The days when players from Asian countries had to travel to participate in the art of gambling are long over. Macau had overthrown Vegas as the gambling capital of the world back in 2006.
However, this huge market still offers up some very specific games. Players tend to stick with traditional gambling classics which have been played for centuries on this continent and still haven’t lost their initial appeal.
Nevertheless, some of these popular games in Asia are yet to make their effect felt on the rest of the world. In an effort to broaden your cultural gaming horizons, we’ve put together a list of 5 games that you definitely shouldn’t miss if you are playing in an Asian casino, online or otherwise.
Baccarat – The Game of Faith
We’ll start with one of the most popular games in both land-based and online casinos – baccarat. The reason why Asian people love it so much lies in their culture, centered around a true belief in faith. This game doesn’t offer any way to win consistently since there’s no existing strategy able to overcome the house edge.
Although natives bring some curious superstitious rituals to the table, the game has a very simple premise and it’s very easy to learn. It revolves around comparing cards and the winner of the higher value concludes the session. When you compare cards with the dealer there are three possible outcomes: you can win, he can win, or there can be a tie if you both have the same hand value. Playing with live dealers doesn’t change this traditional twist of fate a bit.
Mahjong – Rooted in Culture
Although all the games on this list are available in other countries, due to its aesthetic appeal and the perfect mix of soothing and challenging, Mahjong is a game that found an audience beyond Asia. Its incredible popularity also has to do with the fact there’s also a wide-spread non-gambling version available on many PCs.
Although popular, this game is rooted in the Asian culture since it was developed in sync with the natives who played it throughout history. What makes it unique is the use of domino-like tiles instead of cards. After you receive your 13 tiles from a dealer the goal is to pair them up into sets of three or four in order to build a wall. Bets are placed before the dealing and optionally after each round. To win the game you need to complete a winning hand of 14 tiles and call out “Mahjong”.
Sic Bo – A Plethora of Wagering Options
If you’re looking for great wagering options then you should check out Sic Bo. This game of three dice enables you to place up 50 different bets. Although it’s a fast-paced game that might seem confusing at first, the probabilities of rolling three dice are familiar to anyone who has played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid.
The name means “dice pair” in Chinese, but a more literal and probably more suitable translation is “precious dice”. It’ll probably remind you of roulette due to its plethora of betting options and it has a decent rate of payoffs. The object is simple – to predict the faces of dice prior to the roll. Many of the best online casinos offer this game for free so you have plenty of time to figure out which wagering options are best to use.
Pachinko – The Hybrid
For those interested in something more familiar but still exotic, you should try out Pachinko. This game is basically a hybrid between a slot machine and vertically-oriented pinball. You shoot small balls trying to get them to land in one of the pockets, which will trigger the slot element. That makes the reels spin and when they stop you’ll see your reward, which can be another free chance at the game or a monetary prize.
The mechanics obviously point out that Pachinko started as a completely manual game but it has evolved immensely over the years and ended up equally popular in its updated, digital incarnation.
Keno – Lottery with a Purpose
Sticking with the familiar, we end our pick with Keno. If you enjoy lottery games, this one is pretty similar. You play with tickets and each contains numbers from 1 to 80. You simply select up to 20 numbers of your choice per ticket and your luck depends on how many of them you’ve guessed. You have multiple betting options. The straight ticket is the simplest one and therefore most frequent, but a king ticket and combination ticket also have its perks.
What’s interesting about this lottery-like game is that it’s been made with a purpose. It appeared in ancient China to raise money and it’s said that it partly funded the raising of the Great Wall of China and even saved a city during wartime.
We’re sure that the further growth of the Asian gambling industry will popularise these games even more. It’s easy to see why – they’re unique but still fairly easy to play. The betting options are vast, and even those games that might be familiar to us, have been spiced up with their own unique twists to make them more interesting and appealing.