That will do it for Day 1a of the 2009 PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau Main Event. Today's flight (the first of three) produced 119 runners. At the end of the day it appeared that 64 would need a chip bag, bag ticket and pen.
We were amazed to see the stacked line-up on Table 7 to start the day. In order around the table were Joel "StrongPlay" Dodds, the God-like David Steicke, 2007 APPT Sydney champion Grant Levy, Swede Rasmus Akerblom, and two-time WSOP Main Event champion Johnny Chan. That table did not disappoint during play, producing several of the biggest and most exciting pots. By the end of the day only Steicke and Levy had survived the carnage.
Speaking of Steicke -- and really, how can we not? -- he started off slowly but then gathered steam in the middle levels after catching a needed double-up, all in preflop with pocket kings against ace-queen. By the end of the day he had built a typical Steicke wall of poker chips that totalled 82,300, or four times the number he started with.
But 82,300 was not enough for the overnight chip lead. That honor goes to Brandon Demes, an American with two cashes at this year's World Series of Poker. Demes was the only player today to eclipse six figures, finishing the night with 102,200 chips. His reward is two days off in Macau to mentally prepare himself to return to the grind on Friday for Day 2.
We don't have such a luxury. We'll be back here in the Grand Lisboa poker room at 12:15pm tomorrow for Day 1b of this Main Event. We expect a larger field tomorrow and an even larger field on Thursday, putting this tournament on track for close to 500 total players. Who else will be joining Steicke and Demes on Day 2? Check back tomorrow to find out!
One of our short stacks and 1990 World Champion, Mansour Matloubi has just been eliminated in one of the final hands of the day.
Matloubi held against the of Dan Schreiber and looked set to double up when the flop landed to give him trip kings. The the turn meant nothing but the on the river leave Matloubi to head to an early dinner - we're guessing that duck won't be on the menu.
As is the custom for APPT tournaments, with the clock closing in on ten minutes left in the level Commissioner McDonagh has stopped the clock. Each table will play four more hands and then bag up the chips for the night.
For the second time today Eric Assadourian correctly folded a pair before the flop. And for the second time, that pair flopped a set and would have given Assadourian the pot.
Assadourian was the initial preflop raiser, making it 2,200 to go. Mikal Blomlie was on the button. He shipped his whole stack of 8,225 into the middle. Then small blind Dan Schreiber called, and Assadourian's spidey sense started tingling. He opted to lay down pocket nines, allowing Blomlie and Schreiber to open pocket eights and pocket kings, respectively.
But Assadourian's good laydown was punished by a flop of , a flop that would have given him middle set and the best hand. Blomlie, meanwhile, was looking for runners or a third eight. The on the turn killed his runner possibilities; the on the river ended his tournament run.
Jonathan Lin has been a steady accumulator today. He saw an early-position opponent open-raise all in for 2,875. Lin took a flyer with and found himself in a dominating position against his opponent's . A flop of just about ended the hand in Lin's favor. His opponent picked up probably the best possible card he could when the turn fell , as he picked up two different gutshot straight draws. Neither one hit; the ended the hand in Lin's favor.
Vivek Rajkumar moved all in preflop for his 8,000 or so chips and the action folded around the James Akenhead in the big blind.
Akenhead squeezed his cards Baccarat style, and when he peaked at he snap-called. Rajkumar would need a whole lot of help with his .
The flop was a good one for Rajkumar as it fell to give him outs to a straight. The turn bricked the but the river was the to complete Rajkumar's straight for the double up! He's back up to 17,000 chips.
We mentioned it earlier regarding David Steicke but now we'll say it again about Mark Cornwell: it's good to have chips. On a flop of , the big blind and Cornwell checked to Shawn Buchanan, who bet 2,200.
That bet brought two check-raises, the first to 5,200 by the big blind and the second to 15,000 by Cornwell. 15,000 represented a fairly substantial portion of each player's stack and induced quick folds. By raking that pot, Cornwell has moved up to 62,000.