APPT Macau: The ACOP, a new tradition for poker in Asia
This inaugural Asia Championship of Poker series features a full schedule of events, 18 of which count toward the 2012 Asia Player of the Year race currently led by Japan's Yosuke Sekiya.
Sekiya is here today playing in the Main Event, and currently sits with about 20,000 chips.
Sekiya cashed in Event #1, the $10,000 (HKD) Deepstack Championship, where he finished 12th, though is still seeking his second cash of the ACOP and thus more player points to extend his lead. That event saw Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu of Chinese Taipei top the field of 192, with another Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im taking third.
Other winners of preliminary events thus far have included Benjamin Cherix (Switzerland), Im's partner Gab Yong Kim (Korea), Hung-Sheng "Shaq" Lin of (Chinese Taipei), Pei Ti (Chinese Taipei), Hirotoshi Nakabo (Japan), Yoichi Fujiya (Japan), Chun Hing Yung (Hong Kong), Anton Astapau (Belarus), and Dzmitry Shorakh (Belarus).
Of course, of those preliminary events the ACOP Warm-Up (Event #8) has been the biggest story thus far, with Australia's Jeff Rossiter topping a tough field of 358 to claim the $1,777,000 (HKD) first prize.
Speaking with APPT President Danny McDonagh about the ACOP, he notes how as of now only Texas hold'em is approved in most venues in Macau, with just a couple of others currently able to offer Omaha.
It's a situation likely not to change soon given the fact that while poker is on the increase in Macau overall, it is dwarfed by the popularity of baccarat and other table games. Indeed, it was only a few years ago that hold'em was approved, with Omaha's approval only coming about 18 months back.
"Since hold'em is the only game, we're trying to provide as much variety as possible," says McDonagh. "There's a wide range of buy-ins and formats in the series, and thus hopefully something for everyone."
Indeed, buy-ins for the ACOP range from several $530 (HKD) events to the $100,000 (HKD) Main Event all of the way up to the $250,000 (HKD) High Roller event this weekend. There's an additional Ladies Asia Championship, too, with a $4,000 (HKD) buy-in coming up Saturday.
Another additional feature of the ACOP is the designation of "title events" assigned to tournaments with higher buy-ins (as well as the Ladies event) for which handsome ACOP trophies are presented to winners.
One definitely gets the impression a tradition is being forged here, with all of the guarantee-busting turnouts thus far suggesting the ACOP is here to stay.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.