What happened? – This seems to be the question in the minds of poker players in Manila right now.
Well respected poker room operator and veteran poker player Mike Kim opened his own brand of poker room in the mid of 2016 after managing the prestigious room in Solaire Hotel & Casino and partnering with PokerStars to operate Pokerstars Live Manila in City of Dreams.
An initial success Millionaire Maker events
Having the vision of having the interests of poker players in mind, Kim’s poker room called Mikes Room opened in May 1,2016. The poker room immediately gained popularity and attention because of the Millionaire Maker Tournament which happened on June 2016. The event which had a measly buy-in of Php2,000 (approx. US$40) guaranteed Php1 Million (approx. US$20,000) to the first place. Due to this, the tournament had set a new record for number of entries into a tournament in the Philippines. The amount totaled to 1,403 entries.
Because of the success and popularity of the event, it was immediately followed by a 2nd offering of Millionaire Maker in August. But this time, the winner did not just take Php1 Million, he also took home a brand new car. This event amassed a total of 1,290 entries.
Few weeks after, players shockingly discovered that the room was under the investigation of PAGCOR, the Philippine regulatory board for gaming. Some players were left hanging as before the closure some people had won seats to the next major event. Because of this, the Facebook page of Mikes Room had a barrage of posts asking about the tournament, what happened or when the room will re-open.
Room reopen under a new management and new brand
Everybody from management kept mum. Until an announcement was made that the room would open but this time with a new brand called 88Poker Club, under new management and without the presence of Mike Kim but with some of his staff.
If the community was in a quandary they were now left dumbfounded.
These past few days, rumors had gone around, opinions and speculations online were exchanged. But without hard facts and evidence, all this boils down to hearsay which doesn’t hold water.
As to what the real deal is, we may never know. But what we do know is that the poker community lost in the exchange.
Article by Gabrielle Ruiz-Barredo