A tournament reporter never makes plans for the evening of a tournament day. Regardless of what time the day starts, it generally won't finish before the sun is down. Right now, through the doors of the PokerStars Macau poker room, we can see a glint of sunlight shining into the Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex. Five hours ago there were 45 players all hoping to make it the final table. After quick and furious action throughout the day, just nine remain and they will all return tomorrow with the hopes of taking home the MPCC title and the HK$1,108,500 first-place prize.
The player in the best shape to make a run at claiming the victory is the man of the moment, Rui Chen. An exhilarating last few minutes of the day saw Chen deal out a double elimination to usher in the final table and catapult himself into the chip lead.
The last hand of Day 3 saw Chen holding a dominating A♣A♦, with Xing Zhao's T♠T♣ and Satrya Teja's J♠9♥ cowering to the might of Chen's pocket rockets. When the 9♦4♦5♣K♠K♣ board was spread along the felt, Chen sent Teja home in 11th place, while Zhao was the official final table bubble boy.
For Chen to be where he stands now, 36 players had to hit the rail and not only did they hit the rail, they hit it at an extremely quick pace. Within the first level of play we had already lost ten players and we were nearing the bubble. It was 31 players who were going to be guaranteed a HK$36,100 min-cash and it didn't take long before just one more player needed to be eliminated and we would be in the money.
Hand-for-hand play lasted more than half an hour, but inevitably one player was going to be going home empty handed and unfortunately for Tan Tai Zheng, that player would be him. Zheng's final hand saw him all in preflop holding A♣9♥, which was in good shape against Sunny Jung's J♠6♠. However, Jung was running hot and the hot streak continued as a 5♠Q♥T♣3♥6♥ board would mean Zheng was the bubble boy.
With the bubble burst, the remaining 31 players were guaranteed some cash for their time and so they must have thought, let's get all the chips in! Some of the players who were eliminated very shortly after the bubble were Daren Yoon (31st), Jill Maley (29th), Sparrow Cheung (27th) and Aaron Lam (23rd).
At this point Shaq Lin was looking good to repeat some of the success that saw him take down the Asia Player of the Year award in 2011. However, it simply wasn't meant to be as Lin was eliminated in 21st place. Lin's final hand was somewhat unlucky, with his last chips going all in holding ace-jack on an ace high board. Unluckily for Lin he would run into Chen's 7♣6♣, which would find three clubs on the board to rake in the pot and send Lin home.
Following Lin's exit from the tournament, the action slowed down, but only for a moment before it picked back up again. The likes of Day 1a chip leader Edmund Lee (17th), Hon Cheung Kwong (16th) and Amit Jain (15th) were quickly eliminated, followed by Shanshan Zhao (14th), Amit Varma (13th) and Ying Kit Chan Chan (12th).
From here, Chen began to flex his muscles and of course dealt the double elimination that we alluded to earlier, bringing forth the final table. Joining Chen in the final nine will be the likes of the start-of-day chip leader Ryan Hong, Kevin Kung, Yosuke Sekiya and Jin Wenlong. The short stack is Australia's Robert Streatfeild, while the two remaining ladies in the field Jessica Ngu and Lisi Wei will also be in with a chance of taking down the title.
2012 MPCC Final Table Lineup
Seat 1: Ryan Hong - 425,000
Seat 2: Sunny Jung - 888,000
Seat 3: Kevin Kung - 469,000
Seat 4: Yosuke Sekiya - 624,000
Seat 5: Jessica Ngu - 461,000
Seat 6: Lisi Wei - 713,000
Seat 7: Robert Streatfeild - 159,000
Seat 8: Rui Chen - 1,325,000
Seat 9: Jin Wenlong - 184,000
Be sure to click the links above to see the full payout information and return to the PokerStarsBlog to read full player bios of the remaining nine. Join us from 1.00pm tomorrow as we crown a new MPCC Main Event champion!