APPT Macau a watershed for poker

By Sean Callander

As little as six months ago, the thought of a poker tournament in Macau seemed as likely as hitting quads on the flop.

Entrance to the Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino

However, the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, in conjunction with local organisers First Impression Ltd, has achieved the poker equivalent of parting the Red Sea with the announcement of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Macau: Asian Poker Open.

The enormity of poker’s first step into Macau (and China) is still sinking in. Though, the APPT’s list of achievements for 2007 was already considerable, gaining a foothold in the world’s biggest gambling market is a massive coup.

At today’s official launch, APPT President Jeffrey Haas aptly described the APPT Macau: Asian Poker Open as one of the three most ground breaking moments in the history of tournament poker.

“This event ranks up there with the first World Series of Poker in 1970 and the 2003 WSOP, when Chris Moneymaker’s win played a pivotal role in starting the online poker boom,” Haas said.

The APPT Macau: Asian Poker Open will also showcase the Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino, one of the newest casinos in this incredibly dynamic city.

Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino General Manager Gary Woollard said the event promises to be a lot of fun. “Poker is enjoying tremendous growth in Asia and we are very excited to be a part of this and to be the first casino to host this event,” he said.

The APPT Macau: Asian Poker Open is setting records well before the first hand has been dealt. Already 330 players from more than different countries have confirmed their seats in the $US2500 buy-in main event. It’s expected the field will max out at 350 players when the order is given to shuffle up and deal at midday tomorrow (local time). Of the 350, more than half of the field will have qualified online with PokerStars.

Tuan Lam, Vanessa Rousso, and Scotty Nguyen at the APPT Macau Press Conference
Tuan Lam, Vanessa Rousso, and Scotty Nguyen at the APPT Macau Press Conference

However, qualifiers hoping to emulate the performance of Brett Parise, who won the first APPT event in Manila after qualifying for free on, face an uphill battle against a world-class field.

Three world champions – Mansour Matloubi (1990), Scotty Nguyen (1998) and Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem (2005) head the entry list.

They’ll be joined in tomorrow’s main event by fellow Team PokerStars Pros Barry Greenstein, Lee Nelson, Isabelle Mercier, Vanessa Rousso, Hevad Khan and Masa Kagawa.

Aside from the lure of the $2500 buy-in main event to crown the first APPT Macau: Asian Poker Open champion, many of the top pros are staying on for the $15,000 buy-in High Roller Event, which starts on Monday (local time).

We’ll be reporting on both events so keep an eye on for regular updates over the next five days as we celebrate the first No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker tournament to be held in the People’s Republic of China.

Introducing the APPT Video Blog

APPT'sAlison Lightman will be hosting and producing Videoblog segments live from Macau. Vlogs will be posted here, on YouTube and on the APPT site on our APPTlive page.

Episode 1: Welcome to Macau

Episode 2: Behind the Scenes

Episode 3: Lead in to day one

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in