APPT Macau Main Event Day 3: Kitai and Agarwal in control as 27 remain

March 22, 2018

Davidi Katai: chip leader

It was an action-packed day of poker inside the PokerStars LIVE Macau poker room. A bubble was burst, lots of players hit the rail and some names with large reputations staked big claims for going really deep.

Players busted that fast — 27 made Day 4 from the 93 that resumed at midday — that the schedule of play was cut short by a level. One major factor for that was the money was made with no hand-for-hand play needed due to two players busting when we’re were two off the money.

More on that below, for now let’s concentrate on those at the top of the counts. Here are the top five, you’ll notice some familiar names in there:

Name County Chip Count
Davidi Kitai Belgium 1,012,000
Aditya Agarwal India 968,000
Michael Kue Seong Tchong Australia 715,000
Martin Gonzales Philippines 683,000
Maximilian Lehmanski Germany 623,000

Davidi Kitai has a space open in his packed trophy cabinet. He has three WSOP bracelets, an EPT and WPT title – an APPT trophy would be a fitting companion. Belgium’s best struggled for long periods today, but as we wrote in the live coverage below, he’s an extremely dangerous player when he has chips to play with, which he managed to do during the latter part of the day. It meant he could forget all that GTO stuff and trust his instincts, something he’s known for. He can look into the souls of opponents and pull the trigger, be it a sick call or a cheeky bluff, two examples of that you can find by not having to scroll down too far in today’s coverage.

Aditya Agarwal in second

Aditya Agarwal had a far smoother day than his Belgian opponent. The Team PokerStars Pro was never in danger and amassed chips at ease, or so it seemed to us mere observers. He applied pressure when he needed to, picked up big hands in good spots (always vital if you want to win a tournament) and got lucky when he needed to.

Back to the bubble: Seung Yong Yi soft bubbled not realising that another player two tables over was already all-in in the small blind, but to be fair to him, he got his chips in dominating his opponent – Agarwal. His ace-ten couldn’t stay ahead of the Indian’s ace-three though, with a three hitting the flop. Moments later, Ivan Lee succumbed after he was outdrawn by Pete Chen, but the real damage to his stack was done on the previous hand when he ran ace-king into queens in a battle of the blinds versus Sheng Chien Chen and couldn’t connect with the board.

Cards will be in the air at midday tomorrow. Five 90-minute levels are scheduled but one may be cut off just like today if the pace of eliminations continues. Most people are pretty happy to have an early night that expected today and a lot of that was due to the players party that went down last night. That’s all from us, we’ll leave you with how they line up tomorrow and a video from last night:

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3
Seat 1 Victor Chong – 165000 Kosei Ichinose – 78000 Max Lehmanski – 623000
Seat 2 Lin Wu – 363000 Ashish Gupta – 532000 Jen Chen Chiu – 94000
Seat 3 John Juanda – 389000 Sahil Chuttani – 152000 Carson Wong – 398000
Seat 4 Liming Zhang – 210000 Sheng Chen – 328000 Alexandre Chieng – 187000
Seat 5 Dianlei Zhang – 121000 Yong Cheng – 88,000 Davidi Kitai – 1012000
Seat 6 Chanh Hoon Jong – 274000 Xiabo Zhou – 157000 Phanlert Sukonthachartnant – 300000
Seat 7 Xiwen He – 153000 Martin Gonzales – 683000 Yi Ye – 596000
Seat 8 Pete Chen – 505000 Mian Wei – 266000 Daniel Carlsson – 436000
Seat 9 Yilong Wang – 256000 Aditya Agarwal – 968000 Michael Tchong – 715000


• PLAYERS: 27 (of 356)
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10:20pm: Last three hands
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Davidi Kitai had the honour of of drawing a card to see how many hands would be played at each table before bagging up commences. He drew a three – how good is he running?

10:10pm: Final three table redraw
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3
Seat 1 Victor Chong Kosei Ichinose Max Lehmanski
Seat 2 Lin Wu Ashish Gupta Jen Chen Chiu
Seat 3 John Juanda Sahil Chuttani Carson Wong
Seat 4 Liming Zhang Sheng Chen Alexandre Chieng
Seat 5 Dianlei Zhang Pete Chen Davidi Kitai
Seat 6 Chanh Hoon Jong Xiabo Zhou Phanlert Sukonthachartnant
Seat 7 Xiwen He Martin Gonzales Yi Ye
Seat 8 Yun Han Chen Mian Wei Daniel Carlsson
Seat 9 Yilong Wang Aditya Agarwal Michael Tchong

10:10pm: Davidi Kitai is a dangerous man
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Davidi Kitai is back up to his old tricks.

Liming Zhang opened the action for 19,000 in the cutoff and Kitai called on the button. Then Phanlert Sukonthachartnant reraised to 48,000 from the small blind. Zhang declined to join the party but Kitai called, taking us to the 4♠K♦Q♠ flop.

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant led out for 38,000 and Kitai flat-called. The 5♥ turn brought another Sukonthachartnant bet, this time for 110,000. Kitai gave it some thought and then cut out the chips for the call.

The A♣ came on the river, filling in a straight draw. That was enough to slow Sukonthachartnant down to a check, putting the action back to Kitai. With hundreds of thousands of chips in the pot, Kitai slid out a slight bet of 54,000. He had 240,000 chips behind, just a touch more than Sukonthachartnant’s stack, and Sukonthachartnant didn’t like his spot a bit. He ran over the hand in his head, did the math on the pot, and still couldn’t come to a clear decision. In the end he chose to fold — and Kitai rolled over 8♠7♠. He’d been bluffing with a busted combo draw.

If that’s not enough to set Sukonthachartnant on tilt, he’s a bigger man than most poker players we know. Sukonthachartnant is left with 230,000, and Kitai is up to 735,000.

Edit: Kitai went on to eliminate Masahiro Yamada soon after to move on par with Aditya Agarwal on over 900,000. We’ll post the final three-table redraw as soon as we have it. –JK

10:05pm: Chen doubles through Jung
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (Ante 1,000)

Sheng Chen just scored a well-timed double-up as we approach the end of this evening’s final level and it came at the expense of Chahn Jung.

The money went in before the flop with K♠K♣ for Chen leading Jung’s A♣K♥. The board ran with no improvement to either hand and Chen jumps up to 345,000. Jung has 340,000. –MS

9:55pm: Juanda and Kitai battling
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (Ante 1,000)

We picked up a three-bet pot with John Juanda in the small blind and Davidi Kitai in the hijack. The flop was Q♦8♠3♠ and Juanda fired out 45,000.

Kitai called and the turn was the A♥. Both players checked and the 10♠ hit the turn.

Juanda checked one final time and Kitai reached for chips, cutting out 120,000 and pushing it across the line. Juanda tapped the table and tossed his cards towards the dealer.

Kitai is now on 760,000 while Juanda has 450,000. –MS

John Juanda got that familiar look in his eyes

9:45pm: Pair-over-pair sinks Yuan Li
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Yuan Li and Michael Kue Seong Tchong were getting to the 2♥7♣5♦ flop just as we arrived at the table, with a raise and reraises worth of chips already in the pot. Li checked and Tchong bet 84,000, about a third of the chips Li had left. He contemplated his move and then called.

The turn was the 7♦ and Li checked again. Tchong didn’t waste much time moving all-in, which put Li to the test. After about two minutes, which saw him check his cards again and reach to make a call before pulling his hand back to think it over some more, Li finally made the call.

Li: J♣J♠
Tchong: A♦A♠

Li needed a jack and a jack only. The K♥ came instead and that was the end of his tournament. Tchong is now on 870,000. –JK

Yuan Li – a neutral’s favourite due to his aggressive style

9:30pm: Zheng Shen falls to John Juanda
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

John Juanda is beginning to amass a nice stack of chips, and unfortunately for Zheng Shen a chunk of that stack came at his expense.

Just moments ago Shen raised to 18,000 in middle position. Juanda was on the button and jammed for about 300,000 chips, clearing out the players in the blinds and leaving Shen with a decision. A tough one, as it turned out — and Chen took his time making it.

Shen cut out the chips for a call to see how much he might have left if he decided to come along. That didn’t make the choice any easier because the answer was zero; Juanda just had him covered. Eventually Shen grabbed a handful of blue chips and put them over the line. Juanda’s eyebrows raised and he said, “You call?” Chen confirmed the call and Juanda asked him, “You have a pair, right?” as he rolled over his own A♠K♣. Indeed, Chen had 9♥9♦.

The 5♣J♠10♥ was safe for Shen, as was the 5♠ turn. He was one card away from winning a huge pot — and taking out a Hall of Fame poker pro — but then the Q♥ fell on the river, making Juanda a Broadway straight. The dealer counted out Shen’s stack to confirm that he was covered as Shen put his face in his hands and shook his head. A disappointing finish, to be sure.

Juanda is now up to 600,000. –JK

Zheng Chen emotional in defeat

9:15pm: Pivotal double-up for Kitai
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (Ante 1,000)

Davidi Kitai is a dangerous player when he has chips and thanks to a big double-up moments ago he’s got a lot more ammo as we make our way deeper into the money.

The hand started with Phanlert Sukonthachartnant opening to 18,000 from under the gun and Zheng Shen calling in the small blind. Kitai came along in the big blind and the flop came down J♥7♠2♦.

Sukonthachartnant fired 24,000 and after Shen called, Kitai raised to 72,000. Sukonthachartnant folded but Shen immediately announced all-in. Kitai beat him into the pot and turned over J♦7♦ for two-pair.

Shen tabled Q♥Q♠ and needed help. The turn was the 5♥ and the river was the 9♥, sending a big double-up Kitai’s way.

Kitai is now on 655,00 while Shen gets knocked down to 220,000. –MS

Davidi Kitai

9:05pm: Juanda’s third barrel shakes Ichinose
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

John Juanda picked up a very nice pot on the first hand back from the break.

He opened the action from the cutoff for 33,000 and Kosei Ichinose was the only caller. Ichinose checked the 9♣7♠4♣ flop, Juanda bet 33,000 with little hesitation, and after some thought Ichinose called. That brought the K♥ on the turn and the action followed the same pattern as before, this time for 36,000.

Finally the A♣ hit the river and Ichinose checked one more time. Juanda mulled over his move for about 30 seconds before finally setting out a stack of yellows and blues worth 72,000. Ichinose, with 160,000 chips behind, didn’t look thrilled with his situation. He eventually let his hand go and Juanda’s third barrel bought the pot.

Juanda now has 285,000. –JK

8:38pm: One more break
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Our remaining players are taking one final 15-minute break. Then it’s back to the tables for another 75 minutes of action before closing play for the night. –JK

8:35pm: Zhou land a double
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Xiaobo Zhou had enjoyed a very unprofitable level, slipping from 421,000 down to a low of 126,000, but he ended it on a high with a double up.

He four-bet all-in from the big blind after Xiwen He had three-bet to 37,000 off the button. He called after the original raiser folded.

Zhou: 9♣9♠
He: A♠K♥

The board ran 5♥2♠8♥3♥Q♠ to see the queens hold. He dropped to 126,000. –MC

Xiaobo Zhou

8:30pm: Gupta gets it in
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (Ante 1,000)

Xiwen He opened to 16,000 from under the gun and Ashish Gupta made it 35,000 from the button with about 215,000 behind.

Xiwen four-bet to 66,000 and after a bit of thought, Gupta made the call. The flop came 9♣2♠2♣ and Xiwen bet 53,000.

Gupta quickly announced all-in for 130,000 more and after some time in the tank, Xiwen He folded his cards.

He is on around 250,000 while Gupta is up to 325,000. –MS

8:25pm: Sapra loses flip to bust in 32nd
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (Ante 1,000)

It’s no secret that you usually have to win a few flips to go truly deep in big poker tournaments. Unfortunately for Sumit Sapra, that’s exactly what he was unable to do moments ago.

He got all-in preflop with pocket eights against Carson Wong’s ace-king but couldn’t make it hold up.

Sapra is out in 32nd place and will receive HK$84,000.

8:20pm: Lucky double for Ichinose
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Kosei Ichinose got his tournament back on track with a double-up via Liming Zhang.

He opened to 13,000 off the button and then called all-in for 103,000 after Zhang shoved from the big blind.

Zhang: A♣6♣
Ichinose: K♠J♣

The board ran 8♠K♦4♣4♥10♥ to make the Japanese pro two pair. Zhang dropped to 210,000. –MC

Kosei Ichinose

8:10pm: Silence of the Lam
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The recent action at Aditya Agarwal’s table has all been centered around seats one to three where the Team PokerStars Pro, Weiming Lam, and Daniel Carlsson are sat.

Hand 1. Agarwal opened to 12,000 off the button and Carlsson peeled from the big blind to see a 7♠6♣7♦ flop that was checked through. The turn was the 7♣ and Agarwal had his delayed 7,000 c-bet check-called before he bombed for 50,000 on the 2♠ river. Carlsson check-called again before mucking upon seeing Agarwal’s K♦K♣.

Hand 2. Agarwal opened to 12,000 from the cutoff but folded to Lam’s all-in move for 52,000.

Hand 3. Agarwal opened to 12,000 once more and Lam moved all-in again. Agarwal folded again but only after Carlsson had smooth called on the button.

Lam: A♠2♠
Carlsson: A♦A♣

The board ran Q♥Q♦9♠7♣8♥ to see the aces hold.

Agarwal – 940,000
Carlsson – 420,000
Lam – 0

Quid pro quo, Clarice: Lam’s been canned

8pm: Zimmerman bluffs all-in, busts
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Joshua Zimmerman was one of the big stacks earlier in this event and managed to make it into the money but it’s all over for him now. On the bright side, he went down firing.

It started with Maxi Lehmanski opening to 14,000 from middle position and Zimmerman three-betting to 45,000 from one seat to Lehmanski’s left.

It folded to Lehmanski and he four-bet to 96,000. Zimmerman had 169,000 behind and opted to just call. The flop came out eight-high and after a check from Lehmanski, Zimmerman shoved all-in.

Lehmanski called and tabled pocket aces which were miles ahead of Zimmerman’s J♦9♦. The turn and river bricked and Zimmerman was out. –MS

Zimmerman’s tournament has come to an end

7:55pm: Broom unlucky, swept away
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

James Broom just got massively unlucky to bust as we wade into the money in this APPT Macau Main Event.

First he got another short stack all-in holding ace-king against ace-queen but saw a queen hit the board.

Next he found himself all-in with pocket aces against Aditya Agarwal’s pocket kings but watched a king hit the flop.

Broom is gone and Agarwal is on 870,000. –MS

Aditya Agarwal is crushing it right now

7:50pm: Epic river-call by Kitai
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Davidi Kitai is very well-respected in the poker world and we were just treated to a perfect example of why that is.

The hand started with Phanlert Sukonthachartnant opening to 14,000 from under the gun and Zheng Shen calling in the small blind. Kitai called in the big blind.

Flop: 9♥7♥6♣

Everyone checked and the Q♠ came on the turn. Shen led out for 19,000 and only Kitai called. The river was the 4♠ and that’s when things got interesting.

Shen announced all-in and he had Kitai’s 75,000 stack covered by a big margin. Kitai counted his chips and took his headphones off. Numerous times he looked like he was about to push his stack in but he stopped himself each time.

“Queen-jack?” asked Kitai.

After another minute’s thought, Kitai picked up one stack of chips and forcefully placed them across the line.

Shen turned over K♥2♥ for the busted flush draw and Kitai revealed 8♥7♠ for third pair. It was a daring call, all the more so since it was for his tournament life.

Kitai is now on 244,000 while Shen is on 490,000. –MS

Kitai: he will call you with third pair

7:40pm: Ay, caramba for Bart
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Bart Luyckx needed help as the tournament short stack. Dinner break chip leader Yuan Li was the man to offer it. Luyckx shoved for around 50,000 and Li made the call.

Luyckx: A♣J♦
Li: A♦2♠

The board ran A♥K♠7♣8♦3♠ meaning Luyckx’s kicker played. Li dropped to around 600,000. –MC

“Don’t blame me, I didn’t do it!”

7:34pm: Yi Ye getting busy
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Yi Ye came back from dinner ready to play and made two all-in moves in the first few orbits of Level 17.

The first started with Martin Gonzalez opening to 12,000 from the button and Ye moving all-in from the big blind for around 160,000. Gonzalez only took a moment before tossing his hand in the muck.

Not long after, Yuan Li opened to 14,000 from under the gun plus one and Michael Tchong called from a few seats to his left. It folded to Ye in the small blind and he moved all-in for 202,000 total.

Li folded quickly but Tchong went into the tank, looking like he wanted to call. He cut out 202,000 and saw it represented a little more than half his stack. After some more thought he showed the table a jack, claimed he had pocket jacks and then tossed his hand in the muck.

Ye has 245,000 after that pot. –MS

7:31pm: A+ stack for AA
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Aditya Agarwal has roared into the chip lead with 800,000 after he forced Joshua Zimmerman to fold after putting him to the ultimate test.

The two players were heads-up to the turn of a J♠K♠4♥7♠ board with a big pile of chips already in the middle. More were to go in as Agarwal (big blind) led for 80,000 and Zimmerman tank-called to the 2♠ river. Agarwal asked to see his opponent’s remaining stack (250k) and then moved all-in.

Zimmerman twisted uncomfortably in his seat and then verbally announced he was folding. Agarwal raked in the big pot and moved to the summit. –MC

7:27pm: Yamada shoves on Juanda
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Masahiro Yamada just chipped up to over 400,000 thanks to a big pot played against experienced poker veteran John Juanda.

It began with Juanda opening to 14,000 from under the gun plus one and Yamada re-popping it to 37,000 from the cutoff. Juanda called and the flop came out 8♣4♦2♦.

Juanda checked and Yamada fired 55,000. Juanda called and the turn was the 5♠. Juanda checked again and this time Yamada announced all-in. Juanda had 122,000 behind and gave it a good dwell before letting go of his hand.

Yamada is now on 410,000. –MS

Yamada’s on the move

7:22pm: Yu loses el classico
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Zheng Yu busted in the most classic of all races. Phanlert Sukonthachartnant took all his chips and moved up to 530,000.

Sukonthachartnant opened to 13,000 from under the gun and then four-bet all-in. Yu had three-bet to 40,000 from the hijack and then called all-in for 200,000.

Sukonthachartnant: A♥K♦
Yu: Q♠Q♥

The board ran K♠3♦2♠K♥7♥ to make Sukonthachartnant trips. –MC

Zheng Yu very much for the cash

7:15pm: Play resumes on Level 17
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

With apologies to Bob Marley, our players’ bellies are full but they’re still hungry — for the APPT Main Event title and the millions of Hong Kong Dollars that come along with it. We’re down to the final four tables and we’ll play two more levels before breaking for the night. Stay with us as we narrow the field and begin to get an idea of who’s got the best shot at the championship. –JK

That’s one nice trophy, isn’t it?

6:25pm: Come back to Macau for the Millions!
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 1,000)

As players eat dinner here in Macau, some important words from our tournament organisers:

The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) today released the schedule for the 2018 Macau Millions, which will be held at the PokerStars LIVE Macau poker room from April 17-23, 2018.

The seven-day series includes 15 Official Asia Player of the Year events and will feature the HK$3,000 buy-in Main Event, which comes with a HK$3,000,000 prizepool guarantee. In 2016, the Macau Millions Main Event set the record for largest poker tournament field in Macau history, with 2,343 entrants. This year’s Macau Millions Main Event has the potential to exceed that number.

“We’re thrilled to see the return of the Macau Millions this year,” said Mark Blake, Department Head of Live of Events, Asia Pacific. “The biennial event jumped from 1,804 to 2,343 entrants last time and we believe that the best of the Macau Millions has yet to come.”

Two Platinum Passes to the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship (PSPC), each worth USD $30,000, will be awarded to the winners of the Main Event and Warm-up opener. For more information on the PSPC Platinum Pass please visit:

This instalment of the Macau Millions will also include a HK$30,000 High Roller event, which will allow for unlimited re-entries and use The Big Blind Ante and Shot Clock formats.

April 17-18: HKD $2,000 Warm-up ($500,000 Guarantee, Unlimited Re-Entries)
April 19-23: HKD $3,000 Main Event ($3,000,000 Guarantee, Unlimited Re-Entries)
April 22-23: HKD $5,000 Megastack ($500,000 Guarantee, Single Re-Entry)
April 22-23: HKD $30,000 High Roller (Shot Clock & Big Blind Ante, Unlimited Re-Entries)

For the complete 2018 Macau Millions schedule please visit:

6:15pm: The dinner bell rings

With 36 players remaining they’ve reached the end of the level and the start of a 60-minute dinner break. Join us back here in an hour and we’ll follow together who further extends their APPT Macau Main Event tournament runs. –MH

6:12pm: Jung hits river to leave Gonzales sick
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 1,000)

There’s been a changing of the guard at Table 2 after Chahn Jung won a huge one from Martin Gonzales to shoot to 480,000. It left Gonzales with 220,000. This was pretty gross for Gonzales.

The hand began with a raise to 10,000 from Gonzales in early position and then a three-bet to 36,000 from Jung on the button. That bought them a flop: K♠5♦2♥. Gonzales checked and Jung bet 25,000. Gonzales called.

The turn was the 4♥ and Gonzales checked again. Jung bet again, making it 37,500 to go. Gonzales called.

The 3♠ river had the potential to be the best/worst card for either or both of them given the action to this point, though the pattern established already continued. Gonzales checked and Jung bet out 67,000.

After a long time in the tank, revealing that he clearly didn’t have an ace, Gonzales made a crying call. Jung was the one to turn over A♣5♣ having flopped a small pair and rivered a straight.

Gonzales looked like he was going to be sick. –HS

Rundulf Gonzales to regroup

6:10pm: Another big one for Agarwal
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (Ante 500)

Team PokerStars Online’s Aditya Agarwal is crushing and just picked up another big pot to move past the 600,000 mark.

We picked it up on the flop with the board reading J♣10♣2♥. Agarwal had checked to Daniel Carlsson who bet 16,000. Agarwal then check-raised to 55,000 and Carlsson called.

Both players checked the A♣ and the 10♦ came on the river.

Agarwal began cutting out chips and slid a tall tower of yellow across the line, totaling 160,000. Carlsson thought for a moment before conceding the pot. He’s now on 428,000 while Agarwal is up to 622,000. –MS

6:05pm: Chong chugs along
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 250)

Since the bubble Victor Chong has been working with about a third of the chips he came in with today, but he’s thrown his game into high gear in an attempt to get back where he once belonged.

On one hand a few minutes ago Xiaobo Zhou opened for 11,500 in the hijack. Ashish Gupta called in the small blind and Chong called from the big to see a K♦6♠5♥ flop. Chong and Gupta checked and Zhou bet 17,500, chasing Gupta but prompting a 56,500-chip shove from Chong. Zhou asked for a count and then decided against a call.

Two hands later Mian Wei opened for 11,500 in middle position and Chong, sitting in the cutoff, jammed again. Wei folded and Chong stacked back up to 140,000 — just a few big blinds short of where he began the day. –JK

6pm: Carlsson’s feeling flush
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Action folded to Weiming Lam on the button and he made it 12,000 to go. Daniel Carlsson called from the small, and Maxi Lehmanski came in from the big blind too to see the 8♠9♣7♣ flop. All three checked.

The 6♠ turn brought some action, with Carlsson leading out for 24,000 and getting called by both players. He reverted to checking on the 7♠ river, and the others checked it back, too.

“I have a flush,” Carlsson announced before rolling over the Q♠J♠. The others mucked.

That brings Carlsson up to 480,000, Lehmanski down to 250,000, and Lam down to 85,000. –JS

5:57pm: Sukonthachartnant passes half a million
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (Ante 500)

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant’s stack just passed the 500,000 mark thanks to a big preflop pot against Yong Cheng.

We arrived with a mess of chips in the middle of the table including the all-in button which was sitting in front of Sukonthachartnant. Yong had about 100,000 behind and was putting a lot of thought into his decision.

If Yong called he’d be at risk of elimination in 38th place which means he’d get HK$71,000. That’s a far cry from the more than HK$3 million waiting for this event’s eventual champion.

After a bit more thought he let it go and shipped a big preflop pot to Sukonthachartnant uncontested. –MS

5:55pm: Liang sings his last Song
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Two quick blows from Joshua Zimmerman had Liang Song floored and counted out in 38th place.

First of all, Zimmerman doubled after he opened from the cutoff and continued for 13,000 on an 8♣6♠Q♣ flop. Song had defended his big blind and then check-raised to 50,000. Zimmerman shoved for 157,000 and was surprised when he was called so fast.

Song: K♣6♣ for a flush draw
Zimmerman: Q♠10♣ for top pair

The board ran out 4♠9♠ to miss Song’s draw.

Zimmerman raised to 10,000 the very next hand and called after Song moved all-in for 49,500 from the small blind holding A♦10♦. Zimmerman opened 10♠10♣ and survived a 9♣4♣3♦6♣J♣ board. He moved up to 470,000. –MC

5:50pm: Juanda denies the royal flush
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Liming Zhang just laid down the prettiest looking draw to a John Juanda shove.

The hand began with Zhang opening to 11,000 from the hijack, which got calls from Phanlert Sukonthachartnant in the small blind and Juanda in the big. The three saw a Q♠Q♦10♦ flop, which checked through.

The 6♠ landed on the turn, and now Sukonthachartnant led for 11,000. Juanda made the call, and Zhang then squeezed it up to 45,000. That shook off Sukonthachartnant, but Juanda had plans for this pot. He moved all in for 97,000, and Zhang went deep into the tank.

He’d stay for quite a while, meanwhile Juanda remainded stoic, only moving once to look back at his hand and put a chip on his cards. Zhang, clearly pained, went through all the motions that could lead to a frustrated fold.

He showed the K♦J♦ for a royal flush draw, while the pot shipped to Juanda. He’s up to 220,000 now. –JS

Juanda still in the hunt

5:48pm: Zhang doubles through Li
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 250)

Yuan Li has one of the biggest stacks in the room and he’s looking for chances to add to it wherever he can. He just tried to take out Dianlei Zhang and nearly pulled it off, only to have his efforts shot down by the a four-flush.

Li opened the action for 11,500 in the cutoff seat with A♥9♥ and called when Zhang jammed for 93,500 in the big blind. Zhang’s A♣7♠ was the underdog until the board ran out 5♠K♥Q♠8♠A♠, turning his 7♠ into the fifth and final card of a spade flush.

Don’t feel too bad for Li, though — he’s still sitting on 650,000 after that loss. Zhang, meanwhile, is up to 230,000. –JK

5:45pm: Kitai chipping back up
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (Ante 500)

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Davidi Kitai came into the day with over 300,000, but his stack was cut to almost a third of that over the first half of the day.

However, Kitai, never afraid to take a risk, just managed to increase his stack by about sixty per cent without even having to show down a hand.

There was a bet and a three-bet in front of him when he jammed all-in for 110,000. Both of his opponents cleared out of the way and Kitai raked in the pot to move up to more than 160,000. He then opened the next hand, picking up the blinds and antes to further chip up. –MS

5:40pm: Palma Chiu’d up
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 250)

Diego Palma just picked up A♣10♣ under the gun, a hand more than good enough to set his 43,000-chip stack over the betting line now that the money bubble has popped. Jen Chun Chiu announced himself all-in, too, on the button, clearing out the blinds and setting up a showdown between himself and Palma.

The Chilean was still drawing live after the K♥5♠A♥ flop, though just barely. But the 9♣ left him drawing dead and gave Chiu the pot.

It was a nice run for Palma, who just turned what was Day 1A’s top chip stack into HKD$71,000. –JK

5:35pm: Broom caught in river bluff
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (Ante 500)

Australian James Broom started the day with 137,000 and has had some ups and downs already. Most recently he took a hit thanks to getting caught running a small river-bluff on Ka Shing Wong.

Wong, who carries a leather moulded duffel bag that’s shaped like a shark, started the hand with a raise to 12,000 from the cutoff. Broom called in the big blind and the flop came out A♣6♣2♠. Both players checked and the K♦ came on the turn. They checked again and after the 9♦ hit the river, Broom fired out 20,000.

Wong didn’t take much time making the call. Broom turned over 7♠5♦ for a complete air-ball and Wong showed K♠7♦. Broom is now on around 150,000. –MS

James Broom

5:32pm: Top and bottom
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

After that quick bubble, here are some counts for you.

The top three stacks in the room belong to:

Yuan Li – 760,000
Aditya Agarwal – 500,000
Xiaobo Zhou – 480,000

Yuan Li, big stack

While those most vulnerable right now are:

Bart Luyckx – 43,000
Diego Palma – 45,000
Juicy Li – 70,000. –JS

5:30pm: Terrible for Ivan as he bubbles Main Event
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

There was no need for hand-for-hand play in the Main Event as Ivan Lee found himself all-in when in the small blind after a cooler the hand before.

The hand that cost him all but 2,000 of his stack started with a small blind limp from Sheng Chien Chen. Lee rose this to 15,000 and then faced a reraise to 58,500. His response was to quickly move all-in, and Chen wasted little time in calling all-in for 161,000.

It was a cooler as Chen opened Q♣Q♥ and was up against Lee’s A♠K♣. The board ran a blank 9♠3♥10♥4♠3♠, and Lee was in dire straits.

Sheng Chien Chen, claimer of most of Lee’s stack

The very next hand, Lee was up against Pete Chen, who had three-bet to isolate him, with the chance to more that triple up. A crowd gathered as the cards were flipped up.

Lee: A♥2♠
Chen: 9♣6♣

Trouble on the bubble for Ivan Lee

Lee was in a great spot but couldn’t hold as the board ran 4♦4♣3♠6♠7♦ to make Chen two pair. He moved up to 340,000. –MC

Consolation for Ivan Lee

5:20pm: Yi old suck-out
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 250)

Seung Yong Yi just hit the rail ahead of the bubble, setting up what would have been hand-for-hand play if not for another quick elimination directly afterward (stay tuned — report coming).

Yi limped in from early position with A♠10♣ and when the action folded around to Aditya Agarwal he jammed on the button with A♥3♥. Yi made the call and put his tournament life on the line with the best of it, but a win wasn’t to be. The 3♠ hit the flop, a gutshot Broadway draw never filled in, and Yi finished the tournament two spots shy of the money. –JK

Not to be for Seung Yong Yi

5:15pm: Zimmerman gets the double
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

While Patrick Lui was being eliminated in 44th place just now, Joshua Zimmerman managed to avoid being the 43rd-place finisher.

Aditya Agarwal had opened to 10,000 and it folded to Zimmerman in the small blind. He jammed for 100,000 exactly, and Agarwal gave it some consideration before ultimately making the call.

Zimmerman had the best of it with his J♥J♠ against the Team Pro’s A♦10♠, and there was no ace on the 5♣8♥2♠10♦Q♣ board. Zimmerman doubles, while despite that hit Agarwal is again the chip leader with 505,000 –JS

Joshua Zimmerman

5:12pm: Frozen in time
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (Ante 500)

Do you ever get the feeling that time has come to a standstill? That somehow the laws of physics have lost their iron grip on the world around you? That’s exactly how a recent hand between Victor Chong and Ashish Gupta felt to us and the other players at the table.

It was business as usual when the hand started. Gupta raised to 11,000 from middle position but when it got to Chong it was clear something important was developing. Chong just sat there, as still as a statue, but a powerful feeling of significance radiated outwards. As he continued sitting there, stone-still, the feeling only became more palpable.

After what felt like an eternity he slowly and deliberately reached for chips, and just called.

The flop came out K♦J♥2♣ and even the dealer knew he was participating in something historic. Gupta checked. Chong still hadn’t moved since calling preflop and now took only slightly less time to check.

The turn was the 10♣ and Gupta bet 11,000. Chong didn’t even flinch. If we thought he had brought the full force of his power to bear in the hand already, we were sorely mistaken.

Now Chong really turned up the seat. He sat, immovable, hand splayed on the felt beside his chips. Then he sat some more. The other players at the table could only watch in awe as Chong’s hand began to move, ever so slightly. It slowly reached for chips and plucked 36,000 from his stack of roughly 100,000. Methodically, Chong extended his arm and dropped the chips onto the felt. It barely made a sound but the impact was profound.

Gupta knew this hand belonged to Chong. We all knew it. Gupta motioned that he was folding and turned over the K♣, showing everyone he was willing to lay down top pair.

The entire hand took a good five minutes — no, scratch that — a GREAT five minutes. –MS

5:10pm: 43 remain, 41 cash
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

They are ust two off the money now, with Paul Vas Nunes among the last brief wave of eliminated players to miss the cash. –MH

5:05pm: Zheng vs. Zheng
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

With the bubble looming, the players at Table 4 are being very deliberate with their decisions. A preflop raise is often enough to take down the pot uncontested, but every now and then we get to see a hand play out.

The latest one opened with a Zheng Yu raise to 11,000 in the hijack seat. Zheng Shen, sitting in the small blind, reraised to 32,500 to clear out Davidi Kitai from the big blind, and Yu thought it over before cutting out the chips for a call.

The flop came Q♥3♥6♣ and Shan fired 23,000. Yu took about a minute and then called. The turn card was the 8♣ and Shen maintained his aggressive line with a bet of 63,000. That gave Yu a big decision, as any meaningful raise might well lead to the rest of his 205,000 chips eventually going in the middle.

He tanked long enough that the floor was called to give him a time limit on his decision. One minute later he shook his head and surrendered the pot to Shan.

Yu hangs on at 205,000 and Shen climbs to 350,000 with just two eliminations left before the money. –JK

4:55pm: Kobayashi canned
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Hirokazu Kobayashi was just eliminated four spots shy of the cash after he couldn’t win a vital flip.

He moved all-in from early position and wasn’t called, but when he tried it the very next hand for 87,000, he found a willing customer. Pete Chen was sat two seats along and successfully isolated Kobayashi with an all-in move of his own.

Kobayashi: A♥Q♥
Chen: 9♠9♥

The board ran J♠5♣2♥3♥6♠ and Chen moved up to 310,000. –MC

4:45pm: Song susses out Sapra
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Liang Song’s reading abilities must be on point, if this latest hand is anything to go by.

Sumit Sapra limped from the small blind and Song checked the big, taking them to an A♣7♣8♠ flop. Both would check it before Sapra led for 7,500 on the 10♠ turn. Song thought for a long time, but would eventually toss out calling chips.

The 7♥ then completed the board and Sapra reached for chips again. He fired 16,500 this time, and again Song went into the tank. It became clear why after he made the call though; all Song had was the K♣J♥ for king-high. That was good, as Sapra was bluffing with 3♠6♠.

That great call takes Song’s stack up to 300,000, while Sapra dips to 145,000. –JS

4:35pm: Play resumes five eliminations from the money
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Players are back and with 46 players left play has resumed. The top 41 will make the money, so the bubble is looming. –MH

First get the chips, then comes the money

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4:20pm: Break time

That’s the end of the level and they’re taking a 15-minute break. They’ll surely come back and burst the bubble. — HS

4:18pm: Sun sets
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Another one bites the dust as Zebin Sun becomes the 48th placed finisher and moves us ever closer to the money.

Sun open-pushed for 43,000 and, after a few seconds thinking time, Victor Chong re-shoved. Everyone else left them to it, and Sun wasn’t even in a race with his 4♥4♦.

Chong had 6♥6♦ and the board ran dry. That was the end of Sun and gives Chong about 130,000 with which to play. — HS

4:15pm: Another bit of bad luck for Lam
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Little bit of an unlucky stretch here of late for Weiming Lam, who just recently lost a big pot after flopping a set versus an opponent’s flopped straight (see below, 4:05pm).

Involved again in a hand versus Daniel Carlsson, Lam made a river call of Carlsson’s 32,000 bet into a pot of about 85,000. The board showed A♦7♦5♠8♦10♣, and Carlsson turned over A♠K♣ for top pair, top kicker. Lam didn’t have to, but he showed his hand as well — A♥Q♣ — close, but not enough.

Lam is at 145,000 now, while Carlsson is up to 335,000. –MH

Lam battling

4:10pm: Search for the hero
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Hero calling feels pretty good. But get it wrong, and the super hero is little more than a man wearing his underwear over some spandex tights.

Mian Wei just made what must have been an incredibly light call on the river in a hand against Xiwen He, so much so that He was bluffing but still won.

The hand began with a raise to 8,500 from Wei from late position and a call from He in the big blind. It was only those two to the flop of 8♦J♦3♣ and He check-called Wei’s 9,000 bet.

They both checked the 2♠ turn, leading to the 2♥ river. He now led out for 16,000 and, after a short period of thought, Wei called.

A deflated He turned over his Q♥10♥, clearly expecting it to be beaten. But after double checking, Wei mucked. — HS

4:05pm: Big blind special helps Lehmanski
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Sumit Sapra opened for 9,000 from middle position, although he’d prove to be just a supporting character in the drama that ensued. The major players — Weiming Lam (button) and Maximilian Lehmanski (big blind) — both called the raise, then Lehmanski checked to Sapra following the 3♥5♠A♣ flop.

Sapra continued for 9,500, then Lam made it 25,500 to go. Lehmanski paused only a short while before pushing all in for 83,500 total, and Sapra folded right away. Lam didn’t wait long either before calling.

Lehmanski: 4♥2♦
Lam: 5♦5♥

It was a big blind special for Lehmanski who’d flopped a wheel, and Lam had liked the flop, too, as it gave him a set of fives. The 2♥ turn kept Lehmanski in front while introducing chopportunities, then the 9♠ completed the board and Lehmanski won the big pot.

Put Lehmanski up to 215,000 now, while Lam still has 249,000. –MH

The ol’ four-deuce does it for Lehmanski

4pm: Lam to the slaughter
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Weiming Lam has just taken a huge chunk of Seung Yi’s stack after getting a huge double up courtesy of a cooler.

Lam had made it 9,000 under the gun and Yi called one seat over to see a 10♥5♥4♣ flop. Lam put out a 10,500 c-bet, only for Yi to then raise it up to 30,500. Lam would make the call though, and the dealer burned and turned the K♠. Lam now checked to the last aggressor.

Yi pulled a large stack of yellow 5K chips from his collection and started looking over how many he held. The amount in his hand was 70,000, which he then added two blue 1K chips to bringing the total bet to 72,000. Lam gave it some thought and then moved all in for 127,500, which Yi snap-called.

He wouldn’t like what he saw. Lam turned over the K♥K♣ for a turned top set; particularly brutal as Yi had the 4♥4♦ for a flopped set. Lam was over the moon as he compiled his new stack of around 325,000, while Yi is left with 125,000. –JS

3:55pm: Oh, hear this Joshua Zimmerman
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The Day 1B chip leader Joshua Zimmerman had been on a bit of a downward tilt over recent levels, but just got that happy pre-bubble double-up to boost his chances of securing a cash.

It came through Daniel Carlsson, whose J♠J♣ were out-turned by Zimmerman’s Q♣10♣ on a 2♠7♣3♣8♣5♥ runout.

Zimmerman had 67,000 in his stack, so now has double that. — HS

3:50pm: Sukonthachartnant felts Lui
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant has chipped up further at the expense of Yin Lui. The latter had shoved from under the gun for 59,500 and Sukonthachartnant made the call on the button with the A♦K♣. That had Lui’s K♠Q♣ dominated, and the big slick remained in front after the 9♦10♣5♥3♥7♠ runout.

Sukonthachartnant is up to 370,000 now. –JS

3:45pm: Wu is Liu’s Waterloo
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

After Lin Wu opened for 8,500, Chunjie Liu reraised all in for about 45,000 and when it folded back around Wu called.

It was a race as Liu held 10♠10♣ and Wu K♣J♣, and through the first three-fifths of it Liu was in the lead after the flop came 7♥3♣2♠. But the J♠ fell on the turn to nudge Wu in front, and the K♥ gave him a second pair and the pot.

Liu is out, and Wu is up close to the top of the counts with 415,000. –MH

3:40pm: Ichinose pushes out Lui
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Kosei Ichinose applied the pressure on Patrick Lui, and got his opponent to lay down top pair. Whether he wanted the fold is anyone’s guess, but he scooped the pot nonetheless to move beyond 300,000.

There was about 28,000 in the middle and the flop was out: J♣4♣5♦. Lui checked and Ichinose bet 12,000. Lui then check-raised to 38,000, but Ichinose three-bet to 85,000, which was only about 20,000 less than Lui had left in his stack.

Lui took a long time to ponder his options. This was essentially his tournament he was playing for, because one suspects the rest would have had to have gone in on the turn if it somehow stayed out of the pot here.

Lui decided to give it up, flashing the J♦ as he folded. An emotionless Ichinose raked in the pot to continue his good day. — HS

3:30pm: Lindop out, Agarwal leads
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We’ve just lost Alex Lindop, and it was Yuan Li who played executioner yet again thanks to the river card.

The Brit shoved for 38,500 from the UTG+1 seat and it folded over to Li in the big blind. He made the call with the A♣4♥ and was actually ahead of Lindop’s Q♥J♣, but the Q♦7♠3♥ flop changed that. The turn was the 6♠ giving Li some more outs, and he’d hit one on the 5♦ river, making him a straight. Lindop made a quick exit while Li now stacks up 320,000.

Meanwhile, Aditya Agarwal has been busy accumulating chips over on his table and now sits with 430,000. That’s enough to give the Team Pro the chip lead right now. –JS

Aditya Agarwal, the new big stack

3:25pm: Schulze’s slide complete, start-of-day leader out
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

About three hours and 15 minutes ago, there were 93 players starting this Day 3 with Felix Schulze sitting behind more chips than anyone else. Since then Schulze lost a large percentage of that stack in a hand ending with a bluff gone wrong (see below, 2:25pm), and now with the tournament still more than 15 knockouts from the money Schulze is out.

The German player’s last hand saw Jen Chun Chiu raise from early position, then it folded around to Schulze in the blinds who jammed for about 80,000 and Chiu called in a flash. Schulze had picked up J♥J♣, but it was a bad time to get those jacks as Chiu had A♠A♥.

Five cards later — 7♦4♥3♠9♣10♦ — Schulze’s run was over. –MH

Felix Schulze is out

3:22pm: Wongwichit raced out
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

With the bubble now only 18 eliminations away, play is starting to get a little more, shall we say, laboured. The following hand took far longer to play out than it really should, and ended without seeing anyone’s cards.

You can read it if you like, but I won’t be offended if you give it a miss.

It started with a raise to 9,000 from Daniel Carlsson from the cutoff and a call from Zheng Yu in the big blind. The two saw a flop of 2♠3♦2♦ and Yu check-called Carlsson’s 8,000 continuation bet.

The K♣ fell on the turn and it went check, bet 18,000, call again.

Daniel Carlsson: Picks up another small one

The 7♥ completed the board and Yu checked for a third time. Carlsson again bet 18,000 and Yu tanked for long enough that a couple of players around the table were left shaking their heads.

Yu then folded, leaving us all none the wiser. Carlsson moves up to 355,000 after that, though, with Yu in possession of about 175,000. — hS

3:10pm: Busts a-plenty
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

A flurry of pre-bubble busts have carved the field down to 58 here in Level 15, with Timothy Vukson, Albert Paik, Phachara Wongwichit, Wai Kiat Lee, David Wells, Juncong Cao, Jiayu Ruan, Jinxi He, Jan-Eric Schwippert, Xiaoyang Luo, Benjamin Hamnett, Xiaosheng Zheng, and Ian Modder all having joined the march to the rail.

Ian Modder

The top 41 finishers make the cash, so they’re still 17 off the money. –MH

3pm: Chuttani wins pot, gets a poker workout
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Postflop betting on a 4♣Q♥5♠ saw Sahil Chuttani all in for his last 93,000 versus Chunjie Liu. Chuttani had the edge after ouflopping Liu with his A♣Q♣ versus Liu’s A♦K♣, and after the 8♦ turn and A♥ river, Chuttani won both continued life in the tournament and nice-sized pot. He’s up around 235,000 now, while Liu slips to 85,000.

Chuttani laughed after the hand, noting how stressful it had been. Bart Luyckx had a response to that.

“It’s good for the heart,” Luyckx cracked. “Much better than going to the gym.” –MH

Sahil Chuttani, chip healthy

2:50pm: Yu falls to Agarwal
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Jiafei Yu is the latest casualty as we approach the bubble of the Main Event.

After Liang Song made it 9,000 to go from the cutoff, Team Pro Aditya Agarwal called on the button and it then folded to Yu in the big blind. She moved all in for 51,500, which got a fold from Song and a quick call from Agarwal.

Yu – A♥9♥
Agarwal – A♠10♥

The Q♣J♠4♦K♦8♠ board gave Agarwal broadway for the win, bringing his stack up to 180,000. –JS

2:35pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 14 and players are taking their first break of the day. Time for a refreshing can of Red Bull, the official energy drink of PokerStars Macau.

Red Bull cans

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2:34pm: The s-word
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Saying “Sorry” in poker tends to garner a mixed reception. Often players think it’s better to say nothing than offer consolation that is scarcely sincere. However, on many occasions “Sorry” is really the only thing a player can say. The game throws up so many grim circumstances that someone will feel like apologising, even if he or she wasn’t to blame.

I’m not sure of any of the details on how a recent hand between Michael Tchong and Juncong Cao played out, but when Tchong said the s-word at the end of it, it did sound sincere.

Michael Tchong: Good river

By that point, Cao was heading home, leaving his J♥3♥ on the felt in front of him and the board reading J♦10♠2♠3♦10♥ exposed. Tchong had the J♠K♦ in front of him, meaning that Cao’s two pair had been counterfeited on the river. One suspects the money may have gone in on the turn.

Whatever the truth of it, Tchong was left to stack up 310,000, and Cao at least had some apologies to keep him warm at night. — HS

2:32pm: Chieng doubles through Li
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

With the board showing 5♦Q♣Q♥ and around 50,000 already in the middle, Alexandre Chieng had pushed all in for his last 40,000 and Juicy Li, sitting to his left, was deep in the tank trying to decide what to do.

Beyond the betting the hand and their history together, Chieng offered nothing more to help with the decision, sitting quietly with arms crossed, hoodie up, and chewing his gum as Li thought.

After weighing the situation thoroughly Li decided to call the push, then winced when she saw Chieng turn over 10♣10♥. She had a pocket pair, too, but just slightly worse with 9♥9♠. The turn was the 4♠ and river the A♦, and Chieng now is up around 145,000 while Li tumbles back to 54,000. –MH

2:30pm: Copy and paste
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Phanlert Sukonthachartnant is definitely a name we’ll need to hold CTRL and press C for at least a couple of times, particularly if he continues his ascent up the chip counts. Having started the day with 87,000, the man from Thailand is currently second with 330,000.

His latest pot came courtesy of Paul Vas Nunes. After (CTRL C) Sukonthachartnant opened, Vas Nunes three-bet to 16,000 on the button and Sukonthachartnant called to see a 6♦2♥7♥ flop. Vas Nunes continued for 15,000 when checked to, and Sukonthachartnant matched it.

The turn was the 10♥, and when it checked to him again Vas Nunes continued firing for 42,000. Sukonthachartnant then sprung into action with a raise to around 110,000, which got a pretty quick fold, leaving Vas Nunes with 170,000. –JS

2:25pm: Aye-yi-yi… nice call, Yi Ye
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Felix Schulze was tops of 93 returners to begin the day, but he likely won’t be anywhere near the leaders when the first break arrives in 15 minutes after a big hand with Yi Ye in which Schulze’s bold river bluff was met with a bolder call from Ye.

The board showed A♦K♠5♠9♠3♦ and Schulze had pushed all in, forcing Ye to think deeply about whether or not he wanted to risk his last 100,000 or so. Finally Ye made his decision to call, and after Schulze showed he had airballed it with Q♦10♠, Ye emphatically tabled his Q♥Q♣ to win the pot.

Ye’s still stacking, though appears to have about 295,000 or perhaps even over 300K now. Meanwhile Schulze has slipped all of the way down to 65,000. –MH

2:20pm: Gonzales leads the pack
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

With 66 players still left in this tournament, it looks like the lone Filipio, Martin Gonzales, has emerged as the chip leader. He is closing in on 400,000.

Rundulf Gonzales: Leading the way

Daniel Carlsson, the lone Swede left, looks to be in second place with about 320,000. — HS

2:15pm: Ichinose best
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Four players got to a 5♠Q♣2c] flop and there was a healthy pot in the middle when we arrived. Japanese pro Kosei Ichinose led from the big blind position for 28,500 which got two folds, but Albert Paik called on the button to see the 3♥ turn.

Ichinose then jammed with the bigger stack, putting Paik to the test. The 2016 APPT Seoul champ went into the tank for a couple of minutes but would eventually lay it down, leaving himself with 55,000 for less than 20 big blinds. Ichinose meanwhile is doing very well with 260,000. –JS

2:10pm: Palma picks up a few
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Diego Palma grabbed the headlines after Day 1A as the first chip leader of this event. He slipped back to the pack a while ago, but just now added some chips to move back up a bit.

With the board showing 7♠6♦9♦8♦7♣, Jinxi He checked and Palma bet 32,000 — about 75 percent of the pot — and after a tank He called. Palma turned over Q♦10♠ for a ten-high straight, and that was good as He folded.

Palma is up around 142,000 now, while He 113,000. –MH

1:50pm: Kim sails down the river
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

A miracle river for Yuan Li has just seen Dong Kim eliminated.

We picked up the action on the turn, but Alex Lindop filled us in on what happened on the flop. The board read 3♦A♥5♣ and Kim bet, which was called by both Li and Phachara Wongwichit. That brought the 7♠ turn, and now Kim checked it. Li led for 21,000 which Wongwichit called, only for Kim to shove all in for around 46,000.

Li made the call, and Wongwichit – althought he seemed to want to continue – made a frustrated laydown.The cards were then flipped and Kim showed that he’d flopped the nuts with the 2♠4♠ for a wheel straight. Li had the 6♦6♥ for one pair, but it would become the best hand after the 4♣ on the river improved it to a bigger straight.

“YES! YES!” Li cried with joy as the chips shipped his way. Kim then made his exit, and Li stacked up roughly 270,000. –JS

1:45pm: Lin leaves
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Celina Lin clearly decided that her trophy cabinet has enough in it already. She has just been knocked out of the APPT Macau Main Event.

There was not a whole lot she could do about this one, looking down at A♦K♣ after an under-the-gun open from James Broom. Lin shipped for about 25,000 and, after everyone else folded, Broom snap-called with K♦K♠.

A blank board later and Lin took her leave. Aditya Agarwal is the sole remaining Team PokerStars Pro in the field. — HS

1:40pm: Yu leading remaining ladies
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

After one level of play 77 players remain, including four women — Juicy Sixiao Li, Celina Lin, Yiwei Zhao, and Jiafei Yu.

Juicy Li

Li (80,000) and the Team PokerStars Pro Lin (35,000) are at the same table at present.

Celina Lin

Meanwhile Zhao was just now meditating on a possible river call in a hand versus Liming Zhang in which she ultimately folded, preserving her stack of 46,000.

Yiwei Zhao

Jiafei Yu came into the day with an above average stack, and she’s continued to thrive despite losing a small hand to Jiayu Ruan just now in which the latter doubled up.

Jiafei Yu

Yu had opened from middle position for 6,500 with K♣9♥ and after Ruan jammed from the button for just over 20,000 with 10♠10♥, Yu called. The tens held to give Ruan the double, and Yu is now sitting with 191,000. –MH

1:30pm: Vukson Victorious
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Davidi Kitai opened the hijack to 7,200 and his only caller would be Canada’s Timothy Vukson from the big blind. When the 2♦3♥10♦ flop was dealt, Vukson checked it and the Belgian opted not to c-bet.

When the 7♣ turn appeared, though, action ensued. Vukson now led for 6,000, and Kitai slid out around 100,000. At first it seemed excessive, but after Vukson quickly called it became apparent that he only had 25,000 total, so Kitai’s bet was essentially just for that.

Vukson had the best of it with the Q♣10♠ for top pair while Kitai had the K♠7♠ for second pair, and the river was the 3♦ which changed nothing.

Vukson doubles to around 70,000, while Kitai still has a very healthy 275,000. –JS

1:20pm: Eat chit!
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Phachara Wongwichit clearly knows how Yuan Li plays. What’s more, he knows how to counter it. Here’s a terrific example of fighting fire with fire, regardless of what cards you’re holding.

Li opened to 5,300 from a stack of around 250,000. At least, that’s probably what his stack was at, because it’s incredibly hard to tell. He hoards lower-denomination chips and piles them up in great towers.

The bet was clear enough, though, and it folded around to Wongwichit, who three-bet to 15,600.

That was never going to trouble Li, who returned fire with a four-bet to 40,300.

Yuan Li: Forced out

But Wongwichit must have seen this before because he quickly five-bet jammed for 73,000 more.

Li pondered for a long while over his decision, motioning to fold, before retaining his cards again, before then actually tossing his cards away. Wongwichit stuck one had forward to start raking chips and with the other flicked the 2♠ face up on to the felt.

Safe to say: that was a bluff. — HS

1:15pm: What a river for Chuttani
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

We arrived at the table just as a huge pot was being shipped Sahil Chuttani’s way, at the expense of Lin Wu. Thankfully Chutanni talked us through what went down.

Chutanni had opened the K♣8♣ in middle position and got three callers, including Wu. They saw an 8♠3♣K♠ flop, giving Chutanni top two pair which he then c-bet. Wu was his only caller to the 5♣ turn, which Chutanni then checked only for Wu to put him all in. He made the call (having also picked up a flush draw), but got some bad news; Wu had the 3♠3♦ for a set.

Not to worry though. The 8♦ arrived on the river giving Chutanni a full house and the double up. After that one, both Chutanni and Wu have roughly 195,000. –JS

1:10pm: More knockouts
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

They are down to 81 players already, which means a dozen have hit the rail during the first hour of play. In addition to the eliminations detailed below, Dilijiang A, Benjamin Murry, Pedro Pellicer, Samuel Ganzfried, Daniel Laidlaw, and Billy “The Croc” Argyos have also all been sent railward due to the requirement that one have chips to continue. –MH

Billy “The Croc” Argyros among the early Day 3 knockouts

1:05pm: Robertson mis-times it
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Four players were still in the pot by the time this one reached the turn. And then it very quickly thinned to two.

The board showed 8♦8♠6♥10♦ following what Aditya Agarwal told me was an open, followed by three calls pre-flop, then a check on the flop by everyone.

That made sense as the pot was only around 25,000 when, following three checks, Peter Robertson moved all-in for 99,100. Qicheng Du quickly called, although his stack was only about 73,000.

Both Agarwal and Liang Song, the other two, folded.

Robertson had 10♠7♠ for top two and an inside straight draw. But he’d mis-timed this one because Song had already made his straight with 9♦7♦.

The river was a brick and Song more than doubled. Robertson is left with less than his starting stack of two days ago. — HS

1pm: He’s good
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Jinxi He has just taken down a nice pot from Day 1A chip leader Diego Palma.

He had opened the button 5,100 before Palma three-bet to 15,800 from the small blind, which He called. The dealer spread a K♦4♣J♣ flop which both checked, bringing the K♥ turn. Palma now made a delayed c-bet for 16,700, but He didn’t think too long and made a quick call.

The river was the 4♦, double pairing the board, and Palma took his time before firing again for 27,000. And again, He didn’t take long to call.

There was good reason; while Palma showed the A♣7♣ for the board plus an ace, He had the 4♥5♥ for fours full of kings. The pot shipped He’s way bringing his stack up to 200,000, while Palma drops to 105,000. –JS

12:55pm: Vas Nunes felts Wang
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Chunqing Wang open-raised all in for his last 26,000 from the cutoff seat, and after Billy Argyros gave up his hand Wang got one customer in Paul Vas Nunes playing from the small blind.

Wang had 8♣6♣ and Vas Nunes K♣Q♥, and the A♥A♠8♦ flop favored the at-risk player. Wang was still okay through the 2♣ turn, but the K♥ on fifth street hit Vas Nunes’s hand and Wang is out.

“Take me to the river,” sang Argyros as Wang departed and Vas Nunes collected the pot. Vas Nunes is at 272,000 now. –MH

Paul Vas Nunes collecting early

12:45pm: If you can’t stand the He-at
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

This pot got out of hand fairly quickly, before Tao Wang, who was at least in part responsible for the escalation in hostilities, decided he still had enough chips (and honour) to step back from the brink.

It started with a raise to 6,000 from Xiwen He in mid-position, and Wang called in the small blind. The two of them then saw a flop of 5♥7♦6♠. Wang checked and He bet 10,500.

Wang now check-raised, spilling out a pile of yellow chips and making it 25,000 to play. But, after a pause, He socked it straight back at him with a three-bet to 50,000.

It was all-in or fold now for Wang, who started the day with about 110,000 but only had about half of that still in his stack after all this. He decided to fold and live another day. — HS

12:42pm: Schwippert scoops one
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

After chopping a pot earlier, Jan-Eric Schwippert was all in again here in the first level of the day, but this time managed to earn a double-up through Mashiro Yamada.

Jan-Eric Schwippert: Scooping

From the looks of things after the fact, the chips might have gone in on the 9♣7♦10♦ flop as Schwippert had 9♦6♦ for nines and a flush draw while Yamada had J♠J♥ for an overpair. The 6♠ turn and 6♣ river then made a full house for Schwippert, and he’s up to 98,000 now while Yamada dips to 38,000. –MH

12:40pm: Double up for Juanda
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

One of the most accomplished players left in the field, John Juanda, will be sticking around a while longer.

After a 5,000 under the gun open, it folded over to Juanda in the small blind and he shoved for 26,000, which Zhenru Xie then called from the big blind, getting rid of the original raiser.

Juanda flipped over the A♣A♦ which would have to hold against the 9♦9♠, and the 3♣8♠A♠ flop all but made certain of that. The 7♣ and K♦ completed the board, bringing Juanda up to 60,000 and knocking Xie down to 95,000. –JS

12:35pm: Zimmerman ups the aggro
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Day 1B chip leader Joshua Zimmerman has managed to chip back up since doubling up Daniel Carlsson (see our 12:20pm post).

He opened to 5,000 under the gun and got a call from Davidi Kitai to his left. Peng Zhou matched it too from middle position, and Benjamin Hamnett decided to see a flop from the big blind. That flop came J♣K♥10♠ and it checked to Zimmerman who continued for 12,000. Kitai let it go, as would Hamnett, making Zhou the only caller to the turn.

Joshua Zimmerman: Back in the right direction

The dealer laid the 3♥ and now Zimmerman led big. He slid out 50,000 – half his stack – and Zhou didn’t look like he was going anywhere. He counted out calling chips and eventually put them over the line, bringing the 7♠ river card.

Zimmerman instantly moved all in for 50,000, and Zhou gave it some thought but would eventually lay it down. That nice recovery sees Zimmerman increase to 195,000, while Zhou dips to 90,000. –JS

12:30pm: Lin picks up aces to earn early double
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin entered today in the bottom 10 of the counts, and close to a half-hour into play was down to exactly 20,000 chips when she open-raised all in from middle position just now.

It folded around to Wai Kiat Lee on the button who called, and after the blinds got out Lin said “I have a pretty good hand” as she turned over her cards.

Celina Lin: Early with aces

The table chuckled at the sight of Lin’s A♥A♠, and Lee was grinning, too, despite being behind with 7♠7♦. The board came clean for Lin — 6♥J♦3♥6♦3♣ — and she has about 45,000 now while Lee slips to 33,000. –MH

12:25pm: Modder turns trickster, accounts for Tang
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Some trickiness from Ian Modder in the early stages of Day 3 was enough to send Ying Tang to the rail, but he wasn’t able to achieve his main aim: a major showdown with the chip-leading Felix Schulze.

Though I only arrived after some significant action had taken place already, it was pretty easy to piece together what had happened. Modder raised in early postion, Schulze called a couple of seats to his left, and then Tang moved all-in from the button, for about 40,000 total.

Ying Tang: Caught between the big stacks

Modder went into the tank, asking for a count, riffling his chips, pondering, dwelling, assessing his options. He then announced a call. Tang had clearly forgotten that Schulze was still in the hand and almost showed her cards, but the dealer was alert enough to stop the premature unveiling.

Ian Modder: Pondering with aces

Schulze took a moment or two to ponder whether he wanted in too, but ended up folding. And at that point Modder admitted that his act had been entirely designed to rope in the chip leader. Modder showed his A♥A♦.

Schulze had dodged the bullet, but Tang was still at risk, even if she was now apparently only collateral. Her A♣J♦ was not good enough to unsettle the aces through a board of 9♣4♦5♥10♣2♣. — HS

12:20pm: Straight flush equals chips for Carlsson
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Daniel Carlsson just earned a big boost to start Day 3, earning a double-up through Joshua Zimmerman just 15 minutes into play.

We can only share the last bit of this one, which was pretty good on its own, actually. Carlsson pushed his last chips in on a 8♠3♦9♥K♥10♥ board and was called by Joshua Zimmerman. Carlsson then tabled his hand — Q♥J♥ for a rivered straight flush, and the table responded accordingly with a collective “ooh.”

Zimmerman didn’t show his hand initially, though he had to, and so everyone saw he’d flopped a set with 3♣3♠. He’s down to 116,000 now, while Carlsson bumps up to 243,000. –MH

12:15pm: Short day for Lee
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Preston Lee came into Day 3 as the shortest stack (just 14,200), and he’s not been able to spin it up, busting in one of the first hands of the day.

The hand started with Alvan Zheng opening to 5,000 which Lee then shoved over for 13,500 from the cutoff. Jiafei Yu then raised to 22,000 on the button, isolating Lee, and Zheng let it go.

Lee was flipping with his 7♦7♥ against Yu’s A♥J♣, and the J♠5♦Q♠5♥6♦ runout wasn’t kind to him. With that, Lee’s out and Yu increases slightly to 195,000. –JS

12:10pm: Laidlaw lays Tong low
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Zhou Tong’s day didn’t last long. On what must have been either the first of second hand of the day, he pushed all-in over the top of Daniel Laidlaw’s 5,500 open and was snap-called.

Laidlaw: A♥K♥
Tong: J♦J♣

Tong’s 47,600 chips were quickly heading in Laidlaw’s direction after the A♠4♥5♦10♦A♦ board.

Laidlaw started the day with 85,200, but now has more than 130,000. — HS

12:05pm: Schwippert shoves, stays in
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Day 2 ended not so well for Jean-Eric Schwippert, with an unfortunate kings-versus-aces encounter claiming the majority of his stack. Day 3 looked like it might be starting more promisingly for the German player with an early double-up, but alas he had to settle for a chop.

All in with 6♣6♠ versus Zheng Shen’s 5♦5♠, Schwippert’s situation looked promising until the board ran out Q♠J♥9♠10♣8♦ to give both players a straight.

Schwippert perseveres with about 30,000, while Shen has about 215,000. –MH

12:05pm: Off they go
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Cards are back in the air and play is under way once again on Day 3. The schedule for today is a little different, by the way, with two 75-minute levels then five 90-minute levels, with a one-hour dinner break coming after Level 16. — HS

11am: Schulze, Kitai lead final 93 into Day 3

Welcome once again to PokerStars LIVE Macau and the City of Dreams, where Day 3 of the APPT Macau Main Event will soon be underway.

Last night we on media row watched a couple of Europeans sitting at the two tables nearest us during the last levels of play — Felix Schulze of Germany and Davidi Kitai of Belgium. Each enjoyed favorable sequences during the last orbits of Day 2 to race up the counts, with Schulze finishing in first position with 328,000 and Kitai not far behind with 307,300.

Schulze we’d seen just a few days before at the final table of the APPT Macau National High Roller where he ultimately finished fourth. Kitai we’ve known about for many years, of course, thanks to his $8 million-plus in tournament cashes. Both began yesterday with relatively modest stacks before accumulating in earnest to lead the charge into Day 3.

Lin Wu (296,000), Carson Ka Shing Wong (284,800), and Paul Vas Nunes (275,400) round out the top five to begin proceedings today, with Yuan Li, Joshua Zimmerman, Zeng Shen, and Jiafei Yu among the many big stacks also in good position to advance their tournament runs even further. Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Aditya Agarwal are also still in the mix, helping to comprise the field of 93 returning today from a starting field of 356.

There’s a big prize pool of HK$12,984,032 up for grabs, with the top 41 finishers due to divide those riches. That means the money bubble should be arriving today, after which we’ll see who are the ones who push ahead to position themselves best to shoot for the HK$3,095,000 first prize and PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship Platinum Pass worth $30,000 USD that also goes to the winner.

Play starts in about an hour at 12 noon local time. Stick close all day and night for exclusive updates, chip counts, photos, videos and more. –MH

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $40,000 Main Event: Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jason Kirk, Matt Showell, Jack Stanton, and Howard Swains. Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive and Long Guan of Kenneth Lim Photography.


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