PokerStars Championship Macau: Michael Egan leads $400K Super High Roller

April 01, 2017

As play ends on the first day of the PokerStars Championship Macau Super High Roller, there are things we’re pretty clear on, and other things of which we have, well, no clue.

Here’s what we don’t know.

Who will win is still anybody’s guess, with a field of the very best in the game competing. Neither do we know how big the field will be until registration closes at the start of play tomorrow. It won’t be until then that we know the prize money either.

But here’s what we do know.

Michael Egan of Australia is the chip leader tonight; this is for certain, having bagged up 1,067,000 after eight levels today. Sam Greenwood and Isaac Haxton also had good opening days, as did late arrival Fedor Holz and Egan’s countryman Stevan Chew. Each is among the field of 47 players (from the 79 entries) returning tomorrow.

michael_egan_shr_macau_1Apr17.jpegChip leader tonight: Michael Egan

That figure is unlikely to remain that way with more entries expected before registration ends tomorrow morning. Put that down as a best guess, but one we’re confident of.

Here are the top ten chip counts at the end of Day 1.

Name Country Chips
Michael Egan Australia 1,067,000
Sam Greenwood Canada 976,000
Yuan Li China 897,000
Daniel Neilson Australia 851,000
James En Ning Chen Taiwan 830,000
Dan Smith United States 803,000
Fedor Holz Germany 790,000
Stevan Chew Australia 753,000
Isaac Haxton United States 739,000
Behzad Ahadpour St. Kitts and Nevis 719,000

Click here for the full counts at the end of day 1.

That’s how things look at the end of the first day, one that never really decides anything other than the depth of some player’s pockets.

Among those re-entering today were Tim Adams, Jean-Noel Thorel and Vladimir Troyanovskiy, as well as Lu Yiang, who not only re-entered three times today (busting four times), he landed right back in the same seat each and every time, adding hundreds of thousands to Egan’s chip leading stack – Egan knocked Yiang out twice in Level 8 alone. No one ever said high stakes poker wasn’t fun.

You’ll find us in the same place tomorrow with continued live coverage. Play continues tomorrow at 12:30pm local time. That’s 12:30am ET, or 4:30am BST. Don’t worry if you’re heading to bed at that point, or already asleep. We’ll be here when you’re ready.

Until then, goodnight from Macau. — SB

• PLAYERS: 47 (of 79 inc. 17 re-entries) | Registration open until Day 2
• Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter

9:30pm: Huge blow for Fatehi
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Poker’s a cruel game sometimes. You grind all day, get a big stack going, only to lose it all (or most of it anyway) in one of the last hands of the day.

Ali Reza Fatehi had a stack of over 400,000 a few minutes ago, but now he has around 80,000 left. On a 3♣8♥4♦10♣4♣ board, Daniel Neilson bet, Fatehi raised to 97,000, Neilson made it 230,000, Fatehi shoved and Neilson called.

Neilson – A♣K♣
Fatehi – Q♣7♣

Flush over flush flushed most of Fatehi’s chips away, but right now with just a hand or two left he’s still in. Neilson meanwhile is up to 800,000. –JS

9:25pm: Egan takes the chip lead
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Poor Yu Liang. He’s drawn the same seat in this tournament four times and four times he’s been dispatched. It all means there are lots of chips on that particular table, and Michael Egan has most of them, having busted Liang for the second time in this level.

I caught the action from the K♣8♣3♥ flop, on which Liang bet 30,000 and Egan check-called. On the 9♠ turn Liang bet again when he was checked to. This time it was 60,000 and Egan responded by check-raising all-in. Liang called off with 7♣7♥ and was drawing dead against Egan’s flopped set of eights. The K♥ completed the board and Liang could only smile as he departed.

After that hand Egan is up to around 1,100,000 and has usurped Sam Greenwood at the top of the chip counts. –NW

9:20pm: Holz claims another victim
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Fedor Holz’s short run in this tournament so far has been pretty incredible. He’s now up to 725,000 – almost three times the starting stack – after eliminating Michael Addamo.

In the first of the final seven hands, action folded to Holz on the button and came in for the seemingly standard open of 12,000. Addamo was in the small blind, and with 105,000 in front of him he shoved it all in. The big blind folded and Holz quickly called.

Holz – K♠Q♠
Addamo – A♠J♥

The Aussie, who took down the $82K Single Re-entry High Roller earlier today for $1,522,855, was ahead. But then the Q♣9♦4♣ flop hit the felt. The 5♥ turn and J♥ river changed nothing and Holz’s top pair was enough to get the job done. –JS

9:17pm: Seven more hands
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The clock is paused on the day and they’ll play seven more hands before bagging chips. It looks at this stage as though Sam Greenwood has pipped Ike Haxton for the chip lead, but things could yet change. — HS

9:16pm: ElkY ships it on Salter
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Team PokerStars Pro ElkY just put Jack Salter to the test in a pot that made it all the way to the river. The pre-flop action is unknown although given what was in the pot it’s 99 percent certain that ElkY raised and Salter called from the big blind.

Anyhow, on a J♣10♥8♠ flop Salter checked the action to ElkY and then called a bet of 13,000. It was a flop that’s “supposed” to be better for a caller from the blinds, but ElkY didn’t blink on the 3♣ turn. He bet a further 36,000 and again Salter called.

The pot was now bigger than Salter’s remaining stack and ElkY would make him play for it all on the K♥ river. Salter had about 87,500 back and he decided to live to fight another day. ElkY was in a charitable mood and said that Salter could pick one of his cards to see and revealed the 10♦. –NW

9:15pm: Wong/Ziegler out
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Nick Wong and Tobias Ziegler are among the latest fallers.

9:10pm: Liang welcomed back with open arms
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Another faller, this time it’s Yu Liang headed to the rail with less than half an hour left to play on the day.

Liang was sent there by Michael Egan – specifically the pair of kings Egan showed which easily dethroned the king and queen of Liang, while taking his own stack up to 830,000.

Funnily enough Liang has experience at being knocked out of this event, and of rebuying back into the same exact seat.

So far today he’s had three re-buys and returned to the same seat three times, where he’s welcomed back with open arms. To be clear this is no magic trick, players choose their own seat draw from a selection of cards face down and presented to them by floor staff. Liang just has the knack. – SB

9:05pm: Nice pick-up for Petrangelo
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Michael Egan was under the gun and came in for an open to 12,000. Nick Petrangelo called in the cutoff, as did Sergio Aido (button) and JC Alvarado (small blind). Ike Haxton didn’t want to join the party and gave up his big blind despite the good price.

The four players saw a Q♣7♣7♠ flop which to checked to Aido. He led out with a 17,500 stab, and Alvarado tank-called. Egan folded, and when it was back to Petrangelo he jammed for around 100,000. Aido folded quite quickly, prompting Petrangelo to pat the Spaniard on the shoulder out of relief.

Alvarado was still to act, mind, but in the end he gave his hand up too. After that one Petrangelo is up to 190,000, Alvarado dips to 163,000, and Aido sits with 335,000. –JS

8:56pm: Cocktail hour
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

There are roughly 30 minutes to go in the day and it’s often around this time that players like to order a last-level drink. Troy Quenneville is riding high in the chip counts and he’s just taken delivery of a cold beer. There’s 760,000 reasons that his pint is going to tasty mighty fine. –NW

8:55pm: Loeser’s no loser, doubles through Burns
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

A pre-flop raising war between Germany’s Manig Loeser and Australia’s Kahle Burns just resulted in a 360,000 all-in confrontation.

All the chips found their way into the middle and it was the Q♣Q♠ for Loeser up against the A♣Q♥ of Burns. The 10♠2♦9♥ flop kept the German in front, as did the 10♣ turn. Finally, the case Q♦ hit the felt, giving Loeser the win and a new 360K stack. Burns is still in with 203,000. –JS

8:50pm: Welcome Mr Peters
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

This tournament doesn’t get any easier. David Peters is the latest player to register with about 40 minutes left on Day 1’s clock. — Hs

8:50pm: Juanda out
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

John Juanda is out. A speedier reporter would have caught a glimpse of Juanda’s hand but out of breath, I only saw that Sam Greenwood had sent Juanda to the rail, taking his own stack up to around 800,000. I flew a long way to get this kind of information. Apologies. – SB

8:45pm: Joy for Choi
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Even when he’s not playing the lead role, Ahadpour Khanghah is still having a major influence over the action at his table. I picked up the action to see him leading for 16,000 on a 10♣7♥3♥ flop. Qiao Du raised it up to 40,000 and Stanley Choi called. Khanghah had seen enough and he folded. The 6♣ fell on the turn and Du bet a further 80,000. Choi took around 15 seconds before he announced that he was all-in.


Stanley Choi: Double

His stack was cut down and his shove was for 173,000 total. Du processed this but he needed more time. One of his time-bank chips went into the pot and another 93,000 soon followed. Choi showed A♠A♥ and was ahead of Du’s 8♦7♠. The 5♦ was a brick and Choi secured the double. He’s up to around 460,000 while Du drops to 55,000. –NW

8:40pm: A few last level goings on
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We’ve now entered the last level of the day. Here are a few things going on around the room with 60 minutes left to play.

First off, Fedor Holz is increasing his stack. Big surprise. After Matthew Wakeman opened to 10,000 and Tobias Ziegler called, Holz bumped it up to 55,000 and got both to fold.

Second off, Daniel Dvoress has just lost a few by doubling up Fabian Quoss. They got it in on an 8♥4♦6♣ flop – with 9♣8♣ for Dvoress behind the A♥8♠ of Quoss. The runout kept Quoss in front and doubled him to around 160,000.

Third off, we should tell you that Vladimir Troyanovskiy has fired his third bullet and has taken a new seat. Oh, and Martin Kozlov has just re-entered too. –JS

8:30pm: Kitai downed
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The unlimited re-entries for this event means that the “Players Remaining” count on the tournament board seems never to have gone down at any point today. However, players are actually busting from this tournament–just not as fast as they’re registering.

The latest to hit the rail is Davidi Kitai. No word yet is he’s going to re-enter. — HS

8:20pm: Troyan-offskies*
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It’s not been a good day for Vladimir Troyanovskiy. He was already on his second bullet, but now he’ll need to fire a third if he’s going to make any money in this event.

He opened from UTG+1, making it 10,000 to go, and Behzad Ahadpour was his only caller out of the small blind. The two saw a 5♥6♣J♦ flop which Ahadpour checked, letting Troyanovskiy continue for 11,000. Ahadpour then raised all-in with a far bigger stack, and Troyanovskiy made the call.

Both had top pair, but Ahadpour’s kicker was best. It was the J♥10♣ against the J♣9♣ and the Q♠ turn and 7♥ river changed nothing. Troyanovskiy hit the rail, while Ahadpour increased to 610,000.

*Offskies – Definition: To leave a place fast or to get to another place. –JS

8:15pm: Khanghah staying active
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Different table, same tactics for Ahadpour Khanghah. He’d been involved in lots of big pots at his previous table and had often put opponent’s to the test with large bets. He was at it again this handagainst Qiao Du.

On a 6♣3♥9♦ flop Du had bet 33,000 and Khanghah responded by moving all-in. His bet was just shy of 300,000 and although Du could afford it, he had Khanghah covered by about 75,000 at most. He tanked for his allotted 30 seconds and then folded. Khanghah nonchalantly turned over A♣6♦ as he took the pot and Du tapped the table. –NW

8:10pm: Some more faces
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

A pictorial guide to a few of our players in this bumper tournament:


Wayne Yap


Dan Smith


Martin Kozlov


Ollie Price


Leo Cheng


Ali Reza Fatehi


Sylvain Loosli

8:05pm: No stopping Holz
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Fedor Holz has only just turned up. But there he is, grinning, with 500,000 chips in front of him.

Somehow even Timothy Adams also found something to grin about, which was odd given that he’d just given all his chips to Holz. The grins turned to hugs as Adams made his way past Holz, to the rail.

Holz opened the hand for 10,000, which Adams, playing from the small blind, raised to 36,000. Holz called from middle position for a flop of J♦10♣2♠.


Quick double for Fedor Holz

The shot clock was down to five seconds when Adams bet again, 55,000 this time, which Holz called for the 6♣ turn card. Holz wasn’t looking at the board though, just at Adams, who took the clock down to five seconds again before announcing he was all-in. Holz wasted no time in calling.

Adams: K♣Q♣
Holz: A♦J♥

The river was the 7♠, which was no good for Adams, who endured a painful minute as the stacks were counted before he was declared out.

Like I said, Holz grinned, and so did Adams. A great start for Holz. Adams meanwhile is currently by the desk buying back in. – SB

8pm: Greenwood up, Ahadpour down
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Sam Greenwood opened for 10,000, which Behzad Ahadpour raised to 25,000 from the seat next to him. With the action folded back to him Greenwood peeled off the five yellow chips required to call, but pushed forward a different tower of them, raising to 75,000 in a move that was at least aesthetically enjoyable.

Ahadpour called, pushing forward yellow chips and a white one, the latter to pay for the extra time he’d taken making his decision.

The flop came 2♥10♣Q♠. Greenwood bet another 40,000, which was enough to force Ahadpour to fold. Greenwood moves up to 540,000 while Ahadpour drops to 530,000. – SB

7:55pm: ElkY turns the boat
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

To get to Macau from Hong Kong airport, you have to catch a ferry and take an hour-long ride across the Zhujiang River Estuary. Last night, as I made my journey, the boat was a little rocky as the wind and rain had their way. That being said, it would have taken a lot to turn that boat over; t’was a quality vessel, says I.

Speaking of turning boats, I’m not sure how ElkY got to Macau, but the Team Pro is doing just that. On an A♠3♦Q♠ flop, Jack Salter and Raphael Moraes checked to the ElkY who put out a 12,500 bet. Salter called, only for Moraes to bump it up to 40,000. Both ElkY and Salter made the call to see the turn.

It came the Q♦ and this slowed the action. It checked around and the dealer put out the 2♣ to complete the board. Salter checked, as did Moraes, but ElkY put out a bet of 82,000. Salter gave his hand up but Moraes needed some thinking time.

After his shot clock had ticked down to the last few seconds, Moraes tossed in a chip to make the call, but mucked when ElkY showed his 3♥3♠ for a flopped set and turned boat. He’s up to 415,000, while Moraes drops to 84,000.

Will the rest of the day be smooth sailing for ElkY? Stay tuned to find out. –JS

7:40pm: Holz in the house
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Speaking of huge Super High Roller tournaments, that massive renewal in Barcelona last August was won by Fedor Holz. You’ll never guess who has just walked into this tournament room to sit and play…

7:35pm: Kanit sends Yaghmai to the rail
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Another departure within the first few minutes of Level 7, as Nariman Yaghmai loses out in a hand against Mustapha Kanit. Details are on the brief side – while both had straight draws, it was Kanit who filled his on the river. No specifics, I’ll admit, but the point is that Yaghmai is out. – SB


Nariman Yaghmai: Out

7:30pm: Final stretch
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Fifty-seven players have returned from the break to play the last two levels of Day 1 of this tournament. There have already been 70 entries to this tournament–that’s 59 unique players and 11 re-entries with registration remaining open until the start of play tomorrow.

This is not quite a Super High Roller record (EPT Barcelona last year, for instance, had 78 entries, plus 24 re-entries) but it’s a huge field and no mistake. — HS

7:15pm: Last break of the day

It’s break time again in the Super High Roller. Players will return in 15 minutes for Level 7, with blinds of 2,000/4,000 (ante 500).

7:15pm: Attenborough quickly among the big stacks
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Adrian Attenborough was a late buy-in, but already has about 510,000 chips. A hefty chunk of those just came from Sergio Aido’s stack, leaving Aido with about 285,000.

Details are scarce, but a whole pile of chips went in when the turn was out. The board read J♦3♣7♣Q♣ and Attenborough bet at least 100,000. Aido called.

The K♦ completed the board and Attenborough moved all-in for 173,000. Aido got the count, but folded. Attenborough therefore picked that one up. — HS

7:10pm: Score one (more) for Khanghah
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

There’s a friendly rivalry developing between Ahadpour Khanghah and JC Alvarado and at the moment it’s the Iranian who’s winning their battles. The latest skirmish also involved Nick Petrangelo. The American opened to 7,000 from the button, Khanghah called from the small blind and Alvarado then raised it up to 30,000.

That got rid of Petrangelo but Khanghah wouldn’t be shaken so easily. He called and the two players saw a 6♣A♥4♠ flop. Check, check it went to the 3♣ turn. Alvarado bet 30,000 but he soon folded when Khanghah check-raised all-in for around 140,000 total. –NW

7:05pm: Thorel’s resurgence continues
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jean-Noel Thorel has just secured his third double-up in the past two orbits. This time the man who did the doubling was Troy Quenneville.

Thorel had opened for 8,000 with just 60-70K behind, and Quenneville made a raise to what looked like 50,000. It didn’t really matter; Thorel moved all his chips in with the 8♦8♥ and Quenneville quickly called with the A♣K♥.

They went off to the races, and upon first glance the 5♥A♠8♣ flop seemed bad for Thorel, who sighed before spotting he’d made a set. The board was completed by the 10♠ and 4♣ and brought Thorel up to around 140,000. Quenneville is still a bigger stack in the room with 470,000. –JS

7pm: Liang finally wins one
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It had been a wretched day for Yu Liang. He was knocked out twice in the opening few levels. And just recently, at around the mid-point of Level 6, he was staring at elimination for a third time, this time at the hands of Nick Petrangelo.

But the malevolent poker gods have turned their attentions away from Liang for a moment, allowing him to win a race with Q♣Q♥ against Petrangelo’s A♦K♥. It was for all the 108,100 chips in front of Liang, but he has double that now after a board of Q♦8♠J♣9♥4♥. — HS

6:55pm: Kitai caught in a Quossfire
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Davidi Kitai just found himself in a tough spot facing an all-in from Fabian Quoss.

Picking up the action on a J♠3♠8♥4♥ board, Kitai checked it and Quoss led out for 24,000. Kitai made the call and they went to a turn.

fabian_quoss_shr_macau_1Apr17.jpegFabian Quoss

It came the Q♠ and Kitai checked once more. This time Quoss jammed for 86,700, and Kitai let his shot clock count down before eventually giving his hand up.

Quoss has roughly half the 250,000 starting stack right now, while Kitai is playing around 250,000 himself. –JS

6:50pm: Two doubles for Thorel
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

That Jean-Noel Thorel just doubled up twice in the space of three hands, and still has fewer than 20 big blinds, tells you that he was in very rough shape before those helping hands.

In fact, he had just 9,500 left when he moved all-in from UTG+1. The action folded to the small blind and Troy Quenneville called. Dan Smith was the only player left to act and he squeezed his cards before mucking 7♥6♦ face up. Thorel showed A♦9♠ and was ahead of the Q♦5♦ of Quenneville. Neither player connected with the 2♠10♣7♣J♥2♥ board (although Smith did) and Thorel survived.

Two hands later he repeated the trick. Quenneville raised it up to 6,600 from the cutoff, Smith called and Thorel then three-bet shoved for 24,000 from the big blind. Quenneville then re-raised to isolate and Smith released.

It was K♣Q♣ for Thorel and A♥3♥ for Quenneville. A 4♣7♦7♠ was grim reading for Thorel. “Club sweat,” said Adrian Attenborough playing ‘Minister of Morale’ for Thorel. The 10♣ fell on the turn, which gave Thorel more outs. The 7♣ was just what he needed and he doubled once more. –NW

6:45pm: Small fillip for Latz
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

It’s far from the huge pot that accounted for Hendrik Latz earlier, but the German player just earned a very small measure of revenge from Sergio Aido. Stanley Choi offered a tiny cherry on top too.

Choi opened the pot to 7,500 and Latz called in the cutoff. Aido called in the big blind and three players still had cards that they’d try to match with the 4♥8♦4♠ flop.

NEIL8756_Hendrik_Latz_PCP2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Hendrik Latz: Back in action

Both Aido and Choi checked and only Aido called Latz’s bet of 11,000.

The K♠ came on the turn and Aido checked again. Latz bet 28,000 and Aido folded.

Yes, so that’s a tedious hand. But it shows that Latz is moving in the right direction on his second bullet. Aido still has about 510,000 mind you. — HS

6:35pm: Expensive day for Thorel as he doubles Smith
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jean-Noel Thorel is already in this thing for $800,000 HKD, but as he’s now down to just 19,000 it might get even more expensive. Still, we certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see him fire a third bullet – it’s unlimited re-entries after all!

After the river of a Q♥2♥7♠5♥3♣ board, Thorel had shoved on Dan Smith, who had 19,000 less and was therefore put all in. Smith was in the tank when I arrived, giving me time to notice the huge pot which was already in the middle at this point.

Eventually, Smith placed a stack of chips in the middle indicating a call, and flipped over the Q♦J♦ for just top pair. Despite the flush and straight draws that were out there, that top pair was good as Thorel showed the 8♠8♥.

Again, Thorel is down to 19,000 – good for six big blinds – while Smith is up to roughly 430,000. –JS

6:30pm: Big boost for Quenneville
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

In typical Chinese casino fashion, there are frequent bellowing whoops drifting up to the poker room from the baccarat/roulette pit below. Each likely represents a win at the tables equivalent to the GDP of a small nation. Just recently, however, there was a whoop from within the poker room that could match it.


The vocal glee came from a spectator supporting Troy Quenneville and accompanied the Canadian player winning a three-way pot that sent both John Juanda and Zhao Hongjun to the rail (the latter for a second time).

It played out as follows:

Hongjun opened to 6,000 from under the gun and Mikita Badziakouski called from the hijack. Action folded to Juanda, who had only 5,500 in his stack, and he under-called all-in from the button.

Quenneville was in the big blind and wasn’t done. He three-bet to 26,000. Juanda laughed when Hongjun called–this was gallows humour–but Badziakouski folded.

Three of them saw a flop of 6♥8♠10♣ but only Hongjun and Quenneville were active. And they took their option to pile more chips in the pot.

Quenneville bet 55,500 and Hongjun shoved over the top for about 150,000 total. Quenneville quickly called and showed Q♠Q♦. Juanda shot up from his chair and made a polite request for Hongjun to have kings. By way of explanation, Juanda showed his A♠Q♣. Kings for Honjun would mean Juanda’s ace was live.


John Juanda: Live ace, but out

But Hongjun couldn’t deliver. He actually had A♦K♠ and so Juanda was drawing to a runner-runner straight.

He didn’t get it. Neither the turn nor the river improved anybody’s hand, leaving Quenneville’s supporter shrieking in delight as Juanda and Hongjun left the tournament area.

Quenneville has around 550,000 now. — HS

6:20pm: O’Dwyer doubles Attenborough
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The working title for this post was “O’Dwyer doing what O’Dwyer does.” That all changed when Adrian Attenborough made a fine river call for his tournament life.

Attenborough got proceedings under way. He opened to 6,000 from under the gun, O’Dwyer called from cutoff and Stanley Choi then three-bet to 18,000 from the small blind. Both players called.

steve_odwyer_shr_macau_1Apr17.jpegSteve O’Dwyer

So, it was three-way to the 3♥Q♦6♥ flop. No bets were forthcoming and the 6♠ hit the turn. Again the action was checked to O’Dwyer and this time the Irishman fired. He bet 35,000 and Attenborough was the only caller. The 2♦ fell on the river and Attenborough once more tapped the table. O’Dwyer wanted a look at Attenborough’s stack and then set him all-in. It was an effective shove of exactly 120,000, and Attenborough used up two of his time-bank chips before he called.


Adrian Attenborough: Great call with sevens

O’Dwyer showed J♥8♥ for a busted flush draw, while Attenborough showed pocket sevens for a brave and correct call. He’s up to around 380,000 while O’Dwyer is now down to 345,000. –NW

6:15pm: Fear the beard
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

James Harden, of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, has a simple brand slogan: Fear the beard. His facial hair growth has gone hand-in-hand with his progression to becoming an MVP candidate this season.

Australia’s Daniel Neilson certainly has the beard, perhaps just not the reputation yet to make people fear him. However, he has more than $2 million in live winnings (his biggest score coming from a third place finish at EPT8 San Remo for $392K) and he’s got off to a great start here today.

Having only taken his seat a few minutes before, he opened to 6,000 and got a call from Ali Reza Fatehi. Guodong Sun called too out of the small blind, but Daniel Dvoress three-bet-squeezed it up to 30,000 out of the big blind. Neilson called, Fatehi folded, and Sun called.

The dealer put out a 3♣8♠4♦ flop and it checked around. Everyone would check on the 10♦ turn too. Finally the 2♣ turn hit, and again everyone tapped the table. Dvoress mucked when he saw Sun’s 5♣5♦, but Neilson had that beat with his 7♣7♠.

Neilson, aka The Beard, is up to 330,000, while Dvoress has 236,000 and Sun has 380,000. –JS

6:10pm: Red Spade in
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Our latest arrivals include Mike Addamo, Nick Petrangelo and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier. The latter becomes the first Team PokerStars Pro to enter this event. — HS

6:05pm: Zhao takes it to the streets
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

There was a raise to 6,000 from Adrian Attenborough on the felt, the action passed to Qiang Zhao and he made the call. The two of them went heads-up to a 4♣Q♥10♦ flop, on which Attenborough check-called a bet of 7,000.

The Australian then check-called further bets of 16,000 and 35,000 on the 5♣Qd] turn and river. Zhao showed 5♠5♦ for a turned set and Attenborough mucked. –NW

6pm: Gruissem in full flow
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Philipp Gruissem is a tremendous player to watch play poker, whether or not you actually see what he’s holding. He just won a decent pot from Nariman Yaghmai that had all of his table-mates guessing.

It started with a raise from Gruissem in the cutoff. He made it 5,500 to play. Yaghmai found something he liked in the big blind and raised to 13,000. Gruissem called.

They looked at a flop of 6♦4♦Q♣ and Yaghmai bet 8,000. Gruissem called, which took them to the J♦ on the turn. It was a third diamond, but still nothing too scary.

Yaghmai checked and Gruissem took over the betting lead. He made it 32,000 to play this time. Yaghmai was fine with that. He called.

The Q♦ popped out on the river and this actually definitely was a scary card. But who was scaring whom? Yaghmai bet 30,000 attempting to make the first frightening move. But Gruissem spooked him right back with a raise to 120,000.

Yaghmai didn’t look especially happy and folded. “Jacks, Philipp?” Behzad Ahadpour folded. A railbird chimed in, “Full house!” But he then added, “I saw nothing. I know nothing.”

Gruissem simply chuckled away and stacked up 380,000. Yaghmai has 150,000. — HS

5:55pm: Smith and Pertrangelo back to work
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Having finished sixth and second respectively in the $82K Single Re-entry High Roller earlier today, Dan Smith and Nick Petrangelo are back in business here in the Super High Roller.

Smith got busy early, opening to 5,500 from utg+1 to which Troy Quenneville defended his big blind. They saw a J♥9♠5♦ flop and Quenneville check-called a 7,500 c-bet from Smith, but would check-fold to a 23,000 bet after the K♥ turn.

Petrangelo also got involved early, or at least tried to. He opened to 7,000 (I’ve seen a bunch of players today making this ‘almost 3x’ open) but ran into the big stack of Stevan Chew, who three-bet it up to 22,000. Petrangelo let his shot clock tick all the way down before letting his hand go. –JS

5:50pm: An invitation to view your own corpse
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Poor old Hendrik Latz. Not only had he only just sat down and then lost his chips to Sergio Aido, but also he was called back to the scene of the mishap for clerical reasons. And then, after departing for a second time, he was called back once more. It’s not fair.

But yes, despite the yo-yoing, Latz has lost his 250,000 starting stack within about five minutes of him sitting down. He may or may not be back. Again.

Here’s how this happened.

It was shortly after the most recent tournament break and Aido opened a pot, making it 6,500 to play from under the gun. Qiang Zhao called from one seat around, Stanley Choi called on the button, and then Latz made it 31,000 to play from the small blind.

Aido put out a four-bet. He made it 77,000 to go. Latz was the only player to call.

sergio_aido_shr_macau_1Apr17.jpegSergio Aido: Lots from Latz

The two of them then checked a flop of Q♣10♦7♦, leading to the 4♠ on the turn. I’ll confess I’m not totally sure how all the chips now got in the pot at this stage, but it seemed to be a lead from Aido, a shove from Latz and a call from Aido. The cards were soon on their backs:

Aido: Q♥Q♠
Latz: A♠Q♦

Latz got up and pretty much ran away, but Aido and O’Dwyer called out in chorus, “Hendrik!” Latz came back and Aido said, “It’s pretty close.”

The dealer counted out the 196,000 Aido had in his stack which was quickly established to be marginally more than Latz had. Everyone had a good old chuckle and Latz got up to walk away again.

“Hendrik!” they called once more. This time, he need to return his tournament entry ticket so his bust-out could be properly recorded. It was like calling a spirit back down from heaven to look at his corpse.

Anyway, after all the misery Latz is now gone, while Aido has about 560,000. — HS

STOP PRESS: Latz has since bought back in again. The random draw has placed him in the exact same seat he vacated a few minutes ago.

5:45pm: Alvarado doubles Liang
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

JC Alvarado has just lost a big chunk of his chips, which are now sitting in front of Yu Liang.

After a 6,000 under-the-gun open from Sam Greenwood, Liang made a three-bet to 20,000 and it folded to Alvarado in the cutoff. He came in for a cold four-bet to 50,000, which shook off Greenwood. Liang then put in all of his yellow 5K chips, incorrectly thinking that Alvarado’s raise had put him all in. Instead he’d just called, leaving himself 44,800 behind.

After the A♥3♠4♠ flop, Liang checked and Alvarado put him all-in for real. Liang quickly called with the A♣J♣ which was ahead of Alvarado’s Q♠Q♥. The 5♣ and 4♥ completed the board to give Liang a double up.

After that, Liang is still below the starting stack with 210,000, while Alvarado has fallen to 110,000. –JS

5:42pm: Chew’s got chirping chips
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

In the City of Dreams Stevan Chew just hit the river card of his dreams to win a huge pot that has powered the Australian into the chip lead.

I picked up the action on the turn of a 9♠6♣8♣9♦ board to see JC Alvarado (big blind) betting 20,000 – indication that this pot was still reasonably small. Chew (middle position) called and Ahadpour Khanghah (small blind) did likewise.

The J♥ completed the board and Khanghah led out, betting 40,000. Alvarado first looked at Khanghah and then at Chew. He then cut out raising chips and slid a bet of 120,000 into the middle. This sent Chew into the tank. He’d already used one of his timebank chips in a previous hand and now he needed another. He placed it into the pot and then, a short time later, announced that he was all-in. Khanghah damn near snap called and Alvarado was almost as quick to muck.

Chew turned over J♣J♠ for a rivered full house and Khanghah could only wince as he showed 9♣8♠ for an inferior full house. Chew had Khanghah covered and is up to 830,000 after winning that monster pot. –NW

5:40pm: Zhao doubles through O’Dwyer
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Steve O’Dwyer might have just lost his first pot of this tournament. It’s all been smooth sailing for the “Irish” man so far today, but Qiang Zhao just presented him with a bump in the road.

We’re not sure when the money went in, but in the end Zhao had doubled up with his 9♣9♥ against O’Dwyer’s A♦K♣ on an 8♦9♦A♣6♠Q♦ run out. His set beat top pair and brought him up to 188,400, while O’Dwyer drops down to 518,000 – still one of the biggest stacks in the room. –JS

5:30pm: Done deal
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Deal negotiations in poker tournaments can often drag on as each party fights their corner. But not when there’s another tournament to play they don’t. Ten players returned today to play to a winner in the $82K Single Re-entry High Roller, and with three remaining each was keen to jump into the Super High Roller, which provided all the motivation required to cut an ICM deal.

Mike Addamo, Nick Petrangelo and Roman Korenev comprised that triumvirate and, by virtue of having the biggest stack of the three, Addamo was declared the winner. He picked up a tidy $1,522,855 for the win. That’s enough to cover three bullets in this event and still have plenty left over! –NW

5:25pm: Kitai doubles
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Back from the break Davidi Kitai just doubled up through Guodong Sun. Kitai had aces to Sun’s pocket kings. Neither player hit anything on the board so the aces held up. Kitai up to 340,000 now while Sun drops to about the same. — SB

5:20pm: Newcomers, with chips
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The latest recent influx of players includes Philipp Gruissem, Stanley Choi, Dan Smith and Adrian Attenborough. We’re up to 56 entries total, including five re-entries. Of them, 48 players remain. The chip-count page has recently been updated too. — HS

5pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 4, which is the halfway point for the tournament. We’ll be heading into Level 5 in 15 minutes. — HS

4:55pm: Too focused to be Quoss
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

When Fabian Quoss is in the zone, he’s really in the zone.

He just opened a hand to 5,500, and got a call from Ali Reza Fatehi. The action was on Guodong Sun when all of a sudden – CRASH! A loud thud was heard around the poker room. Martin Kozlov had moved his chair back, knocking over a table stacked with teapots and mugs, and full of bottles of water which went rolling around the floor.


Fabian Quoss: Focused

Kozlov was sat right next to Quoss, but his focus never left the hand. He stared at Sun and saw him put in a three-bet to 24,000. After some thought he let his hand go (as did Fatehi) and finally took a glimpse at the chaos that was now on the floor surrounding him. –JS

4:45pm: Quoss doesn’t fall for the set up
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

A nice little nugget of Super High Roller poker trickery here in a hand that you suspect would have played out somewhat differently in a lower buy-in event.

It was Daniel Dvoress who got the action started. He opened to 6,000 from middle position and Davidi Kitai called from the hijack. Fabian Quoss was on the button and raised to 25,000. Dvoress was the only caller.


Daniel Dvoress: Put this man on pocket queens?

On the 4♥Q♣2♠ flop Dvoress check-called a bet of 21,000 and the 8♣ fell on the turn. Both players checked and that pattern repeated itself on the 9♦ river. Dvoress rolled over Q♦Q♥ for a slow-played pair of queens that had turned into a set on the flop. For his part Quoss had cooled his jets after being called twice. –NW

4:40pm: More Salt with that
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Jack Salter just secured a full double-up through Matthew Wakeman, but knew he might not be good when he called all-in on the river. His set of sixes were, however, the best hand and he has about 350,000 to play with now.

The hand started when Salter raised to 6,000 from under the gun and then Wakeman three-bet to 20,000 from the button. Salter was the only caller, which took them to a flop of J♥4♠6♦.

Salter check-called Wakeman’s 16,000 continuation bet, leading to the K♠ on the turn. Salter checked again and Wakeman bet 48,000. Salter called.

The 10♦ fell on the river and Salter checked for a third time. Wakeman slowed down and spent a time-bank chip contemplating his next move. Eventually he decided to push a tower of yellow chips forward, covering the 90,000 that Salter still had back.

Salter muttered something before making a fairly quick call. He tabled his 6♣6♥ and it was better than Wakeman’s A♠K♥.

Wakeman offered a “Well played” in Salter’s direction, and is left with about 25,000. Salter now has enough to play some poker. — HS

4:35pm: It’s all gone bad for Vlad
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy was slumped in his chair and sipping on a hot beverage of some kind. His body language seemed to suggest that the drink was the only good thing going on in his life right now. A quick look at his stack indicated the reason for this malaise. He had only about a third of his starting stack left.

He was also facing a raise of 6,000 from Dario Sammartino who’d 3x’d it from the button. The Russian pro elected to triple this bet and made it 18,000 to go. Call from Sammartino. On the 10♠4♦7♠ flop Troyanovskiy – still slumped low in his leather chair – made it 12,000 to play, Sammartino all but min-raised by making it 25,000 to play and Troyanovskiy stuck around.

On the 7♦ turn Troyanovskiy shoved for his final 30,000 or so and Sammartino snap called. The Italian showed K♥10♣ and was ahead of Troyanovskiy’s A♣K♦. The 7♣ river was a blank and Troyanovskiy was on his way. –NW

4:30pm: Khanghah’s more than he can Chew
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Ahadpour Khanghah is baffling some of the high rollers here today with his unusual play. In this latest hand, Stevan Chew opened to 5,000 and got a call from Yu Liang in the small blind. Khanghah then three-bet from the big blind to 10,000, only for Chew to four-bet to 35,000. Liang let his hand go, but Khanghah didn’t hesitate to call.

The flop came J♠K♠8♦ and both checked to see the 3♠ turn. Khanghah then check-called a 40,000 bet, leading us to the 6♣ river. Khanghah then shoved for 172,400, and Chew seemed confused by the play. Whatever his thought process, in the end he decided to fold and Khanghah scooped the pot. Chew is still very healthy with around 400,000. –JS

4:20pm: Hongjun Hong-gone
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Zhao Hongjun is the latest player to be knocked out. Circumstances of his demise are unknown, but his tournament receipt is on the pile of the departed alongside two from each of Jean-Noel Thorel and Yu Liang and one from Ahadpour Khanghah.

4:15pm: Thorel wounds Wang
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

(This hand took place at the end of Level 3.)

This is one of those pots that, as a reporter who is not privy to the cards, you really want to go to showdown. Sadly it didn’t, but it was still an interesting pot. Yang Wang was the pre-flop aggressor. He raised to 4,000 from early position and picked up calls from Troy Quenneville (button) and Jean-Noel Thorel (big blind).

A 8♣4♦A♠ flop hit the felt and the action checked round to Quenneville. He bet 7,600, Thorel called and Wang then check-raised to 23,000 total. Interesting. This raising of the stakes didn’t shake either of his opponent’s though. They both called and the 9♦ fell on the turn.


Yang Wang: Tough to shake

Wang bet 48,000 and Thorel was the only caller. The 4♥ completed the board and Thorel elected to take the betting lead. He moved all-in and Wang was now faced with a decision for his entire stack. He had 122,000 back and that’s what he finished the hand on as he mucked his cards. Thorel is now up to 390,000–although is on his second bullet. –NW

4:10pm: Sun is shining
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Guodong Sun’s day just got a little better. Following on from his double up courtesy of Ahadpour Khanghah, he’s just taken a small pot from Davidi Kitai.

Sun was first to act pre-flop and he counted out 4,300, before glancing up at the clock to see the level had changed. He then increased his bet size to 6,100 and tossed in the chips. Kitai defended his big blind and it went heads-up to a flop.

The dealer spread the 3♥10♦4♠ and Kitai check-called 10,000, before check-folding to a 40,000 bet on the K♠ turn. Sun is up to 520,000 now, and Kitai is still hovering around the starting stack of 250,000. –JS

4:05pm: Roll on Level 4
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

You won’t find a Level 4 in a Chinese hotel, but there’s no room for superstition in a poker tournament schedule. Unlucky for some it may be, but Level 4 is now under way. — HS

4pm: Good start for Juanda
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

A big hand just played out between Troy Quenneville and John Juanda.

Quenneville opened for 3,500, which Jean-Noel Thorel called from the small blind. Juanda was in the big blind and called for the 9♥8♥6♣ flop.

Thorel checked and Juanda bet 75,000. Quenneville then tossed out a raise, making it 16,700 to play with considerable vigour. Thorel, fingers on his cards, leaned forwards and backwards a bit before folding. Juanda meanwhile, looked at his cards again and then called, which prompted Quenneville to look at his cards again too.

The turn was the 7♦. Juanda checked and Quenneville bet with a flourish again, a total of 28,700. Juanda took his time, and called, before both checked the 9♦ river card.

Juanda turned over 9♠8♦. Quenneville looked at what Juanda had and let it sink in. Then he mucked.

He drops to 180,000 while Juanda makes a good start, up to 300,000 already. – SB

3:55pm: Liang returns
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 300)

Yu Liang, who has twice been eliminated already, is still in this tournament. He’s just bought in for his third $400,000 bullet and is seated at the table he last vacated. He can see his old chips in the possession of Stevan Chew.

He also has Mustapha Kanit, JC Alvarado, Isaac Haxton, Michael Egan and Sam Greenwood for company. Tough draw. — HS

3:40pm: Salter doubles Thorel, Khanghah falls to Sun
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 300)

It’s been an up-and-down day for the always-entertaining Jean-Noel Thorel, but things are certainly on the up right now as he’s just secured a double up courtesy of Jack Salter.

Thorel kicked off the hand with a 4,000 under-the-gun open and that picked up two callers, including Salter in the big blind. The flop came 10♥8♣8♦ and it checked to Thorel who continued for 5,100. The button called, only for Salter to raise it up to 25,000. Only Thorel would call.

The two then saw a 6♦ turn and Salter slowed down, checking it over. Thorel fired again for 30,000, but now Salter slid out a huge stack of 5K chips, amounting to what we can only guess was around 170,000 – or enough to put Thorel all-in.

He quickly called, tabling the 6♠6♣ for a turned boat, and Salter was drawing thin with his 8♠5♠. The river bricked and he dropped to 125,000, while Thorel is up to 370,000 now.

Meanwhile, another big pot was being played out between Ahadpour Khanghah and Guodong Sun. With plenty in the middle already, Khanghah moved all-in on a K♣9♦7♠8♠Q♥ board and Sun quickly called with his A♠A♥. That was very good, as Khanghah quickly showed what looked to be one pair – sevens. Khanghah is out, while Sun is up to around 450,000. –JS

3:35pm: Liang downed again
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Eight is a lucky number here in China, but Yu Liang isn’t going to want to see another one any tie soon. He just ran pocket tens into Stevan Chew’s flopped set of eights–the board was 6♠7♥8♥J♦7♣–and that’s the second bullet accounted for for Liang. Chew, meanwhile, has about 580,000. — HS


Yu Liang: Bad day

3:25pm: Adams on the move
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Timothy Adams is on the move, with more players meaning more tables and more gaps to fill. Almost immediately he got involved in a hand against Nick Wong, who opened to 4,000, which Adams called from the big blind.

The flop came 3♣Q♥10♦ and after Adams checked Wong bet again, 5,000 this time. Adams called for the 9♦ turn, which both players checked. The river came 2♦. Adams, listening to music through headphones to block out the sound of music from playing across the casino, checked one last time, leaving it to Wong to bet 11,000. That was enough to win the hand. Wong moves up to 230,000 while Adams drops slightly to 280,000. – SB

3:20pm: Move over bro
Level 3 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Shortly before the break Mustapha Kanit took his seat in this event. Well, to be honest to be exact he tried to take his seat in this tournament but couldn’t. It’s not because Kanit didn’t have the dinero, but because space was a bit tight.

Kanit had been assigned to the the two seat but he and Behzad Ahadpour – who was in the same seat at the adjacent table – were far too close for comfort. The floor was called and with just a couple of minutes to go to the break it was the easiest call of the day. They’d move the tables further apart during the break. With that Kanit disappeared to get some ice cream. Cool story bro. –NW

3:05pm: Big stacks (very gently) collide
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 300)

The two players with the biggest stacks right now – Michael Egan and Ike Haxton – are sat with just one player between them (Stevan Chew), so it was only a matter of time before they played a pot together.

It wasn’t a big pot, mind. Picking up the action on a K♣3♠8♥ flop, Haxton checked and Egan made it 5,000. Yang Wang folded from the button, and Haxton made the call to see the 10♠ on the turn. Egan continued for 17,000 when it checked to him, but this time Haxton let his hand go. –JS

3pm: Back to it
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 300)

Action is under way again in Level 3. We now have 40 entries, including one re-entry. — HS

2:40pm: Sets over sets, wherever you turn
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

While most players were heading off on their break, two hands were yet to finish. They’d both turn out to be big ones; one resulting in a double up and the other in an elimination.

On the turn of a K♥3♠4♠7♦ board, Nariman Yaghmai and En Ning Chen got all their chips in (Chen was the player at risk). He was ahead though with the 7♠7♣ for a turned set, beating Yaghmai’s 4♦4♣ for a flopped set. The river came the 8♠ and Chen doubled to around 470,000, while Yaghmai dropped to 170,000.

On the other table, Michael Egan had bet 80,000 on an 8♠J♣3♥6♠5♠ board only for Yu Liang to shove all-in. Egan called with the 8♣8♥, and his set was best against Liang’s 6♦6♥. Egan is up to 590,000 now, while Liang may choose to re-enter.


Yu Liang: Latest victim of set over set

And off they go for the first 15-minute break of the day. –JS

2:35pm: Alvarado finishes the level well
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

JC Alvarado will reach the first break of the day with more chips than he started with, thanks to two pots that take his stack up to 270,000.

He opened the first hand from the button for 3,000, which was called by Ollie Price in the big blind for a flop of Q♠9♠5♥. Alvarado’s bet of 4,000 was then called for a 6♣ turn card, and he bet at again, 12,000 this time, which was good enough to force a fold.

In the next hand Timothy Adams opened for 3,000 under the gun, which Vladimir Troyanovsky called before Alvarado and Tom Quenneville called.

The flop came 10♦K♦9♥ which was checked to Alvarado. He bet 9,000, which proved enough to win the hand as the level ended. (But stick around because there were two enormous pots on other tables before the klaxon sounded for the first break of the day.) — SB

2:30pm: Liang chips up
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We’d already seen Yu Liang lose a big pot involving an all-in (see 2:15pm) but he’s now batting .500 and is almost back to his starting stack.

His opponent in this hand was Sam Greenwood, who opened to 3,000 on the button only for Liang to up the ante to 11,000 from the big blind. Greenwood was going nowhere, but he wasn’t calling either. He four-bet to 27,000 and Liang took 26 seconds before calling.

On the A♣10♣8♥ flop Greenwood made a small c-bet of 13,000 into the pot of more than 55,000. This time it was Liang’s turn to raise. He check-raised to 38,000 and Greenwood called.


Yu Liang

The A♠ turn checked through and the 8♣ river made this a double paired board. Liang moved all-in for what looked like a shade under 100,000 and Greenwood didn’t even ask for a count and folded with a couple of seconds left on his shot clock.

Greenwood is down to around 150,000 as a result. –NW

2:25pm: Roosters, eating crow, or something
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Yuan Li, complete with a jacket emblazoned with pictures of roosters (it is the year of the Rooster after all) opened to 3,500 from the small blind, having seen no raising up to this point. Tobias Ziegler was in the big blind and called for the 8♥6♣4♥ flop.

Li bet another 4,000, which Ziegler called for the 5♥ turn, which went check-check. On the 7♦ river card Li checked one last time before Ziegler bet 35,000. Li wasted little time in folding, showing the 7♥.

Li is back in action after winning the ACOP Super High Roller event here in November.


Yuan Li: Year of the Rooster

2:15pm: Egan empties the clip
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Despite the blinds and antes being small in comparison to the stacks, there are no shortage of big pots to report from the early proceedings.

The latest to fall in the category of “large” involved Yu Liang, Stevan Chew and Michael Egan. It was Liang who opened the action, he raised to 3,500 from under the gun, Chew called on the button and Egan decided to three-bet to 19,500 out of the small blind. Both players called.

So there was more than 60,000 in the pot as the dealer fanned a 2♦5♥Q♣ flop. Egan led for 21,000, Liang called and Chew folded. The two remaining players went to the 7♣ turn, on which Egan bet 52,000. It took Liang all of his allotted 30 seconds to come to his decision and it was to call.

The 3♥ completed the board and pretty swiftly Egan announced he was all-in. It didn’t take Liang as long to reach a decision on this street. His cards went into the muck in less than five seconds. That pot means Egan is up to 345,000. –NW

2:10pm: Troyanovskiy meet Nariman
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy’s stack has taken a bit hit at the hands of Nariman Yaghmai. It all started when the latter opened from under the gun to 3,000, and got a call from Timothy Adams. Troyanovskiy then three-bet to 13,000 from the hijack, only for Yaghmai to four-bet to 31,000 when it folded back to him. Adams got out of the way, but Troyanovskiy called.

Heads-up to the flop, it came the 9♣2♥8♣ and Yaghmai made a relatively small 13,000 c-bet, which was called. The turn was the 6♥ and now the bet was 44,000. Again, Troyanovskiy didn’t budge.

When the 3♠ river hit Troyanovskiy’s gaze didn’t move from Yaghmai, who continued again for 65,000. When he finally looked at the board to see what the card was, he went into the tank (as much as you can with a 30-second shot clock) but eventually made the call.

Yaghmai rolled over the Q♥Q♠, and those ladies caused Troyanovskiy to muck his hand with a sigh. He’s down to 130,000 now, while Yaghmai is up to around 390,000. –JS

2:05pm: Haxton extends lead
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

There was a flop of 2♣6♣8♠ and Sam Greenwood checked to Isaac Haxton on the button. Haxton bet 3,600, which Greenwood called for a turn card 3♥, which was checked both ways.

On the 5♠ river Greenwood bet 25,000 (with the shot clock down to three seconds). That furrowed Haxton’s brow, which you figured wouldn’t be easy to de-crease inside of 30 seconds. Haxton’s A♠Q♥ did the job though. It was a good call, beating Greenwood’s 10♥9♥.

Haxton is up to 460,000 now, while Greenwood drops to 160,000. – SB

2pm: Steady hand for Quenneville
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

JC Alvarado opened for 3,000, and Leo Cheng called from the small blind. Tom Quenneville was in the big blind. He’d just topped up his vape-inhaler thing, filling a pipette from a small bottle with the care of a man transferring plutonium rods into a DeLorean. He now reached for his chips with equal care, betting 13,500. Alvarado asked how much and then called, heads-up for a flop of 10♠7♣8♦, but folded when Quenneville bet another 12,000. – SB

1:55pm: Quoss collects
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

A large pot developed between Fabian Quoss and Guodong Sun. We picked up the action on the river of a 6♦5♠4♣8♦J♦ board and 118,000 had already found its way into the middle.

Action was on Sun and his shot clock almost reached zero before he checked the action over to Quoss. The German player paused for a few beats and then pushed out a bet of 85,000. His opponent wanted the chips cut down to see exactly how much it was to continue in the hand. Evidently it was too much as he mucked. Quoss collected the spoils and he’s up to 315,000. –NW

1:50pm: Level up
Level 2 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We’re into Level 2 now, with Jean-Noel Thorel the only player to be eliminated in the first hour. He has, of course, re-entered. Tobias Ziegler is the latest player to enter, bringing us to 29 players, plus one re-entry so far. Both tallies are sure to rise over the coming seven levels. — HS

1:50pm: Adams up, then down
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

We’re up to five tables now. It features Troy Quenneville (who so far has appeared at every “new” table today), Tim Adams, Vladimir Troyanovsky, JC Alvarado, and Leo Cheng.

Adams just won a hand pre-flop, which started with a raise from Cheng. Adams three-bet, which proved enough to bring the hand to an end.

Then he took on Vladimir Troyanovsky on a flop of J♠4♦2♠.

Adams had bet 3,400 which Troyanovsky called for the A♥ on the turn. Adams bet another 14,100, which Troyanovsky raised to 26,500, forcing Adams for fold. He drops down to 116,000 (from the original starting stack of 250,000) while Troyanovsky moves back up to 220,000. – SB

1:45pm: A couple of interesting hands
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

That headline all depends on what you consider interesting, of course. If all you care about are bust-outs, you can stop reading now. However, if you’re here for over-bets and intriguing plays, read on.

The first hand we caught took place over on Sam Greenwood’s table. He opened to 3,000 under the gun and it folded around to Stevan Chew in the small blind who came in for a big raise to 14,000. Greenwood called.

The flop fell J♦7♣10♦ and both checked. They tapped the table on the 8♣ turn too. Both also checked the J♥ river and Chew showed the Q♣10♣, which was good enough to take it down.

Meanwhile, on another table, Jean Noel-Thorel opened from UTG+1 to 2,500 and got four callers. It was almost a family pot, but Jack Salter had laid his under-the-gun hand down. “Pretty embarrassing,” he said.

The dealer spread a 9♠9♥A♥ flop and it checked around to the 4♠ turn. Now Sergio Aido, who was in the small blind position and therefore first to act, made a more-than-pot-size bet of 15,000. It folded to Shan Huang on the button and he called. The river came the 4♦, and when Aido continued for 21,000 Huang let his hand go. –JS

1:40pm: One-armed Jack
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

As mentioned below Jack Salter is playing today with his left arm in a sling. The British pro first came to prominence when he finished runner-up to Antonio Buonanno at the EPT10 Grand Final.

When he moved all-in at that final table, Salter would express his intention by requesting the all-in triangle: pushing the thumb and forefinger of his two hands together. He will have some difficulty doing that today. A brief conversation with Salter revealed that a motorbike accident caused the injury. –NW


The one-armed Jack Salter

1:30pm: Beat the clock
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

With the shot clock in play each player has three white chips that they can deploy as a time bank, which extends their thinking time by another minute. Jack Salter (who plays one handed, with his left arm in a sling) asked whether these were renewed on Day 2 or indeed at the final table, to which the answer is no. Once these chips are gone, they’re gone. – SB

1:25pm: Quoss connection
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

When Fabian Quoss took his seat, he was greeted with a big hug from table mate (and friend, clearly) JC Alvarado. After the two exchanged pleasantries, it was straight down to business for Quoss.

He opened to 2,500 from UTG+1, which got calls from Iran’s Ahadpour Khanghah in the cutoff and Guodong Sun on the button. Daniel Dvoress then completed his small blind, but Alvarado opted not to call from the big blind.

The four saw a Q♠A♣4♦ flop fall, and it checked to Quoss who chose not to continue betting. He checked it, letting Khanghah take control with a 6,000 bet. That got folds all round and he raked in the small pot. –JS

1:20pm: Haxton busts Thorel
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

We have our first re-entry following our first elimination.

In a confrontation that had seemingly been brewing from the outset, Isaac Haxton and Jean-Noel Thorel got all their chips in on a ten-high flop. Haxton had a pair of tens pre-flop; Thorel had a pair of sevens. Oh, and there was also a seven on the flop.

So the general gist is that it was set-over-set for the last of Thorel’s chips–about 100,000. Haxton now has about 320,000. — HS

1:15pm: No surprise to see…
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The field continues to swell and there are now 26 players spread across four tables as the opening level reaches the halfway point.

Among the high roller regulars we’ve spotted are: Timothy Adams, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Martin Kozlov, Daniel Dvoress, Sam Greenwood, Michael Egan, Sergio Aido and JC Alvarado. There’s also a welcome return to action for Fabian Quoss.–NW

1:10pm: Another early pot for Haxton
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Isaac Haxton just moved from table two to the new table (three) that has just opened. He was followed there by a waitress pulling along a side table (table 3a?), on which Haxton keeps a pot of tea.

After Jean-Noel Thorel limped from under the gun the action reached Yang Wang in the cutoff. Wang wears a T-shirt that reads “Real Eyes… Realize… Real Lies”, which is designed either to be deep or to make you think “Huh…?”

He called, as did Wayne Yap in the small blind. That brought the action to Haxton in the big blind. He put his phone down for a second to raise to 8,000. Everyone but Yap called for the Q♥7♦Q♦ flop. Haxton bet another 6,500 this time, which proved enough to force folds from everyone. – SB

1:05pm: Fast start for Haxton
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

As is expected with these Super High Roller fields, the players aren’t scared to get chips in the middle early. Ike Haxton and Jean-Noel Thorel just played a massive pot just 20 minutes into Level 1.

It started with a 3,200 open from Haxton on the button, which Thorel called from the small blind. The two went heads-up to an 8♠J♦2♥ flop, and Haxton continued for 3,000 after it checked to him. Thorel then tossed in a raise to 8,500, and Haxton quickly called.

The 10♥ turn hit the felt, and Thorel continued his aggression with a 10,000 bet. After a little thinking time, Haxton bumped that up to 55,000, and it didn’t take Thorel too long to call the huge raise. That led to the 7♠ on the river and a fast check from Thorel. Haxton paused for a moment before announcing he was all-in, and that resulted in a fold from Thorel, whose stack drops to 183,800. Haxton, meanwhile, is up to 316,200. –JS

1pm: Which tournament are you playing?
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The opening exchanges of the $400,000 Super High Roller event are taking place on adjacent tables to the resumption of the $80,000 tournament that kicked off this festival. Dan Smith, Mikita Badziakouski, Nick Petrangelo, Hendrik Latz, Mike Addamo and Dario Sammartino are among the 10 remaining in that tournament and they are just taking their seats too. They would all likely be playing the $400K if they weren’t otherwise occupied–and may do yet. Registration is open until tomorrow. — HS

12:50pm: JNT in the house
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

These Super High Roller tournaments usually comprise the biggest names in poker and some big names from the business world. We expect the majority of the businessmen in this tournament to hail from the Asia-Pacific region, but at least one big dog from Europe has made the trip.

Jean-Noel Thorel was here on time for the start of the tournament and it didn’t take him long to get settled in to his comfy leather chair and start accumulating chips. On just the second hand of play he three-bet a middle position open and picked up two callers.

A c-bet on the flop was enough to send the pot his way. Easy game. –NW

12:45pm: Is this thing on?
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

One glimpse of the shot clocks placed on each table for this event and I’m getting alarm clock flashbacks from this morning’s rude awakening. Jet lag is a pain, eh?

Anyway, with the action folded to him Yang Wang opened to 2,500 only for Sam Greenwood to put in a three-bet to 7,500. It folded back to Wang and he made the call to see a K♦J♥8♦ flop. Wang checked, and it was Greenwood’s turn to act.

At this point, Ike Haxton couldn’t help but notice the shot clock hadn’t been turned on yet. He motioned to the dealer who then gave it a press and the 30-second countdown began. When it got to around 13 seconds remaining, Greenwood made a c-bet worth 8,500, and that was enough to get Wang to fold. –JS

12:30pm: Getting seated
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Early arrivals are taking their seats here for the tournament. So far, Isaac Haxton and Sam Greenwood have been spotted at the buy-in desk, and Hendrik Latz is wandering through the tables. There are also at least four new faces, which bodes very well for the event.

When cards are finally tossed in the air and the clock starts ticking, they will play eight one-hour levels before being done for the night. — HS

11:50am: Welcome to a new era of poker in Macau!

Morning all and welcome to the PokerStars LIVE! card-room in the City of Dreams Casino for the start of PokerStars Championship festival. In truth, this is Day 3 of this enormous jamboree, but today is when the action hots up even more with the beginning of the $400,000 Super High Roller event.

Don’t get over excited. That’s four hundred thousand Hong Kong dollars (or HKD), which is roughly fifty-one thousand of your American greenbacks, or USD. Either way, it’s still pretty enormous.

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

Many of the world game’s leading lights are expected to Macau for this one, and for a full complement of tournaments running throughout the next nine days. Still around as we’ll have coverage of all of them. There’s a lot of these to be handed out.


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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