come.

Zhou is sitting opposite Yuan Li today, who may yet start travelling the world circuit. His nascent tournament resume got a huge boost yesterday when he took down the $500,000 Super High Roller event, so he clearly now has the confidence and the money.

Zhou just took a small pot from Stevan Chew, although neither winner nor loser is going to consider their overall tournament hopes have changed much. Chew opened to 500 from under the gun and Zhou called from two seats along.

They both checked the 52K flop, and they also checked the A turn. Chew fired 750 at the 9 river and Zhou called. Chew showed J10 but lost to Zhou’s KQ. — HS

5:05pm: Tan takes the rest of O’Dwyer’s chips
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

At least Ike Haxton has someone to hangout with in Macau now that his buddy Steve O’Dwyer has hit the rail as well. O’Dwyer’s week has been even worse than Haxton’s as he did three buy-ins in the Super High Roller to Haxton’s two.

We missed the hand but apparently O’Dwyer got his stack in preflop holding aces. Xuan Tan gave him custom with A-Q and a board running K-J-5-T-X did for him. –MC

4:55pm: You think that’s tough?
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

When we talk about tough tables in poker, all things are relative. And we’re usually only actually talking about how tough they are in a poker-playing sense. But there’s a table here in Macau that just got a whole lot tougher by traditional definitions too. In short: Terrence Chan just arrived.

Chan has been playing on PokerStars as “Unassigned” from the very beginning of the card-room’s life. He has a SCOOP and a WCOOP title to his name. But in recent years, he’s been flexing his muscles in a different–arguably even tougher–arena. Take a look if you don’t believe me.


Terrence Chan: Tough? Tough

Meanwhile, here’s a great interview from a few years ago where Chan told PokerStars Blog about his poker life. — HS

4:50pm: Poor old Ike
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

It’s not been a festival to remember for Ike Haxton. He stone bubbled the Super High Roller event two days ago and he’s already busted the Main Even here today.

We missed the action but Celina Lin and Michael Soyza filled the blog in on the details, so thanks to them.


A week to forget for Haxton

Sai Wu had just sat down at the table and raised to 550. Haxton was in the next seat and three-bet to 2,000. She called a J95 flop was delivered. Wu checked to Haxton who bet 2,000 and was very quickly raised all-in for the 15,000 he had behind. Haxton called off with pocket kings but was crushed by Wu’s pocket nines, and no help came on the turn or river.

Apparently Wu over celebrated the win and then felt bad when she was told who she had eliminated. –MC

4:45pm: Tan takes from O’Dwyer
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

We arrived at the table as Steve O’Dwyer was deliberating on what appeared to be a tough river decision. O’Dwyer had 4,400 out in front of him on the button but it seemed Xuan Tan had check-raised with 11,500 sitting in front of him in the big blind.

Ultimately O’Dwyer opted to call before seeing the bad news. Tan tabled AK for top two pair which was evidently good as O’Dwyer tossed his cards face down to the dealer.

O’Dwyer is now down to 13,500, but with the blinds still at 100/200 (25) he has plenty of breathing room. The hand took Tan’s stack up to 36,000. — BK

2016ACOP_MainEvent_Day1B_ Steve O'Dwyer.jpg

Still smiling – Steve O’Dwyer

4:35pm: All action Wong on amazing table
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Nick Wong’s table is extraordinarily tough. Senh Ung in is Seat 7. Dong “Donger Kim” Kim (SCOOP champion; online boss) is in Seat 8. Alan Lau (reigning APPT Player of the Year) is in Seat 9. Wong ($4.5 million live earnings) is in Seat 1 and, until recently, Kosei Ichinose (Team PokerStars Pro) was in Seat 2.

When a tournament official came round recently and asked Ichinose to move tables, he expressed sincere relief. “Thank you,” Ichinose said, indicating that the difficulty of the table was not in keeping with what some players hope to find on the APPT.


Kosei Ichinose: The anguish relieved by a table move

This table balancing occurred just as Wong was involved in yet another pot. After an early position raise to 500, Kazuhiko Yotsushika three-bet the hijack, making it 2,500 to play. Action passed to Wong in the big blind and he four-bet to 6,400. The early raiser folde, but Yotsushika called.

The flop came K102 and Wong led for 3,200. Yotsushika raised to 8,200 and Wong immediately jammed for 10,475 on top. That just about covered Yotsushika, who already had more than 14,000 invested in the pot.

As Yotsushika began thinking about his decision, Winfred Yu appeared beside the table, clutching a tournament ticket. He had just registered, and had been drawn into the seat vacated by Ichinose.

Yu took a look around the table, and offered an exasperated, “No!”

Even though Wong was all-in and should, by rights, have been tense, rather than yukking it up with his mates, he piped up: “You’ve got position over the fish! What more you want?”

Yotsushika continued to think through his options, but decided that folding was the best of them. Yu took his seat and prepared to receive his first hand on a table that is sure to be a source of much entertainment all day. — HS

4:30pm: High rolling
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

One of the newer tables to open has three high rollers sat at it. Justin Bonomo came runner-up in the Super High Roller yesterday; a tournament that Christian Christner just missed the money in, and then there’s Pratyush Buddiga, who’s no stranger to bubbling SHRs. Two of these players just lost small pots.

Bonomo raised to 525 from middle position and was called by a player on the button. He continued for 1,000 on a 6105 flop and was called, before he check-folded to a bet on the 4 turn.

The very next hand saw Buddiga opened to 450 on the button. The big blind called and the board rolled out 57AJ2 with Buddiga betting 400 and 1,500 on the flop and turn. The big blind check-called both bets before the river was checked through. Buddiga mucked when his opponent opened A2. –MC

4:20pm: Lew loses some to Spielmann
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Team PokerStars Online Randy Lew brought it in for a button raise to 450 before Satrya Teja and Fabian Spielmann called from the small blind and big blind respectively.

The flop came down A55 and after two checks, Lew continued for 350. Teja mucked but Spielmann made it 1,300. Lew stuck around and after the turn brought a brick, Spielmann continued the aggression with a bet of 1,325.

Lew contemplated it for less than 30 seconds before throwing his hand away. The pot was awarded to Spielmann and he built back up to 27,000. Alternatively, Lew still has more than starting stack with 37,500. — BK

4:05pm: Break time
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

That’s the end of Level 2 and players are taking their first 10-minute break of the day. We now have 160 registered players, of whom two have already been eliminated.

4pm: The loose cannon versus the fish
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

Nick Wong and Senh Ung just played a pot against one another that was small in the grand scheme of things, but had some decent table talk to smooth it along.

Ung opened from the hijack, making it 500 to play. Wong called in the small blind and Kosei Ichinose called in the big blind too. That took them to a flop of 8A8 and both Wong and Ichinose checked. Ung bet 700 and only Wong called.


Nick Wong: Fish? Don’t be so sure

The turn was the A, which they both checked, and then the 7 came on the river. Wong immediately put out a big bet, and I thought I heard him say, “Eighty-eight.” This wouldn’t make much sense in terms of the pot size, but it certainly would given how highly rated the number eight is over here.

Wong then looked over at Ung and said, “Will the loose cannon call the fish?”

Ung chuckled and then said, “I’ve got a hand. But you might have an eight.”

“I know you’ve got a hand,” Wong, the self-described “fish”, said.

Ung called and Wong immediately said, “You win” and mucked his cards. Ung flashed him pocket queens.

In case anyone is in doubt as to the subtext here, Wong is far from a fish. The man from Hong Kong has recorded live winnings of more than $4.5 million and plays the very biggest games in Asia and beyond. — HS

3:55pm: Gulyy gets a pot
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

After the player in the hijack raised to 500, Yury Gulyy made the call in the cutoff and Stevan Chew squeezed to 2,000 from the button. A staring war ensued between the initial raiser and Chew before the former committed to a call, and when Gulyy did the same the dealer spread a flop of 894.

The three players then checked it through to the 3 turn.

The hijack checked again but Gulyy took the betting lead to the tune of 2,700. Chew and the third party both let it go and Gulyy moved up to 32,000 in chips. — BK

3:50pm: Our new floor reporter
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

The following hand comes to you courtesy of Lim Min Soon, who is taking notes of the hands he is playing on his cellphone, and handed over the device so we could publish one of his hand histories. This is how it went down–according to Lim.

This was the last hand in Level 1, when blinds were still 50/100: David Kai-kwong Man limped from under-the-gun and Vladimir Troyanovskiy raised to 400 from one seat along. Lim called and Man called too. The three of them took a flop of J97, which they all checked.

The 6 came on the turn and, after Man checked, Troyanovskiy bet 1,000. Only Lim called. The Q came on the river and Troyanovskiy bet 1,600. Lim raised to 5,200 and Troyanovskiy called.

Lim had King-Ten and had rivered a straight. Troyanovskiy had pocket nines, but was now second best.

Big disclaimer: None of us saw this hand play out, and we only have Lim’s word to go by. But it all seems believable enough. — HS

3:45pm: Quads at table 22 again
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

For the second time today, a player has showdown quads at table 22. It was a hell of a hand and the expressions on the faces of the three pros at the table – Xuan Liu, Dimitar Danchev and Matthew Wakeman – was priceless.

Wakeman started proceedings with an under-the-gun raise to 500 and was flat called by Ro Woong Park in middle position before Shaoqing Liu squeezed to 1,700 from the cutoff. Wakeman called and then Park back-raised to 6,000. The action wasn’t done there as Liu five-bet to 10,000. That scared off Wakeman, but not Park, who called.

The flop spread 267 and Park checked to see Liu move all-in for a pot-sized 21,300. Park though for a minute and then slammed in the call with KK. Liu opened 66 for a set and improved to quads as the board ran out Q6.

“Nice hand,” said a smiling but frustrated looking Park. “Would you have call a shove preflop?” he continued.

“Of course!” came Liu’s reply. –MC

3:35pm: Cheng chips up
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

Tony Cheng won the HK$20,000 Macau Millions Event in this very room back in January and he’s back again and already chipping up.

Vladas Tamasaukas kicked things off with a button raise to 500 before Qi Yuan played back at him for 1,800 from the small blind. Cheng was in the big blind and he put in a cold four-bet to 3,800. Tamasaukas quickly threw his hand away but Yuan made the call to take them to the K99 flop.

After Yuan checked, Cheng barrelled for just 2,500 and that was good enough to take it down. Cheng now has a stack of 38,000. — BK

3:30pm: Buchanan on the ropes
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

The hoodie/baseball cap/shades combo is not uncommon in the world of poker–as baffling as that may sound to people in the mainstream. But nobody has made it quite so familiar as Shawn Buchanan, and the man in that get-up this afternoon in Macau has indeed already been identified as the Canadian pro.

But it doesn’t get any better for Buchanan this afternoon. After losing a third of his stack in the pot described at 2:35pm below, Buchanan was just asked if he wanted to play for the rest of it. He declined, but now has only about 10,000 left.

They were all the way to the river when I first arrived: 3J328. Lin Lu checked and Buchanan bet 5,500. Lu then raised all-in, for his last 18,200, but it covered Buchanan, who folded. — HS

3:25pm: Steve Stevens and Ognyan Ognyanov?
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

Steve O’Dwyer has taken a seat next to Ognyan Dimov. If you thought it was going to be a breeze out here, Ognyan, think again. Sergey Sergeev and Christian Christner are also at what is now one of the toughest tables in the room. Perhaps O’Dwyer and Dimov might think about doubling up on their first names as a defence mechanism. — HS

3:20pm: Sun and Danchev chop it up
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

Yunsheng Sun opened the action with a cutoff raise to 600 before Dimitar Danchev called on the button and Matthew Wakeman did the same from the small blind.

The flop fell 810K and Wakeman checked it over to Sun who continued for 600. The bet was met with two calls before the dealer turned the A. Another check from Wakeman prompted Sun to fire for another 2,000. Danchev stuck around and with Wakeman out of the way the J peeled off on the end.

The connected board dissuaded any further action with both players checking their two pair. Sun held A10 and Danchev tabled A10 which meant they’d have to be content chopping the pot. — BK

3:15pm: Full roster of Team Pros in
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200

Kosei Ichinose and Celina Lin have taken their seats, meaning all the PokerStars Pros from Team Asia are accounted for today.

Lin has been drawn at the same table as Isaac Haxton, and is sat to the left of Michael Soyza. Lin is the only player to have won two Spadies and two Red Dragon titles on the APPT, and Soyza won back to back event at the Aussie Millions back in January. –MC

3:05pm: Who’s trapping who here?
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

I’ll raise, then you raise, and then raise once more and we’ll see who wins on showdown.

A 63K flop was out and Zhao Jun Ruan checked from early position before Isaac Haxton bet 250 from the hijack. Zhiqiang Qian called from the cutoff and then came Ruan with a raise to 1,000. Haxton made a quick fold but Qian called.

The turn wad the K and Ruan led for 2,200 and then called when Qian raised to 6,000. The 9 filled out the board and Ruan led out for 3,000 and called when Qian raised to 12,000. Qian shook his head after being called so quickly but fear turned to delight when he saw his 66 for a full house was bigger than Ruan’s with 33. The latter banged his fist on the table. –MC

3pm: More sharks swim into view
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

“Coming to work a little late, as usual.” This was Jordan Westmorland, strolling into the card-room towards the end of Level 1. The man known online as JWPRODIGY is a familiar face in these parts and is buying in for the Main Event now.

Only about five minutes before that, Justin Bonomo was at the same counter starting his bid for back-to-back final tables. Coincidentally, he was standing alongside Paul Newey, who finished third at the Super High Roller, one place behind Bonomo. Newey was accompanied by Senh Ung, who has also sat down.

Steve O’Dwyer, whose Super High Roller excursion was not quite so successful, has also now bought in.

On the subject of Bulgarians (see 2:20pm post), Simeon Naydenov has now just arrived too. He is second on the Bulgarian all-time money list, behind Dimitar Danchev, and is the only Bulgarian with a World Series bracelet to his name. He almost added another this summer, when he finished second to Clayton Maguire in the online WSOP event.


No time off in Lew’s world

A few more familiar faces are now in the house: Randy “nanonoko” Lew has sat down. The Team PokerStars Online member was recently in New Jersey for the PokerStars festival there, where he came 20th in the Main Event and third in the High Roller. His best career result came in Macau in November 2011, however, so he’ll be hoping for a repeat.

Not long after him, Chen-An Lin and Yaxi Zhu, of Team PokerStars Pro, bought in. We’re up to 134 registered now. — HS

2:55pm: Get energized

Poker can be a grind at times but luckily for our ACOP Main Event players, the official energy drink provider of PokerStars LIVE Macau, Red Bull, have provided complimentary products to everyone in the tournament.

There are fridges stocked with Red Bull, Sugar-free Red Bull and Red Bull Summer Edition all across the casino floor for the players to help themselves to. No doubt some of the runners here will be using them to their advantage to keep energized throughout the day. — BK

2:50pm: Liu lifting early
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Xuan Liu has already added more than 50% to her starting stack after a hand where she got a river jam through against Yunsheng Sun.

There were three active players on the turn with the board reading 410K5 and around 15,000 worth of chips in the middle. Xiaoqiang Li checked it over to Liu in the cutoff and she fired for 7,000.

Sun made the call and with Li out of the way the dealer presented the A river.

Liu then moved all in for just shy of 16,000. Sun didn’t deliberate for long before relinquishing his hand and Liu raked in the pot to climb to approximately 45,000. — BK

2:45pm: Nozaki flops best
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

With Ace-King pre-flop, you’re always desperate to see an Ace or a King emerge on the board. Well, sometimes you are. In this particular coup, it turned out to be the worst thing for Ben Lai. An Ace married him to his hand and it’s cost him about half his chips.

He and Koichi Nozaki got about 6,000 in the pot pre-flop. Lai was on the button and Nozaki in the big blind.

After the flop fell 7AJ, Nozaki bet 2,500 and Lai raised to 6,150. Nozaki called.

The 7 came on the turn and Nozaki checked. After only a moment’s thought, Lai also checked behind.

The 2 came on the river and Nozaki bet 8,300. Lai was pained. He rubbed the side of his temples, as if searching for divine inspiration, as Nozaki’s chest heaved and he kept a fist over his mouth.

Eventually Lai announced a verbal call and Nozaki showed his JJ. Lai angrily slapped his AK face up on the table and counted out chips to give Nozaki. Meanwhile Hendrik Latz, sitting alongside Lai, peered intently at both of his opponents harvesting the information.

Here’s an additional nugget: Nozaki made the final table of the EPT Grand Final a few years ago, when he claimed to be in Monaco “on holiday” and just happened to buy-in to the €10,000 Main Event. He was on that final table with Adrian Mateos, Johnny Lodden and Ole Schemion, among others, and may have picked up a few tricks. — HS

2:35pm: The coming of age table
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Table 18 seems like a good table to avoid being drawn at today, as there are already three champs that have taken their seat there.

Vladimir Geshkenbein spends a lot of time in Macau and has fond memories from this place, famously beating Johnny Chan heads-up back in 2009 to claim an APPT High Roller crown. There’s also the not so small achievement of winning EPT Snowfest in Season 7.

Vladas Tamasauskas is in the nine seat and even though he only has results dating back to December 2015, he has a string of them recorded already. The jewel in the crown of his blossoming career is UKIPT5 Dublin title he won back in February. He took home nearly $200k for beating 1,001 players.

Shawn Buchanan is a Canadian pro win almost $6 million in live cashes and he played in the Main Event here last year. This year’s event has gotten of to a bad start for him.

He was one of six players to see a J77 flop after Lin Lu raised to 225 from early position. Buchanan was on the button and called bets of 600 there, 1,500 on the A turn and 3,500 on the 8 river – all from Satrya Wijiya Teja sat to his direct right. The Indonesian opened A7 on showdown and Buchanan mucked to drop to 21,600. –MC

2:20pm: Four Queens boost Danchev’s history bid
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Only two Bulgarians have ever won EPT Main Events: Dimitar Danchev, who won the PCA in January 2013, and Ognyan Dimov, who won in Deauville two Januarys later. Those results are the main reason they sit first and sixth on their country’s all time money list, respectively.

Both of them have also taken the trip to Macau this week in a bid to be the first Bulgarian to win on the APPT. Not many people have the double. In fact, nobody has done the double, from any country–and time is running out.

As you are no doubt aware, both the EPT and the APPT are being rebranded as either PokerStars Championship or PokerStars Festival events. That leaves only two APPT events (this one, and in Manila at the end of the month) for an EPT champ to come over here and win a title, or one EPT (in Prague in mid-December) for an APPT champ to win in Europe. It’s a very long shot.

However, Danchev just got the best possible start to his hopes here, flopping a set of queens and then turning quads.

After Wenxiang Chen raised to 300 in early position, Danchev three-bet his small blind, making it 1,200 to play. Chen called. The flop came 7QJ and Danchev check-called a bet of 1,200.

After the Q came on the turn, he check-called a bet of 2,100. But after the 9 on the river and a third check from Danchev, he couldn’t prise another bet and missed the check-raise opportunity he was no doubt looking for.

Danchev tabled his QQ and, not surprisingly, it was good. — HS

2:15pm: Familiar faces in the field
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

We’ve only just begun Day 1B here and it looks like it’s shaping up to be a stellar field.

A host of notable names are scattered across the tournament floor, including Mikita Badziakouski, Sparrow Cheung, Alan Lau, Linh Tran, Frederico Butteroni, Michael Soyza, Raiden Kan, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Sergey Sergeev, Isaac Haxton, Michael Egan, Yuguang Li, David Peters, Dominik Nitsche, Christian Christner, Stevan Chew, Matthew Wakeman, Thomas Miller and Xuan Liu.

Also spotted at the registration desk was Team PokerStars Pro Chen-an Lin, and teammates Celina Lin, Kosei Ichinose and Yaxi Zhu are also expected to join at some point today. — BK

2pm: Off they go
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Play is under way on Day 1B of the HK$100,000 Main Event. The tournament board shows 88 players already registered, and the line at the registrations desk shows at least 15 more who are just about to get their chips. — HS

1pm: Day 1B about to begin

Yesterday was Day 1A of the 2016 Asia Championship of Poker Main Event at the PokerStars LIVE card-room in Macau. And that means that today must be Day 1B.

From 105 players who entered yesterday, Daniel Dvoress led the 52 survivors. It’s almost certain to be a significantly bigger field today, but the structure will be the same: seven levels of play, the first four of which are 60 minutes long, then three 90 minute levels. Players begin with stacks of 30,000 chips.

Stick with us as we count them in, and likely count about half of them out again. Play begins at 2pm.

Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.


PokerStars Blog reporting team at 2016 ACOP: Marc Convey, Brad Kain and Howard Swains. Photography by Long Guan/Kenneth Lim Photography. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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