What makes the Asia Championship of Poker so special?
Tournament poker in Asia had a breakthrough when PokerStars landed on the shores of Macau and launched the Macau Poker Cup series. Its main event - known as the Red Dragon event - continues to grow and break records annually. What started with 30-something entrants is now at nearly a thousand players.
The main events in Asia are usually around the USD$1,200 mark with several Asia Pacific Poker Tour events hosting USD$2,500- USD$5,000 main events. The poker festivals here usually run for a week or two with side events (except high rollers) averaging $500 USD. The buy-in amounts are just about right for an emerging market like Asia and the massive growth in the events support that theory!
Those of us who have had the opportunity to travel to the World Series, a European Poker Tour festival or even the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will realize the difference in buy-ins when they play in the Asian poker festivals. They will also notice that big name players and the best in the world are usually attracted to the aforementioned events for their prestige & their prize pools.
This is where the Asia Championship of Poker differs from all other events in Asia; it is the stage where players who travel the circuit in Asia have an opportunity to test their skills against the best in a setting which is on par with the big international tournaments. Winners of a WSOP bracelet, an EPT main event or the PCA win big prizes, gain instant fame and the respect of poker players all over the world. Now we have an opportunity to do the same with the ACOP. Never does a series in Asia excite me as much as this.
First of all it caters to a wide range of players with its varying buy-in levels. For amateurs who want to participate and be a part of the much celebrated poker event held in Asia they have regular events from as low as a USD $70 rebuy or a USD $250 deepstack to participate in. Now for the serious competitors who have been grinding the circuit year round they now have a chance to compete in the ACOP title events (aka Spadies events). These are events which have a buy in of USD $1,000 and above where winners will receive a special ACOP title trophy for their accomplishments. The Spadies side events boast prizepools that rivals main events in other Asian poker events as well as structures which would put other events to shame. Less crapshoots and more skill you say? The ACOP gives you just that!
The ACOP is a 17-day series so rest assured you will definitely get your poker fix. At least I know I will! The series has title events every day but it definitely heats up with the HK$25,000 ACOP Warmup and then the tournament everyone wants to win - the ACOP Main Event. Although I look forward to going deep in every event I play I can rest assured knowing that there will be plenty of events to keep my "Spadie" hunt going. I intend to play most of the events except the High rollers (unless I do really well in the sides!).
Now of course the poker scene in Macau wouldn't be quite right if the High rollers were neglected. A recent announcement of the partnership formed by Pokerstars Live Macau and Macau Billionaire Poker promises to cap the ACOP off with a bang by offering not just ONE but TWO high roller events. There will be a USD $65,000 buy-in (with 2 rebuys) AND a USD $32,000 freezeout! Free rooms (while available) are offered to direct buy-ins.
Why am I bent on playing the entire schedule you might ask? Because the ACOP is the biggest, most prestigious poker series to be held in Asia and it only happens once a year. I want the glory and this year will be no different.