2017 ACOP Main Event: Nan Hong leads at end of Day 1A

October 23, 2017

A talented field took to the felt today on Day 1A of the HK$100,000 2017 ACOP Main Event. By the end of the first eight levels of action, 125 players had received a stack of 50,000, many of whom had been involved in the Super High Roller. Timothy Adams, who finished third, Daniel Dvoress (4th) and Paul Newey (9th) all hot footed it over to the Main Event upon busting from the Super High Roller final table that Dietrich Fast won.


A chin scratcher for Dan Smith

They were joined by the likes of JC Alvarado, Koray Aldemir, Steffen Sontheimer, Justin Bonomo, Dominik Nitsche, Adrian Mateos, Stephen Chidwick, Sam Greenwood, Luke Greenwood, Dan Smith, Sergio Aido, Manig Loeser, Grayson Ramage, John Andress, Quan Zhou, Nick Petrangelo, Stefan Schillhabel, Mikita Badziakouski, Mike Watson, Dario Sammartino, David Peters and Matt Moss. Tough crowd huh?


Nan Hong – chip leader

However, none of those talented players would be able to claim the end of day chip lead. That honour looked like it was going to end up with Brian Altman until the final hand of the night. The American, who won the Knockout Championship event here earlier this week, got off to a flying start in the Main Event. He was up to 80,000 by the end of the first level and his ascent continued throughout the day. He bagged 260,900 but he lost a small pot on the final hand of the day. That opened the door for Nan Hong and he duly burst it open. He ended the day on 269,500 and finished top of the pile. Other players who prospered during the opening flight included: Michael Falcon (220,700), Mian Wei (196,800) and Dvoress (164,300).


No curse of the chip leader for Altman

The villain in that final hand against Altman has already written his name into poker folklore. It was none other than the defending champion, Vladimir Geshkenbein. He was setting the pace at one point but slipped back into the pack by the end of play. Nonetheless, that win on the last hand of the day means he bagged a stack of 160,600. That’s more than enough to start Day 2 with as blinds will start at 600/1,200 ante 200.

He, and the other Day 1A survivors will return at 2pm on Wednesday to continue their quest to be the champion, the full overnight counts can be seen here. We’ll be back before them though, Day 1B starts at 2pm tomorrow and we’ll see you then.


The defending champion made it through

Day 1A coverage archive:

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12:10am: Play has ended
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

That’s your lot for Day 1A, we’ll be back for Day 1B at 2pm local time.
12:00am: Half a dozen
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The clock is paused and the floor announced they’ll play six more hands before players bag-and-tag for the night.

11:55pm: Chidwick doubles thorugh Alvarado
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Stephen Chidwick is now up to about 125,000 after doubling up through JC Alvarado.

We caught the tail end of the action when the board read 8♥7♣3♥A♦7♥ and the dealer was counting out Chidwick’s all-in stack: 36,500.

JC Alvarado then counted out that same amount from his and passed it over. Alvarado also had A♥K♣ in front of him for aces and sevens, but Chidwick had 10♥9♥ for a hearty flush.

Chidwick doubled to 125,000 while Alvarado was left with 36,000. –AV

11:45pm: Hong gets some more
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Our chip leader just got a few more chips.

Zhou Tong raised to 2,300 from the hijack that hand and Nan Hong called from the small blind. The big blind called as well but folded on the 4♥A♥5♣ flop after Tong bet 3,700. Hong called though and a K♣ came on the turn.

Tong led out again, this time for 8,500 and Hong called. A third heart, the 2♥, fell on the river and Hong took the initiative and bet 22,000.

Tong thought, then he folded. The hand left Tong with 85,000 while Hong chipped up to 265,000. –AV

11:35pm: Zhou just doesn’t know
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Quan Zhou was the epitome of a man who just didn’t know where he was in the hand, he had been put to the test by Mian Wei for his final 42,000 and he was in real pain over the decision. The hand started with a raise to 2,200 Zhou flat called, Bowen Wang did likewise and Wei then squeezed to 11,000 from the big blind. The original raiser folded by both Zhou and Wang called.

On the K♦K♥3♥ flop Wei made a small bet in relation to the pot, as he wagered just 7,000. Zhou quickly called, but Wang was done with the hand. It was on the 9♦ turn that Lei turned the screw. He bet enough to set Zhou all-in and it sent Zhou deep into the tank. He stood up, sat down and then stood up again in quick succession. He had his chips in his hand and kept picking them up and slamming them into the table. It looked like he was going to call, but eventually he folded and the pot went to Wei. –NW

11:30pm: Nitsche applies pressure
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Dominik Nitsche just took down a pot after blasting with some interesting bet sizes.

The small blind checked to him in the big blind on a flop of 4♠9♥Q♥ and Nitsche bet 6,000. That was called and the 6♠ landed on the turn.

Nitsche was checked to again and decided to bomb it for 45,000 – about two times the pot. That sent his opponent deep into the tank but after a few minutes he threw his hand away.

They both looked at each other and shared a laugh of relief as the pot was pushed to Nitsche who stacked up a new total of over 125,000. — BK

11:20pm: Debuking stereotypes
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Not everyone loves a chopped pot. Billy Argyros definitely didn’t appreciate this one.

Yian Zeng started the hand off with a raise to 2,100 from the cutoff and Argyros three-bet to 6,500 from the small blind. Zeng called and the flop came J♦9♠7♣. Both players checked and a 10♠ came on the turn.

Zeng bet 10,000, Argyros called and a Q♠ completed the board. Argyros checked again and this time Zeng checked behind.

Zeng turned over K♥Q♣ and an exasperated Argyros flipped over K♣K♦ and slammed it on the table. “King queen,” Argyros muttered. He wasn’t a happy camper. Players split the pot and are also relatively close in chips.

Argyros has around 94,000 while Zeng is up to 110,000. –AV

11:10pm: Last two Red Dragon champions battle
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Alan Lau and Qiuming Qin won the MPC26 Red Dragon and MPC27 Red Dragon respectively and they’re sat next to each other at the table today. They’ve played a few hands together but it was Lau who won the most recent of them.

Lau raised to 2,500 from the cutoff preflop and Qin called on the button to see a flop of J♠7♦A♠. Lau continued for 3,500 and Qin called again before the dealer burned and turned the Q♠.

Lau then opted for a check and Qin took the betting lead, firing 6,500. The bet was called by Lau who checked again on the 2♦, but Qin cautiously checked back. Lau revealed K♣10♣ for the stone cold nuts with Broadway and that was unsurprisingly good to take him up to 105,000. — BK

10:55pm: Chip leaders
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are some big stacks being built and none is bigger than the one that belongs to Nan Hong. He’s quintupled his starting stack and is sitting very pretty indeed, with 250,000. His closest challenger is Brian Altman. The American leads the chasing pack with 240,000.

Name Country Chips
Nan Hong China 250,000
Brian Altman USA 240,000
Zhou Tong China 170,000
Vladimir Geshkenbein Switzerland 144,000
Dominik Nitsche Germany 142,000
Michael Falcon Denmark 140,000
Daniel Demicki Poland 137,000
Daniel Dvoress Canada 133,000


Nan Hong

10:50pm: Steicke and Chidwick clash
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

A mysterious figure in a red hoodie raised to 2,500 from middle position and Stephen Chidwick called from the button. Daniel Dvoress and David Steicke were in the blinds and both called as well.

Action checked to Chidwick on the 6♣4♥J♠ flop and he bet 3,000. Dvoress folded and the other two players called, bringing a 2♥ on the turn. Action checked to Chidwick again and he upped the bet to 12,000. Only Steicke called that time and an 8♣ completed the board.

Steicke bet 12,800 and Chidwick looked over to see Steicke’s stack: about 14,500 left. Chidwick thought for a bit and then folded. Steicke raked in the pot and rose to 70,000 while Chidwick dropped to around 45,000. –AV


Stephen Chidwick

10:40pm: Last level of the night
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The players are back for the final level of the day. 85 of the 130 participants remain, making the average stack 76,500. –NW

10:23pm: Break it up
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

We’re on the final 15-minute break of the day. Go stretch, take a power nap, watch an instructional Youtube video or don’t. We probably will.

10:20pm: Don’t Hata the player hate the game
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Aymon Hata was so close to a triple up but, instead, his Main Event is over. I joined the action to see him all-in pre-flop and he had picked up two callers – Dario Sammartino and Ye Wang. The two active players checked it to the river of a 10♣10♠A♦Q♥K♠ board, at which point Wang bet 8,500 into the pot of 43,000. Sammartino instantly called and showed J♥J♣ for the rivered straight, Wang could match that – he had the other two jacks – and Hata showed A♥Q♦, he’d been rivered. –NW

10:15pm: Mateos out
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Adrian Mateos couldn’t mount a comeback. The seat once occupied by small stack and a Spanish poker prodigy now sits empty. His tournament receipt is the only evidence left.

While Mateos didn’t make it to the last level of the day as a short stack, several others are. This includes Luc Greenwood, who’s been riding his short stack like a rented mule for some time. Greenwood is down to about 11,200 while Paul Newey, who’s seated to Greenwood’s left, is also short with 14,200. –AV


Adrian Mateos

10:10pm: Tong building a stack
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Zhou Tong was the chip leader at the end of Day 1 of the Super High Roller and he’s on for the double as his stack of 190,000 makes him the current chip leader of the Main Event. He got his latest boost by putting Shyngis Satubayev to the test.

On a A♣4♦2♦5♦ board Tong bet 15,000 into a pot of 17,000. Satubayev, who finished second in the ACOP Warm-up event, only had 23,900 back so the decision was effectively for all of his stack. He spent three minutes in the tank before an opponent called the clock. He used every second of his additional minute before folding his cards. –NW

10:05pm: Greenwood doubles through Smith
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Sam Greenwood has added a nice boost to his stack after a situation arose to see him double up through tablemate Dan Smith.

It was a favourable turn for Greenwood who held K♣8♠ on a board of 6♦A♠K♥8♥ and he checked from the big blind over to Smith in the cutoff. Smith fired for 4,400 and Greenwood moved in for 13,200. Smith didn’t hesitate to call it off with A♥10♦ and saw the bad news.

The 9♥ river was safe for Greenwood and he doubled through to leave Smith knocked down to 37,000. — BK

10:00pm: Small double for Mateos
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

It looks like Adrian Mateos dipped even further.

Mates was down to just 3,100 and moved all-in from under the gun. Stephen Chidwick called from middle position and the rest of the table let these two duke it out.

Mateos had the small stack, but the bigger hand with A♠Q♥ to Chidwick’s A♣10♣. The 6♣6♥4♥7♥A♥ board brought both players aces and sixes, but Mateos’s queen sealed the win.

Despite the win, Mateos is still short with about 8,000. –AV

9:50pm: Loeser and Wei chop it up
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Xuan Liu opened for 1,800 preflop and both Manig Loeser and Na Wei called from the small blind and big blind respectively.

The dealer fanned a flop of Q♥A♥6♠ and it was checked twice to Liu who continued for 2,700. Loeser called but Wei raised it up to 10,000. Liu quickly let it go but Loeser stuck around to see the 6♦ turn card.

The action then went check check and the 2♣ completed the board. Loeser checked a final time and Wei flicked out a 5,000-denomination chip. Loeser shrugged and tossed one in himself to see they were chopping it up with AJo apiece.

After slightly more than a refund, Loeser has 55,000 while Wei has double that for 110,000. — BK

9:35pm: Luc Greenwood jams, survives
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Qiuming Qin raised to 1,800 from the button and Luc Greenwood called from the small blind. Paul Newey was on the big blind and threw in chips for a call as well.

All three players then checked the 6♦4♠J♣ flop and the fourth card brought a 4♦. Greenwood bet 2,000, Newey called and Qin folded. A 7♥ completed the board and the short-stacked Greenwood moved all-in for 8,600.


Newey labored over his decision for a few minutes. He rechecked his cards during the process and then counted his stack a minute after that. He had about 23,500. After lying back in his chair for a bit, Newey decided to fold.

Luc Greenwood is now up to 18,600. –AV

9:20pm: Alvarado catches Mateos
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Adrian Mateos raised to 1,800 preflop and JC Alvarado defended his big blind to see a flop of 2♥J♣K♠. Alvarado check-called for 1,400 and then again for 5,500 on the 6♥ turn.

The 3♦ fell on the end and Alvarado checked a final time before Mateos went for a final stab at it with a bet of 14,500. Alvarado picked off the bluff and we caught a glimpse of the Q♦ in Mateos’s hand before his cards sailed into the muck, he was unable to beat Alvarado’s K♥5♥ for top pair.

After that misstep Mateos dips to 47,000 while Alvarado continues building, now up to 65,000. — BK


JC Alvarado

9:12pm: Busting batteries
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Some people enjoy busting their friends, but no one enjoys busting their phone charger. It can happen, Beh Kok Weng just did it.

Weng raised to 1,800 that hand and Yilin Yang moved all-in for 14,400 from the small blind. Weng called, turned over 3♠3♦ and Yang was flipping for his tournament life with A♥K♠.

The 10♥6♥8♠9♣6♠ board didn’t fall in Yang’s favor and he was eliminated from the tournament. Before he left though, he shook Weng’s hand and asked for the charging the device he’d lent him back.

Weng chipped up to about 90,000, but his phone is now running on its own power. Can it make it through the rest of the night? Can his stack? We’ll find out soon. –AV

9:05pm: Not even for a Rubik’s Cube
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Sam Greenwood did his best to elicit a call from Dan Smith by adding some value, but Smith was having none of it. The hand started with a raise to 1,800 from Julien Rouxel, Smith flat called and the action paused when it reached Greenwood, who was on the button. He carefully counted his remaining chips, which totaled roughly 29,000 and then moved all-in. This swiftly dispatched everyone bar Smith. As he was thinking through his options Greenwood placed his Rubik’s Cube (a free gift to all Main Event players) on top of his chips, to indicate that Smith could have that too if he knocked him out.

Earlier we reported how Smith has been struggling to complete his cube, so we don’t know if the prospect of another was a plus or minus point. Either way Smith folded, showing the A♦ as he did so. –NW

8:45pm: Break time
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Players are taking a short break at the end of Level 6.

8:42pm: A set on the river for Chin Wei Lim
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 75)

With an early position raise from Yueming Liu to 1,300 and a middle position call, there was lots of value for Chin Wei Lim and Woni Yun to call in the blinds. Call they did.

It was a Q♣4♦7♦ flop and a continuation bet from Liu of 2,200 saw calls from Lim and Yun, taking three players to the turn.

The 5♥ added nothing to the action, with everyone opting to check and so came a J♣ on the river.

Lim decided to lead for 9,100, which was close to a pot-sized bet and that got Yun quickly out of the way. Our pre-flop aggressor wasn’t discouraged though and made a seemingly easy call. He didn’t look happy to see Lim turn over J♦J♠ and threw his cards into the muck. -LY

8:40pm: Floor!
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

The floor had been called to Table 10 where there was some confusion over the actions open to Qinghong Zhang. This is what had happened so far, according to Kevin Stani, who was at the table.

Roy Wan had opened to 1,350, Dong Huo had flat called and Zhang had then squeezed to 6,900 total. This bet was called Wan and Huo had then shoved for 10,400 in total. Zhang had then shoved all-in, but Wan didn’t think that the shove was a legal move as he believed Huo’s shove didn’t count as a raise as it was less than the previous raise size. He was right.

So, it was ruled that Zhang could only call the 10,400 shove, which he did and Wan also called. On the 5♦K♦6♥ flop Zhang bet and Wan folded. Zhang showed J♥J♦ but was behind to Huo’s pair of queens. The 2♥3♦ turn and river kept Hup in front and he survived. –NW

8:37pm: Slowing down Yaroshevskyy
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Igor Yaroshevskyy is known for putting the pedal to the metal, but every now and then even Yaroshevskyy has to tap on the breaks.

Zheng Shen raised to 1,400 from the hijack and Yaroshevskyy called from the button. Ian Modder called from the big blind and all three players went to the 2♠K♠9♣ flop.

Action folded to Yaroshevskyy and he bet 2,600. Modder folded, Shen called and a 7♣ came on the turn. Yoroshevskyy bumped it up to 7,750 and Shen called. A K♦ completed the board and this time Yaroshevskyy checked.

Shen checked behind and then showed K♥J♦. Yaroshevskyy mucked and was left with about 34,000 while Shen chipped up to 60,000. –AV

8:35pm: They say you should never meet your heroes
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little disappointed in Dan Smith. He’s one of my poker heroes, and as humans, we put heroes up on a pedestal and assume they’re good at everything. They do say never meet your heroes as you’ll end up being disappointed. I now get what they mean.

Every entry to to the Main Event was gifted an ACOP themed Rubik’s Cube to play with at the table, and I’d noticed Smith struggling with his for a long while. Then Stephen Chidwick appeared with his completed and gave Smith some pointers on how to complete his.

After Chidwick rushed back to his table to avoid missing a hand, I told Smith I was disappointed. “I have no spacial awareness whatsoever,” Smith explained. “I’m really good at chess but it’s all intuitive.”


A head-scratcher for Dan Smith

He added: “Isaac Haxton is even worse than me though.”

I responded that I’d heard Haxton was the second best for his age in New Jersey growing up and Smith smiled while saying, “Yeah, but he comes from a state where they’re no good!” –MC

8:30pm: Thin value for Sammartino
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Dario Sammartino just squeezed a little value out of Christian Christner. It was the latter who kicked things off with a button-raise to 1,400 and Sammartino made the call from the small blind to see a flop of A♠Q♣4♣.

They checked it through and again on the 6♥ turn before the 2♠ completed the board.

Sammartino bet 1,600 on the end and Christner paid it off with the worst of it versus Sammartino’s Q♥7♥.


Christian Christner: Paid off Sammartino

That pot takes Sammartino up to 59,000 while Christner drops to 54,000. — BK

8:25pm: Two time?
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

With three quarters of Day 1A play almost done and dusted a familiar name is at the top of the chip counts. Yes, none other than last year’s champion, Vladimir Geshkenbein. He’s up to 168,000 and leads from Brian Altman and Daniel Dvoress. Below are the names of some of the big stacks and notables in today’s field.

Name Country Chips
Vladimir Geshkenbein Switzerland 168,000
Brian Altman USA 145,000
Daniel Dvoress Canada 142,000
Mike Watson Canada 96,525
Dimitar Danchev Bulgaria 83,000
Zhou Tong China 79,000
Steffen Sontheimer UK 75,000
Xuan Liu Canada 73,000
Adrian Mateos Spain 71,100
Stephen Chidwick UK 68,000
Manig Loeser Germany 68,000
Dominik Nitsche Germany 67,000
Dario Sammartino Italy 61,500
JC Alvarado Mexico 58,600
Matt Moss UK 49,600
Paul Newey UK 47,800
John Andress USA 45,000
Dan Smith USA 41,700
Quan Zhou China 40,050
Koray Aldemir Austria 35,000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 34,000
Sam Greenwood Canada 33,600
Aymon Hata UK 29,500
Kevin Stani Norway 27,500
Igor Yaroshevskyy Ukraine 26,000
Sergio Aido Spain 23,800
Lucas Greenwood Canada 19,900
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 17,300

8:20pm: Mateos doubles
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Adrian Mateos scored his first poker cash in Macau last week when he finished fourth in the Trident Super High Roller and now he’s doubled up to stay alive in the ACOP Main Event.

Cheng Xin Wang raised to 1,500 from the cutoff that hand and Mateos three-bet to 5,700 from the big blind.

Wang looked over at Mateos’s stack. The Spanish pro had 30,050 behind. Wang bet almost that much. He made it 26,500 and Mateos quickly moved all-in. Wang called and showed 9♣9♠ while Mateos tabled K♥K♦.

The A♠6♠4♦5♦5♠ board was devoid of any surprises for Mateos and he doubled to 75,000. –AV

8:15pm: Altman caught out
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Brian Altman has been crushing it so far today. He recently eliminated Nick Petrangelo but just lost a small pot in a battle of the blinds.

Altman was in the small blind and the big blind was the only other active player as they went to a flop of 4♣J♣5♦. It was checked through to the 9♠ turn card where Altman picked up the betting with a wager for 900.

The big blind called and the 6♣ river completed the board. Altman sized up on the end, firing for 3,200, but his opponent sniffed it out and called with just 10♠9♣ for second pair. That was enough against Altman’s K♦10♣ and he dropped to a still-healthy 140,000. — BK

8:10pm: Was Loeser bluffing?
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

”No bluff man!” said Manig Loeser after his river raise in a three-way pot got through.

Super High Roller players Loeser, Quan Zhou and Stefan Schillhabel all checked the turn leaving a board resting as 5♦7♥A♦Q♣3♦.

Zhou checked from the big blind before Schillhabel bet 5,600 from middle position and Loeser raised to 23,200 from the cutoff.

After Zhou tank-folded, Schillhabel had a decision for the rest of his stack. He admitted defeat as well and Loeser raked in the chips to rise to over 60,000.

Zhou dropped to 39,000. –MC

8:10pm: A few faces
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Who’s in the field today? Long Guan, that’s who. Who’s Long Guan? He’s our snapper on the Main Event this afternoon. Here are a few poker players he noticed:


Billy Argyros


Dan Smith


Dimitar Danchev


Dong Guo

7:55pm: Greenwood vs Watson
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Mike Watson has been enjoying a much better day than his table mate and fellow Canadian, Lucas Greenwood by the looks of it. Their stacks tell us that. The latter did manage to win a pot of former just now though to get his stack going back in the right direction.

It looked as if Greenwood had raised from under the gun and received a call from Watson in middle position but we picked up the action on the flop, which read 4♦2♣5♣. Greenwood led for 1,500 and received a called. He bet another 3,500 on the 4♣ turn and that got the Jon done.

Greenwood rose to around 20,000 and Watson dropped a little to 98,0000. –MC

7:45pm: Altman’s ascent continues as Petrangelo perishes
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

More info on the Petrangelo elimination sniffed out below.

Brian Altman already had a considerable stack in front of him and he’s now up to 145,000 after eliminating Petrangelo. Altman opened to 1,200, Petrangelo shoved for 7,050 and Altman called off the extra.


No title for Petrangelo

Petrangelo showed K♥Q♠ and he was dominated by Altman’s A♠Q♥. The 3♥9♥7♣A♣4♠ board brought no relief to Petrangelo and, after a short conversation with Timothy Adams, who was seated to his left, he was on his way. –NW


Brian Altman: Knocked out Petrangelo

7:30pm: Petrangelo picked off
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Nick Petrangelo had been short for a while, hanging around with a handful of chips worth about 6,000. Now he has none worth 0.

Petrangelo’s seat is empty, along with his hopes of winning the 2017 ACOP Main Event. –AV

7:20pm: Alvarado takes some off Dvoress
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

JC Alvarado is now back up to about starting stack.

Both Alvarado and Dvoress were in a raised pot, playing on a A♠K♦6♥ flop. Alvarado checked from the big blind and Dvoress bet 1,600 from the button. Alvarado raised it up to 6,000 and Dvoress called.

This brought silence. A 9♣ on the turn and a round of checks. The 5♣ was the last card on the board and Alvarado bet 13,500. Dvoress called but lost the pot to Alvarado’s A♦K♣. Despite losing the hand, Dvoress still has a healthy 115,000 while Alvarado is back up to around starting stack with 50,000. –AV

7:15pm: Alvarado on the up and up
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

It appears JC Alvarado has had a rough start today but he’s fighting back after recently fading danger to double up.

On a board of 5♣10♥Q♦8♦ it was checked over to Alvarado and he moved all in for 9,500. The player in the small blind didn’t look too happy about it but ended up calling off with K♣10♣, behind to Alvarado’s Q♠J♥.

The J♦ river proved safe for Alvarado and he was awarded the pot. — BK

7:05pm: Bonomo busto
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Justin Bonomo has made an exit after a cold deck helped along with a trap laid by Damian Zachowicz.

The two of them took to a flop of A♦9♣10♣ and Zachowicz checked from early position before Bonomo fired for 2,600. Zachowicz then reached deeper and played back at him for 7,700 to which Bonomo replied with an all-in shove.

Zachowicz snapped it off with 10♥10♦ and Bonomo saw he was drawing pretty thin with A♣K♦. Needing runner runner to remain in the hunt, Bonomo couldn’t do it as the 3♥ turn and A♥ meant the end of his ACOP Main Event run.

He heads to the reail while Zachowicz builds to 95,000. — BK

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1A Justin Bonomo.jpg

Justin Bonomo

6:55pm: Wang wins
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

What makes all the chips go into the middle on an innocuous 9♣3♣3♥ board? The nut flush draw versus second nut flush draw, that’s what. Cheng Xin Wang was the player at risk, he was all-in for his final 15,150 but he had way the best of it with A♣8♣ against Weizhou Zha’s K♣J♣.

He had to dodge some outs though and he managed to as the 3♠10♦ turn and river kept him in front and he survived. Wang is at a tough table that includes: Stephen Chidwick, Adrian Mateos, Daniel Dvoress and JC Alvarado. –NW

6:45pm: Start big, end big
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Justin Bonomo made it pricey to see the flop and then he also put a hefty price tag on the showdown. Things were free cards in between though.

The hand started with a raise to 1,250 from the hijack and Xiaojun Zhou called from the cutoff. Action folded to Bomono on the big blind and he raised it up to 6,200. The initial raiser folded, but Zhou came along for the ride.

The ride had stated fast, but then it hit a lull. Both players checked the Q♥9♠10♠ flop and then they checked again after the 5♦ came on the turn. This brought the final card, a 6♦, and a large bet.

Bonomo bet out 20,000 and Zhou thought for over a minute. Zhou eventually called and Bonomo turned over A♦2♦ for ace-high while Zhou showed 4♠4♦ for the win.

Bonomo dipped to around 35,000 that hand, while Zhou’s stack grew to nearly 80,000. –AV

6:20pm: Take a break
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

That’s the end of level four and the players are now taking a 15 minute break. –NW

6:15pm: Tough crowd
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Table three has stiffened up duing this level, with the arrival of a couple of heavyweights of the game. Mike Watson and Steffen Sontheimer have joined a table that already includes Lucas Greenwood and Paul Newey. –NW

6:05pm: Peters sent packing
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

David Peters registered late but found the exit early today after calling off on the river for his tournament life in a three-way pot.

The board read 7♠K♠Q♦9♦ when we picked up the action on the turn where Zhou Tong led out from the big blind for 13,000, and after Peters called, Seng Yee Leow moved all in for 19,850. Tong tried to shove over the top but the raising window wasn’t open so he was forced to call and Peters did the same behind.

The 10♣ landed on the river and Tong immediately flicked in enough to cover Peters’ 12,500 behind before he even saw the card. Peters went into the tank and eventually decided to call it off with K♦10♦ for two pair which was behind Tong’s J♣10♠ for a turned straight.

Leow had them both beat, however, after his A♠J♣ for the nut flush draw and gut shot combo had improved to Broadway on the river. He raked in a big pot while Tong fell to 70,000 and Peters hit the rail. — BK

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1A David Peters.jpg

David Peters

5:51pm: Bullish behavior
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

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5:50pm: Dvoress doing well, Mateos takes a seat
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Daniel Dvoress is off to a good start.

He’s more than doubled his starting stack and is now sitting with nearly 120,000. A few of those chips have come from one of the toughest opponents at his table, Stephen Chidwick.

Both times Chidwick gave it up on the flop. Chidwick called from the small blind one hand and Dvoress made to 1,400 to go. Chidwick called butthen folded when Dvoress bet 2,600 on the 9♠10♥J♠ flop.

Weizhou Zha then raised to 1,000 a few hands later and Chidwick called from the cutoff. Dvoress put a three-bet to 4,200 from the button and both players called.

The flop came Q♥5♣10♣ and action folded to Dvoress and he bet 11,000. His clientele vanished. Both players folded and Dvoress’ stack grew to about 120,000.

It’ll be harder to hold onto those chips now since Adrian Mateos just took a seat at their table. –AV

5:40pm: It’s too chill for Schill
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Stefan Schillhabel is the latest member of the Super High Roller fraternity to take his seat in the Main Event. He’s sat to the left of Xuan Liu and when he arrived he hung his bag on the back of his chair and sat down.

He quickly stood up again though, the German was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and decided he needed a little more warmth to combat the tournament room’s air conditioning. So up he got to put on a lightweight hoodie, surveying the field like an opening batsman as he did so. -NW

5:35pm: Bonomo bests Peters in battle of the blinds
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Blind battles can always add an extra level to any hand, especially between two top pros. That’s what may have just happened between David Peters and Justin Bonomo considering the size of the pot compared to their marginal holdings.

We arrived to the table with the community cards already all dealt out and the board showing 3♥8♦6♣9♣3♣. Peters was sitting in the small blind and in the tank. There was almost 15,000 in the pot but Peters ultimately checked and Bonomo made a quick check behind.

Peters tabled Q♦J♦ for just queen high but Bonomo had that beat with K♠6♥. He scooped the pot and moved up to 52,000 while Peters dipped to 37,500. — BK

5:30pm: Five-bet shove from Sam Greenwood
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

It started off with a simple middle position raise from Ro Woong Park. Action then folded to Sam Greenwood on the cutoff and he three-bet to 3,000.

The blinds folded and Park did the opposite, he four-bet to 9,000. Greenwood then thought for a bit and looked over at Park’s stack, he had about 31,500, slightly less than Greenwood’s stack.

Greenwood moved all-in and it was Park’s turn to think. He decided on a fold and was left with his 31,500 while Greenwood chipped up to about 44,000. –AV


Sam Greenwood

5:25pm: Chirping chips for Song
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Jianzhong Song was deep in the tank. He was facing a river bet of 22,000 from Sam Greenwood, who’d overbet the pot, which totaled 17,000. Song was starring at a 10♦3♠5♠Q♥K♠ board and trying to figure out what he should do. It was a long tank and Dan Smith decided he’d had enough of watching it, so he went for a wander and a chat with JC Alvarado. He arrived back just in time to hear the clock being called on Song by another player at the table.

Song didn’t even wait for the tournament director to arrive before his committed the calling chips. Greenwood showed J♣J♠ and Song opened Q♠Q♦ for a winning set of queens. “That was a long time for those cards to go face up,” remarked Smith at the end of the hand. After that skirmish Greenwood is down to 35,000 and Song is up to 89,000. –NW

5:15pm: Zeng takes some from Yaroshevskyy
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Yian Zeng, Zheng Shen and Igor Yaroshevskyy were staring down a 8♠10♣7♥flop and there was about 3,400 in the pot.

Zeng bet 1,700 from middle position and Shen called from the hijack. Yaroshevskyy, always a man of action, threw in a raise to 6,500. Zeng called, but it was too much for Shen and he folded.

A 7♦ came on the turn and both players checked, bringing a 2♣ on the river. They checked again and Shen showed A♣10♦. Yaroshevskyy couldn’t beat it and threw his hand into the muck.

The hand left Yaroshevskyy with about 40,000 while Zeng is closing in on the six-figure mark with 96,000. –AV

5:10pm: Greenwood gaining as he sends one home
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Sam Greenwood is stacking chips after eliminating a tablemate in the third level of the day.

It appeared the evictee had moved in with a straight draw as we arrived to see the board showing 5♠K♥J♠3♠6♠ with his Q♥10♠ no good against Greenwood’s K♠J♦.

Greenwood’s opponent hit the rail as Greenwood himself stacked a new total of 67,000. — BK

5pm: Not sure if Main Event or Super High Roller
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Table five has a strong whiff of eau de Super High Roller emanating from it. Dan Smith recently made his way to that table, he’s joined Sam Greenwood and Nick Petrangelo at the particular oval.

Almost all of the players who entered the Super High Roller will likely play Day 1A of the Main Event as tomorrow there’s a HK$300,000 Single-Day High Roller to occupy them.
So, it’s no surprise to see that David Peters, Stephen Chidwick and Daniel Dvoress have also joined the fray. The latter only busted out of the Super High Roller 30 minutes ago, and has already reinvested some of his winnings. –NW

4:54pm: Demlakian loses to Liu
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

And then Ken Demlakian lost some.

Demlakian and Xuan Liu were faced with a 2♦5♠4♣ flop in a raised pot and Liu bet 900 from the cutoff when checked to. Then Demlakian raised to 2,200 from the small blind.

Liu called and a Q♣ came on the turn. Demlakian upped the bet to 3,550 and Liu called again, bringing the 8♣ on the river. Demlakian slowed down to a check and Liu made it 6,700. Demlakian quickly called and showed A♦A♠ to Liu’s 4♠4♦.

“I knew it,” Demlakian said as Liu raked in the pot with her set of fours. “I knew it.”

Demlakian dropped to about 45,000 after the hand while Liu’s stack grew past 65,000. –AV


Xuan Liu

4:45pm: Demlakian gets it done
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Ken Demlakian has climbed back to starting stack after some well-timed aggression versus the preflop aggressor in a recent hand.

We arrived to see the flop spread 4♥10♥7♠ and Demlakian checked from the big blind over to the only other active player. The latter fired for 700 but Demlakian raised to 2,000. He was quickly called and the K♥ turn card brought three to a flush.

Demlakian then announced 3,500 and that was enough to get the job done. His opponent surrendered and the pot was pushed Demlakian’s way. — BK

4:35pm: Aido takes one out
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Aymon Hata raised to 1,000 from early position and Jun Jie Wang three-bet to 2,400 from the cutoff.

Sergio Aido was on the button and thought. He looked over at Wang’s stack, only about 18,400, and then Aido peeked over at Hata’s, about 50,000. Aido was on the button with pocket aces and was figuring out the best way to maximize value.

He went for a raise.

Hata folded, but Wang moved all-in and Aido snap-called. Wang turned over A♣K♦ and Aido showed his A♦A♠. The 3♣3♠8♦K♠Q♥ flop brought Wang a king, but it wasn’t enough to take down aces.

Wang hit the rail while Aido chipped up to about 80,000. –AV

4:07pm: Break time
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

The players are now on a 15 minute break. –NW

4:05pm: Stani off to a strong start
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

The number of EPT champions in the field has doubled. We’d already spotted Dimitar Danchev (see 3:20pm update) and can now report that Kevin Stani is also playing on Day 1A. The Norwegian player took down the first ever EPT Tallinn back in August 2010, winning €400,000.

He’s off to a good start here in Macau as he just won a chunky pot against Wiktor Malinouski. I picked up the action on the turn of a 3♠4♣4♠2♠ board to see Stani betting 3,000 into a pot of 3,600. Malinouski called and the Q♣ completed the board. Stani came out betting again, he settled on a size of 7,200 and, after a brief think, Malinouski made the call. Stani rolled over 3♥3♦ – good for a flopped full-house – and Malinouski mucked. –NW


A solid start for Stani

4:05pm: Petrangelo pushing
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Nick Petrangelo has recently joined the field and already raking pots.

In the hand just gone, Wenwu Xue raised to 500 under the gun and after picking up two calls from Sam Greenwood and Brian Altman, Petrangelo squeezed to 3,500.

Greenwood was the only one who stuck around to see the flop fall 5♣2♠9♣. He checked it over to Petrangelo who continued for 2,500. Greenwood called again to take them to the 9♦ turn card.

A final check from Greenwood was met with a sizable 16,000 from Petrangelo which was enough to award him the pot. Petrangelo now has 60,000 at his disposal.

3:55pm: Lessons are learned and Yaroshevskyy takes a seat
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

“I learned from you,” Zheng Shen said to Wei Liu as he raked in a pot. Liu, who is the only player playing with his PokerStars Rubik’s cube, has won a fair amount of chips and is up to about 90,000.

We suspect the PokerStars Rubik’s cube has magical powers that lead to increased poker skill and stack size, but we need a larger sample size.

Shen isn’t playing with his cube, but he got a double up anyways thanks to the lessons he’s learned from Liu. In his double up, Shen and Doug Huo got it in on the river of a 4♥2♠10♣5♥A♦ board. Shen had two-pair with 4♦2♦ while Huo had a lone one with 6♦6♥.

Shen doubled to 57,000 while Huo dipped to 19,000.

Shen and Liu are enjoying their chips, but it’ll be a bit harder to hold onto them now that Igor Yaroshevskyy has taken a seat in between them. Yaroshevskyy has more than $2.8 million in live tournament earnings, including a win in the €10K 6-handed event in EPT 11 Grand Final in Monte Carlo.

He’s yet to get a cash in Macau though.–AV

3:45pm: Aido and Hata
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

A number of big names have hopped into the field during the first half of the second level. Among them is Aymon Hata, he final tabled the PokerStars Championship Macau Main Event back in April. He busted in fifth place on that occasion, collecting HK$950,000 ($122,235). He’s in seat eight at table nine and when he looks across the table he’ll see the familiar face of Sergio Aido. The Spaniard, who used to live in the same house as Adrian Mateos in London, now spends a lot of time in Macau. A travelling poker pro doesn’t necessary call anywhere home, but Aido has a place here in Macau, so if anywhere is home for the Spaniard right now, it’s Macau. –NW

3:40pm: Song spinning it up
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Wenwu Xue kicked things off with a preflop raise to 550 from the hijack seat and picked up calls from Sam Greenwood in the cutoff, Brian Altman on the button and Jianzhong Song in the big blind.

The flop was spread 7♥7♦10♦ and it was checked to Xue who continued for 1,000. Greenwood folded, Altman called, but Song raised it up to 3,500. Xue flicked in the remainder but Altman let it go before the Q♦ fell on the turn.

Song loaded up again and fired for another 4,100 but that was too much for Xue who opted to let it go. Song’s stack now sits at 58,000. — BK

3:30pm: New notables
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

The field has now grown to 89 runners with a few new recognizable faces in the field.

Some of those making use of late registration were Xuan Liu, Ken Demlakian, Sam and Lucas Greenwood and Wayne Yap.

Also returning to defend his title is reigning ACOP Main Event champion Vladimir Geshkenbein. The Swiss player overcame a field of 302 last year to take home the title, the trophy and HK$5,643,000. — BK


The defending champion

3:20pm: Danchev joins the dance
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

The PCA2013 champion Dimitar Danchev is among the European contingent who’ve made their way to Macau for this tournament series. He’s hopped into the Main Event early on Day 1A. The Bulgarian had side event success at last year’s ACOP, he won the 6-max Championship event, defeating a final table that included James Obst and Simeon Naydenov.

We also spotted Lucas Greenwood pulling up a pew. He played the Super High Roller yesterday but busted short of the money. The Canadian is sat to the direct right of Paul Newey, a player who did make the money in the Super High Roller, despite being down to just two big blinds at one point. He went out in ninth place for HK$1.73 million. –NW

3:10pm: Playing and watching with Newey
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Paul Newey loves poker. Sometimes just playing it doesn’t fill his poker needs, so he’ll watch some while he’s at the table.

Newey is currently watching the €50K Prague Super High Roller while he playes the HK$100K ACOP Main Event. He’s also taking down some pots.

In one, Qiuming Qin raised to 400 from the cutoff and Newey called from the button. The flop came down 10♥2♥5♥ and Qin check-called Newey’s bet of 500. A 5♣ came on the turn and this time both players checked. An A♦ completed the board and Qin checked again. Newey bet 1,400 and Qin quickly called, but mucked after Newey tabled A♥8♥ for the flopped nut flush. –AV

2:55pm: Altman already all in
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Brian Altman has had a great ACOP so far, already shipping the Knockout Championship last week, and that looks set to continue after he’s chipping up in the Main Event following a first level all in.

We caught the action on a flop of 6♥10♥2♣ where Wenwu Xue checked in the cutoff before Altman fired for 1,600. The bet was called and the K♣ landed on the turn. Xue checked again but when Altman continued for 4,000, Xue raised it up to 14,000. Altman stuck around and the 3♣ arrived on the end.

Xue checked it and Altman moved all in with enough to cover Xue’s 22,000 behind. Xue couldn’t call off for his tournament life and instead relinquished his hand. That takes Altman’s stack right around 80,000 now. — BK

2:50pm: Zhang takes from Zhou
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Quan Zhou opened to 350 preflop and Hong Qing Zhang defended his big blind to see a flop of 4♠6♦J♥. Zhang checked it over to Zhou who continued for 525 and was called before the dealer turned the 2♦.

Again Zhang check-called, this time for 1,300, and the 10♣ rolled off on the river.

Zhang then led for 1,600 and Zhou paid it off to see Zhang table J♦10♠. Zhou mucked his hand and dropped to 46,000. — BK

2:40pm: The Main Event facts
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

It’s early days in the Main Event and the winner won’t be known until five days from now. You can check out the full 2017 ACOP schedule and structures here, but below are the cliff notes on how the Main Event will go from start to finish.

Key ACOP 2017 Main Event Facts:
– 50,000 starting stack
– Blinds starting at 75/150 for 333 big blinds
– Levels are 60 minutes for the first six levels and thereafter they increase to 90 minutes.
– There will be eight levels of play on Day 1, with late registration open until the start of Day 2.
– Day 1A is today, Day 1B takes place tomorrow, the field will then combine for the first time on Wednesday. The final table takes place on Saturday.
– Should players bust out of the Main Event there is no re-entry but there are plenty of side events and the ACOP Players Party takes place on Wednesday. –NW

2:30pm: Puzzles and prizes
Level 1 – Blinds 75/150

An ACOP Main Event buy-in isn’t the only thing you get for HK$100,000. As long as you’re in the tournament you get unlimited daydreams of being crowned champion and winning millions.

You also get an invitation to the ACOP Players Party which is being held on Wednesday. At the party you can get complimentary drinks and friends. On top of all that, all players are also getting a custom-made PokerStars Rubik’s Cube. Most players still have in theirs in the bag it came in, but a handful have taken it out.

Only one player, Wei Liu, is actually playing with it, mixing it up under the table and then trying to solve it between hands. Gotta stay sharp. –AV

2:15pm: Familiar faces in the field
Level 1 – Blinds 75/150

Things have only just begun here for the Main Event and 62 players have already pulled up seats.

We’re spotted a few familiar faces among the action including Dong Guo, Kelvin Beattie, Grayson Ramage, Paul Newey, Mike Huang and Dylan Honeyman.

Late registration is available all day so the field is expected to continue to grow throughout. — BK


Newey is out of the Super High Roller and into the Main Event

2:05pm: Cards are in the air
Level 1 – Blinds 75/150

Did you hear that? If you weren’t in the PokerStars Live room in Macau then you probably didn’t. If you were, then you just heard Rex Cheong announcing the shuffle up and deal.

Play is now underway in the 2017 ACOP Main Event. Stay tuned for more updates right here at the PokerStars Blog. –AV

1:30pm: ACOP Main Event Day 1A starting soon

Welcome back to PokerStars LIVE Macau where it’s time to gear up for the HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event. The flagship tournament of this of 17-day festival boasts a HK$25,000,000 guarantee and with all the notable names already spotted so far it’s guaranteed to be a star-studded field.

Last year it was Switzerland’s Vladimir Geshkenbein who overcame the 302-strong field to hoist the trophy and take home HK$5,643,000. He was seen just a few days ago playing the Warm-up event and is expected to try and defend his title this week.

Now all that’s left to do is wait until cards fly at 2pm for this opening Day 1 flight. Be sure to join us then!

ACOP 2017room shot2.jpg

ACOP Day 1A reporting team: Brad Kain, Alex Villegas and Nick Wright. Photos by Long Guan from Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog and get involved using the hashtag 2017ACOP


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