PokerStars Championship Macau: Lucky mango (aka Steve O’Dwyer) leads $400K SHR on the overnight bubble

April 02, 2017


O’Dwyer leads…thanks to his lucky mango?

Steve O’Dwyer. Fedor Holz. Dan Smith. Ike Haxton.

We’ve come all the way to Macau, and yet we still end up with the usual suspects. That’s because these guys are Super High Roller bosses of the highest order, and they’ve all made it to the final 14 of this HK$400K event.

The fact that we have 14 players remaining is very significant, as only 13 will make the money. With five minutes left on the day, the players were asked if they wanted to carry on until the bubble had burst, but due to a couple of objections play came to a close.

When it did, the man who sits with the biggest stack is Mr O’Dwyer with 3.065 million. Ask him how he did it and he’ll no doubt tell you it was because of his lucky mango. It was given to him by a female friend who told him it was lucky, and it seems to be working so far. If he goes on to win this, it’ll be back to back Championship High Roller victories for him after taking down the $10K in Panama for $240,451.

He’s followed by all round boss Fedor Holz (2.225 million) – no surprises there. But in third place is Australia’s Kahle Burns with 2.165 million and Hong Kong’s Stanley Choi with 2.01 million, proving that while we might have had the usual suspects here, we’ve also had plenty of faces who we’ve yet to see go deep in Championship High Rollers.

Here’s how the remaining 14 players stack up overnight:

Name Country Chips
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 3,065,000
Fedor Holz Germany 2,225,000
Kahle Burns Australia 2,165,000
Stanley Choi Hong Kong 2,010,000
Zuo Wang China 1,955,000
Qiang Lin China 1,930,000
James Chen Taiwan 1,860,000
Manig Loeser Germany 1,735,000
Michael Egan Australia 1,330,000
Daniel Neilson Australia 1,025,000
Zhao Hongjun China 895,000
Behzad Ahadpour St. Kitts and Nevis 675,000
Dan Smith USA 535,000
Isaac Haxton USA 420,000

At the beginning of the day, the total amount of entrants and therefore the prize pool and payouts were still a mystery. But half an hour into play we had the numbers: 88 entries, comprising 64 unique players and 24 re-entries. That meant a prize pool of HK$33,802,560, and a massive HK$8,974,000 for the winner (approximately $1,154,801 US dollars).

The man who donated the most to the prizepool was Yu Liang, having fired five bullets into this beast. He’d bust after an hour and a half of play though, waving goodbye to his more than a quarter of a million bucks entry fee.


Liang’s still happy

Joining him on the rail after a few hours were Rafael Moraes, JC Alvarado, Leo Cheng, Mustapha Kanit, Hendrik Latz, and Philipp Gruissem. Tim Adams nursed a short stack for a while in a way only a super high roller can, but eventually met his demise before we got down to three tables.

One story of today was the rise and fall of Troy Quenneville. A relative newcomer to high roller scene, Quenneville has been on tear both online and live lately, and he got off to an amazing start today, bringing his stack over a million and not long later up to 1.9 million.

NEIL9356_Troy_Quenneville_PCP2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

The fall of Troy

However, approaching the bubble he lost it all in just a few hands. First, he called Aymon Hata’s shove with ace-jack to find himself up against pocket aces. The pocket rockets held. Then, he got a few chips back from Hata after a big river shove got Hata to fold. Next he four-bet shoved over Zuo Wang’s three-bet and Wang snap-called with ace-king. Quenneville had ace-jack again, and again he lost. With just 210,000 left he shoved with ace-king and ran into Michael Egan’s pocket queens. The ladies held up to complete the fall of Troy in 17th place.

The sole team pro in the field, ElkY, also had a deep run. He busted in brutal fashion when his pocket aces were cracked by Qiang Lin’s ace-king after running cards brought Lin a flush. Also sent out late on were Nick Petrangelo, Sam Greenwood, Davidi Kitai and Sylvain Loosli.

Join us tomorrow from 12:30pm local time for the finale of what’s been an amazing opening event to this PokerStars Championship Macau. We’ll also be bringing you live updates from Day 1A of the Main Event, which kicks off at 12pm.

Until then, shut those peepers and dream of bubbles bursting. –JS

Day 2 coverage archive:

1am: Play comes to an end
Level 18: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

It has been decided amongst the players that play will end for the night. With 14 remaining, that means we’ll be returning tomorrow on the stone bubble. A full wrap up of the day will be here shortly, as well as full chip counts. –JS

12:39am: All-in and…
Level 18: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The hands up on table one are, generally speaking, playing at a faster pace than those over on table two. It all means that table two gets quite the audience as the players from table one are keen to see what’s going on. This is especially the case when there’s an all-in, like there was in a recent hand.

It was Steve O’Dwyer who got the action started. He raised to 110,000 and Qiang Lin smooth called. Behzad Ahadpour stacked his chips up – they totalled just over 20 big blinds – and shoved all-in. Everyone folded though and his shove went uncalled. –NW

12:32am: Hand for hand happenings
Level 18: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Not too much has happened since we’ve been hand for hand. Michael Egan shoved from the small blind and got Ike Haxton to fold from the big. Steve O’Dwyer took 200K from Stanley Choi. Zhao Hongjun jammed over Behzad Ahadpour’s open and got a fold.

That’s all the exciting stuff on the felt.

Some news from off the felt though: Tournament Director Mike has told us that with five minutes left on the clock he’ll ask the remaining players if they’re all happy to continue (assuming the bubble hasn’t burst by then, of course). If there are more than one objection, play will continue until we’re in the money. If more people object, play will end in 24 minutes. –JS

12:20am: Bubble time as Aido exits
Level 18: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Down to just 460,000 Sergio Aido jammed all-in with K♣4♣ and Manig Loeser re-shoved with Q♠Q♣. A Q♥3♣9♠A♥6♦ board meant that was all she wrote for Aido. Loeser is up to 1,525,000. The bubble and hand for hand play is now upon us. –NW

12:15am: Smith gets two shoves through
Level 18: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Over on table two it’s Dan Smith who’s the player most at risk of crashing out a couple of spots from the money. He was down as low as 600,000 but has got a couple of shoves through to build that stack up to around 800,000.

We’re still on the soft bubble as 15 players remain and 13 get paid. –NW

12am: Lin hopin’ for an O’Dwyer all in
Level 18: Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We’re two away from the money and tensions are running high. Steve O’Dwyer – the consummate pro – isn’t showing any signs of tension.

He opened to 110,000 and was immediately three-bet to 375,000 by Qiang Lin to his immediate left. It folded back to the ‘Irish’ man, and he gave Lin a look. Lin, however, now had his back to O’Dwyer and was facing out towards the rest of this vast poker room.

Not being able to get any tell from Lin’s face (or maybe the looking away was a tell?), O’Dwyer opted to fold. Lin looked back to see O’Dwyer’s cards in the muck, showed the A♠A♦, and they both let out a chuckle. –JS

11:55pm: Aido still clinging on
Level 18 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

As the last level of the day gets started its Sergio Aido who’s got the shortest stack of the 15 remaining players with just 475,000. There’s a little bit of jovial banter bouncing around regarding if each table is playing the same number of hands. The tournament staff are keeping record of this and have seen no reason to go hand for hand at this stage.

It’s all making Fedor Holz chuckle though. “There’s got to be a better system than this,” he joked. –NW

11:45pm: Latest counts
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Name Country Chips
Stanley Choi Hong Kong 2,400,000
Qiang Lin China 2,300,000
Fedor Holz Germany 2,260,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 1,820,000
Dan Smith USA 1,750,000
Zuo Wang China 1,700,000
Kahle Burns Australia 1,600,000
James Chen Taiwan 1,450,000
Daniel Neilson Australia 1,050,000
Manig Loeser Germany 1,000,000
Michael Egan Australia 950,000
Behzad Ahadpour St. Kitts and Nevis 850,000
Zhao Hongjun China 700,000
Sergio Aido Spain 680,000
Isaac Haxton USA 600,000

11:40pm: O’Dwyer back in contention
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

True to form in these Super High Roller tournaments, absolutely nobody is safe. With the exception of Steve O’Dwyer. The many-time massive tournament winner is back up to his fighting weight with a chip stack of about 1.8 million. Zhao Hongjun was the benefactor this time and finds himself short.

O’Dwyer opened the pot, raising to 95,000 from mid-position. James Chen called on the button and Hongjun called in the small blind. The three of them saw a flop of K♦6♦Q♠.

Hongjun checked and O’Dwyer bet 175,000. Chen folded, but Hongjun called.

The 10♥ fell on the turn and Hongjun checked again. O’Dwyer now moved all-in for 575,000 and after about a countdown’s worth of thinking Hongjun called.

O’Dwyer had flopped top set with his K♣K♠, but he wasn’t completely home and hosed just yet against Hongjun’s Q♦J♣.

However, the river did not hit Hongjun and O’Dwyer rubbed the lucky mango (not a euphemism). Hongjun has 700,000 after that. — HS

11:35pm: Sad Hata
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

After managing to secure one more chop pot (his A♣2♣ against Ike Haxton’s A♥5♣), Aymon Hata has now sadly moved on in 16th place.

He jammed his last 110,000 in with the 9♥7♦, and Holz flat-called to his left. Nobody else got involved, and Holz flipped over his K♣Q♠.

The 2♣J♦Q♣ flop was bad for Hata, but the K♠ turn was even worse as it left him drawing dead. The J♣ completed the board and that was that for Hata.

Holz is up to 2.26 million now. –JS

11:30pm: Aido doubles, then doubles Egan. Hata hanging on
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5000)

Lots of action over on table one where there’s been an all-in and call for three hands in a row. Let’s rewind to the beginning.

It was Sergio Aido who was the catalyst for all this. The Spaniard raised to 80,000 from the cutoff and Aymon Hata called from the big blind. On the 3♠6♠9♦ flop Aido c-bet 115,000, Hata check-raised to 250,000, Aido shoved for 660,000 total and Hata called.

Aido: A♣9♠
Hata: Q♥9♣

Aido had Hata out-kicked and neither the 2♣ turn nor 10♠ river helped Hata and he was left with just 20,000 in chips.

On the next hand they went into the middle. Manig Loeser had already limped in, Fedor Holz called from the small blind, only for Michael Egan to raise to 85,000 from the big blind. Holz was the only caller. The action was then checked all the way to the river of a K♦8♦7♦4♥10♠ board, at which point Holz bet 95,000. That got Egan out the way and it was time for a showdown.

Holz had just 6♣3♣, good enough for the side pot already but for the main pot, probably not. However, Hata had 6♣2♣ and thus the main pot was chopped.

Still short on chips though Hata was all-in again on the next shuffle. This time he called all-in for 40,000 after Aido had raised to 85,000. Michael Egan called Aido’s raise and the flop fell 9♥10♠Q♣. Egan checked, Aido bet 100,000 and Egan smooth called.

On the 7♦ Egan checked again and Aido moved all-in. Egan, who had about 680,000 back, snap called and showed J♣8♦ for a flopped straight. Aido had A♣Q♦ and was drawing dead, while Hata held J♠4♥. The 8♣ river meant Hata yet again chopped the main pot to survive.

After all that Egan is up to 1.6 million, Aido is down to 680,000 and Hata is still running on fumes. –NW

11:20pm: Ahadpour on the uptick again
Level 17: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Behzad Ahadpour has arrested his mini-slump, picking up a decent pot from his old adversary Zhao Hongjun. It ended in a degree of controversy surrounding the time-bank chips for reasons you can read about probably at the end of the next paragraph. Or maybe a couple after that.

behzad_ahadpour_shr_macau_v2.jpegOn the up?: Behzad Ahadpour

Ahadpour started the hand with a raise to 130,000 and Hongjun called. They saw a flop of 4♠9♠5♥ and Ahadpour bet 125,000. Hongjun called. The 5♠ came on the turn and both players checked, leading to the 6♥ on the river.

After a while, Hongjun threw out a white time-bank chip, and Ahadpour picked up his cards and seemed to be about to turn them over. Hongjun’s casual tossing of the chip was very similar to the method by which players tend to call on the river: the one-chip call that is disliked by a lot of commentators.

Hongjun wasn’t actually calling at this stage, although he did somewhat later. Ahadpour made his displeasure known, telling the dealer and then the floor staff that there should be a way to differentiate between a one-chip call and a time-bank chip deployment. Steve O’Dwyer agreed and joined the discussion.

Amid all this, Ahadpour turned over his cards. He had 9♥9♣ for the second nuts. He was losing only to quads and Hongjun did not have the other two fives.

It meant that Ahadpour built his stack back to 1.4 million. — HS

11:10pm: Ahadpour in a slump
Level 17: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Behzad Ahadpour’s nosedive continues. He is down to 850,000 now having just lost a small pot to Zhao Hongjun.

It started when Hongjun opened to 105,000 from under the gun and Ahadpour called in the small blind. James Chen also called from the big blind.

behzad_ahadpour_shr_macau.jpegBehzad Ahadpour earlier today

Three players saw the dealer expose the 9♠7♠9♥ and Ahadpour bet 150,000. Hongjun called, leading to the 9♦ on the turn.

It was an emergency call for Ahadpour, forced to fold when Hongjun bet 275,000.

Hongjun has 2.3 million now. — HS

11:05pm: Holz continues in same vein
Level 17: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Different reporter, same Fedor Holz. Shortly after NW departed, I watched Holz open-raise back-to-back pots and get folds around the table. Sergio Aido and then Manig Loeser were the men to yield their big blinds, with the latter appearing tempted at one point. But Holz pulled the old mind trick. “These are not the chips you’re looking for,” he said without saying a word. — HS

10:55pm: On shoves involving Fedor Holz
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5000)

It’s been a busy start to the level for Fedor Holz as he’s been involved in two hands involving the all-in triangle.

In the first hand, Aymon Hata raised to 90,000 on the button and Holz jammed from the small blind. He had about 2,100,000 whereas Hata was sitting with just 885,000 total. The British player elected to fold and Holz took the pot.

On the very next hand Holz raised to 90,000 from the button and it was his turn to be shoved on. It was Ike Haxton who upped the price of poker as he moved all-in for around
550,000. Holz wanted a count, but after getting one he released his hand. –NW

10:50pm: Two more levels
Level 17: Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Cards are in the air once more with two more levels scheduled for today. Play will stop if we reach a final table of eight, but given that we’re still three places off the money, that seems unlikely. Just a reminder, we redraw at nine. — SB

10:35pm: Holz takes from Aido
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

In the last hand before the break, Sergio Aido opened to 75,000 from the hijack and Fedor Holz defended his big blind. The two saw a 4♦6♠J♥ flop, on which Holz check-called an 80,000 c-bet from the Spaniard.

The 3♥ turn brought another check from Holz, and another call too after Aido made large turn bet worth 275,000. This pot was now pretty big as the K♦ landed, and Holz checked a final time. Aido thought about betting, but eventually checked and mucked when Holz showed him the J♠9♠.

Holz is up to 2.32 million, while Aido is on 754,000. –JS

10:30pm: Hongjun fooey
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Back-to-back pots have just gone in the direction of Zhao Hongjun, building his stack beyond 2 million.

In the first of those, Qiang Lin opened to 75,000 from the cutoff and Hongjun three-bet from the big blind, making it 210,000 to play. Lin called and they surveyed the beauty of the 10♥9♥6♠ flop. Hongjun fired 330,000 at it and Lin made what looked like a reluctant fold.

The next one was more convoluted. Behzad Ahadpour, who looks a mite frustrated of late, opened to 80,000 from the cutoff and James Chen called on the button. Hongjun called in the small blind and Stanley Choi put in a what-the-heck call from the big blind too.

So, four players still had options on the 3♣9♣6♣ flop. They all checked (although not after looking to see if they had any clubs).

The Q♠ came on the turn and Hongjun checked. Choi bet 105,000 and Ahadpour called, Chen folded, but Hongjun called.

Three to the river: 8♦. It went check, check, check.

Hongjun was first to expose his cards. He showed K♦Q♥ and the queen was good. There will be a break very soon. — HS

10:25pm: Three in a row for Choi
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5000)

Since the redraw its Stanley Choi who’s been running things on table two. He’s just taken three pots in row – including two post-flop pots – and is chipping up nicely. –NW

10:20pm: Final two tables
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

With 16 left, here’s how the two tables stack up:

Table 1:

Fedor Holz – 1.2 million
Michael Egan – 1.945 million
Ike Haxton – 665,000
Kahle Burns – 1.66 million
Sergio Aido – 945,000
Manig Loeser – 1.57 million
Daniel Neilson – 1.27 mllion
Aymon Hata – 870,000

Table 2:

Zuo Wang – 1.645 million
Dan Smith – 1.1 million
Steve O’Dwyer – 750,000
Qiang Lin – 2.18 million
Behzad Ahadpour – 1.75 million
James Chen – 1.975 million
Zhao Hongjun – 1.26 million
Stanley Choi – 1.67 million

Despite the pause, players will be on a break in 12 minutes. –JS

10:15pm: Egan accounts for Quenneville
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

It was a battle of the one-time chip leaders, with Michael Egan, who led at the start of the day, picking up the last of Troy Quenneville’s booty and completing the latter’s riches to rags story.

Quenneville only had 210,000 in his stack at the end and, finding A♥K♦ in the small blind, it was a fairly standard jam even after Egan had opened to 65,000 from under the gun. Egan made what was also a fairly standard call. He had Q♣Q♥.

The board ran 6♣J♥9♣4♦Q♠ with the queen on the river mere overkill.

Quenneville departs in 17th prompting a redraw with only two tables left. Three more players will be knocked out before they reach the money. — HS

10:10pm: Troy falls again
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

What a level this has been for Troy Quenneville. The Super High Roller newbie has been down, up, and now down again.

He opened to 68,000 from the hijack and was three-bet to 180,000 by Zuo Wang in the cutoff. It folded back to Quenneville and he paused before moving all in with the biggest stack. Wang snap-called though and Quenneville instantly sunk in his chair and winced. This was clearly not good for him.

Wang – A♦K♦
Quenneville – A♥J♦

Yep – he was dominated, and hung his head almost in prayer as the 9♥K♥A♠ flop was dealt. He’d need a miracle, and it didn’t come on the 8♣ turn or 4♦ river.

Quenneville is right down to 306,000 now – just ten bigs. Wang, on the other hand, has shot up to 1.7 million. –JS

10:05pm: Perfect tens
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5000)

There was a bit of a kerfuffle over on table one where the electronic timer was refusing to stop. It was, ahem, bad timing as there had been a raise to 75,000 from Qiang Lin and a shove from Aymon Hata. The dealer was in the process of counting down Hata’s chips and it was established that he was all-in for 865,000. Call from Lin.

Lin: 10♠10♥
Hata: 10♦10♣

This was almost certain to end in a chop although the 8♠2♥5♠ flop meant Lin could go runner-runner to win the hand. The 9♣ turn meant this was going to be divvied up though and the 5♣ completed the board. –NW

10pm: O’Dwyer doubles thanks to the mango
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Steve O’Dwyer jammed on the button with the A♠10♣ and was called by Stevan Chew in the big blind with the K♥Q♣. The 4♣4♥A♦J♠9♦ board was kind to O’Dwyer, despite some river sweats. He’s up to around 800,000 now.

mango_odwyer_shr_macau.jpegSteve O’Dwyer, with the mango

He had his lucky mango to thank. –JS

9:55pm: Chew-ed up and spat out
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

After a very tight level–perhaps the first of the tournament during which nobody was knocked out–we have lost a player to bring us down to the last 17. Stevan Chew, who led the tournament for much of yesterday, is the man to depart.

Chew open-jammed for 353,000 from early position and the action folded around to Sergio Aido in the big blind. Aido peeked down and immediately called, sheepishly (and delightedly) turning over A♣A♥. It’s the perfect spot, finding aces in the big blind and a player moving all-in ahead of you.

Chew had K♥10♦ and knew this was a tough ask. The 8♣Q♥5♠ flop didn’t help, but the K♦ turn gave him hope. They say it’s the hope that kills you, but actually it was the J♣ on the river. And the aces.

Aido now gets a bounce up to 1.1 million while Chew is out. One more player and then there’s a redraw. — HS

9:50pm: The fall of Troy (and the resurgence)
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Troy Quenneville and Aymon Hata have been going to war in the past two hands. Here’s the gist:

In the first hand, Quenneville opened to 68,000 under the gun and it folded to Hata on the button. He jammed for 595,000 and while doing so Quenneville looked over to his rail (which includes Steven Thompson Vila) as if to say “I have a decision here”.

His final decision was to call with the A♣J♣, but that was way behind Hata’s A♠A♦. The board ran out J♦10♣10♠ to give Quenneville some hope, but was completed by the 2♥ and 7♠ giving Hata the double.

In the very next hand, however, the two were back at it. This time Hata opened from the cutoff to 68,000, and Quenneville defended his big blind to see the 9♥6♦6♠ flop. He checked to the raiser, who continued for 60,000, but now Quenneville raised it to 156,000. Call.

The turn was the 5♣ and Quenneville continued for 172,000. Hata didn’t budge and the board was completed by the K♣. Now Quenneville jammed and after 20 seconds or so Hata laid his hand down.

The huge smile which overcame Quenneville’s face leads me to believe it was all a bluff. But who knows.

What I do know is that Hata has 820,000 and Quenneville has 1.2 million after all that. –JS

9:45pm: Aido gets the double this time
Level 16: Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Sergio Aido has now got the double up he missed out on a little while ago, through Behzad Ahadpour, but not before he lost another pot to Kahle Burns.

In the pot against Burns, Aido called in the big blind a pre-flop open to 65,000 from under the gun. The flop brought the 6♣4♠Q♠ and Aido check-called Burns’s bet of 56,000.

Both players checked the 5♦ turn to take them to the A♥ on the river. Aido checked, Burns bet 125,000 and Aido called. Burns’s A♠7♣ was followed by a muck from Aido, leaving the latter with 333,000.

That was all-in on the next hand, but it followed a raise to 75,000 from Ahadpour in the cutoff. Aido jammed from the small blind and although Burns seemed interested again, Ahadpour was the only caller.

Ahadpour: J♦K♥
Aido: A♠9♥

The board ran Q♦10♦6♠4♣4♠ and Aido faded the straight draw to double to around 700,000. Ahadpour’s star is waning. He now has 1.65 million. — HS

9:40pm: How are things stacked?
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 45000)

When not involved in a hand the players are (with increasing frequency) starting to get up from their tables and cast glances at the other tables, see who’s stacked and who’s in trouble. It’s only natural as the bubble gets closer.

The bubble got no closer during level 15 though, as we went an entire hour without an elimination. The players are still deep though, with the average stack just over 50 big blinds. –NW

b>9:35pm: Aido bus- ah, no. Aido doub- ah, no
Level 15: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Sergio Aido is still in this tournament, but only by the skin of his teeth. That said, he also just missed out on a double up. All in the same pot.

It started when he opened to 50,000 from under the gun and James Chen was his lone customer on the button. The flop fell J♣K♠8♠ and Aido checked.

Chen bet 60,000 and Aido told the dealer that he was all-in. Chen checked his cards and called for what was about 370,000 total.

Aido: Q♠10♣
Chen: K♦10♥

That represented a straight draw for Aido versus top pair for Chen and this was a sweat. The 9♦ on the turn hit Aido and gave him prospects of a double up. But then when the Q♣ came on the river, Chen hit the same straight. So they chopped it.

That was a complicated way to chop the blinds and antes. — HS

9:30pm: Steve O’Dwyer’s lucky mango
Level 16 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

I see your orange Johnny Chan, and I raise you a mango. Throughout this tournament Steve O’Dwyer has had, what he describes as, a lucky mango perched on the table behind his stack. Other players are now starting to believe in this strange power.

In the hand in question Stevan Chew raised to 50,000. James Chen flat called and O’Dwyer then moved all-in for 191,000 total. That was enough to see off Chew but Chen made the call with Q♠9♠. He was behind O’Dwyer’s A♦10♠ but that all changed on the 8♥Q♦K♥ flop.

O’Dwyer held up his mango and moved it closer to the board, encouraging the fruit to work its magic. The 8♦ didn’t help, but the J♥ sure did – O’Dwyer held the mango aloft, proclaiming its powers!

“We need to order a fruit salad,” quipped Chew at the end of the hand. –NW

9:25pm: Q v Q
Level 15: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Troy Quenneville was the first player to emerge with an absolutely enormous stack today thanks to two early knockouts of his neighbours. Although it’s not been so great over the subsequent six levels, he is still plugging away and picking up pots, and is now up to about 1.25 million again.

NEIL9356_Troy_Quenneville_PCP2017_Neil Stoddart.jpgTroy Quenneville

The latest pot started when Aymon Hata opened to 60,000 and Qiang Lin called on the button. Quenneville called in the big blind and the three of them assessed their options on a flop of J♣8♠7♥.

Quenneville led straight out. He made it 72,000 to play. Hata folded, but Qiang stuck around. The 3♥ fell on the turn and now Quenneville bet 202,000.

This was too much for Qiang, who was forced to fold.

After that, the dealer requested Qiang put his chips in stacks of 20 to facilitate easy counting. When that was done, it became clear that he is sitting with 2.3 million. Hata still has 610,000 and is among the short stacks. — HS

9:20pm: Chen gets Burned
Level 15: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Kahle Burns has just secured a healthy double up courtesy of some ill-timed aggression by James Chen.

Burns was on the button and with no action in front of him he opened to 50,000. Stevan Chew let his small blind go, but Chen had big blind plans and bumped up the price of poker to 160,000. Back to Burns, he didn’t take long to move all in for 595,000 total, and Chen didn’t think too long before calling.

Chen’s hand was well dominated however. His A♠4♥ would need a bit of luck to beat Burns’ A♣K♠, but he’d find none on the K♥9♦6♣ flop. That left him needing running cards to win. Instead it came the A♦, leaving Chen drawing dead, followed by the 9♥.

Chen drops to 2.1 million, while Burns is up to 1.2 million. –JS

9:15pm: Battle of the Germans
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Table three has been playing small pot poker during level 15. Showdowns have been non existent and pots that reached the river have been on the scarce side. We just had one of the latter though and it involved Fedor Holz and Manig Loeser.

holz raised from the button and Loeser defended from the big blind. Holz c-bet 36,000 on the A♦J♠2♣ flop and Loeser made the call. The 3♥ turn checked through and the 4♦ completed the board. At this juncture Loeser led for 170,000 and Holz considered his options. He settled on raising to 400,000 and Loeser mucked his hand. Pot to Holz. –NW

9:10pm: On a different stage
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Some back and forth on table one this level, which will eventually be the final table on the raised platform in the tournament room. Aymon Hata just won a reasonably sized pot against Troy Quenneville to give his stack a good boost back up to 800,000. – SB

9:05pm: Any song as long as it has Stars in the title
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The karaoke bar kicks off it’s evening on message, with the first song sung being Stars, by Coldplay. Other songs are available. – SB

9pm: James Chen is no Robin Hood
Level 15: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. James Chen, on the other hand, steals from the rich but keeps it all for himself.

He was already pretty rich in this tournament himself, mind, so when he and Behzan Ahadpour, the chip leader, just clashed it had the potential to be humungous pot.

Ahadpour kicked off the action with a 55,000 under-the-gun open, which folded to Chen in the big blind. He called and the flop fell 10♣2♣5♥. Chen then check-called a large 105,000 c-bet, and both checked the 7♥ turn.

When the 9♠ river fell, Chen took the betting lead, with a slightly-more-than-pot-size bet of 350,000. Ahadpour didn’t waste much time in calling, but mucked when Chen showed the 10♠7♣ for two pair.

Chen is up to 2.79 million now, while Ahadpour dips to 2.43 million. Both are now rich, so who will try to steal from them next? –JS

8:50pm: Double up for Chew, just up for Holz
Level 15: Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Stevan Chew was the third shortest stack coming back from dinner, but even after just doubling up he’s not in a much healthier position.

Sergio Aido opened to 50,000 in the cutoff and it folded to Chew in the small blind. He shoved for 271,000 and when it got back to Aido he asked for a count, then called. He was behind though; his A♣5♣ was against Chew’s A♠10♥.

The 10♠Q♥5♠ flop gave both a pair, but now Aido only had two outs to win the pot. The 2♠ turn and J♦ river weren’t any of them, and Chew now has 590,000, while Aido drops to 570,000.

Meanwhile, Fedor Holz added a few chips to his stack. It folded to him in the small blind and he completed, before Dan Smith checked his option. They saw a 2♠K♦4♣ flop fall and Holz check-called a 32,000 bet, leading to the 2♥ turn. Both checked.

The river came the 8♣ and when Holz checked, Smith made it 50,000. Holz thought for a few seconds before making the call, forcing Smith to show his 10♦3♣ for air. Holz had the K♣9♦ and his top pair was good. –JS

8:40pm: Not much happening
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Up on the feature table there has been no action of note in the opening 15 minutes of this level. In fact, the most noteworthy hand was when Aymon Hata received a walk. A rare sight indeed in a Super High Roller tournament. –NW

8:25pm: Play continues
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Players are back for four more levels of play, unless we reach eight players. Right now 18 remain. — SB

7:25pm: Dinner time
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

And that’s dinner. They’re heading off for some sustenance and will return to burst the bubble. Here’s how they line up:

Name Country Chips
Behzad Ahadpour St. Kitts and Nevis 3,350,000
Manig Loeser Germany 1,950,000
Stanley Choi Hong Kong 1,870,000
Qiang Lin China 1,786,000
Dan Smith USA 1,750,000
Isaac Haxton USA 1,405,000
James Chen Taiwan 1,300,000
Daniel Neilson Australia 1,050,000
Zhao Hongjun China 1,020,000
Zuo Wang China 901,000
Sergio Aido Spain 840,000
Michael Egan Australia 740,000
Aymon Hata UK 728,000
Fedor Holz Germany 650,000
Kahle Burns Australia 610,000
Stevan Chew Australia 600,000
Troy Quenneville Canada 460,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 375,000

7:20pm: Neilson over Holz
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Daniel Neilson just took a chunk out of Fedor Holz. Neilson opened to 45,000 from under the gun, Holz called from UTG+1 and Stanley Choi did likewise from the big blind.

On the 5♠9♦K♦ flop the action was checked to Holz, he bet 70,000 and Neilson was the only caller. On the 7♦ turn Neilson check-called a further 145,000 and the 4♦ completed the board. Both players checked and Neilson’s 10♦10♥ was the winner. He’s up to around 1,300,000 while Holz is down to 650,000. –NW

7:15pm: Big pot between O’Dwyer and Ahadpour
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

A big hit for Steve O’Dwyer puts his tournament at risk as we approach the dinner break.

With the board dealt up to the turn 2♠7♠5♦K♦ O’Dwyer bet 160,000, which chip leader Bedzad Ahadpour called for the 7♣ on the river.

Ahadpour checked to O’Dwyer who pushed four towers of yellow forward, with some reds on top – 475,000 in total. Ahadpour used up a time bank chip before he called.

8G2A9134_Steve_O'Dwyer_PCP2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Steve O’Dwyer

O’Dwyer turned over J♦10♦. Seeing this Ahadpour turned over 6♠6♦ to win a big pot, that takes his stack up to around 3.3 million. O’Dwyer meanwhile drops to 300,000. – SB

7:10pm: Lin picks off the Loosli fruit
Level 14: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

One minute I saw Sylvain Loosli tucking into his large plate of fruit, the next he was walking past having been eliminated from this tournament.

A quick dash to his table revealed he’d got his chips all in with ace-deuce against Qiang Lin’s pocket jacks, and the jacks held up.

Loosli made his exit, leaving his fruit behind. Lin has around 1.8 to 1.9 million now (if only he’d stack them in even piles!) –JS


Qiang Lin: Uneven stacker

7:05pm: Chinese Burns
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Wet, wetter, drenched. That’s the sort of board just seen in a hand between Kahle Burns and James Chen. Steve O’Dwyer was involved as well (briefly) as he (big blind) and Chen (button) call a pre-flop raise from Burns (hijack).

The 10♥7♥9♥ board was about as coordinated as they come and the action checked to Chen. He bet 65,000 and Burns was the only caller. The 8♠ turn but four to a straight on board and Chen went straight to his chips when Burns had checked the action to him. He bet 165,000 and Burns needed almost all of his 30 seconds before making the call.

The K♥ meant that there was now four to a flush out there too! Burns changed tactic on this street, he bet 230,000 of his remaining 280,000 and Chen smiled before folding. He has dropped to 1.4 million while Burns is up to 860,000. –NW

7pm: Aido shoved
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Sergio Aido just doubled up through Stevan Chew. Aido moved in for about 250,000 with A♣J♠ and was called by Chew with 10♥10♦. It looked back for Aido up to the river, with the board landing 4♦K♦8♥8♦A♠.

Aido shoved again on the next hand but got no callers. He showed the A♣ as he collected his chips. – SB

6:55pm: Lin takes a few from Haxton
Level 14: Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Call me crazy, but it seems like we’re seeing a lot of blind vs blind battles today, with many hands folding around to the small blind. Here’s the latest of those.

On Qiang Lin in the small blind, he made it 46,000 to play and the action was on Ike Haxton in the big blind. Perhaps he had a hand he liked, perhaps he was raising as a bluff, or perhaps he was only raising because Lin put in 26,000 in single 1K chips; whatever the reason, Haxton three-bet to 135,000. Lin called, and we went to a flop.

It came the 5♦K♦4♠ and Lin check-called Haxton’s 100,000 c-bet, so the dealer burned and turned the 3♠ turn. Both checked.

The board was completed by the 8♣ river and Lin now led out for 175,000. Haxton counted out calling chips, but in the end he folded. Lin raked in all those blue 1K chips, plus a few extra red 25K and yellow 5K ones too. He has 1.7 million now, while Haxton has dropped to 1.5 million. –JS

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6:45pm: Holz attempts to end Loeser streak
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

A big hand just played out between Manig Loeser and Fedor Holz.

Holz had opened form the cutoff for 45,000, which Aymon Hata called on the button. Loeser was in the big blind and raised to 190,000, which only Holz called for the 10♠5♣5♦ flop.

Loeser came out betting, making it 140,000 to play, which Holz called. They both checked the A♣ turn card for the 4♠ on the river. Here Loeser bet again, 90,000 this time.

Holz paused, picked up some chips and gripped them in his hand as he looked first at the board, then the shot clock. He threw in a white time chip as it reached zero, but with furrowed brow flicked his cards away as it counted to zero, mucking J♠J♦ not deliberately face up.

Loeser said nothing, but is up to 2.1 million. Holz meanwhile drops to 900,000. – SB

6:40pm: O’Dwyer accounts for Liu
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 2,000)

Xuan Liu is out, losing a big flip to Steve O’Dwyer for her tournament life.

O’Dwyer opened the pot, making it 45,000 to play from the hijack, and Liu three-bet to 120,000 from the cutoff. Action folded back around to O’Dwyer, who moved all-in, covering the 380,000 Liu still had behind.

Liu called and was in a race. She had A♦J♦ to O’Dwyer’s 9♦9♥.

The flop hit O’Dwyer. It came 4♠9♣8♦. Liu was drawing dead after the K♠ turn. O’Dwyer now has about 1.1 million. — HS

6:30pm: Hata still in the game
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 2,000)

They say you’ve got to win your races to win a tournament, well for Aymon Hata it was a case of winning a race to stay in with a chance of cashing. He three-bet shoved for 279,000 over the top of Stanley Choi’s under-the-gun raise.

Zhao Hongjun was in the big blind and he looked interested. Indeed he was. He requested a count and then called. Choi had seen enough and he stepped aside. Hongjun opened 8♠8♥ and Hata showed A♠J♦. The 3♠J♣3♣ flop gave Hata the lead and he held on the 7♠7♣ turn and river. He’s up over 600,000 now, while Hongjun drops to 1,050,000. –NW


Zhao Hongjun

6:20pm: Chewing the fat from Chen
Level 13: Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Stevan Chew came in for an open to 35,000 and was called in three spots by James Chen, Behzad Ahadpour, and Sergio Aido in the big blind. The dealer spread a 9♦J♦J♥ flop, which checked over to the big stack of James Chen. He slid in 105,000, and the even bigger stack of Ahadpour folded. Aido let his hand go too, but Chew called.

The 7♥ hit the turn and Chew checked to Chen. He then put Chew all-in, effectively betting 320,000 as that’s what Chew had left. After around 20 seconds Chew made what turned out to be a great call.


Stevan Chew: Fine call

Chen showed the Q♥10♣ for an up-and-down straight draw and an over card, but Chew was currently ahead with his K♠9♠. None of Chen’s outs came in on the A♣ river meaning he lost some of his stack and Chew doubled up to around 1 million. Chen still has 1.567 million though. –JS

6:10pm: Cruel board for ElkY
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Qiang Lin just ended ElkY’s day in rather painful fashion for the Frenchman. There was plenty of betting pre-flop, to the point that Lin’s raise of 226,000 had been bumped up to 400,000 by ElkY. Lin called.

The flop came 8♦2♦J♣. Lin checked to ElkY who promptly moved all-in. He was holding A♠A♥ and didn’t have to wait long for Lin to call and show his A♦K♣.

Things looked pretty good for ElkY. The turn brought a 4♦ though, which gave Lin diamond outs. He got one in the shape of the 5♦ river card.

Lin did a kind of “get in!” reverse fist pump, celebrating what was an unfortunate turn (and river) of events for ElkY, who left without saying a word. Lin up to 1.6 million. ElkY out. – SB


That’s that for ElkY

6:05pm: Khanghah crashes out
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Some big pots take ages to play out, others happen in a flash. This was one of the latter. James Chen opened to 35,000 from under the gun and Ahadpour Khanghah, who was next to act, called.

Everyone else left them to it and a 3♠6♦9♠ flop hit the felt. Chen bet 40,000 and Khanghah wasn’t budging. The A♣ fell on the turn and Chen continued to take the betting lead. He bet 80,000 Khanghah then instantly jammed for around 550,000 and Chen took just a couple of seconds before calling.


Ahadpour Khanghah: Easy come, easy go

Khanghah opened 8♦7♥ for an open-ended straight draw and he was trailing to the A♠K♦ of Chen. The 8♥ river paired Khanghah but he was still second best. He seemed to shrug off the defeat pretty lightly as he exited the table. –NW

5:55pm: Wang busts
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Yang Wang is out in 23rd place, sent to the rail by Behzad Ahadpour.

Wang was all in for less than 200,000 with A♣9♦. Ahadpour called with 9♠9♥ and watched the board dealt 7♥K♥2♥4♦A♥. – SB

5:50pm: Waitin’ on Lin
Level 13: Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

I think this is the first time I’ve seen a white time chip (i.e. one that buys a player another 30 seconds of thinking time) in the whole tournament. Even more interestingly, it was also used by a player not facing any action in front of him.

Rewinding a little, action had folded to Qiang Lin in the small blind and he made it 36,000 to go, which ElkY called out of the big blind. They went to the 10♣9♥A♦ flop and Lin continued for 60,000, which again ElkY matched.

The turn was the 10♦, pairing the board, and now Lin checked. ElkY came in for a bet of 88,000, but Lin made the call. The J♥ completed the board, and it was Lin’s turn to act. 30 seconds went by, and nothing.

The white time chip went in.

Another 30 seconds later, and at the bitter end he checked it. ElkY checked too, and Lin showed the Q♦7♦ for a busted flush draw. The Frenchman showed his A♠4♥ for top pair and that was good. He’s up to 730,000 now, while Lin has 835,000. –JS

5:45pm: Greenwood gobbled up by Choi
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Stanley Choi is closing in on the chip lead after eliminating Sam Greenwood in a pot worth around 1 million. It started with a raise to 35,000 from Greenwood, Choi was the only caller. Both players checked the 5♣3♥A♦ flop and the 2♠ landed on the turn. Greenwood bet 80,000, Choi clicked it to 160,000 and Greenwood called.


Stanley Choi: Millions of reasons to be cheerful

The 6♦ completed the board and, after Greenwood had checked, Choi moved all-in. It looked like Greenwood had around 260,000 behind and he eventually decided to call. Choi rolled over 3♦3♣ and Greenwood flashed A♣K♠ as he exited. Choi now has about 2.2 million. –NW

5:40pm: Seat draw at 24
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The field has been trimmed to 24 and they fit around three tables as follows:

Table 1

1 – Zuo Wang
2 – Michael Egan
3 – Xuan Liu
4 – Sylvain Loosli
5 – Qiang Lin
6 – ElkY
7 – Isaac Haxton
8 – Troy Quenneville

Table 2

1 – Steve O’Dwyer
2 – Yang Wang
3 – Sergio Aido
4 – Kahle Burns
5 – Stevan Chew
6 – James Chen
7 – Ahadpour Khangah
8 – Behzad Ahadpour

Table 3

1 – Daniel Nielson
2 – Fedor Holz
3 – Aymon Hata
4 – Dan Smith
5 – Manig Loeser
6 – Zhao Hongjun
7 – Sam Greenwood
8 – Stanley Choi

5:31pm: Smith sinks Petrangelo
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Minutes after getting a double up (see 5:20pm post) Nick Petrangelo lost the last of his chips to Dan Smith.

Despite that double up Petrangelo was still with fewer than 10 big blinds so K♠Q♠ was more than enough to open shove. Unfortunately for him Smith woke up with A♥K♥ and stayed ahead as the board ran K♦2♥A♦2♠8♥. –NW

5:30pm: The Holz Huang war
Level 13: Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Someone was eliminated in this hand, and it was between Fedor Holz and Shan Huang. Place your bets now.

Holz was the one who kicked off the pre-flop betting. He opened to 35,000 from the hijack, and right next to him in the cutoff was Huang who three-bet to 113,000. It folded back to Holz, and he came in for a four-bet. The actual amount was a bit confusing; at first it looked to be 250,000, but then after the 113,000 was dragged in, the dealer requested Holz put more in the pot (I’m not entirely sure why).

In the end it seemed to be 215,000 more for Huang to call, which he didn’t. Instead, he jammed for a little more, and Holz made the call.

Huang had the Q♥Q♦, but was dominated by Holz’s K♠K♣. The flop came 8♥K♥10♦ giving Holz top set and an almost lock on the hand, until the 9♣ turn. “Hey! Jack!” said Huang with excitement, but the 5♣ river wasn’t what he was looking for.

Huang said his goodbyes, while Holz stacked up 1.15 million.

Just a few hands later, Cyril Andre was felted too, falling at the hands of Zhao Hongjun. –JS

5:25pm: Loeser wins
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Manig Loeser is up to 1.9 million after he sent Davidi Kitai to the rail. On a board of A♦4♥10♦Q♣4♠ Loeser bet 500,000 leaving Kitai, holding A♠6♠, with a decision for his tournament life. Finally he called, watching as Loeser turned over A♣A♥, which prompted one player to make a moaning sound. Kitai though was silent as he stood up and left. – SB


Manig Loeser: Winner

5:20pm: Petrangelo gets a double
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Nick Petrangelo has already had one big result here in Macau this week (he finished second in a HK$82K event) and he just kept his hopes of a second big score alive.

He started the hand with only 71,000 and shoved from the small blind with Q♥3♥ and Aymon Hata gave him a spin with J♠4♠. The board blanked through and Petrangelo survived. –NW

5:15pm: Level 13
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

They are back.

5pm: Break time
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

They’re off on a 15-minute break. Full stack sizes are on the chip-count page.

Your leader is this man, Behzad Ahadpour.


Behzad Ahadpour: chip leader

5pm: Every Loeser wins
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There was a huge double up for Manig Loeser just before the break. I arrived at the end of the hand to see Loeser’s A♥A♠ still face-up on the felt and a 9♦J♠A♣2♥10♠ board on view. It was Timothy Adams who lost the hand (with pocket queens) and he was having to ship 724,000 over to Loeser.

That left him with just 4,000, he spun that into 24,000 on the next hand but will return from the break with just 1.5 big blinds. –NW

4:46pm: Choi doing it quietly
Level 12: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Somehow, Stanley Choi has quietly turned his 295,000 stack into one worth 1.65 million without us noticing. Still, we did catch this latest hand that brought him up to that amount.

Fedor Holz opened from under the gun to 26,000 and got calls from Shan Huang (UTG+1), Choi (button) and Zhao Hongjun (big blind). They all went to an 8♠K♦Q♣ flop, which checked around to the 3♠ turn. Now Hongjun led out for 35,000, resulting in folds from Holz and Huang, before Choi bumped it up to 80,000. Hongjun called.

The K♣ completed the board, and paired it too. Hongjun led out for 105,000, but when Choi raised it to 250,000 he decided to make a fold. Hongjun has 645,000 now, while Choi is up to the aforementioned 1.65 million. –JS

4:55pm: Zhang rivered
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

The departure of Ye Zhang will be one he lingers on for a while given the nature of the board. He was sent to the rail by Ahadpour Khangah who had Q♥8♥ to Zhang’s pocket kings.

Then there was that board: 4♦6♦A♦5♥7♣

Khangah had rivered an unlikely straight, sending Zhang to the rail, whose smile, as he retold the story to people on the rail, was, I think, genuine. – SB


Ye Zhang, standing, watches the dealer hand him a brutal beat

4:50pm: Adams fades half the deck
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Fading half the deck is a term that often gets used when a player has to dodge a lot of cards to survive. However, in the following hand that’s exactly what Timothy Adams had to do on the river. He three-bet shoved for 357,000 with 8♠8♥ and Kahle Burns put him at risk with A♦K♠.

The J♦9♦10♦ flop gave Burns flush and straight outs to go with his over cards. This meant he was now a 61 percent favourite to win the hand. As if he didn’t already have enough outs the 10♠ turn meant jacks and nines now worked for him too. That meant he now had 22 outs to win the hand and Adams had 22 safe cards to survive. The 4♥ river favoured Adams and he doubled up. –NW

4:45pm: Big vs. Small
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dan Smith and Steve O’Dwyer have been seated alongside each other all day, and just played a pot together from the blinds.

Smith (small) bet 17,000 on a flop of 8♥10♠2♣. O’Dwyer (big) then raised to 45,000, which Smith called.

The turn was the J♦ and Smith checked. O’Dwyer bet again, 74,000 this time, which Smith called with five seconds left on the shot clock.

On the 3♦ river card Smith checked one more time while O’Dwyer bet one more time, 235,000 in total.

Smith, who has mints, a roll of banknotes, a drink with a straw and another glass with a flower in it, added to that with a white chip for 30 seconds more of thinking time. That made up his mind. Smith folded.

dan_smith_table_decoration.jpgDan Smith’s table decoration

Smith has around 1.1 million, while O’Dwyer has roughly 700,000. – SB

4:35pm: Andre doubles, while Ahadpour doesn’t win a hand
Level 12: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Cyril Andre has just doubled up through The Beard – aka Daniel Neilson. The latter opened in the cutoff to 30,000 with the A♥10♠ and Andre jammed out of the small blind for 159,000 with the A♠Q♠. Neilson called, and the 2♥6♥K♠Q♣3♣ board secured him the double up. He’s up to 340,000 now, while Neilson has 1.09 million.


Daniel Neilson and his distinguishing feature

Meanwhile, it was weird to see Behzad Ahadpour not win a hand for a change. He didn’t lose it either, though.

Ahadpour Khanghah limped under the gun, it folded to Ahadpour on the button and he flatted too, as did Sam Greenwood in the small blind. Zuo Wang checked his option and four players saw an A♣A♥4♠ flop. It checked around.

On the 9♥ turn, Greenwood led out for 40,000 and it folded to Ahadpour who called. The river was the A♠, and Greenwood checked. It was clear Ahadpour didn’t have the case ace as he checked back. It turned out both had a nine for aces full (9♠4♦ for Greenwood, J♥9♦ for Ahadpour) and they chopped it up.

Greenwood is playing 590,000 right now, while Ahadpour has 2.25 million. –JS

4:25pm: Liu loses some
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Xuan Liu has dropped down to a sub 20 big blind stack after losing a hand to Dan Smith. Liu opened to 29,000 from the hijack and Smith deliberated, before calling from the small blind. A c-bet of 32,000 from Liu on the Q♦2♦3♣ flop was called by Smith and the K♣ fell on the turn.

Smith checked again and Liu fired out a bet of 55,000. Within a couple of seconds Smith had the 55,000 needed to call to the right of his cards. He then reached back for a stack of red 25K chips and began riffling them. With about one second left on the shot clock he put the two piles of chips together and placed them over the line.

The bet was enough to set Liu all-in and she quickly folded her cards to leave herself with 230,000. –NW

4:20pm: Ahadpour catches the Sun
Level 12: Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Behzad Ahadpour is absolutely crushing right now. He’s just extended his chip lead even further after a pretty unusual hand.

It started with a 28,000 under-the-gun open from Troy Quenneville, which Guodong Sun called from middle position. Ahadpour then three-bet it up to 103,000 from the cutoff, and the other Ahadpour (Ahadpour Khanghah) called from the big blind. Quenneville then released his hand, but Sun also called. This pot was big.

After the 10♦J♦5♥ flop was dealt, Sun was the first to act and decided to lead out for 114,000, leaving himself just 215,000 behind. Over to Behzad Ahadpour, he moved all-in over the top and Ahadpour Khanghah let his hand go.

I think it came as a bit of a surprise to see Sun then fold relatively quickly. Just a few hands later I saw that Sun had busted, so he didn’t hang around long after this hand.

Behzad Ahadpour is up to 2.87 million now though, while Khanghah has 290,000 left. –JS

4:15pm: Burns discovers time is not on his side
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

ElkY opened the pot and Kahle Burns called pre-flop, but it was on the river when the tension arrived.

On a board of 7♥7♣4♣3♥K♥ Burns had checked to ElkY in the cutoff, who then bet 127,000. Burns’ response was to move all-in.

The effect on ElkY was profound. He looked agitated, and turned a slight shade of pink only visible because his hair is so white. ElkY then tossed in a white chip, inhaling as he did so as if dealing with pain.


Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier

It was these white chips that proved so important.

These are the white “time-bank” chips that each player has three of for the duration of the tournament. Each is worth an extra 30 seconds on top of the 30 they are allowed to make their initial decision.

As the clock ticked to zero ElkY tossed in a white chip. When the clock ticked down again he played another, leaving himself one behind.

The clock ran down for a third time and ElkY didn’t throw a chip forward. However, he also didn’t muck his cards. More seconds passed and then ElkY called. It was at this point that Burns came to realise these white chips didn’t need to be “played” as such, but were automatic. ElkY hadn’t needed to toss them in at all — a point Burns had been unaware of as ElkY put his chips in the middle.

“I’m bluffing,” said Burns as he turned over A♥5♦. “But I thought you had to throw the chip out?”

As the table explained Burns couldn’t help be annoyed, and banged the edge of the table a few times in frustration. He’d assumed ElkY’s hand — 6♣5♣ for a turned straight — would be declared dead as the clock ticked to zero. It was only ElkY’s call that proved him wrong.

ElkY meanwhile had saved his tournament, and now had a stack worth 700,000. Burns meanwhile is down to 625,000 and still coming to terms with what had happened. – SB

4:10pm: Tang toppled by Burns
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There was no fuss and no messing with this hand, everything happened with maximum efficiency. Kahle Burns raised to 25,000 from the button, Devan Tang shoved from the big blind for around 127,000 and Burns snap called. The latter’s 10♣10♠ were turned over immediately, as was Tang’s 7♣7♠. The dealer dispatched a A♦A♠8♣6♦J♠ board and just like that Tang was out and on his way. Burns is up to 900,000. –NW

4pm: Holz. Straight. Flush. But no straight flush.
Level 11: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Sitting in the big blind facing a cutoff open by Stanley Choi and a small blind call from Qiang Zhao, Fedor Holz defended and the three saw a 10♦3♦A♦ flop.

Zhao checked it, and Holz opted to lead out on this flop for 30,000. Choi let his hand go, but Zhao made the call and saw the K♦ turn. Both checked it.

When the Q♥ river landed, Zhao checked a final time but Holz made it 40,000 to see his cards. Zhao didn’t take too long to call, but mucked when he saw Holz’s holding: the Q♠J♦ for both a straight, but more importantly the second nut flush.

Holz moves up to 570,000, while Zhao is playing 381,000. –JS

3:55pm: Gruissem end
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Fair play to Philipp Gruissem, he is certainly a man whose glass is half full. He shoved for 69,000 and picked up two callers who were looking to score a knockout blow. As he waited for the flop to be dealt he clapped his hands and said: “Come on.”

A 5♥2♦J♥ flop fell and Behzad Ahadpour bet 75,000. That bet into the dry side pot got rid of Ahadpour Khanghah and Gruissem would now learn his fate. He had 7♣6♣ and was in rough shape against Ahadpour’s 9♦9♣. The A♠ turn meant Gruissem was drawing dead and the K♥ completed the board.


Philipp Gruissem and his eventual assassin Behzad Ahadpour

Ahadpour is now up to 1.95 million which is good for the chip lead. He appears to have taken a big pot from Troy Quenneville as Quenneville has dropped down to 800,000, which is about half of what he previously had. –NW

3:50pm: Haxton felts Latz
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Hendrik Latz suffered a humiliating exit yesterday at the hands of Sergio Aido, when he was beckoned back to the table twice before his elimination was confirmed. Latz has just been knocked out again, this time for good, and it wasn’t all that pretty either.

He and Isaac Haxton got it all-in pre-flop. It looked like an open from Haxton under the gun, then a shove from Latz on the button. Haxton called from his million-plus stack and they were on their backs:

Haxton: A♣Q♣
Latz: K♣K♠

Latz was good at this stage, but Haxton’s over-card gave him potential. Then the flop of 3♣6♣10♦ gave Haxton even more equity, which the Q♥ sort of added to. And then, boom, the Q♦ came on the river and Haxton got there the hard way.


Hendrik Latz in happier times

Latz is out. Haxton has 1.28 million. — HS

3:45pm: Yang Wang vs Shan Huang
Level 11: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

When Yang Wang opened to 25,000 in middle position, it folded around to the big blind of Shan Huang. I’m guessing these two know each other, as Huang gave Wang a smile and a nod when calling, as if to say “Me and you again?”

The two saw an 8♦9♠2♣ flop and it checked to Wang who continued for 28,000. Huang made the call and the turn was the K♦. Check check.

On the 2♦ river, it looked like the action was about to pick up again. Huang counted out 10K. Then 20K. Then 30K. Then 40K. Then 50K. Then 79K. Just how big was this bet going to be?

Zero is the answer. He couldn’t pull the trigger and instead checked, letting Wang check it back and take it down with his K♦Q♥. Huang mucked and has 468,000 left, while Wang moves up to 410,000. –JS

3:40pm: Hata doubles, inflicts flesh wound on Smith
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

You could see the mental cogs whirring as Dan Smith calculated the pot to work out if he had the odds to call Aymon Hata’s shove. Smith had a stack of around 1.1 million and had already put 23,000 of that into the pot from the hijack. Hata had then come over the top and shoved all-in for 93,000 out of the small blind.


Do the math with Dan Smith

So it was another 70,000 to Smith and there was roughly 132,000 already in the middle. Smith decided that his odds of 1.88:1 meant he was getting the right price and he called with J♥10♦. Hata flipped A♠K♠ and won the hand as the board ran A♦9♦3♣4♣6♣. –NW

3:35pm: Kanit can’t hit
Level 11: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We’re not sure exactly whether the money went in pre-flop or on the flop, but here was the situation: I arrived to see Mustapha Kanit all-in and at risk with the 10♣8♣ with a Q♠J♣4♠ flop out there, up against Tim Adams’ A♥Q♦. He’d need running clubs or a nine to hit his gutshot.

Instead the board ran out 3♦J♥, eliminating Kanit from the tournament. On to the next one, bro.


Mustapha Kanit finds a kindred spirit in Shan Huang

Meanwhile, Adams is up to 456,000 now. –JS


Strongman Tim Adams

3:30pm: Lots of hovering
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Xuan Liu opened a couple of pots and got a caller on the most recent. After she made it 23,000 to play Leo Cheng called in the big blind for a flop of 2♦2♠8♥, which was checked both ways. The turn card 7♦ got Cheng betting. He made it 30,000 which Liu called for the 3♣ on the river.


Xuan Liu: Hovering

At this point Cheng moved all-in for his last 70,000. Liu used her time to think about it, but ultimately couldn’t call. She still hovers around the 500,000 mark while Cheng does the same around the 200,000 mark.

Actually, scratch that. Cheng is now out. – SB


Leo Cheng: Done and dusted

3:25pm: Sammartino departs
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Dario Sammartino, another player who peeled the wrapping off a fresh set of chips this morning (his second bullet), is now out. That takes us down to 39. — HS

3:20pm: Khanghah collects from Gruissem
Level 11: Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Philipp Gruissem is well and truly in the danger-zone, having just lost a chunk of change to Ahadpour Khanghah.

Gruissem opened from the hijack to 23,000 and Ahadpour made the call out of the big blind to see a 5♣A♥7♦ flop. It checked to the post-flop aggressor, and Gruissem made a c-bet of 30,000. Call.

The dealer burned and turned the 8♠ and this time Ahadpour check-called a 50,000 bet from Gruissem. Finally the K♠ hit the felt on the river and when Ahadpour checked, Gruissem checked it back.

Ahadpour turned over the Q♥Q♦, and Gruissem waited a few moments – studying the board and his opponent’s hand – before mucking. He’s down to just 91,000 now, while Ahadpour is up to 710,000. –JS

3:10pm: Missing out on quads
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Nick Petrangelo may or may not have been telling the truth which means he may or may not have just missed out on flopping quads. It was a small pot, almost meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but Petrangelo gave a good bit of chit-chat at its conclusion.

Martin Kozlov started the ball rolling with a raise to 21,000 from middle position. Steve O’Dwyer called in the small blind and Petrangelo folded his big blind.

The flop was of the kind that you can order to your room in Macau if you’ve got the finances and the inclination. It came Q♦Q♠Q♥. O’Dwyer checked, Kozlov bet and O’Dwyer folded.

“Did you have aces?” Petrangelo asked of Kozlov. “Steve made me fold a queen.”

Kozlov did not immediately reply, which left Petrangelo to go at it again. He claimed he had a queen and wanted a heads-up pot, but O’Dwyer’s call made him fold. With only 200,000 in his stack, Petrangelo is going to want to flop quads once or twice more to get back into this. — HS

2:50pm: Alvarado out
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The new level has now begun, but at the end of the last level we caught JC Alvarado’s departure from the Super High Roller. Alvarado was all in against Zhao Hongjun, one of the re-entries at the start of the day.

Alvarado, who had been short for much of the day, had J♣A♦ against Hongjun’s K♦Q♦ with the money going in on a flop of J♦Q♠5♦. The turn card 9♠ and river card Q♥ couldn’t save Alavarado. Hongjun meanwhile is now up to 930,000. – SB

2:45pm: Break time
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

That’s the end of Level 10 (although we still have some hands to write up from it, so stick around). Players are taking their first 15-minute break of the day and their chip-counts are now updated. — HS

2:25pm: Neilson times Holz out
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Fedor Holz has only one time-bank chip left, but his recent expenditure of one of those precious discs means he has preserved a chip stack of 600,000. He was in a pot against Daniel Neilson, who pushed Holz off a hand on the river and built his own stack to 1.2 million.

Neilson opened the pot with a raise to 18,000 from early position. Cyril Andre called in the cutoff and Zhao Hongjun called in the small blind. Holz called in the big blind too.

The four of them saw a flop of Q♥Q♠5♣ and both Hongjun and Holz checked. Neilson’s bet of 20,000 was called only by Holz.

The 9♥ fell on the turn and Holz checked again. Neilson bet 40,000 and Holz called. That bought him a look at the 2♠ on the river. Holz checked again and Neilson bet 180,000 this time.

This was a major escalation and Holz took his time to think through his options, throwing out that time-bank chip as the clock ticked down. Holz eventually then threw his cards in the same direction and Neilson took it. — HS

2:15pm: Adams plays on
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Tim Adams picked up a small three-way pot against Davidi Kitai and Dario Sammartino, and used the chips he’d won there to move all-in on the next hand.

After Sergio Aido opened for 19,000 and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier raised to 52,000 on the button. Adams, headphones on and looking between the shot clock and the tournament clock, announced he was all-in for around 240,000. Aido was out, and after a few moments thought so was ElkY. – SB

2:10pm: Another one bites the dust
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Guang Pu Lu, who only bought in this morning, is the latest player out. His elimination, at the hands of James Chen, puts Chen up to 1.17 million and makes him the third millionaire on his table.


James Chen: New millionaire

Stevan Chew has 1.3 million and Isaac Haxton has 1.1 million. Sam Greenwood has 800,000. — HS

2pm: What they’re playing for
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The prize-pool has been announced here in Macau. There’s HKD $33,802,560 in the middle and the payouts schedule is as follows:

Place Name Country Prize (HKD) USD approx
1     8,974,000 1,154,801
2     6,236,000 802,467
3     4,124,000 530,689
4     3,228,000 415,389
5     2,603,000 334,962
6     2,028,000 260,969
7     1,605,000 206,536
8     1,215,000 156,350
9     947,000 121,863
10     727,000 93,553
11     727,000 93,553
12     676,000 86,990
13     676,000 86,990

1:55pm: Moraes busts to Neilson
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Our South American contingent is down to zero. Rafael Moraes has been knocked out by Australia’s Daniel Neilson. Mexico’s JC Alvarado flies the flag alone for Latin America now.– HS

1:50pm: You can only win once, but you can lose five times
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

You could tell what was happening in this hand simply by looking at reaction of JC Alvarado. On the turn he was out of his seat, on the river he was back in it. And smiling.

He was effectively all-in against the equally low stacked Yu Liang who, to be fair, was experienced in the realities of what was about to happen. He’d done this four times already, although the fifth time seemed no easier to bear.

Alvarado: A♠K♠
Liang: 7♦7♠

The board ran Q♥8♠2♣4♥K♣

Alvarado figured he was out on the turn, but was rescued by the river. He was safe, but Liang not so much. Alvarado, now up to 320,000, had him covered. Liang out of the Super High Roller for the fifth, and final time – SB.


Lu Liang: Five times, no good

1:45pm: It never rains, it Ahadpours
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The feature table at PokerStars LIVE! Macau is up on a raised stage beneath a television screen. They’re not streaming or anything from up there, but it looks the part. And, you have to say, it would have made for sensational TV today given the ridiculous action that table has seen.

Hot on the heels of Troy Quenneville’s two huge hands, Ahadpour Khanghah is now at it. He has just knocked out two players on the same hand and boosted his stack close to 1 million.

The players to depart were Daniel Dvoress and Jean-Noel Thorel and all I can tell you is their hands and the board. I don’t know how the chips made it into the middle.

Dvoress had J♦K♦
Thorel had A♣10♠
Khanghah had A♠K♥

The board was 9♣J♣Q♥Q♣10♦ and that looks like a straight for Khanghah, beating two lots of two pair.

Dvoress and Thorel depart, leaving us with 43 players. — HS

1:35pm: Tang looks into the eyes of Sammartino, doesn’t like what he sees
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Devan Tang opened for 15,000 which Dario Sammartino, on his immediate left and in the cut off, called, putting his headphones on after doing so.

The flop came 3♦7♠K♠

Tang bet 18,000 and looked to stare at Sammartino, who was staring back. It was a little uncomfortable, what with sitting so close to each other, and when Tang flinched nobody could really blame him. Sammartino called.

The turn was the 4♦. Tang didn’t look at Sammartino this time, learning his lesson. Had he done so though he would have seen Sammartino staring back. Instead he bet 45,000, which Sammartino called.

The river was the J♠. Tang checked this time, leaving it to Sammartino to bet 77,000. That got Tang for fold, moving Sammartino’s stack up towards 400,000. Tang meanwhile slips to 180,000. – SB

1:30pm: Attenborough/Salter bust
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Adrian Attenborough and Jack Salter have hit the rail. The latter re-entered before the start of play today, but his second bullet has gone the same way as his first, ie, into his foot. Ollie Price has also been knocked out. — HS

1:30pm: Second enormous pot for Quenneville
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

This has been an extraordinary start for Troy Quenneville and he is now troubling 2 million after knocking out Yuan Li in an enormous pot. Li started the day with nearly 900,000 but now has nothing. Live by the sword, etc.

Quenneville was kind enough to fill in the details as he was stacking what amounts to the chip lead. He opened to 13,000 and Li three-bet to 40,000. Quenneville four-bet to 90,000 and Li called.

They saw a flop of J♥4♥3♠ and Quenneville bet 70,000, which Li called.

The turn brought the 4♠ and Quenneville now bet 130,000. Li called again.

The river was the A♠ and it quickly became ridiculous. Quenneville bet again and Li jammed for what would have been about 550,000. Quenneville called.


Troy Quenneville: Massive hands

This was another absolutely gross/brilliant river card, depending who you are supporting. Li rolled over his J♠10♠ and had made a flush. Quenneville had pocket aces and had filled a boat.

Li takes his rooster jacket off to look for another game. Quenneville charges on with a monster stack. — HS


Yuan Li: No more

1:20pm: Early eliminations
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Wayne Yap isn’t the only man to be knocked out already. He followed David Peters, Fabian Quoss, Ali Reza Fatehi and Mikita Badziakouski out the door. The latter was knocked out by Stevan Chew and the 500,000-ish that Badziakouski had now boosts Chew’s stack to around 1.3 million. — HS

1:15pm: Yap bitten hard by Quenneville
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

In the case of Players vs. The Game of Poker, we present this hand as further supporting evidence of cruel and unusual punishment. Wayne Yap has just been sent to the rail in a manner that could hardly have been more despicable.

Troy Quenneville opened a pot, making it 13,000 to play from the hijack and Yap, on the button, three-bet to 40,000. That brought a flop of A♠7♦J♥.

Quenneville checked, Yap bet 33,000 and Quenneville called. They then took the turn of 6♠. Quenneville checked again and Yap bet again, this time 80,000 and Quenneville called.


Wayne Yap: Things quickly got less happy

The river card was the 4♠ and Quenneville checked for a third time. Yap moved all-in for around 260,000. Quenneville didn’t need a count, but he did quickly check his cards before announcing a call.

Yap turned over his Q♠8♠ for what he clearly thought was going to be a winning flush–albeit one that he had reached by going runner-runner on turn and river.

However Quenneville had done the same. And his J♠K♠ was the nuts.

Yap got up from his chair, hands shaking, and drained a cup of tea. He is out of here and Quenneville has about 1 million. — HS

1:10pm: Petrangelo rubs the mango
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Martin Kozlov opened for 15,000, which Steve O’Dwyer called from the button, as did Aymon Hata in the big blind.

The flop came J♣2♠10♦ which was checked around for a 2♥ on the turn. This was checked as far as Hata who bet 30,000, forcing a fold from Kozlov. O’Dwyer meanwhile, who has a large, possibly lucky mango next to his stack, called.

The river card was the 5♣. Hata bet 65,000 this time. O’Dwyer let the shot clock ticked down before finally calling, tossing in a single chip to do so.

Hata showed Q♠K♦. That O’Dwyer showed his cards at all signaled to Hata he was beaten. He was. O’Dwyer showed Q♥A♠ to win the hand, taking his stack up towards the 500,000 mark.

Petrangelo, sitting between O’Dwyer and Hata, with 100,000 left, reached over to rub the mango. – SB

1:05pm: Sun blinds Wang
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Guodong Sun and Yang Wang just went to war on Table 7 with Sun eclipsing Wang with a shove on the turn.

It was a big pot pre-flop, with Sun opening from the hijack and Wang putting out a three-bet of around 75,000 from the big blind. Sun called, taking them to a flop of 3♣9♥3♦.

Wang continued with a bet of 85,000 and Sun called. That brought the J♦ on the turn. Wang checked and Sun almost immediately announced that he was all-in, for around 220,000.

Wang’s expression revealed that he had been caught at it. He folded and watched nearly two towers of yellows head over to his countryman’s stack. — HS

12:55pm: Final numbers
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Tournament officials are now agreed. This tournament attracted 88 entries, comprising 64 unique players and 24 re-entries. Today’s new buy-ins were: Qiang Lin and Kitson Kho. Meanwhile Zhao Hongjun, John Juanda, Davidi Kitai, Dario Sammartino, Yu Liang, Jack Salter and Xuan Liu fired fresh bullets. Liang is on number five. — HS

12:50pm: JNT v Li
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

If Jean-Noel Thorel manages to get some chips today then his table is going to make for compelling viewing. He is seated with Yuan Li, another incorrigible player with the guts to try just about anything.

The two of them tangled early on, with Thorel putting his own tournament life on the line. Thorel got this one through, but there were six other players at the table metaphorically licking their lips too.

Thorel started things off with a raise to 20,000 from UTG+1 and Li was the only caller in on the button. The flop came 6♠8♦K♣ and Thorel checked immediately. Li bet 25,000 and Thorel snap-shoved for 164,000. Li folded after a moment’s thought.

They’re sitting on the feature table stage, which makes it even better. Li occupied that table when he won the ACOP Super High Roller title here in November and is very much at home. Daniel Dvoress is also up there, a matter of months after he finished third in the High Roller event at the same festival. — HS

12:40pm: Sun finds Kings
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Guodong Sun had looked down, found pocket kings in early position, and opened for 15,000. Opposite sat Isaac Haxton on the button. He called and they saw a flop 3♠8♠9♣.

Sun was first to act, and bet 20,000 as if hoping nobody would notice. Haxton did though, counted out a raise of 80,000 and laid it out neatly so Sun could see. Sun paused, but then claled.

The turn card was the 7♥. This time Sun checked. Haxton used two hands this time to push forward a bet of 125,000. Sun, taking his time, called, putting his hand over his mouth.

I suppose we would all liked to have known what Haxton was thinking right now, not least Sun, who watched as the A♠ landed on the river. Did that change anything? He checked it. Haxton checked too and watched Sun show his kings before turning over his 3♦3♥ for a flopped set.

Sun’s demeanor changed not one bit. Nor did Haxton’s for that matter, but his stack did, now up to 960,000. Sun meanwhile drops to 360,000. – SB

12:35pm: Play resumes
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

We’re under way again in the Super High Roller. We play ten levels today, or down to eight players, whichever comes soonest. — SB

12:25pm: Last minutes registrations

There are four re-entries today as well as one new entry. Zhao Hongjun, John Juanda, Davidi Kitai and Dario Sammartino are each back for another go, while Qiang Lin takes a seat for the first time. – SB

12pm: Massive field goes flag hunting

Good afternoon all and welcome back once more to the PokerStars LIVE! card-room at the City of Dreams, Macau. This is going to be a wonderful day. It is Day 2 of the HK $400K Super High Roller tournament and they will playing into the money.

Just how much that turns out to be, and how many players get paid, is yet to be determined. But with 79 entries already (62 unique players plus 17 re-entries) it is certain to be a whopper.

PSC Macau_Velli-174_Location.jpg

All of these people might be playing today

Registration will close shortly before play begins today. That brings the proverbial shutter down on the cash desk and will, in theory, tighten play up. But this is Macau and, well, you know.

Action gets under way at 12:30pm and the idea is to play down to eight players or ten one-hour levels, whichever happens first. My guess is the latter, which will set up a long day tomorrow too.

Michael Egan heads the field at the moment. Take a look at the chip-count page for the full details. Then stick here for exclusive coverage of how it will all play out.

Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship Macau and all other Festival and Championship events.

Also all the information is on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the $5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart.


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