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Sands China is holding Macao’s first poker tournament in six years 

The four-day competition could signal a resumption of large scale poker tournaments in the city, with the World Poker Tour expressing interest in returning to Macao.

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PUBLISHED

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Less than 1 minute Minutes

After a six-year hiatus, competitive poker has returned to Macao in the form of the Macao Masters poker tournament, organised by Sands China at the Venetian until 14 March, according to multiple media outlets.

The application fee for the competition, which reportedly has a minimum prize pool of HK$288,888 (US$37,000), was HK$3,000 (US$384), with no limits on players reregistering during the first stage of the competition. After the first three days of the tournament, the top 30 highest ranking players will enter the last day of the event. 

According to specialist publication Inside Asia Gaming (IAG),  the Macao Masters is the first official competitive poker event to be organised locally since 2018’s Macau Millions, which was held in City of Dreams and saw 2,499 players competing. Casinos in the SAR stopped hosting such events amid China’s crackdown on online poker that year. 

[See more: The World Poker Tour is ‘very eager’ to return to Macao]

Sands China’s Senior Vice President of Casino Operations, Andy Kobel, who spoke with IAG, said that the tournament was a way “to continue to grow the market, while simultaneously enhancing the experience for our customer base.” He also noted that the casino operator was on the lookout for “new opportunities” and that “tournaments of different scale and frequency are certainly some of those opportunities.” 

Poker players who spoke to local media noted that the approval of the tournament by Macao’s gaming watchdog was “good news,” but the event itself would not appeal to professional players as the competition system and structure differed from standard competitions. 

Earlier this year, the World Poker Tour (WPT) indicated that it was hoping to return to the Macao market, although its CEO Adam Pliska admitted to IAG that “structural issues” in the city are proving to be a barrier.

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