Posts Tagged ‘Macau high stakes poker’

Jorn Walthaus says Macau Poker Games not so Great

Monday, November 17th, 2014

jorn-walthaus-macau-high-stakesIt used to be that Bobby’s Room (Las Vegas Bellagio) was THE premier place for high stakes poker. But that largely changed a few years ago, when top-notch grinders like John Juanda, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan and others began mixing it up with billionaire fish in Macau. According to Dutch high stakes player Jorn Walthaus, though, the Macau poker games aren’t nearly as lucrative these days.

Walthaus describes a situation where a smoking ban and too many pros have driven away some of the recreational players. “The biggest difference between the games when I came here and now is I think…there are less recreational players,” he told PokerNews. “I was here when the smoking ban came, so no more smoking at the tables. And I think that really hurt the games. What happened is that a lot of professional players came here, and so there were more professional players at the table compared to recreational players.”

After spending eight months living and grinding from 10:00am to 4:00am every day, Walthaus made the decision to leave this gambling capital. His two reasons were A) the games got worse, and B) he can make more money playing online poker.

The Dutchman spent his time at the $300/$600 and $1k/$2k tables, and he says there were plenty of rec players at the table. However, he believes that the scene has largely shifted to pro vs. pro in recent times.

Given that Walthaus had trouble “getting satisfaction” from the Macau routine when he was winning, tougher games convinced him that his time would be better spent elsewhere. You can see everything that he had to say on the matter below:

Tom Hall dishes Secrets on Macau High Stakes Poker

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The Macau high stakes poker scene: every poker player wants in, only a few are accepted.

This being the case, poker pros who are lucky enough to play with the Asian whales keep pretty quiet about what goes on in these games. Luckily, we get a small glimpse inside of this world of multi-million dollar pots and unfathomable wealth every now and then. And Macau mainstay Tom Hall recently shared a few secrets of what goes on in these massive poker games.

Known as “Hong Kong Tom,” Hall did an interview with PokerNews that discussed some very interesting topics, including how many players get in on the action, what’s the most won and lost in a session, and if the Macau high stakes action has reached a plateau. That said, let’s take a look at a few of the more interesting questions and answers from Hall’s interview.

PokerNews: If you had to guesstimate, how many players rotate in and out of the Big Game?

Tom Hall: I would guess since we started there has been somewhere between 100-150 players that have played at one point in the game. There is a core of 10-20 that play regularly at some point every month and three to four that play pretty much all the time they are in Macau. The lineup changes all the time, though usually the pros rotate with some frequency and locals – usually junket operators in Macau who hear about the game and like to gamble – frequently pop up for a few sessions.

PN: What is the networking process like? We assume it’s not easy to get into the game.

TH: It all depends. If there are some brand new local players chancing their arm – guys that are very new to the game and relatively inexperienced – there can be a crazy waiting list even amongst the “regulars,” whereas at other times if the core regular group are away on business or playing a high roller tourney somewhere else in the world, pretty much anybody is allowed as the remaining guys just want to play. It is a quasi-private game, so you shouldn’t turn up and expect to be allowed to play, particularly as a pro. Pros are usually introduced through a pro that has played before or through Winfred Yu who organizes the games. Visiting businessmen are usually always accommodated!

PN: What’s the most anyone has ever won in a sessions in the Big Game? What’s the most someone has lost?

TH: I would say approximately the same, around HK$100 million (~USD$12.8 million) won/lost in a single session, bearing in mind these sessions can run 30-40 hours regularly with perhaps a mini food break or quick nap or break to watch a soccer game. What I will say is that without a doubt the single biggest winner in live table poker of all time is one of the big game players who plays the Macau game regularly and some of the other big private games around the Region. This is not one of the established pros but any of the pros that play regularly will know whom it is. Not going to get into quantum or specifics but the Macau game formed the base for some pretty phenomenal winnings (and obviously losses). All of the local regulars usually play their own funds whereas most of the pros are either staked or pieced out to a certain degree. This is probably pretty smart taking into consideration the size of the games and the swings.

Phil Ivey talks Macau Games, Strategy, $200k Golf Bet

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Throughout his career, Phil Ivey has remained one of the quieter and more private poker stars. But ever since he began the process of transforming IveyPoker into a full-fledged training site, he’s been a lot more active in the social media world. Ivey also did a rare interview with PokerCast recently, where he discussed a number of very interesting topics.

Not surprisingly, the interview began with some discussion about Ivey’s victory in the Aussie Millions $250k last month. The 38-year-old said that his win was actually “smooth sailing” because he had played with most of the final table in the past. Ivey added that he doesn’t really like rebuying in these types of events, which is good, given that he only needed one $250k buy-in to take down the AU$4 million top prize.

Another topic that Ivey talked about was how there’s not many good poker games for him in Vegas anymore. Instead, Ivey said that he has to go to London or Macau to find games that are worth his time. He specifically addressed the Macau high stakes action by saying that they’ve “gotten a lot tougher” because the businessmen have improved.

The PokerCast crew also asked Ivey about why he opened a training site. To this question, the 9-time WSOP champion said that you don’t have to be “analytical” just to teach poker. Ivey added that he plans on doing videos for every game and every limit, where he talks about his thought process on a lot of hands.

One more interesting subject that Ivey hit upon was a golf prop bet that he made with Joe Cassidy in Aruba. Ivey put $1k against Cassidy’s $200k that he wouldn’t make a fairly long shot. The poker legend said that he “thought he was just giving Cassidy $1,000.” But the ball went in the hole and Ivey couldn’t believe it.

If you’d like to hear more about this story and others from Ivey, make sure to check out his interview.