Sixty-one players ponied up $19,200 each for a seat in the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour High Rollers Event. With a buy-in more than five times that of the APPT Macau Main Event, the field was made up of the cream of the poker crop. Among the players hitting the felt were 10-time WSOP bracelet winner and World Champion Johnny Chan, as well as World Champion Joe Hachem, multiple bracelet winners John Juanda and Barry Greenstein, and internet superstars Shaun Deeb, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Hevad "RainKhan" Khan.
Also in the field was Eric Assadourian, who won this event in 2007, along with several of his final tablemates from last year, including Emad Tahtouh, David Steicke and Liz Lieu. Johnny Chan joined a stacked table including Deeb and Terrence Chan. With a field this pro-heavy, almost every table was a "table of death," but by the end of the day it was obvious that whatever table David Steicke drew was the true deathtrap, as Steicke amassed a significant chip lead going into Day 2.
Celina Lin was one of the earliest casualties of the event, heading to the rail on one of the first hands of the day at the hands of Yevgeniy Timoshenko. Timoshenko, who won the APT Macau event last week, was hoping to continue his good run in Macau with a deep finish in this event. After Lin three-bet preflop, Timoshenko called to see a flop of . Lin led out at the flop, and moved all in over the top when Timoshenko raised. Timoshenko called with , and Lin's pocket aces had just been cracked. The turn added insult to injury as it came down the to give Timoshenko a full house. The on the river was no help to Lin, and she was eliminated. Other eliminations on Day 1 included Tony Dunst, John Juanda, Bertrand Grospellier, David Chiu, and Isabelle Mercier.
Eric Assadourian made a good start to his title defense when he sent John Phan to the rail early in the day. Phan led out at the flop of , and Assadourian called. The came on the turn, and Phan moved all in with pocket tens for the overpair. Assadourian snap-called with pocket nines for top set, and no help came for Phan on the river.
Assadourian was joined among the big stacks by David Steicke, who made the final table of this event last year and just missed the final table of the APPT Macau Main Event earlier this week. Steicke had a good Day 1, to say the least. He started his run by sending Liz Lieu to the rail when he flopped top set with his pocket sevens against Lieu's A-J. Later on, Steicke sent Lee Nelson to the rail with yet another set, made on the turn when the board came down . Nelson got all his chips in the middle with A-K for top pair with a gutshot, but Steicke's pocket jacks held up to send Nelson home early.
Later, Steicke got all his chips in the middle on a board of . Steicke led out, his opponent raised, and Steicke moved all in. His opponent called and said, "I have a set." Steicke tabled for the bigger set and sent another opponent home. Steicke finished Day 1 with a significant chip lead over Michael "timex" McDonald, his nearest competitor. Other survivors of Day 1 included Joe Hachem, Johnny Chan, APPT Main Event runner-up Charles Chua and Barry Greenstein. The top ten chip stacks looked like this as players bagged up their chips on Day 1:
David Steicke - 160,000
Mike McDonald - 100,000
Eric Assadourian - 90,000
Danny Wong - 78,000
Ivan Tan - 55,000
Javed Abrahams - 41,000
Xuan Nguyen - 40,000
Andrew Scott - 37,000
Nam Le - 35,000
Tyler Cornell - 35,000
Join PokerNews tomorrow for all the live updates from Day 2 of the Macau High Rollers event.