2017 ACOP: Shaoqing Liu leading the pack on Day 1B

October 24, 2017

Nothing short of a stellar field showed up for Day 1B of the ACOP Main Event today, and eight levels later, those who managed to survive the action were bagging up chips.

The 169-player field was truly stacked with notables. Adrian Attenborough, Kitty Kuo, Russel Thomas, Elliot Smith, Sam Cohen, Martin Finger, Steve O’Dwyer, Pete Chen, Kahle Burns, Maria Ho, Jason Les, Winfred Yu, Dong Kim, Jason Koon, Mustapha Kanit, Thomas Ward, Dietrich Fast, Mansour Matloubi, Timothy Adams, Tom Alner, Christoph Vogelsang, TJ Ulner, Jordan Westmorland, Akira Ohyama, Bryan Huang and Martin Jacobson (just to name a few) all pulled up seats.

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1B_021 Martin Jacobson.jpg

2014 WSOP Main Event champion Martin Jacobson in the house

Also in attendance, flying the flag for Team PokerStars were Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew, Aditya Agarwal and Celina Lin. Lew wasn’t seen until the final level of the day after an alarm-setting mishap saw his afternoon nap go a little longer than planned. All three Red Spades made it through Day 1 – Agarwal with 123,900, Lin on 55,400, and Lew bagging 29,400.

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1B_052 Celina Lin.jpg

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin

Climbing higher than everyone listed so far, however, was our end of day chip leader Shaoqing Liu.

Liu ended the day with 215,800 so it’ll be Day 1A chip leader Nan Hong with 269,500 leading the charge when play resumes tomorrow at 2pm. That’ll be a shorter stint at the felt to make way for the ACOP Players Party tomorrow night.

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1B_062 Shaoqing Liu.jpg

Today’s chip boss Shaoqing Liu

Be sure to join us then for everything you need to know direct from the tournament floor here in Macau. In the meantime you scroll down to read all about today’s action. — BK

Click for full chip counts

Click for Day 2 seat draw

• PLAYERS LEFT: 127 (of 167; registration open until Day 2)
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12:05am: That’s it
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1000 (ante 100)

That’s the end of play for today. A full wrap is on its way, but it looks like we have Liu Shaoqing in front with 215,800. That was nearly Tim Adams, but he lost a big pot at the death. The only other player with more than 200,000 seems to be Bobby Zhang, with 204,000. Li Cheng Bei’s 198,700 is pretty close. — HS

11:45pm: Final five hands
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1000 (ante 100)

Only five hands remain here on Day 1B.

11:30pm: Le Jossec busts Ward
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1000 (ante 100)

We missed the build up to this, but arrived in time to see that Thomas Ward with 10♠8♠ in the cutoff. Ward didn’t get it through, though, as Gabriel Le Jossec found 9♥9♦ on the button and called. Ward didn’t connect and surrendered his short stack. If he was hoping to repeat his success of two years ago, he will have to wait until next year to try again. -LY

11:25pm: Lin is chipping up
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1000 (ante 75)

Every time I walk past Celina Lin she seems to be winning a small or medium sized pot – largely without showdown.

After going down to a very short stack a few hours ago, she’s been plugging away nicely and this time was no different. I came to the table to see her cold four-bet from the big blind. Aleksandr Gofman had opened under the gun to 2,500 and was met with a 5,600 three-bet from Ryan Yum. But when Lin went over them both to 16,800 and was met with no resistance and took it down.

When asked how her tournament has been going, she remarked with a smile that it was going much better than four hours ago. In fact she has built back to 62,000, which keeps her in the middle of the field. -LY

11:15pm: nanonoko late but present
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 75)

The Team PokerStars contingent has swelled to three with the arrival of Randy “nanonoko” Lew. Team-mate Celina Lin didn’t have much go her way in the early stages, but is now rebuilding, while it’s better still for Aditya Agarwal, who has 95,000.

As for why nanonoko is late, allow the man to explain himself:

While we allow Lew to get himself settled, Agarwal just played a pot against Benjamin Hamnett and Aaron Been with the former two thinking they had a chop only for the latter to ruin it.

Agarwal started the ball rolling with a raise to 2,200 from under the gun. Been called a couple of seats along, then Hamnett called in the big blind.

There was no betting at all either on the flop of J♥A♦8♥, the turn of K♠, nor the 5♦ river.

Hamnett turned over 9♣9♥ and Agarwal turned over 9♠9♦. But their chuckles ended when Been showed J♠10♠ and had them beat out of this small pot. — HS

11:10pm: Juanda joins late and leaves not long after
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 75)

John Juanda just made a brief appearance in the Main Event. He made use of late registration only jumping in recently but he has already been relegated to the rail.

Chengbei Li informed us that he opened to 2,500 under the gun and after the cutoff called, Juanda moved all in for 46,000 from the big blind. Li snapped it off and with the cutoff out of the way both Li and Juanda tabled their cards.

Juanda: A♣K♣
Li: Q♥Q♣

It was a battle of two premium hands and by the end of it Li’s proved better on the 2♦7♦6♥3♣4♦ run out. The pocket queens held and Juanda exited the tournament area. — BK

10:55pm: I’m begging you
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 75)

Table 15 is next to break here, but for the time being it features Alex Difelice, Maria Ho, Martin Finger and Jason Les and so could be easier.

They’re also closest to the Hard Rock Cafe, from whose stage the house band is currently booming a version of Duffy’s Mercy. It’s an appropriate song for this particular band. Many a time have I wandered in there and seen diners peering up at the stage with expressions quite plainly begging for mercy. — HS

10:50pm: High Rollers assemble; others cling on
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 75)

Twenty-four hours ago, Steve O’Dwyer and Dietrich Fast were heads up for the Super High Roller title on PokerStars LIVE! Macau’s feature-table stage. Five minutes ago, Fast and O’Dwyer are seated in the Main Event as the last nine in the Single-Day High Roller pose for photos on the feature table stage. They’re all in the money now, playing for a prize pool to which both Fast and O’Dwyer contributed.

A reminder: you can read the High Roller coverage by clicking these words.

As those High Rollers were assembling, Fast was busy trying to get his Main Event going. But he now sits with 17 big blinds after coming off worse in a pot against Jessica Ngu.

Ngu opened the pot to 2,500 and Fast called in the cutoff. The big blind called too, but his was a cameo only. The 7♥8♠Q♠ flop checked through, then Ngu bet 5,200 after the Q♦ turn. Only Fast called.

The 2♦ completed the board and Ngu tank-checked again. Fast tank-checked behind, but he’d wriggled out of a trap. Ngu shows J♠Q♥ and Fast slid his chips purposefully into the muck.

He’ll have to re-build from 17,200 now. — HS

10:45pm: Last level
Level 8 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 75)

Righto, there’s one level left before they bag and tag. If you’ve come this far with us, you might as well stick around. —

10:25pm: Big name and big stack as break approaches
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

John Juanda is hovering by the buy-in desk and he may be the next to join this ACOP Main Event. Thailand’s Pakinai Lisawad looks to be one of the biggest stacks, if not the very biggest, with about 170,000.

We’re heading for the last break of the day now. They’ll come back and play one more level. –HS

10:20pm: O’Donoghue gets tricky on the river
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Thomas Ward, who finished second to Jimmy Zhou in this event a couple of years ago, opened in middle position and was called by both the blinds.

Going to the flop 10♠10♥4♣ Liam O’Donoghue and Michael Soyza checked to Ward and his bet of 3,000 pushed Soyza out.

Nothing was put in on the 8♠ turn but on the A♠ river it was a different story.

O’Donoghue checked to Ward, who made a bet of 6,200 and it wasn’t long before O’Donoghue raised it up to 20,000. It was too much for Ward and O’Donoghue took it down without a showdown. -LY

10:15pm: Agarwal increases his stack
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Since we last saw our Indian PokerStars Team Pro, Aditya Agarwal has been hard at work. Agarwal has built up to 80,000 and is way above average now. Long may this continue. -LY

10:15pm: Huang takes from Nikov
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

It’s not clear how the betting went pre-flop but as I arrived, both Dobromir Nikov and Bryan Huang players had put in about 15,000 each so this was at least a three bet, if not a four-bet situation.

Nikov was in the small blind and Huang was on the button. The cards came K♦J♠J♦ and there was a check apiece.

Moving on to the 8♠ turn, Nikov decided to lead with a bet of 12,100 and Huang called, leaving only the river to come. It was a 5♠ and both players elected to check.

Nikov tabled A♦10♦ for ace high and was beaten by Huang’s pair of kings with K♣3♣. Huang scooped a nice 56,000 to add to his stack. -LY

10:10pm: Jiang moves in
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Sosia Jiang recently moved all in on the river to put herself at risk but Chane Kampanatsanyakorn couldn’t contest.

Kampanatsanyakorn raised preflop to 800 and Jiang three-bet to 3,400 in the small blind. Kampanatsanyakorn called and the flop came down K♠A♣6♦. Jiang check-called for 3,500 before both players checked through on the 2♥ turn card.


Sosia Jiang: Moving in

The river brought the 10♠ and Jiang announced all in for 16,600. Kampanatsanyakorn considered it briefly but ultimately surrendered and moved down to 60,000 in chips. — BK

10pm: Always a new game
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Christoph Vogelsang and Shan Huang are two of the latest exiles from the Single Day High Roller to make their way to the Main Event. Both of them fell short of the money, though the bubble is drawing near.

Vogelsang just put a short stack under pressure, jamming the river on a board showing Q♠Q♥A♠4♣5♦. The shortie had 19,000 back and opted to preserve it. Vogelsang is a very polite man, but is ruthless at the table.

Meanwhile Huang, having declared, “I don’t think poker is the game for me,” as he was knocked out of the Single Day has gone back on that already and is busy chatting to Bryn Kenney while examining a starting stack for the Main. — HS

9:45pm: Guerrero the ace cracker
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Jimmy Guerrero seemed to be heading to the exit having got his last 30,000 in pre-flop with A♣K♥ and finding Jiaxiu Liu at the same table with A♦A♠.

But a few seconds later, there was a board of Q♠6♠9♥J♣10♥ on the felt and it was zero to hero for Guerrero, while Liu endured the opposite.

“Does this happen every time!?!” Liu shouted to a friend on the rail. “Just got my aces cracked again!” He then added, “It’s very sick” but used a different word than “very”.

Liu still has about 75,000 in his stack, while Guerrero doubles to around 60,000. — HS

9:40pm: Lucky river sees Lin live
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin was approaching the danger zone but now she’s well clear after doubling up through Huang-tu Wang.

Lin was all in and at risk for a little over 13,000 with Q♥J♥ and needed help against Wang’s A♠7♣. Things looked grim by the turn on the 8♦6♦3♠5♦ run out but the J♠ rolled off just in time to save her tournament life.

Lin secured the double and stacked up a new total of 28,000. — BK

9:35pm: What can Yu do?
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Here’s a nice double up for Raul Martinez to bring him back above starting stack. It’s not so nice for Winfred Yu, who lost the pot, but he still actually has a larger stack than Martinez (and there’s not much he could have done about this).

Martinez open-raised to 5,500 from the cutoff and Yu three-bet to 15,500 from the button. Martinez pushed for 34,800 and Yu called.

Yu had A♥K♣ and so had an over-card to Martinez’s K♠K♦. But there was nothing higher than an eight on the board and so Martinez doubled. — HS

9:30pm: Chip counts
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 75)

Coming back off the last break, here’s a note of some of the biggest chip stacks:

Ralph Wong – 180,000
Shaoqing Liu – 175,000
Pakinai Lisawad – 155,000
Sangjun Lee – 152,000
Sam Cohen – 137,000
Hung Wang – 135,000
Zhaojun Ruan – 128,000
Qiang Fu – 122,000


9:20pm: Set v set v two pair turned into a bluff?
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

An interesting hand just transpired between Bjorn Wiesler, Ryan Yum and Huang-tu Wang. We realised because most of their tablemates were gasping when the three of them turned over their hands.

From what we could gather, Wang and Wiesler checked it over to Yum who bet 8,000 with the board reading 8♠Q♠6♥4♥9♠. Wang made the call but Wiesler put in a raise to 22,500. Yum matched it and Wang called too before they all flipped their cards over.

Wiesler: 9♦6♦
Yum: 9♣9♥
Wang: Q♣Q♦

Wiesler’s two pair was trumped by Yum’s set which was trumped by Wang’s higher set.

“Why are you bluffing with two pair?” Yum asked Wiesler.

“You’re supposed to fold on that board,” Wiesler quipped back.

“I didn’t want you (Wang) to call,” Yum said, “I knew I had him beat” he motioned to Wiesler.

“You should’ve jammed then,” Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin chimed in.

“If you jam I call! I swear on my kids,” Wang insisted, followed by the confession “but I don’t have kids.”

After all that action Wang now has 145,000 to Yum’s 33,000 and Wiesler’s 28,000. — BK

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1B_043 Bjorn Wiesler.jpg

Bjorn Wiesler with the worst of it

9:10pm: Breaking records
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Registration is not even yet closed on the 2017 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) Main Event, but this festival is already a record breaker!

Already–and, to repeat, Main Event registration is not yet even closed–prize pools have surpassed $135 million. The previous ACOP record was set in 2014, when the total prizes awarded across the series was HK$116.7 million.


A broken record

We still have five days of action still to go, including the HK$250,000 High Roller. — HS

9pm: Back in the room
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (ante 100)

Let’s play Level 7 shall we?

8:45pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 6, which means it’s time for a 15-minute break. When they return, they’ll play two more levels of 90 minutes apiece. — HS

8:30pm: Agarwal stagnates
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Unfortunately for Aditya Agarwal, “not much happening” is the response given when he was asked how he has been getting on. The Team PokerStars Pro is sitting on around 60,000. This is better than average, so he is a long way from trouble just yet. -LY


Aditya Agarwal: Slow progress

8:25pm: Super Spurs
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Christopher Colaneri, in a beautiful Tottenham Hotspur bobble hat, just doubled up through Shing Tsang. It’s unconfirmed who Tsang supports, but he played the role of Liverpool in this pot and was schooled by Colaneri.


Chris Colaneri: Tottenham fan

Tsang opened from the hijack, making it 1,300 to go, and Colaneri three bet his small blind. He put 6,000 out there. Call.

Colaneri didn’t doing anything fancy, just direct, irresistible attacking play, much like Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs. He bet 6,500, after the 6♣5♦10♣ flop, which Tsang called, and then he jammed for 15,775 after the 4♥ turn.

Tsang called again to learn that Colaneri’s Q♠Q♣ was better than his J♦10♦. The 9♠ river didn’t change anything.

Colaneri is back up to around his starting stack and will now hope to push on up the league. — HS

8:20pm: Chen get Givens’ chips
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

2014 Asia Player of the Year Pete Chen has almost doubled up after clashing with William Givens.

We caught up on the flop of 10♥3♣8♦ with around 15,000 in the middle. Givens had 20,000 out in front of him in the small blind and Chen had moved all in over the top for 34,250.

The extra was for half of Givens stack and it looked tormented over the predicament he was in.

“All right, man” he said with resignation as he threw his hand away.

That sees Givens drop to 29,500 while Chen chips up to 65,000. — BK

8:05pm: Ho moving in the right direction
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Elliot Smith, as we all know, has no problem with spending a very long time in the PokerStars LIVE! card-room. He won the PokerStars Championship here in an epic. But his stay in the ACOP Main Event has been brief as Smith departed during Level 5.

He was replaced at Table 1 by another pretty tough Canadian: Timothy Adams.

For all that, it’s Qian Xu bossing the table with a stack of around 100,000. Xu just forced what looked like a big fold from Roman Korenev after the two built a pot of 45,000 through a board of 9♣6♠8♣7♥2♣.

Xu shipped for 38,050 and after a good long spell of thinking time, Korenev folded. — HS

8pm: Chen sits down, Westmorland reaps the reward
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (ante 75)

Two-time MPC High Roller champion James Chen just joined the field, and he didn’t hesitate to tangle with tablemate Jordan Westmorland.

It appeared that Chen had opened and then called Westmorland’s three-bet to 4,600 from the small blind before the flop was spread 2♥K♦9♣. Westmorland continued for 3,200 and Chen called to take them to the 6♥ turn.

Both players checked to the 9♦ river where Westmorland fired for 10,500. Chen ended up paying it off and Westmorland flashed A♥K♣ for top pair top kicker and the winner. That pots sees Westmorland move up to 125,000. — BK

7:45pm: Huge turn bets are in?
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Watching lots of poker tournaments, as we tend to do in this job, you can often observe new betting trends, usually inherited from the online game. Some of us old-timers even remember the moment everyone started min-raising pre-flop. Previously it was an absolute no-no, but then suddenly it was an epidemic.

This week in the Super High Roller, Nick Wright reckons he saw a lot of players putting in small check-raises, in contravention of conventional wisdom. That may be an emerging trend.

The other trend we saw a lot of over the past year in Super High Roller events was the massive over-bet on the river. It just started happening all the time that player would bet huge, pot-plus, in certain spots.

Anyway, this is a long-winded introduction to a pretty small hand, but one in which Martin Finger put in a weirdly massive turn bet. This is the first example I’ve seen, but if Finger is doing it, then maybe it’s something that will spread.


Martin Finger

The hand in question played out as follows: after Guoliang Wei limped from the small blind, Finger raised to 2,200 from the big. Wei called.

The flop was A♥2♦7♦ and Wei check-called Finger’s 1,800 continuation bet. That brought the K♠ on the turn. Wei checked again and Finger bet 9,000. It seemed huge–more than the pot–but Wei folded, so it got the job done (if that was the intention). — HS

7:40pm: Two pair for Zhang
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Wayne Zhang just got some value for his two pair on a dynamic board in the hand just gone.

He was in the under the gun seat and the man to his direct left was the only other active player. They were already at the river with the board reading Q♥4♥7♥J♦8♦.

There was approximately 16,000 in the pot and Zhang led for 9,600. He was paid off and turned over Q♠J♠ for top two pair. That was the best of it and he scooped the chips to hit a new total of 70,000. — BK

7:30pm: Ngu makes a move on Fast
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Jessica Ngu limped in middle position and when it folded round to Dietrich Fast, he chose to make a raise to 2,000.

Ngu looked like a woman with a plan and immediately re-raised to what looked like 6,500. It was a no brainer for Fast who sent his cards straight into the muck.

Ngu looked pleased, smiling as she took the chips and why wouldn’t she be? She’d just made a move on the new Super High Roller Champion. -LY

7:25pm: Ho moving in the right direction
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Maria Ho is building her stack very efficiently. She has about 110,000 now.

Ho won a small pot from Jiayu Ruan in which she called from the big blind after Ruan’s early-position open to 1,100 and the two examined the 7♥Q♥2♣ flop. They both checked.

The turn card was the 9♠ and Ho now bet 2,400. Ruan called. Then the 9♦ was worth a 3,000 stab from Ho and Ruan called again.


Maria Ho: Moving on up

Ho turned over her J♥Q♠ and Ruan mucked. Easy as that.

Ho is sitting at the same table as cash-game crusher Jason Les. — HS

7:20pm: Lin looking a lot shorter
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin just took a big hit to her stack which left her knocked down to 15,000 in chips.

Preflop things started with a raise from the hijack to 1,500, and after the cutoff called, Lin squeezed to 5,000 on the button. The initial raiser folded but the cutoff called to take them to the Q♠2♦4♦ flop.

It was checked to Lin and she continued for 3,700. The bet was called and the 9♣ was revealed on the turn. Again Lin fired when checked to, this time for 8,600, and the cutoff called once more before the J♥ completed the board.

Lin’s opponent then took the betting lead by moving all in for around 23,000, and Lin called it off to see she was beaten by Q♣J♣ for a rivered two pair. — BK

ACOP2017_MainEventDay1B_030 Celina LIn.jpg

Celina Lin

7:15pm: Yum yum
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

In a hand very similar to the one won by Raul Martinez just before the break, this time it was Ryan Yum who kicked off the action, raising 1,000 under the gun. He was called by Yat Wei Cheng sat directly to his left.

First Yum continued on the 6♣8♠A♦ flop, making it 1,500 and Cheng called in position. When the 3♣ turn was laid out, Yum bet 3,500 and it seemed an easy enough call for Cheng.

This changed on the 5♣ river when Yum fired a third barrel, which stopped Cheng in his tracks. After tanking for some time Cheng counted out the 5,500 bet and then counted what he would have left if he made the call (about 30,000 more).

It seemed like a difficult decision for him but he finally made the fold. Perhaps Yum has been taking tips from Martinez? -LY

7:10pm: Lee sends Attenborough back to the wild
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Adrian Attenborough is out, sending the last of his chips over to Sangjun Lee and putting Lee at the top of the leader board.

Lee started things off with a limp from first position, but he also called Attenborough’s button raise. It looked like Attenborough made it 2,600.

The blinds left them to it and the dealer put the 9♥A♣4♠ on the table. Lee checked and Attenborough continued with his story. He bet 1,700. Lee called.

The Q♦ fell on turn and Lee checked again. Attenborough bet again, putting two 5,000-denomination chips forward but announcing an amount I didn’t hear to the dealer. She told Lee. Lee didn’t mind. He moved all-in with a stack that covered the 25,025 Attenborough had back.

Attenborough called it off and flipped A♠9♦ for flopped top two. But it was now behind Lee’s A♥Q♣ and the 10♠ river was a brick.

Lee has around 135,000 after that. — HS

7pm: Some counts
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Here are some selected chip counts from today’s field. These are far from complete, but it’ll give you an idea of how we’re faring at the moment. Yesterday’s day-end chip leader, Nan Hong, bagged 269,500. That’s the ostensible target for this lot:

Name Chips
Henrik Hecklen 130,000
Jingjun Xia 110,000
Ralph Wong 110,000
Shao Qi 110,000
Qiang Fu 105,000
Russell Thomas 98,000
Sam Cohen 95,000
Maria Ho 95,000
Martin Finger 75,000
Dennis Huntly 75,000
Winfred Yu 75,000
Adtiya Agarwal 73,000
Juicy Li 70,000
Bryan Huang 70,000
Tobias Ziegler 50,000
Felix Bleiker 50,000
Celina Lin 48,000
Roman Korenev 47,000
Kitty Kuo 44,000
Martin Jacobson 40,000
Jason Koon 20,000
Elliot Smith 17,000
Javier Gomez 10,500

6:45pm: Back to it
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (ante 75)

Off they go again.

6:30pm: Break time
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

That’s the end of Level 4 and they’re heading to a 15-minute break. The entry tally for the day is now up to 150, of whom 132 are still involved. — HS

6:25pm: Martinez three-barrels and takes it down
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante 50)

Raul Martinez opened to 800 from middle position and it was called by the big and small blinds.

It was a 10♥9♣A♥ flop and, after two checks, Martinez continued for a fairly small 1,000 bet and pushed off one player, with only Dong Kim willing to pay.

After a Q♣ turn, Kim checked once more and this time Martinez stepped up the price, making a 2,400 barrel, which Kim called without any trouble.

The J♦ river brought out a one card straight and Kim checked a final time, which gave Martinez the opportunity to go all in for 575,000.

Kim went deep into the tank before he gave up. -LY

6:20pm: Kampanatsanyakorn climbs
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Ivan Lee opened to 1,100 and after he was called by Sosia Jiang and the player on the button, Chane Kampanatsanyakorn three-bet to 4,000 from the small blind. Lee let it go and Jiang called but the button came back over the top with another raise to 11,700.

Kampanatsanyakorn sat for more than a minute before announcing all in and sliding forward his 38,050. Jiang muck, the button called off, and the cards went on their backs.

Kampanatsanyakorn: K♠K♣
Button: J♣J♦

“You’re drawing dead, I had jacks” Jiang announced to a not-so-happy player who was very likely about to hit the rail.

The board came down a clean 7♦8♠Q♣6♥10♥ and Kampanatsanyakorn’s kings held to see him secure the big double up. — BK

6pm: Paying Juicy
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Juicy Li is one of the best people in the world to watch play poker. She reigns supreme in Macau, where her reputation as one of the great aggressors precedes her. Here’s clear evidence of that.

Li opened to 1,000 from early position and Sosia Jang, who won the High Roller here at the PokerStars Championship in May, three-bet to 2,800 from one seat along.

Xiang Li, who must have played against his namesake a few times, tanked a bit before calling in the hijack. The decision came back to Juicy Li, and she four-bet to 10,000. Jang had seen enough.


Juicy Li: Try to get a read

Xiang Li, however, tanked again before calling. Immediately upon doing so, Juicy’s eyes flicked to Xiang’s stack and noticed it was now less than 15,000. It meant that before the dealer had even finished putting the K♦3♥5♣ flop down, Juicy had flicked 20,000 into the pot.

Now facing a decision for his tournament, Xiang tanked again. The two Lis exchanged some words, but mostly Juicy’s expression was one of calm impatience, while Xiang’s was etched with anguish.

Eventually Xiang called and Juicy turned over Q♥Q♠. That made sense, but the fact that Xiang had called with 2♣2♦ is every proof you need that Juicy is not always playing premium hands in spots like this. Twos!

The turn and river bricked and Xiang Li hit the rail. Juicy Li now has about 75,000. — HS

5:55pm: Hitting the guarantee
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

With Level 4 under way, the 141st player who registered to play the Main Event today has taken us over the guarantee of HK$25 million. Whoever you are, the poker players of Macau thank you. Although it was never in doubt.

There is still plenty of time to join in the action: we still have four more levels after this one today and late registration doesn’t stop there. It’s open until the start of Level 9, which is the first of Day 2. -LY

5:50pm: Aditya on the rise
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal has moved up to 66,000 after picking off a bold river bluff.

Agarwal raised preflop to 900 from the cutoff and the big blind defended to see a flop of 8♠5♣7♦. It was checked to Agarwal and he continued for 1,000, received a call, and the dealer turned the 3♥.


Aditya Agarwal: Team Pro represents

The action was checked through to the 7♥ river where the big blind led out for 1,500. Agarwal came back over the top with a raise to 5,800 but faced another raise to a total of 13,000. Agarwal made the call with A♣7♠ and had way the best of it versus his opponent’s 10♦9♣ for a missed straight draw. — BK

5:40pm: F.U. Gomez
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Probably just confirmation bias at play, but there seems to be a disproportionate number of huge confrontations taking place between players in the blinds. There was that absolutely gross cooler between Steve O’Dwyer and Felix Beliker at the Super High Roller final yesterday (Cliffs: ace-queen suited cracks aces) and now there’s this one during Level 4 of the Main Event.

There was about 15,000 in the pot and a board dealt to the river. It showed J♣2♥4♥5♠10♠. Qiang Fu had the all-in triangle in front of him, alongside 37,600 chips, but it seemed to be a three-bet.

That’s because Javier Gomez, who was in the big blind, had 15,500 out in front of him and I reckon Fu had bet, Gomez had raised and Fu had jammed before I arrived. Just call me Sherlock.

Though this had all the makings of a fold and a fizzle out for the tournament reporter, it actually delivered. Gomez called after a long while in the tank and Fu showed his A♣3♣.

Gomez dejectedly threw his 4♦5♠ into the muck and now has to rebuild again from about 15,000. — HS

5:30pm: Hecklen pushed out
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300

Jingjun Xia wasn’t put off when he was three bet in position by the Day 1B chip leader, Henrik Hecklen. When Xia opened a little over min to 700 on the cutoff, Hecklen applied pressure by making it 2,100 on the button. Jiaxiu didn’t want to be left out of all the fun and called from his small blind. Xia wasn’t done there however, as when the action came back to him, he made it approximately 11,000 to see the flop. This proved too much for Hecklen and Liu and Xia scooped a nice pot pre. -LY

5:25pm: Attenborough at it
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Australian Adrian Attenborough is back to starting stack after raking in a recent pot.

Michael Soyza raised to 800 from early position and the player next to act made the call but when it got to Attenborough in the big blind he put in a sizable squeeze to 4,300. That was too much for Soyza but the third player made the call and the flop fell A♣4♦10♦.

Attenborough continued for 2,500 and that got the job done as Soyza lamented that he had folded ace four suited.

“You’re a nit, mate” Attenborough replied with a laugh. — BK

5:20pm: More for Hecklen
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Henrik Hecklen continues to build his stack and now has more than 150,000. He knocked out Yan Rao recently, and also received a boost when Aditya Agarwal was balanced off the table. — HS

5:15pm: Nguyen takes one as High Roller exiles arrive
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

Nang Quang Nguyen just took on both Tatiana Barausova and Daria Feshchenko in a recent pot, and survived. That’s an encounter with two fearless Russian players, by the way, neither of whom is a pushover.


Tatiana Barausova

Picking up action on the turn, both Feshchenko and Barausova checked and Nguyen bet 3,100. He would have been in the hijack pre-flop and was playing both the players in the blinds.


Daria Feshchenko

They both called, bringing the Q♥ on the river. After two checks, Nguyen bet 11,000 and the both got out the way.

As the last action in that hand took place, Mustapha Kanit came to the take and slotted into the empty seat between Barausova and Feshchenko. He and Jason Koon are recent arrivals after busting the Single-Day High Roller, for which registration is now closed. — HS

5:10pm: Ulmer lets it go
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

We just arrived to catch the end of a big pot between TJ Ulmer and Haoyan Wu. The cards in the middle read 10♥8♦2♣J♥2♥ and there was right around 30,000 in the pot already.

TJ Ulmer had checked and Wu was minutes deep in the tank. He finally bet 18,000 – more than half of his stack and most of Ulmer’s – and then it was Ulmers turn to deliberate.

He took a sip of his drink and pondered for a minute before looking back at his hand. Another minute went by and Ulmer’s cards sailed into the muck before he leaned forward and asked if Wu would show. Wu flipped up the 4♥ and Ulmer nodded in appreciation.

Ending up on the wrong end of that pot means Ulmer is now down to 25,800. — BK

4:55pm: Hecklen at the top
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

It looks like Henrik Hecklen is our first player with a six-figure chip stack. He is sitting within touching distance of our media base-camp, which makes it even more shameful that I’ve no idea how he got those chips.

I did just see him add a few thousand more in a three-way pot against Yan Rao and Aditya Agarwal, however. They built a pot of around 2,500 pre-flop, with a cutoff raise from Rao called by Agarwal on the button and Hecklen in the big blind.

Hecklen checked and Rao bet 1,000. Agarwal called, then Hecklen’s check-raise to 5,500 got his two opponents to pass. He has about 110,000 now. — HS

4:45pm: Pressure mounts on Zhang
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

There are so many ways in which poker is cruel, and it was pretty grim for Jinhai Zhang for numerous reasons a moment ago.

Firstly, he had bet 5,025 into a pot of around 8,000 with the 3♣9♥K♠7♦6♦ on the table, only for Sanguin Lee to raise to 20,025. That put him in the tank.

At the same time, Adrian Attenborough and Christopher Soyza struck up a friendly conversation. They were sitting either side of Zhang, which meant their chat was passing through him as he went into the tank.

Thirdly, the tournament floorman came over preparing to take a player to a new seating assignment when the hand was over. You guessed it, that player was due to be Zhang.

And then finally, with the floorman hovering there, someone decided to call clock on Zhang’s tough decision, adding yet another layer of pressure on the poor man.

Eventually, with a few seconds of the countdown left, he yielded to pressure and called. Lee turned over 9♠9♦ and Zhang couldn’t beat it.

He picked up his chips (and a box of Ferrero Rocher, his at-table snack) and headed to find a new seat. — HS

4:40pm: Field update
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

The field has just ticked past yesterday’s count of 125 runners and a lot of the late registrants have been players we recognize.

Joining the hunt are Dong Kim, Simon Burns, Winfred Yu, Bobby Zhang, Ryan Pignatelli, Wayne Zhang, Benjamin Hamnett and Michael Soyza.

Also spotted walking across the tournament floor with a rack of chips was Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin. She won the Ladies Event this week becoming the first to secure three Spadie trophies and will no doubt have her eye on a golden one to add to her impressive collection. — BK

4:30pm: Back to the grind
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante 50)

We’re up to 123 players for the day now, with Winfred Yu among the recent arrivals. Also Team PokerStars Pro’s Aditya Agarwal has begun his Main Event challenge. He’s seated one seat to the left of Kahle Burns. — HS

4:15pm: Break time
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Two levels of play are now in the books and players are taking their first break of the day.

4:15pm: Two players go at it on the turn
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200

Coming up for the first break at the end of Level 2, there was a middle position open to 600 from Wayne Zhang and a hijack call from Qinghu Guo. Russell Thomas peeled from the big blind, taking the three of them to the flop:


Thomas checked and Zhang opted to check rather than continue too, leaving the action on Guo who bet 1,500. It was a call from Thomas. The 4♥ turn saw Thomas check once more and it was back to Guo who barrelled 2,100 this time.

Thomas thought on it for a little while before announcing a re-raise to 6,700 but before he knew it the action was back on him again after Guo put out a four-bet to 17,100. This was too far for Russell, who cut his losses and folded. -LY

4:10pm: Mastering the ancient art of rivering
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

As any $2-$4 limit player in a Vegas casino will tell you, “You never know you can’t win until you see the river.” Here are two hands, which took place simultaneously on neighbouring tables, that had all the hallmarks of an old-fashioned rivering.

In the first, Xixiang Luo and James Lee were looking at a board of K♣5♣10♥9♠9♥ and Lee checked. Luo bet 6,475. That brought a call from Lee, but he mucked with disbelief upon being shown Q♣9♣.

Next door, Hongyu Su and Dennis Huntly were in the death throes of a pot as well, with 4♥5♦Q♥8♥A♥ on the table in front of them. Su bet 6,275 but Huntly raised to 16,275.

Su couldn’t figure it out and called the extra. Huntly revealed his 2♠3♠–a rivered wheel–and Su tossed his 5♥5♠ into the muck. — HS

4pm: Give it to Gu
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Huidong Gu has moved up to 85,000 after a correct river call with an overpair.

Initially it was Rong Fan who opened the betting with a raise to 600 before the player next to act three-bet it to 1,800. Gu flatted on the button and Fan stuck around to see the flop spread 4♥Q♥9♣.

It was checked to the three-bettor and he continued for 2,500 which was met with a raise from Gu to 6,500. Fan folded, the third party called, and the 10♦ arrived on the turn.

The action was checked through to the 6♣ river where Gu then faced a bet of 15,000. He went into the tank but after studying the board and cutting out a call he eventually dumped the chips in the middle. He was shown A♥Q♦ for top pair top kicker but Gu had that beat with K♠K♣. — BK

3:45pm: Runner-runner Thomas
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Russel Thomas just won a pot of around 20,000, bringing his stack back to what he started with (50,000). He must have been down a little through the first level, but is now moving in the right direction.

I only saw the very end of this, at which point Thomas bet 7,500 on a board of A♦7♣2♥J♥A♥. Christopher Yong called but mucked upon seeing Thomas’s Q♥8♥. Runner-runner good for Thomas.

Kitty Kuo, Thomas’s other half, sits on a neighbouring table. Meanwhile Jordan Westmorland, Paul Tedeschi and Tobias Ziegler have also now joined the field. The latter won the PLO event last night. — HS

3:41pm: Yurasov bombs it
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Dmitry Yurasov is in the building and stacking chips after a hefty river bet saw him awarded the pot.

Yurasov raised to 900 preflop from the hijack seat and Nang Quang Nguyen three-bet to 2,575 on the button. Yurasov called and they went to a flop of K♠3♦8♦. Yurasov check-called for 2,500 before both of them checked through on the K♥ turn.

The 7♥ river card saw Yurasov pick up the betting lead by firing for 16,000 on the end. That was too much for Nguyen who gave it up to see Yurasov climb to 65,000. — BK

3:40pm: PokerStars Macau gives you wings
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

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3:30pm: Sigh-call, playing the board
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

There are few boards better to bluff than one that looks like this: 5♦A♦3♥4♦2♣. Our old friends Tong Ling (SB) and Kun Wang (UTG) had built a pot of around 5,000 as those cards had gradually come out and now Ling, who had the worse position for most of the time, now had the first chance to get some chips in. He bet 2,000.

Wang looked very annoyed by this development. It was clear to everyone that he did not have diamonds and did not have a six. Ling could easily have either of those things.

Wang, in the end, gave in to curiosity. Even though he knew he was calling only for a chop with A♣K♣, he got it when Ling tabled 10♦7♦. — HS

3:21pm: Table 6 is the focus of the action again
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Towards the end of Level 1, Table 6 played host to a rash of pre-flop betting. After an early position open, Phachara Wongwich three bet to 1,400 in the hijack and, following a call from the cutoff, action passed round to Christopher Yong on the big blind.

He went into the tank for at least a minute, before cold four betting to 7,000, which was over 45 big blinds at this early stage. Only Wongwich called, and they were heads up.

The pot had almost a third of the chips players start with when the flop came out A♥Q♦6♦. With a smaller-than-pre-flop bet of 5,600, Yong took it down without any trouble and added a nice chunk to his stack. -LY

3:20pm: Set over set sees Yan fall early
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Ziqin Yan has already been eliminated after a cold deck saw his chips go to Ralph Wong.

We caught the action on a 4♣3♥A♥ flop when Wong bet 2,900 before Yan played back at him for 6,500. Wong wanted to play for more and raised again to 13,000. Yan flicked in a call and the 9♥ arrived on the turn.

Wong moved in with enough to cover Yan’s 32,000 behind and the latter was sent into the tank. After more than a minute Yan called it off and saw he was drawing to just one out.

Wong: A♣A♦
Yan: 3♠3♦

Yan failed to find a miracle on the 9♠ river and he was sent railward as Wong climbed to 120,000. — BK

3:10pm: What has Sam Cohen done to deserve this?
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

As if it couldn’t get any worse for Sam Cohen, she now has Martin Finger to her immediate left. Having started with Elliot Smith for company, Cohen is now playing into an EPT Main and High Roller champion (Finger), the former World Champion (Jacobson), then an empty seat, and then online beast Roman “Roma_Tilt” Korenev. One suspects that empty seat may be reserved for Fedor Holz. — HS


Sam Cohen, with Martin Finger and Martin Jacobson

3:06pm: Wang v Lin v Ling
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

As the field grows, all the short-handed tables in the room are gradually having their spaces filled. By way of illustration, two news players arrived during the time it took the following largely meaningless pot to play out.

Ping Lin was UTG+1 and also the hijack at the beginning of the hand, when only five players were seated. He opened to 350 and found calls from Tong Ling on the button and Kun Wang in the small blind.

Wang bet 400 at the A♠A♦2♣ flop and only Lin called. Then the turn brought the 4♦, Wang fired again, for 1,000, and Lin folded.

Lin will be UTG+1 again on the next hand too thanks to the new arrivals.

3:05pm: Early pot on Table 6
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Jarred Graham opened to 450 on the button and Christopher Yong and David Calzada both came along to the flop from the small and big blinds.

The Q♣A♦2♥ flop brought checks all round and when the 5♣ turn came, it was Yong who lead with a bet of 700, getting called by Calzada.

Once the pre-flop raiser got out of the way, it was down to the 6♣ river and Yong didn’t fancy betting again. He checked it to Calzada who made a strong bet of 2,350.

After some thinking, Yong folded. -LY

3pm: Field continues to grow
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

We’re up to 73 runners now and with late registration open all day that number will surely climb.

Some of the newcomers include TJ Ulmer, Russell Thomas, Juicy Li and Jimmy Guerrero. There’s also a strong Australian contingent out in force with the likes of Adrian Attenborough, Dennis Huntly and WSOP bracelet winner Jarred Graham.


Jimmy Guerro: Same table as Juicy Li

Also flying the Aussie flag is Kahle Burns who finished third in this very event last year. Burns collected $343,179 for that impressive run and is back in a bid to go two spots better this week. — BK

2:55pm: Toughening field
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Sam Cohen is going to feel doubly delighted at picking up those chips in the very earliest stages of play today. Her table has now got significantly more difficult. Elliot Smith was already there, but now there’s also Martin Jacobson and Roman Korenev to her left. It’s not going to quite so simple to extract chips from those two. — HS

2:50pm: From three handed to short handed
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

There are 12 tables in play now, each with five players on average. This is a notable difference from the first 15 minutes of Day 1B, which featured only three per table. We’re almost half an hour in now and entrants are slowly but surely trickling in. -LY

2:45pm: Ho’s boss?
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Maria Ho was another of the early arrivals and she has taken a seat on Table 3. She just won a small pot, with contributions from two opponents, to lay a marker that she’s not going to be pushed around.

Jules Dickerson opened to 350 from the cutoff and Ho three-bet her button, putting 1,200 out there. Dobromir Nikov four-bet from the big blind, making it 3,200 to go, and that persuaded Dickerson out.

Ho called and saw Nikov check the K♣4♣6♣ flop. Ho fired 3,000 and Nikov folded. — HS

2:40pm: Xiu flushes it
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Jingjun Xiu is off to a great start after raking in a sizable pot.

The community cards were spread 10♣K♠A♠9♠6♦ and after the hijack checked it over to Xiu in the cutoff, he fired for 7,450. The bet was called and Xiu flipped over 7♠4♠ for a turned flush.

That was good to bring his stack up to 64,000. — BK

2:30pm: Cohen over Zheng again
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Plenty of players don’t tend to show up for the opening levels in major events like this, reasoning that the pots are small and nothing significant will occur. But for Sam Cohen, that couldn’t be more wrong.

Cohen just won another decent pot from Alvin Zheng–again worth more than 20,000, which is more than 130 big blinds.

Arriving on the river this time, with the board showing Q♥6♦K♥6♥3♠, Cohen had a bet of 800 in front of her. Zheng had a single 5,000-denomination chip in front of him, so he may have raised that amount, or announced something a little less.

Either way, Cohen three-bet to 8,800 and Zheng called.

Cohen was happy about that, turning over K♦K♠ for the second nuts and Zheng’s inability to show pocket sixes meant this pot was heading Cohen’s way. — HS

2:25pm: Cohen collects after raising war
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Sam Cohen has boosted her stack early here after she bullied out Alvin Zheng in a preflop raising war.

It appeared that there had already been significant action when we arrived at the table, as Zheng had 4,000 out in front of him and Cohen had raised again to 14,475 – almost 100 big blinds!

Zheng deliberated for a moment before conceding defeat and tossing his cards into the muck.

Their table looks like it could be one to watch as they’re short-handed at the moment but have Elliot Smith between them. — BK

2:15pm: Early arrivals
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Cards are in the air. The early arrivals include Elliot Smith, who won the PokerStars Championship Main Event in April after a heads-up battle so long that, frankly, I’m surprised it’s not still going on. Smith is seated today alongside Sam Cohen, who made the final table of the last ever EPT tournament in Prague. — HS


Elliot Smith: Fond memories of Macau

2:05pm: Field gradually assembling
Level 1 – Blinds: 75/150

Players are gradually arriving to the tournament floor and preparing for Day 1B of the Main Event. Registration is open all day, so there’s no particular hurry, but there’s a $25 million guarantee on this one, so don’t miss your chance! — HS

1:45pm: Same again, only different

Good afternoon once again and welcome back to the PokerStars LIVE! card-room at the City of Dreams, Macau for the continuation of our exclusive coverage of the 2017 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP). Yet another packed day is promised, with the Single-Day High Roller event playing from start to finish, and the Main Event, with its guaranteed HK$25 million (US$3.2 million) prize pool, entering Day 1B.


Fred Leung gets the party started

This post will contain all the action from the latter tournament, while you can get your fill from the High Roller over there.

Registration is open all day in the Main Event, so expect the tally of entries to inch ever upward. Here are a few key Main Event stats:

Buy-in: HK$100,000 (HK$95,000+HK$5,000) — approx US$12,800
Guarantee: HK$25 million
Starting stack: 50,000
Level length:
Levels 1-6: 60 minutes
Level 7 onwards: 90 minutes
Starting blinds: 75/150

Today we play until the end of Level 8, which will be around midnight.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the coverage.


PokerStars LIVE Macau

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the HK$100,000 Main Event: Brad Kain, Howard Swains and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Kenneth Lim Photography.


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