There’s nothing quite like the tournament floor deep in a poker event in Macau. No matter how big or small the tournament is there is an excitement that is unparalleled almost anywhere in the world. There is just that much passion. If I could say one thing about Day 2 of the MPC21 Red Dragon Main Event, it’s that it certainly wasn’t lacking in enthusiasm.
That enthusiasm lasted from the moment the 221 returning players (of 808 total) hit the tables and ripped open their chip bags, to the instant the day was over and just 46 players remained.
The player who was perhaps the most enthusiastic at the end of play was Wai Leong Chan. He finished the night with 766,000 in chips and the overall lead.
Chan dominated the last few levels of Day 2. Despite watching him lose a 400,000-chip pot when he got aggressive preflop with A♥Q♥ and ran into A♠A♣, Chan still managed to regain the chip lead and finish more than 200,000 ahead of his nearest competitor Edward Kim.
Speaking of Kim, late in Day 2 it was looking like no one would catch him. A highlight of Kim’s evening was certainly when he looked down at K♥K♣ and had two players getting all their chips in, one with A♦K♦ and the other with pocket eights. The cowboys held up and Kim went on to finish with a very large 559,000 in chips.
They don’t have as many chips as Chan and Kim, but they are alive in the tournament and that’s half the battle. I’m talking about players like Wai Tung Lo (370,000), Yifan Zheng (344,000), Koichi Nozaki (319,000), Martin Gait (231,000) and Alvin Cheam (176,000), just to name a few.
Another player who still has chips heading into Day 3 is a man by the name of Kenny Leong. That name may sound familiar as it’s the name of the man who won the first-ever Red Dragon six years ago. There were only 33 players in that first one, more than 20 times less than how many he has already outlasted this year. If Leong can go on to win the MPC21 Red Dragon he would truly bookend what has already been a decorated poker career.
Long before all the aforementioned players bagged some chips, the 212 returning players were all hoping to make it into the money. The top 108 spots were paying HK$19,000 and as such, play went hand-for-hand when 110 remained. From this point pretty much nothing happened for 40 minutes.
Then everything exploded as there were four simultaneous all ins and three eliminations to see the bubble burst and the 108th place payment split three ways.
Chonxian Yang, Xin Zhang and Daren Seah were the three players who were eliminated on the bubble hand. Zhang’s elimination was probably the most exciting of the three as he made a king-high flush, but lost to Juicy Li’s full house. Seah, on the other hand, was probably the unlucky one of the three as he had his Q♦Q♥ cracked by J♦J♣. Full details of all the bubble play can be found in the archive of the Day 2 live updates.
While splitting 108th place three ways isn’t the ideal situation for players, it’s better than finishing out of the money altogether. Some of those who did just that include the two returning Team PokerStars Pros, Celina Lin and Raymond Wu.
It seemed like Wu was never able to get anything going, while Lin’s day was more of a roller coaster, first soaring up the chip leader board before someone got tricky preflop with jack-eight and cracked Lin’s ace-king. Lin lost most of her chips in that pot and from there wasn’t able to survive much longer.
Like Lin and Wu, these players didn’t make Day 3, but they did at least manage to make it into the money. This time I’m talking about players like Day 1C chip leader Mikal Blomlie (52nd), 2010 Red Dragon champion Wing Cheong Chong (60th), Australia’s Ken Demlakian (69th), former MPC Championship victor Raiden Kan (85th) and Andrew Scott (99th). You can find updated payout information on the MPC21 Red Dragon prize pool page.
The above have already been eliminated, but there will still be 46 players back at the felt from 4:00pm local time on Tuesday. No matter how long it takes there will be 37 eliminations on Day 3 and at that point we will be down to a final table of nine. You can find the Day 3 seating draw here at the PokerStarsBlog, while we hope to see you return for continued live updates of the latest Red Dragon.