Annie RKH
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The Macau Big Game

Judging by the massive, more than 200-pages long thread on twoplustwo and the number of retweets and articles on Tom Hall's recent interview with PokerNews Chad Halloway,  the Macau high-stakes cash games are an inexhaustible source of inspiration, envy, resentment, admiration, rumors, and gossip in the poker community.


It all began in 2010, during the Macau Asian Poker Tour, when Matt Savage posted the following message on twoplustwo:

Despite the light turnout at the Asian Poker Tour Macau the cash games are some of the biggest in history as Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Chau Giang, and John Juanda are playing HK$5,000-10,000 with some Chinese businessmen. The game plays much bigger and there was about 40 million on the table last night when I saw the game.

So the Macau Big Game kicked off and has been going on for 3 years now, just like the Nosebleed Cash Games thread, and the dazzling string of top pros rumored to be winning or losing fortunes (most notably, @Tom Dwan and @Sam Trickett); trying to get in, or allegedly being banned from the games (@Patrik Antonius).

And all the while, the "Chinese businessmen" playing in Macau have remained largely shrouded in mystery, with the exception of a few known names - more specifically, Wang Qiang, Paul Phua and Richard Yong.


The "businessmen":


Tom Hall: "They [Big Game businessmen] like action and that's why people like Tom Dwan they find very fun to play against. They do not like nitty pros and have been known to change a game from a $1300/ $2600 game to a $1300/ $2600 with $2600 ante to force the pros to play."

Forum posts of this kind are characteristic of how many feel about the games and the pros who get hooked on them:

"I can definitely see why he gave up on the online games and started focusing on live. Which is easier to beat: online poker pro computer nerds or wealthy business owners who view gambling as their entertainment and don't mind losing millions doing it?"


The pros:


Tom Hall: "The guys that run the game definitely enjoy the challenge of playing against the world's best".


One thing is certain, however, the level of the game has risen enormously and all of the players with first-hand experience who have offered insights have spoken about it at some point or another. Sam Trickett wrote in a blog about Macau, "What I’m trying to say is that the game is not as soft as people think and it is getting more and more difficult to win." As per Andrew Moseley, speaking to Lee Davy on CalvinAyre.com:

"When I first went out there the players had already been playing together for quite a while. Some of them have improved at an incredible rate, two in particular. The games are way tougher at all levels than they were, because a lot of the worse non-pros have stopped playing, and some of them have become incredibly good, very fast."


The stakes:


Sam Trickett on Twitter: 'Each plaque is $100,000HKD (£8k) Ill let u guys do the math :) and not even winning today,haha #anotherdayattheoffice http://t.co/Z2Eba3AP

Tom Dwan on Twitter: 'ya so at the time of this bogus macau story 36hrs ago i was losing on my macau trip, and definitely hadnt won 25 million in a session.'


With a game where there is 'not enough space [for a 10th player] due to all the chips on the table' and the chips in question are mostly HKD 100,000, we can only agree with Tom Hall: "There is nothing like a trip to the Macau Big Game to get the adrenalin flowing".


Read more:

Execellent blog by Sam Trickett, including accounts of specific hands.

Andrew Moseley interview 

Tom Hall interview




"City of dreams" they say :). Nice article, I'm even more curious about #Macau ;).

RankingHero - Ranking, Linking and Satisfying-the-Curiosity of the Poker World - another article on Macau is up :)