PokerStars Macau to return to Grand Waldo

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PokerStars Macau to return to Grand Waldo

Postby DM101 » Thu May 10, 2012 11:24 pm


Since the PokerStars Macau live poker room at Grand Lisboa closed in early March, the Asian poker scene has been abuzz with rumor and intrigue about if, when and where PokerStars might reopen in Macau.

It's an ironic twist of fate that poker has enjoyed enormous growth and support in Macau, yet has some trouble finding and keeping a home. Indeed, it's even been rumored there is a faction within Wynn Macau management that lobbies to close the highly successful cash-game-only Wynn poker room, despite it seeing the kind of constant action that would be the envy of most cash game poker rooms around the world.

What is it that creates this odd state of affairs? Two words: table cap. Macau's gaming regulator the DICJ has set a cap on the number of tables each casino concessionaire is allowed. Under current rules each poker table counts as one table, even though the casino's profit on a poker table is miniscule compared to a baccarat table, the staple of Macau gaming floors. As long as this rule exists, every cash poker table "costs" the casino a baccarat table.


Cash tables and tournament tables go hand-in-glove, so despite PokerStars being enormously successful in growing Asian tournament poker, it wasn't an easy task for them to find a new home in Macau.

We think this is a really sad state of affairs. PokerStars should be applauded for the fine job they have done in growing tournament poker in this region. Poker is a vibrant and interesting form of gaming that adds color to gaming floors. Poker players are characters and personalities, and the huge poker action that exists in Macau significantly raises the profile of the city around the world. Poker is a true game of skill, with a richness of strategy, tactics and history that make it feel more like a sport than a gambling game. The winners of major tournaments take home life-changing amounts of money and the game promotes travel, which in turn helps the wider Macau and Asian tourist industries. Poker is an excellent topic for analysis, discussion and reporting.

It was with great pleasure that we learned PokerStars has found a new home at the Grand Waldo hotel and casino. It's a return to their first home – PokerStars held the first ever APPT poker tournament here in 2007 and opened their first PokerStars Macau room at the Grand Waldo in 2008. The Assistant Vice President of Casino Operations at Grand Waldo, Mr Harold Tsakmaklis has always been a great supporter of poker and was a regular player at PSM events when the room was at Grand Lisboa.

The Grand Waldo was even a popular accommodation option for poker players when PSM was at Grand Lisboa, despite the distance between the two casinos. The rooms at Grand Waldo are of a much higher standard than you would expect, given it is relatively inexpensive compared to most other accommodation options in Macau.

PokerStars' Director of Live Poker Operations, Asia Pacific, Mr Danny McDonagh, runs all the PokerStars major events in Asia. Danny sat down with World Gaming to discuss the return of PokerStars to the Grand Waldo.

World Gaming magazine: Why did PokerStars Macau leave Grand Lisboa?

Danny McDonagh: March 8 was the end of the three-year deal with Grand Lisboa.

WGM: Where in the Grand Waldo will the new room be?

DM: The permanent PokerStars Macau poker room will be located on the Grand Waldo casino floor and we’ll be releasing more information shortly regarding the weekly schedule. The special events such as Macau Poker Cup, Macau Poker Cup Championship, APPT and the inaugural Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) will be held in the brand new Conference and Exhibition Center.

WGM: Who will run the cash games in the Grand Waldo casino?

DM: Grand Waldo will be essentially running the cash games with our close support.

WGM: Will the room still be called PokerStars Macau? Does it have a name yet? What should we refer to it as?

DM: The poker room will be called "PokerStars Macau" and will clearly indicate Grand Waldo as the venue. It will be co-branded as has always been the case with our respective business partners in the past.

WGM: What is the new schedule for the rest of 2012?

DM: The calendar has been adjusted and the remaining 2012 schedule (subject to DICJ approval) will be as follows:

Dates Event
June 9 to 18 Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon
July 28 to August 6 Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon
September 7 to 16 Macau Poker Cup Championship
October 26 to November 11 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) incorporating APPT Macau

The last 11 days of the ACOP will be an exciting climax to our year of tournaments and will include awarding the Asia Player of the Year. The HK$30,000 APPT Macau main event will be held immediately before the HK$100,000 ACOP main event.

We are planning something special for the ACOP main event structure. I can guarantee players will get value for money for entering this event.

The ACOP Platinum Series will now be the opening event of each of the three Macau Poker Cups.


WGM: You haven't mentioned the Macau Millions. Will that be run this year?

DM: It was not possible in 2012.

WGM: How do you feel about returning to Grand Waldo after originally starting there way back in 2007 with the first APPT Macau, and then with the first PSM room opening there in May 2008?

DM: The return is an exciting one because both PokerStars Macau and Grand Waldo have had so many positive changes since those early days. Grand Waldo have dedicated themselves to really improving every facet of their operations including the addition of new hotel rooms and complete renovations to the casino area, Conference and Exhibition Center, and the famous spa. PokerStars Macau, meanwhile, has set new records for all its major events annually with some of the same tournaments as before such as the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon and the APPT Macau. But we've also added the hugely successful Macau Millions, Macau Poker Cup Championship, and this year, the HK$100,000 buy-in ACOP.

Our time at Grand Waldo in 2007 and 2008 opened the door for what poker has become today. Poker wouldn't have grown the way it has without those early building blocks. So this is really a return of all those great things from the past while adding the strengths of today.

And the space available in the Exhibition Center for our special events will be fantastic in our quest to grow our events. Back in November, APPT Macau was a huge event but with only 28 tournament tables, we did not effectively have supply for all the side events. Our aim come the ACOP in November is to build our staffing to have many more tables available to be able to increase the poker tournament offerings.

It will also be good to be working with familiar faces at Grand Waldo. Harold, the AVP of Casino Operations at Grand Waldo is very passionate about making Grand Waldo the poker player's favourite destination so I am looking forward to working with him and his team in achieving that goal.

WGM: Will there be cash games running every day? Or will there only be cash games when major tournaments are on? What about the small weekly tournaments you used to hold for locals? Will they start up again?

DM: I don't think even I fully appreciated the popularity of our poker games until we had this break. The players have been incredibly passionate and vocal about their desire to see us return with our weekly tournaments and like I said before, we’ll be making more announcements about that in coming days.

WGM: What have Fred, Hill, Lorie, Kaka, Rex and the rest of the gang been doing since the PSM room at Grand Lisboa closed in early March?

DM: The team has been busy on different projects including PokerStars Macau. Obviously, there's a lot of preparation for the PokerStars Macau poker room and the special events that gets done well before even an announcement is made. Hill and Lorie have both had the opportunity to spend some time with family in their home country plus we have had both APPT Seoul and APPT Cebu come and go to also keep us busy!

We have been building our own team of dealers for special events. Some of them you would have seen working at recent special events at Grand Lisboa. Hill and Rex have been training more staff in preparation for our opening.

We here at WGM are very excited to know that big tournament poker is back in Macau, as we love to play the PokerStars events. They are always very exciting, there's the chance to win a huge windfall, and when the big events are in town it's a very social time with lots of partying and fun. We hope to see you all at the Grand Waldo Exhibition and Convention Center for the next Macau Poker Cup, which commences on June 9.

Source: World Gaming Magazine
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Re: PokerStars Macau to return to Grand Waldo

Postby QueensCutie » Fri May 11, 2012 12:24 am

Thank you PokerStars! :) Less than a month to the first Red Dragon!
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