The Poker Reporter Blog
Traveling Around the Globe Part 3Created By: Steve Wong
Last time, I was on the verge of leaving Australia to head to Macau via Hong Kong.
As I mentioned, I always book flexible return tickets so I was able to leave Australia ASAP once I busted out of the Aussie Millions (disappointing myself, all of you out there and my loyal sponsor, 888.com).
I wanted to make the best possible use of my time, so I decided there was no point wandering around the casino in Melbourne. Instead I planned to see more of Hong Kong and Macau.
I arrived early the next morning in Hong Kong and had to wait a couple of hours before the ferry took off to Macau. As you can see, the ferries are pretty modern.
If ever you go to Macau, I certainly recommend booking "superclass." A single ticket is around $40. Personally I don't fly business class or anything because I think the tickets are heavily overpriced, but for this relatively small amount of money I decided to just give it a try and travel "high-class."
The ferry trip to Macau takes about 50 minutes on the "turbo hydrojets," as they call the red ferries there. I stayed in the Star World hotel and casino. (Interesting factoid: although the hotel has just been finished, it's scheduled to be demolished in 2011, because there were rumors about bribery during the construction process and the owners are not 100% happy with the materials used.)
After I arrived at the hotel, I crashed for a little nap. My friends booked this hotel for me, because at Star World they have four PokerPro tables (fully automated poker tables). These tables had a 5% rake capped at $100 HKD ($12.80 USD) but they raked anyway, so flop or no flop, they don't really care.
When playing $25/$50 you can imagine that at the end of the night there's only one winner: the house.
I met John Hoang there, who was waiting at one of the tables for some action. I joined him, and soon other players joined as well. We had lots of fun. These tables could really become the future, but first they have to change the rake, because in the current situation nobody but the house wins.
For 50 years Stanley Ho basically owned the monopoly on casinos in Macau. One of his first casinos was the Lisboa. Since 1999, though, when the Republic of China reassumed control of Hong Kong, this casino's been little more than a faded reminder of past glories.
Nowadays multinationals like the Venetian and the Wynn have permeated the market, so the casinos in Macau are bigger, better and more luxurious.
These companies have made a tremendous effort to build copies of some Vegas hotels: The Wynn and the Venetian are basically replicated 1:1
The next day I went down to the Venetian. I was astonished by the number of table games: 700+, which is more than any Las Vegas casino.
Nonetheless, I decided I had seen more than enough casinos for a while, so I figured it was time to explore more of China. I went to Zhu Hai, which is very close to Macau, but you need to apply for a visa anyway. Fortunately I was able to lay my hands on a three-day visa.
Once I arrived there I went to my hotel: the Grand Bay View. This hotel was very nice. Just take a look at the toilet. I spent another few days in China, mostly occupying myself with buying useless stuff that will probably fall apart within a week or so.
But at least I didn't pay much for it. Let's say it was a calculated risk :-).
So much for the ninth leg of my trip that led me through Newcastle-Galway-Newcastle-Amsterdam-Hong Kong-Melbourne-Hong Kong-Macau-Zhu Hai-Macau-Hong Kong-Amsterdam-Vegas. Needless to say I accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to fly around the world a couple of times :-).
Take care for now...
-- Steve Wong (Steve@888.com)
- The Poker Reporter Blog
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