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Inaugural Beijing Millions to Take Place in China in July

Chinese flagThe Asia Pacific Poker Tour is set to descend on the capital of the People’s Republic of China in July when the inaugural Beijing Millions takes place at the Beijing Star Poker Club between July 18 and July 27.

Poker is Asia is booming, you only have to look at the continued growth of the PokerStars sponsored Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) and major must-play events such as APPT Macau, Macau millions and MPC Red Dragon to see the evidence for yourself. The most recent Macau Millions alone featured a main event that had 1,804 entrants and around 35% of that huge field listed China as their country of residence.

Danny McDonagh, a former pit boss at Crown Casino in Melbourne who is now the President of the APPT, is yet to confirm the full schedule of the Beijing Millions main event, but has hinted that it will be played to a similar format to the increasingly popular Macau Millions, which is slightly different to the majority of live multi-table tournaments hosted around the world.

The industry standard is to play a set number of timed levels on each starting flight, but the Macau Millions bucks this trend and instead sees its Day 1s play until only 7% of the field remains, regardless of how long it takes to do so.

Once the starting flights are completed, the surviving players progress to the official Day 2 where they are all guaranteed some prize money to show for their efforts. Players can play as many Day 1s as they wish, but can only take their largest stack through to the second day’s play and usually receive a cash bonus if they manage to progress to Day 2 on more than one occasion.

The provisional schedule shows that the Beijing Millions main event features six Day 1s, each costing ¥3,000 to buy into, which is approximately US$500.

Also pencilled in are a knockout bounty event, a ¥10,000 Heads Up event (capped at 16 players), a ¥10,000 Turbo heads Up event (also capped at 16 players), a ¥3,000 teams event, a ¥20,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament and an invite-only event named the China, Taiwan, Hong Kong & Macau Challenge.

APPT Logo

Although the Beijing Millions is the first time the APPT heads to mainland China, it is not the first major tour to set sail there.

In 2012, the World Poker Tour (WPT) held one of its National events in Sanya. The US$1,500 buy-in event took place in December and attracted 550 players, creating a prize pool of $701,055. China’s Zhenghua Lei was the tournament’s champion, taking home $192,290 with British professional poker player Sam Razavi (3rd for $48,073) and the US-born star McLean Karr (12th for $9,615) being the biggest names who reached the money places.

The WPT National tour returned to China in 2013 and is set to host a $1,760 main event at the MGM Grand Sanya between October 28 and November 3, 2014.

One cannot fault PokerStars or the APPT for tapping into the Chinese market, after all the country has more than 1.35 billion residents and that is a lot of potential customers to attract to their product. However, the People’s Republic of China is, by its very nature, a secretive country and one that does not allow full freedom of speech, one that has strict internet filters in place and one that did not allow live reporting, photographs or video to be shot inside the casinos when the WPT was there. Instead, reports took place outside of the casino and even those were brief. Try and find the results of the WPT National Sanya festival from 2013 and you will draw a complete blank.

It will be interesting to see how PokerStars and the APPT first promote and publicize this brand new event.

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