They say when you have been to one McDonalds you have been to them all. Given all their‘restaurants’ (a loosely applied term) have the same decor and not one of the 6.5 million burgers sold on a daily basis is in the slightest part different to the next – regardless of what continent or hemisphere you are on – the statement is very accurate. Sadly casinos and bingo halls, particularly those in the UK owned by major chains such as Gala, Grosvenor and Genting fall into the same category. Uniform carpets, uniform table cloths, identical fixtures and uniforms which are, well uniform, make a trip to a new-age casino a quickly forgettable experience win or lose.
Ireland does not have such problems, with casinos coming under the guise of ‘private members clubs’ the big corporations have not put an enormous footprint in the country and, like the rest of the island, Ireland’s privately owned gaming halls have a unique charm about them. The Macau Casino in Cork is a prime example. Slot machines do not line the walls and there are not rows and rows of remote roulette terminals. In fact, the venue’s handful of slots are hidden very deep and the 13,000 square-foot building seemingly dedicates as much floor space to its restaurant and poker room as it does its gaming tables. This is more of a friendship club than a hard-core gambling den.
The Covid-19 is not a shutdown, it’s a turn-on
Of course Covid-19 now means the kitchen is empty and the wheels on the Macau’s roulette tables are no longer spinning. Its local owners are carrying their own can, just like millions of other small business owners across the globe, with the doors shut and staff left at home to watch Netflix box sets and experiment with home-made cooking. But the venue, renowned for its friendliness, has found a way of keeping its players entertained – that being a new form on remote poker which maintains a community feel.
You are probably already thinking of ‘online poker’ and yet more major conglomerate entities such as Stars Group (owners of Poker Stars) or GVC Holdings (who have PartyPoker in their portfolio). These facilitate tens of thousands of punters on a daily basis from around the globe buttheir tables are a sterile as Dettol surface wipe.
To the contrary, the Cork Macau Casino has partnered-up with a real money social poker app called Pokio in order to maintain its independence and preserve its unique co-operative approach to business.
Pokio is a fully regulated mobile poker app but it is wonderfully unique. Firstly it only allows players to play at one table at a time. This removes the hordes of online professionals who play numerous tables simultaneously in a robotic fashion hoovering up the loose cash from recreational players.
The Pokio community
A social poker app, Pokio is also community based, in fact the only way you can play it is via membership of a dedicated card room or independent casino which means you can play amongst a group of players which you know. Of course this is not a provision of playing on Pokio, the Macau Casino will accept membership from anyone (for their casino and this app) and set them up with their own staff providing help and customer support. Simply enter their Pokio Code: 101343 when opening your new account.
Once you download and play Pokio via the Macau Casino you will have access to a wonderful series of cash games, Sit & Go’s and tournaments plus this is the only real money app in the world supporting Sviten Special, which is also known as Drawmaha. If you are looking for a new poker game, maybe this is it. Suffice to say there are always the old faithfull’s of Texas Hold’em and Omaha to fall back on.
Ultimately this Pokio app is probably the next best thing to playing live in your local club or casino, the only thing uniform about it is its vital Malta Gaming Authority license – and a gaming licence from a recognised regulator, such as Malta, Gibraltar or the Isle of Man is imperative for the protection of players rights and safety of their money.