We often talk about how poker players in Macau like to push their chips around. Folding is no fun right? Sure, the modern poker game has evolved into an aggressive one, but in Macau there's an undeniable urge to gamble.
However when we started the day just five eliminations away from the money stage of the Macau Poker Cup Championship Main Event, we weren't expecting to see too much gamble. In fact, we thought we'd see some tight, conservative play as we inched towards the money bubble.
We were so wrong.
Within fifteen minutes of play the bubble had burst. Five minutes later and another two had gone. In the first two levels alone we dropped 18 players - almost half of day's starting field. It was a staggering rate, but hey, we're not complaining. In fact, we admire the courage of those prepared to take their chances to win the tournament rather than just limp into the money.
Chris Edgar was out before we'd even smelt the morning coffee, before a massive double KO on the bubble saw Lester Edoc and Giselle Raloto fall to the set of Hui Min Huang to put the remaining 38 players safely into the money and a guaranteed HK$33,300 pay day.
While everyone was happy with a min-cash it was Raiden Kan who quickly asserted himself as the man to catch in the chase for the HK$1.25 million first place prize.
After eliminating Chris Edgar at the start of the day, Kan quickly jumped to the top of the chip counts when his pocket aces knocked off both Kok Weng Beh and Choong Kian Weng in the same hand, before he surged to giddy heights in massive clash with Gordon Huntly.
The two collided on a A♥K♦6♠Q♦ board with Huntly's ace-king two pair crushed as Kan once again had pocket aces for top set. The unlucky Scot departed in 32nd place as Kan now had about 1/6th of the chips in play with 31 players still remaining!
Ivan Tan (36th), Gabyong Kim (26th), Elton Tsang (22nd), Justin Chan (21st) and overnight chip leader Will Jones (20th) all fell as the eliminations continued. Kim was unlucky when his two pair was rivered by the gutshot straight of Charles Lam while Chan can also consider himself unlucky as his A♠6♦ lost to the 8♥6♥ of Asia POTY leader Hung-Sheng Lin, with all the chips in preflop, when the flop landed 7♣5♠4♦ to give Lin a straight.
It's been a remarkable tournament for the man they call "Shaq".
It hasn't come easily in this tournament for Shaq, as he's battled for long periods on the short stack. But a little bit of luck at the right times is all he has needed to reach yet another final table and secure more points towards his Asia POTY crown.
As the field narrowed Lin stepped on the gas with a big double up through Charles Lam, before calling the all-in shove from the short-stacked Michael Ye. Lin's ace-three held against Ye's ten-six to burst the final table bubble in an exciting climax to the day.
Here's how they will lineup tomorrow:
Seat 1: Seijiro Machi (Japan) - 616,000
Seat 2: "Chester" Seng Yong Lee (Malaysia) (PokerStars Player) - 598,000
Seat 3: Hau Huang Chang (United States) - 466,000
Seat 4: Richard Renyong Hu (China) - 566,000
Seat 5: Hung-sheng "Shaq" Lin (Chinese Taipei) (PokerStars Player) - 614,000
Seat 6: Charles Lam (Hong Kong) - 360,000
Seat 7: Raiden Kan (Malaysia) (PokerStars Player) - 1,237,000
Seat 8: "Sunny" Hyungsun Jung (Korea) - 669,000
Seat 9: Victor Chong (Malaysia) (PokerStars Player) - 981,000
Raiden Kan holds onto the chip lead but can he stop Shaq from winning yet another major title? It's going to be an exciting finale with play set to recommence at 2:00pm tomorrow (GMT+8). Join us once again on the PokerStars Blog as we look to crown Asia's newest poker champion!