After the explosive start to today’s action, the six-handed passage of play slowed somewhat. Each of the remaining players had good sized stacks and plenty of pedigree. Even the supposed amateurs among them had developed both the game and the table posture of the pros over the past couple of days.
At least two of the players are kitted out almost precisely as if they had just wandered to this table from the grand casino in Monte Carlo. Kenneth Leong is wearing an understated McClaren Mercedes baseball cap and a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, while Alexandre Chieng sported the suit jacket over T-shirt, plus mirror shades, combo. He also rocked back in his seat, one arm dangled over the back of the chair while the other hand riffled chips. It was the definition of poker smart-casual.
ShuYang Yu wears the uber-cool white retro-style PokerStars Macau track-suit top and dark sunglasses, while Dinesh Alt is quite clearly the European poker pro. He has a grey hoodie, white quarter-length track-suit trousers and trainers, and his play is also classically EPT in style. He is peeling in position just about every raise then slowing down/speeding up as appropriate depending on post-flop action.
The problem for Alt is that he is being attacked from each flank. Tong Ling, to his left, is slender and silent but has all the momentum at the moment, having more than doubled his starting stack. Ling was able to defend his big blind with jack-eight recently, after an open from Alt in the small blind, and Ling ended up turning a straight. Alt did exceptionally well to to escape without committing all of his stack; he rivered trip nines but opted to check-call the river and got away as cheaply as possible.
Meanwhile, Nan Hong, to Alt’s right, also has an enormous stack having been responsible for two of the first three eliminations. Hong looks like he has just stepped away from a computer lab for a moment to play poker, but occasionally an unlit cigarette finds its way out of his pocket and adheres itself to his bottom lip, Sammy Farha style.
Hong then spots a break in play and scoots away to light it, sometimes not even waiting until he is outside the card room to get his nicotine hit. When he is back at the table, he fiddles with a bracelet of beads, running them through his fingers as if a rosary.
He probably needs all these trinkets to calm his nerves as his is a fearless approach to the game. Poor Alt was the victim of a textbook Hong broadside towards the end of the last level, when the two of them had gone to a Q♥5♣8♥ flop in a blind-versus-blind confrontation.
Hong made a sizeable bet here, which Alt called. And the K♦ turned. Hong then shoved for 1.1 million, but it was Alt’s 650,000 stack that was effective. Alt seemed anguished about the situation, but folded. Hong showed him 7♠5♥ for bottom pair, and one suspects Alt may have had better.
As it turned out, it was a wise fold because having lived to fight another day, Alt would soon find pocket jacks. He opened and Yu shoved, with the only stack that Alt had covered. Alt thought for a moment but made the call and his hand stayed good against Yu’s pocket sevens.
That sent Yu out in sixth (he’s still got the best track-suit top) and gave Alt about 1.6m in chips. It’s still fewer than he started the day, and a little below average. But he is right back in it as play continues five handed.
Thanks, as ever, to the work of Kenneth Lim and Long Guan of Kenneth Lim Photography for the excellent pictures here in Macau.
A reminder on how to follow our coverage. There is hand-by-hand coverage at the top of the main APPT Macau page, which includes chip counts and a list of eliminated players via the “Payouts” tab. Feature coverage will filter in beneath the panel. All the information about the Asia Pacific Poker Tour is on the APPT site, and PokerStars Macau also has its own home.