The intimidating Yuan Li

None of Europe or North America’s high rolling poker players will likely deny the following: they are tempted to fly halfway around the globe to the poker rooms of Asia because they think it’s in their financial best interests to do so. Putting it bluntly, they think there’s value to be found by playing opposition perceived as having deep pockets but not so much experience.

That, at least, is the theory. But it doesn’t always work. This evening in Macau, at the PokerStars LIVE card-room at the City of Dreams, it was the little known Yuan Li who dished out the lessons in the Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) Super High Roller event.

Just ask Steve O’Dwyer. The man who has won no fewer than five tournaments with buy-ins of $50,000 or greater was forced to dip into his pockets for the maximum two re-buys in this HK$500,000 event. At the same time, Li was building a stack of 1.56 million, which is the biggest of the 15 players bagging chips tonight. (There have been 22 entries so far.)

Li forced one of those rebuys when he knocked out O’Dwyer for a second time (Paul Newey claimed the prized scalp the first time) but that was just one brief moment on a day of relentless aggression. He piled his chips in intimidating stacks of at least 70 (the norm is 20) and will be a stern foe tomorrow.


Steve O’Dwyer can only eye Li’s stack enviously

James Obst is a good deal more laid-back at the tables, but no less formidable. Coming off the back of a superlative World Series, and amid a continuing career of brilliance at the online tables, Obst is third in chips tonight. Obst doubled Vladimir Troyanovskiy on the penultimate hand of the day and otherwise would have been right up on Li’s shoulder. As it is, Obst finished with 1.165 million–and Justin Bonomo edged ahead of him at the death. Bonomo has 1.227 million.


James Obst: Laid back

Everyone is going to need every chip they can get because this tournament is only going to get more difficult. They began today on a single table, and extended gradually to three as we played through seven levels. But with a plane full of high rollers landing from Manila tonight, and registration remaining open through the first level tomorrow, this will toughen as it grows.

See below for details of how they stack up at the moment. Your HK$50,000 buys a stack of 500,000 chips, which will be 33 big blinds at the start of tomorrow. So this one has a way to go yet.

Name Country Chips
Yuan Li China 1,560,000
Justin Bonomo USA 1,227,000
James Obst Australia 1,165,000
Hendrik Latz Austria 959,000
Stanley Choi Hong Kong 716,500
Leo Cheng Canada 714,500
Senh Ung UK 665,000
Dietrich Fast Germany 652,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 649,000
Tobias Ziegler Germany 568,500
Bjorn Li Hong Kong 549,000
Vladimir Troyanovskiy Russia 542,000
Soichiro Kojiya Japan 504,500
Paul Newey UK 365,000
Isaac Haxton USA 214,000

Scroll through all the updates below for full details of how things played out. We’ll be back for a 2pm start tomorrow.

Day 1 coverage archive:

11:55pm: Addamo eliminated
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

Michael Addamo has fallen in one of the last hands of the night after calling off behind on the river against Justin Bonomo.

The board was showing 10♥Q♦5♠2♥3♦ and Bonomo moved all in from the big blind with enough to cover Addamo’s 320,000 in chips.

Addamo looked torn but after a pause he flicked in a single chip to denote a call. Bonomo tabled A♥A♣ and Addamo saw the bad news as he flashed his K♠K♦ before leaving the tournament area.

Bonomo on the other hand moves up to over 1.2 million. — BK

11:50pm: Troyanovskiy doubles on penultimate hand
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy will sleep better tonight after getting a late double up via James Obst, who was making a late challenge for the end of day chip lead. The Australian raised and then called after Troyanovskiy three-bet all-in for 258,000.

Obst: 5♥5♣
Troyanovskiy: Q♥Q♠

The board ran K♣7♦J♦10♣7♠ and meant Troyanovskiy ended the day on 542,000, whereas Obst bagged up 1.165 million (neither played the last hand. –MC

11:45pm: Li lives
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

Bjorn Li just secured himself a double up through Vladimir Troyanovskiy in one of the final hands of the night.

Troyanovskiy raised to 26,000 and called off for Li’s roughly 130,000 when the latter moved all in over the top.

Li: A♠A♦
Troyanovskiy: 9♣8♣

Li had a commanding lead and only improved it when he spiked top set on the A♥10♣9♥K♥5♥ runout. He doubles up before play resumes tomorrow while Troyanovskiy is left with just 110,000 in play. — BK

11:40pm: Last four hands
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

The three tables will play four hands apiece before bagging up for the night. –MC

11:35pm: Kojiya halts Li, for now
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

Yuan Li has had the sort of momentum the last few hours that’s hard to stop. Soichiro Kojiya did it just now, albeit in a middling sized pot.

Steve O’Dwyer opened to 26,500 and was called by Kojiya before Li squeezed to 82,000 from the small blind. O’Dwyer folded but Kojiya called to an A♣10♣A♠ flop that was checked through. Li then check-called 50,000 on the 5♥ turn before the J♠ was checked through. Li opened K♣8♦ but lost out to Kojiya A♥6♣. –MC

11:30pm: Obst doubles through Li
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

James Obst just got the best of Bjorn Li in a huge pot to double through.

There was approximately 300,000 in the middle by the river with the board reading K♣J♠3♥Q♣3♠.

Obst was sitting in the big blind and he moved all in for 346,000. Li would be left with only 120,000 in chips if he called, so naturally he gave the decision a lot of thought.

“Okay, I call” announced Li after three minutes in the tank.

Obst quickly tabled A♠A♣ and Li attempted to muck his hand. As it was an all-in call the dealer retrieved Li’s inferior K♦10♠ and tabled it before pushing the pot to Obst. — BK

11:20pm: O’Dwyer frustrated
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer’s not used to feeling frustrated in Super High Rollers. He’s won an unprecedented five of them across the globe over the last two years. Today is one of those days though; the bad side of variance has shown his/her face.

He still has most of his third bullet stack but lost a small pot and had an Elky “when will it end” look upon his face.

Yuan Li opened to 27,000 from under the gun and was called by O’Dywer (button) and Stanley Choi (big blind). The 10♥J♦6♣ flop was checked to O’Dwyer who bet 27,000. Only Choi called and both went on to check the 2♣Q♥ turn and river through. Choi opened J♥8♠ and took the pot to rise to 800,000 after O’Dwyer folded while flashing the 10♣. –MC

11:10pm: More Li
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (1,000 ante)

If you want to play against Yuan Li, you’ve got to be prepared to play a big pot. Paul Newey was, but Soichiro Kojiya wasn’t, and that explains why the former invited the all-in triangle while the latter was scared off by it.

To explain: the all-in triangle was deployed in back-to-back hands on Table 1. The first deployment came after Li opened to 27,000 and Newey jammed for about 350,000 from his left. Action folded back to Li, and he folded too.

On the next hand, Kojiya opened his button, making it 26,000, but then Li shipped from the big blind, making moves on Kojiya’s 250,000-stack total. Kojiya didn’t want to risk it all and folded. — HS

11:05pm: Ziegler moves in
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Tobias Ziegler just added a decent pot to his stack after a river jam versus Michael Addamo.

Ziegler raised to 30,000 from the cutoff before Addamo three-bet on the button to 87,000. Ziegler made the call and the flop landed 8♥4♥K♦.

After a snap-check from Ziegler, Addamo continued for 45,000. Another call from Ziegler saw the 7♥ turn flipped up.

Both players checked and the Q♣ completed the board.

Ziegler then moved all in with an overbet jam for 313,500. Addamo considered it for over two minutes before ultimately laying it down.

Ziegler scooped the pot as Addamo fell to 440,000 in chips. — BK

11pm: Not yet Steve, not yet
Level 7 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer tried to get those chips off Yuan Li, but it ended in defeat for him and he immediately became the first person to use up both rebuys.

Around 350,000 chips lay in the middle by the time the board rested as 9♠7♣2♦6♠2♥. O’Dwyer was in the big blind and checked over to Li in the cutoff, who immediately moved all-in. It was for an effective 300,000 chips and sent O’Dwyer into the tank. When he came out of it he called with Q♣9♣ for top pair, but it was no good as Li tabled a winning 10♣10♠. It’s hard to tell how much Li has due to the way he stacks his chips, but he must be closing in on 2 million. –MC

10:40pm: Break time
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

That’s the end of Level 6. Players are taking a 10-minute break and then we’ll be back for the last 60-minute level of the night.

10:35pm: Soon
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

A friend of mine keeps posting photos to Instagram with the same one-word caption. The photos depict his cat peering in a deeply sinister fashion at his infant child and the caption reads “Soon”. (Example 1. Example 2.)

I thought of this cat when I saw Steve O’Dwyer playing a pot against Yuan Li. Li has absolutely mountains of chips–1.6 million at a guess–and O’Dwyer has been peering at them from across the table with an expression that says, “Soon.” Only not yet. And not in this hand.

Li raised to 25,000 from the hijack and O’Dwyer called from the button. Then they saw a flop of 4♥K♥7♦ and Li bet 35,000. O’Dwyer called. The A♦ came on the turn and both players checked, taking them to the 2♦ on the river.

Li bet 50,000 and after another few seconds staring covetously at Li’s towers of chips, O’Dwyer folded. Li showed him the A♣, which he placed on the table next to the exposed ace, and then the K♣ which he placed next to the king.

O’Dwyer nodded his approval. Soon. — HS

10:30pm: Aussie on Aussie action
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Michael Addamo and James Obst played out a prolonged hand just now, and we only got there on the river.

Around 300,000 chips lay in the middle and a board rested as 8♠3♠A♠6♠2♦. Obst checked from the big blind and then waited a couple of minutes before Addamo moved all-in. Obst asked for a count and as the dealer was counting out Addamo’s 298,500, Obst studied his opponent with fierce concentration. He tanked for another coupe of minutes after the dealer had finished before admitting defeat and folding to preserve his 450,000 stack. –MC

10:25pm: Bonomo busted
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Justin Bonomo has been felted after a bad beat by Leo Cheng.

Cheng raised to 25,000 from under the gun and when it folded around to Bonomo on the button, he moved all in for 153,500.

After about a minute in the tank Cheng slid in a call to put Bonomo at risk.

Bonomo: 9♠9♦
Cheng: A♣7♣

Bonomo was in good shape to double through until the 7♠10♥7♦ flop left him drawing to two outs or running cards to stay alive.

The A♥ turn and K♣ river didn’t deliver and the last of Bonomo’s chips were sent Cheng’s way.

That won’t be the last of Bonomo, however, as the American has already utilized a rebuy for his second bullet. — BK

10:15pm: Fast heads home…or does he?
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast just pulled his signature move in the ACOP Super High Roller, a move he trialled to great success at the World Series this summer.

On the brink of elimination from the WSOP Main Event, Fast got out of his seat and prepared to leave, but then hit one of his few outs and was forced to go through the packing up process in rewind.

He just did exactly the same thing here, having got all of his chips in with J♥J♣ and getting a call from Tobias Ziegler with Q♥Q♠. (It went 22,500 from Fast in the hijack, 66,000 from Ziegler on the button, all-in for 256,500 from Fast, call from Ziegler.)

Fast got up when he saw the bigger pair and was looking for the door. However, the J♦ was there in the window and it remained good after it was joined by the 7♦A♦K♣8♦. (The four diamonds caused a moment of peril, but Ziegler didn’t have one either.)

That doubles up Fast and saves him the ignominy of being the first man to re-buy twice. — HS

10:10pm: Troyanovskiy clinging on
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy just tried to bluff Bjorn Li off a hand, but it didn’t work. However, he was able to get back involved with some more characteristic aggression.

The board was out to the river — 2♣9♠10♥9♦7♦ — and Troyanovskiy bet 110,000 at it. Li had about 300,000 in his stack and clearly seemed uncomfortable about his decision. But he eventually called with his J♣10♣ and exposed Troyanovskiy’s bluff with Q♥J♠.

On the next hand, Troyanovskiy jammed for his last 187,000 and got no callers. And then on the next one, with Troyanovskiy under the gun, he raised to 25,000 and found Leo Cheng willing in the big blind.

The flop brought the Q♠K♥5♥ and after Cheng checked, Troyanovskiy bet 25,000 and that was enough. He is still short, but is still involved on his first bullet. — HS

10pm: O’Dwyer rebuys after busting to Newey
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Steve O’Dywer found no business when he shoved three times recently. To get any business he had to call all-in.

Paul Newey had already set O’Dwyer in from the small blind before. He didn’t get a call the last time we witnessed it, but this time he did. O’Dwyer had 126,000 when he called from the big blind.

Newey: 6♥6♦
O’Dwyer: K♣8♥

The board ran Q♦10♦5♠Q♠3♣ to miss O’Dywer’s hand. He immediately rebought as Newey ran off to use the facilities. –MC

9:55pm: Badziakouski burnt by Cheng
Level 6 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski just lost a huge portion of his stack after a battle of the blinds went the way of Leo Cheng.

It folded around to Badziakouski in the small blind and he raised to 35,000. Cheng played back at him for 100,000 from the big blind and Badziakouski asked to see how much he was playing.

Cheng had 376,000 left behind and Badziakouski decided to move in with enough to cover. Cheng snapped it off for his tournament life and the cards went on their backs.

Badziakouski: A♦J♦
Cheng: A♣K♣

Badziakouski was dominated and couldn’t catch up on the 3♥10♦6♥4♥Q♣ runout.

Cheng secured the sizable double up while Badziakouski fell to 280,000 in chips. — BK

9:50pm: All-in, all-in, all-in, all-in
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Here’s details of four all-ins but, fair warning, the first three of them aren’t exactly what you’d call fascinating.

They all came from Steve O’Dwyer, whose fortunes have taken a huge tumble since I wrote about him preserving his last three red chips. They are a thing of the past, with O’Dwyer down below 100,000 at the start of this little series.

All-in 1: O’Dwyer open shoved from the button and won blinds and antes.
All-in 2: O’Dwyer open shoved from the cutoff and won blinds and antes.
All-in 3: After sitting out a couple of hands, O’Dwyer open-shoved his small blind and won blinds and antes.

The fourth all-in took place on the neighbouring table, where Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Justin Bonomo played for all of Troyanovskiy’s chips.

Bonomo opened to 18,000 and Troyanovskiy jammed from the big blind for 209,000. Bonomo spent a minute or so thinking about it, but called and saw the kind of hand he was probably hoping to see. Bonomo’s 5♦5♥ was racing Troyanovskiy’s A♠K♥.

The flop came Q♠3♣4♠ and then the turn was the 7♣. Troyanovskiy got up out of his chair just in time to be forced to sit down again when the A♥ came on the river. He flashed a smile at Mikita Badziakouski, who returned with something in Russian.

Bonomo seemed less delighted as he counted up his last 245,000.

By the way, O’Dwyer’s chips seem mostly to be in the stack of Yuan Li, who has comfortably more than 1 million and stacks his chips in enormous high towers. — HS

9:45pm: Two small pots, one big star
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

– Vladimir Troyanovskiy raised from the button and was called by both players in the blinds. All three checked a 3♥8♣5♥ flop before Justin Bonomo led for 40,000 from the big blind on the 5♦ turn. Only Troyanovskiy called and both players checked the 7♣ river. Bonomo opened 9♠8♦ and Troyanovskiy mucked.

– Stanley Choi opened to 20,000 from under the gun and called after Yuan Li three-bet to 57,000 from the next seat. The flop fell 8♣K♠6♣ and Choi check-folded to a 57,000 c-bet.

-Dietrich Fast is a bona fide star these days. It happens after you win a trophy as nice as the one he’s pictured with below. He won that trophy in the west but his fame stretches this far east. A “fan” wondered over to his table from the bar and asked for a Go-Pro selfie with him. The “German Daniel Negreanu” obliged with an embarrassed smile across his face. –MC


Fast winning the 10k event at EPT13 Malta

9:30pm: Three jacks for Ziegler
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Tobias Ziegler is now among the action and chipping up after raking a pot from Dietrich Fast. Ziegler was in the big blind and Fast on the button with the board reading J♠7♥J♦.

Ziegler led at it for 30,000 and Fast called to take them to the Q♣ river.

The bet from Ziegler was 75,000 on the end and Fast paid it off before Ziegler flashed J♥9♦ for a flopped three of a kind.

Fast mucked and fell to under 400,000 as the chips were pushed Ziegler’s way and he climbed to over 600,000. — BK

9:20pm: Chip stacks
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

The tournament board shows that we’ve had 18 entries so far, including Dietrich Fast’s re-buy. Seventeen players are seated, with Haoyan Wu returning to the fold.

They are presently spread over three tables, two six-handed and one with five players. Here’s how they line up at the moment, with approximate counts:

Table 1

1: Soichiro Kojiya – 480,000
2: Stanley Choi – 740,000
3: Yuan Li – 880,000
4: Paul Newey – 350,000
5: Steve O’Dwyer – 235,000

Table 2

1: Vladimir Troyanovskiy – 305,000
2: Bjorn Li – 500,000
3: Justin Bonomo – 465,000
4: Senh Ung – 640,000
5: Mikita Badziakouski – 650,000
6: Leo Cheng – 365,000

Table 3

1: Michael Addamo – 580,000
2: Isaac Haxton – 600,000
3: James Obst – 650,000
4: Dietrich Fast – 520,000
5: Hendrik Latz – 710,000
6: Tobias Ziegler – 460,000

— HS

9:15pm: Choi wins big pot from O’Dwyer
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Stanley Choi and Steve O’Dwyer have tangled in a lot of pots today. They did so again, and it was a big one that went the way of Choi.

Choi raised from the cutoff and O’Dywer peeled from the big blind. Both players checked the J♠4♠8♠ flop before O’Dywer led for 55,000 on the 10♦ turn. Choi wasn’t having any of that and raised to 55,000. O’Dwyer called and then checked overt the J♥ river. Choi took his time before betting 170,000.


Choi’s got a big house

O’Dwyer went into the tank after the big river bet. He looked at his opponent and then to the universe before leaning back and adjusting the headband that secures his ponytail. When he leaned back forward he had calling chips in his hand and in they went. Choi waited a few seconds and then opened 10♠10♣ for a full house.

O’Dwyer smiled and folded, dropping to fewer than 300,000. Choi, meanwhile, has around 780,000. –MC

9:05pm: O’Dwyer and his three red friends
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer only has three of the red 25,000-denomination chips left, which is the fewest at his table. Have no fear, O’Dwyer fans, because he has more than 80 of the yellow 5,000-denomination chips, which is the most. (His unbalanced stack represents a little more than the starting 500,000.)

O’Dwyer was reluctant to part with one of those precious little red discs in a recent pot against Soichiro Kojiya, ending up making a fold on the end when asked to invest 25,000.

The hand started with a raise to 17,000 from O’Dwyer, under the gun. He did this with three yellow chips and four purples (they’re worth 500 apiece). There are no 1,000-denomination chips in this tournament. Weird, I know.

Anyway, Kojiya called in the cutoff, which took two of them to a flop of 2♦10♠5♠. O’Dwyer bet 28,000 (five yellows, six purples) and Kojiya called. Then they both checked the K♥ turn.

After the A♠ came on the river, O’Dwyer checked again. Kojiya quickly tossed a red chip forward, and O’Dwyer took a little trip to the tank. He thought for a while, before snatching one of his red chips and spinning it around his fingers a few times.

After a couple of circuits around the O’Dwyer digits, he restored it on top of the other red chips and threw his cards into the middle instead. — HS

8:55pm: Badziakouski folds on the river
Level 5 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski’s stack has dropped a little (to 620,000) after he folded on the river to Vlidamir Troyanovskiy.

The former opened to 21,000 from the button and Troyanovskiy peeled from the big blind. The flop fanned J♥3♠5♣ and Troyanovskiy check-called 16,000 before both players checked the 3♦ turn. The board filled out with the 6♥ and Troyanovskiy came out firing for 38,000. Badziakouski asked for a count and then folded. –MC

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8:35pm: Take a break

It’s time again for a scheduled 10-minute break. — BK

8:30pm: Wu walking away
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Haoyan Wu had been flirting with the danger zone for a while before finally being eliminated at the hands of Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

We arrived just in time to see Wu up from his seat and the cards spread K♦A♠7♦2♠K♣.

Wu had 10♠9♠ in front of him in the small blind but Troyanovskiy had 2♣2♦ for way the best of it with a turned set of deuces.

After eliminating Wu, Troyanovskiy moved up to 340,000 in chips.

With registration and rebuys still available we’ll keep an eye out to see if Wu fires another bullet. — BK

8:25pm: Good call by Troyanovskiy
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has stopped his stack sliding anymore after making a good call versus Leo Yan Ho Cheng.

He was in the small blind and called a 15,000 cutoff raise from Cheng. Both players checked a 9♠Q♦4♣ flop before Troyanovskiy led for 20,000 on the 6♦ turn. Call. The river was the 8♠ and Troyanovskiy checked to face a 60,000. He tanked and then called with K♥9♥ for second pair. It was good as Cheng opened K♠J♥. He moved back up to 240,000 and Chen dropped to 460,000.–MC

8:20pm: On the subject of trips…
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

At the exact time that Stanley Choi was dodging turned trips, Isaac Haxton ended up paying off a similar hand in Hendrik Latz’s possession.

This one started when Latz raised to 15,000 from the button and Haxton called in the big blind. They both then checked the 4♦J♣5♦ flop. Haxton bet 13,000 at the J♥ turn, which Latz called, but Haxton checked the 4♠ river.

Latz bet 37,000 now and Haxton pondered his options for quite a while. But he then called and saw A♦4♥ in Latz’s hand. He had flopped a small pair, turned two pair and then rivered a full house.

Haxton couldn’t beat it. — HS


Isaac Haxton: Pays off the house

8:15pm: Choi will not be trapped
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Soichiro Kojiya didn’t manage to ensnare Stanley Choi into his trap, getting what was probably the minimum from turned trips. That said, it was a speculative play pre-flop that worked out.

Action folded to Kojiya in the small blind and he completed, watching Choi check behind him. Kojiya bet 11,000 after the flop of Q♦6♠10♦ and Choi called. Then they both checked the 6♦ turn.


Soichiro Kojiya: Laid the trap

The A♦ came on the river and Kojiya checked again. Choi didn’t seem tempted and checked behind. Kojiya will have been disappointed by that. He had J♠6♥. — HS

8:10pm: Top pair good for Badziakouski, shoving good for Wu
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski took a small pot off Vladimir Troyanovskiy before Haoyan Wu dominated for a couple of hands.

Troyanovskiy checked the river of a 7♣7♦4♥A♦5♣ board over to Badziakouski who bet 36,000. The Russian tank-called and mucked when shown A♣10♦.

The next two hands saw Wu open-shove and receive no callers. The first was for 74,000 and the second for 97,000. He was in the big blind the hand after that and folded after Senh Unh raised from the cutoff. –MC

8pm: Aggression from Addamo
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Michael Addamo joined the field late tonight but he hasn’t hesitated to start building a stack. Addamo now sits with around 640,000 after winning a pot against Ike Haxton.

On a flop of K♠2♥Q♥ Haxton led at it from the small blind for 20,000. That wasn’t enough for Addamo who reached into his stack and bumped it up to a total of 70,000.

Haxton thought on it for about a minute before throwing his hand into the muck. — BK

7:45pm: Bonomo up, Fast back
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Justin Bonomo, at his third seat of the day, settled in with an open to 14,000 from under the gun. Michael Addamo, one of the new arrivals, called on the button and then both Ike Haxton and James Obst called from the blinds.

This was very nearly a family pot on what was, at the start of this hand, a five-handed table. Only Hendrik Latz was not involved.

All four players checked the Q♦J♣5♠ flop, bringing the A♠ on the turn. Haxton and Obst checked that too, but a delayed c-bet of 40,000 got the job done for Bonomo.

As he dragged the pot in his direction, Dietrich Fast appeared at the table, tailed by the tournament supervisor and a fresh rack of chips. Fast has become the first player to re-buy into this one. –HS

7:50pm: Bonomo fills Fast gap
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Justin Bonomo was moved to Table 3 to fill the gap left by the first player out, Dietrich Fast (no details), but lost another pot to Stanley Choi just before he did so.

The two players saw a 6♥3♦A♥ flop where Choi led for 30,000 from the big blind. Bonomo (UTG) called and did so for another 60,000 on the 3♠ turn before both players checked the J♦ river. Bonomo opened Q♥J♥ but lost out to Choi’s A♦Q♥. –MC

7:45pm: Choi beats Bonomo
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Stanley Choi raised to 13,000 from middle position before Justin Bonomo three-bet to 37,000 on the button. Choi flicked in a call and the flop landed A♣9♥10♠.

It was checked to Bonomo and he continued for 30,000. Choi made the call and the J♦ arrived on the turn. Both players checked it through and the 4♥ peeled off on the end.

Just like on the turn the action went check-check and Choi flipped up A♥2♦ for top pair to take down the pot.

Choi moved back up to 520,000 while Bonomo dipped to 660,000 in chips. — BK

7:40pm: Three tables now as two more join
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

Players have been split into three tables now as two more late additions bring our field up to 16 runners.

Australia’s Michael Addamo and Germany’s Hendrik Latz have pulled up seats. With late registration open for the entirety of today we could still see a couple more in contention before the conclusion of play. — BK

7:35pm: What’s happening in the side events?

…I hear you ask. Well, the side-event review is just for you.

7:30pm: Obst finds favourable flop
Level 4 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (500 ante)

James Obst seemed desperate to see a flop, if only his opponents would let him. He raised and folded to consecutive three-bets–one from Leo Yan Ho Cheng and one from Vladimir Troyanovskiy–but then found a new strategy: calling from the big blind after Haoyan Wu raised to 12,000.


James Obst: Hitting flops

That elusive flop fell J♣J♥Q♠ and both players checked, earning them the 3♥ on the turn. Obst bet 20,000 and Wu called.

The 9♥ came on the river and Obst bet again, this time 37,000. Wu called again, but mucked when Obst showed J♠10♠, the perfect calling hand and the perfect flop.

Obst is the table captain with more than 700,000. — HS

7:25pm: Fast getting short(ish)
Level 3 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Dietrich Fast has become the shortest stack at the far table, after he lost a pot to Justin Bonomo, who’s made a great recovery.

The flop was already out as 10♥K♣A♦ and it looked as if there had been a three-bet and call preflop due to the 90,000 or so chips that lay in the middle. Fast checked from the small blind and so did Bonomo from the cutoff. Both players checked the 8♦ turn as well before Fast checked over the 10♣ river to face a 50,000 bet. He tank-called and then mucked upon seeing the American’s A♠J♠. He dropped to 145,000 and Bonomo rose to around 750,000. –MC

7:10pm: Haxton flush with chips
Level 3 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Isaac Haxton’s stack has grown to around 700,000 after he made a flush versus, and got paid by, Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

The pot was three-way to a 5♣7♠5♠ flop and it was checked through to the 6♠ turn where Troyanovskiy led for 38,000 from the small blind. Haxton was in the big blind and tank-called. After the third player folded, the river was dealt as the J♥ and Troyanovskiy check-snap-called a 65,000 bet from Haxton, who opened J♠8♠ for a flush. Troyanovskiy mucked to drop to around 425,000. –MC

7:05pm: Obst moves on up
Level 3 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

The pot was already bloated with around 190,000 in the middle and the flop was spread 7♦3♥9♠.

James Obst and Mikita Badziakouski were the only two active players and it was on Obst first to act. He made it 54,000 to go and Badziakouski called to see the 8♥ turn.

Obst counted his own stack before moving it all in for a total of 353,500.

Badziakouski screwed up his face before going into the tank. With only 490,000 behind the decision was for most of his chips.

Badziakouski look tormented but after about three minutes in the tank he finally let it go. While Badziakouski loses that pot Obst builds to over 650,000 in chips. — BK

6:55pm: A couple of small losses for Wu
Level 3 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

The pots are staying small on both tables right now and Haoyan Wu lost a couple of them on the bounce to drop to around 360,000.

He limped in from under the gun and picked up Mikita Badziakouski from the small blind before Leo Yan Ho Cheng checked his option from the big blind. Wu continued for 12,000 on a K♥9♣5♣ flop and was only check-called by Badziakouski. Neither player committed any more chips as the board rolled out 7♥10♣. Badziakouski opened Q♦9♠ and Wu mucked.

The next hand, Vladimir Troyanovskiy opened to 12,000 from under the gun and Wu defended his big blind. The flop fanned 7♦A♣4♥ and Wu check-folded to a c-bet from the Russian. –MC

6:40pm: Kojiya climbing
Level 3 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Soichiro Kojiya has moved up to 720,000 in chips after taking down a pot against Paul Newey.

With the community cards showing 5♣6♠9♣Q♥ Kojiya checked from the big blind and Newey fired for 21,000 from the cutoff. Kojiya wanted to play for more and put in a raise to 75,000.

Newey made the call and the 7♠ rolled off on the river.

Despite the action on the turn, the river saw both players quickly check before Kojiya tabled Q♣10♣ for the winner.

Newey now sits with 410,000 at his disposal. — BK

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6:15pm: Scheduled break

Players have stepped away from the tournament area for the first break of the day. Coverage will resume in 10 minutes. — BK

6pm: Bonomo muscles Newey out
Level 2 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer raised to 11,000 from under the gun and both players in the blinds called: Paul Newey in the small blind and Justin Bonomo to his left. They all checked a flop of Q♣4♣3♠, bringing the 6♦ on the turn.


Justin Bonomo: Muscle from the small blind

If Newey’s bet of 25,000 here was intended to find out where he was, he got a quick answer. Bonomo raised to 70,000 and O’Dwyer quickly folded. Newey took a while but eventually did the same. — HS

5:55pm: Picked it
Level 2 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

It’s not often you can call a hand correctly while standing on the rail. Let’s face it, if anyone of us notebook crusaders could actually play the game, we’d be playing it rather than writing about it. However, there was a certain point during the following hand–in which the first player of the tournament was all-in–that pretty much anyone could pick at least one of the hands. Most likely, you could have picked both of them.

It got under way in inauspicious circumstances, with a limp from under the gun from Mikita Badziakouski. James Obst three-bet the small blind, making it 32,000 to play, and Badziakouski’s call took them to the flop of 10♦9♥Q♥. Obst check-called Badziakouski’s bet of 30,000.


Mikita Badziakouski: Limped Ace-King

The J♣ came on the turn and suddenly this was looking good for Ace-King. Obst bet 62,000 and Badziakouski called–consistent with at least one big slick out there.

When the 3♠ came on the river, it went a bit crazy, offering further proof that these two were packing. Obst bet 175,000, Badziakouski wanted a count of his opponents’ chips, then raised to more than 350,000, which covered Obst. Obst called all-in and, yep, you guessed it:

Obst: A♠K♥
Badziakouski: A♥K♠

Chop, chop with the nuts. — HS

5:50pm: Choi chipping up
Level 2 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Stanley Choi is building a stack after a well-timed check-raise just saw him scoop a pot from Yuan Li.

Li raised to 10,000 under the gun and after Soichiro Kojiya called on the button, Choi came along from the big blind. The flop fell 4♣2♣A♣ and Choi checked it back to Li who continued for 12,000.

Kojiya got out of the way and the action landed back on Choi. He reached into his stack and decided on a raise to 37,000.

Li gave it some thought but ultimately gave it up and the pot was awarded to Choi. With hat pot Choi builds to 560,000 in chips. — BK

5:40pm: Welcome to the table, Senh
Level 2 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Not long after he sat down, Senh Ung got a warm welcome to the table from Leo Yan Ho Cheng. Ung bet 32,000 at a board of 6♦2♥5♥9♣7♥ but Cheng, his sole opponent, raised to 175,000 and Ung had to let it go.

Ung was undeterred. Shortly after, he three-bet pre-flop to 28,000 after James Obst opened to 11,000. Obst folded, and he was then back at it with Cheng.


Senh Ung

Ung raised to 10,000 from the hijack and Cheng called on the button. They went to a flop of 10♠4♦A♣ and Ung bet 15,500. Cheng called. Then they saw a 6♥ turn and Ung bet 36,000. It got the job done. — HS

5:30pm: Check mate
Level 2 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has used the check as an offensive weapon here so far today. He just won another tidy pot out of position to see his stack rise to 335,000.

The action was three way to a 8♣3♥6♦ flop where Troyanovskiy (bb) and Isaac Haxton (UTG) checked over to Leo Yan Ho Cheng who bet 15,000. Troyanovskiy check-called another 35,000 on the 2♣ turn before the 9♠ river was checked through. Troyanovskiy opened 9♣9♦ for a rivered set, a hand that was always ahead of Ho’s A♦8♦. –MC

5:25pm: Obst and Newey join the hunt
Level 2 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Englishman Paul Newey and Australian James Obst have just taken their seats to bring our player count up to 12.

Obst is fresh off an impressive 13th place finish at the World Series of Poker Main Event in July where he pocketed $427,930 for his efforts.

He also made the final table of the ACOP 6-Max Championship Event here earlier this week so Obst will be looking to keep the heater alive in this Super High Roller. — BK

5:20pm: Bonomo runs into O’Dwyer
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Justin Bonomo and Steve O’Dwyer have played a lot against one another in high buy-in events over the years, and they’re going to be spending a few more hours in one another’s company this week too. They’re now seated next to each other, with O’Dwyer getting the better of a recent clash.

Bonomo raised to 9,000 from the cutoff and O’Dwyer three-bet from the button, making it 28,500 to play. Bonomo called and then checked the 9♠8♠8♣ flop.

O’Dwyer bet 19,000 and Bonomo called that, with the 5♣ appearing on the turn. Bonomo checked again, but O’Dwyer didn’t let up. He bet another 29,000 and Bonomo folded. –HS

5:15pm: Newey and Ung through from satellite
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

The HK$40,000 satellite is over, with a certain small posse of poker players particularly happy. It ended with Paul Newey and Senh Ung, who regularly travel the circuit together, the last two players in their seats. Both earn places in the Super High Roller tournament and are free to sit down any time they want. — HS

5:10pm: Troyanovskiy: Eyes like Wolverine, weapons to match
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

“Eyes like Wolverine!” was how our photographer Long Guan described Vladimir Troyanovskiy when shooting him now. The Russian also has the ability to slice opponents open, but instead of exposing blood and guts, he exposes their soul for reading.


Vladimir Troyanovskiy: Lupine

He took a nice pot Haoyon Wu with aces, checking over every street. Preflop the action started with a Wu button raise to 7,500 before Troyanovskiy three-bet to 25,000. Wu called and went on to bet 31,000 and 35,000 on the flop and turn, before checking back the river. The board read 10♠7♥6♥J♠K♣ and Troyanovskiy opened A♠A♥ to win the pot as Wu mucked. –MC

5:05pm: O’Dwyer dominating
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer has established himself as one of the early chip leaders after raking in another pot – this time it was from Dietrich Fast.

Fast opened the action with a cutoff raise to 7,500 and O’Dwyer called from the big blind to see a flop of 9♦J♠8♠. Both players checked and the dealer turned the A♠.

O’Dwyer then took the betting lead by dropping 10,000 out in front of him and Fast made the call to see the 7♦ river.

After another wager from O’Dwyer, this time for 20,000, Fast quickly folded and the pot was pushed O’Dywer’s way.

O’Dwyer has now eclipsed the 700,000-chip mark. — BK


Steve O’Dwyer

5pm: Badziakouski takes from Haxton, Haxton takes it back
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski and Isaac Haxton tangled in consecutive pots, with the net result being a small win for Haxton.

Haoyan Wu played a small cameo, limping on the button in the first hand. Haxton completed from the small blind and then Badziakouski checked his big blind. Haxon then checked a flop of 5♥9♥5♦ but called when Badziakouski bet 2,500. (Wu folded.) Badziakouski bet 15,000 at the 7♠ turn and Haxton let him have it.

Haxton was on the button on the next hand and opened fro the best seat in the house, making it 9,000 to play. Badziakouski called in the small blind and it was those two again to a flop of 6♣Q♠2♠.

Badziakouski bet 8,000 and Haxton called, then they both checked the turn of 8♣. Badziakouski checked the K♠ river and folded when Haxton bet 30,000. — HS

4:55pm: Badziakouski no live fish in 2016
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski has been terrorising the players in the high stakes arena online for years now, under the handle fish2013, but never really troubled the live arena to the extent that it matched his talent. That’s starting to change though. The Belarusian starting to gain traction in 2015 with three five-figure cashes and had come alive this year. He’s had three six-figure cashes to take his earnings past $1.1 million.

He won a small pot just now by barrelling out of position. Haoyon Wu opened to 9,000 from under the gun and was called by both blinds. The flop came 6♠Q♠9♦ and Badziakouski led or 10,000 from the small blind. Leo Yan Ho Cheng was the only caller from the small blind, but he too folded on the K♣ turn, when Badziakouski bet another 35,000. –MC

4:40pm: Small pots
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

As you would expect for this stage of a tournament of this size, players are merely nibbling at one another. There’s nothing approaching even a medium-sized pot.

The opening raise size is established as 7,500, while the three-bet size is 25,500–at least it was during a few very minor early skirmishes.

Steve O’Dwyer opened to 7,500 from under the gun and Ike Haxton called on the button. (These two have decamped from the same lunch table to the same poker table in the space of about 15 minutes.) The flop came 3♠3♥9♦ and after Haxton checked, O’Dwyer bet 9,500 and took it.

On the next hand, Vladimir Troyanovskiy opened to 7,500 from the button and O’Dwyer called in the big blind. The flop came 6♥2♠4♣ and O’Dwyer checked. Troyanovskiy bet 8,500 and O’Dwyer folded.

On the next hand, Soichiro Kojiya opened to 8,000 on the button and O’Dwyer three-bet to 25,500 from the small blind. Kojiya folded.

If you ever thought your job was pointless, try covering Level 1 of a major poker tournament. — HS

4:35pm: O’Dwyer takes from Troyanovskiy
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer brought it in for a raise to 7,500 from early position and Vladimir Troyanovskiy opted to defend his big blind before a flop of J♣2♣K♠.

Troyanovskiy checked it over to O’Dwyer who continued for 10,500. The bet was met with a call and the 4♥ arrived on the turn.

When checked to, O’Dwyer fired for 25,000, and was called again before the 4♦ completed the board.

A final check from Troyanovskiy prompted O’Dwyer to make it 57,000 and after a moment’s deliberation Troyanovskiy relinquished his hand.

With starting stacks at 500,000 that hand didn’t change much with O’Dwyer and Troyanovskiy slightly up and slightly down respectively. — BK

4:25pm: Play has now begun
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Cards are in the air in the Super High Roller. Only six players have taken their seats so far, but seeing as registration stays open all day, that number will steadily grow.

It’s a pretty stacked table though with Justin Bonomo, Isaac Haxton, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Steve O’Dywer and Mikita Badziakouski all in the mix early on. –MC

4:15pm: Play set to begin
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Early arriving players have now drawn their seats and play is set to begin. They will play seven one-hour levels today.

Just to make things clear (we had to double-check ourselves) this is a re-buy event–as opposed to a re-entry–with players able to take either, or both, of two re-buys at any time during the first eight levels, regardless of stack.

In theory, it means that someone could sit down at the start with 1.5 million chips, if they wanted to take two re-buys immediately. Nobody has actually done this, at least not yet. — HS

4:10pm: Alner misses out in satellite
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

There are two seats to the Super High Roller up for grabs in the live satellite finishing off in the room at the moment. Tom Alner just busted in fifth place, leaving Paul Newey, Senh Ung, Faraz Jaka and one other left to battle it out.

The seat draw for the actual SHR is about to take place. –MC

4pm: Start of play is imminent
Level 1 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Players start today with stacks of 500,000. Blinds are 1,500-3,000 with a 500 ante. There’s a satellite event just wrapping up before the action begins. — HS

3pm: Welcome back to the ACOP

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to Macau, where we’re ramping up coverage of the 2016 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP).

The action never ends in PokerStars land. Only a matter of hours after the resumption of the PokerStars Festival New Jersey Main Event, we’re getting under way here at PokerStars LIVE Macau, in the City of Dreams Casino, where all the attention is on the Super High Roller tournament. It starts at 4pm local time–eight hours ahead of GMT and ET +13.

This one has an entry fee of HK$500,000, which is about US$64,500 at present exchange rates. There are two re-buy permitted, so the prize pool will continue to swell until the start of Day 2, when registration will close. Players can take the re-buy at any time, regardless of their stack size.

Last year, Andy Andrejevic won HK$8,725,000 (~US$1,125,000) for his victory in this event, a result made all the more brilliant by his route to the tournament. He qualified via a live satellite path, for a total investment of only around US$5,000. We’re now looking for his successor–or a title defence.


Andy Andrejevic: Last year’s winner

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All the information you need about the event is on our Ultimate Guide to ACOP page–although the bit about the “Race to Two Spadies” was rendered out of date by Celina Lin’s spectacular triumph in Event #5 this week.

We’ll have blow-by-blow coverage from start to finish as the big guns of world poker descend on Macau.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at 2016 ACOP: Marc Convey, Brad Kain and Howard Swains. Photography by Long Guan/Kenneth Lim Photography. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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