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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Betfair Kicks off Asian Poker Tour

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In the ongoing quest to find new markets for poker players, Betfair has taken the lead by opening up their Betfair Asian Poker Tour with a tough field of international stars vying for the top prize and bragging rights as the winner of the first major poker tournament in Asia. Top names among the 500-player field (expanded from an initial cap of 370) include Tony G., Gus Hansen, Liz Lieu and John Phan.

The $5,000 buy-in event marks the first time that a poker tournament has been allowed in Singapore, according to a Betfair statement. This follows the lifting last year of a 40-year ban on casino gaming, with one of two potential licenses for casino construction being granted to the Las Vegas Sands corporation to construct a casino that will open in 2009. December will see the announcement of the winner of the second license.

According to noted poker pro Tony G the excitement around the event is palpable. "It's hard to describe the excitement and charisma that starts to build when an event is getting ready to kick off. I'm ready to play!" Betfair has listed Tony as one of the favorites to win the event on their online sports betting site, and Tony has his own internet poker site, Tony G. Poker.

Asia is seen by many to be a huge growth market for poker. Macau is often referred to as the Las Vegas of the East, and it will begin offering poker in early 2007. This, along with the planned opening of two casinos in Singapore, makes the future very bright indeed for poker in the East and also opens the possibility of endorsement deals closer to home for Asian poker stars like Phan, Scotty Nguyen, Johnny Chan and others. The Asian Poker Tour has already had its first stop in Manila and the next stop is planned for India.

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