poker in asia

Popularity of Poker in Asia

Asia, the most populous continent on Earth, has a diverse gambling scene, vibrant gambling hubs, and strict restrictions on games of chance. From lavish casinos in Macau to emerging poker hotspots in Taipei City and Manila, Asia offers a rich and dynamic landscape. This writing will delve into the intriguing world of poker in Asia, exploring major gambling centers, prestigious poker venues, influential players, and renowned poker festivals that have put Asia firmly on the global poker map.

Macau: The Asian Gambling Mecca

Macau is one of Asia’s most essential gambling centers, drawing players worldwide. Lavish casinos like the Poker King Club Venetian and the Wynn Macau add a touch of Las Vegas-style glamour to this bustling city. High-stakes cash games in Macau have lured legendary partakers like Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan, who temporarily relocated to take advantage of the lucrative action and wealthy players known as “whales.” The popular poker variant, Short Deck Hold’em (aka 6+ Hold’em), also gained momentum in these high-stakes cash games, shaping the poker landscape in East Asia.

Manila: A Poker Hub in the Philippines

The capital city of Manila, Philippines, has emerged as another significant poker hub in Asia. Poker enthusiasts can enjoy top-notch venues like PokerStars, Okada, Metro Card Club Manila, and Masters Poker Club Manila. The Chinese Texas Poker Club in Taipei City, Taiwan, played a vital role during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, being one of the first places to host major poker festivals when the virus was under control. The Triton Series, the most extensive high roller poker series, was founded by Malaysian businessmen Paul Phua and Richard Yong, with its first events held in the Philippines in 2016, and later hosting the historic £1.050 million buy-in Triton Million in London.

Asian Poker Tournaments and Influential Players

The Asian poker scene is further enriched by renowned poker festivals and influential players. The Asian Poker Tour (APT) and the Asia Poker League (APL) are two significant tournament series regularly held on the continent. The WSOP Asia Pacific was hosted twice, in 2013 and 2014, while the World Poker Tour (WPT) events regularly attract poker enthusiasts to the region.

Several players born in Asia have achieved great success, leaving an indelible mark on the global poker stage. Johnny Chan from China remains the last player to defend his WSOP Main Event title, winning it back-to-back in 1987 and 1988. Mansour Matloubi, an Iranian-born British player, claimed the prestigious title in 1990. Scotty Nguyen, originally from Vietnam, triumphed in the WSOP Main Event in 1998, while Jerry Yang, born in Laos, secured victory in 2007.

Notable Asian players like Antonio Esfandiari, hailing from Iran, have set records for their impressive tournament winnings. Maria Ho from Taiwan has succeeded as a player and a poker commentator. At the same time, John Juanda from Indonesia boasts a fantastic collection of 5 WSOP gold bracelets.

Embracing the Booming Online Poker in Asia

The online poker boom has also left its mark on Asia, with players thriving in the virtual arena. Taiwanese player Pete Chen is an ambassador for Natural8-GGNetwork, one of the largest Asian online poker rooms. With over $3.5 million in live tournament cash flows and over $500K in online MTT cash flows, Pete Chen exemplifies the growing influence of Asian players in the online poker world. Japan’s Kosei Ichinose has achieved remarkable success in online tournaments, amassing over $4.750 million in winnings.


The world of poker in Asia is dynamic and diverse, with bustling gambling centers, prestigious poker tournaments, and influential players contributing to its allure. From the opulent casinos of Macau to the emerging poker hotspots in Manila and Taipei, Asia offers a rich array of poker experiences. As players continue to make their mark in live and online poker, the Asian poker scene promises to remain vibrant and influential globally. With exciting developments and significant players, the poker culture in Asia is set to captivate poker enthusiasts for years to come.