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Cambodia makes its poker play

Written by Ben Blaschke

If days spent sipping cocktails on the beach and nights anteing up at the poker table sounds like your thing, you could do worse than a few weeks at Cambodia’s Queenco Casino and Hotel in Sihanoukville.

Cambodia may not be synonymous with poker just yet, but that looks certain to change with new management at the Queenco’s poker room wasting no time in making their intentions clear by bringing in veteran poker room manager AJ Brock to lead the way.

A long-time friend of WGM, AJ earned his stripes on the casino floors of Las Vegas and was the driving force behind the poker room at Wynn Macau before being headhunted to oversee the Poker King Club – home of Macau’s infamous high stakes cash games.

This latest move sees him handed the task of establishing Queenco as the place to play poker in Sihanoukville as well as putting it on the map as a quality destination for overseas visitors.

“There are a lot of expats living here and the whole town is a big tourist area so there is definitely a hunger for poker among them,” AJ explains. “We get a lot of Russians here as well as other Europeans so it’s just a matter of getting the word out that we’re here and offering them games they want to play in.”

Although he arrived in Cambodia less than two weeks ago, AJ has been quick to make changes. In its previous life, the Queenco poker room was renowned for small stakes cash games that played like high stakes cash games because there was no cap on the amount players could buy-in for. Now the US$1/$2 game is capped at US$300 to ensure it doesn’t play bigger than those sitting at the tables can afford – although we’re told there is still plenty of action!

Tournament players are also catered to as well with this week seeing the launch of daily MTTs from Monday to Thursday with a US$25 buy-in and rebuys, while the Asian Poker Tour will host a leg of their 2015 season at Queenco later this year.

“The main thing at the moment is just letting people know that we’re here,” says AJ. “And for those that haven’t been here before it’s a really nice place, it’s on the beach and it’s inexpensive so it’s definitely worth a visit.”