Sparrow Cheung wasn't the early bird at all on Day 1a of PokerStars Festival Korea Main Event, but that didn't make much difference. After buying in just before registration closed, Cheung made the time he did spend in the Main Event count as he bagged 158,100 to rank second in chips.
Cheung was one of a handful of notables who entered after bagging in the High Roller event, which started a couple of hours earlier and played a shorter day. Pete Chen (41,900) and Alan Lau (38,600) also double-bagged.
Neither player is very far above the 30,000 starting stack, but it wasn't for lack of trying from Lau, who came in and pushed the action hard right away, running up to nearly 90,000. He was down to about half of the starting stack when he got pocket kings in and received a call from Stuart Brodie, holding ace-six. That double propelled him to bagging time.
Lau, Cheung and Chen are all atop the Asia Player of the Year leaderboard in that order.
The only player with more than Cheung is inexperienced Russian player Dmitrii Kovalevskii, who finished with a monstrous 201,000. Others bagging after the 12-level day included big stacks Yutaro Sukegawa (148,000), Martin Gonzales (146,700) and Roman Tsoyi (133,000), as well as Bryan Huang (90,200).
Overall, Day 1a of the first PokerStars Festival Korea Main Event drew 54 runners and 17 of them survived. Jack Wu, Brodie and Xuefeng Huang were some of the players eliminated during the course of play.
Brodie looked like he'd be one of the stars of the day after running up a room-leading stack at the dinner break. However, a tough beat started a slide he was never able to stop, as he lost all in preflop in a five-bet pot with pocket aces against the pocket tens of Weihsun Lu.
The remaining players have a couple of days off now as three more starting flights to this event will play out over the next two days. Survivors return Sunday for Day 2, with coverage on PokerNews continuing until and through that time.
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