Have you ever wondered which one is the largest gambling market in the world? That’s right, it’s Asia. Asians are known to be very fond of a lot of forms of gambling and considering the fact that citizens of Asian countries make up more than 60% of the world’s population, it comes as no surprise that their betting community is the biggest there is. The interesting thing about Asian players is that their preferences mainly stick with traditional gambling games, the classics that were played for centuries on the Asian continent. Some of them were present thousands of years ago and still maintain their original splendor that attracts people in masses.

When looking at categories, players from China end other neighborhood countries were always fascinated by card games and games of dice, and that reflects onto their current gaming tendencies as well. In this article, we’ll try and differentiate some of the most popular gambling games in Asia, to shed some light on their characteristics and their presence in the Asian betting community.


Baccarat is one of Asia's most popular games.

General Info

Out of all card games with great acclaim in Asian-populated parts of the globe, baccarat is the one that boasts massive popularity in other regions of the world. It doesn’t matter if it is offered at land-based casinos or websites; baccarat is an attractive game with a loyal following. Some seem to think only high rollers and people with fat wallets can afford to play baccarat, but that may have been the case in the distant past. Now, this exquisite game can be accessed by players of different budgets and style of play and expect an equally satisfying casino experience like when playing with higher stakes.

Ask a random Asian and he’ll tell you that baccarat is a true classic and an important part of their culture. Sure, the game originated from either France or Italy in medieval Europe, but it has quickly found its way to the extravagant casino floors of Asia where people have known to win and lose millions, but also simply enjoy all the charms of this simple card game – with a soul.

How to Play Baccarat

First thing’s first – one needs to know the basics of the game, the rules and game dynamics. Baccarat is a game of a simple premise where participants compare their cards and the session is concluded when the higher value takes the win. The player doesn’t really have to do much except receive his hand of cards and apply his betting knowledge by choosing the right option among three possible outcomes. When the player and the banker (the dealer) compare their cards, there could only be three results – either the banker has a higher value and wins, the player wins with a better combination of cards, or they both count on the same hand value, in which case the session ends in a tie. So the key at winning in a game of baccarat is to correctly assume what the outcome of the comparison will be. Baccarat is usually played with several decks of cards, in most cases eight regular decks, which are shuffled through a shoe. The cards are stripped from their regular values and are appointed with points. All tens and face cards are worth 0 points, while the cards from 2 to 9 retain their authentic values. Ace counts as 1 point. The highest score one could get while playing baccarat is 9, so the best you can do is get as close as possible to 9. If your hand sum surpasses 9, and your cards make up a 12, then the value you’ll be announcing is 2 (the number on the right).

In baccarat you can place three bets – the player, the dealer and tie, or draw. The player’s choice consists of selecting the bet type and bet size, while the dealer merely hands out three cards to each participant and later on gives out the payouts at the end of the session. The tie bet offers attractive payout odds, but for the banker or player to win are the more likely outcomes. Baccarat is a unique game that is easy to learn, but still provocative enough to keep the players at the edge of their seats after hundreds of played sessions. Live dealer baccarat is also one of the most sought-out games at online casinos.

Popular in These Asian Countries

You’ll find baccarat tables in casinos all around the world, but the dominance is rather conspicuous in the Asian market, the Macao region in particular. Known as the Asian Vegas, the Wild East and the Monte Carlo of the Orient, the Chinese autonomous territory maintains one of the most organized and most advanced gambling industries on a global scale. When it comes to baccarat, Macao is the epicenter of the game, for sure. Statistics point out that baccarat accounts for almost 90% of all gaming revenue in Macao.

More on Baccarat: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/03/14/macau.baccarat.vegas/

Sic Bo

Sic Bo

General Info

One of the true veterans of Chinese culture, the traditional dice game called Sic Bo exists for thousands of years. It is a game of pure chance whose name literally translates to ‘precious dice’. Extremely popular in Asian casinos and an important part of the Chinese identity, the game of Sic Bo is not unfamiliar to western gamblers. Apparently, it has reached several popular casino floors in Nevada, as well as numerous international casino websites in its virtual form, but the Asian soil is still where this game is kept most alive and where it generates the highest casino revenues. Sic Bo is known as a fast-paced game, played always with three dice.

How to Play Sic Bo

Sic Bo has two main game aspects – rolling of the dice and betting which takes place on a Sic Bo table (similar to a roulette table). The sum of the three values generated from the three dice determines the winning outcome, but the bets also have a great influence on the final result. The wagering options for Sic Bo are abundant – there are up to 50 different bets a player can place. It is possible to bet on the sum of all three dice, but one could also wager on various combinations of just two dice and so on.

By placing the chips on designated sections of the table, you place the bets and wait for the dice roll. The luck of the roll is the only factor in the game of Sic Bo, and that’s what makes it free from any strategic tension. Sic Bo can be an exceptionally lucrative game with odds on top bets set at 180:1. There are even live dealer versions available online.

Popular in These Asian Countries

The ancient game of dice is mostly enjoyed by Asians of all nationalities. However, as we’ve pointed out before, it is particularly celebrated among the Chinese as it was among them where Sic Bo was created. Apart from taking hold of the wide Chinese gambling community, Sic Bo is also immensely popular in the Philippines.

More on Sic Bo: http://www.wgm8.com/sic-bo-a-game-of-three-dice/

Pai Gow

Pai Gow Poker

General Info

With a similar celebrity status like Sic Bo, Pai Gow is another game that is instinctively close to Chinese people. This domino game has been played for thousands of years by amateur gamblers and seasoned bettors alike across the Asian continent, and even today the finest connoisseurs of Pai Gow are almost exclusively of Asian descent. The title roughly translates to ‘make nine’, which makes sense because the maximum score in the game is indeed nine. Pai Gow is one of the more complicated gambling games for beginners to learn, but in many cases the dealer will give the player some guidance if the person is clearly struggling. The point is not to give up and you will soon catch up as you go even if you are an absolute novice. There is also a Pai Gow poker version, which is more of a traditional poker game inspired by the classic Chinese domino specialty.

How to Play Pai Gow

Pai gow is played with a set of 32 dominoes, or tiles. Each participants gets four tiles, and each has to separate them into two pairs (one is a low hand and the other is high hand). These are observed through ranking orders – pair, Wong, Gong and 9 to 0 points order. The game follows a similar system of points to the one applied in baccarat where your score of 15 becomes 5, for example (remember, the max hand value is 9). High hands will be compared to the dealer’s high hand, and low ones with the dealer’s low hand. If you outrank both of the dealer’s hands you win.

The player is supposed to have an advanced comprehension of the rules of the game and the ability to arrange his/her own hands to make the most out of a game of Pai Gow. There are also numerous strategies available for learning players. Compared to other popular gambling games, Pai Gow is a slow-paced pleasure. Around 30 hands are played per hour.

Popular in These Asian Countries

As a traditional Chinese game, Pai Gow is enjoyed in most Asian casino locations, but if we had to narrow the choice down we’d had to admit that Macao stands out once again. The former Portuguese colonial territory truly is the gambling center of the Orient and the Chinese have no problem with traveling there for a day or two to indulge in their gambling activities. Pai Gow happens to be one of their favorites, as one of the ultimate oriental games.

More on Pai Gow: http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/gaming/article/Pai-Gow-Tiles-Ranking-hands-tough-but-game-is-4624246.php



General Info

You must have heard about this one, since the computer, non-gambling version of Mahjong became quite popular outside the Asian territory. On the big continent, Mahjong is still a traditional table game played at the majority of casino floors. It is a unique game played with 136 tiles among four players. A dice roll determines which one of the four will play the role of the dealer, and the game develops from there in a very strategic direction that motivates critical decision making and maintaining focus. Mahjong is an important part of the Asian culture, since the game itself developed in sync with the people that played it through history.

How to Play Mahjong

At the start of the game the 136 tiles are placed face down on the table and carefully but thoroughly shuffled. Each player then receives 13 tiles from the dealer. You can turn your tiles face up and start pairing them up into sets of three of four dominos, with the goal of building a wall. Bets are placed prior to the dealing of tiles. Also, new bets can be placed after each round. Players get to choose one additional tile from the table during each round and if the selected tile completes a winning hand of 14 tiles the player should announce “Mahjong” to win the game.

If the tile doesn’t match your combination of tiles you need to discard one of your tiles face up in the middle of the table, only to be left with 13 tiles again, waiting the next round. The trick of the game is that other players can use your discarded tile, already revealed to them, and complete their own sets of dominos. The first player to announce “Mahjong” is the winner.

Popular in These Asian Countries

Not a difficult game to learn, but still sufficiently challenging and even soothing, Mahjong is now popular all over the world and widely appreciated for its aesthetic appeal. But China will always be the home of Mahjong and no other nation could appreciate this amazing game more than Chinese people. In China, Mahjong is played on the subway, at parks and at people’s houses as a social act. Of course, the traditional tile-based game also features in Chinese casinos to this day, inhabiting the Macao premises as well.

More on Mahjong: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/july/humanities-mahjong-history-071513.html



General info

Another ancient Chinese creation, the game of Keno allegedly came about during war time when the people needed to raise money. The legend even goes as far as to claim that the building of the Great Wall of China was founded through Keno. From a modern point of view, Keno has similarities to games of chance like bingo and regular lottery. It is a slow-paced game, with 10 to fifteen minutes required to round up a single round of Keno.

How to Play Keno

Keno is played with a ticket, or a card that contains numbers from 1 to 80. Players are expected to select their numbers and try their luck, by seeing how much of them have they guessed. One can choose any amount from one to 20 numbers on the card and then place the bet. Wagering options include a straight ticket (betting on all marked numbers, single bet), king ticket, and combination ticket. Each of them has its perks, but the straight ticket if the most frequent wager and the simplest one, for sure. Ultimately, if your ticket is the winning one you’ll receive your respective payout according to the paytable proposed by the casino. Live Keno is also available online, so you can observe the balls being drawn live from the comfort of your home.

Popular in These Asian Countries

While being generous to gamblers from all parts of the world, Keno is still one of the main hobbies of the Chinese people, descendants of the ancient generations that invented it. Gamblers from all over China and bettors from Hong Kong don’t hide their interest for Keno whenever they want to indulge in a more lighthearted game of luck while roaming the lavish casinos in Macao.

More on Keno: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/how-to-play-keno.htm