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Drambuie_Man is heading to Macau and has offered to take questions in advance for those of us that haven't been or can't get to the other side of the world on a regular basis. I'm lucky to have several folks in the area that have been very generous with their time and this is another example of that.

His comments are after the jump and feel free to litter the comments with requests. Also, if you are in Macau or nearby and want to hang out, email me at and I'll make mutual contact.

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One great thing about living in LA, when I was there, was the simple fact it was only a few hours from Las Vegas. I knew in 6 hours I could have bones in my hand and a buffet in my belly, or if I was really desperate 5 hours to seven-out at Whiskey Pete’s. Alas, I moved to Seoul, Korea. A place known as a local diplomat said succinctly, “Great, if you can leave every few months.”

To make a long story short, I have really been craving a Vegas experience for a while now, but cannot find the time to fly halfway around the world. The transformation of Macau has been interesting, and with the opening of the Wynn decided to do a quick side trip a few months ago (find the trip report somewhere on this site). No craps, but enough fun to feed and satisfy the crave.

A few factors have come together, and I deicide it would be a good time to try a quick Macau trip on par with my past quick Vegas trips. Many of you know the drill, a red-eye or two to Vegas, a hotel for Saturday, and a whole lot of hedonism. I figure this would be another test to see how well Macau mimics its Nevada role model.

Based on a few comments I think a few of you readers are in the Pearl River delta region, so I write this partly for you. I would like to link up to compare notes on this little hobby, and perhaps share some insight. I would appreciate even the simplest of tips since most of the detailed promotion for Macau has been in Chinese from what I can find.

Meanwhile, I should add that in my quest for a quick get away, player services at the Wynn have been surprisingly disappointing. Also Macau really needs to work on hotel rooms. Perhaps it’s a temporal supply and demand situation, more casino space than rooms and not enough competition.


Read archived comments (15 so far)
March 7, 2007 7:21 PM Posted by BrianFey

I don't have many questions, but I would love to see photo updates, of progress on the new hotels under construction, and current expansions of places like Wynn. New photos of Vegas projects are posted almost weekly both on this site as well as others, but finding current photos taken in Macau of these projects can be difficult.

March 7, 2007 8:09 PM Posted by DavidF


You mean you cannot take a quick weekend trip to the Casino Pyongyang ? ;-) Joking apart it must say something that is your nearest Legit Casino, although what I don't quite know...

Have a Great time in Macau is all I would ask, but if you want something... see what feeling you can get from "Locals" and "Regulars" about their feelings on the Cotai Strip

March 7, 2007 9:39 PM Posted by Drambuie Man

David> Since you asked, yes Korea does have casinos. They have around 10. They are mainly located in tourist locales since you need to be a foreigner to actualy visit one.

However there is one open to everyone, Kwangwon Land, located in a once depressed mining area. The politico's legalized gambling there because the decline in coal mining in the area. However its out of the way and what is there is no diffrent from the convient foreigner versions.

While they all do attract a good deal of Chinese and Japanese tourists, they are pretty uninspiring. For a US comparison I would rate it with indian casinos and such. The mix of games is pretty simular to Macau, however they do have more BJ action (and from what I heard some are pretty beatable).

For gambling in Korea though is on the ponies, the Korean Racing Assoication does a excellent job at promotion and management IMHO.

Oh I am reminded of something I forgot to put in my orginal post. I need baccarat tips from you experts. I am new to the game, but likely that will be my main table on this trip. I saw on the Wizard of Odds site that the game is uncountable, however given the circumsances here I am not so sure. Unlike from my limited veiwing of the game in Vegas, you do not have to bet every hand in Asia. You can sit out for long stretches, therefore cherry pick your spots. So any thoughts/links on counting systems for Baccarat would be valued.

March 7, 2007 11:59 PM Posted by Art Tran

How's the new Grand Lisboa hotel? Is it any different than the new American casinos?

March 8, 2007 8:13 AM Posted by Chris B

Grand Lisboa hotel tower is not open yet - just the egg shaped casino section (which I have to say I found pretty uninspiring - it looked to me like it would become dated very quickly).

I'm going to be in Macau a few times late March / early April, but probably only day trips.

My tip to Drambuie Man would be to make sure he samples some of the fine Portugese cuisine on offer. There are the typical places people might mention on the internet like Ferndando's or A Lorcha. There's also a great place just off Senado Square (I forget the name off the top of my head, but turn right at the McDonalds in Senado Square and walk up the small alley about 15-20 meters - its on the left in a little clearing with tables outside). Also a couple of small, no-frills Portugese restaurants in Taipa along the small road opposite the front entrance to Kingsville (a residential development right near the Hotel Taipa) which are always good.

March 8, 2007 10:49 AM Posted by detroit1051

Any information on MGM Grand Macau will be appreciated. If I'm reading some of the sites correctly, MGM will increase the size of the casino from 222,000 sq ft to 294,000 sq ft. Further, the atrium or Portugese Garden conservatory sounds spectacular, and MGM will be connected to a future Mandarin Oriental hotel. I guess what I'm trying to understand is where MGM Grand will be positioned. The brand name is well known, but will this property outdo Wynn as Macau's ultra-luxe casino resort? Macau will be huge for the company.

March 8, 2007 1:45 PM Posted by Mike E

Drambuie, this is supposedly one of the better counting methods from Frank Scoblete's "Baccarat Battle Book". It says it lowers the house advantage a bit, but not enough to give you an edge. That doesn't make sense to me because the amount you can win (or not lose) counting cards is directly related to the spread of your bets. In any case, here it is:

Start the running count at 14.
8, 9, 10 and face cards = -1.
Ace, 6, and 7 = ignore.
2 and 5 = +1
3 and 4 = +2

If the running count is over zero, "bank" is the better bet. Only when it's below zero is "player" the better bet. So yes, bank is the better choice 90% of the time. You can never predict when a tie is likely.

For those of you who don't play baccarat wondering how in the world someone can actually apply this, remember that you have a scorecard in front of you that you can write anything you like on it including the running count. I've been able to implement the system well despite talking to people and being pretty hammered.

As far as success, on my software, it's been wildly successful. But then again, I can't tell if I just hit a series of lucky streaks that baccarat is famous for. I can say that during some of the longer bank streaks, the running count was almost always in the 20s. In real life, I haven't applied it enough (nor have the proper bankroll on those $300 tables) to tell you.

Please reconfirm what the baccarat minimums are like at Wynn, if they have the large European tables, and if so, what those minimums are like as well. The last report I read said minimums are about $12 a hand after exchange (which would be heaven for me).

March 8, 2007 11:08 PM Posted by George/Drambuie

detroit> My pleasure to find out what I can. However does anybody know if there is a site(s) or map(s) showing where all this construction is going on. It seems it will be easy to pick out the Venican at this stage, but the others?

Chris> My tix say fly in Mar. 24 and out Mar. 25 (actualy 26, at 2am) if you have time...

Mike>Interesting the wieght it gives the dealer. So even with a fresh shoe start at 15? As for the rest, I will give you a rundown of every Casino with a Baccarat table I come accross.

March 9, 2007 11:37 AM Posted by Mike E

George, the counting method only begins at 14 with a fresh shoe.

March 9, 2007 3:23 PM Posted by Chris B

Mike, I can tell you that Wynn has a whole section of HKD100 minimum baccarat tables (roughly USD13). Not sure about the bigger tables - I haven't been in to the roped-off high minimum bet area so can't say for sure.

Drambuie Man - MGM is going up right behind the Wynn and is very easy to spot. Any of the LVS investor presentations (available on the LVS website - are good for an overview of Cotai and the various sites being developed. Not sure if I'll be there on 24/25 but will ask Hunter to drop you my email address if I am.

In other news, I see there is an article in today's "The Standard" (a HK daily newspaper) mentioning a cost overrun at Crown Macau (

March 11, 2007 8:28 PM Posted by Punter


Hello from a fellow expat living in Asia. Email me at if you'd like some recommendations on places to go/things to see in Macau and Hong Kong. I see you've been there once but don't know how much you got around. I live in Singapore but have been to Macau about half a dozen times and been to Hong Kong probably over 30 times. I'd recommend staying in Hong Kong which will be a million times more fun and just hitting Macau for a night. Unless you plan on playing non-stop baccarat staying in Macau is fairly useless.

March 13, 2007 7:15 AM Posted by Ryan Gregory

Hope you enjoy Macau! Like many other readers, I would really like to see updated pics of all the construction.

More specifically, if you can get any updates on the Crown Macau, I would be super grateful.


March 14, 2007 6:20 PM Posted by Ollie

detroit> My pleasure to find out what I can. However does anybody know if there is a site(s) or map(s) showing where all this construction is going on. It seems it will be easy to pick out the Venican at this stage, but the others?

More specifically, if you can get any updates on the Crown Macau, I would be super grateful.

Have a look at => for latest news and maps on Macau Casinos!

March 15, 2007 4:01 PM Posted by Tom Clemmer

Good luck on your trip! Hope you have a great time. But, one of the most important things I would like to know is about the Crown Macau.

I would like to hear how The Crown Macau compares to other Las Vegas it is billed as the only 6 Star hotel in Macau.

Also, take note of all the casinos you go in and rate them star wise -- 1 worst 6 best. As I have heard there star system does not equal the US star system. People have told me to remove a star or two and US travelers will have a better idea of the property.

The next thing is you see any signs for things like boxing matches or other entertainment venues.

Also, the last time I was in Macau there was no Craps...are crap games easy to find now with the American casinos there?

March 15, 2007 4:38 PM Posted by Jackie

If you have time check out Grand Lisboa.

Here is a video of the place to look at: