The 24th edition of Macau Poker Cup is starting today, 19th February for a 17-day poker fiesta at PokerStars LIVE, Macau. The series brings 19 Official Asia Player of the Year (APOY) events and features the legendary Red Dragon Main Event – a HK$12,000 buy-in tournament which comes with a massive HK$8,000,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Aditya Agarwal, Kunal Patni, Dhaval Mudgal, Rajeev Raut and other Indian players will join the MPC action in coming week while Pranay Kapoor and Kartik Ved have reached Macau. Meanwhile, OPN spoke to Danny McDonagh, Director of LIVE Poker, Asia Pacific to know about the preparations for the big series and expectations of the turn-out. He also shares his take on the growing Indian appearance at the poker felt in Macau.
Q1. Hi Danny, thanks for your conversation with OPN. MPC has been one of the most prestigious and long-running tournaments in the Asian circuit. How much of preparation and staffs do you need to organize this event?
Danny – Over the course of 24 MPC’s it has grown from a three day championship to seventeen days so certainly it takes a lot more organization nowadays. PokerStars LIVE Macau has six permanent staffs that are involved in pre-planning. During the event we have over 50 tournament dealers, 4 Assistant Tournament Directors and 3 registration staffs that we provide, while the City of Dreams Macau provides all poker cash game staff, security and food and beverage staff. MPC24 will have a record 40 poker tournament tables in operation.
After each MPC we review all the events and attempt to improve the schedule for the next one.
Q2. How much participation are you expecting this season? Will Red Dragon Main Event cross 1,000 mark?
Danny – MPC23 last September set an overall participation record of 4,429 for the 19 cash tournaments and also a new championship prizepool record of HKD$29,449,018. The record for the Red Dragon stands at 995 back at MPC20 when the entry cost was HKD$11,000. MPC22 last March set a new prizepool record when 987 players paid HKD$12,000. We are a very good chance to cross the 1,000 mark for MPC24 event after going so close on two previous occasions!
Q3. What all cash games will be running during MPC24?
Danny – The live cash games generally spread 25/50, 50/100 and 100/200 No Limit Holdem during the MPC. Pot Limit Omaha and also 10/20 No Limit Holdem is available on PokerPro. Some of the games go 24 hours and they become particularly ‘juicy’ at times during our special events!
Q4. Over the years, Indian participation in MPC as well as other tournaments in Macau has grown. How do you see India as a poker nation?
Danny – Indian participation has definitely grown here in Macau especially at Macau Poker Cup events. Texas Holdem is definitely gaining in popularity in India and Team PokerStars Pro Aditya Agarwal is a great role model for the country and his deep run last year at the WSOP I am sure helped boost interest. I very much enjoy the enthusiasm of the Indian poker players and well remember the deep run of Samoh in the MPC a couple of years ago with a huge Indian rail. All it needs is for an Indian player to win a major world event and I am sure interest in the game will broaden even further.