APPT Macau Day 1C

Image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Image courtesy of PokerStars blog

The growing popularity of poker in Asia is evident and players and press alike were treated to a flashy opening ceremony featuring a traditional Chinese mask-changing performance complete with Team PokerStars pro Chris Moneymaker as the Chinese ‘God of Wealth’. But then, with a name like Moneymaker that has also become synonymous with poker’s sudden rise in popularity, this is quite apt, if slightly ironic being as Chris was eliminated on Day 1B yesterday.

As is often the case with poker tournaments, it’s the last Day 1 that is always the busiest and Day 1C in the APPT Macau is no exception with 185 confirmed entries.

That makes a total of 429 players, which despite being 109 players down on last years field makes for a record prizepool of HKD $16 million (around £1.2 million) due to the HKD $15,000 increase in buy-in from the 2008 APPT Macau leg. Top 48 get paid with the winner taking home a massive HKD $4,194,000 (£333,246).

It looks like this is shaping up to be one of the toughest starting days so far: Tournament steamroller JC Tran and brother Hien are in attendance as is 2005 WSOP champ Joe Hachem and brother Tony who is also the recent winner of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour.
2008 WSOP final tablist David ‘Chino’ Rheem is here as is New York’s Amnon Filippi in addition to WPT winners David Chiu and Russia’s Yevgeniy Timoshenko.

The UK’s Liv Boeree is also playing today and Team PokerStars sponsored pro Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier is

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

actually sitting right behind me at table 18, sporting red hair and matching red and black shirt along with trademark sunglasses.

Despite all the high profile American, Australian and Asian players it was first blood for the UK though – Blackbelt Poker’s Sida Yuen enjoyed an early double up to take the chip lead after flopping the nut straight and open-ended straight flush draw holding Five Six of diamonds against his opponents trip Sevens. Needless to say all the chips were in the middle on the flop and with no pair up his unfortunate opponent was the first man to hit the rail on level one… Ouch!

‘Chino’ Rheem has also hit the rail on level three – his flopped set of Fours rivered by Theo Tran’s open-ended straight.

As with the other two starting days there will be seven levels of play today, scheduled to finish at around eight o’clock.

I’m hoping to get that Joe Hachem interview in the bag today, as well as one with Chinese Australian PokerStars pro Celina Lin and hopefully one with another up-and-coming young Asian poker player by the name of Bryan Huang who was voted Bluff Australia’s Rookie of the year 2008.

I’ll let you know how it all goes and keep you posted with a summary of the action a little later on.

For full coverage of the APPT visit the PokerStars official tourney blog here or the Poker News live tournament updates here.

All images courtesy of PokerStars blog.

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