73 entrants decided to pony up the HK$2 million (US $258k) to play in The Macau High Stakes Challenge today, an event sponsored by the Asian online poker site "PokerAce" and the Neptune Group.
As all high stakes poker followers will be more than aware, Macau has become the new home of ultra high stakes live cash games with the likes of Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Sam Trickett, Rui Cao, Andrew Robl and many more of the games top players mixing it up in million dollar pots with a growing group of ultra rich Chinese businessmen over the past couple of years.
The tournament, with an optional HK$2 million rebuy will award the biggest prizes ever seen in a live poker tournament outside of this years "All in for One Drop" $1 million buy in tournament held at the recent WSOP in Las Vegas and the WSOP Main Event. In fact 21 players ended up forking out for a "second bullet", leaving a total prize pool of (in US $) around $23.5 million, with approximately $6.5 million going to the winner.
The tournament, as expected, attracted a star studded field including; Ivey, Dwan, Hansen, Trickett, Antonius, Robl, Ben Lamb, Brian Rast, Mike "Timex" McDonald, John Juanda, Joe Hachem, JP Kelly and Erik Seidel. The event is beng staged at StarWorld Hotel’s Poker King Club, which has played host to the largest cash games in the world in recent years.
Since the tournament got underway earlier today the action has been fast and furious and at the dinner break there are just 26 contestants still standing. Among notables already to hit the rail we see Joe Hachem, Andrew Robl, Nam Le, AsianLogic CEO Tom Hall.
Recent updates suggest that Ivey and Hansen are still very much in contention, Hansen getting rather lucky as his AK made a four flush against high stakes cash game pro Chris Parker's AK in a pot which sent Parker to the rail and Hansen shooting up the leaderboard. Brit Sam Trickett still in the running although has just taken a nasty hit to his stack after a semi bluff with a flush draw didn't work out. Another Brit and two time WSOP bracelet winner, JP Kelly is also making a strong showing and is looking good for a cash finish at least.
We will of course bring you more updates when they come in and expect a full report soon after the event has been completed.