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The future of High Roller events

I was in Macau in early June for the GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions. I think it was my fifth time there. I was debating between going to Macau or skipping the event and staying in Vegas for all of the World Series of Poker. Then I won my GDAM seat on PokerStars the last weekend of SCOOP and was like, "Ok, I'm going."

Macau is quite different from Seoul. I think Macau feels like a really new city under crazy development. Things are building super fast and changing all the time. In that sense Macau is starting to feel as modern as Seoul. But on the other hand you don't feel that much of the Macanese culture or Macanese way of life. When you are in Seoul, you really feel Koreans' way of living.

To me Macau feels like a different version of Vegas in which they took out everything but gambling. There's good restaurants and there's some shopping but other than that there's not much to do besides gambling. Compared to Vegas there's not many shows and people don't really go out all that much. For my tastes Macau is way too gambling-oriented.

For a poker trip like the GDAM, however, I don't really mind those downsides. The hotels are very nice and PokerStars' new room in the City of Dreams is one of the most comfortable poker rooms ever. I really love it.


This was the first time in four years that I missed some WSOP events, that I wasn't in Vegas for the whole WSOP. I only regretted missing one event: the $10k Heads-Up tournament. Besides that I think most of the better WSOP events were towards the end of the schedule. I didn't mind missing the small buy-in tournaments. There are so many of them, missing a few doesn't matter much.

It helped that the GDAM event was a really unique event. The structure was fast because I think that's how Chinese people like it. The field had many more Chinese baccarat players than professional poker players. They don't play poker for a living so they want the structure to be fast. They don't want to play 12 hours a day for a week or something like that.

Some people thought that playing such a fast structure for such a big buy-in was foolish but I didn't mind, especially because the field was softer than normal because of the Chinese guys. Of course I would have liked to have a deeper structure, but the GDAM people who partnered with PokerStars said we had to accommodate the Chinese players for the style of poker they like. I think it's important to accommodate them and to adapt to the situation.

Despite the fast structure, scheduling the GDAM in the middle of the World Series of Poker, and not having much time to advertise the event, PokerStars still was able to get 71 players in the field. They would have gotten a lot more players at a different time of year and if they had more time to advertise.

I really think the future of those High Rollers is in Macau. To be honest I like Hong Kong better than Macau because there are more things to do in Hong Kong. But Hong Kong is only an hour away and Macau is a very comfortable place to play poker and to grind.

Playing poker in Macau is also a lot fun and can be very profitable. Those Chinese guys are pretty crazy.

ElkY is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

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