PokerStars is fast becoming more than just the world’s largest online poker room as it has expanded its live gaming operations, by opening a second true-to-life poker room in another Crown-Melco operated City of Dreams, but this time in Manila. Last December 14, 2014, the PokerStars Live Manila poker room opened its doors and held an inaugural Macau Poker Cup 22 (MPC22) freeroll tournament as part of the soft launch of the City of Dreams Manila, the newest destination resort and casino venue in the Philippines.
The inaugural freeroll tournament awarded a prize package comprising a free seat to the HK$5 Million GTD Red Dragon MPC22 Main Event, travelling expenses, and hotel accommodation. The MPC22 festival is slated to take place from February 27 to March 15, 2015 in the City of Dreams Macau, in the first PokerStars Live venue inaugurated in Feb. 2013.
Located at the 2nd Level of City of Dreams Manila Casino, the PokerStars Live Manila poker room will operate 24/7 under the regulatory supervision of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Participation requires players to be of legal age, which under Philippine laws starts at 21 years.
According to the PokerStars Live Manila website, the live poker room is currently offering eight (8) cash game tables with a wide range of game limits, in order to accommodate all types of poker players. The Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Texas Hold’em are available at stakes of PHP 25/PHP 50 to PHP 100/PHP 200, which are roughly equivalent to $0.50/$1.00 to $2.00/$4.00.
The City of Dreams PokerStars Manila live poker room will play host to some of the biggest local poker tournaments, including the 5-day Megastack Manila festival from January 14 to 18, 2015, with PHP 25K Buy-in Main Event and PHP1 Million GTD. It is a six-event tournament with a starting stack of 30,000 chips, and to which events 4 and 5 are for Official Asia Player of the Year (APOY) participants as determined by the APOY leaderboard for the best PokerStars Asian Circuit players Buy-ins for the Megastack Manila qualifying events are PHP 700 and PHP1,200.
Another tournament lined up as major event is the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Manila festival, however except for the July 31 to August 09, 2015 schedule and the Main Event buy-in fee of PHP100K, no other details for the APPT tournament are currently available at the PokerStars Live Manila website. The PokerStars Manila Live room is also available for private group tournaments, for regional tournament promoters and for holding corporate events, which PokerStars extends as special tournament package offerings.
Still, all events are subject to regulatory approval and must be conducted in accordance with the General Rules and Terms of PokerStars Live Manila. Such rules include the use of English or Tagalog (Filipino) as official tournament language, except for the APPT events in which only the English language will be allowed. The PokerStars Live Manila website also gives information that “Guarantees” are not applicable during typhoon occurrences.
PokerStars’ Director of Live Operations for Asia-Pacific Danny McDonagh commented that their relationship with Melco-Crown’s City of Dreams for their live poker room in Macau “has been nothing short of amazing.” He is confident that their continuing collaboration with the City of Dreams Casino operator will elevate poker to new heights in the Philippines.