World Series Weekend at PokerStars Macau

by David Jung

When PokerStars Macau was in the concept phase, it was decided that it was going to be a poker room that was going to be a place where people from Asia were going feel the real poker experience. Our first major satellite promotion at PokerStars Macau was for an all-inclusive package for the World Series. The day started off with a 46-player mega satellite. The mega ended with four winners getting seats into the World Series Main Event Qualifier.

It’s always a special night here in Macau; before the tournament began a couple of lovely ladies from Warrnambool, Australia had been playing at the cash games and were on vacation. They had an inquiry about Joe Hachem. One of the ladies, Terri, let me know that she absolutely adored Joe and was wondering if there was any poster or something special she could have related to Joe. Well, we didn’t have any posters, but luckily we have these 1.6 M high swtands of Team PokerStars members in the room. Because she was so genuine, we presented her with one to take and set-up at home! Needless to say, she was extremely happy and her and her friend Sandra took this picture to show their appreciation to the room and, of course, to Joe!

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The WSOP Main Event Qualifier got off to a super quick start with seven players getting knocked out in the first hour and half of the event. But then, the next 13 players really dug in and we got to the final table about three and half hours later.

As we are in Macau, the gaming capital of Asia, we get a diverse crowd of people turning up at the room. On such player who made it to fourth place was Thommy Lam. His family is actually from Macau, but he was raised in Amsterdam and is now a export/importer there.

Thumbnail image for 2 Thommy Lam 'The Big Lick'.JPG

There was also a Singaporean player who actually flew up from Singapore to play in Macau for the Main Event Qualifier. Ervyn Tan who is also in the trading business had been player Hold’em seriously for about a year and wanted to test our his skills. He got knocked out in 8th place on the final table, but he actually stayed until the end of the tournament to learn as much as he could from the other players.

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With the blinds up to the 1000/2000 level, the two short stacked players got knocked out, including Phil Law. The biggest debate of the night was whether or not AJ (2nd place finisher) was a Swede or not because he always protected his blinds and played late position. He didn’t talk very much and when questioned, he mumbled that he was Scottish, but everyone pegged him as a Swede pretending to be Scottish. He is a picture of AJ, you decide.

5 AJ 'The Swede'.JPG

Eventually, it was heads up between AJ and Steve Chung, who was the massive chip leader. In a couple hands it was over. In the first hand, Steve took the blinds and that put AJ in an even tighter situation. With the blinds at 1500/3000, Steve was first to act and pushed in all-in with his massive stack. AJ called with only 18,000 left. AJ flipped his hole cards to show Kh9d. Steve had 7sAs.

The flop came out 5 of hearts, 10 of diamonds and Ace of Hearts. While the crowd was behind AJ, the turn was an ace of diamonds. Danny McDonagh, the APPT tournament director, called it as all over with a six of spades on the river. With that, PokerStars Macau sends forth Steve to represent all of Macau at the WSOP. Make us proud Steve!

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Steve is 45 and was born in Kored. He moved to Dallas, Texas back in 1967. He was overwhelmed with winning the WSOP package. It was actually his first live tournament ever. He normally just plays cash games. His opinion on the experience was, “It’s a little bit different than playing cash games and you have to be pretty aggressive. I’ll have to adjust my style and game when I get to Vegas.”

It was actually a very interesting day for Steve, as he came to Macau on the 6am ferry from Hong Kong this morning (it’s a 1 hour ferry ride) and then promptly had to go back to Hong Kong upon his arrival cause he forgot his passport (A Hong Kong ID is enough to leave Hong Kong, but not enough to get into Macau).

"All I wanted to do was play golf," he said.

Then he took the ferry back home, went to sleep and was again woken up by his good poker buddy InSun who had already decided to head to Vegas for the WSOP. Steve came with InSun to PokerStars , played the cash games, and was about to go home when he heard the Aussie-accented voice of Danny McDonagh on the mic system saying that there was just a couple of seats left for the WSOP qualifier. InSun again urged Steve and, out of weakness and love for poker, Steve turned away from the exit, pulled out 5000HKD and bought in.

So now Steve has committed 2% of his winning to InSun for the WSOP, and the two buddies are off to the WSOP. Hey, isn’t this like a similar story when Aussie friend A asked Aussie friend B to come to the 2005 WSOP and then the Aussie friend B went and won it all? I guess that is what InSun is thinking as well!

Good luck to the poker buddies around the world.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in PokerStars Macau