It’s Monday in Macau, where today’s high of 26°C (79°F) makes for warm conditions outside the Grand Waldo Hotel. Meanwhile, the Asia Championship of Poker series marches on within, highlighted at the moment by the ACOP Warm-Up where things are starting to heat up as well.
On Saturday, 167 players took seats at the tables for Day 1a of this $25,000 (HKD) event, with an even hundred losing their spots by night’s end. Then Sunday 191 more runners appeared, with 120 falling out of the race before they reached the end of Level 8 and the stoppage of play.
That total field of 358 players created a prize pool of $7,986,980 (HKD), more than meeting the $5 million guarantee. That’s the equivalent of a little more than $1 million USD, making the ACOP Warm-Up quite a bit bigger than your average preliminary event.
Of the 138 players surviving the two Day 1 flights, a small handful were able to work their starting stacks of 20,000 up over 100,000 to begin today’s play. Among that group, Johan Wengelin of Sweden benefited from a big hand late in the evening which saw him flop two pair and scoop a handsome pot of nearly 100,000 chips to end the night with 149,400.
That was good enough for top position in the counts for Wengelin, and required a little extra time for chip counting during last night’s bagging up.
That also nudged Wengelin up and over China’s Hai Bo Chu (141,100) and Canada’s Mike Watson (136,700) in the counts, with all three having exceeded the 131,100 total that the Russian David Martirosyan put up as the best performance of Day 1a. Here’s how the top 10 look at the moment:
1. Johan Wengelin (Sweden) — 149,400
2. Hai Bo Chu (China) — 141,100
3. Mike Watson (Canada) — 136,700
4. David Martirosyan (Russia) — 131,100
5. Julian Powell (U.K.) — 130,700
6. Rong Fan (China) — 126,400
7. Jordan Westmorland (Thailand) — 116,600
8. Katsuhiro Muto (Japan) — 108,300
9. Thorsten Pegrin (Austria) — 100,100
10. Ping Lin (China) — 98,000
Gab Yong Kim of Korea — already a winner of one event at this inaugural ACOP series — sits just outside of the top 10, as does Australia’s Jeff Rossiter, with Team Online Pro Randy “nanonoko” Lew not too far behind with 86,000.
Also returning for more today is Johnny Chan whose stack of 59,400 is a little above the average to start Day 2. Joseph Cheong, Tino Lechich, and Artem Lobus return to stacks of similar size, with Tom Marchese and Dominik Nitsche among the players a little behind them. And the two ladies of Team PokerStars Pros — Korea’s Vivian Im and China’s Celina Lin — return as well to chips a little below the average.
Cards go back in the air at 3:10 p.m. local time, at which time we’ll begin tracking the progress as the 138 begin working their way down to a final table of nine. Then on Tuesday we’ll see who from that group will ultimately emerge as ACOP Warm-Up champion and winner of that sizzling first prize of $1,777,000 (HKD) — hot stuff!
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.