Posts Tagged ‘China’

Gambling in Macau

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Stanley HoMacau is an interesting mix of Portuguese and Chinese culture. It is a good example of how history is ever present, as Macau is one of the reminiscences of 16th Century history when Europe and China clashed. Even more interestingly many hundreds of years later it became the Asian capital of gambling, and three recent news highlight this fact.

First it was reported that some of the top poker players in the world congregated in Macau to play against wealthy businessmen in million dollar duels. Prominent members of Full Tilt Poker such as Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan as well as Titan Poker Sam Trickett made the trip in pre-organized games. Tom in particular is rumored to have won over 6 million dollars in one particular match.

As Full Tilt was closed for a long time, Titan Poker meanwhile remained the home of Sam Trickett since 2010. Note that the Titan Poker bonus for new players is one of the largest in the industry, register and you can see these pros playing online poker and learn from them. The story is that Las Vegas used to be the place where the highest stakes ring games were played daily, but now it is said that these games are drying up. But the action is moving to the East and with the economic rise of China, successful and wealthy Chinese businessmen are keen on challenging the best players in their home turf at high rollers casinos in Macau.

The second piece of news goes in the same vein as it was reported that the profits from gambling in Macau are skyrocketing while Las Vegas is still in a deep recession. By some measures the profits of Macau would be currently a few times the profits of all casinos in Las Vegas. Here again this shows how the tide is moving to Asia in many aspects of wealth creation and spending. The nouveau rich from China are big spenders and big gamblers and as casino gambling is illegal in Mainland China and Hong Kong, they come to Macau in droves, as well as other Asians.

Finally the third relevant news that came out in the past few weeks is about Stanley Ho, who is the tycoon controlling the casino monopoly in Macau (shown in the picture). He is in the middle of some legal battles against two of his four wives and ex-wives with regard to his inheritance and how it will be split among his 17 children. At 91 years old, he remains the leading and most recognized figure of Macau, but his relatives are not waiting for his death to start already trying to get a share of his many billions.

Stanley Ho is certainly one of the savviest businessmen from Asia, as he managed to obtain the gambling monopoly from the Macau Government in 1961 and still owns it to this day.

Hong Kong, dear Hong Kong

Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Hong KongHong Kong

If you want to travel somewhere and if you want to visit a City, Hong Kong is one of the best choices you could ever make.

Hong Kong is unlike most Cities. Very few other cities come to mind when seeking an extraordinary place with a wide variety within it, and Rio de Janeiros could be compared to Hong Kong in this respect, but there are very few other candidates.

On Hong Kong Island, there are sand beaches, hicking trails among the luxuriant tropical forest around the “Peak”, skyscapers coming out along the cliffs, large preserved unbuilt areas, breathtaking views from the highest points, unlimited supply of the richest Chinese food in the World, the highest proportion of Roll Royces per inhabitants on earth, etc.

Unlike most big metropolis like Tokyo for instance, the land is not 100% invaded by concrete, and the natural beauty of this tropical paradise is preserved on about half of the entire surface of the Island.  So it is possible to start walking from “Central”, which is one of the business districts, and to find yourself alone in the forest in less than 15 minutes.

If you like the city aspect itself, there are choices for all tastes: luxurious shops Asian and Western, immense shopping malls on ten floors offering every known brand, local tiny shops where you can find Chinese medicine, various potteries and art pieces.

Hong Kong itself is made of Hong Kong Island which is the second largest island (after the wild Lantau Island), plus numerous smaller islands, and Kowloon & the New Territories. The most beautiful side is all these islands. You can take various boats and ferries and visit them, eat local sea food and enjoy a moment of peace in a slower paced environment. It does not feel like a big town at all over there.

Another advantage of going to Hong Kong is that it is probably the best hub to visit South-East Asia. Neighboring countries such as Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia,…, are all only a few hours away by plane, and will welcome you with open arms.