Poker Headlines | Poker in Cambodia

By Gillian Epp
November 13, 2020

Poker Headlines is a weekly Interactive Poker Talk Show live on Twitch, where we debate Hot Topics in the poker world, and deliver gaming news from around the globe.

Filmed lived on Sundays at 12PM Pacific Time, full episodes can be found at www.twitch.tv/hustlerhunny for a month after the stream date, and highlights can be found at www.youtube.com/hustlerhunny

Below, you can watch the latest show’s highlights (from November 8, 2020), which is followed by a recap of the full episode.

We were honoured this week to be joined by American expat Michael Kim, aka Poker Triad. Michael was Maureen’s contact in South East Asia when she visited Cambodia last year for the WPT at Naga World. Michael continues to blog about his poker adventures in Cambodia and has great advice for both poker game selection and enjoying Cambodia, especially Phnom Penh. https://www.pokerappcentral.com/blog

Question 1: Why Cambodia?

Before 2015 Michael had been living and playing in poker in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, and had never in his adult life, ventured outside of the USA. In 2015 he was looking to relocate to South East Asia. He found that Cambodia checked off a lot of the points he desired and had both live and online poker. The visa was attainable and the cost of living, much more affordable than America, so without any knowledge of the language or any connections, Triad took a leap of faith and moved to Cambodia.

Question 2: How common are female players in the Cambodian poker games?

Very few females play poker in Cambodia. Michael mentioned he can go weeks without seeing a female player. If he does encounter a female player, she’s most likely a tourist.

Question 3: What is insurance in Asian Poker games?

Some poker games in Cambodia often offer insurance in heads-up, all in pots. (We see this sometimes online for cash games, but never in a live setting like in Cambodia offers.) The player who is ahead can opt to insure their hand against their opponent drawing out. The insurance rate depends on the number of outs left in the deck.

Gambling players like insurance and it’s so heavily marketed towards gambling players, that the river card is dealt like a baccarat squeeze. The dealer deals the river card face down to the purchaser, who is able to squeeze the card himself before tabling it.

Question 4: Which types of  online poker are  available in Cambodia?

Although the big providers like PokerStars and GGPoker (through the Natural 8 skin) are available in Cambodia, the rise of play money apps, converted to real money app, via agents, has created a mini poker boom in Asia.

Michael runs multiple clubs and has 135 players in his agency.

Online apps like PokerBros and PPPoker, although not regulated offer more variety of poker games than the majority of the big sites. They also are appealing to players because of the agent model, when an individual actively recruits them and is their personal contact for everything from buy-ins, cashouts, and rake-back.

I personally worry about the integrity of the game, and likelihood of being cheated when using play money apps to play for real money.

Michael did say to never get involved with an agent you don’t know personally or one that cannot be vouched for by someone you trust. He also mentioned he has been indirectly involved in a few collusion and bot ring investigation, and players do get banned. There are GPS and IP precautions built into the apps, just like any regulated online site.

Ultimately it comes down to how pro-active and aware your agent is. If you think you’re being cheated, will your agent look into it for you?

Question 5: What were the reactions to the Polk/Negreanu Grudge Match?

Michael enjoyed watching the live televised match, with hole cards shown. Maureen and I were a little disappointed by the lack of grudgery in this match. It seemed no different than any other televised heads-up game, each player displaying sportsmanship and acting like a gentleman. This caught me off guard, and I felt like Doug Polk’s Twitter personality is fake, as his live demeanour was frankly boring.

The poker was good and Doug played extremely well despite losing over $100K.

While the average player will look at the match and see Doug so far in the red as him being “owned,” most critical thinking players saw leaks in Negreanu’s play, which will cost him dearly in the online version if he doesn’t correct.

The online matches saw Doug shine, but are tough on the viewers as Negreanu stipulated he didn’t want hole cards displayed. I personally am a huge fan of the commentators on the Upswing Poker stream, because they are extremely knowledgeable about heads-up poker.

Tweet of the Week

The civil nature of the grudge match gave way to so many great tweets, so we couldn’t pick just one this week.


As the Twitch stream likes to be challenged, we have a Trivia Question each week. This week we piggybacked on the WSOP Main Event theme from last week.

Maureen tells us that Phil Hellmuth loves to make entrances at the WSOP Main Event…

She asks, what was the theme of his entrance in 2018 and which character was vetoed by his team?

Bonus: Who sponsored the entrance?

Most viewers remembered something resembling Roman soldiers but indeed, the theme was not Rome but Marvel Characters, more specifically Thor.

Gandalf was vetoed but he promised it as a future WSOP entrance, DBet was the sponsor and featured on the costumes as well as his entourage of women holding DBet shields.

If you missed it in 2018, here is the clip:

Question 5: Las Vegas is seeing poker rooms close down. Is this good for poker?

This week MGM Resorts closed poker rooms for good at Excalibur, Mandalay Bay, and The Mirage.

Michael mentioned that The Mirage was once home to the big game in Vegas. Having played at all three rooms, this is sad news for Michael and the end of an era.

Personally, I won’t be shedding any tears. I’ve possibly visited one of the closing rooms, but do not see it as a blow to poker, in fact I see it more as a positive. If I had my way, there would be only one or two locations for poker, but with hundreds of poker tables. This would centralize the games, and gather all interested players in one epi-center. Having players in just one location increases the chances of getting higher stakes games going, and also running more poker variants.

That concludes this week’s episode of Poker Headlines.

We had a bunch of tech issues again this week. I do apologize for this, but I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with Poker Triad, and I can’t wait for COVID-19 to be a thing of the past so Maureen and I can make the trip to Cambodia to grind some live cash and sing the night away at KTV. We look forward to interacting live with chat again on Sunday, noon Pacific Time.



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Gillian Epp poker author
Written By.

Gillian Epp

Gillian Epp is a high- and mid-stakes poker player and content creator. As a live grinder, Gillian travels around the world to play no-limit cash games. When she’s not traveling for poker she enjoys spending time with her dog, Tyra, and creating poker edutainment content: Poker-related material with a focus on being educational but entertaining […]

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