The PokerStars.net APPT Macau kicked off with a showy display of Macanese theater, but things sort of fizzled out to a dull roar by the time seven levels had come and gone.
A total of 88 players showed up for this opening flight, and the early pace was blistering. A couple dozen players burned through their 20,000-chip stacks within the first three levels, and, despite the late-day slowdown, play concluded with less than 50 players surviving to bag up their chips for the three-night soak.
Among the numerous unknowns were several notable faces from Asia and abroad. Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin, Raymond Wu, and Bryan Huang were here representing their own continent, and we also had a Singing Dutchman with us as Marcel Luske was on hand to give the starting 'shuffle up and deal'. Huang couldn't make it out of the first half of the day, but the other three Team Pros appear to have made it to day's end with at least a few chips to stick in their clear plastic bags.
Apart from those with PokerStars patches, we also had some other familiar faces in the crowd. Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt was here briefly, but he couldn't get much going and was soon just another set of elbows on the rail. Kai Paulsen was here as well, fresh off his eighth-place showing in the Macau Poker Cup two months ago. Nathanael Seet has had some success on the APPT circuit, and he did well for most of the day until being eliminated in the last couple of levels. Also still in the mix at the end of the day were Julian Powell, Daren Yoon, Albert Kim, and Vladimir Geshkenbein, the latter being in and out of the chip lead for the balance of the day.
Everyone's looking up at Alexandre Chieng though, his late-day rush securing his spot at the top of the overnight leader board. His count of 113,100 puts him atop the pack, and we couldn't find anyone else over 100,000 when the bags came out. We'll post the full official chip counts as soon as they're made available to us.
That's all we have for you from Day 1a. Those who survived will be back in the house on Friday for Day 2, but we've still got two more starting days to polish off before then. Tomorrow's second flight will see a fresh new set of faces take to the felt, and we expect a good number of Team PokerStars Pros and other notables in the field.
So goodnight from Macau; we'll see you right back here at noon local time tomorrow.