Poker on the rise despite current gaming environment, says APPT president

Baccarat may be Macau’s most popular game, accounting for more than 90 percent of the region’s profits, but there are indications that poker has been on the rise in recent years, says Danny McDonagh, president of Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) in an interview with Macau Daily Times.

McDonagh said the surge in popularity in the region can be attributed to a combination of heightened awareness of poker in China, as well as Macau being a sensible central location for veteran poker players from other parts of the world.

“I feel that [poker] is in some ways a diversification from general gaming as it is a way to attract people from countries where poker is popular [and that have] traditionally only produced very small tourist numbers to Macau,” the APPT president was quoted by the Macau Daily Times.

At least two casinos added poker tables in the last year despite the decline in gross gaming revenue, McDonagh said, indicating that the game was relatively unaffected by the slump.

“While the number of poker tables remains very small in total in comparison to total table numbers, it is pleasing to see actual numbers have been on the increase these past 12 months”.

The Macau Millions Poker competition ended this week. It was largest ever event of its kind held in Macau, setting a new record with 2,343 players this year, compared to 1,804 players from two years ago.

“We run the biggest poker tournaments in Asia here in Macau,” McDonagh claimed, “however, we are in the early stages of putting on an event which will compete with some of the biggest events in the world and will attract many more players from Europe and the Americas to compete against our large Asia-Pacific following.”