Sunday, November 04, 2012

Travel Report: APPT Macau, ACOP Warm-Up, Day 1b

Good morning once more from Macau, where if I’m following the whole daylight savings situation correctly I am now yet another hour ahead of most of you (Eastern time plus 13 hrs.). Probably will continue to follow this schedule of writing entries in the mornings and thus posting at a time that is late night back home.

Yesterday went well at the tournament, the Asia Championship of Poker Warm-Up event with a buy-in of $25,000 (HKD). Ended up being able to post frequently on the PokerStars blog throughout the day as the Day 1b field whittled down to 71 players, which means a total of 138 will be coming back for today’s Day 2.

Poor Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier got bounced during the first 15 minutes or so of the day, getting very unlucky in a spot where he got his stack in especially good yet the cards didn’t cooperate. That provided an easy first post of the day, with the player who busted him, Artem Lobus, wearing a hilarious message on his sweatshirt -- “Russian Fi$h” -- that kind of provided a punchline to the hand.

Johnny Chan arrived midway through Level 2, and just as he was about to take his seat gave me some time to do a quick interview for a post about him. I’ve covered Chan in several tournaments before at the WSOP, but this was the first time we’d ever really talked and I have to admit having gotten a kick out of it.

Chan was born nearby in southeast China, then moved over to Hong Kong with his family where he lived until he was 11 before they moved once more to the U.S. We mostly just talked about poker in Asia and Macau for the post, although afterwards I told him about my “Poker in American Film and Culture” class and we spent a little time discussing that, too. I explained to him what we covered in the course and how we watch Rounders (among other films). I told him how I’d be going back to tell my class about our visit, and he was genuinely intrigued, asking me questions about the history of poker and other aspects of the class.

I couldn’t resist also asking him about “Full House with Johnny Chan,” but he just laughed and said he couldn’t really talk about it other than to say he was surprised at all the hits that YouTube teaser got.

Chan survived the day with chips and so will be back today along with Joseph Cheong, Dominik Nitsche, Mike "SirWatts" Watson, and several APPT notables. PokerStars Pros Randy "nanonoko" Lew (Online), Celina Lin (China), and Vivian Im (Korea) are still in the mix, too, with Lew returning to a decent-sized stack.

Play finished up around midnight or so, and it took another hour-and-a-half to get all the loose ends tied before we could leave. Then Fred Leung, the Country Manager for Pokerstars here in Macau, took me out to join a crew of players and others at a restaurant not too far from the Grand Waldo.

Today (Monday) is Team Pro Celina Lin’s birthday, and the party was in full swing by the time we arrived. Had a good time eating some sushi and roasted squid while chatting with a few PokerStars folks and some players, too. Had to beg off around 3 a.m. and head back to the hotel while the group left for the next karaoke-related stop. I’m still fatigued from the trip and first couple of days of work -- I’ve yet to really catch up with a full night’s sleep -- but even if I were fully rested I’m not sure I could’ve kept up.

Was great to get outside the hotel, even if only to go a few blocks away, as I’ve been fairly immersed in the work side of things thus far. It’ll remain busy that way for me, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get out to see more of Macau over the next week I’m here.

(Photos by Hong Kong portrait photographer Kenneth Lim who is here helping out with the coverage of APPT Macau.)

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