Two former World Champions and 74 other poker stars returned to the tables at the Grand Waldo Hotel & Casino for Day 2 of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau championship event, all vying for a seat at the final table and a shot at the $222,640 first-place prize. Among the superstars returning for Day 2 were Scotty Nguyen, Joe Hachem, Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Bill Chen and Hevad 'Rain' Khan. By the end of the day, only one former Main Event champ would remain, though tomorrow's final table will feature several high-profile players.
Isabelle Mercier had a short day of it, as she was eliminated mere moments into Day 2 when she ran pocket kings into pocket aces. Mercier's elimination sparked a flurry of bustouts that saw more than a quarter of the field eliminated in a frenetic first hour of play. Masa Kagawa was another notable early elimination when he got all his chips in the middle in a three-way all-in with Paul Gianfriddo and Nicholas Wong. After all the dust settled, the players tabled the following hands:
The board ran out , and Wong's full house sent both Gianfriddo and Kagawa to the rail. Scotty Nguyen's run at the title ended early when he lost a coin flip with against Markus Duberg's . No help on the board came for Nguyen, and the 1998 World Champion was eliminated.
With all the early action, it didn't take long for the bubble to burst, and Winfred Yu was the bubble boy when his A-Q ran into Sean Jensen's A-K. All the money went in pre-flop and when the board turned up Yu was eliminated in 41st place.
Hevad 'Rain' Khan continued to represent Team PokerStars well in this event, cashing in 33rd place. In Khan's final hand, Joe Hachem limped in from the button and Khan moved all in from the small blind. Mika Hallstrom called quickly from the big blind and Hachem folded. Khan's was drawing thin against Hallstrom's , and when the board brought no help Khan went to the rail in 33rd place ($3,238).
Guillaume Patry started his move toward the top of the leaderboard midway through Day 2, eliminating Kenneth Matsson and taking the chip lead when he caught the nut flush on the river to bust Matsson. All the money went in on the river with the board reading , and Matsson's made the king-high straight, but Patry's sent him to the rail in 29th place ($4,048). Patry used those chips to continue to build a big stack, and led much of the later part of the day, before a huge double-through by Dinh Le gave Le the lead entering Day 3.
In a flurry of eliminations before the dinner break, Luca Carlone, Marc Sheridan and Day 1 chip leader Tobias Schulze all went to the rail, along with Celina Lin, Chris Levick and Lance Yuen. 21 players returned from the dinner break, and the steady pace of eliminations continued, with Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier taking out Christoffer Stahle shortly after players returned from dinner. Stahle pushed all in pre-flop with pocket fours and found one caller in Grospellier, who tabled pocket sevens. The board of gave Grospellier a set of sevens and sent Stahle to the rail in 21st for $4,858.
Brian Tate was the last player eliminated before the final re-seating of Day 2, and he went out in particularly unpleasant fashion. Tate raised pre-flop from the cutoff with pocket aces, and found one caller in Guido Lunardini. When the flop came down , Lunardini open-shoved, and Tate quickly called. Lunardini's was good for two pair, and the turn and river brought the , sending Tate to the rail in 17th place ($4,858).
Mika Pekka Hallstrom was the first player to fall when the tables were consolidated, running his into Claus Valloe's . Hallstrom picked up a flush draw on the turn, but the on the river ended his tournament, as Valloe's kings held up. Hallstrom's 16th-place finish was good for $8,096.
Graeme Putt made the most of his short stack on Day 2, nursing his last few chips all the way to 15th place. He finally pushed all his chips in the middle with , and Grospellier called with . An ace on the flop left Putt drawing thin, and when no queen materialized on the turn or river, he was busted in 15th ($8,096). Joel Dodds and Jerry Bucilla were next to fall, in 14th and 13th place, respectively, with Buccilla falling victim to Joe Hachem's pocket aces. The hand with Buccilla gave Hachem enough ammunition to make it to the final table.
Lunardini's run ended when he got all his chips in pre-flop with , and was called by Dinh Le with . When the board ran out , Lunardini was eliminated in 12th place ($12,144). Soon after, Claus Valloe ran into Grospellier's , and an all-blank board made Grospellier's ace-high good enough to eliminate Valloe in 11th place ($12,144).
Almost immediately after Valloe busted, Cailin Jin became the final-table bubble boy when he ran his into Sangkyoun Kim's pocket queens pre-flop. The flop was almost all Jin could have hoped for, bringing the , but the turn brought one of the two remaining queens for Kim, who sent Jin to the rail in 10th place ($12,144). With that elimination, the final table was set, with Dinh Le taking the chip lead into the final nine, but Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier close behind. Also in the hunt are Liz Lieu and 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem. The seating assignments and chip counts for the final table looked like this:
Seat 1: Simon Randall, United Kingdom — 125,000
Seat 2: Liz Lieu, United States — 384,000
Seat 3: William Tam, Australia — 201,000
Seat 4: Bertrand 'Elky' Grospellier, Korea — 467,000
Seat 5: Joe Hachem, Australia — 325,000
Seat 6: Dinh Le, England — 657,000
Seat 7: Guillaume Patry, South Korea — 552,000
Seat 8: Sangkyoun Kim, South Korea — 261,000
Seat 9: Ivan Tan, Singapore — 553,000
Join PokerNews starting at 2PM local time (11pm ET / 8pm CT tonight) for all the live updates and hand histories from the final table of the PokerStars.net Asian Pacific Poker Tour Macau championship, the first ever major poker tournament in Macau.