THE MACAU PENINSULA
The Macau Peninsula is the region’s most densely crowded area and the centre of most tourist activity. It is also where the main ferry terminal is located, making it, quite literally, your first port of call if travelling via Hong Kong. It is also home to the majority of Macau’s casinos and three of its five poker rooms.
One of Macau’s most iconic landmarks, the Grand Lisboa, is the destination of choice for many visiting poker players. This is the home of Asia’s biggest card room, PokerStars Macau, making it the epicentre of the Asian tournament poker scene. Several new casinos including Wynn Macau and Sands Macau have opened up in the New Port Area (NAPE) south of Avenida de Amizade, located just a five-minute walk away.
This is also the place to come if you are looking for high-stakes cash action as Galaxy StarWorld – the home of Macau’s ‘Big Game’ – is right around the corner.
Poker Room: PokerStars Macau/Grand Lisboa
Location: Second Floor, Casino Grand Lisboa, Avenida do Dr Rodrigo & Avenida Infante D Henrique, Avenida De Lisboa.
Tel: +853 6296 0057
Game & Stakes: No Limit Texas Hold’em cash games – HK$10/$25 HK$25/$50, HK$50/$100, HK$100/$200. Plus weekly No Limit Hold’em tournaments – visit www.pokerstarsmacau.com for the full schedule.
PokerStars Macau is the beating heart of the Asian tournament circuit. In addition to running regular weekly tournaments it also hosts the Macau Millions, the Macau leg of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and the Macau Poker Cup (MPC) with its popular Red Dragon Main Event.
The card room is the largest in Asia and boasts an impressive 33 poker tables, split between the tournament area and adjacent cash area. While second to none when it comes to tournaments the cash games here seldom get higher than HK$50/$100, though, if you come during one of the bigger tournaments, games can get as high as HK$100/$200.
Whilst nitty rocks populate the majority of the lower stakes tables, this is Asia and folks like to gamble so the games are beatable. The food in the poker room is not great but they do offer players free beer, soft drinks and sandwiches and the Crystal Lounge bar and restaurant just one floor down has a good selection of Asian and Western food.
Verdict: The undisputed hub of Asian tournament poker with beatable, if rocky, low-stakes cash games.
Poker Room: Poker King Club
Location: Third Floor, StarWorld Casino, Avenida da Amizade
Tel: +853 2899 9955
Game & Stakes: No Limit Texas Hold’em – KH$10/$25, HK$25/$50, HK$50/$100, HK$100/$200. Plus high stakes of HK$500/$1,000, HK$1000/$2000 HK$5,000/$10,000, HK$10,000/$20,000. There are no regular tournaments but they do run occasionally. Visit Poker King Club’s website for more information.
StarWorld was one of the first casinos to spread poker in Macau and recently re-branded its card room ‘The Poker King Club’ following the release of the Asian movie Poker King. As it is the regular home of Macau’s ‘Big Game’ the name is an apt one – this is where the high rollers come when looking for action. Whilst the HK$5,000/$10,000 and HK$10,000/$20,000 games are usually private affairs, don’t be surprised if you see several familiar faces cruising the card room.
In addition to the wealthy Chinese businessmen who populate the giddy heights of the high-stakes tables, Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, John Juanda and Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan all make regular visits, as does the UK’s Sam Trickett. But it’s not just the action that attracts them, as you will see for yourself when you visit this cavernously luxurious card room. With 11 tables in total, the surroundings are as spacious as they are opulent and the service is just as classy. It’s not all high-stakes either, with the club regularly spreading games ranging from HK$10/$25 to HK$100/$200.
Verdict: The epicentre of Macau’s nosebleed poker action, with lower stakes games for those who aren’t high rollers.
Poker Room: Wynn Macau
Location: Rua Cidade de Sintra, Level 2, City of Dreams Casino, Estrada do Istmo
Tel: +853 2888 9966
Game & Stakes: No Limit Texas Hold’em – HK$10/$25, HK$25/$50, HK$50/$100, HK$100/$200 but will spread higher limits on request. Also Pot Limit Omaha – HK$25/$50, HK$50/$100, HK$100/$200.
With 11 cash tables that cater to a wide variety of bankrolls, the Wynn is the busiest and best card room Macau has to offer when it comes to cash games. Regular NLH games range from HK$10/$25 to HK$100/$200 but can get as high as HK$500/$1000 and above if there is enough demand – and there often is, especially if one of the big poker tours like the APT or the APPT is in town. This is also the only place in town where Omaha junkies can get their Pot Limit fix.
Wynn is Macau’s most popular poker venue and the dealers here are some of the best in town. This comes at a price, however, as it’s the poker professional’s card room of choice and the games here are some of the toughest in town. This can also mean waiting times can sometimes be quite lengthy, especially at weekends, though this is the only downside to what is otherwise a world-class card room.
Verdict: Macau’s most popular poker venue when it comes to cash games and the only place in town that offers PLO.
That’s it for our guide to poker in Macau but be sure to return to the tables at Poker Portal Asia for more helpful guides coming soon on the best poker action Asia has to offer.
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