Sunday, May 10, 2015

Poker at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore

Special Guest Post from VegasDWP

Once again we are treated to a special guest post from VegasDWP about his recent visit to Singapore. Take it away, VegasDWP....)

Hello, and thanks again to Rob for kindly allowing me to guest blog once again.  In case you didn’t see my last guest blog, about my trip to Macau, it can be found here.  To start, a bit of background to set the scene:  I’m a recreational player living in Hong Kong – I’m a Marketing Director for a technology company, and I travel quite frequently on business around Asia.  I have a condo in Vegas, and try to get there at least twice/year for poker, golf, and miscellaneous foolishness.

So last month, this business trip starts coming together … a request from a potential new client in Singapore to come for a follow-up meeting to meet a few of their new digital executives, followed by 10 days in Japan to meet with some clients and manage a marketing campaign we’re doing.  The marketing campaign is a sponsorship of the Japanese PGA golf championship – the Japanese PGA has been using our app for mobile payments/tickets to PGA tour events, and they want to further evaluate it for potential full roll-out.  Kool – I get to hang around Tokyo for 10 days eating sushi & drinking saki, while schmoozing at a high-end golf event.  I actually get paid to do this.

[Side note:  For you avid golfers out there, I’m planning to get fitted for some Miura irons while I’m in Japan – apparently the finest hand-forged irons on the planet.  They’ll cost a small fortune, but should last me the rest of my life  … so hopefully someday soon I’ll be happily enjoying retirement in Las Vegas, playing poker every night, and hitting the links with my Miura’s every day.]

So anyway, on Monday afternoon I get to the airport in Hong Kong for my flight to Singapore.  I’m scheduled to land in Singapore around 7pm local time, and the client meeting isn’t until 3pm the following afternoon – sweet.  After landing in Singapore, I switch on my cell phone, connect to the free airport WiFi, and all my work emails start streaming in … one of which from the Singapore client asking to postpone the meeting for a week or so, as their new digital execs are unavailable.  You gotta be shittin’ me … I just flew all the way to Singapore for nothing?  I email the client, telling him I’ve already arrived – he profusely apologises, says we will meet anyway.  The following day he confirms, saying the digital execs will actually be there – but late.  We show up, our host is there to greet us … but the digital execs are no-shows.  So this shit-show is a genuine waste of time, my colleague and I are pissed off, and all I can think about is blowing off some steam at the poker tables later in the evening.

So after a quick pit-stop at my hotel to change out of my business suit into some jeans, I grab another taxi and head out to Resorts World Sentosa – only about a 10-15 minute ride from the city.  Sentosa is actually a small island just next to the main island of Singapore – the whole place is like a giant amusement park, they have all kinds of attractions there.  The casino is part of a complex which includes hotels, a shopping mall, a theatre, and heaps of other stuff.

I arrive at the casino around 7pm, and make my way through the complicated entry process.  This is one of the primary differences you’ll see in Asian casinos vs. Vegas casinos – everyone needs to show ID to the security guards upon entry, and people who live in Singapore have to PAY to enter the casino.  Can you imagine if they tried that in Vegas?  Fortunately, non-resident visitors only need to show their passport for free entry.

Singapore residents can pay S$100 (US$75) each time they enter the casino, or buy an annual pass for S$2,000 ($1,500).  I don’t think I’d be playing much poker if I lived in Singapore!

One of the first things I see when I walk in, is a sign saying NO PHOTOS.  Ha!  As if … I promised Rob a good write-up with lots of photos, and I ain’t gonna let no stinking sign scare me off.  So I deploy my secret weapon:  my Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch, with built-in camera.  I simply look at my watch, pretending to check the time, tap the camera icon and … presto!  Photo.

I figure I’ll take a walk around the casino to get a feel for the place, assuming I’ll eventually stumble across the poker room.  It’s a typical Asian casino, and unlike Vegas there are NO scantily-clad cocktail waitresses, NO free cocktails, NO pleasure pits    basically the no-fun league of gambling.  They do have free soft drinks though, at stations like this one all over the casino:

Rob would LOVE this … unlimited free refills of diet soda!  However, Anger would HATE it as they didn’t have Mountain Dew.

I was quite surprised at how large the casino was – the gaming floor square footage rivalled any major Strip casino.  It was a Tuesday night, so the place wasn’t busy … but having said that, it wasn’t empty either.  Here is a photo to give you an idea of what it looks like – they even have a handy map to find your favorite pit game or the location of dem good machines!

[How about that professional photography, with my finger in the photo!  #Fail]

So after wandering the casino floor for a bit, and checking out the scene, I quite easily find the poker room.  It’s way in the back of the casino, in the smoking section … which means the poker room is “smoking” as opposed to “non-smoking”.  Shit.  This isn’t going to be fun  … I’m not allergic, but I find cigarette smoke smelly and annoying.  Oh well … I’ve come this far, might as well make the best of it.

It’s a small poker room, with 7 tables and a small registration desk at the front.  It’s roped off, and there is one of those free drink stations against the back wall.  For some reason, it kind of reminded me of the poker room at the Nugget in downtown Vegas    not sure why.  Similar layout and color scheme, I guess.  When I arrived there were 3 full tables going (two S$ 5/10 no limit games, and one S$ 10/20 NL game), and a short (2 person) waiting list for S$ 5/10 no limit (approx. equal to US$ 4/8).  The buy-in range was from S$300 up to S$3,000 (US$225 to $2,255).  

Here are a couple shots of the action before I sat down to play:

I got the feeling it was pretty much locals, mostly were quite young (20’s to 30’s), and pretty well-off if the stack sizes and watch brands were anything to go by.  So I put my name down on the list for S$ 5/10 and waited for my seat.

We interrupt this broadcast and take you to the archive files for a special display of gratuitous boobage.  This wouldn’t be a guest post worthy of Rob’s fine blog without some A-list boobage.  Plus, without boobage, Anger would probably send out a hit-squad of assassins high on skunk-weed and Mountain Dew – and that’d be the end of my guest blogging days.

And as an added bonus, here is a photo of my favorite K-pop group, Ace of Angels (when I get my business trip to Korea, I’ll pick up an Ace of Angels t-shirt for you, Rob … it’ll go well with the Vercace outfit from Macau).

We now return to you regularly scheduled programming….


The wait for my seat was only 10-15 minutes, so after I was called I bought in for S$1,000 and settled in for an evening of poker.  After only a few hands, I could tell this wasn’t going to be very much fun, as there were MULTIPLE things about this room that just annoyed the bejeezus out of me.  I guess when you’re used to playing in Vegas strip casinos, you’re kind of spoiled … or maybe just so used to the “Vegas way” that anything else is irritating.

Irritation #1:  No drinks service.  In fact, no waitresses in the entire casino that I could see.  If you want a drink, you need to get up and go over to the drink service counter and get it yourself.  It’s free, but all they have are soft drinks … as a recreational player, I like to booze it up a little bit when I’m playing – calms the nerves.

Irritation #2:  As previously mentioned, the poker room is “smoking” and stinks to high heaven.  Not many players were smoking at the table, I must say, but it was irritating nevertheless.

Irritation #3:  No cell phone usage at the table … or even under the table, away from the table, or anywhere in the room.  Seriously?  And this was a slow-moving game (for reasons I’ll explain later) – so there was lots of time in between hands when I had nothing to do but stare at the walls (no Slut Parade, that’s for sure).  I initially got scolded by security when I pulled out my phone to check emails from work – so I put it away.  My Gear smartwatch actually has alerts when I receive emails or messages, and I can read the messages on my watch without taking out my phone.  My wife started to WhatsApp me, and I was reading her messages on my watch when I got scolded again.  Figures … this is Singapore, where they sentence you to 3 lashes of the cane & 7 years in prison for graffiti.

Irritation #4:  They were using 2 decks, with an automatic shuffler which should make the game run faster … right?  Well, either the automatic shuffler was broken, or it’s the slowest shuffler on planet earth.  Even after completing a hand that goes all the way to showdown, after pushing the pot and collecting the cards, the dealer had to wait nearly a minute for the f’cking shuffler to finish shuffling the other deck.  Plus, the dealer is required to place the deck inside a plastic case (with an open slot at the end) before dealing the cards – not sure what’s up with that, other than more wasted time. With nothing else do to (no phones, u see) – the time between hands is mind-numbing.

Irritation #5:  Either there is no English-only rule at the table, or it’s not enforced.  The other players, all locals from what I could tell, were jabbering away in their native language – interspersed with English.  Ordinarily I would say something, but it appeared they all knew each other and were trash talking their friends and laughing it up.  If I thought there was any collusion, I would have got up and left.  I found it irritating only because I like a fun table with some conversation and joking around … and I could obviously not join in.

Oh, and there is no tipping allowed (in the poker room or anywhere in the casino).  The other thing I noticed was that each dealer down was incredibly long – when I sat down, the dealer who was already there didn’t get up for over 90 minutes!  The next dealer pushed in, and was still there nearly 2 hours later when I left!  The dealers, though, were very good (in my opinion) – they kept the game moving quickly (when not waiting for the prehistoric auto-shuffler) and always announced the amount of any raise so players never had to ask.

OK, so I assume readers want to know about the level and style of play.  From observation – and getting sucked out on numerous times – the locals like them some gamblin’ when it comes to poker.  People calling pre-flop raises with junk, and hanging around until the river for their miracle outs.  I started off OK, playing my normal tight-aggressive game … taking down a few pots pre-flop, a few more with c-bets post-flop … even won a couple of pots at showdown.

I’ll never forget my first hand of the night:  pocket deuces in the big blind.  Early position player raises to $30, two callers, and I come along for the extra $20.  Flop comes deuce-deuce-blank … QUADS!  Check, check to me … I bet $40, and both players fold. I could have used that hand later in the night with some of the crazy stuff players were doing … anyway, I got a lot of money in the pot a couple of times with the best hand, only to be sucked out on.  This decimated my stack, and after a couple hours I was down to $300. 

Typical suck-out hand:  I’m dealt A-Q offsuit in late position.  Early position raise to $30, one caller, I make it $65 and both players call.  Flop comes 2-5-Q rainbow.  Checks to me, I bet $60 and both players call.  Turn is a blank … check, check to me and I make it $150.  One player folds, the other calls.  River comes a nondescript 7.  Other player checks, I bet $250 and get called … and he turns over 5-7 offsuit.  Seriously?  That was pretty much how my night went.

So needless to say, next time I’m in Singapore I’ll be giving the poker room a miss.  The game was slow, boring, and very unprofitable (having said that, now that I have some experience, I’d play differently next time … but the irritations aren’t worth it).

On my way out of the poker room, I was feeling hungry as I didn’t have any dinner.  In the mall outside the casino, I found this Vietnamese cafĂ© (Nam Nam Kitchen) and ordered some spicy Pho noodles with beef, pork and various other unrecognizable ingredients.

Mmmm  … Nam Nam have some damn damn good Pho noodles!

So with that, I headed back to my hotel for a decent night’s sleep as I’ve got a flight to Tokyo the next day.  There is a taxi rank in the parking garage, and the parking garage is HUGE!  And quite posh … much nicer than those ugly parking garages The Trooper vlogs from!

So again, many thanks to Rob for kindly allowing me to share my experience at Resorts World Singapore in Sentosa.  (Plus, this gave me something do to on my 7-hour flight to Tokyo.)  When I woke up this morning, I saw a news item on Twitter that Resorts World just broke ground on the next mega-resort in Vegas – if they include a poker room, I can only hope it’s nothing like the one in Singapore!


  1. Again, many thanks Rob for kindly allowing me to guest post once again. I'm in Tokyo now, and sadly there is no poker here to check out. I suppose I could guest-blog about a Panchinko Parlour, but not sure that would be of much interest.


    1. Thank YOU for the great guest post, really appreciate it. Fantastic trip report. Since they obviously allow guys to wear their ballcaps backward, I won't ever set foot in a Singapore poker room! :)

      I dunno if there's no interest in a Panchinko Parlour. I mean, if you can figure a way to work boobies into it, it will definitely be a hit!

  2. its not fair that VegasDWPs job should pay more than working at mcdonalds because his job would be far more fun and less drudgery. the jobs that are the hardest form of work and the dreariest that no one wants should be the ones paying the most. and the ones that arent really work should be for fun instead of money.

    1. It's the free enterprise system, Tony.

      Apparently, you're a socialist.

    2. hmmmmm u know what isnt fair is yr mother having to raise yr son,Pro.

    3. Perhaps the effort required to put one in position for VegasDWP's work is a bit more strenuous than the effort required to work at a local fast food establishment... Perhaps...

  3. Great post, nice photos. Thanks.

  4. where do i begin,sooooooo much GOOD SHEEEEEEEEIT in this blog. that 1st pic with that HAWT chick cupping her own Big Ole Tittay or the underboob pic. and those Ace of ANGELS too. man Rob soooooo lucky to get a Fancy shirt with the Ace of Angels on them. that is like CRAY CRAY. what is wrong will Singapore that they dont have that delicious refreshing and healthy Mountian Dew. do they at least have Mello Yello?? or fried oreos?? taco bell?? it is times like this that i wish that G.W Bush was in office to say they had WMD so we could "liberate" these oppressed ppl under the banner of WAR ON tERROR. also getting fitted 4 golf clubs ,sir. how many Fancy shirts do u have, sir?? overall the post was A+++ bcuz u saved me theprice of an airline tix to Singapore bcuz no Mtn Dew and no scantly dressed waitress .i wld of been upset. yr writing is good enuff imo 2 get a job at CardPlayer or BeaverHunt magazine wherever Rob works. mayb even High Times. Dream Big

    1. Not only no Mountain Dew, anger, but Singapore has some of the most severe drug laws in the world.

      How severe? Well, if you are caught with too much Cannabis, they just give you the death penalty!

      I'm agonna beat DWP to that job at BeaverHunt magazine.

    2. 4 realssssss????? that alone shld be a reason to "liberate" Singapore. i am going to start a petition calling 4 the liberation of singapore and rename the country Singarich, u see

    3. Singapore has some seriously draconian laws. Recently, a couple of young German guys got drunk and decided to graffiti some subway trains. After they were caught, they were sentenced to 3 lashes of the cane and 7 years in prison. For GRAFFITI ... having said that, there is virtually NO crime in Singapore. Probably the safest city on planet earth.

    4. I'm actually gonna need a 2nd job now, after what I paid for those golf clubs... ;-)

    5. 7 years for graffiti? Wow, I hate graffiti but that does seem a bit extreme even for me. I'm totally ok with the three lashes, tho. :)

      I would go for 7 years in prison for wearing a baseball cap backwards, however.

  5. You forgot the most important detail of the poker room. Rake is 5% up to S$50 (about US$40). Stacks diminish quickly.

    1. They take $40 out of a pot? Yikes!

      Thanks for that info.

    2. Correct - I had made a note about the rake, then forgot to include it in the post. Doh!

  6. also the pics of the casino r SWEEEEEEET!!!!!! too did the parking lot smell like dead bodies?? and what is the deal with this Pho noodles and SHEEEEIT. me and a "friend" or friend and me whatever u 4 year state university grammar nazi went to a Pho place in Loveland. SHEEEEEEIT!!!!! $8 for basically ramen noodle and hot sauce.

  7. Holy crap on the rake!!! That notwithstanding, great post by VegasDWP! Very interesting to read about a foreign country's poker room. I've had the opportunity to play twice in France and once in London - always a new experience!

    Anyway, me being the technical guy, I wanted to go through one of your hands - the AQ hand that you detail above. I copied it here to critique:

    Typical suck-out hand: I’m dealt A-Q offsuit in late position. Early position raise to $30, one caller, I make it $65 and both players call.
    >> You basically min raise here from $30 to $65. Why such a small raise? Personally, I'd love to call there with 72o and spike an odd 2 pair / trips on you - you open yourself up to those kinds of crap hands when you min raise like that.

    Flop comes 2-5-Q rainbow. Checks to me, I bet $60 and both players call.
    >> Great flop for you, but let's get some money in there. You start off betting less than 1/3 pot! You've given pretty decent odds to anyone with a pair to draw to 2 pair - and huge implied odds.

    Turn is a blank … check, check to me and I make it $150.
    >> Less than half pot bet - $360 in the middle and you bet $150? I'd like to see them continue to pay BIG for their draws, particularly since you know they're playing stupid bottom / mid pair hands down to the river.

    One player folds, the other calls. River comes a nondescript 7. Other player checks, I bet $250 and get called … and he turns over 5-7 offsuit.
    >> I'm not surprised he shows up with 2 pair; as played, he's stupid not to raise you on the riv, but to be expected given the thought process of this player... Anwyay, do you really think that he's calling a bet after calling down 2 streets? What hands call you in this spot that don't have you beat?

    I like the bet bet line, but I have to check the river. I bet MUCH larger on the flop / turn and check the river because there's so much in the middle it'll be a stack committing bet with TPTK - just a one pair hand. Basically, I got all my money in when I was good, and it checked through the moment my hand soured.

    Food for thought... Again, thanks for the good post & I loved the boobies too! Because.... boobies!!!!!

    1. Thanks for the input, Mr. Meister - much appreciated.

    2. I gotta add in. Who the hell bets when they flop quads. No many hands is going to pay you off. Might as well check and hope someone turns a pair or a house.

    3. I would never bet there..but the counter argument is that you have to start building a pot. Thanks for the comment.

    4. For the reasons stated by The Poker Meister, I think that Singaporean player with the 5-7 offsuit was a lot smarter than you give him credit for - not just a reckless gambler. He saw the amount you bet initially and thought you were just trying to steal blinds. If it were a more aggressive bet he probably would have been chased off, but he stuck around. But I agree he was stupid not to raise you on the flop.

      I've not tried the poker tables at Sentosa but good to know they exist at all. The only other casino in Singapore is the Sands (the hotel with the boat on top of it). They do not have poker at all, last I looked (I am in Singapore frequently). Disappointing to read that it's a smoke filled room at Sentosa - I really hate that too.

      Sentosa sounds similar at Mohegan Sun in CT, where the poker room is far away from the main action in a small room with no features (i.e., no slut parade, bare walls) and a bunch of fogies spending their paychecks on Marlboros and poker chips. Even then there's a waiting list. F that.

      As for the 5% rake, that explains how/why Sentosa has poker at all, since it's a super expensive place to run a business and let's be honest, poker does not make the casino any money and they probably only have it for the odd rich guy who lives over there to get off his yacht and play a few.

      On a related note for those who are curious about the Asian poker scene, I was recently in Macau for business and thought I'd take a day to play a bit of poker there.

      The setup is better - no smoke, in an open area, and lots of tables with not too long a wait. But first thing I did was watch the players - it was enough to keep me from playing. They are GOOD. My first clue was that nobody was drinking - not even a sip; this was a business for them. Between rounds, they were playing poker with real money on their phones. There were even a few females who played like black widows - very sharp. The one or two white guys were taken out very quickly - math skills, maybe? Anyway they were not the typical Korean housewife throwing quarters into slot machines, they were pros. I stayed away.

      Thanks for the review of Sentosa, I'll probably pass also.

    5. Some great insight, Fred, thanks!

    6. Poker in Singapore can be quite profitable as gambling profits are non-taxable. Hence despite high rakes and an entry fee, not paying tax is still worth it.

  8. The post that had it all -- boobies, an Anger SHEEEIT comment, boobies, poker analysis. Maybe you should be the regular writer for this blog? Oops ...

    1. Good idea. And he'd work for Mountain Dew & Taco Bell.

  9. Great report! I would like to give you some honest advice though. Asian gamblers largely fit under the " big and crazy" gamblers category. So you will not usually find much effort put into services as players keep coming back for more regardless, unlike in Western countries where people just treat it as leisure. Next time you play against Asians, you do not want to bet big as they will not be afraid of you. The Asian philosophy of poker and any gambling games is "play big till all is lost". Capitalise on this and bet big on players on tilt as they usually play till they are on tilt. A few fishes will play scared poker, though rarely. Gambling is serious stuff in Asia and Asians find it hard to leave the casino grounds until they lose all of their cash or at least most of it. Out last your opponents to put them on tilt. Then, play extremely tight and sometimes passive to trap them. They will move all-in to win back their chips. Good luck and have fun when you play in Asia(especially Macau). Hope this helps:)

    1. Thanks for the input, Anony. Having played poker against Asians in L.A. and Vegas, this is a pretty accurate stereotype.

    2. I reside in Singapore and I am not exactly loving the levy. If anyone were to visit Singapore do not go to the casinos as there is not as much entertainment as in the Western countries. Irony though since they are meant to boost tourist revenues. If anyone is coming do take a free and easy tour on your own as it is easy to navigate the island. People speak at least basic English and it is convenient to search up on any attractions. Beautiful green island, ugly casinos(no comps, entertainment etc.)

    3. Glad to help hope to hear more on poker!

    4. Thanks again for the input.