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5 best Macau casinos
Golden trees, indoor canals, and the best poker in Asia ... all available at Macau's best casinos
Macau casinos are showered in superlatives -- biggest, best, most expensive -- here are a few of our favorite gambling dens in the former Portuguesse colony, each with an outstanding reason to love it:
Wynn Macau: Spectacularly posh
The facts: The Wynn Macau looks just like its brother over in Las Vegas, with the same red and beige color scheme inside and out. Table games include traditional and contemporary games like Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Roulette and Sic Bo, all types of Baccarat, as well as a sweet poker room with attractive female dealers. As for the slot machines, Wynn offers a wide variety: from as little as HK$0.05 to $5000 per pull.
What stands out: To set it apart from the other casinos, Wynn features two signature shows. The first, dubbed the Dragon of Fortune, happens every hour and features a dragon that rises from the rotunda up to 28 feet in the air, with an animated head complete with glowing eyes and billowing smoke coming out of it's nostrils. It’s covered in 2,450 square feet of gold leaf -- that kind of bling pushes the whole show just above cliche and into the ranks of spectacle. The second show, the Tree of Prosperity, happens every half hour and sees a giant golden tree literally rise from the ground.
The vibe: The Wynn tends to attract a high-roller crowd due to the high-stakes games -- and the shops. All the big names are here: Gucci, Versace, Prada, Louis Vutton.Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, tel +853 2888 9966 www.wynnmacau.com
Grand Lisboa: Best poker in Asia
The Facts: The Grand Lisboa definitely lacks the classy feel of the Wynn, but it is popular for having the best and biggest poker room in Asia. Not much here in terms of live entertainment, as this is a straight forward no-frills gambling ground.
What Stands Out: The poker room. It’s where the biggest poker tournaments in all of Asia are held. Expect the highest levels of players in the region here on a nightly basis.
The Vibe: The Grand Lisboa is the first to bring in Western games such as Texas Hold’em and craps. The casino also has one of the best reward programs for their members (currently, 8 members win $1000 spending coupons each day, as well as accommodation in one of their 430 deluxe rooms).
Avenida de Lisboa, tel +853 2828 3838 www.grandlisboa.com
Sands Macao: The original NKOTB
The Facts: Compared to the rest on this list, Sands is the old kid on the block. Opened back in 2004, Sands Macao was the very first gaming complex owned and operated by an international operator, meaning it paved the way for the Wynns and the Venetians of the world to come here.
What Stands Out: The thing that sets the Sands apart has nothing to do with the games, dining or entertainment. The Sands stand-out feature is a chandelier that is over 36 meters long and nearly 8 meters wide. Hanging in the center of Sands Macao the chandelier has nearly six thousand light bulbs and weighs more than 100,000 pounds. As for gaming? Pretty standard stuff here.
The Vibe: The Sands doesn’t get too fancy with the design (aside from the chandelier). It’s essentially one giant room with a bunch of gambling tables. Factor that in with the close proximity to the ferry, The Sands is for those who want to avoid the gimmicks and just gamble.Largo de Monte Carlo, tel +853 2888 3388 www.sands.com.mo
Venetian Macao: Largest in the world
The Facts: At 550,000 square feet, the Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world and the hub for all international artists who visit Asia these days. Whether it’s NBA superstar Kobe Bryant or popstar Beyonce, the Venetian Macao seems to be their stop to perform when they travel East.
What Stands Out: Unless you’ve been living under a rock you already know about the famous canals of Venice recreated indoors at the Venetian. But then there’s the exclusive shows like Zaia (held inside the 1,800 seat Zaia theater), a mini-golf course, and top-notch dining.
The Vibe: Semi-professional poker player Brian Kam believes the Venetian is more for recreation purposes than gambling because “too many tourists, working girls, and shady characters roam around the gaming area.” But the Venetian is unbeatable for entertainment outside of gambling.
Estrada da Baía de N. Senhora da Esperança, tel +853 2882 8888 www.venetianmacao.com
Galaxy Rio Macau: Local hangout
The Facts: The Galaxy Rio is the gambling den set from old B movies. You almost want to don a fedora and toothpick when walking into here. Gambling-wise, lower stakes games can be found here, which will attract a certain local crowd. Its small-scale approach makes for an intimate atmosphere, although the crowd isn't one you would always want to be intimate with.
What Stands Out: The Rio’s nightclub is a popular spot for the locals, and has a slightly exotic, rough-and-tumble feel to it. Men from all walks of life gather there for a boys' night out -- for some, it's every night.
The Vibe: The Rio is not your average family-friendly tourist casino. With low stakes gambling and a sauna where "men talk serious business," the crowd here is obviously male-dominated.
Rua Luis Gonzaga Gomes, tel +853 28718718 www.galaxyentertainment.com
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