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ACOP Main Event Day 1a: The stars come out to play

The players have been welcomed to the PokerStars LIVE at the City of Dreams poker room as Day 1a of the ACOP Main Event is now under way. It looks like we'll have around 80 players in action this afternoon.

That number may not sound huge, but there aren't too many soft tables out there with plenty of notable players in action today.

Some of those making an appearance today include Jordan Westmorland, Tom Rafferty, Juicy Li, Michael Guttman, former Asia Player of the Year Yosuke Sekiya, April Red Dragon champion Terry Fan, August Red Dragon winner Tom Alner, 2011 WSOP Main Event 3rd place finisher Ben Lamb, 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Jarred Graham, 2012 ACOP High Roller champ Jonathan Karamalikis, and Michael Kanaan who took 3rd place in this very event last year.

We also have several members of Team PokerStars in action today. Bryan Huang and Vivian Im are regular faces in the PokerStars Macau poker room as members of Team PokerStars Asia, but they have been joined today by two other red spades who aren't so well known in these parts.

Naoya Kihara burst onto the poker scene in 2012 when he took down the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Six-Handed event at the World Series of Poker for a whopping US$512,029 score. Kihara made history by becoming Japan's first ever WSOP bracelet winner and has gone from strength to strength as a member of PokerStars Team Online. Expect big things from this talented player here at the ACOP.


Japanese online phenom Naoya Kihara

Also joining us today is Ukraine-born Eugene Katchalov. One of the world's premier players, Katchalov has results all over the world among nearly US$7.5 million in career earnings. His biggest result was winning the WPT Five Diamond Classic in 2007 worth almost US$2.5 million, but Katchalov also has a WSOP bracelet to his credit in $1,500 Seven-Card Stud event in 2011. However one thing missing from Katchalov's resume is a result here in Asia, so the ACOP is a perfect platform to make his mark in Macau.


One of the world's premier players, Eugene Katchalov

We'll be keeping a close eye on our Team PokerStars Pros as well as the remaining players here on Day 1a of the ACOP Main Event. We've been reliably informed by Danny McDonagh that we'll be playing a gruelling four 90-minute levels today. Yep, it's a tough life in Macau. The idea is to get wrapped up early today, so that tomorrow everyone can get along to the late-night, poolside welcome party that PokerStars are throwing for us. Again, tough life.

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

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