Macau, so often called the “Las Vegas of the East” is a “special administration region (SAR) of China” following the “one country, two systems policy.”
This policy started in 1999 when Portugal, who had ruled over Macau for 300 years, relinquished its reign over the territory to the Chinese. Since then, Mainland China has taken over sovereignty of this extremely profitable region which heavily relies on tourism.
Capital : Macau
Languages : Chinese Portuguese
Population : 640,700
Currency : Macanese pataca (MOP)
Calling code : +853
Live poker: Both locals and foreigners are allowed to enter casinos
Online poker: No regulation, Access to all major sites
Online rooms: Access to all major poker sites
Internet: Good quality
Since 1962, Stanley Ho‘s Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) has had monopoly over all gambling operations in Macau. But that changed in 2002, when the monopoly ended and the government opened its doors to let international casino operators come in.
There are currently more than 30 casinos in Macau. With both Asian and Vegas operators now in the region, gambling revenue has surpassed that of Las Vegas.
Since 2014, gambling revenues have suffered as the Vegas of the East tries to move from the traditional junket operations and reliance on VIP players to a more main stream mass market offering. However, 2016 financial reports have indicated that mass market gaming has finally exceeded, albeit marginally, VIP gaming revenues. This has been seen by Macau operators as the beginning of stabilization in their economy.
Compared, however, to the number of casinos in Macau, the poker offering is extremely limited. As most casinos have a cap on the amount of gaming tables, which includes poker, operators have opted more profitable games like baccarat, roulette and blackjack over the peer-to-peer game of Texas Holdem. Nevertheless, this has not stopped PokerStars, who leads the poker pack in the SAR, from opening a room in the City of Dreams. Currently, Pokerstars Live Macau, has been more consistent in their poker offerings as compared to other casinos in the area. They have been providing major tournaments that have made Macau a definite poker destination for players.
Another room that has made its mark is Poker King Club, which is renowned for holding the biggest cash games in the world, having a buy-in minimum of US$1 million based on reports.
Hopefully, with the move to mass market gaming and new casinos in Cotai, more attention and more tables for poker will be opened in Macau.