More poker set for Macau with APPT

Liz Lieu
Liz Lieu will be one of the familiar faces in Macau for the APPT.

For the second straight year, the Chinese island of Macau plays host to the poker world on the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. The tour's second season kicks off at Macau's Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino on Monday.

Nine days of poker kick off on September 1st when the main event gets underway. As of Aug. 25 there were already 315 players signed up; the field for the six-day tournament is capped at 1,000. Then, once the champion has been crowned, a three-day High Roller Event will get underway on September 7.

This year's Macau APPT stop promises to be bigger and better than Season 1. For starters, the buy-in has gone up from $2,500 to $3,200. Then there's the guaranteed prize pool - $1,300,000 compared to last year's total prize pool of $809,600.

Even the High Rollers Event, due to be held after the conclusion of the main event, looks to improve upon last year. The buy-in is up to $19,250 from $15,000 last year, and the prize pool has a guarantee of $1,300,000, larger than last year's total prize pool of $921,600.

Last year's APPT Macau main event was held in mid-November and was the third stop on the tour. All in all, 352 players paid up $2,500 each for a shot at the first prize of $222,640 and the chance to become the first major poker champion crowned in China.

Six nations were represented at the historic nine-man final table, including a little star power from the likes of America's Liz Lieu, Australia's Joe Hachem, and France's Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier.

Hachem took a particularly rough route to the payout cage in a disappointing eighth place, getting all-in with AA only to see his hand cracked by Korean Sangkyoun Kim's A-Q. Lieu finished in seventh, going out short-stacked with A-6 against 7-2, while Grospellier finished in fifth when his A-2 couldn't outrun J-9.

In the end it was England's Dinh Le who took down the title, outlasting Singapore's Ivan Tan in a short round of heads-up play. The two men came into the matchup separated by just $100,000 of the $3,500,000 in play, but they let the outcome of the tournament come down to a coin flip; on the ninth hand a pre-flop raising war ended up with Tan's A-T falling to Le's 8-8 to wrap things up.

The High Roller Event provided excitement on a more intimate scale after the main event had finished up last year, drawing 64 players at $15,000 apiece for an even bigger first prize than the main event. blogger Liz Lieu pulled off her second final table appearance in Macau but squeaked into the money in eighth place for $27,648. Lieu's fellow American John Juanda finished in sixth place with $46,080, and Australian pro Emad Tahtouh nailed down fifth place for $64,512.

The heads-up match saw Australia's Eric Assadourian quickly cripple Swedish pro Bo Sehlstedt to just $23,000 with the blinds at $5,000/10,000 and a $1,000 ante. Sehlstedt, however, rallied back with four straight double-ups to close the gap.

Assadourian proved to be too much, though, wearing the Swede back down to just $101,000. That entire stack went in the middle with A-6 on the last hand; Assadourian's decision to gamble with 9-8 proved to be a fortuitous one when he hit a straight lock up the $368,640 first prize. Sehlstedt took home the consolation prize of $184,320.

Stay tuned to PokerListings' Live Tournaments section to find out how the action goes down this year.

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