APPT Macau: Take Me to Your Ruler

September 02, 2008

One of the hurdles a tournament poker player must contend with as they live the dream, travelling around the world to exotic locations, is the difference in local casino rules in each stop on the APPT. We’re not talking about the rules of No Limit Texas Hold’em, rather the behavioural expectations that each local culture has of its visitors. Of course, all players have been very respectful of their host’s requirement; the cultural differences are just interesting.

The APPT Macau is no different; in fact it may be the strictest stop on the tour. For example, upon entry to the casino, all visitors are requested to remove their hats, although this has been relaxed for competitors actually playing in the tournament. Could you imagine the discomfort of those players who retreat behind all manner of hats, hoods, sunglasses, scarves and the like, in order to prevent themselves from displaying any tells…?

Chip leader Sam Jessup – secure behind his hood and sunglasses

Other rules include no food or drinks (other than bottled water) on the tournament floor, and with the breaks between levels only being 10 minutes, players have very little time to refuel themselves without missing a few hands on the next level. Basically they just need to wait until dinner time at 7.30pm.

One of the most unique rules in Macau is the rule regarding the expected treatment of tournament dealers. Players are informed before they play that any abuse or disrespect directed towards the dealers can result in the player being arrested by the police and put in jail for a few hours. The much discussed “F-bomb” rule from the WSOP pales into comparison to the penalties associated with excessive tilt in Macau. Behave children!

Watch APPT Macau 08: Hevad Khan on

One thing China, and the rest of Asia for that matter, has been less strict about, is the policing of smoking in casinos. Basically, every area in the Grand Waldo casino is a smoking area. At busier times, the air above the casino floor is hazy with smoke from the cigarettes of the majority of patrons. Ironically, the APPT has stricter regulations relating to smoking than the Grand Waldo, as the only space where non-smokers can take refuge is the tournament area. As it happens the person responsible for making poker tournaments non-smoking, is in Macau for the APPT. Casey Kastle, a US born professional player, now living in Slovenia, objected so much to being unwillingly subjected to the dangers of passive smoking, he campaigned successfully for the banning of smoking during poker tournaments in the USA; and although Macau is smoking-friendly, the APPT maintains the non-smoking rules out of respect for the rights of its players who choose not to smoke. Kastle, as a result of his efforts, was approached to become the Chairman of the Ethics Committee for the recently formed World Poker Association; a position he was happy to accept.

I wonder if Kastle could do something about the rights of poker bloggers…? Unfortunately, the favoured smoking area for players on tournament breaks is right next to the bloggers table… *cough*


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