Saturday 5 March 2011

Macau Poker Cup Trip Report

I wasn't too impressed with Hong Kong and hoped to find more enjoyment out of Macau, a small island less than an hour ferry ride away. I wasn't going to do much sightseeing there, as I was going to play in the PokerStars Macau Cup series of poker tournaments held at the PokerStars Macau card room at the Grand Lisboa Casino.

Our first impressions of Macau were great, as we had checked into the super luxurious Grand Lisboa Hotel. Everything about this hotel is amazing. The rooms are very large, the beds are amazing, there's a large Bang and Olufsen TV with free movies on demand, free mini-bar, nice desk and chair for sitting at my laptop, fast and stable wired and wireless Internet, bathroom with TVs, hot tub, steam shower, I could go on and on and on about things I love about the hotel and not find a single thing I don't like, it's that good!

After we used the awesome spa and the half-indoor/half-outdoor swimming pool we went to play Event 1 of Macau Cup, the Charity Event. Since we were 45 minutes late due to excessive use of the spa and pool we had to buy in as alternates and then were playing with about 20BB stacks. Normally I'd be happy pushing around a 20BB stack but the tables were 10 handed and there were no antes in the structure, so it wasn't so great. I ended up going deep but pretty much bubbled, story of my life.

The next day I played event 2, another very fast structure, 10 handed tables and no antes. Meh. I was sat to the left of EPT Monte Carlo champion Pete DeKorver. The rest of the table were a bunch of huge donks, as is standard in Macau. I busted after a few hours in a spot that was likely so standard that I can't remember what it was. This put me 0 for 9 in live tournament cashes for 2011, after the 7 events I bricked at this year's Aussie Millions.

As Amatay had also busted the event pretty quickly we went for a bit of exploring and found the famous "Hooker Mall" at Hotel Lisboa (the old hotel across the street from Grand Lisboa). The hooker mall is a circle of shops where tons of Chinese hookers walk non stop looking to get picked up. As for as I can tell it works like this, apparently prostitution is legal as long as the girls aren't soliciting themselves, so they keep walking around this big circle until a guy walks along side them and picks them up. It's such a ridiculous / awesome thing to see, we couldn't believe our eyes.

Of course, where the world's best blogger goes, so does a camera. I whipped out my phone to get some sneaky film of these hookers, unfortunately one of them saw it and started yelling at me. Fortunately for me I walk faster than some tart in high heels can run!

Macau Cup Event 3 went a lot better for me, the structure was a little slower and there were antes. I was coasting around with about 25BBs (which was about average) not far from the bubble when I shipped 97s over a raise and 2 flat calls. The original raiser folded, as did the first caller. Only one more guy to get through, a Philippine guy who tanked for ages, stared me down and asked me questions. Eventually he calls with 76s and I have him dominated, skill game! The 9 kicker held up as the board ran out JJ7-5-4. Ship the big stack to Daleroxxu.

From there I got to play a lot of pots and accumulate chips as we approached the bubble. Then the Dutch lucksack Pete DeKorver was moved to my table with his 12BB stack, which he doubled up though me twice, first by 3-outing me and then by winning a race. SIGH!

They ended the day as soon as we were in the money. I was a top 3 stack with 30 players left and feeling great.

When we resumed play the next day I lost a couple of races in the first few hands and not long after that I was caught jamming from the button with 83o versus two uber nit short stacks in the blinds. Showing down that junk and bleeding away 1/3 of my stack in previous hands forced me to tighten up a lot and I just sat there folding my junks hands for a little while until the blinds became so high that very few of the 15 or so players left had more than 20BBs behind them. I ended up calling a 6bb cutoff shove with Q7o from the BB, which I think is fine with the huge antes and that I thought he was jamming blind. The guy flipped over 76 and the flop gave him a straight. FML.

The very next hand I busted my good friend Daren Yoon when he shoved a 3 or 4BB stack from the button and I shoved the small blind to isolate with Q9. I played the shallow structure well but unfortunately I bubbled the final table after the Dutch luckbox Pete Dekorver shoved ~12BB UTG with K9o and I called my ~10BB stack off with AJs and lost. gg me, 11th place :(

I was really unhappy because all the money was at the final table. They also roll the blinds back for the final table, they halved them! I didn't know this at the time, maybe I would have played a little less loose if I knew, maybe ;-) I guess I should be happy to end my run of not cashing in live events but I really felt that I would win that tourney. The field was so damn soft and I was playing great, the cards just didn't run out well for me.

With all the poker I didn't get much of a chance to do sightseeing in Macau. But I did go for a little wander into the town centre, away from all the huge casinos. It's a nice enough place, despite the lack of any western restaurants other than Pizza Hut and McDonalds!

Way more cooler than the town was the fountains outside the Wynn casino. For me, these are more impressive than the fountains at Bellagio, Las Vegas, just because you are so close to them, it's extremely entertaining.

After a terrible year of online poker for me so far, I just had enough money in my PokerStars account to buy in to the Macau Cup Main event. It did leave my account pretty much busto though, talk about bankroll management! At that stage I didn't really care. The donks playing in Macau are the very worst poker players on the planet, so there was no way I'd be missing out on playing this.

The main event started with me being sat at the same table as Pete DeKorver, who I was getting a bit sick of seeing his face by this point! Then my friend Daren Yoon sits down to the seat on my left, and tells us how the seating assignment isn't random. Apparently he bought 4 people into a previous tournament and they ended up all sat next to each other. I asked the table who had bought in directly online and 6 of us in a row raised our hands. There were only about 25 direct buyins online from the whole field, so an unlikely coincidence. It reminds me of UKIPT Galway in December when I was assigned a seat next to Team PokerStars Jude Ainsworth, Julian Thew and Liv Boeree. At least on that occasion they admited a problem and took a break to redraw the seats. On this occasion we just had to wait until our, much tougher than average, table broke.

The tournament started off well for me when a guy basically dumped his whole stack to me, check raising me on the turn with zero fold equity on a Q894r board with AK. I had QQ.

I had around 4 times the starting stack by the 6th level, when I got in huge pot with a Japanese kid. After a raising war preflop the flop came all K63 all spades. I had KcQc. Check Check. Turn was blank and he lead 1/2 pot, I called. River was another King and he jammed for around the size of the pot. I tanked and eventually called, he sighed and hung his head. I flipped over the KQ and he sighed again, shook his head, then held his cards above his head to show to his railtard friends behind him, while standing up. He then slammed down Qs9s onto the felt and cheered and started high fiving his friends. As he's counting his chips he berates me in broken English for flat calling with KQs in that spot.

This is the guy. Feel free to slowroll him if you ever get the chance. :)

With a crippled stack I ended up shoving 5d3d over a raise and was snapped off by TT. gg me!

I didn't play any more events after that. I just started trying to rebuild my busto PokerStars account by cashing in some Stellar Reward bonuses and grinding micro stakes PLO. What a thankless grind that was!

With 1 day left in macau and no willingness to play live poker, I took a wander into the ghetto area of Macau, just to see what's up. It's unbelievable, 10 minutes walk from huge luxury casinos with fountains dancing to the tune of "Money makes the world go round, the world go round" are people living in poverty. What I found most incredible though were the shops in this area. They all sell the most absolutely ridiculous junk imaginable. Half of the shops I couldn't even work out what it was they were selling, it was just a guy sitting amongst a load of old crap watching TV. So strange.

The next leg of my world tour was to be Cebu in Philippines. Well, I had a change of plans at the last minute. Hours before I was due to set off, I cancelled all of my flights and booked a direct flight from Macau to Kuala Lumpur.

I am now living in a hotel in KL, while I look for a balla apartment here. I have a 90 day visa that I'll likely get extended to 150 days. I decided to settle down somewhere so that I can concentrate on my online poker career which has been more like a very expensive hobby than a career this year. I also have a commitment to PokerStars to represent them, not just through my blog and wearing patches at live events but more importantly, being a member of Team Online, by actually playing significant volume on their site. Unfortunately it's been difficult and at times completely impossible for me to play significant volume over the last 2 months.

I will close down the Tour of Cards site soon. The blogs at have been merged into my original blog at

Since arriving in KL I've already put a ton of hours in online and have grinded my account up to $3900 from the few bucks and FPPs that I had left. I hope to grind this up much further over the coming weeks and play higher stakes PLO again, this time with better bankroll management.

I'm also very much looking forward to the SCOOP in 2 months time, and plan to play most of the NLHE and PLO events, and a bunch of the "other game" events. So far this year I haven't played any online MTTs because I haven't had the 7-12 hours to put aside to play them. Now that I'm settling down I look forward to being able to play more MTTs, and be in good shape to take down a title when SCOOP comes around this May.

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