A trip to Macau is always an adventure. Whether it's on the poker tables, the casino floor or the night life, there's plenty of action and excitement to make your trip a memorable one. It's been over 12 months since I've been back here, and this time around, just getting to Macau was an adventure in itself.
It started out innocently enough - a small plane delay due to some "paperwork" - but when the plane taxied out onto the runway, only to return back to the bays due to overheated brakes, I knew that this wasn't going to be any normal trip.
A full movie and a nasty packet of pretzels later and we were finally in the air. While the flight was ordinary enough, the four-hour delay had further consequences as we arrived into Hong Kong to discover the ferries we no longer running to Macau. Apparently Typhoon Utor was rolling in from the Philippines which was starting to make locals a little nervous at Level 3 status. I had no idea what "Level 3" meant, other than the fact that it was about to be upgraded to "Level 8" told me that it must be pretty bad to bypass levels 4 through 7.
After considering spending the night in Hong Kong to wait and ride it out, we did what we felt was the right thing to do in Macau - we took a gamble. We jumped on a train into downtown Hong Kong and then took a taxi to another ferry terminal in the hope that they were still running ferries as the local time ticked towards midnight.
We weren't sure if they were running or not, but we arrived and were lucky enough to purchase a ticket. We were assured that we would get a refund if the ferry was cancelled, but then we realized that a refund would probably be the last of our worries if our vessel actually hit trouble.
Here we were, about to venture into the open waters of the South China Sea during a major typhoon, on a boat with arguably questionable safety standards. Boy, if we were ever to win a coin flip, we hoped this would be it.
We anxiously boarded and strapped ourselves in, but rather uneventfully made it safely to Macau without any need for emergency rescue.
Now, after a good night's rest, I'm looking out the window of my Hard Rock Hotel here at the City of Dreams in Macau. The trees are thrashing around in the extreme winds and the rain is pelting in sideways. The typhoon has been upgraded to Level 8 in Hong Kong, and possibly also soon in Macau. My planned afternoon of lazing casually on the pool deck has been postponed, with most of the deck chairs having been blown overnight into the pool itself.
So the good news is that we're here, we're safe, and it's a perfect day to stay inside and play some poker. The bad news is, that the weather is likely to deter travellers from nearby parts of Asia from making the trip here for the August edition of the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event which kicks off this evening. This event is usually so well supported by regions such as Japan, Taipei, India and the Philippines, but we'll have to wait and see how many will actually make it here.
Luckily there are three opening flights, so perhaps the weather will settle down in a day or two and we'll see a big influx of players for the later flights. For now, we hope a few players got in early and will take their seats this evening for Day 1a of the HK$11,000 Main Event.
However we have just received word from tournament staff at PokerStars LIVE Macau that the advertised guarantee no longer applies to the Main Event due to the typhoon:
Please note that guarantees are not applicable during Typhoon Level 8 or higher as listed on official documents.
Due to the recent Typhoon Level 8, PokerStars LIVE Macau will be removing the HK $5m guarantee on the Red Dragon event.
Date and times for the Red Dragon main event will still continue as scheduled.
For questions or concerns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your understanding,
PokerStars LIVE Macau management
In April, the MPC set a record at 891 players for the Main Event with Terry Fan taking home the top prize. Fan will be back to defend his title with former MPC champions such as Zhenjian Lin, Victor Chen, Kenny Leong, Kitty Kuo, Raymond Wu, and two-time Red Dragon winner Celina Lin all expected to be in attendance.
Wu and Lin have already picked up trophies in the side events this week and will be joined by fellow Team PokerStars Pros Vivian Im and 2010 Asia Player of the Year Bryan Huang.
The PokerStars Live poker room at the City of Dreams is looking a picture with the live action set to kick off at 7:00pm (GMT+8) this evening. Stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog as the adventure has only just begun!
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.