APPT Macau: High stakes in global gaming capital

As we head towards the big money in the APPT Macau Main Event, it's only appropriate to take a quick look at how Macau became the world's gaming capital - yes, it turns over more money than Las Vegas.

It's hard to imagine two more diverse cities than Las Vegas and Macau. The gaming mix is also vastly different in the two cities. In Macau, you'll find the regular casino games like blackjack, roulette, Sic bo, Fan-Tan, keno and slot machines (known as tiger machines). But the most popular game by far is baccarat with VIP high-roller baccarat generating more than 70 per cent of total gaming revenue.


The Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino, in the heart of downtown Macau

For the first time in 2007, Macau overtook Las Vegas in terms of total gaming revenue: a remarkable statistic for a city that is mostly unknown to all but a small number of westerners. Macau has one other major "brag" over Las Vegas - when the earliest hotels were being cobbled together in the early 1950s, gambling had been legal in Portuguese colony for a century.

Originally, only Chinese games were played in Macau but the city still earned a reputation as the "Monte Carlo of the East", as gambling contributed a significant portion of the city's economy.

The first casino concession was awarded in 1937 but the modern-day era of Macau started in 1961 when the government granted Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM) the monopoly rights to all forms of gambling. STDM, which was founded by Mr Stanley Ho, Mr Teddy Yip, Mr Yip Hon and Mr Henry Fok (and is now owned by Mr Stanley Ho and his family), maintained that monopoly until 2002.

STDM's monopoly bridged the hand back of Macau to China on December 20, 1999, had little impact on the momentum. Currently, six other operators - Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (a subsidiary of STDM), Wynn Resorts (Macau), Las Vegas Sands, Galaxy Casino and Melco/PBL - are present in the Macau market but STDM (which operates the majority of the 30 casinos in Macau).

Until 2004, the Macau casinos were mostly modest affairs - unlike the massive themed properties of Las Vegas. But the opening of the Sands Macau casino in 2004 ushered in a new era, which has continued with the opening of lavish properties like the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino, home of PokerStars Macau.


PokerStars Macau has brought a new element to the gaming fabric of Macau

The tourism and gambling industry in Macau provides more than 100,000 jobs, accounting for more than one-third of Macau's total employed population; and makes up almost 40 per cent of Macau's GDP.

So that's why we are here, and soon, we'll be joined by the final 42 players from a starting field of 429 for day three of the APPT Macau Main Event. We expect to be playing down to the final table of nine today. The structure available for today's play is:

Level 16: 3000/6000 (ante 500)
Level 17: 4000/8000 (ante 500)
Level 18: 5000/10,000 (ante 1000)
Level 19: 6000/12,000 (ante 1000)
Level 20: 8000/16,000 (ante 2000)
Level 21: 10,000/20,000 (ante 2000)
Level 22: 12,000/24,000 (ante 3000)
Level 23: 15,000/30,000 (ante 3000)
Level 24: 20,000/40,000 (ante 4000)
Level 25: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5000)
Level 26: 30,000/60,000 (ante 5000)
Level 27: 40,000/80,000 (ante 5000)
Level 28: 50,000/100,000 (ante 10000)
Level 29: 60,000/120,000 (ante 10000)
Level 30: 80,000/160,000 (ante 20000)
Level 31: 100,000/200,000 (ante 20000)

Top 10 chip count (after day 2)

Kyle Cheong (Australia) 577,500
Sunny Bhayana (Canada) PokerStars Qualifier 507,000
Tom Hall (UK) PokerStars Sponsored Player 424,000
Tom Rafferty (Australia) 395,500
David Chiu (USA) 391,000
Wally Sombero (Philippines) 361,000
Daniel Hansson (Sweden) PokerStars Qualifier 324,000
Wing Leung (Andrew) Chung (Hong Kong) 309,000
Josh Ang Pang Leng (Singapore) 301,000
Tony Makasovski (Australia) 278,500

For complete chip count, click here