Tournament coverage Poker

What now for Macau?

Written by Ben Blaschke

The latest edition of APT Macau has been run and won with Norway’s Henrik Tollefssen prevailing to take home the HK$981,700 first prize. But with the field of 193 players well down on last year’s 268, it seems there is still some way to go before poker truly takes off in this part of the world. Long term, the future looks bright given the massive potential player pools from China and India who are only just starting to discover the game, but no doubt the Asian Poker Tour would have been hoping to at least come close to last year’s figure.

Henrik Tollefssen is the latest APT Macau champion

Henrik Tollefssen is the latest APT Macau champion

Still, there are some contributing factors we should note. Last year’s APT Macau was the first time the event had been held in two years (due to the lack of a venue in 2011) and it is common for more players to come out of the woodwork immediately after such a break.

The timing of the rival Macau Poker Cup could be significant too. Last year the MPC and its signature Red Dragon main event was held in early June; this year the two events basically clash with the MPC starting at the PokerStars Macau room at City of Dreams next week. And with the World Series of Poker having only recently finished, that makes for a busy time of late for all involved in the world of poker.

Macau's StarWorld Casino

Macau’s StarWorld Casino

So what do we make of this year’s APT Macau? With a total prize pool of HK$4.4 million, Macau remains the flagship leg of the APT’s six-stop schedule in 2013 and continues to attract some of the region’s best players. Among the field for this year’s event were 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem, 2013 WSOP APAC third-place finisher Winfred Yu and 2012 Aussie Millions champ Oliver Spiedel.

And there is no doubt the APT is working hard to build the game as a whole across Asia with regular stops now everywhere from Jeju in Korea to Cebu and Manila in the Philippines. Perhaps we’ll leave it until next year to see how this particular event settles into the poker landscape, but no doubt all eyes will be on player numbers at the Red Dragon next week to see if they can match the 891 they attracted in April.