Every New Year starts with wishes and expectations. Here are our hopes for poker in Asia, in 2016!
No more 10 handed tables in live poker – 8 handed tables as a standard.
Live poker has been always very slow for players with an online poker background, particularly without automatic shuffling machines and on 10 handed tables. Having amaximum of 8 players maximum seating at the table is a great way to make the action faster, and more interesting.
Lower rake in live poker rooms
Rake in Macau and Manila has remained high in recent years, when you compare it with top casinos in European cities, and of course Las Vegas. Locations in Asia do of course operate under different laws with varying rules about tipping, among other things, and so we must keep those facts in mind and not judge these Asian locations too harshly.
Rake is always an issue for players
Better recognition of the GPI
With a multitude of Player of the Year leader boards and other ways to rank players, Asia doesn't have a great deal of ranking system clarity going on. A least 2 different ranking systems are competing between each other’s: APT Player of the Year (who introduced this year national trophies) and the Asia Player of the year powered by PokerStars. As an internationally recognised leader in ranking poker players, it would be great to see the GPI completely embraced in the Asian Poker community. The system has the advantage to take into account all events played by the Asian players whatever the location or the organizer.
Greater recognition and legalisation of online poker
The evolution of poker is in motion across almost every country in Asia, but the game (particularly in it's online form) still falls into areas which are either grey in their legality, or completely illegal. The great dream for poker as an online game is that it will be accepted, regulated, and legal across the Asia. The balance of online and live poker is the foundation of a healthy live poker scene. Problems with regulation remain extremely complex in many countries. The fact that online operators are offering other forms of gambling alongside poker doesn't make the situation easier.
Online Poker could be the foundation of a healthier live poker scene
Changes in Chinese poker regulation
China has long been recognised as a nation which could provide the catalyst for fresh players and new growth in poker, particularly online. There have been problems with attempts to host live events, such as the Nanjing Millions, with legal problems arising and the tournament being closed down in that instance. This really put the brakes on when it comes to live tournaments in China. It seems unlikely that there will be any plans for major tournaments there (except In Sanya) in the immediate future, unless the legal stance towards poker changes on a national level. We can only hope that 2016 will bring about the first steps towards that change.
To see a major poker event in Vietnam again
In May 2015, Vietnam proudly hosted its first international live poker tournament, which was mostly deemed to be a success. The APT decided to return to the same venue, for APT Vietnam 2, which was scheduled for later in the year. Unfortunately, the partnership between World Gaming Group and Ho Tram Casino dissolved, and the eagerly anticipated APT Vietnam 2, was cancelled. This was very disappointing for poker players in Vietnam, but this isn't necessarily the end of the road for live events in Vietnam. Let's hope 2016 sees international poker tournaments return to Vietnam.