Saturday, November 10, 2012

Travel Report: APPT Macau, ACOP Main Event, Day 4

Was a short one, relatively speaking, at the Asia Championship of Poker Main Event yesterday, with the penultimate day of play lasting around seven hours to conclude around 10 p.m. Michael Kanaan of Australia leads with nine to go, with four different continents and eight nationalities represented among the final tablists.

There’s a “High Rollers” event happening this weekend as well, one featuring a $250,000 (HKD) buy-in which equals something like $32K USD. All of the big pros who I’ve seen in other events were playing in that one, plus someone I hadn’t seen this week yet, Phil Ivey.

Sort of interesting to see Ivey in this setting, where unlike at the WSOP there really doesn’t seem to be as much stargazing and hoopla surrounding his presence. Indeed, there are others in the High Rollers who’ve participated in those huge cash games with Ivey here in Macau.

Alan Sass, who has made the final table of the Main Event, has played in those games, too. Sass also played with Ivey in that crazy $2 million (HKD) buy-in “Macau High Stakes Challenge Super High Roller” back in August, finishing ninth while Ivey took eighth.

As I was talking about earlier in the week after visiting the Venetian Macao Casino and witnessing the huge amounts being gambled nonchalantly all around, it’s an environment where a “high roller” is perhaps necessarily a less conspicuous entity. In other words, we’re in a place where Phil Ivey actually has what could be considered “peers” gambling-wise, if you can believe that.

Was kind of hoping to get out for a real sit-down meal last night, even tentatively arranging to do so when it looked like play might end early enough for us to be getting out somewhere near the dinner hour. But alas they went on a little too long, then I was saddled with some extra writing at night’s end that got in the way.

Such is the way it often goes on these trips, where there might be short windows of opportunity to get out and explore here and there, but a lot of the time is taken up working the event and thus mostly experiencing different places and cultures from inside relatively familiar-looking poker rooms.

A week ago I was relating how my flight here (from Chicago to Hong Kong) had been canceled and rescheduled for a day later. That meant rather than arrive here a day early -- and perhaps experience something other than poker -- I was arriving just as the first tournament I was due to cover was getting started. So it was straight to work. And while I have gotten out a couple of times to see the city over the days since, most of those days have been occupied by work.

And I fly in the morning, which’ll mean an early start on Monday to catch the ferry back to Hong Kong. I expect today’s final day to be a long one, too, with the average chip stack more than 60 big blinds to start play this afternoon.

Still, I’m enjoying the experience and grateful for seeing what I have thus far. And for meeting the people I have, too, which has made the trip all the better. Makes the big scary world seem a little smaller and easier to manage. I suppose it’s like Ivey somehow seeming less intimidating when sitting among the other high rollers, the world as a whole becomes a less daunting place the more you see of it.

(Ivey photo via Hong Kong portrait photographer Kenneth Lim.)

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