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Is Macau the New Poker Hotspot?

Anyone who follows the world of poker with any level of scrutiny is well aware of the massive drops in attendance at major poker tournaments that have been taking place over the past few years. Black Friday gets a lot of the blame for these drops –and rightly so—but even before the US Department of Justice decided to turn the entire poker world on its head attendance had been waning virtually across the board. Of course, a few tournaments and locales managed to buck the trend and keep their attendance numbers from plummeting, but there is also one part of the world that has seen a sharp increase in poker tournament attendance, Macau.

Known mainly for its ultra-high-stakes cash games, Macau has started to become far more than a playground for the ultra-wealthy and top-tier poker pros in the world, evidenced by the massive turnout for the recent Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event. Prior to last week’s tournament, the attendance record for the tournament was a respectable 635 players, but this time around the tournament pulled-in a remarkable field of nearly 900 players, with the final number hitting 891 when all was said and done. And according to the PokerStars coverage of the tournament, this was with over 100 alternates never getting a chance to take a seat in the event!

The tournament itself is now in the hands of PokerStars (which is a likely reason for some of the growth this year) and if you think the Main Event was an outlier look no further than several of the preliminary events setting their own records. However you slice it, it seems like Macau could very well be the most desirable tournament destination next to Las Vegas in the middle of summer when the WSOP comes to town.

Here is a look at the final table payouts from the tournament:

  1. Terry Fan: 1,771,000 HKD — $228,516
  2. Gie Reyes: 1,242,000 HKD — $160,258
  3. Neil Chen: 743,000 HKD — $95,871
  4. Fei Xie: 555,000 HKD — $71,613
  5. Andy Asihwardji: 393,000 HKD — $50,710
  6. Fanny Li: 328,000 HKD — $42,323
  7. Sailesh Lohia: 262,000 HKD — $33,806
  8. Wesley Zhu: 196,000 HKD — $25,290
  9. Ryan Yu: 153,000 HKD — $19,742

The tournament series has been running for a number of years of now, and up until now has pretty much been known for two things: The first is of course having the coolest trophy in the history of poker (and perhaps in the history of sports?) as well as being pretty much responsible for putting Celina Lin on the poker map as she won this event in 2009 and again in 2012. Click here for the latest tournament schedule for Titan Poker.

*Resources: www.thehendonmob.com, www.pokerstarsmacau.com

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