It appears that the poker skyline in Asia is about to undergo a change. Poker King Club (PKC), which has been famous for hosting some of the biggest games in Macau, will take over the poker operations at Solaire casino, Manila. While confirmation has been given to Somuchpoker of this upcoming event, the details should be fully revealed by Poker King Club by the end of the month.
This move from Poker King Club Macau to Manila is part of a larger process. China’s crackdown on corruption has been severely hurting the whole gaming industry in Macau and junkets are looking for a “friendlier” venue for their Chinese customer. Notably, that PKC is currently owned by one of the most successful and prominent Asian junket operations, Suncity Group, to which Paul Phua and Richard Yong have close ties. The junket operator will open four more VIP rooms, according to Morgan Stanley in Manila casinos. In this context, it is not a surprise to see the Poker King Club expending their activities in Manila
Is the "Big Game" about to move from Macau to Manila?
Recently the biggest game in Macau has apparently been a shadow of its former self. Wealthy Chinese high rollers have been finding it difficult to travel back and forth to Macau, and key participants Paul Phua and Richard Yong are facing troubles with Macau local authorities. With this in mind, it would make a lot of sense for the Big Game to relocate. Poker King Club has been home of world's biggest cash game. If they are expending their operations to Manila it is not to run small games. The Solaire Poker Room is already currently hosting the highest games in Manila. The fact that both Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan visited Solaire Poker Room this year could also be an indication. Maybe they were just getting a close look at the Manila location before PKC came to town. After all, they did not sit to play poker while there.
Tom Dwan at Solaire Casino last January (Photo Somuchpoker)
What about the WPT National Philippines 2015?
This arrival of Poker King Club in Manila involves that current manager at Solaire, Mike Kim, has to step aside. This change of management could impact the WPT event that was initially scheduled for this summer, even if there does not appear to be any downside for the Poker King Club to host a prestigious poker tournament.
Manila the new Asian capital for poker
This could start to bring Manila to the foreground in terms of being the most important poker location in Asia. Both PokerStars and the Asian Poker Tour opened their poker rooms few month ago. After all, in Macau it's well known that table games are more popular than poker and Manila was already offering a much larger choice in terms of small stakes Cash Games and regulars tournaments.