Inside Asian Gaming

IAG JUN 2019年6月 亞博匯 26 back bettors until you get an assignment. Foreigners get shunted off to a corner of the floor with eight tables. Foreigners and Koreans alike can play tables games for as little as KRW1,000, less than US$1. At these prices, you can hardly afford not to play. For Koreans, the main floor features 160 tables – minus the eight for foreigners – more than two-thirds blackjack or baccarat, a dozen roulette tables and a half- dozen sic bo tables, all with twin betting layouts, plus a smattering of other games such as casino war and three card poker. Minimum bets on the main gaming floor start at KRW1,000 with card games mostly KRW5,000 and KRW10,000. Maximums run from KRW50,000 (US$42) to KRW300,000 (US$252). The Summitas Club VIP area has 20 tables, 16 for baccarat, four for blackjack. Kangwon Land doesn’t let slip many details on “membership play” in the 198 square meter club, but assures that VIP get nothing more than a room and meals while playing, certainly no rebates on chip purchases and definitely no credit. VIPs reportedly also get higher limits and special services such as concierge shopping. More than one-third of total casino revenue 15 years ago, VIP play comprised 15.5% of GGR last year. LOW-LIMIT GAME The eight table poker area requires a buy-in of KRW100,000 (US$84) to KRW1 million (US$840). The game is Texas Hold’em, not no-limit, but low-limit. Blinds are KRW2,000 and KRW5,000, with the bet raised to KRW10,000 for the turn and river. No more than two raises are allowed in any betting round except the last, when three raises are permitted, for a maximum final bet of KRW40,000. The entrance level of the casino floor has the majority of gaming tables and all of the casino’s 1,360 electronic gaming terminals, including a 197-seat stadium area and a stunning variety of slot machines, none of which accept bets larger than KRW1,000. At blackjack tables, there was little evidence of the infamous Kangwon rage prompted by poor play that can reduce to tears or shame away a player who splits tens or draws on 14 when the dealer shows a six. However, as a foreigner stood at a respectful distance observing play, a dealer barked, “Cannot watch.” “When someone with authority tells me that, I’ll leave,” the foreigner replied, confident no one would understand, and continued sipping a grape juice. COVER STORY