Tuesday, 28th March 2023 05:42
Home / Uncategorized / APPT Macau: Foxen bags Super High Roller lead after Bicknell wins big

Although APPT Macau 2018 has been rolling for a few days now, today was the day on which it got serious. It was the start of the $400,000 Super High Roller event and, as ever, the biggest buy-in meant the biggest stars.

But as the likes of Patrick Antonius, John Juanda, Stephen Chidwick et al sat down for their first action of the week, Alex Foxen demonstrated that sometimes it’s worth getting into the groove a little early.

Alex Foxen: Chip leader

Foxen won a live satellite last night at the PokerStars LIVE card-room at the City of Dreams and ploughed through the field to bag today’s chip lead. His 1.287 million is ahead of the 31 players who remain. (The starting stack was 250,000.)

What’s even more remarkable is that Foxen spent much of the day’s late stages railing another table: specifically, the final of the APPT National High Roller event. The reason for that was the presence there of Foxen’s girlfriend, Kristen Bicknell.

Bicknell, who led the GPI rankings for female players last year, closed out this tournament for a HK $2.192 million success. Over to you Alex.

Kristen Bicknell & Alex Foxen: Power couple

Registration on the Super High Roller closes after we’ve played two levels tomorrow, so there’s still an awful lot of play left in this one. Hot on Foxen’s heels tonight we find Rainer Kempe (915,000) and Quan Zhou (737,000).

Rainer Kempe: Second overnight

The full counts are over there on the chip-count page, and who knows who else will be buying in before the door slams shut.

So far there have been 47 entries, including eight re-entries. The equivalent event at the PokerStars Championship here last year attracted 64 unique players and 24 re-entries, so there’s chance still to get close to that. That will obviously mean a first prize pushing seven figures, whichever currency we use. (OK, maybe not bitcoin.)

So far, this has been every inch the typical Macau Super High Roller, with a decent smattering of local businessmen joining the pros. The likes of Zhou occupies the middle segment in the Venn diagram, because his renown is primarily earned as a player these days. He played a set of aces expertly to all but felt Ben Tollerene earlier today (Tollerene bought back in) and that accounts for Zhou’s mighty stack tonight.

Quan Zhou: Big stack

As for Kempe, who sits second and is Foxen’s closest challenger, he simply moved effortlessly through the gears to get up to a million too. Tomorrow, and specifically from Level 11 onwards, when it’s a freezeout, is when this really matters.

Play begins at 1pm. Join us for exclusive updates then. — HS

Day 1 coverage archive:

• PLAYERS: 31 of 47 tbc (registration open until start of Level 11)
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10:02pm: That’s a wrap for Day 1

Chips are currently being bagged, so join us back here in a sec for a quick recap of the day and full chip counts. –JS

9:55pm: Chen scores late double
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

James Chen has spent the last hour or so short-stacked and stuck between Justin Bonomo and John Juanda. He’s still on the short side but definitely in better shape now thanks to a win with just a few hands left on Day 1.

Patrik Antonius opened the action for 12,500 in middle position and Isaac Haxton called on the button, giving Chen a chance to squeeze all-in for 58,000 total. Antonius folded but Haxton made the call with A6, which trailed Chen’s A9. The board ran out 923J7 and Chen stacked up to 131,000. –JK

9:50pm: Vogelsang his last tune
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Christoph Vogelsang failed to make it to the end of the day after busting to Daniel Dvoress, but he can re-enter for two more levels tomorrow if he so wishes.

He was down to 56,000 when he made his move from early position and was only called by Dvoress on the button.

Vogelsang: A8
Dvoress: 55

The board ran 46KQ6 to see the fives hold. Dvoress moves up to 210,000, while Vogelsang went sprinting off looking for a rebuy. He’s back in now. –MC

9:46pm: Last seven hands
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

It’s just been announced that we’ll be playing seven (yes, seven) more hands before the chip bags are brought out. –JS

9:45pm: Kempe keeps collecting
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

As the last level of the night nears its conclusion, J.C. Alvarado raised to 11,000 from early position and got two callers behind him, both big stacks — Rainer Kempe and Quan Zhou.

The flop came 9J9 and it checked around to Zhou who fired 12,500. Alvarado then check-raised to 42,500, and Kempe called the raise. Zhou decided he didn’t want to be involved any longer and folded, and Alvarado called.

The turn was the 2, and after Alvarado checked, Kempe kept the initiative with an 80,000 bet. Alvarado thought a bit then released his hand, and Kempe added more to his stack.

Kempe has around 880,000 now, Zhou 665,000, and Alvarado 350,000. –MH

Rainer Kempe

9:35pm: Peters stumbles out of the gate
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Not long after taking his seat here following his second-place finish in the National High Roller, David Peters got involved in a big clash with Luc Greenwood sitting on his left. Alas for Peters, in this battle he finished runner-up again.

We can’t offer too much detail, only arriving to see the result — namely, a double-up for Greenwood with pocket jacks against the pocket sevens of Peters. Greenwood chips back around 300,000, while Peters has a steeper hill to climb having seen the 250,000 he started with suddenly chopped down to about 100,000. –MH

9:31pm: Big stack versus bigger stack
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Quan Zhou and Rainer Kempe are two of the three biggest stacks in the room and are sat at the same table. The latter just took on and beat the former to leap frog him in the counts with around 900,000.

Zhou opened to 12,500 from early position and was called in two spots before Kempe squeezed to 58,000 from the big blind. Zhou was the only caller to an AJQ flop but he too folded after being faced with a 55,000 c-bet from his German opponent. He dropped to 875,000. –MC

9:30pm: More missed value!
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Kuisong Wu just missed out on some extra chips on the river, according to Steve O’Dwyer.

The action kicked off with Wu raising to 14,000 under the gun. O’Dwyer called immediately behind him and the other players folded, taking us to a 45K flop. Wu led for a curiously small 10,000 and O’Dwyer called, bringing the 10 on the turn. The action repeated, this time for 40,000, and brought the duo to the 10 river. Wu contemplated a bet and then cut out 125,000 in red chips. O’Dwyer looked for a call but couldn’t find one, folding just as the shot clock was due to expire.

“You have a king?” Wu asked. “Yeah,” said O’Dwyer. “You go all-in, I call,” said Wu. “I wasn’t going to go all-in, but you would’ve made more money if you’d checked,” O’Dwyer replied.

Wu is up to 400,000 now, and O’Dwyer drops to 210,000. –JK

9:27pm: Li fears he misses value
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

“Ooh la la,” Shan Huang said as Bjorn Li showed his cards at the end of the following hand. Li had tossed his cards forward as though he’d lost, but in fact it was the resigned move of a man who just hadn’t won enough.

Li and Mikita Badziakouski had built a decent pot on an all-club flop and turn. The board showed Q3J4. Li checked, Badziakouski bet 30,000 and Li called.

The 7 completed the board and Li checked again. After a short while to think about things, Badziakouski checked behind. Li was gutted. He threw his two cards forward, one of which was the A.

Badziakouski had wriggled free.

Li has about 270,000 now. –HS

9:25pm: Haxton pressures Chen
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After Patrik Antonius opened for 12,000 from middle position, Isaac Haxton called from the button, James Chen called form the big blind, and the three of them saw the flop fall 342.

Neither Chen nor Antonius bet that board, but Haxton did — 10,500. Chen then check-raised to 27,000, which chased Antonius. Haxton peered across the table at Chen’s remaining chips, then set out a big stack of reds (25,000 chips) which was more than the 90,000 or so Chen had behind.

Chen considered it, but let his hand go to give Haxton the pot. Haxton is back up around 540,000. –MH

9:20pm: Bicknell downs Peters in National High Roller

Over the other side of the tournament room from the Super High Roller, the final table of the APPT National Championship High Roller just played out. From a field of 117, the winner is Kristen Bicknell.

Bicknell, the leading female player for 2017 on the GPI, has continued her exceptional run into 2018. She beat David Peters heads-up for the title and HK $2.192 million, which is roughly US$280,000.

Perhaps this week we’ll be anointing poker’s latest power couple because Bicknell’s boyfriend, Alex Foxen, currently leads the Super High Roller event. That’s some start for the North Americans.

We’ll have a feature interview with Bicknell very soon. –HS

Bicknell and Foxen – 1

Bicknell and Foxen – 2

9:17pm: Back to work for Peters
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

David Peters literally just finished second in another tournament (the National High Roller) for six figures. Minutes later, he’s now back to work here in the Super High Roller.

It goes to show: if you want to get good at poker, don’t rest on your laurels. –JS

No rest for Peters

9:15pm: Choi chopped
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Stanley Choi is the latest player to be knocked out, with these gradually escalating blinds accounting for a few short stacks now. Registration is open until the start of Level 11 tomorrow, so there’s plenty of opportunity for for a re-entry from Choi. –HS

No joy for Choi

9:10pm: Oh no Bonomo
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Justin Bonomo has now had to exercise his option for re-entry.

We saw the pot being pushed to James Chen and got the abridged version of events from Bonomo. “I shoved 58,000 from the button with ace-ten and he called with KQ. I didn’t have hearts.” Chen made a flush which was more than enough to send Bonomo to the cashier.

James Chen now has around 150,000. –MS

9:08pm: Jiang over Badziakouski
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

I’m pretty sure this is Yuan Jiang’s first Super High Roller tournament, at least under the PokerStars branding. And with Mikita Badziakouski to his left, it’s been a baptism of fire.

But Jiang is actually doing just fine and just built his stack up to around 525,000, “Bluffing with top pair on the river,” as he explained to Shan Huang.

It started with a raise to 8,000 from Jiang in the cutoff and a call from Badziakouski on the button. The blinds folded, and the two of them saw a flop of 3A2. It went check, check.

They both also checked the 10 turn, but then Jiang bet 40,000 on the river 10. Badziakouski clearly thought this was going to be a marginal call at best, but duly did put the money over the line.

Jiang showed A6 and Badziakouski mucked. At that point, Huang came back to the table and said, “Who won? Who was bluffing?” Jiang explained about the top pair as he stacked up his newly-acquired chips. –HS

Jiang’s debut

9:05pm: Addamo subtracts from J.C.’s stack
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

J.C. Alvarado opened for 9,000 and got a couple of callers before Michael Addamo reraised all in from the blinds. Alvarado called, the others scattered, and the cards soon were on their backs:

Alvarado: 77
Addamo: AK

The 39K flop swung the edge the at-risk player’s way, and the 9 turn and 9 river kept Addamo in front. Addamo gets back to about 190,000 while Alvarado slips to 305,000. –MH

9:02pm: Kenney check-calling FTW
Level 7 – Blinds 2,0000/4,000 (ante 500)

Bryn Kenney turned top pair with big slick and that was good enough to see him take one off Kahle Burns and rise to 370,000.

The two were heads-up to an 869 flop and Kenney (cutoff) checked to Burns on the button who bet 9,000. Call. Kenney did the same for another 33,000 on the A turn before the 3 river was checked through. Kenney opened AK and Burns mucked to drop to 162,000. –MC

9:02pm: Chen staying alive
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

James Chen has been working the shortstack and earned himself a bit of breathing room by more than doubling up in a hand against Patrik Antonius and Kiusong Wu. Antonius got it started by raising to 14,000 from under the gun and Wu three-bet to 32,000 from the button. Chen quickly moved all-in for 48,000 total and after a few moments of internal debate Antonius mucked.

Wu called excitedly and turned over Q9, clearly enjoying the chance to sweat a preflop all-in. Chen tabled AJ and retained the lead when the flop came down K77. The J turn improved things even more for Chen and the 8 river made it official.

“I had the best hand,” said Antonius, smiling. “That shot clock was too much pressure for me.”

Chen is on 120,000 while Wu slips to 350,000. –MS

9pm: Huang hits hand, dings Dvoress
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

After a Shan Huang open, Daniel Dvoress three-bet to 42,000 from the small blind, then when it got back to Huang he got it all in for 195,000 total and Dvoress called right away.

It was AQ for Huang versus the 1010 of Dvoress. The 8A3 was good for Huang, the Q turn even better, and the 2 river a most excellent.

Dvoress delivered chips across the table, and now Huang is up around 400,000 while Dvoress is down to 140,000. –MH

8:55pm: Foxen hammers Greenwood
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Alex Foxen is our first player through the 1 million mark and is continuing to do what a chip-leader should: picking on those less fortunate.

In a recent pot, Luc Greenwood opened to 9,000 from the cutoff and action folded to Foxen in the big blind. With a stack of around 1.1 million, Foxen picked up a fistful of 25,000-denomination chips and shoved them forward.

Greenwood only had 99,500 back, so this was a decision for his chips. He agonised over it, let the clock run down, then folded. He showed a king, and the rest of the table deduced that he must have had king-queen. Obviously he’s calling with anything better, and “not tanking with king-seven,” according to Isaac Haxton. –HS

8:50pm: I wish I was a little bit Tollerene
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Ben Tollerene’s day just brightened a bit with a big win against Stephen Chidwick over on Table 4.

With the board reading Q8Q2K, Tollerene–the big blind before the flop–checked to Chidwick. The shot clock nearly expired before Chidwick grabbed a stack of red 25,000-denomination chips and placed it across the betting line. Tollerene snap-called and turned over Q8 for trip queens. Chidwick had fired with J-T and a busted straight draw, giving Tollerene a hard-earned double to 480,000 chips. Chidwick, meanwhile, drops to 220,000. –JK

“I wish I had a rabbit in a hat…” etc

8:45pm: Wu wins one
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Patrik Antonius raised to 10,000 from the button and with a “what the heck?” expression Kuisong Wu called from the big blind.

The flop came 10K7 and Wu checked. Antonius bet 10,000 again, and with a look of “why not?” Wu called once more. Both checked the 7 turn.

The Q fell on the river, and this time Wu was the one betting — 20,000. Antonius studied for several seconds, and without expression finally called the bet. Wu flipped over 76 for trip sevens, and he seized the pot.

Wu is up to 425,000, closing the gap with Antonius who has 465,000. –MH

8:42pm: Jack the lad Kempe
Level 7 – Blinds 2,0000/4,000 (ante 500)

Rainer Kempe has had a swingy day. His latest move was an upswing to 710,000 after top pair was good versus Sam Greenwood.

The latter opened to 9,000 from under the gun and was called in two spots, including Kempe in the next seat.

The 3J3 flop was checked to the 7 turn where Greenwood’s delayed 18,000 c-bet was only called by Kempe. The 4 completed the board and Kempe bet 27,000 when the action was checked to him. Greenwood snapped him off but mucked upon seeing Kempe’s KJ and dropped to 130,000.

UPDATE: Greenwood busted very shortly afterwards, but has already re-entered for a second time today. –MC

8:40pm: Rast fires, busts
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Brian Rast is out–at least for now. He just fired off the last of his first bullet, but couldn’t get JC Alvarado to step aside. That was just as well for Alvarado as his better pocket pair put him up to around 630,000.

Rast started the pot going with a raise to 9,000 from the button. Adrian Mateos then three-bet the small blind, making it 35,000, and Alvarado called in the big blind. Rast stuck around.

The flop just might have hit one of them. It came Q2Q. Mateos checked, but then Alvarado had the first stab. He bet 35,000. Rast was the only player to call.

The K fell on the turn and both remaining players checked. Then Alvarado also checked the 8 river.

Rast, with only 115,000 behind the line, said that he was all-in. That put Alvarado in the tank.

After watching the shot-clock tick down to about 1 second, Alvarado called. A despondent Rast turned over his 77 but knew it was behind. He was right. Alvarado’s 99 was better.

That sends Rast home–or to the buy-in cage, as he chooses. Alvarado is now a force. –HS

Rast couldn’t last

8:35pm: Loeser shows a winner
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Stanley Choi opened for 9,500 from the button. If he was hoping to steal some blinds, it didn’t work, as both Stephen Chidwick (small) and Manig Loeser (big) defended with calls.

The flop came 6A3, and after it checked over Choi continued for 11,000. That did get Chidwick out of there, but Loeser stuck around with a call. Both players then checked the 4 turn.

The river brought the 2 and a big bet of 27,500 from Loeser, and after some though Choi called. Loeser turned over 55, revealing he rivered a straight, and Choi mucked.

Loeser is up to 365,000 now, while Choi slips to 170,000. –MH

Loeser – in the process of showing the winner

8:30pm: The tao of Tao
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Even the most innocuous-looking pots can become valuable under the right circumstances.

Li Tao opened the action for 9,500 in the cutoff and Kahle Burns, fresh off his loss to Christoph Vogelsang’s disguised pocket kings minutes earlier, came along in the big blind for a 756 flop. Both players checked there and on the 8 turn as well, before the 10 completed a board full of possibilities.

Burns checked once more and Tao, after taking most of his shot clock, bet another 9,500. That put the decision back to Burns, who himself let the clock run down before announcing a raise to 36,000. Tao now had just 30 seconds to act, and his eventual decision to call was the right one. Tao showed down Q10 for a pair of tens, good enough to beat Burns’s AJ and take down the pot.

Tao now has 210,000 chips, and Burns slips to 240,000. –JK

8:25pm: Chop for Greenwood and Haxton
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Isaac Haxton opened to 9,500 from the cutoff and Luc Greenwood called from the button with around 160,000 behind. Nick Petrangelo called from the big blind and the flop rolled out KK9. It was checked around to Greenwood who fired 10,000. Haxton was the only caller and both players checked the 2 turn.

The river was the J and Haxton bet 42,000. It represented a big chunk of Greenwood’s remaining chips but after a few moments he opted to call. Haxton flipped over AJ and Greenwood tabled AJ for the chop.

Greenwood is still on around 170,000 while Haxton has 650,000, roughly double the average at the moment. –MS

8:20pm: Trapping oneself
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Though you couldn’t discern it from his motionless face, one suspects Christoph Vogelsang’s mind was whirring through the course of this hand. All without giving anything away, he was laying a trap, nearly getting himself caught in it, staring down a barrel, and then swerving all the dangers to make the right call. That said, if he’d have just been a bit more A-B-C at the beginning, he might have saved himself the anxiety.

The explanation:

Kahle Burns opened to 9,500 from the cutoff and Vogelsang called on the button. So far, so standard. The blinds both folded.

Both Burns and Vogelsang checked the A25 flop. They also checked the 2 turn. Then the river brought the 6 and Burns fired 19,500 at it.

Vogelsang’s clock ran down to the final second, but he then put out calling chips. Burns turned over 97 and was essentially playing the board (albeit with a nine). Vogelsang then turned over his KK, which was a winner.

The table chuckled at Vogelsang’s decision to flat kings on the button, especially after the ace flopped. But all’s well that ends well. Well, for Vogelsang that is. –HS

8:15pm: Bonomo in the danger zone
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Justin Bonomo is on the short side now. In fact, he’s the shortest of those on the short side after losing a small pot just now to Kuisong Wu.

Arriving on the turn with the board showing 6427, Bonomo check-called a bet of 14,000 from Wu, then both players checked the J river. Bonomo turned over Q5 to show his draw hadn’t come in, and while Wu didn’t have much — K10 — it was still better and Wu claimed the pot.

Wu is hovering around 400,000, while Bonomo just 56,000 at present. –MH

8:10pm: Dvoress hanging on
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Daniel Dvoress has been hanging around despite the cards not going his way. His effort was just rewarded with a nice little pot.

Dvoress opened the action for 9,500 chips on the button. Yuan Jiang folded and Mikita Badziakouski, sitting in the big blind, asked Dvoress, “You have about 125,000?” Dvoress paused, then said, “Yeah.”

“You don’t have to answer,” Shan Huang chirped from the 8-seat. “He can just fold.”

But Badziakouski decided to call, bringing a flop of A76. Both men checked, then did so again on the 9 turn, and the 4 came on the river. This time Badziakouski led for 50,000, putting Dvoress in a tough spot. He let the clock run about halfway down before making the call – and before Dvoress could turn over his hand, Badziakouski mucked his cards.

Dvoress is back up to 180,000 now and Badziakouski has 215,000. –JK

Dvoress still in

8:05pm: Foxen closing in on a million
Level 7 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

When you use up almost all your 30-second allotted thinking time before flicking in a river call, there are not many better words to hear from your opponent’s mouth than, “You win”.

That just happened to Foxen and his stack moved up to 985,000.

He was heads-up versus Nick Petrangelo and 96,000 made it into the middle before the dealer revealed a 6109 flop. Both players checked before Petrangelo bet 28,000 and 125,000 on the 83 turn and river after he was checked to on both streets. Foxen called both times and Petrangelo dropped to 285,000 after he mucked when conceding defeat. –MC

It didn’t take Foxen long to reclaim the top spot

8:01pm: Top five
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Players are now back in their seats and playing the last two levels of the day. The chip-count page has had a spruce up, so head over there for the latest. In the meantime, here’s the top five:

Name Country Chips
Quan Zhou China 850,000
Alex Foxen USA 780,000
Nick Petrangelo USA 770,000
Rainer Kempe Germany 545,000
Stephen Chidwick United Kingdom 430,000

Li Tao returned to the shortest stack in the room, and he was knocked out on the first hand after the break. — HS

Quan’s no.1

8pm: Back at it
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The game is Texas hold’em, with no limit on the betting. Let’s get back to it. –MH

Let’s play some cards

7:45pm: Last break of the day

Six levels are done, and players are now taking their last 15-minute break of the day. They’ll return to play two more one-hour levels before calling it a night. –MH

Don’t have a PokerStars account? Getting one couldn’t be easier and could mean a trip to the next big PokerStars series. Click here to get started.

7:42pm: Feel the Burns
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Li Tao kicked this one off with an open to 7,000, but he wouldn’t make it as far as the flop. After Kahle Burns called on the button, Steve O’Dwyer three-bet squeezed it to 29,000, and Burns was his only caller.

Heads up to the 107A flop, it went check-check to the J turn. O’Dwyer still wasn’t interested in c-betting, which let Burns in for a 45,000 stab. Call.

The A completed the board and brought a second communal ace. O’Dwyer checked a final time, and Burns jammed for 143,200. O’Dwyer asked for a count (he had 150,000 so just had Burns covered), but after going into his time bank he ultimately decided to fight another day.

Burns is up to 300,000 now. –JS

7:40pm: Tollerene returns
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Ben Tollerene has re-entered, just before the end of Level 6. He now joins Sam Greenwood, Steve O’Dwyer, Shan Huang and James Chen in the quintet of players who have had more than one stab at this. –HS

7:38pm: Sam’s no sham
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It’s been a withering few levels for Sam Greenwood. The Canadian, sitting to Rainer Kempe’s right all day, had fallen well below 100,000 chips early in this level and spent the rest of the hour looking for a good spot. His timing couldn’t have been better as he found his lifeline just before the third break of the day.

We arrived with the board reading 9410104 and Greenwood, who had been in the big blind before the flop, announced himself all-in for 55,000. Mikita Badziakouski, sitting on the button, opted for a call but never showed down his cards after Greenwood turned over 102 for trips on the turn.

That win keeps Greenwood in the game with 190,000 chips, while Badziakouski is still sitting with 280,000. –JK

7:35pm: Foxen trips up Haxton
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Isaac Haxton has dropped down to 340,000 after he was rivered in a hand versus Alex Foxen.

The action was three-way to an A79 flop where Nick Petrangelo bet 14,000 from the cutoff. Foxen (button) and Haxton (small blind) both called. All three checked the 10 turn before Haxton led for 77,000 on the 7 river. Only Foxen called with queen-seven to beat Haxton’s queen-nine.

Foxen, who must’ve lost some chips in the last while, saw his stack get back up to 730,000. –MC

7:30pm: You don’t make friends with salad
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

In ten minutes of scanning the tables looking for action, the most exciting thing I saw happen involved a salad. Three actually.

You see, Michael Addamo had ordered food, but when it was brought to him it was clear something had gone wrong.

Michael Addamo, one of many players seeking chips… and salads

This salad wasn’t what he ordered, so the floor went to another player who had recently placed a salad order — Brian Rast.

Nope, this salad wasn’t what he ordered either.

So what was going on? Whose was this mystery salad? And where were Rast and Addamo’s?

Rast got on the case, and spotted his recently-delivered salad over in the hands of Li Tao. Problem was, it was already half-eaten. Rast gave the mystery salad to Tao, too (believing it to be what Tao had ordered), and as I type both Rast and Adamo still await their salads.

This is riveting Super High Roller action. –JS

7:25pm: Zhou wins monster from Tollerene
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new chip leader. And it’s poker’s great entertainer Quan Zhou who has flown to the summit, winning a massive pot from Ben Tollerene.

There was something clearly brewing by the time your reporter sidled up to the table. There was around 180,000 in the middle and the board dealt to the turn: 3JA2.

Tollerene, who would have been under the gun pre-flop, bet 110,000. Zhou tanked a short moment then called.

The K completed the board and Tollerene pushed for something close to 250,000. Zhou didn’t need a count. He instantly called, and that’s when we found out why.

Tollerene had flopped a set with his 33 and perhaps thought he’d been trapping Zhou. But the poacher was actually the prey. Zhou had also flopped a set with his AA and that massive cooler decided the chip lead.

The dealer established that Zhou had 252,000 in his stack at the river, while Tollere had about 290,000. Tollerene’s 40,000 went all in soon after, and he was knocked out, while Zhou now sits with about 850,000. —HS

7:22pm: Ace-high river call good for Wu
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Kiusong Wu just relieved Justin Bonomo of a few chips thanks to a confident river call with nothing but ace-high.

We picked up the hand on the flop with Q73 face-up on the felt. Bonomo was on the button and bet 15,000. Wu quickly called sitting in the small blind.

The turn was the 6 and both players checked. The 3 landed on the river and Bonomo fired again, this time 30,000. Wu picked up the chips and only hesitated for a moment before throwing them across the line. Bonomo shook his head and flipped up J-T for a bluff. Wu turned over A-8 which was enough to send the pot his way.

Bonomo is now on 120,000 while Wu’s stack is up to 210,000. –MS

7:20pm: Kempe crimps Dvoress’s style
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Daniel Dvoress has been sitting to the right of Rainer Kempe all day long, but it hasn’t paid off for him. He’s now down to less than half his starting stack after dropping a sizable pot to Kempe.

Kempe opened the acton by calling from the small blind, then called again when Dvoress raised to 8,000. That took us to an A210 flop, which both players checked to bring the Q on the turn. This time Kempe bet 19,000 and Dvoress called, and the river was the 7. After building a small pot the whole way, Kempe led for 56,000 this time.

Dvoress let his shot clock run nearly all the way down before quickly tossing out a call. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t beat Kempe’s pair of aces with AJ.

That represented a big blow to Dvoress’s stack, taking him down to 115,000 chips. Meanwhile, Kempe is at cruising altitude with 750,000. –JK

Dvoress takes a hit

7:15pm: Been sprouting
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Aaron Been has gotten his stack back up to 140,000 after winning a three-way pot out of the small blind.

He called after an early position raise to 7,000 from Christoph Vogelsang. Bryn Kenney (big blind) called also but folded to Been’s 8,000 lead on a Q10K flop. Vogelsang called though and then bet 15,000 when Been checked the 3 turn over to him. Been called and both players checked the 6 river. Been opened QJ and Vogelsang mucked to drop to 147,000. –MC

Been there, done that

7:10pm: Racing
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Sometimes you see two great poker minds going to battle and think you might be watching a levelling war. Then you remember that good players can get dealt big hands just as often as bad players, and some hands just play themselves no matter what reputations are.

Here’s one.

James Chen opened to 7,000 from the cutoff, from a stack of around 150,000. Patrik Antonius, who had closer to 400,000 three-bet to 21,500 from the small blind, and action quickly found its way back to Chen. He four-bet to 90,000.

Antonius double checked how big was his liability in the pot, then moved all-in from the dominant position. Chen called and we were looking at the oldest race in the books.

Chen: AK
Antonius: QQ

Despite starting with the very slight mathematical disadvantage, Chen leapt into the lead after the 3A9 flop. The 2 turn and 7 river were blanks and that gave Chen the double-up.

The dealer counted his stack to 143,000, so we can now put him at around 290,000. Antonius has about 340,000 even after that set back. –HS

7:05pm: When two big stacks collide
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

The two biggest stacks in the room right now belong to Alex Foxen (who we just wrote about) and the man currently sat on his right, Nick Petrangelo. The two just headbutted in a button vs. small blind pot.

With no action in front of him, Petrangelo opened the button to 8,000 — a slightly larger sizing than we’re used to from other positions. Over to Foxen in the small blind, he put his chip lead to use and three-bet it to 34,000, which was enough to get Ike Haxton out of the way from the big blind.

Back to Petrangelo, he wasn’t done. “92,000” was the bet he announced and then placed over the line. Foxen thought, before taking a look at his neighbour’s stack. “You have like 600K?” he asked, and Petrangelio replied that that was indeed true. A few moments later, and Foxen laid it down.

“Show the five!” pleaded Haxton, as Petrangelo looked a little pleased with himself following Foxen’s fold. “A three!” he replied, tabling the 3.

That pot brings Petrangelo up towards 700,000, while Foxen is still leading with 770,000. –JS

7pm: Kempe climbing
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Rainer Kempe, currently ranked 12th on the GPI, has been growing his stack steadily higher over the course of this level. Now Mikita Badziakouski has become the latest player to aid his ascent.

With 28,000 chips in the pot and the board reading 5J73, Kempe led for 12,000 from the big blind. Badziakouski raised to 40,000 and Kempe, after some thought, simply called. The K arrived on the river and once again Kempe chose to bet, this time 41,000 chips. Badziakouski didn’t like the look of that fourth diamond and chucked his cards into the muck, giving Kempe another win.

Kempe’s stack now sits at 650,000 chips, while Badziakouski falls to 370,000. –JK

Making it Rainer

6:55pm: The hunter or the Foxen?
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Alex Foxen’s stack has grown to around 800,000 after he made a flush and got paid versus Luc Greenwood.

The two players were heads up to a 439 flop where Foxen bet 7,000 from the button. Greenwood was in the big blind and check-called. He did likewise on the A2 turn and river when faced with bets of 23,000 and 73,000. Foxen opened Q5 and Greenwood mucked to drop to 245,000. –MC

6:50pm: Chidwick mows down Moss
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Stephen Chidwick just picked up a pot — and scored a knockout — after felting Matt Moss. Chidwick is now up to 470,000.

The big board is showing 34 players currently in action from what is so far a 41-entry field. –MH

More, more, more for stevie444

6:45pm: Level 6 begins
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Sure, the first five levels were pretty darned good. But now the tournament has really been taken up a notch. –MH

6:42pm: Badziakouski up, Greenwood down
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Sam Greenwood is on his second buy-in and things are looking a little less cheery for him after a big hand against Mikita Badziakouski. We picked up the action on the turn with Badziakouski on the button and Greenwood in the big blind. The board read QJ104 and Badziakouski had bet 27,000. Greenwood called and the 8 hit the river.

Badziakouski cut out chips and slid 80k across the line. Greenwood tanked for a few minutes, playing with his chips as he thought things over, and ultimately made the call. Badziakouski flipped over K9 for the flopped straight and Greenwood shook his head as his hand went to the muck.

With that pot Badziakouski is on around 370,000 while Greenwood is down to 120,000. –MS

6:40pm: Tao down but not out
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It’s been rough couple of hands for Li Tao.

First, he opened to 5,500 and then called Christoph Vogelsang’s 17,000 three-bet. The German then checked a JKA flop, letting Tao in for a bet of 16,500. Vogelsang called (although he thought the bet was only 13,500). Both then checked the 5 turn and 7 river, and Vogelsang’s K10 was best against Tao’s QQ.

A couple of hands later, Kahle Burns kicked things off with an under-the-gun-plus-one open to 5,500, which both Vogelsang and Steve O’Dwyer called. The action was on Tao in the small blind, and after Aaron Been accidently folded the big blind out of turn, Lao three-bet squeezed to 26,000.

Original raiser Burns then four-bet to around 130,000, enough to cover Lao completely. Vogelsang and O’Dwyer made their excuses and left, while Tao took a moment before making a frustrated fold.

He’s down to just 64,000 now. –JS

6:38pm: Foxen powers past Li
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The newest table in the tournament area is a tough place to be. It has Nick Petrangelo, the chip leader, in Seat 1, then Alex Foxen, his closest challenger, in Seat 2. Ike Haxton, who was one of the early leaders, is one seat around, and then Luc Greenwood and Bjorn Li complete the line-up. Yeah, tough.

Nick Petrangelo and Alex Foxen: Big stacks side-by-side

Li just got a reminder how tough when he lost a pot to Foxen. There only seemed to be about 15,000 in the middle by the time they got to the turn, with the J7810 exposed.

Foxen checked, Li bet 15,000 and Foxen raised to 55,000. Li called, bringing the dangerous Q on the river. Foxen now led 58,000 and, after burning through a timebank chip, Li folded.

Foxen has about 660,000 now. Li has 230,000. Meanwhile Haxton has 360,000, Greenwood has 350,000 and Petrangelo 710,000. –HS

Foxen locked in

6:30pm: Kenney’s a survivor, works harder
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 500)

Bryn Kenney just put his tournament life on the line came out the better for it.

Kenney was first to act with the river already dealt, a huge pile of chips in the middle, and the board reading 39AJK. He checked to the ever-aggressive Vogelsang, who didn’t wait too long before tossing out a 60,000-chip bet.

Kenney didn’t take long himself to announce a check-raise all-in. Vogelsang asked for a count, then quickly folded upon confirmation that Kenney’s bet was worth 157,000.

That win boosts Kenney’s stack to 320,000, while Vogelsang sinks to 130,000. –JK

6:28pm: Addamo rivers Zhou
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Quan Zhou has definitely lost more significant pots that this one, but was still left crestfallen by a recent defeat to Michael Addamo. That tends to happen when you’re leading all the way to the river, then an opponent hits at the last.

Whaddya gonna Zhou?

The pot began with a raise to 5,800 from Ben Tollerene in early position and then a call from Zhou in the small blind and from Addamo in the big.

All three players checked the 55K flop, the Zhou bet 5,500 after the 10 turn. Both opponents called.

The A completed the board and Zhou had another tickle, this time 16,500. Addamo called and Tollerene folded, leading to Zhou tabling his 10K.

It had been good, but was not anymore. Addamo showed his AQ and that was better.

Addamo moves up to 190,000 after that, but still trails Tollerene, who has 410,000, and Zhou, who has 440,000. –HS

6:20pm: Those lucky eights again
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Kuisong Wu has just demonstrated the power of pocket eights, proving why they are arguably the most popular starting hand here in Macau.

If only he’d played them.

You see, Wu had opened to 6,400 with the 88 but Patrik Antonius’s three-bet to 21,000 threw a spanner in the works. To make matters worse, Jean Ferreira then four-bet jammed for around 110,000 from the big blind, which forced Wu to make a reluctant fold. Antonius snap-called with his KK, which would hold up against Ferreira’s 99 after a 7108Q3 runout.

Of course, Wu would have won with a set had he been in the mix.

“Gaahh! I would have called if he just called!” he moaned, before turning to Antonius. “You so lucky!”

Antonius is up to 368,000 now, while Wu has 265,000 and Ferreira is in need of a rebuy. –JS

6:17pm: Huang, bang, thank you, ma’am
Level 5 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 400)

Shan Huang is out but will be back. The player, who’s extremely popular amongst his peers, had his aces cracked by Yuan Jiang.

He had opened from under the gun and been called by both blinds. The flop fell 62K and Huang continued for 12,000. He got action from Jiang in the big blind who check-raised to 28,000 and called after Huang three-bet all-in for 84,500. Mikita Badziakouski was the big blind player and got out of the way.

Jiang: 78
Huang: AA

The board ran out 53 to make Jiang’s flush. Huang asked an opponent for some money so he’ll be chatting away again at a table near us very soon. –MC

6:15pm: Petrangelo on the go
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Nick Petrangelo is now up to around 670,000, but has been forced to move to the other side of the room owing to the tournament swelling to six tables. He’ll be sorry to leave.

He won another small pot just before the tournament staff came and hooked him, with Matt Moss and Stanley Choi seeing their contributions lifted and carried away.

Petrangelo set the ball rolling with an open to 5,100 from early position. Choi called one seat to his left and Moss called in the big blind, meaning the three were still active after the K47 flop.

Moss checked, Petrangelo bet 6,500 and both Choi and Moss called.

The 2 fell on the turn and Moss checked again. Petrangelo this time bet what looked a lot like 50,500. The sizing had changed dramatically between flop and turn.

It was big enough that neither Choi nor Moss fancied hanging around, allowing Petrangelo to rake it in. Shortly thereafter, he was off. –HS

6:10pm: Luc jukes Patrik for a big pot
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Luc Greenwood is still seated between Ike Haxton and Patrik Antonius. If that’s limiting his ability to play the way he wants, it isn’t showing.

We arrived at Table 1 with a mass of chips in the middle, a board reading 1010J8, and Greenwood and Antonius the only two players contesting the pot. Antonius checked and Greenwood, with a stack of chips in hand, considered his options for nearly the full 30-second shot clock before deciding to check as well.

That brought the 10 on the river and another check from Antonius. This time Greenwood moved that 130,000-chip stack across the betting line and put the decision to Antonius. The Finn looked like he wanted to call, but eventually folded with a grimace instead.

Luc Greenwood is now up to 380,000 chips, while Antonius drops further to 230,000. –JK

Luc what I found

6:07pm: Third time unlucky
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Jean Ferreira made it 6,000 to go under the gun and Patrik Antonius called from the cutoff. Ike Haxton was in the small blind and when it folded to him he three-bet squeezed to 28,000. That got two folds.

Haxton went to work in the next hand too, calling John Juanda’s 5,500 UTG+1 open on the button to see a 359 flop. Juanda checked it, and after his full 30-second clock Haxton stabbed for 10,000, which got Juanda to fold.

That made it two in a row, so why not go for a third consecutive pot?

When it folded to Haxton in the cutoff, he opened it up to 5,700 and Kuisong Wu snap-called from the big blind when it folded to him. They went heads up to the 29A flop, and Wu check-called Haxton’s 4,000 c-bet.

The turn was the 4 which got two checks, bringing the K on the river. Wu quickly led for 7,000, which gave Haxton food for thought. He’d eventually call though, but would muck when Wu showed his KQ for a rivered second pair.

After all that, Haxton sits with 455,000. –JS

6:05pm: “You have to take it seriously, but not too seriously”
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Canadian Daniel Dvoress says there’s a lot to love about Super High Rollers. He loves the competition, the big money and he also loves the friendly and laid back atmosphere. That last point is interesting because “laid back” probably isn’t what you’d expect from a people playing for millions of dollars.

But looking around the room you can see a lot of smiles. It’s a small community, the high-stakes tournament poker scene. That means most of these guys are used to playing with each other and enjoy each other’s company even when there is a staggering amount of money on the line.

In this video interview, Dvoress give us an inside look at what these events are like from the player’s point of view and what makes them so special.

6pm: Chen to become the next player to re-enter?
Level 5 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 400)

James Chen got his chips in good but couldn’t hold against the drawing Ben Tollerene.

He opened to 5,500 from the cutoff and was called by Brian Rast and Tollerene in the blinds. Chen continued for 9,200 which was good enough to fold out Rast, but not Tollerene, who check-raised to 26,000. Call. Tollerene then checked the turn to face an all-in bet worth 79,800. He gave it some consideration and made the call.

Tollerene: A2 for the nut flush draw
Chen: QQ for two pair

The 10 river made Tollerene’s hand and he moved up to 470,000. Chen immediately inquired about re-entering so he should be back up to 250,000 soon enough. –MC

5:58pm: Badziakouski jams on Huang
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Shan Huang and Mikita Badziakouski greeted each other like long-lost friends when they saw each other today. They are very familiar from both tournaments and cash games in the region, and enjoy chatting between hands.

The two of them just played a pot in which the talking stopped, however. Huang was put to a decision for the remainder of his chips, with Badziakouski showing little mercy to his old pal.

It began with a raise to 6,500 from Badziakouski from the cutoff and Huang three-bet to 19,000 from the button. This bit was accompanied by heaps of conversation. But after the blinds folded and Badziakouski called, it went silent.

The dealer put the 3 on the turn and Badzikouski moved all-in, for about 90,000. That was pretty much what Huang had in his stack too, and he quickly said, “Oh, really!”

Badziakouski assured Huang that, yes, the bet stood. Huang burnt the clock down to its final second before folding.

Badziakouski now has 170,000, while Huang is going to need to rebuild from around 90,000. –HS

5:55pm: Vogelsang turns a winner
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Steve O’Dwyer’s second bullet in this tournament has treated him better than the first, generally speaking, but he just lost a small chunk in a blind-versus-blind hand with Christoph Vogelsang to kick off our fifth level of the day.

We arrived after the 1079 flop, where Vogelsang checked and O’Dwyer bet 11,500. Vogelsang made the call and then checked again when the 3 fell on the turn. O’Dwyer kept up the pressure with a 27,000-chip bet, and Vogelsang called after running out most of his shot clock. He checked a final time after the K hit the river.

O’Dwyer considered firing a third barrel but decided against it — and saved himself some chips, as it turned out. Vogelsang showed down 73 and O’Dwyer stared at his cards ruefully before tossing them into the muck.

O’Dwyer falls to 300,000 chips with that loss, while Vogelsang is up to 285,000. –JK

5:45pm: Play resumes
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Players are back in their seats and Level 5 has begun. There have been 39 total entries so far, with 35 players in action at present. Late registration (and the ability to re-enter) continues until tomorrow and the end of Level 10. –MH

Day 1 keeps Super High Rolling along

5:32pm: Break time

With four levels down and four more to go, players are off on their second break of the day. –MH

Don’t have a PokerStars account? Getting one couldn’t be easier and could mean a trip to the next big PokerStars series. Click here to get started.

5:30pm: Burns loses Foxen match
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Alex Foxen is another player through the 500,000-chip mark, though details are scarce on how he got there. He recently just won a decent pot from Kahle Burns, and details are regrettably scarce too on how it played out, because it’s very difficult to piece together from the small amount of information we do have.

Here’s what we know: Burns and Foxen were the only two left, looking at a full board of 810453. There was a pot of about 100,000 out there. Burns, who was in the big blind pre-flop, checked and Foxen bet 47,500.

Burns thought it through for a while, but then called. Foxen showed his A2 and, after checking that he wasn’t seeing things, Burns mucked with a shake of the head.

Burns had gone runner-runner to the wheel.

That pot boosted Foxen to more than half a million as they go to the second break of the day. –HS

5:28pm: Blind leading the blind for Rast
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Brian Rast made good work of both his big and small blind, winning both pots and ensuring those chips returned to his stack.

In the first one, Ben Tollerene had opened to 4,500 under the gun and James Chen called from the cutoff. Rast defended his big blind, and all three would check the A44 flop.

That brought the 6 on the turn, but again there’d be no betting. Finally the 8 completed things, and Rast now led for 12,000. Tollerene folded but Chen called, only to muck when Rast showed his AQ.

In the next pot, action folded to Rast in the small blind and he limped, which brought a check from the big blind of Tollerene. They went to the 1010Q flop on which both checked, bringing the A turn. Rast led for 2,000, and got a call.

The 4 river got Rast to lead for another 9,200, enough to get a fold and take it down. He’s up to 300,000 now. –JS

5:25pm: Antonius chases Haxton
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Ike Haxton and Patrik Antonius are seated together at Table 1, with Luc Greenwood in between. As you might expect, they’re tangling with some frequency. The pots aren’t ballooning just yet but they do have plenty of action.

Moments ago Antonius opened the action for 5,000 chips in the hijack seat, drawing calls from Haxton on the button and Jean Ferreira in the big blind. Ferreira checked the 7K3 flop and then got out of the way after Antonius bet 8,000 and Haxton called. That brought the 10 on the river and checks from both Antonius and Haxton. Antonius led for 16,000 after the 10 river and Haxton quickly folded, surrendering the pot to Antonius.

That win takes Antonius up to 390,000 chips, while Haxton slips to 490,000. –JK

5:20pm: Stretch, groan, call, double-up
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

The title of this post explains the river action of Mikita Badziakouski (and the result). He was up against Yuan Giang and both had made it to fifth street with a pile of chips already at home in the middle of the table.

The board rested as J10Q46 and Badziakouski checked from the small blind to watch Giang move all-in. The Belarussian had 61,800 left and went through the motions explained above and was shown K2 for as bluff once he found the call, after using a time bank chip. His J10 was good and he rose up to 190,000. Giang dropped to 310,000. –MC

Good result for Badziakouski

5:18pm: “Well now I feel like a fish”
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

It turns out playing poker for more money than most people make in a year isn’t enough action for some of these players. Now they’re making prop bets. This one began with Bryn Kenney and Alex Foxen discussing how big they think this field will get.

“71 is a push right?” said Kenney. “I’ll take the under.”

They booked a $1,000 USD bet with Kenney hoping the final number of entrants will be 70 or less. Foxen will win if it’s 72 or more. Christoph Vogelsang chimed in saying he liked the sound of the bet and booked another $1,000, taking the under like Kenney.

Kahle Burns, also at the table, immediately tried to book another $1,000, also on the under.

“Well now I feel like a fish,” said Foxen, turning down Burns and shaking his head in mock-sadness. “I guess I have all the incentive now to go crazy and get some rebuys in,” Foxen joked. –MS

5:15pm: Greenwood bests silent Huang
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

“He quietens down when he’s got something.” That was the assessment of a railbird, watching Shan Huang play for the first time. To be honest, I’m not so sure it’s as simple as that. Huang chats, then he’s silent, then he chats, then he chats, but good luck trying to determine what that means about his cards.

In the recent pot in question, Huang may well have had something as he silently played through the streets against Sam Greenwood. But, if so, he ended up folding it and letting Greenwood take it down.

They were at the flop when I first arrived. The 6K5 was out there and Greenwood checked. Huang bet 6,000 and Greenwood raised to 23,000. Huang called.

The 7 came on the turn and Greenwood fired out 25,000. Huang called, all without any chit-chat.

Then the 4 completed the board and, with one second left on his shot-clock, Greenwood bet 27,000. Huang then went into the tank, surrendering one time-bank chip, and then surrendering his cards too.

Greenwood scooped without showing, building his stack to around 300,000. Huang is now down to about 150,000. –HS

5:10pm: An interesting misread
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Sometimes in doing this job, you come across hands which on the surface seem far more interesting than perhaps they are. For instance, by the intense way that Alex Foxen and Christoph Vogelsang were staring at each other throughout this last hand, you could’ve guessed they were playing for a chip leader-making pot.

But actually, here’s what happened.

Vogelsang opened it to 4,800 under the gun, which Foxen called from the cutoff. Kahle Burns came along from the big blind too, and the flop fell a Dolly Parton-approved 959. Vogelsang continued for 5,000 when it checked to him, which got a call from Foxen and a fold from Burns.

The staring match continued to the Q turn, and even though Burns was out, he got involved too. All eyes were on the German as he checked, and Foxen then checked it back to see the 8 river.

Under the spotlight again, Vogelsang sprung back into action and led for 17,000. Foxen stared and stared some more before giving it up. Vogelsang took his bet back, and as the rest of the 12 big blind pot shipped his way we realised we totally misread the situation. –JS

5:08pm: Ferreira crawling back into contention
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Jean Ferreira continues his steady crawl back towards the starting stack, most recently winning a small pot from Justin Bonomo.

A couple of unfortunate early skirmishes left Ferreira with the first bona fide short stack of this tournament, but he now has 170,000 again, which is fine.

It was a battle of the blinds, with the rest of the table leaving Bonomo and Ferreira to ponder their options on the 365 flop. Bonomo bet 2,000 and at that price, who could refuse? Ferreira called.

The 5 turn brought a slightly bigger bet from Bonomo. This time it was 6,000. Ferreira called again. Bonomo then checked the 8 river.

With the light now shining through a crack in the door, Ferreira bet 20,000. Bonomo quickly folded, and Ferreira took this one down.

Bonomo is right around 200,000. –HS

5:05pm: Li chipping up
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Bjorn Li is one of our latest arrivals, seated to the right of Shan Huang. He’s not carrying on like his neighbor, but he’s confidently moving up the standings.

Picking up on the K108 flop with the pot three-handed and 17,000 chips in the middle, Mikita Badziakouski checked from the big blind and Li bet 6,500. Daniel Dvoress, who had called on the button before the flop, thought it over and made the call. Badziakouski declined to join the party, making it heads-up to the K turn with 30,000 in the pot.

Li led once again, this time for 16,500. Dvoress considered his move until just before the shot clock expired and finally folded, giving Li the pot.

After a short stay at Table 2, Li is now up to 330,000 chips. –JK

5pm: Chen loves to bluff
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Despite being caught bluffing in a big hand against Adrian Mateos, James Chen was still full of smiles. It was as if he were proud he had the audacity to try and pull off such a bluff. It didn’t work, though, and he dropped to 115,000.

James takes it on the Chen

Mateos opened the pot with a button raise to 4,500 and Chen defended his big blind. The flop came 445 and Chen check-called a 4,000 c-bet before both players checked the 8 turn. The 5 completed the board and and Chen led for 25,000. Mateos looked confused and then raised to 75,000, leaving himself just under 100,000 behind. Chen then shoved and Mateos’ body language stayed confused and was more agitated. Mateos took 20 seconds before he called and Chen opened 96, losing out to Mateos’ full house with K5. –MC

4:55pm: Petrangelo boosted
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Nick Petrangelo just boosted his stack to the tune of about 150,000 having realised huge equity on the river. Stephen Chidwick was one of his benefactors, though Stanley Choi surrendered most.

It started with a raise to 4,500 from Petrangelo in the hijack and a call from Choi in the cutoff. Chidwick had the button and three-bet to 21,000, and though the blinds folded, both Petrangelo and Choi stuck around.

All three players then checked the 4AQ flop, leading to the 5 turn. Petrangelo bet 50,000, which Choi called. Chidwick now folded.

The 2 river seemed to be to Petrangelo’s taste. He bet 52,500. Choi said, “Call.”

“Call?” Petrangelo said, just to make sure.

“Call,” Choi assured him.

Petrangelo then turned over his 67 — a straight and flush draw on the turn, which got there. Petrangelo’s 580,000 stack is the biggest in the room. –HS

4:50pm: Greenwood busts, immediately rebuys
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Sam Greenwood just busted but after a quick trip to the bank he was back in his seat, only missing a couple of hands. We didn’t see the preceding action, but Greenwood was all-in for around 150,000, waiting for a decision from Rainer Kempe. The board read 73269 and Kempe only took a few moments before putting in the call.

Kempe tabled 67 for two pair while Greenwood flipped up Q5 for the busted flush draw. Kempe raked in the pot and Shan Huang told Greenwood to come back quickly as he walked away from the table. Greenwood took Huang’s advice, walking over to Isaac Haxton at the adjacent table and whispering a few words in his ear.

Haxton simply nodded, pulled out a brick of HK$1,000 notes about the size of a phone book and cut out HK$400,000. He handed it to Greenwood who took it straight to the cashier to pay for the rebuy. He was back in the same seat with a new 250,000-chip stack about five minutes after busting out. Kempe, meanwhile, is up to around 480,000. –MS

Sam Greenwood out, then back in

4:45pm: Choi right not to believe Moss
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Two of the tournament’s most recent arrivals, Stanley Choi and Matt Moss, just went to battle. Though they grew up many miles apart — Choi is from Hong Kong, Moss from the United Kingdom — they are surely familiar to one another, with Moss now making most of his living from cash games in Macau, where Choi has long been a regular.

Perhaps personal knowledge played a part in this hand, in which Moss showed plenty of guts but was unable to match it with a hand.

It started with an under-the-gun raise to 5,000 from Stephen Chidwick, another of Britain’s finest. Moss called in the cutoff and the Choi, in the big blind, three bet to 15,000. Both Chidwick and Moss wanted to see a flop.

The dealer put the J26 on the table and Choi bet 16,000. Chidwick was quickly persuaded out of it, but Moss pushed it up to 59,400. Choi paused a few beats then called.

That call actually represented the last significant action. They both checked the 9 turn and J river, at which point Choi turned over his 1010. Moss mucked, having whiffed despite the check-raise. –HS

Quick chips for Choi

4:40pm: Antonius felts Leow
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Seng Yee Leow is the latest casualty from this super high roller. Picking up the action on the turn of an 8JA8 board, there was around 90,000 in the middle and Loew checked it to the Patrik Antonius. The Finn put out 120,000 which was enough to cover Leow’s remaining chips, and after some thought Leow made the call.

Antonius quickly turned over the AK, which was outkicking Leow’s A5. The 7 river changed nothing, and Leow made his exit while Antonius now sits with 300,000. –JS

Leow down

4:35pm: Huge double for Petrangelo
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Nick Petrangelo has risen to 412,400 after scoring a big double through chip leader Isaac Haxton, who dropped to 430,000.

The former opened to 3,600 from the cutoff and and then four-bet to 32,000 after Haxton three-bet him to 12,600 from the next seat.

As the flop came 6102 Haxton was studying his opponent intently and watched him check. Haxton peeked at the flop and then bet 27,000. Call. The 4 turn was checked through to the 2 river where Petrangelo bombed all-in for 146,200. Haxton made a reluctant looking call with QQ and his instincts were right as Petrangelo opened KK for the higher big pair. –MC

Petrangelo pushes up in the counts

4:30pm: Huang’s in charge
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Shan Huang loves action so much that he’s telling players what to do. And they’re doing it.

“Hey Rainer!” Huang called over to the German from the big blind. “You open, he calls, I three-bet!” He continued, the “he” in the middle being the small blind of Mikita Badziakouski. Rainer Kempe folded.

“Hey Daniel!” Huang said to Daniel Dvoress, who was next in line. But before he could say the same message Dvoress folded.

It was now on Yuan Jiang on the button. “You open, he calls, I three-bet!” Huang encouraged. And wouldn’t you know it? Jiang made it 4,000 to go.

Then Badziakouski called. Huang was made up, but when he looked at his hand he couldn’t follow through with the three-bet, instead just making the call. The three then saw an A8Q flop, which checked all around.

The 2 arrived on the turn, and now Badziakouski led for 8,000. Huang got out of the way, but Jiang made the call and the 2 completed the board, pairing it in the process. Badziakouski fired again for 20,000, only for Jiang to raise it to 85,000. Both Badziakouski and Huang started laughing.

“Every single river!” said Badziakouski, referring to his history with Jiang. “Every river.”

Huang found it all very amusing. “I told you don’t call small blind!”

It’s always fun to hang with Huang

Badziakouski would make the call, and Jiang turned over the nuts with the 22 for quads. Badziakouski sighed. “I have ace-eight. What can I do?”

His stack is now down to 115,000, while Jiang surges up to 485,000. –JS

4:25pm: Stubborn Mateos takes one from Chen
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

James Chen tried to shift both Adrian Mateos and JC Alvarado off of a recent pot, but was only half successful. That meant that Chen saw a handful of chips heading over the table away from his stack.

The three of them saw a flop sitting in the small blind (Mateos), big blind (Alvarado) and under the gun (Chen). That suggested an early-position raise and two calls.

Both Mateos and Alvarado checked the J6Q flop, with Chen then betting 4,200. Mateos called and Alvarado turned his attention to his dinner.

The 2 turn brought another check from Mateos, then another stab from Chen. This time it was 16,500. Mateos called again.

The river was the 4 and Mateos checked once more. Chen opted to check behind again, and saved himself some chips. Mateos showed Q10 and Chen mucked. –HS

4:23pm: Sly like a Foxen
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Alex Foxen won a satellite into this Super High Roller yesterday and he’s off to a strong start four levels in. Just now we arrived on the turn to see him betting 16,000 from the button with the board reading J10310. He got calls from two players including Li Tao one seat to his right.

The K landed on the river and after a check from his opponent, Foxen fired 56,000. Tao thought it over before tossing in a single 100 chip to signal a call. Foxen quickly tabled A10 for trips and Tao sent his hand to the muck. After the hand Foxen was up to roughly 380,000. –MS

4:20pm: Ferreira doubles through Leow
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Canada’s Jean Ferreira has been looking for a chance to double his stack and he just found it at the expense of Seng Yee Leow.

Picking up the action on the QJ8 flop, Ferreira checked to Leow, who bet 13,000 chips. Ferreira responded with a check-raise all-in for 75,000 and put Leow to a decision. After getting a count from the dealer, Leow flung his chips in and turned over 66. The sixes were the best hand at that moment, but Ferreira’s K10 turned into a king-high straight after the 9 fell on the turn. The 8 river gave Ferreira the pot and a much-needed boost to 150,000 chips, while Leow dropped to 135,000. –JK

Ferreira finds a double

4:15pm: Chen chipping up
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

James Chen of Taiwan is chipping up, having added to his stack a bit in two successive hands just now.

In the first Adrian Mateos raised to 3,500, Chen three-bet to 10,000, and Mateos called, then Mateos check-folded to a Chen continuation bet on a queen-high flop.

Soon after that Chen opened for 3,500 from the cutoff and got one caller in Quan Zhou on the button. Chen checked the 810J flop, then called after Zhou bet 4,100. Both players then checked the 2 turn. The river was the 9, and after checking Chen watched Zhou fire 11,100. Chen thought about it, then called.

Zhou showed A5 for ace-high, and Chen showed he’d chosen correctly with his A9 for a pair of nines. Chen is up to 360,000 now. –MH

4:10pm: Delayed, delayed c-bet works for Haxton
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Isaac Haxton’s lead at the top of the counts has grown even further after he took down a four-way pot on the river.

Chan Leong opened to 4,000 from the cutoff, picking up calls from Sergio Aido (button) and Nick Petrangelo (small blind) before Haxton squeezed to 22,000 from the big blind.

Ike Haxton: Early leader

The board rolled out Q44A10 with all players checking until the river when Haxton finally continued for 36,000. All three opponents folded in a flash. –MC

4:05pm: Aggression from Alvarado
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Actually, despite the title, Adrian Mateos and JC Alvarado took turns to be the aggressor in this one.

Mateos got things going with a 3,600 button open, which Alvarado called in the small blind and James Chen called from the big. It checked to Mateos on the 9A8 flop, and he continued for 3,000.

Here was Alvarado’s first turn at aggression. He raised it up to 12,000, which got a fold from Chen. Back to Mateos, he wasn’t done. Now it was his turn, three-betting it to 33,000. Alvarado gave it some thought and made the call.

The turn was the 4, and it went check check. The 3 river inspired more action though.

Alvarado checked once more, and Mateos fired again for 40,000. Alvarado asked for a look at Mateos’s stack (he had 180,000 behind), before announcing a raise to 120,000. Before he could get the chips in the middle, Mateos let his hand go, bringing Alvarado’s stack up to 360,000. –JS

4pm: How Ferreira is faring
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jean Ferreira got short during the last level, chip-wise. He’s still short here in this one, although is trying to do what he can to change the situation for the better.

Just now he opened for 3,500 from the cutoff and got a single caller in Kuisong Wu sitting to his left with the button. The flop brought potential action cards (it seemed), coming KA10, and indeed action ensued after a Ferreira check. Wu pushed forward a bet of 9,000, Ferreira check-raised all-in, and after some thought Wu stepped aside.

Ferreira is at 85,000, still the shortest stack in the room at present, while Wu has 195,000. –MH

3:55pm: Kenney in the house
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Bryn Kenney is one of the most successful poker players of all time with more US$21 million in live earnings. Last year was the best of his career. He won more than US$8.5 million so it comes as no surprise that the popular American almost always has a smile on his face.

His 2018 got off to a cracking starting as well with a near US$697,000 score in the Super High Roller at the PCA in January and he’ll be looking for another deep run having just joined this event at the beginning of Level 3.

Bryn Kenney: Another Super High Roller king

Kenney was straight in to the big blind in his first hand, but ended up losing the pot. Li Tao raised to 4,000 off the button and Kenney defended. The flop came 9KA and Kenney check-called 4,000. The A turn was checked through before Kenney check-folded to a 10,000 bet on the 10 river. –MC

3:50pm: Shan Huang, mind reader
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Maybe it’s just his ebullient personality, or maybe the rest of the table is jet-lagged from the long journey to Macau, but Shan Huang is without a doubt the most animated player in the field right now.

In a hand or out, he’s laughing and carrying on with whoever will engage with him at Table 2. Right now that’s mostly Mikita Badziakouski, who’s seated to Huang’s right. But when he can get involved with the others, he brings them into his world, too. He warned Rainer Kempe moments ago: “Be careful, I can read your mind.”

He may indeed be a mind-reader, but Huang hasn’t been able to translate his verve into many chips up to this point. He did, however, show his mettle in a pot with Daniel Dvoress.

Picking up the action on the river of a 2QAK4 board with about 60,000 chips in the pot, Dvoress checked and Huang bet 32,000. Dvoress gave it some thought but finally folded – and Huang turned over pocket sevens.

“I had a flush draw!” he said, scooping up the pot. Huang is now back up to 210,000 chips. –JK

3:45pm: A pair of two pairs
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Nick Petrangelo and Manig Loeser just tangled in a healthy pot. Petrangelo made it 3,600 to go from the cutoff and that got a call from Haxton on the button. Loeser defended his big blind too, making it three to the 57J flop.

Loeser checked it to Petrangelo, who continued for 4,600. Haxton made a quick fold, but Loeser made the call to take them to a 10 turn. Petrangelo opted for a bigger sizing when it checked to him, and his 18,500 bet didn’t shake off Loeser.

The K river completed the board, and Loeser checked once more. Petrangelo fired once again for 42,000, and the German made the call.

“Two pair,” announced Petrangelo before turning his cards over. “Then I win,” said Loeser, just before he revealed his KJ. “Yep, you win. Nice hand,” said Petrangelo, whose stack dips to 290,000. Loeser thanked him, and is up to around 300,000 now. –JS

3:30pm: Burns pays off Tao
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

With the board showing 610J43, Kahle Burns checked and watched his opponnet, Li Tao, drop a hefty river bet forward. Burns nodded to himself, then said: “Call… I call.” Tao tabled KK, and Burns mucked.

Tao’s kings help him move up around 270,000, while Burns slips back to 215,000. –MH

3:25pm: Start again
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 300)

They’re off again. So far, 31 players are involved, with the gregarious Shan Huang now among them. The volume in the tournament area has duly increased too.

Don’t have a PokerStars account? Getting one couldn’t be easier and could mean a trip to the next big PokerStars series. Click here to get started.

3:11pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 2 and players are taking their first 15-minute break of the day. — HS

3:10pm: Vogelsang has hearts
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Chrisoph Vogelsang raised to 3,000, Li Tao called from late position, and Aaron Been came along as well from the small blind. The flop came K27, and after being checked to Vogelsang continued for 3,700. Tao raised to 9,800 to chase Been, but Vogelsang stayed in.

The turn brought the 10 and Vogelsang checked. Tao bet 24,500, and after a pause Vogelsang called. Vogelsang then checked the 9 river, and Tao checked behind. Vogelsang turned over Q8, revealing he’d turned a flush, and Tao mucked.

Vogelsang has 335,000 now, while Tao is at 180,000. –MH

3:08pm: Haxton flops set, stacks O’Dwyer
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Picking up the action on the river, Isaac Haxton and Steve O’Dwyer had built up a modest pot with the board showing 462J2. From there it appeared Haxton had checked and O’Dwyer made a bet, then Haxton had pushed all in to put O’Dwyer to the test for his remaining chips.

Steve O’Dwyer: Decision, decision

After some thought O’Dwyer chose to call, and Haxton quickly tabled 66 for a flopped set of sixes, which became a full house on the river. O’Dwyer showed his beaten AA before standing up to leave, although he may likely be returning before too long.

Steve O’Dwyer: First out

Meanwhile put Haxton at top of the counts as the day’s first break approaches — he has about 580,000. –MH

3:05pm: Luc takes from Leow
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Luc Greenwood has managed to get back up to around starting stack without having to showdown.

He was in the big blind and battling Seng Yee Leow on the button. A 38J flop was out and Greenwood check-called a 2,800 c-bet.

The 2 turn was checked through to the 6 river where Greenwood check-called 8,000.

Leow just mucked his cards and Greenwood raked in the pot. Leow had only recently sat down and has dropped to 235,000. –MC

3:03pm: Antonius action
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

It hasn’t taken long for Patrik Antonius to get in the mix. Picking up the action on the turn of an 835J board, he was heads up against Luc Greenwood and led for 18,000. Call.

The river was the Q and Antonius continued his aggression for 37,000. Greenwood let his 30-second shot clock tick over into his time bank (he’d hand over the chip after the pot was completed), before putting in 125,000. He’d left himself just 2,000 behind so this was essentially an all in.

Antonius gave it some thought but let his hand go, taking his stack down to 190,000. Greenwood, who lost a big pot early on to Kuisong Wu, has now got his stack back up to 210,000. –JS

3pm: A straight is a Loeser versus a flush
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Manig Loeser made a straight on the river but it was no good as he was flushed by Nick Petrangelo.

We picked up the action on the turn where the board read 10569. Loeser led for 52,500 from early position and Petrangelo called off the button. The 8 completed the board and both players checked.

Manig Loeser: Straightened out

Loeser opened QJ but lost out to Petrangelo’s Q10. Loeser dropped to 155,000 and Petrangelo rose to around 350,000. –MC

2:55pm: Haxton and Loeser check down big pot
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We arrived as the preflop pot was being pulled in but reconstructed the action with help from Isaac Haxton, the pot’s eventual winner. It started with Manig Loeser raising from under the gun, Nick Petrangelo three-betting from the cutoff and Haxton four-betting from the button. Loeser took a few moments before five-betting. Haxton was the only caller.

Both players checked it down as the board rolled out J652A. Loeser announced that he had nine-high, turning over 9-8 off-suit, while Haxton tabled AK for a pair of aces, the pot and perhaps the early chip lead.

Haxton – 345,000
Loeser – 200,000

2:50pm: Burns beats Been
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Arriving on the turn, Aaron Been and Kahle Burns had built up a nice-sized pot in a blind-versus-blind battle with Been (small blind) calling a big Burns bet to push the pot up over 150,000.

The board was 25103 at that point, then the K arrived on the river and Been checked. Burns only took a moment before pushing his entire stack forward as an all-in bet, and after a brief pause Been let his cards go.

Aaron Been

Burns moves up around 340,000, Been down to 160,000. –MH

2:45pm: Sam Greenwood on the attack
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

The main sound in this room right now is the riffling of chips, hinting at the action at Table 2. The latest example was Sam Greenwood taking a nice little pot off Adrian Mateos.

Greenwood led with a raise from middle position and Mateos defended his big blind to see a 865 flop. Mateos maintained his defensive posture on each of the following streets, checking to Greenwood.

The deliberate Greenwood ran halfway through the shot clock each time before betting, first 6,000 on the flop and then another 23,000 on the turn.

He finally shook loose of Mateos with a bet of 42,000 on the 3 river, chasing off the GPI’s top-ranked player to take down a healthy pot worth nearly 70,000 chips. — JK

2:42pm: Kempe active early
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Rainer Kempe is no stranger to big buy-in events, having earned close to $12 million playing them over the last few years. He’s still hovering around the 250,000 starting stack right now but it’s not for a lack of trying. We saw him raise two quick pots in a row before being moved to a new table where he continued his preflop assault.

Rainer Kempe: SHR regular

The first hand saw Kempe raise to 3,000 from under the gun plus one. He got a call from Steve O’Dwyer on the button and the flop came down Q53. Kempe checked and conceded the pot when O’Dwyer tossed in a bet.

The next hand Kempe raised to 3,000 again, this time from under the gun, and Nick Petrangelo three-bet to 8,500. Kempe called and the flop came J87. Both players checked and Kempe bet 14,000 after the 6 hit the turn. Petrangelo folded and after raking in the pot, Kempe was moved to a new table with Mikita Badziakouski, Sam Greenwood and Daniel Dvoress.

On just his second hand at the table Kempe three-bet to 12,000 from the small blind after Sam Greenwood raised on the button. The flop came Q102 and Kempe could barely get his bet across the line before his opponent folded. — MS

2:40pm: Aussie aussie aussie
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

The 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem has just made an appearance, heading over to rail his fellow Australian Kahle Burns. It’s not yet clear whether Hachem plans to hop in this event yet, but his arrival did inspire some action from Burns.

Burns opened under the gun to 3,000, which got calls from Li Tao on the button and Aaron Been in the big blind. The three saw a J9Q flop, and it checked around to the 10 turn. With four to a straight and three to a flush out there, it was checks all around once again.

The 4 river couldn’t muster any betting either, and Been turned over the 67. Burns saw he was ahead with his A4, but when Tao showed his 79 for a pair of nines, that was good and the pot shipped his way. –JS

2:35pm: Bonomo building
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Justin Bonomo has been in the mix a lot during this opening period of play and it’s working well for him as his stack has grown to around 350,000.

Bonomo won his last pot after raising to 3,000 from the cutoff and calling after Jean Ferreira three-bet to 9,500 from the next seat. The flop fanned 6A2 and Bonomo checked. Ferreira continued for 6,000, then Bonomo check-raised to 25,000. Ferreira called.

The turn and river ran out 3 and 7, with Bonomo leading for 30,000 and 80,000 on each street. Ferreira called the first bet but admitted defeat with a fold on the river.

Ferreira dropped to 180,000. –MC

2:30pm: Standing Tollerene
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Ben Tollerene has nearly $5.7 million in career tournament earnings, including multiple high roller wins, the most recent coming in the 2017 PokerStars Championship Panama Super High Roller. He has unsurprisingly begun chipping up here today, just now winning two straight pots off of Mikita Badziakouski early in the second level.

The first was over quickly, with a Tollerene three-bet over a Badziakouski open earning Tollerene a small pot. The second took a little longer, starting with a Tollerene open from middle position to 2,900, called by Badziakouski from the big blind.

The flop came all hearts — 2QK — and Badziakouski check-called a continuation bet of 2,500 from Tollerene. Both players then checked the A turn, then Badziakouski checked once more after the 6 river. Another bet of 6,500 from Tollerene was enough, earning the fold and another modest pot.

Tollerene’s stack is a little taller than the others at his table, up around 320,000 now, while Badziakouski is around 225,000. –MH

2:25pm: Vogelsang’s in town
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Christoph Vogelsang has recovered from that small loss to Aaron Been in the last post by taking a pot from China’s Li Tao.

After Tao opened under the gun to 2,500, action folded to Vogelsang in the small blind and he three-bet to 11,000. Tao came along to see the 1084 flop, but Vogelsand chose not to c-bet. Tao led for 5,600 when it checked to him, and Vogelsang called.

Christoph Vogelsang: Ace-king good

The turn was the A and that got checks from both, bringing the 6 river. There’d be no more action, and Vogelsang’s AK was the winner after Tao mucked. –JS

2:20pm: P.A. on the horizon
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There’s been a sighting of Patrik Antonius at the buy-in desk. It looks like Finland’s finest is heading our way. — HS

Patrik Antonius: Finn takes his seat

2:10pm – O’Dwyer tops list of past Macau millionaires
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

PokerStars LIVE events in Macau have been a massive success across the board but perhaps the biggest standout has been the Super High Roller events. The amount of money awarded in these tournaments is absolutely staggering and no one has taken advantage of that opportunity better than American Steve O’Dwyer. The man they call “Mango” (well, they did once) is playing today and after a quick look at his record, it’s no surprise he’s back in Macau trying to win even more.

Steve O’Dwyer: Macau’s multi-millionaire

Our calculations put O’Dwyer’s winnings at nearly $5 million just in Macau’s big buy-in events. Here’s a quick rundown of his exploits:

– 2017 PokerStars Championship Macau HK$400k SHR- O’Dwyer beat Fedor Holz heads-up to win $1,088,783 USD.
– 2017 Asia Championship of Poker HK$800k SHR – O’Dwyer finished second to Dietrich Fast to pocket $1.52 million USD.
– 2015 Asia Championship of Poker HK$500k SHR – O’Dwyer finished in fourth place for $343,974 USD.
– 2014 APPT HK$500k SHR – O’Dwyer beat Ryan Fee heads-up to win $1.8 million USD.

O’Dwyer isn’t the only person who’s won life-changing money in Macau’s High Roller tournaments, however.

At the 2016 Asia Championship of Poker 26-year-old businessman Yuan Li beat some of the world’s best poker players, including besting Justin Bonomo heads-up, to take down almost USD $900,000. One year before in 2015, Serbian Andjelko Andrejevic beat John Juanda to win the HK$500k buy-in event to win $1,125,722, to name only two.

With 26 players already registered today and the fact that it’s an unlimited re-entry event, everyone sitting with chips in front of them has a chance at a seven-figure payday. — MS

2:05pm: A quiet first level
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The first level is nearing its end, during which players haven’t experienced too much drama with their deep starting stacks. No knockouts yet to report.

Aaron Been just took a pot from Christoph Vogelsang after a big turn bet at one table, while Isaac Haxton picked up chips from Steve O’Dwyer without a showdown after a river bet.

Meanwhile the reshuffling of players now has the Toronto twins, Sam and Luc Greenwood, sitting back to back at adjacent tables. If there were a row of hardbacks between them, they’d resemble bookends.

The Greenwood twins: Sam, left, and Luc

Sam Greenwood is already off to a hot start this year, having made five final tables at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the Aussie Millions. Meanwhile Luc cashed in the PCA Main in January, a year after winning the High Roller in the Bahamas for his first career tournament win. –MH

2:02pm: Justin versus James
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Justin Bonomo and James Chen tangled in a couple of hands and the scores were evens after the dust settled.

In the first hand, Bonomo raised to 2,300 from under the gun and was called in one spot before Chen squeezed to 8,500 off the button. Both players called but folded to Chen’s 7,600 c-bet on a 4J6 flop.

Two hands later Chen raised from the cutoff and Bonomo defended his big blind. An 897 flop appeared and Chen continued for 4,500 only for Bonomo to check-raise to 15,000. Chen smiled and let his hand go. –MC

2pm: When Lemmy meets Barry Greenstein
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Lemmy, the late frontman of legendary British rock band Motorhead, once sang: “The pleasure is to play, makes no difference what you say, I don’t share your greed, the only card I need is the ace of spades.” Then again, he also sang: “You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools,” so maybe he didn’t know much about poker.

The ace of spades certainly made a difference in this hand though. It was a big pot that played out between Luc Greenwood and Kuisong Wu. After it folded to Wu in the small blind, he made it 2,500 to go which Greenwood raised to 8,500 out of the big blind. Wu matched it, and they went to a flop.

Luc Greenwood: Where’s Lemmy?

Wu checked the 287 board on which Greenwood continued for 7,500. That bet was called, bringing the K on the turn. When Wu checked again, Greenwood didn’t slow down and made it 20,000. Wu then bumped it up to 50,000, and Greenwood called.

Now, the A was an interesting river card. After so much action on the turn, the ace brought both an overpair to the king, and it completed spade flush draws. Wu’s immediate reaction was to reach for his chips, but he then changed his mind, and after his full 30 seconds opted for a check. Greenwood checked it back instantly, and when Wu turned over the A5 for a rivered top pair (the old Barry Greenstein), Greenwood could only muck with a smile.

That pot takes Wu’s stack up to 310,000, while Greenwood drops to 190,000. –JS

1:55pm: More familiar faces
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Aaron Been, who finished runner up to Alan Lau in the ACOP Main Event here last year, is in today’s field. As is James Chen, who finished seventh in the PokerStars Championship Macau Super High Roller last April, then followed up with a ninth-placed finish in the Main Event. Chen is second on Taiwan’s all-time money list and clearly one of the region’s best players.

The German contingent is also gradually filling up seats here. Manig Loeser has followed Christoph Vogelsang and Rainer Kempe into the tournament area. — HS

1:40pm: Are you sitting comfortably?
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

As is to be expected at the beginning of a tournament like this, some players are being shuffled around to open up a new table. Three players who haven’t yet had to move are Ben Tollerene, Daniel Dvoress, and the less familiar Yuan Jiang, so while the new arrivals are still being seated, here’s a pot between that lot.

Jiang kicked it off with a 2,500 open from the cutoff, which Tollerene called on the button. Dvoress defended his big blind, and the three went to a 3J10 flop, which checked over to Tollerene. He led for 2,500, which shook off Dvoress but got a call from Jiang.

Ben Tollerene: Betting big

The dealer put down the 9 turn, and Jiang check-called a 10,000 bet to see the 6 river. Jiang checked a final time, and Tollerene counted out a big bet which ended up being 45,000 (an over-bet to the 32,500 pot. Jiang didn’t take long to let his hand go. –JS

1:35pm: More arrivals
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

They’re up to 20 players now, spread across three tables. Sergio Aido, Steve O’Dwyer, and Mikita Badziakouski — who just won the Macau Poker Cup High Roller here at the City of Dreams a month ago — are among the most recent to arrive. –MH

1:30pm: Our plan for the day
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

We’re at the half-way point of Level 1. Today’s plan is to play eight one-hour levels, with a 15-minute break at the end of Levels 2, 4 and 6. Add all that up, and include a bit of bag-and-tag faff at the end of play, and we’ll be done at around 10pm local time.

Macau is GMT+8 and ET+12. So we may well be finishing just as you’re getting up. In which case, why on earth are you reading this? Go to bed. — HS

1:25pm: Big Slick equals chips for Zhou
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

As we noted, Quan Zhou is one of the early arrivers, sporting his usual smart-looking jacket. Just now he opened from the button and got a caller from Justin Bonomo in the small blind, and the pair watched a flop fall QA9.

Bonomo led for 3,000 and Zhou called, then after the K fell Bonomo bet again — 4,000 — and Zhou stuck around once more.

Quan Zhou: Local favourite in position

The 5 completed the board, the first non-connected card of the five, and after a short wait Bonomo tossed out a single red chip — a big bet of 25,000. Zhou considered long enough to use up most of his allotted 30 seconds before calling, and Bonomo tabled AJ for aces. Zhou turned over AK for top two, and he collected the pot. –MH

1:10pm: Who’s here, you ask? We’ll tell you who’s here
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Our two tables are filling fast.

Going clockwise, right now over at Table 1 we find Justin Bonomo, Jean Ferreira, Nick Petrangelo, Isaac Haxton, Stephen Chidwick, Sam Greenwood, and Quan Zhou. Meanwhile on Table 2 — at the moment, anyway, as they are balancing as we scribble — there is Ben Tollerene on the dealer’s left, followed by Kahle Burns, Daniel Dvoress, Yuan Jiang, Alex Foxen, and Adrian Mateos. –MH

Kahle Burns: Australian High Roller, regular in Macau

1pm: Cards in the air!
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are two tables’ worth of high rollers in their seats and the first hands of the event are being dealt. Back in just a sec to let you know the early birds’ identities. –MH

12:30pm: Another day, another huge tournament

Welcome one and all to the PokerStars LIVE card-room at the City of Dreams, Macau, for coverage of the biggest buy-in event on this Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) stop. It’s the $400,000 Super High Roller, and we’re expecting it to be huge.

That $400,000 is in Hong Kong Dollars, which is the equivalent to a little more than US$50,000 at time of writing. But we’re expecting a field full of people to whom that kind of figure represents a mere sliver of their bankroll, be it earned through poker, cryptocurrency or old-fashioned business.

This event always guarantees a mixture of leading poker pros and ambitious (and highly successful) businessmen and women from the Asia Pacific region and beyond. At the equivalent event last year, Steve O’Dwyer eclipsed Fedor Holz to claim the title, from a tournament attracting 88 entries (64 unique players and 24 re-entries). Local players Zuo Wang, Qiang Lin and Zhao Hongjun also made the final. The total prize pool was close to HK$34 million.

Steve O’Dwyer wins in 2017

We begin at 1pm today and play eight 60-minute levels. Starting stack is 250,000, but there are unlimited re-entries, so we should expect a few of those.

Stick with us all the way.

Download the PokerStars LIVE! app with all tournament information. Available for IOS and Android.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $400,000 Super High Roller: Marc Convey, Jason Kirk, Martin Harris, Matt Showell, Jack Stanton and Howard Swains. Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive.

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