GDAM Day 1: The coolest kid in town
There's nothing quite so exciting as anything that is totally new, but in poker these days, much as in any walk of life, it can be difficult to break new ground. It is why what is happening in Macau today is so thrilling: the GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions, presented by PokerStars, is the new kid on the block.
And this kid is no cowering wallflower. This is the kid that moves into the street with all the flashiest gadgets, the coolest parents and the best stories from far around the world. He immediately starts dating the prettiest girl in the school, gets the best grades and yet still maintains an insouciant poise.
How many poker events kick off with a "warm-up" tournament costing approximately $30,000 (US) and then follow up with a main event of about $130,000? That's right: none. Except this one.
As you might expect, this kid also has the best house, which in this particular case means the shiny new PokerStars City of Dreams card-room, which is an utterly sensational venue. We are slap-bang in the middle of the Cotai strip, Macau, and on the main casino floor of the City of Dreams Casino. There will be more about our surroundings as things progress, but suffice to say they are appropriate.
It goes without saying that this kid has immediately attracted the coolest friends, and a lot of them too. The field for the main event, which is due to start in a few minutes, is a who's who of high rollers from across the globe.
Without even needing to open the excel file of the full names, nor to move my seat one inch from its current position on media row, I can see Igor Kurganov, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Shaun Deeb, Sorel Mizzi, Joseph Cheong, Mike McDonald, Max Altergott, Erik Seidel, Tobias Reinkemeier, Isaac Haxton, Philipp Gruissem, Niklas Heineker, Jonathan Duhamel, JC Alvarado, Dan Smith and John Juanda. The bleached-blonde head that bobs past every now and then belongs to Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier.
We will have full details of the line up as and when it becomes apparent. Before that, here are the basics:
This is a HKD$1m ($130,000 US) buy in tournament. There are TWO optional rebuys available at any time, which means, in theory, you could buy in for three times your starting stack if you want.
Those starting stacks are 1,000,000 tournament chips deep. (Blinds begin at 3,000-6,000.)