As a poker player on the Asian tournament circuit, it can sometimes be a headache trying to organize a trip that gives you poker action, fun, a comfortable hotel, and relaxation.
Well, your super trip advisor is here!
Run--don't walk--to your calendar and mark off April 19 to May 5 where you can play the full schedules for both the Macau Poker Cup and APPT Cebu!
As many people know, I have a special place in my heart for the Macau Poker Cup (MPC) and the organizers are promoting this as 'the biggest ever'. They even put a HK $5M guarantee on the Red Dragon main event to back up that statement. That means the winner will take home more than HK $1M, and that alone should get you excited.
So, let's talk poker first. If you haven't played at the MPC before, it has a 10-day schedule that has various poker tourneys with buy-ins from HK 2k to 20k. The interesting thing is that the ACOP (Asia Championship of Poker) has much bigger prize money at stake - especially the US $13k main event - but there is this huge following for the Red Dragon at MPC. Everyone in China who's just learned poker in recent years knows about this tournament. If you want to score a truly unique trophy then the Red Dragon is one you'd want to put on your mantle.
Some people approach tournaments differently, but one thing I find really helpful is to play as many of the side events leading up to the main event. Do I play them for the Asia Player of the Year rankings? Of course I do. But more than that, every region approaches the game of poker differently and the players in Macau are MUCH different than the ones I'd play against in Europe or Australia. Playing those side events gets me into a rhythm and prepared for some uniquely-Asian styles of play.
I always like to have things to do if I don't make a deep run in a tournament. The next MPC is also the opening poker tournament at the new PokerStars LIVE poker room at the City of Dreams (COD).
COD is not new to me as I already go there on a regular basis and this is a great complex. They have some of the best restaurants in Macau, an array of brand name retailers, and gorgeous five star hotels.
The big seller at COD is the entertainment, and so it represents some of the most popular hangouts for poker player. Club Cubic nightclub is a MUST for any clubber coming to Macau, and on any given night you'll catch great acts like Flo Rida, Lil' Jon, and more recently PSY. If you're craving some Western food, Hardrock café should do the trick!
Then, come April 29-May 5, it's APPT Cebu in the Philippines. I'm still gunning for my first APPT title, so there's not much to add other than that. My warm-up routine in the side events is the same.
But after already playing 10-days of poker in Macau, there probably isn't a better follow-up than Cebu and the Shangri-La Resort. Yes, the rooms are beautiful, but only a silly newbie would stay in their room. This is an outside paradise with an out-of-this-world beach, water activities and spas.
While I enjoy the nightlife, I'd choose the warm sun any day of the week. Cebu is one of the tournament series where the sting of busting out of a poker tournament is quickly healed by a day on the resort.
When you're staring at a 17-day poker trip - which I love - you definitely want to mix in relaxation and piggybacking APPT Cebu after the MPC is one of those rare perfect mixes between work and play.
Celina Lin is a member of Team PokerStars Pro