Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Travel Report: APPT Macau, ACOP Main Event, Day 1

There’s a look out of my hotel window from one of the upper floors of the Grand Waldo Hotel. Looking left, straight out, and to the right. Mainland China, just a few kilometers away. It is foggy out, but warm and balmy, as it has been all week here in Macau.

I probably should be giving titles to these “travel reports” -- i.e., something a little less generic than just noting what day of the event they cover. Usually these excursions are to events lasting just three or four days; thus the non-descriptive titles aren’t so conspicuous. But in this case I’ve come to Macau to cover two events stretching out over nine consecutive days, and so probably should’ve adopted a different convention. I always encourage students to title their papers, after all, telling them how it often isn’t so inspiring to pick up to read something called “Essay 2.”

That said, I would probably have had a difficult time coming up with a title for this particular report. The day was long and varied, and as I sit down to write no particular theme comes to mind that might be covered with some witty bit of wordplay up there in the header.

I’d been up until probably 5 a.m. the night before, and after sleeping three hours or so was already awake and starting to pull myself together for the day ahead. By the time I hopped on the elevator to ride down, Barack Obama was already being declared the winner of the presidential race. He was about to take the podium in Chicago, the place I’d spent my last night in the U.S. before flying to Macau, and so my thoughts were pointing back in that direction when Donnie and Remko appeared to join my ride down to the poker room.

I’d seen Lynn the day before, who is here with Andrew to shoot videos for the event, and knew Donnie and Remko (here reporting for PokerNews) had arrived and so was glad to see them. Not long after we got to the Grand Waldo Conference and Exhibition Centre where the poker is being played, Donnie had the live stream of Obama’s acceptance speech up and running on his laptop, and a group of us gathered to watch and talk a little U.S. presidential politics before starting the day.

Day 1 of the Main Event was relatively short (just six-and-a-half hours’ worth of poker), the schedule purposely arranged to make it easier for players and staff to attend the welcome party starting at 11 p.m. A total of 184 players ended up registering for the 100,000 Hong Kong dollar event (equal to a little less than $13,000 USD), so we’re talking a big prize pool and a first prize worth around $544,000 USD.

Nothing overly dramatic happened poker-wise yesterday. Johnny Chan arrived at the very last minute to play, then busted in short order. Joseph Cheong had a double-up early and ended the day near the top of the counts. Tom Marchese, Kenny Shih, and Danny Wong all built above-average stacks. And all 10 of the Team PokerStars Pros who entered made it through to Day 2.

All week PokerStars has set up this nifty “Mobile Lounge” right next to the tournament area where anyone passing by is invited to play sit-n-gos or take something called the “Zoom Challenge” on iPads. I ended up doing both and writing a fun post about it for the PokerStars blog. As I mention in that post, the set-up is a bit of a trial for an actual $1,000+$25 buy-in “Zoom” event that is going to happen at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January.

Suffered a kind of hilariously brutal beat in the sit-n-go I played -- flopping a set, getting it all in, then losing to a river two-outer to be the first eliminated -- made more risible by the fact that all the players were sitting in a circle in bean bags and chairs playing anonymously on iPads. Thus it wasn’t until I got up to go that anyone knew who had busted.

Like I say, the night ended early and by 11:30 p.m. Donnie, Remko, and I were on a shuttle bus to the D2 Club situated on the second floor of the AIA Tower across from the Grand Emperor Hotel in downtown Macau. (The photo features the Grand Lisboa situated nearby.) The nighttime ride down revealed just how much the place resembles kind of a smaller version of Las Vegas, with some American casinos (MGM Grand, Wynn) mixed in to suggest the resemblance even further.

The scene at the club was appropriately festive, with food, drinks, dancing, and uninterrupted loud music spun by a DJ at a high bpm. I stayed about three hours or so, enjoying in particular Robin Lim, PokerStars’ Senior Events Manager, performing a raucous magic show in which he involved some of the Team Pros and others.

Lim is apparently one of Malaysia’s most famous magicians or “mentalists,” and he definitely kept the crowd entertained, particularly when he got Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and others dancing some Gangnam Style. (I promise there’s some video of the latter which I’ll come back and link to later.)

I grabbed a cab back from the Macau Peninsula to the Taipa Island and the Grand Waldo, getting to bed around 3 a.m. Meanwhile the party continued well into the night/early morning, with the pushed-back Day 2 start time of 5 p.m. -- a “party start,” as APPT President Danny McDonagh calls it -- designed to allow for such.

Am thinking I might take advantage of today’s late start and do a little exploring today, perhaps going to check out the Venetian Macao Casino which is not far from our location. The Venetian is the world’s largest casino and three times the size of the Vegas version. No idea if I’ll find any unifying themes for the day while wandering through the hundreds of gaming tables there or not, but in any event I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know what’s there.

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Blogger F-Train said...

Ah D2... site of an infamous night in which DK passed out in the bathroom stall for two hours, then emerged irate that nobody even noticed he was gone.

Good times.

11/07/2012 11:18 PM  

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