APPT Macau: Commerce and cards in Macau
They're edging toward the end of the first 90-minute level of the $100,000 (HKD) Asia Championship of Poker Main Event. More than 160 players have already taken their seats, and with four hours of late registration the total number of entrants will continue to climb.
A glance at the initial player list shows players from North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and all across Asia have come to Macau for today's event, representing more than 30 different countries. Before the first hands were dealt, APPT President Danny McDonagh welcomed them all.
The players coming here from all over the globe are continuing a lengthy tradition, in a way, insofar as Macau has historically been a meeting place for people of different cultures.
Not long after the Portuguese first settled in Macau in the early 16th century, there followed a period during which Macau became a center of international trade. Thanks largely to imperial restrictions on the operations of Chinese merchants, Portuguese traders in Macau became agents for commerce between China and Japan, and thus during a formative period in its history Macau's identity as a place for trade was established.
Macau's status as a trading center would later fade as the Portuguese empire declined, although its relationship with Portugal as one of its colonies would continue all of the way to the end of the 20th century when Macau became a Special Administrative Region of China.
And while commerce and trade became relatively less prominent in Macau, its unique history combining both European and Asian influences -- as well as its coastal location as a kind of entry point for the continent -- continues to position Macau as a ready location for the mixing of cultures.
About a decade ago came the liberalizing of casino licenses in Macau, after which came the American casinos and rise of the gambling industry that has helped transform Macau into the "Vegas of the East." So the mixing of cultures that was such a big part of Macau's early history continues today with tourism having become a primary source of revenue for Macau.
Players started with 30,000 chips today, their resources for the sequence of trades and negotiations taking place at the tables as the tourney proceeds.
They're trading greetings and stories as well. And creating stories, too, which we'll be sharing over the next five days with you, dear readers, meeting here from all over the world to read them.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.