The poker game has been a part of card games competitions for more than two hundred years already. Undoubtedly, poker has charmed the majority of the planet, starting from poker rooms on river boats and in bars on the Wild West in the past and up to modern card rooms with a huge amount of tables and luxurious casinos all over the world. Be it the USA, Europe or even Latin and South America, poker has become a super popular game of the 21st century. But even now there is a “new horizon”, which will be actively conquered in the forthcoming years, in order to move poker to the new stage of its popularity among dozens of millions of new players.
This “new horizon” is a continental Asia. One billion people lives in China, one more billion is the population of India, and one more billion is spread over the remaining part of the continent. Considering such an amount of potential poker players, this market is a “gold vein” for organizers of the game. Only recently this horizon started to be developed (with or without the assistance of local governments). The new horizon can become the last one for poker, meaning that it will completely conquer the whole world. Organizers of poker assure that by the end of 2007 many Asians understand perfectly well what is “blind”, “turn” and “river”.
For a long time on-line companies have been interested in the possibility of entering Asian markets (particularly, Chinese market), but governments of Asian countries prevent on-line or traditional gambling industry from full-scale development. The government of India, for example, does not actively support the idea of the gambling industry (though there are six casinos in this country). China, which will host international Olympic games-2008, the government gradually weakens the control over the Internet. This is very good news for the representatives of the gambling industry, who have already prepared to launch a large-scale acquaintance of Asia with poker.
Steve Wynn, the owner of hotels and casinos all over the world, is ready to bring his brilliant and glamorous style to the Asian market. “Wynn Macau”, the complex of casinos and hotels, was opened on September 5 in Macao. It familiarizes the Asian continent with the luxury of Las-Vegas. It includes hotels of 600 rooms and casinos, which undoubtedly offer gambling and poker games, just like the other Steve Wynn’s institutions do all over the world. The 20-storeyed hotel will be an exact copy of the hotel-casino “Wynn Las Vegas”. The company plans to arrange further spreading of table games throughout the continent.
TV has also brought poker tournaments onto the Asian market. The most popular world poker tournament (World Poker Tour or WPT) has recently granted a license to TV stations in Macao and Singapore for them to show the first season of WPT games to the Asian audience. But the continent is getting ready to organize its own outstanding poker tournaments. The organization entitled “PanAsia Poker Tour” has recently declared that the debut of this new championship will take place in November, and it is for the first time in history that the official championship will take place in Manila, Philippines.
The event called “PAPT Philippine Open” will take place on November 3-5 in “Airport Casino Filipino”. Its final tournament will incorporate free Texas holdem poker game with the prize fund of $2500. It is expected that the tournament, which got the official permission of Philippines State Corporation for Control over entertaining and gambling industry (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation or PAGCOR), will attract celebrities and professional poker players who would attempt to win the title of the tournament champion. There are plans to film this tournament to be shown in the future on Asian TV. This means that the spectators of the Asian continent want to watch games, which are played on their own land.
However, the poker tournament entitled “PanAsia” does not stop at arranging one event. Leaders of this organization have adopted plans to arrange in 2007 a tour across the continent with ten stops. The latter are planned in Macao, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines. If the tour appears to be successful, it will be able to attract millions of new poker players to the poker community.
India is also a part of Asia; the world outlook of Indians in many aspects reflects the peculiarities of Asian or even Eastern philosophy. Gambling games and casinos in the Indian society are usually condemned (though many Indians want to change this), while poker sites, which are not prohibited here, encounter difficulties in spreading deeper into the continent. It is interesting that some activities of the on-line poker companies take place particularly in India. For example, the company “PartyPoker” has a branch office there with 900 employees, the company pays taxes here, as well as in Gibraltar, where its headquarters are located. Nevertheless, India will be able to display its real interest to poker during the first tournament in the history of this country, which will take place in 2007.
Asian poker championship in India – Asian Poker Classic – with the guaranteed prize of one million dollars will take place on March 1-3, 2007, in a major resort Goa (Grand Resort Goa) in the hotel “Intercontinental”. It is expected that more than two hundred players will take part in the tournament. The admission fee being $7500, this competition is to attract some of the best poker players from all over the world and many celebrities. Its organizers hope that the poker site (and the tournament sponsor) “Maharajah Club” that has earned a reputation a long ago will help to attract many players to this competition.
Perhaps, the organizers themselves will give the best account of the tournament. This is what the tournament director and the respected director of the championship “European poker tournament” (European Poker Tour) Thomas Kremser said about the event. “Nothing similar has ever happened in India before. Undoubtedly, the tournament will be impressive. The striking beauty of the Goa resort, splendid hotels and absolutely unique character of this tournament will become its unsurpassed scenery. It will be the poker tournament of the year!”
Asian poker players have already inscribed their names into the history of the game. From Johnny Chan to Men “The Master” Nguyen and Can Kim Hua, Asian players made their contribution to the game, and today their impact is felt in any tournament. Upon arriving onto the Asian continent, poker will conquer the new and the last geographic horizon and give birth to a new generation of champions from Asia.