Gaming insights Gaming

“Heir to the Throne” gaming tournament at Grand Lisboa

Written by Andrew W Scott

This article first appeared in the Mar/Apr 2012 issue of World Gaming magazine.

Not only was February 11 Grand Lisboa’s fifth anniversary, the famous Macau casino also that day saw the culmination of its “Heir to the Throne” promotion, with a unique mixed gaming tournament awarding HK$1.8 million in cash. Grand Lisboa kindly granted World Gaming exclusive access to the tournament and its players.

The “Heir to the Throne” promotion saw Grand Lisboa jade and white gold card members redeeming their points for entries in five daily prize draws of HK$1,000 in promotional chips or electronic gaming bonuses. The draws started on 15 September last year and ran through to Grand Lisboa’s new year’s eve countdown on 31 December. At 12:30 am on 1 January a grand final draw took place, with all daily draw entries eligible. The three lucky winners of the grand final draw, all from mainland China, were Ms Mao from Chongqing province, Mr Chen from Guangdong province, and Mr Liu from Liaoning province. The three winners returned to Grand Lisboa to battle it out in the Grand Final tournament held on February 11.

The event represented an enormous freeroll for the three lucky players, with first prize being HK$1 million, second prize HK$500,000 and third prize HK$300,000.

The tournament area contained three table games: non-commission baccarat, blackjack and roulette. The three players were each given a starting stack of 500,000 tournament chips and were free to roam the area for precisely 60 minutes, betting or not betting as they saw fit, choosing between the three games.

After the players were introduced to the large crowd of spectators, play began and all three players headed straight for the baccarat table. A little after half-way through the hour, Ms Mao lost the last of her chips, leaving Mr Liu and Mr Chen to fight over first prize.

With about ten minutes to go, Mr Chen suddenly rushed over to the blackjack table and played two hands, winning both of them, before returning to the baccarat table. Those were to be the only two non-baccarat hands played in the tournament. The roulette wheel was completely ignored by the players.

In the desperate final minutes, Mr Liu was forced to take some big risks, valiantly attempting to reign in Mr Chen’s impressive chip lead, but the risky play saw him lose his chips with around a minute remaining on the clock. This left Mr Chen victorious and he was crowned “Heir to the Throne”, picking up the handsome first prize of HK$1 million cash.

World Gaming had a few words with the champ immediately after the presentation ceremony.

WGM: Mr Chen, what will you do with your prize money?

Mr Chen: I’m off to play the slots!

WGM: We noticed you played baccarat almost exclusively during the tournament. Is baccarat your favorite game?

Mr Chen: Yes, it is.

WGM: Why did you suddenly change games and play those two hands of blackjack?

Mr Chen: Things weren’t going too well on baccarat so I went over there to change my luck. I won 170,000 chips on those two hands.

WGM: When was your first trip to Macau, and how often do you come to Macau?

Mr Chen: I’ve been coming here a long time. My first trip would be more than 20 years ago. I come around once a month to play. The last few years I have been playing a lot at the Grand Lisboa.

World Gaming congratulates Grand Lisboa on running such a fine event, and we’d love to see more direct buy-in tournaments and promotional events such as “Heir to the Throne” in the future.