Taiwan has produced many great poker players in recent years like Kitty Kuo, Jack Wu, Pete Chen, Terry Fan, Chen An Lin, etc. And with many major tournaments kicking off for the first time in Taiwan in 2019, it is about time we find out more about poker in Taiwan.
I visited a few poker clubs in Taipei and Taichung and to my surprise, despite it being a “grey area” activity, poker is very open and active. There are small tournaments happening everyday starting from just NTD 1000 (USD 33) with rebuy and addon. There’s also a very interesting “limited time” tournament where there are only 2 levels, and at the end of 2 hours, the tournament stops and you cash out what you have. (basically a cash game) but with a pretty high rake. I played in two but it was fun and loose.
I did go to another club that ran a cash game but they took lengths to mask their activity, hidden in an industrial building with a sign that said they were a different business. That game was USD 3/3 and the action was pretty good. I ran pretty well with my pocket 3s flopping J33, pocket 6s flopping K66.
In previous years when you wanted to get good tournaments in Asia your choices were Macau (expensive and just a gambling town), Philippines (fun but dangerous), Korea (expensive and turn outs are not as good as locals are not allowed into casinos). But now with Vietnam and Taiwan, they have a lot going for them. Both are relatively cheap and lots of great food, sightseeing, shopping, night life and very safe. In terms of cost, Taiwan is definitely more expensive than Vietnam, but compared to cities like Hong Kong or Tokyo, it is very affordable to stay in Taipei for an extended period of time.
CPT seems to be the pioneer for International poker in Taiwan and I visited their location which was very nicely designed, wide open spaces that can accommodate a good number of tables, with a super cool final table setup for 9 with broadcast capabilities and RFID scanners. Maybe in 2019 you will catch me in one of the telecasts. 🙂
Taichung is only 40 minutes by High Speed Rail away from Taipei. And it is a different city altogether. We visited a club that had bacarrat tables, three card poker and blackjack. And it was in a glass building, visible to the public. I did not post any pictures of it because I don’t want to bring too much attention to them, but I think they don’t mind it at all. It is basically a casino under the guise of a themed cafe. CTP had a club in Taichung as well and they have tourneys like the “limited time” games. I wouldn’t recommend them as the rake is pretty steep but it was fun to play though.
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