MPC26 Red Dragon: Day 1C coverage archive

February 14, 2017


Another 12 levels of poker are done and all Day 1s have come to an end.

Only about 170 players made it through Day 1C and Saul Oliver Fortea is leading the survivors with 210,900. While that was enough to top the Day 1C field, it wasn’t enough to take the overall lead going into Day 2. That honor goes to JP Kelly, who managed to amass a stack of 247,300 on Day 1A, the smallest starting flight.

While they’ll command the biggest stacks at the start of Day 2, they’ll be accompanied by hundreds of other players. Some other players that made it through Day 1C include Bryan Huang, who finished the day with 44,400. Dhaval Mudgal, Sparrow Cheung and Apoorva Goel will also take a seat on Day 2 .

But they’re the minority. Most of Day 1C’s 499 entrants hit the rail today including both two-time Red Dragon champions, Tom Alner and Celina Lin. Lin was also part of another exclusive duo today. Lin was one of two Team PokerStars players in the field today. Randy “Nanonoko” Lew also tried his chance at the Red Dragon today, but fell in the second half of the day.

While most players busted and others made it through, they all took part in a bit of history. All three starting flights drew 1,216 players, which is officially the largest Red Dragon and largest freezeout tournament ever held in the Asia Pacific region.

This also created a pretty big prize pool: HK$15,923,520.

Just 144 players will get a slice of that. A min cash will be worth HK$31,650 while the biggest chunk, HK$3,265,000 will go to our eventual champion.

We’ll get closer to finding out who that person is tomorrow. Well, later today. Cards are back in the air at 3pm.

Join us here at the PokerStars Blog for all your Day 2 coverage needs. –AV

3:30am: Final five hands

Only five hands remain here on Day 1C! — BK

3:20pm: Chew chipping up
Level 12: Blinds – 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Current chip leader Ming Cui opened the action with an under the gun raise to 5,700 and after he picked up one caller, Stevan Chew three-bet to 21,000. Cui gave it up but the third party went into the tank.

The player glanced up at the tournament clock, eyed Chew’s stack and then rechecked his own cards. After two minutes looking tormented he eventually threw A♠K♣ face up into the muck.

Cui seemed very displeased that the player had folded as Chew raked the pot and moved up to 110,000 in chips. — BK

3:05am: Leaders in the field
Level 11: Blinds – 800/1,600 (100 ante)

Another contender has emerged.

Ming Cui appears to be the leader with about 200,000 and the number of players has dipped to 180. There are only about 30 minutes of play left in the night and then we’ll have our end-of-day and overall chip leader for Day 1. –AV

2:50am: Dong triples
Level 11: Blinds – 800/1,600 (100 ante)

Dong Kim just received a huge boost to his stack after he ended up on the right end of a three-way all in.

Kim was all in preflop with 10♠10♣ and at risk versus Bryan Huang’s 8♠8♦ and another opponent’s A♣K♦. The ten in the window was a welcome sight for Kim as the flop landed J♠4♠10♦, and by the J♣ turn he had locked up the pot.

The inconsequential A♠ rolled off on the river and Kim was awarded 57,000 in chips. The hit to Huang sees him drop to right around 30,000. — BK

2:40am: Rising and shrinking stacks
Level 11: Blinds – 800/1,600 (100 ante)

Day 1C is crawling along and nearing its end.

Dozens of short-stacked players are desperately trying to stay alive. Some are doubling while others are busting. Only about 200 players remain out of the 499 that started the day.

But all these chips have to go somewhere.

A few larger stacks are starting to pop up across the field. Several of them are flirting with the 100,000 mark but not quite crossing it. There is one stack that has cleared that quite easily though.

Apoorva Goel seems to be in the lead with about 160,000. That almost puts him on par with Day 1B’s leader, Zhun Zhong, who finished with 169,200, but it still isn’t big enough to take challenge JP Kelly’s overall lead of 247,300.

There’s still time to catch up though. –AV

2:25am: Reigning champ bites the dust
Level 11: Blinds – 800/1,600 (100 ante)

We recently reported how reigning Red Dragon champion Tom Alner had been masterfully nursing a short stack but he has finally hit the rail after getting it in good and being run down.

Alner was still super short and got his last couple of big blinds in preflop with ace-five against king-queen. He fell behind on the queen-five-six flop and with another queen falling on the turn, any chance of a triple title triumph this week was squashed. — BK

MPC26 Red Dragon Tom Alner.jpg

Tom Alner

2:15am: Alner hanging around
Level 10: Blinds – 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Reigning champ Tom Alner is demonstrating one of the key factors that may have helped him previously lock up two Red Dragon titles – patience.

We sweated Alner for almost the entirety of Level 10 as he peddled his average of five big blinds for over 30-minutes straight.

We only witnessed one all-in jam for 4,400 but with the rest of the table folding, Alner collected the pot and moved back up to 7,000.

Alner then commenced another folding spree and has since dropped back to right around 4,500. — BK

2:10am: Lim dips
Level 10: Blinds – 600/1,200 (100 ante)

After an early position raise to 2,400, Yo-hwan Lim three-bet to 7,000 and Yi Peng moved all-in for 30,900 from the cutoff. The original raiser folded and Lim thought. Then he counted out the chips for a call and threw them in.

Lim turned over 10♦10♥, but Peng showed a better pocket pair, the best actually: A♣A♥.

The board ran 6♦J♦Q♠6♣9♥ and Peng took down the pot. Lim on the other hand dropped to about 30,000. –AV

1:50am: Cheung loses one, still strong
Level 10: Blinds – 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Shang Han raised to 2,600 from under the gun and Sparrow Cheung called from the small blind. Both players checked the 8♣7♦3♠ flop and a 7♥ came on the turn.

Cheung checked again and Han bet 2,800. Cheung called and a 6♥ completed the board. There was another round of checks and Cheung turned over A♥K♠. Han had the best of it with 5♠5♥ and he took down the pot. Despite the loss, Cheung is still above average with about 55,000. –AV

1:25am: Final break of the night

The remaining 288 players have just commenced the final 10-minute break of the night. — BK

1:15am: Dragon demographics
Level 9: Blinds – 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The official numbers are in. This Red Dragon drew 1,216 players from all across the world. China is the most represented country in the field, but mouse over the countries to see the rest. –AV

1:01am: Sixiao “Juicy” Li eLIminated
Level 9: Blinds – 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Sixiao “Juicy” Li is out after a one-two knockout.

In the first hit, Li raised to 1,700 from under the gun and Hui Le moved all-in for 11,000 from middle position. Li thought for a while and then called with A♥J♦ only to be dominated by Le’s A♠K♦.

Li was hoping for a jack, but the 3♦4♣Q♥ flop didn’t acquiesce. The K♣ paired Le’s king and killed jacks as outs, but gave Li a straight draw. But the 5♠ that came on the river didn’t help her and Li dropped to about 12,000.

On the following hand, Da Xion called from the button and Li checked from the big blind.

The flop came 5♥3♠5♠ and Xion bet 1,500. Li called and a 9♦ came on the turn. Xion upped the bet to 3,000 and Li moved all-in after some thought. Xion quickly called with A♠5♣ and Li mucked her hand.

The dealer flipped it over though and showed K♦6♥ for the failed bluff. A 3♦ came on the river to fill Xion up and Li was eliminated from the tournament. –AV


Sixiao “Juicy” Li

12:50am: No three-peat for Celina Lin
Level 9: Blinds – 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin has two Red Dragon trophies under her belt but she won’t be able to clinch a third here this week after her recent elimination.

Lin gave us the rundown of the one-two punch that saw her eviction.

Late into the previous level the player on the button moved all in for 7,500 on the button with king-four offsuit and Lin made the call in the big blind holding ace-jack. Unfortunately for Lin her opponent spiked a king to take down the pot and signal the start of Lin’s demise.

Exactly one orbit later the same player min-raised on the button before Lin woke up with pocket kings in the big blind and pushed all in. She was called by ace-nine and again she was run down when the player spiked an ace to seal Lin’s fate. — BK

12:40am: Field record broken (again)
Level 8: Blinds – 400/800 (100 ante)

The tournament is now locked out and with that we can confirm that this iteration of the Red Dragon is officially the largest freezeout in the Asia Pacific – boasting a whopping 1,216 players!

With late registration closed the payout information has now been finalized and this record field generated a total prize pool of HK$15,923,520. There will be 144 paying places and HK$3,265,000 (~US$420,000) going to the eventual champion. — BK

12:30am: Huang felts one
Level 8: Blinds – 400/800 (100 ante)

Bryan Huang continues to accumulate chips – this time he sent a player packing to add to his own stack.

We caught the action on the river with the board reading 3♦10♠Q♣8♠K♣ and Huang bet enough to cover his opponent’s last 18,000 in chips.

Despite holding a set, the latter didn’t look too confident, and after some deliberation he called it off with 10♣10♣. That strong hand that wasn’t enough against Huang’s J♣9♣ for a straight.

Huang shook hands with his latest casualty before stacking up a new total of close to 80,000. — BK

12:22am: Short stacks attack
Level 8: Blinds – 400/800 (100 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin is starting to get short and jam.

In one hand, Eliji Nowura raised from under the gun and a player called from middle position. Lin was in the big blind and called as well.

All three players checked the 2♠6♥7♦ flop and an 8♥ came on the turn. Nowura bet 1,200, the player in middle position raised to 2,500 and Lin moved all-in. Both players folded and Lin chipped up to about 18,000.

Lin wasn’t the only short stack at the table looking to double up.

A few hands later Dongsheng Peng moved all-in for 10,100 and Alan Shao Hung Lee called. Peng tabled K♠Q♠ and Lee showed 3♥3♣ for a flip.

The 10♣2♦5♥Q♦9♣ board fell in Peng’s favor and he doubled up to about 25,000 while Lee dipped to 45,000. –AV


Alan Shao Hung Lee

12:10am: Dong Kim VS humans
Level 8: Blinds – 400/800 (100 ante)

Dong Kim, who is widely considered one of the best heads-up no limit players in the world, pulled up a seat earlier tonight to join the hunt for the Red Dragon.

It’s good to see Kim up against some human competition again after he and the likes of Jason Les, Jimmy Chou and Daniel McAulay pitted themselves against an artificial intelligence program named Libratus in a three week heads-up challenge earlier this year.

Here on Day 1C Kim is seated on the right of Bryan Huang and has had a slow start so far. He has dropped to around 14,000 from a 20,000 start bank. We’ll be watching to see if he can run it back up. — BK

12:00am: Small one for Lew
Level 7: Blinds – 300/600 (75 ante)

Toshito Mitsuoka raised to 1,600 from under the gun and Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew called from middle position. The big blind called as well and all three players went to the 6♣J♥K♥ flop.

Mitsuoka bet 2,000 when checked to, Lew called and the big blind folded.

The turn brought a 9♥ and a check from Mitsuoka. Lew bet 4,000 and Mitsuoka went for the fold. Lew took down the pot but is still below average with about 23,000. –AV

11:45pm: Cheung rising
Level 7: Blinds – 300/600 (75 ante)

Since 2010, not a year has gone by without Sparrow Cheung scoring a few cashes at the Macau Poker Cup. We’re not even two months into the year and Cheung already has two.

While Cheung has cashed in the Red Dragon before, he’s still missing a victory on his resume. For now the dream is still alive and Cheung is well above average.

In a recent victory, Liping Song called from the hijack and Cheung did the same from the button. The small blind called and the big blind checked his option.

The flop came down 5♣6♥8♦ and Song bet 1,600 when checked to. Cheung called and the blinds folded. The turn brought a 6♠ and Cheung bet 3,500. It was too much for Song and he folded.

Cheung is now well above average with about 44,000. –AV


Sparrow Cheung

11:30pm: Tran takes a hit
Level 7: Blinds – 300/600 (75 ante)

After a middle position raise to 1,400 preflop, 2016 APPT Manila champion Linh Tran defended his big blind to see a flop of 5♣3♣J♥. Both players checked it through and the dealer presented the 5♦ on the turn.

Tran then took the betting lead, firing for 2,000, which was called before the 7♦ completed the board. Tran made it another 2,000 on the end but was put to a decision for all his chips when his opponent raised enough to cover Tran’s 7,000 behind.

Tran couldn’t make the call and relinquished his hand as the pot was pushed the way of his opponent. — BK

11:15pm: Take a break

Players have stepped away for a 10-minute break. — BK

11:10pm: Huang hammering away
Level 6: Blinds – 200/400 (25 ante)

After an open to 1,000, another player made the call, Bryan Huang called on the button, and the big blind defended as the hand went four-way to a flop of 9♠7♣J♣.

The big blind checked to the preflop raiser who continued for 2,000. The bet was met with one fold before Huang reached into his stack and raised it up to 5,300. The big blind quickly got out of the way but the initial raiser called before the 8♠ turn.

The latter checked to Huang who kept up the aggression, firing for another 8,500. That was enough to take it down and Huang climbed to 44,000. — BK

11pm: Lin lives
Level 6: Blinds – 200/400 (25 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin still has a shot at winning her third Red Dragon trophy after winning a flip to keep the dream alive.

After the under the gun player limped, another raised to 1,500 before the action fell on Lin. She decided to move all in for 8,700 and when it folded around to the raiser, he made the call to put Lin at risk.

Lin: A♠J♦
Opponent: 10♣10♦

Lin took the lead on the J♠K♦K♣ flop and held it through the 3♦ turn and 7♦ river. That hand takes her to a new total of 10,500. — BK

10:50pm: Kuo kicked
Level 6: Blinds – 200/400 (25 ante)

We wrote about Kitty losing a big pot with ace-king early in the day.

She struggle to mount a comeback and while she won a few small pots, she wasn’t able to mount a comeback. Kuo’s seat is now vacant as players near the second break of the day. –AV

10:40pm: Lew takes one out
Level 6: Blinds – 200/400 (25 ante)

Li Chen raised to 1,000 from early position and Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew re-raised to 2,150 from the button. Nan Hong called from the small blind and then Chen moved all-in for 12,100.

Lew called with K♣K♥ and Hong folded pocket jacks face-up. Chen turned over A♠K♠ and was hoping for an ace. The 8♥7♥K♦5♥7♣ board brought a king instead.

Chen hit the rail while Lew chipped up to about 36,000. –AV


Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew

10:20pm: Red Bull at the Red Dragon
Level 5: Blinds – 150/300 (25 ante)

While Days 1A and 1B concluded at around 10:30pm, today’s late start means that Day 1C is set to finish up right around 3:30am. While the majority of poker players are notorious night owls, they might still feel some fatigue setting in by then.

Luckily for everyone in the Red Dragon, Red Bull – the official energy drink provider of PokerStars Macau – has provided fridges full of Red Bull varieties across the tournament floor for players to take advantage of free of charge. — BK

MPC26 Red Bull.jpg

10:15pm: Yamashita four-bet folds
Level 5: Blinds – 150/300 (25 ante)

After a preflop open from Takuya Yamashita, Michael Addamo reraised to 2,100 next to act.

Yamashita deliberated momentarily before deciding on a four-bet to an even 5,000. Addamo only had around 15,000 in total and decided his best plan of attack was to wager it all.

The five-bet jam elicited a quick fold from Yamashita, and he dropped to 16,000 as Addamo scooped the pot. — BK

10:09pm: Li lighting it up
Level 4: Blinds – 100/200 (25 ante)

Juicy Sixiao Li is back to about starting stack after some preflop aggression.

Li started it off with an early position raise to 700 and Shije Wang called from middle position. Rui Song made it 2,700 from the cutoff and then Li bumped it up with a four-bet to 12,500.

Wang folded and Song thought. Then he folded.

The hand put Li up to 18,000, within striking distance of a starting stack. –AV


Juicy Sixiao Li

9:59pm: Some chips for Kim
Level 4: Blinds – 100/200 (25 ante)

Kosei Ichinose raised to 800 from the cutoff and Junjie Wang called from the button. Gab Yong Kim, a serial Macau casher, called from the big blind and players got dealt a 5♣Q♠5♦ flop.

Action folded to the button and Wang bet 1,200. Kim raised to 2,700 and both his opponents folded. Ichinose still had 27,000 after the hand while Kim rose to about average stack with 24,000. –AV

9:50pm: The champ is here
Level 4: Blinds – 100/200 (25 ante)

“The champ has arrived!” cried PokerStars LIVE Macau’s Fred Leung as he approached the registration desk to welcome reigning Red Dragon champion Tom Alner.

Alner will be chasing back-to-back titles and his third Red Dragon trophy this week. He last emerged triumphant in this event back in September when he scored himself HK$2,509,000 and joined Celina Lin as the only ever two-time champions.

Alner topped a record field and he’ll have the chance to do that again. There were 1,145 runners in the Red Dragon at MPC25 and we’re already up to 1,207 entrants here for MPC26! — BK

MPC25 champion Tom Alner.jpg

Tom Alner – chasing a three-peat

9:40pm: Lee takes one off Lin
Level 4: Blinds – 100/200 (25 ante)

Celina Lin raised from under the gun and Alan Shao Hung Lee re-raised to 1,650 from middle position. Action folded back around to Lin and she made it 4,375.

Lee thought for a bit and then called. Lin then fired off 3,600 on the 3♥9♣5♦ flop and Lee called. The turn brought an 8♦ and a check from Lin. Lee thought for a minute and then checked behind.

A Q♦ completed the board and Lin bet 5,500. Lee called and showed A♦A♠ while Lin tabled K♦Q♣. The hand left Lin with about 10,500 while Lee chipped up to 31,000. –AV


Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin

9:20pm: Shirasawa stacks some chips
Level 4: Blinds – 100/200 (25 ante)

Wilson Fu kicked things off with a raise to 450 and after Jia Tang made the call, Kazuhiro Shirasawa three-bet to 1,400 from the cutoff. Both players called and the flop was spread 5♦8♣5♣.

It was checked over to Shirasawa and he continued for 1,700. Only Fu stuck around to see the 8♦ double-pair the board on the turn. The action was checked through and the 4♥ fell on the river.

Again it was checked by both players and Fu tabled 6♠6♣. Shirasawa had that beat with one pair better, flipping over 7♠7♦ to take down the pot and climb to 25,500 in chips. — BK

9pm: First break of the day

It’s time for a 10-minute break. Play resumes momentarily. — BK

8:50pm: Li lets it go
Level 3: Blinds – 100/200

We arrived at the table to see that Juicy Li had three-bet from the small blind for 1,900 over a middle position open. The initial raiser made the call and the flop landed 6♦4♦3♠.

Li continued for 2,500 and while her opponent made a raise to 5,500, the dealer thought it was just a call before flipping up the A♠ turn card.

The dealer was informed of the error and a supervisor was called over. Li was informed that the A♠ would be shuffled back into the deck and a new turn card would be dealt. With that information at her disposal she opted to fold and dropped back to right around start stack. — BK

8:40pm: Cheng chips up through Chong
Level 3: Blinds – 100/200

Yong Cheng was at risk for his tournament life against Victor Chong in a recent hand.

Cheng had his last 5,225 in the middle preflop and after Chong moved all in over the top for 15,175 to isolate, the third player in the hand folded and the cards went on their backs.

Cheng: K♠K♣
Chong: J♥10♥

Cheng had a commanding lead before the J♠A♣4♦ brought a sweat as Chong paired his jack. With the turn of the 10♦ Cheng stood up from his seat and prepared to exit but the 4♠ river paired the board and improved him to a higher two pair.

With that Cheng confirmed the double up and knocked Chong back to 9,950. — BK

8:30pm: Huang’s queens
Level 3: Blinds – 100/200

As aces kept filling the board, Bryan Huang kept calling with pocket queens.

In a raised pot, Huang and Wenxiong Luo were faced with an A♥A♦3♦ flop. Luo bet 550 and Huang called, bringing a 6♠ on the turn.

Luo upped the bet to 2,000 and Huang called again. That’s when the river brought another ace, the A♣. Both players decided to check that one and Huang turned over Q♣Q♦ for aces full of queens.

Luo shook his head and mucked. Huang took down the pot and chipped up to about 25,000. –AV


Bryan Huang

8:20pm: Big slick, big dip for Kuo
Level 2: Blinds – 50/100

Kitty Kuo took an early dip with A♥K♦.

There was about 6,000 in the pot on a 7♣2♣K♥10♠ board and Kuo moved all-in. Kuo had her opponent, Yi Wang, covered. Wang called all-in for 7,275 and turned over K♣10♣.

Wang had turned the two-pair and a 9♠ on the river sealed his double up. Kuo’s ace-king was no good.

Wang doubled up to about 22,000 while Kuo dropped to just under 12,000. –AV

8:05pm: Zhang doubles through Liow
Level 2: Blinds – 50/100

Meng Zhang had found himself with less than a third of the start bank already but he has since doubled up through tablemate Marcuss Liow.

Zhang got his last 6,025 in preflop and saw he was in great shape to keep his tournament alive.

Zhang: A♠K♠
Liow: K♦Q♦

Zhang had the dominant hand and it stayed that way on the 4♦7♣2♣3♠5♦ runout. He secured himself the double up as Liow dropped to 9,300. — BK

7:55pm: More faces in the field
Level 2: Blinds – 50/100

The big names keep on rolling in.

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin and Randy Lew have both showed up to take a seat. The pair of Team Pros also form a pair in real life.

And what better way for a pair of Team Pros to end Valentine’s Day than by playing the largest Red Dragon event in history. Lew is chasing his first Red Dragon cash while Lin is looking for her third Red Dragon victory.

That’s right, Lin has two Red Dragon victories. Only her and Tom Alner have that distinction and both are in the field today hunting their third.

Raymond Wu also took his seat recently as well as former StarCraft Champion Lim Yo-hwan. –AV

7:41pm: A new record
Level 2: Blinds – 50/100

And it happened, the player count ticked past 428 as Level 1 was coming to an end.

That makes this the largest Red Dragon to ever grace our humble planet. And on Valentine’s Day, what a treat.

We’ll see how big this thing will actually get since there are still several levels of late registration open. Players can keep signing up for this thing until Level 6.

Day 1C got off to a later start than the other days, but there’s still another tournament that’s yet to begin. The HK$1,500 Flipout starts at 11pm. That tournament starts with an all-in frenzy and the survivors will move on to regular 20-minute levels in Round 2. –AV

7:20pm: Stacks of notables
Level 1: Blinds – 25/50

The tournament floor is filling up fast with familiar faces scattered all around the field.

Some of those you may recognize include Kitty Kuo, Bryan Huang, Kosei Ichinose, Sparrow Cheung, Stevan Chew, Juicy Li, Linh Tran, Gab Yong Kim, Vivian Im, Russel Thomas, Dhaval Mudgal and Ying Lin Chua.

Ying Lin Chua emerged victorious in the Red Dragon right around this time last year when he took home HK$1,904,000 and the best-looking trophy in poker.

And speaking of former winners, rumour has it that the reigning champ, Tom Alner – who took down his second Red Dragon title in September last year – is also expected to join the hunt today. Alner hasn’t been spotted yet but we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if he returns in a bid for a three-peat. — BK

7:00pm: Cards in the air
Level 1: Blinds – 25/50

And we’re back. Day 1C of the MPC26 Red Dragon is now underway.

There are about 380 players registered so far. Again, if we make it past 428, we’ll have a record-breaking field. Stay tuned for more action from the final starting flight of the Red Dragon.

Also, Red Bull™. Red Bull is the official energy drink provider for PokerStars LIVE Macau. –AV

Day 1C set to begin

Welcome back to PokerStars LIVE Macau!

It’s almost time once again for cards in the air in the MPC26 Red Dragon. Tonight hosts the third and final Day 1 flight with play commencing at 7pm local time.

JP Kelly is still the one to chase after he bagged up 247,300 on Day 1A. Tonight’s group will be looking to do the same with their 20,000-chip start banks.

Just like the previous two flights, Day 1C will see players face off across 12, 40-minute levels, which means the action concludes at around 3:30am.

With Day 1A and 1B drawing a total crowd of 717 players, it’ll take 429 runners here on Day 1C to eclipse the previous record of 1,145. Only time will tell if it can be done and whether someone will manage to top Kelly’s impressive chip stack.

As always we’ll have all your coverage needs direct from the tournament floor. Be sure to return soon and check it out! — BK

MPC26 Red Dragon queue.jpg

Reporting in Macau brought to you by Alexander Villegas and Brad Kain. Photography by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau.


Next Story