The Meister's Asia Trek

Casinomeister

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I thought I'd start this forum off with my Asia trek from this past February:

Macau is absolutely mind boggling. People call it the Las Vegas of the East, and this is no joke - it's growing hand over fist. There are already a number of large casinos, but there are construction sites that are birthing a number of others. But don't get me wrong here, even though it may seem a bit like Vegas, Chinese gambling and casinos are way different from their western counterparts.

We checked into the Wynn Hotel. That's right - the Wynn. The hotel is a near carbon copy of the Vegas version, at least entering the lobby it seemed to be so. And our room was exactly like my room in Vegas from last year. Huge room, huge flat TV screen, huge bathroom, but downstairs was a different story altogether.

Those of you who have been in the Wynn in Vegas should be familiar with the layout. You walk into the hotel and the casino is situated somewhat in the middle. It's encircled by restaurants, bars and hallways that lead off into malls, exhibition halls, restaurants and shows. It's immense. The Wynn in Macau is a horse of a different color though. There are few restaurants, and there is one bar (the Tryst). The casino is nowhere in sight. One must walk down a hallway and enter through a doorway guarded by security personnel waiving metal detectors. Purses and bags are searched.

Entering the casino is a wake-up call that screams "this ain't Vegas, baby!" No grannies churning out the slots. No whooping and hollerin' cowboys at the crap tables. No cocktail waitresses taking orders for your "free" drinks. This was a totally completely different environment.

The place was dominated by table games and Chinese men. These were serious games with serious faces where the men were intending to beat the house. The casino layout was different than in Vegas. There were huge pillars that lined the walkway, and these pillars rose up to a low ceiling. The room seemed brighter than the one in Vegas. I didn't notice any peculiar scent that Vegas casinos use - and the tables seemed intimidating. I had no intention on joining one.

Thirsty? There were bottles of water available, or one could choose tea. Yeah, let's party!

Ted and I mosied to the Slot Machines, and there were just a handful - none that I recognized. I watched Ted feed a machine 20 dollars which it sucked like a Hoover Vaacuum cleaning. This in full few of my wife who promptly laid down the law for me: no slots. And in retrospect, that was probably a good thing.

The Food Court in the casino consisted of a Starbucks - that was it. We were hungry. That was one of the primary reasons that I was visiting Macau, Hong Kong, and the Philippines - to eat.

We went out that night with several Playtech executives and other interesting folk, and sat down for a meal that was a combination of Portuguese and Chinese food. Macau belonged to Portugal until the 1960s. The food was brilliant, but the service a bit lazy. You almost had to beg for a beer or for more Sangria.

The Chinese aren't too much into partying - at least not on the surface. It doesn't seem to be integrated into their culture as a common trait - partiness. But maybe this is a good thing as well.

After dinner, Ted, my wife and I decided to check out some of the other casinos. We ventured to the StarWorld Casino which is huge. Again, the main casino floor was dominated by table games. This casino actually had entertainment, and man - what a difference from Vegas. There was a group of six women on stage, each wearing (what could be considered by a westerner) a traditional Chinese dress. In the center was the singer who had a "big hair" hair-do straight out of the early seventies. They danced a very conservative choreographed dance with turns and dips while the big haired singer (the main center of attraction) lip synched to some Chinese pop song. This was light years away from the girlie dancers/cocktail waitresses at the Rio in Vegas.

We meandered past the trays of bottled water and headed upstairs to the slots. Lo and behold, we found Gems, a game developed by LED Gaming and distributed by IGT (which you can play for free here). This is a Vegas favorite which we were really stunned to find. Unfortunately it was dominated by two women who were spinning one coin at a penny a spin. It took forever for them to vacate the machine - which proved its "Hooverness" within minutes.

We finally left to get rested up for the next day - which was to prove itself to be amazing.
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chuchu59

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The Venetian just opened yesterday. I will make a visit to Macau in a couple of weeks time and keep you guys posted of what this much-hyped place is all about.

Bryan, actually we Chinese do like partying as well but being a conservative race, we like to band together at banquets and the like to taste sumptuous food. And you are right, the level of service here is still sub-standard and we have a lot to learn from our western counterparts. Just look at the dealers at Casino Lisboa. They dont feel that the gamblers are their clients and if your bets are small, they simply despise you.
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
Joined
Jan 12, 2001
Location
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I'm due there in a couple of weeks as well - no way am I going any time the first two weeks of being open... maybe we can sit down together at the Lisboa and get glared at by the dealers :)

As for partiers - trust me, the Chinese party as well. But some of us prefer the banquet thing, while the younger ones typically go bar-hopping. But definitely agree about the food!
 

babs7262

Banned User
Joined
Oct 9, 2006
Location
PA
Singapore

is in the middle of building a massive casino about 15 minutes from my brother's house.

The Tropicana in AC caters to the Asian culture. They have people who fly there just to gamble. Rich and I go there every other Thanksgiving and we are definitely the minority. They have 3 asian cable tv channels and have alot of asian eateries, even in the baccarat section.

I am amazed of how they keep their composure while gaming. Very stoic looks and they shell out tons of money. I love it when we go at that time of year. The Trop can get crazy and it's really nice to have lots of classy people around you not yelling and screaming!

Another thing Ive noticed is they sure smoke alot! Im not profiling either, I smoke myself but they even have special tables that you can smoke at because they stopped smoking in sections (except the asian tables) Ill even take a pic when I go this weekend

Anyway, I just wish other cultures acted more like this when at a casino. Obviously not the smoking part, I mean the other stuff I mentioned lol
 

chuchu59

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Babs,

Do you have any idea which Asian countries they are from? Actually, it really depends on their country of origin. All Asian gamblers are composed? I think not. Just wait you see us at a Paigow Tiles table or 4 people playing mahjong. Then you will really know the ruff and tuff of gambling.
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
Joined
Jan 12, 2001
Location
Heaven
Babs,

Do you have any idea which Asian countries they are from? Actually, it really depends on their country of origin. All Asian gamblers are composed? I think not. Just wait you see us at a Paigow Tiles table or 4 people playing mahjong. Then you will really know the ruff and tuff of gambling.

Haha... entirely right - but in the US they behave completely differently in the casinos, maybe because the pitbosses try to keep them from making too much noise...
 

babs7262

Banned User
Joined
Oct 9, 2006
Location
PA
Hiya CHu

I know it sounded like I was generalizing but even the Paigow tables are very quiet, I go by them oftem to watch them play. To tell you the truth it makes me feel intimidated because they play with such high stakes. Even if it's a $10 table, they have the max bet. They are not messin around!!

The Trop, IMPO is the most catering to Asian Culture (which I think is very smart). We get people that fly in from Singapore, THailand and Japan for the most part. Like Spear said, maybe since they are in our country, they are respectable because there is hardly any noise. Also Vietnamese(sp) (my nephew is Vietnamese and he explained a little why they tend to be conservative

I hope you dont think this is a negative thing that Im writing. Honestly, Ive never seen such a more respectful, well dressed, quiet not gawdy and loud culture in my life! Im sure when they are comfortable at home they are louder. If I were in another country, I would be more quiet

As a matter of fact there was ONE TIME when there was upset.....I happen to be in the Trop during the 3 day gaming ban and there were people from Singapore (an 18 hour plus flight) and Thailand in just to gamble. Imagine flying all of that way to gamble and there's a ban? THere was obvious upset but that was it.

We dont have mah jongg tables to gamble. My mom played that every Monday with her little yenta friends and yes, that is a loud game! I wonder why Jewish people love MahJongg so much? anyone know how that started? I thought the good old days years ago Bridge was the big game but we never played that. It was either pinnochle(sp) or mahjongg

Im gonna take even more notice this weekend and get back to this thread when I come back. LMAO...maybe ill take my camera and do interviews on why Asians are more conservative in America :)
 

tennis_balls

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Haha... entirely right - but in the US they behave completely differently in the casinos

perhaps they "behave" in Vegas. I've observed the Pai Gow Poker tables at a few San Francisco area card rooms. Late at night these places can be pretty nuts. It looks like an asian riot could break out at any given moment.(whitey tread lightly!) And that's just cards. I'm sure things get even harrier if you add the element of tiles. (they don't offer the tile game locally)
 

babs7262

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Vegas....

is Vegas though!!! everything is crazy and fun there. I would love to see some hubub at the, maybe Ill instigate LMAO. The craps is really the only loud loud game at that place with the occassional drunk late crowd at 5 card or boston poker, but they get yelled at or kicked out if they get too loud


TB...I know how to do what your doing on other sites but how do you do that here, I dont see color options?
 

Simmo!

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Joined
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England
The Venetian just opened yesterday. I will make a visit to Macau in a couple of weeks time and keep you guys posted of what this much-hyped place is all about.

Please do Chuchu - i am staying there in November - looks amazing -
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TB...I know how to do what your doing on other sites but how do you do that here, I dont see color options?

Click on the big A in the posting toolbar
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
Joined
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perhaps they "behave" in Vegas. I've observed the Pai Gow Poker tables at a few San Francisco area card rooms. Late at night these places can be pretty nuts. It looks like an asian riot could break out at any given moment.(whitey tread lightly!) And that's just cards. I'm sure things get even harrier if you add the element of tiles. (they don't offer the tile game locally)

The card rooms are different - there the clientele (aside from the poker tables) is overwhelmingly Asian and for sure the pitbosses there aren't going to chase their clients away. I've played in many of the SoCal rooms and noise was just something to be expected - and enjoyed, particularly if you're holding the broom (a nine-point total in Super Nine) and you're also the banker.

BTW, TB, those color tricks are useless if you get quoted ;)
 

chuchu59

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I know it sounded like I was generalizing but even the Paigow tables are very quiet, I go by them oftem to watch them play. To tell you the truth it makes me feel intimidated because they play with such high stakes. Even if it's a $10 table, they have the max bet. They are not messin around!!

The Trop, IMPO is the most catering to Asian Culture (which I think is very smart). We get people that fly in from Singapore, THailand and Japan for the most part. Like Spear said, maybe since they are in our country, they are respectable because there is hardly any noise. Also Vietnamese(sp) (my nephew is Vietnamese and he explained a little why they tend to be conservative

I hope you dont think this is a negative thing that Im writing. Honestly, Ive never seen such a more respectful, well dressed, quiet not gawdy and loud culture in my life! Im sure when they are comfortable at home they are louder. If I were in another country, I would be more quiet

As a matter of fact there was ONE TIME when there was upset.....I happen to be in the Trop during the 3 day gaming ban and there were people from Singapore (an 18 hour plus flight) and Thailand in just to gamble. Imagine flying all of that way to gamble and there's a ban? THere was obvious upset but that was it.

We dont have mah jongg tables to gamble. My mom played that every Monday with her little yenta friends and yes, that is a loud game! I wonder why Jewish people love MahJongg so much? anyone know how that started? I thought the good old days years ago Bridge was the big game but we never played that. It was either pinnochle(sp) or mahjongg

Im gonna take even more notice this weekend and get back to this thread when I come back. LMAO...maybe ill take my camera and do interviews on why Asians are more conservative in America :)

Oh, dont get me wrong. Of course its not a negative thing Babs. These guys are really wild and bet big. Ever see a person betting HK$1M (USD$126,000) in baccarat on a single hand without blinking an eyelid and then losing six hands in succession. Sometimes, I feel a bit chilly seeing these amounts being wagered. One of the problems is that we dont have a proper work/life balance and the pressure of work is just too great. Many work 18 hours daily and when they are unleashed they just dont care about what they are doing and may regret after squandering a large amount at the casinos. In America, you have abrbecues during weekends and a host of other things to do. In Hong Kong, for example, we either go to the karaoke or horse-racing. Now watching football(soccer) is the trend. The big swings in the local stock market isnt helping things either. You are a millionaire one day and bankrupt the next day. Although we do have a social welfare safety net, many are unwilling to use it when facing financial difficulties or being unemployed. These all add up to a raging gambling culture with extremely high stakes.
 

babs7262

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I must be an idiot

I cant find the "A" anywhere, oh well, not the end of the world!

I looked everywhere
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
Joined
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Location
Heaven
To put things in perspective:

* At the weekend, it is extremely difficult to get a ticket on a ferry to Macau - the normal wait is about 2 hours (ferries/jetfoils depart every 15 minutes). And coming back is even worse - many people miss their scheduled departure, or else lose their bankroll quickly - then have to wait in a standby queue for hours hoping to get an empty seat.

* The lowest minimum bet for baccarat or blackjack I have ever seen in a Macau casino recently was HK$300 - roughly US$40 - and that was in what must now be considered a second-class casino (the original Lisboa). By comparison, even the Wynn, Venetian, Bellagio have $5 tables somewhere. Monte Carlo is probably the next closest with a minimum bet of 25 Euro. On top of that, the people stand 3-4 deep at every table fighting to get a bet on someone else's spot.

* In Hong Kong, people walk twice as fast than most other cities, with the possible exception of Tokyo and New York. There is no such thing as a leisurely stroll in HK unless you are retired (and you don't retire because of age or mandatory retirement - you retire because you can't keep up with the pace).

* Horse racing - the wagering on a single horse race in HK is more than any other track in the US takes in a single day, even Breeder's Cup day. On Wednesday nights, and Saturday or Sunday of each week, probably 80% of all TVs in Hong Kong (if not more) are tuned into the races.

* BBQs are for youths and kids. Mom's usually playing mahjong somewhere, dad's either working, or karaoke, or casino, or horse racing, or bar, or massage parlor.

Put it this way. Life in Hong Kong is lived at a very frenetic pace. Whoever coined the phrase "work hard, play hard" was referring to Hong Kong people.
 

babs7262

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My brother says the same thing about HK...he said it's crazy there, not head crazy, pace crazy! He prefers Shanghi
 

bakonlin

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Singapore

Is there really a casino in singapore or it just the name of the casino?can you inform the address?thanks

is in the middle of building a massive casino about 15 minutes from my brother's house.

The Tropicana in AC caters to the Asian culture. They have people who fly there just to gamble. Rich and I go there every other Thanksgiving and we are definitely the minority. They have 3 asian cable tv channels and have alot of asian eateries, even in the baccarat section.

I am amazed of how they keep their composure while gaming. Very stoic looks and they shell out tons of money. I love it when we go at that time of year. The Trop can get crazy and it's really nice to have lots of classy people around you not yelling and screaming!

Another thing Ive noticed is they sure smoke alot! Im not profiling either, I smoke myself but they even have special tables that you can smoke at because they stopped smoking in sections (except the asian tables) Ill even take a pic when I go this weekend

Anyway, I just wish other cultures acted more like this when at a casino. Obviously not the smoking part, I mean the other stuff I mentioned lol
 

spearmaster

RIP Ted
Joined
Jan 12, 2001
Location
Heaven
This casino is not in Singapore, it is in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The casinos in Singapore aren't expected to open until next year at the earliest, but more likely 2010.
 
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