The Sharks Are Circling at APT Macau

The Macau stop on this year’s Asian Poker Tour has attracted a surprisingly large pro contingent. APT Macau kicked off on November 6 in the Hard Rock Hotel at the City of Dreams in Macau and will run through Sunday, November 14. It goes without saying that much of the early Macau action was overshadowed by WSOP Main Event coverage, but if you took a look at Las Vegas’ final table crowd and wondered where all the pros were, chances are “Macau” was the answer.

The Macau tournament has 12 events, including the Main Event which boasts of a top prize of $215,000. It’s a relatively modest payout, as far as major tournaments go, but it’s part of one of the largest prize pools ever offered at an Asian poker event, and it was enough to attract some of the poker industry’s most recognizable pros including Johnny Chan, Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey and JC Tran. The Main Event had 161 entries, but 101 of them chose to play their Day 1 on Thursday, including the four pros previously mentioned.

Ivey went out early in Thursday’s Day 1 competition, and Chan and Tran also failed to make it to the next round, but Tom Dwan fared reasonably well and heads into Day 2 in 20th place for chips. Not far behind him is fellow American pro Chau Giang in 25th. By far the most recognizable player at the back of the pack is four-time WSOP bracelet holder Jeff Lisandro who limps into Day 2 with the 55th place stack.

Day 2 of the Main Event starts this afternoon with 68 players. Three players are leading the Day 2 pack with stacks of 60,000 or more, and all three of them boast of some pretty impressive tournament wins. The big stack belongs to the 2009 Aussie Millions High Roller champion David Steicke of Hong Kong followed by Anthony Roux of France with Jesper Houcaard of Denmark close behind. Also on today’s schedule is Event #8: Battle of the Nations. With at least five continents represented at the tournament (including Antarctica), the event should really live up to its name.

One reason that the APT Macau is so attractive is that it offers a special $7000 package that covers a player’s Main Event entry, nearly a week at the new Hard Rock Hotel, airfare and other tournament-related expenses. A number of the larger online poker rooms have also been offering APT Macau satellites. As a result, the interest in this year’s event has surged. APT CEO Jeff Mann called the Macau turnout “the strongest player field ever for a poker event in Asia.”

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