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Old 02-28-2013, 09:57 AM   #1
jajogluck
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poker in macau

I traveled to macau from Hong Kong twice recently to check out the poker rooms. So here is my report regarding contemporary poker in macau (Feb 2013).

There are only three rooms that offer Poker: Venetian, StarWorld and Wynn. Other poker rooms (such as Grand Lisboa) have been closed recently, apparently because the Chinese force the Macau government to impose a table limit on casinos and so casinos must prioritize what games they will host based on considerations of maximum revenue and such, and evidently poker isn't all that lucrative.

All of the aforementioned poker rooms offer 50-100 HKD No Limit Texas Holdem, which seems to be the most popular game in every one of the casinos. Wynn has higher games --and an Omaha game-- at times, and does NOT have a 25-50 game. The other casinos do have 25-50 tables at all times, though it may be quite a wait to get seated since there is typically only 1 or 2 tables per room and turnover is slow.

Rake is 5% up to 200 HKD with the exception of Venetian who will take a max rake of 250 HKD. This is rather unfortunate. 250 HKD is the currently equivalent of 32 US dollars -- a very high rake indeed. They get away with it because they can and because the players aren't very astute. The good news, of course, is that in line with Chinese culture there is NO tipping and so you may not be paying that much if you are accustomed to tipping generously in proportion to the size of the pot, as many in AC casinos are.

Venetian dealers use a plastic mini shoe that dealers hold in their left hand and through which slot the cards are dealt. This makes it safer for dealers to lay down the cards in the middle of a hand.

The play is SUPER tight. I played on two occasions in three sessions and I this has been very consistent. It is common for players to fold all the way around or for someone to make a 3x-5x raise and for everyone to run. Reraises preflop are very unusal as are showdowns if there is betting on previous rounds. My analysis here is that Asian players are not accustomed to cash play and so they treat it as a tournament, waiting for other players to knock each other out and not getting involved unless they have a monster.

The corollary of this is that if you are a tight cautions conservative player, you definitely won't do well in this lineup. I believe the strongest player profile against the typical game here would be someone who makes many min-raises preflop as well as small follow up bets after the flop while trying to detect or pick up a tell if their opponent is weak. If they are, it is often easy to bluff them later on if a scare card hits since players are hunting for the nuts and are wary of putting a lot of money in with second or third pair on board. Also, do not be afraid to sometimes make a very large bet on a safe turn card if you have been called on the flop with a small/medium pair, especially if there are draws on board. Players will often INCORRECTLY call you with their draw with one card to come, while the player who DOES have you beat with a better pair may fold faster than a bat out of hell (as long as they don't have TPTK or better of course, or if you are known as a bluffer).

I did not come across any celebrities on my visits. I arrived via Turbojet ferry from Kowloon -- a one-hour ride on a fast-speed comfortable boat. Price is 150 HKD to Macau and 170 HKD to return. Shuttle buses are provided free of charge to/from the ferry terminal and all casinos.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:47 PM   #2
e1cnr
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Re: poker in macau

If the play is tight, did you make any money?

If you raised pre-flop, and folded back to you, how much (or any?) rake?
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:51 PM   #3
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Re: poker in macau

Kinda off topic. But im heading to Macau in April and hoping rail the high stakes cash games and hopefully see a few popular players.

Any idea which cardroom has the best action? Also, is there any equivalent of 1/2 there?
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:45 AM   #4
jajogluck
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Re: poker in macau

Quote:
Originally Posted by e1cnr View Post
If the play is tight, did you make any money?

If you raised pre-flop, and folded back to you, how much (or any?) rake?
I did extremely well in my first session, winning over 10,000 HKD with a good run of cards. I didn't even play all that well (for example, not reraising all-in with two pair against what i believed --correctly as it turned out to be-- to be TPTK).

On my second session I did horribly all throughout and thus gave back almost all my winnings. The hands that felted me (I kept rebuying for the min 2,000 HKD) are as follows:

77 v. AA: I went all in preflop against a relatively aggressive player but he had the nuts and it held up.

QJ vs. Q6 on a QT6 flop. An EP player check-raised me after trapping another player's call behind me. I figured I was probably beat but had some backdoor draws (indeed turn card gave me flush draw) and didn't have that much left compared to the pot size. Still, it was probably a bad call.

Q8 of clubs with a raise preflop and an unusually large number of callers. Flop came 644 with two clubs. I figured I should strike preemptively since there was no way I could fold the hand anyway given the size of the pot and the outs that I seemed to have. If I could get out overcards or better kickers that may beat me on turn or river, I figured there is value in that. If I'm lucky I get called by a straight draw or a weaker flush draw or hit a Q, 8 or club to win. Got called by one player. Turn card is Q, river is 4 giving me fours full of queens. I flip over my cards delightfully and some on the crowd gasped at my luck to have hit the Queen on the turn. But something was awry. My opponent flipped pocket sixes to scoop the pot. damn. Atleast I wasn't drawing dead on the turn!

Later I shipped it all-in with a 32 of spades limped on the button; flop comes all spades and the EP player check-raises me. I'm all in and he flip a Ten-high flush. I'm drawing dead.

Still later I shipped it with KJ after having reraised a min-raiser and gotten one caller behind me for 300 HKD (it's all 25-50 NL). Flop is T77 and it's checked around. Turn card is jack. I thought I was golden. I bet 600 but the original min-raiser stares me down feigning to try to detect if I'm weak and bluff me. I took the bait. When he made a huge raise, I insta-called giving him airball. He had 97 of spades and took it down. ouch, that hurt.

Obviously, I'm not the greatest player. But the game style wasn't conducive. I don'y usually bluff and I don't have "heart". There are certain situations where I know the correct move is to raise or make a large bet but I can't get myself to pull the trigger.

Finally, to answer your question. On a typical preflop raise with nobody calling you there would be no rake since you'd only be winning 75 HKD and they don't have chips worth less than 5 HKD (which would be 5% of 100).
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:03 AM   #5
jajogluck
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Re: poker in macau

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Originally Posted by birdayy View Post
Kinda off topic. But im heading to Macau in April and hoping rail the high stakes cash games and hopefully see a few popular players.

Any idea which cardroom has the best action? Also, is there any equivalent of 1/2 there?
There is no 1/2 equivalent here, unfortunately. The lowest game in town is 25/50 which is roughly 7.5/15 USD which would be considered mid-range level in American poker rooms such as in Vegans or AC.

I think the explanation for this phenomenon is that gambling is Asia is a much more serious endeavor than in the West. In America, if you're a surgeon or a teacher or a lawyer making 100k or so a year and you're going to play poker, whether it's one-off or you do it regularly, you'd be doing it for fun and you wouldn't be exuberant or sad if you won or lost. Thus they wouldn't want to put more than a few hundred dollars on the line for any given session.

For Asians, gambling is a status symbol. It means you have money to lose and the aura and trappings of the environment are essential to the experience, as is the "luck" element which they take very seriously, believing in various superstitions that could induce or inhibit luck.

Bottom line is if you're an Asian and you have sufficient money to afford the luxury of playing in a casino then you really want to experience the win and the thrill that accompanies the conviction that the Gods favor you and therefore you get lucky. Hence, they will play for considerably larger stakes that even more affluent people would feel comfortable playing with int he West (unless they are poker professionals and have a mathematical edge).

This would also explain why the largest poker pots ever are to be found in macau, not in the US or Europe where there are far more millionaires and far more disposable income to go around. In fact, in vegas there is an upper limit of 100k that any person can lose per pot, whereas this restriction does not apply in macau.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:04 AM   #6
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Re: poker in macau

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/20...ies/macau-488/
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:10 AM   #7
PSLive Fred
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Re: poker in macau

Quote:
Originally Posted by jajogluck View Post
There is no 1/2 equivalent here, unfortunately.

For Asians, gambling is a status symbol. It means you have money to lose and the aura and trappings of the environment are essential to the experience, as is the "luck" element which they take very seriously, believing in various superstitions that could induce or inhibit luck.
There are many things in Asia that are status symbols such as luxury cars and handbags. But gambling is not a 'good thing' so it's usually on the hush.

I mean, some high rollers may talk about crazy wins/losses amongst close friends to show off a bit but in general, gambling is seen as a negative thing.

Now the luck description is pretty much true but that's the action itself. Really two separate issues.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:31 AM   #8
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Re: poker in macau

Pretty sure the lack of stakes lower than 25/50 have very little to do with Asian gambling status and very much to do with the aforementioned table cap.....

As I understand it, 15/30 used to exist in several of the casinos in the past, no?

Also, even though I've only been once, given that the difference between the two tables I played was so huge, I doubt very much that its possible to characterize the play in such a small sample (i.e first table was ultra loose passive fishy with the closest thing to a reg being two ultra nits playing <10% of hands, second table being 90% obvious regs in their mid 20s).

Quote:
This would also explain why the largest poker pots ever are to be found in macau, not in the US or Europe where there are far more millionaires and far more disposable income to go around. In fact, in vegas there is an upper limit of 100k that any person can lose per pot, whereas this restriction does not apply in macau.
Doesn't Hong Kong have one of the highest concentrations of incredibly wealthy individuals on the planet? Plus it's not like China has a lack of billionaires...

Anyway, this 100k cap, how is that applied? To just table games? I mean I don't know the first thing about high stakes vegas poker, but I'm assuming it's not some kind of law, just thinking back on that infamous Townsend 3 barrel PLO bluff for .. lots and lots of $$
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:41 AM   #9
BoDiddleyMacau
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Re: poker in macau

Quote:
Originally Posted by jajogluck View Post
There is no 1/2 equivalent here, unfortunately. The lowest game in town is 25/50 which is roughly 7.5/15 USD which would be considered mid-range level in American poker rooms such as in Vegans or AC.
Better check your calculator. 25/50 is roughly 3-6 USD (slightly bigger).
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:42 AM   #10
SunnyDays
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Re: poker in macau

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Originally Posted by BoDiddleyMacau View Post
Better check your calculator. 25/50 is roughly 3-6 USD (slightly bigger).
lol
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:18 AM   #11
jameson18
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Re: poker in macau

basically none of what you said is reliable if the simple conversion from HKD to USD is incorrect
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:30 PM   #12
Gooner
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Re: poker in macau

I have been playing here in Macau for a month now and what is said is not very accurate. At first I folded when there was a bet and then raise and another caller and when you eventually see the cards they just love to gamble and will reload big at will. They figure that they will stack you in the end.
So I find that apart from a few tight regs most are here to gamble it up.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:22 AM   #13
MacauPokerJeff
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Re: poker in macau

Hmmm, really? I'm finding mostly regs on my sessions. Maybe I need to change tables. But certainly, the poker action in Macau has changed.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:29 AM   #14
Kevzinvasion
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Re: poker in macau

Hello,

I'm visiting Macau in a few weeks. Would someone recommend a cost efficient hotel that's good for poker? I notice there are only three locations to p,ay at: Venetian, Wynn, and Starworld? Thanks!
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:05 PM   #15
Charlie Yu
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Re: poker in macau

COD (Pokerstars macau) has 25/50 now, and is pretty soft, there are lots of tourists.

I heard 10/25 is back at starworld, but I haven't confirmed.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:09 PM   #16
Charlie Yu
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Re: poker in macau

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Originally Posted by Kevzinvasion View Post
Hello,

I'm visiting Macau in a few weeks. Would someone recommend a cost efficient hotel that's good for poker? I notice there are only three locations to p,ay at: Venetian, Wynn, and Starworld? Thanks!
Hotels are expensive as there is a huge influx of mainland Chinese tourists. I heard a lot of regs just go to Zhuhai for cheaper hotels.
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:53 AM   #17
peteyy
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Re: poker in macau

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Yu View Post
COD (Pokerstars macau) has 25/50 now, and is pretty soft, there are lots of tourists.

I heard 10/25 is back at starworld, but I haven't confirmed.
Have you played there?

What I read from the forums is that COD poker room is full of regs who buy in minimum.
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:24 AM   #18
Charlie Yu
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Re: poker in macau

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Have you played there?

What I read from the forums is that COD poker room is full of regs who buy in minimum.
I've only been there a few times, there are some regs and there are some really passive players that I would consider fish. Pretty easy to tell. May differ from day/time. The cash game is at an area that you can observe their play from outside before you opt to sit down to play.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:10 AM   #19
tRaMSt0p
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Re: poker in macau

They also have PokerPro tables now which are super popular due to the fact there are no dealer mistakes, hands-per-hour goes up considerably since most dealers aren't that experienced yet.

Don't see too many PLO games spread in Macau because there aren't a lot of competent dealers that can deal fast and calculate 'pot' quickly, but PokerPro eradicates this.

HK$5/10, $10/20, $20/40 NLH and PLO and there was talk last week during ACOP that HK$5/5 was coming in the future so that all levels of poker could be played there.

http://www.pokerstarsblog.com/appt/2...ng-142768.html
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:31 AM   #20
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Re: poker in macau

How does USD conversion work for these games? Does the casino exchange money at a fair rate?

Last edited by SeattleSinner; 01-21-2014 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:33 AM   #21
mini bomber
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Re: poker in macau

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Originally Posted by SeattleSinner View Post
How does USD conversion work for these games? Does the casino exchange money at a fair rate?
I spent a month in Macau last summer so I can answer this.

Yes. They give you whatever the current conversion rate is and take nothing for themselves.
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:36 AM   #22
moiadcosmin
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Re: poker in macau

I'm sorry if I post place, but that is the smallest stakes at play in Macau cash games?
ty guys
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Old 01-22-2014, 04:05 PM   #23
mini bomber
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Re: poker in macau

^ Yeah man. All Macau limits are high. I couldn't even find a BJ table below 300HKD min ($38.67). A lot of soft 25/50 games though. IMO you can't play tight if you want to beat the rake...
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:19 PM   #24
naheed187
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Re: poker in macau

I'm planning on going macau around middle of February. Does anyone know if there's been any PLO games running?
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:55 PM   #25
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Re: poker in macau

I didn't see any PLO cash games running but I think the PokerStars room has a weekly PLO tourney. Could be wrong though.
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