The largest online poker operation in the world, Poker Stars.com is applying its years of gaming and tournament expertise in a new direction this week, announcing that it is managing a land poker room in the world's biggest gambling centre – the island of Macau off the coast of China.
 
Poker Stars has teamed up with the Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino in Cotai to operate its poker room, which has a capacity of 250 players and will offer cash games as well as a full tournament calendar.
 
The new poker room launches this week with a No-Limit Texas Hold'em Charity Poker Tournament to raise money PokerStarsfor the victims of the recent earthquake in Western China, the Isle of Man-based Poker Stars informed media reporters. Participants will compete for $150 000 HKD in prizes, including entries to the $25 000 HKD buy-in APPT Macau in September 2008 , after making a charitable donation to participate. The suggested minimum donation is $2 000 HKD.
 
"PokerStars is committed to the development of poker in Asia" said Joe Hachem, Poker World Champion and member of Team PokerStars Pro.
 
"Although Macau has overtaken Las Vegas as the gaming capital of the world, it was only with the incredible success of the Asia Pacific Poker tour last November that Texas Hold'em poker started growing there. PokerStars planted the seeds and now this beautiful Poker room is going to be the garden where future champions learn to play. I wouldn't be surprised if the next World Champion comes from Macau or elsewhere in China."
 
Gary Woollard, General Manager of Grand Waldo Casino commented: "The arrival of poker as a gaming option in Macau's casinos will encourage more people to come and enjoy all Macau has to offer. We are delighted to have a company with the reputation of PokerStars to manage what is sure to be a very successful and popular poker room."
 
Poker Stars is wasting no time in revving up the poker action on the gambling island. The charity event will be the first in the "Macau Poker Cup" – a series of poker tournaments scheduled during the May 23-25 weekend, including a $1 000 HKD buy-in Deep-Stack event, the $10 000 buy-in Red Dragon event and the first of many satellites to the Asia Pacific Poker Tour's second season's events.
 
Full details are available at Poker Stars Macau.com.
 
The full schedule for the Asia Pacific Poker Tour's second season will be announced shortly, but will kick-off at Grand Waldo Casino with the September 1-6 APPT Macao Main Event, a $25 000 HKD buy-in No-Limit Hold'em poker tournament with a guarantee of $10 million HKD.
 
The Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino is one of Macau's newest five-star hotel resorts and gives poker players, their friends and family, an opportunity to explore one of Asia's most fascinating locations. With its wealth of Chinese temples, Portuguese monuments and beautiful gardens, Macau's historic centre has been designated a World Heritage site.
 
Jeffrey Haas, President of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, said: "After the success of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour last November, a tremendous poker boom has resulted in Hong Kong and Macau – but it's just starting. The significance of the PokerStars Macau poker room on Asia will likely parallel the effect that Chris Moneymaker had on the USA when he won the 2003 WSOP."