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Worth going to Hanoi for poker?

Easy yes for live tournament players. Possible yes for cash game only players. For players looking for a lot of crazy action from daily tournaments, weekly grinders and huge regional events, Hanoi is definitely on your list.

Bring your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, other to Hanoi?

Hanoi might be passed as a favourite tourist city, however, there are malls, cinemas, heaps of eateries and some tourist attractions like cafes and bakeries.

Cash poker or tournament poker in Hanoi?

Tournament poker has taken off in Hanoi as of 2022 and is permitted by the authorities so you run no risk at the poker rooms. My understanding is that some rooms offer disguised cash games using point systems or sit and goes and some offer pure cash games. There are no legal cash games in Vietnam although I’ve heard of many underground cash games, probably connected with the underworld. I’ve not heard of any raids by police in Hanoi, but do your homework.

Are there poker cash games in Hanoi, Vietnam

Cash games are illegal in Vietnam however it seems some of the rooms offer cash-like games. I guess there are many underground games too.

Are there poker tournaments in Hanoi, Vietnam

There are 3 kinds of poker tournaments you can play in Hanoi:

  • Daily poker tournaments in Hanoi: Daily tournaments are low buy-in events, with buy-ins starting under US$50 and up to US$200. Each of the poker rooms will have daily tournaments. You can follow their schedules on Facebook.
  • Local poker tournaments series in Hanoi: Each poker room in Hanoi has regular, such as monthly, larger local tournaments to serve locals and expats. Generally you’ll find info on each Poker Room’s Facebook page.
  • Regional poker tours in Hanoi: Hanoi is on the map for regional tours. There are the World Poker Championships, World Poker Tour, and Asian Poker Tour events passing through Hanoi, and others.

So, travel to Hanoi during one of the larger tours and then check out what daily and local series are running to fill in some of your downtime.

Are the dealers good in Hanoi?

Yes, the dealers are well trained in Hanoi. Generally you can expect the dealers to be fast, accurate and polite. Also, the dealers know most of the rules. However, during very large tournaments, you might find new or inexperienced dealers. Also, few dealers in Vietnam ever bring players in line by enforcing rules like not talking during hands, using phones etc. Few dealers speak fluent English, but most know enough to help you follow the action in English. If there are few foreigners, you might politely ask the dealer to announce bets in English for you.

About Hanoi

Hanoi (Vietnamese: Hà Nội), the capital of Vietnam, and also its second largest city, is a fascinating blend of East and West, combining traditional Sino-Vietnamese motifs with French flair. It is largely unscathed from the decades of war, and is now going through a building boom, making it a rapidly developing city in Southeast Asia.

Consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 destinations by TripAdvisor, the city and its surrounding region get more tourists every day.

Hanoi, a popular tourist destination in Vietnam, is home to well-preserved French colonial architecture, temples for Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism, and Taoism, as well as several historical sites from earlier imperial eras and numerous museums. In 2010, UNESCO designated the Ba Dinh District’s Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thăng Long as a World Heritage Site.

Visas for Hanoi

Your visa requirement will depend on the country of your passport. Many countries are visa free for 90 days. Check out this page on Wikipedia. At the time of writing, at least these countries are visa free for from 15 to 90 days, depending on the country: Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Japan, UK, Russia, France.

Vietnam also has an e-visa. Apply online for an e-visa if your passport does not allow visa-free entry or if you plan to stay longer. Many sites sell the e-visa: the Vietnam government official site, approved online agents, government look-a-like sites, and of course, be wary of scam sites.

I recommending the e-visa for poker players travelling to Vietnam. The reason is you might find other tournaments in the country that you want to play, and 30 days will allow you time for that. As of Jan 2023, 30-days is the maximu on the e-visa. However, the prepandmic rules allowed up to 90 days, and hopefully soon this will be allowed again.

How to get to Hanoi by plane

Most people arrive at the Noi Bai International Airport (IATA: HAN), 35km (45-60min) north of the city. Immigration is fast, usually taking around 10-15 minutes. The new terminal is clean and modern with lots of sunlight.

Airport to downtown Hanoi

Taxis to central Hanoi can be hired at the airport. There are fixed price taxi stands right outside the exit, offering fares ranging from USD15-25 into the city, so no hassles about the fare. Non fixed-price taxi agents will quote prices ranging from around USD15-30 as you leave the airport, so be sure you have a clear price agreement also with the driver before getting into the car, as the price quoted by the agent may not be what the driver is expecting. Metered taxis cost a similar amount. Each taxi company has a different meter rate, with smaller taxis usually being cheaper.

There are buses, shuttle buses and public buses to downtown too for the budget minded. Grab cars can also be booked, which are sometimes cheaper than a taxi, sometimes more expensive, depending on the time of day.
Hanoi airport to city center

Where to stay in Hanoi for poker, accomodation in Hanoi

There are hundreds of hotels in Hanoi and something for all budgets. I suggest you stay near the poker place for your first visit. Of course, you could stay further way for a cheaper or larger room.

Warning: Hanoi is in a noisy city. You should ask before booking about traffic noise, construction noise if you are a light sleeper.

Usually the poker tour will be able to recommend a hotel for players and often will offer discounts.

Airbnb in Hanoi

Airbnb also has options for Hanoi, with prices similar to hotels. Airbnbing allows you to get an apartment with kitchen too. Be warned, sometimes hosts use Airbnb just to advertise their room and any booking will get cancelled. Make private contact with the host and see what they have for you.

Warning on booking cancellations

In my experience, booking on Agoda or Airbnb etc often your booking will be confirmed only to be cancelled soon after with a message like no rooms available. The hosts use the sites as advertising, but prefer you contact them directly so they can avoid paying the platform fees. To avoid disappointment, book early, days or weeks before your poker trip.

Get around Hanoi: Walk, Taxi, Grab, Motorbike

Hanoi is not a walking friendly city. Pavements are poor, full of potholes, bikes and construction obstacles. Further, motorbikers follow their own rules and can turn up anywhere going any direction. Further, the rough air quality will leave your lungs exhausted if you walk around for longer. Crossing a road requires a special technique, similar to wading your way through a river of crocodiles. Here’s a guide.
Crossing the road in Hanoi

Hanoi by motorbike

The roads are crazy enough I highly recommend that you don’t rent a motorbike in Hanoi.

Hanoi by motorbike taxi

Motorbike taxis can be rented on Grab and other local apps for getting around. Always wear the helmet. You can also just find motorbike taxis around at intersections.

Hanoi by taxi

Fare starts at 8,000 to 15,000 VND, depending on size. All taxis are equipped with meters although some taxi companies are more expensive than others.

Hanoi by Grab

Grab car is probably the preferred way to get around. They are plentiful, easy to book and usually around the same price as a taxi anyway. Once you have a Grab driver you like, you could try to connect on Messenger for private deals if you are travelling somewhere further on occasion.

Taxation on poker earnings in Vietnam

In Vietnam, normal tournament rake is taken out. However, if you cash in a tournament, the cashier will also remove 10% “tax” on your profits. Your profit is the prize won minus the total of your buy-ins for that event. Whether or not this is a legal tax is debatable, but you cannot avoid paying it. If you cut a deal at final table, the distribution calculation is complicated by each person’s tax calculation.

Poker rooms in Hanoi Vietnam

This map shows the main poker rooms in Hanoi as of January 2023.

poker rooms Hanoi

Main poker rooms in Hanoi, Vietnam

Grand Loyal Poker Room

The Grand Loyal Poker room is well established in the 5-star Grande Vista hotel in central Hanoi. The host many tournaments including the Asian Poker Tour, and the World Poker Championships

Grand Loyal Poker Club in Hanoi

Grand Loyal Poker Club in Hanoi, Vietnam

Find detailed room reviews of the Grand Loyal Poker room here:
Poker room review: Grand Loyal Poker Room, Hanoi, Vietnam 2022
Grand Loyal Poker Club reviews on

Crown Poker Club

The Crown Poker Club is located in Hanoi and went into operation in March 2018. The room is open from 10AM to 11:30PM. Address: 214 Hao Nam, Cat Linh, Dong Da – Ha Noi. In 2022 and 2023 they hosted the WPT Prime tour. The room is walking distance from the Grand Loyal Poker Room.

WPT at Crown Poker Club Hanoi

Crown Poker Club Hanoi Vietnam

Crown Poker Club on Facebook website with schedules for tournaments.

Find detailed room reviews of the Crown Poker Club in Hanoi here:
Poker room review: Crown Poker Club Hanoi Vietnam 2022 updated
Poker room review: Crown Poker Club in Hanoi, Vietnam

Vietnam Series of Poker VSOP Poker Room

My favourite poker room in Hanoi is the VSOP Poker room. Terry, the owner, went to town to create an amazing poker experience for tournament players here. A definite visit while you are in town. VSOP is the Vietnam Series of Poker, which is the branding behind Vietnam’s major tournament series. VSOP hosts live poker tournaments and series around Vietnam mostly but has a relatively new room in Hanoi (2021) as their base, called VSOP Club. They have regular local series and also host major tours like the Asian Poker Tour.

VSOP Poker Club in Hanoi

VSOP Poker Club in Hanoi

Address: Tầng 6 Viet Tower Số 1 Thái Hà – Đống Đa – Hà Nội

VSOP poker Hanoi

VSOP logo

Find detailed room reviews of the VSOP Poker room in Hanoi here:
Vietnam poker review

Win Bridge & Poker Room

Like Aces Poker, WIN Poker Club is a physical poker room with physical location in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is the first of the current four poker clubs operating under the WIN Poker name in Vietnam, along with Da Nang, Vinh Phuc, and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Poker and Bridge Federation is in charge of overseeing its operations. Since cash games are not permitted in Vietnam, WIN Poker exclusively offers tournaments to its members who can choose from a variety of membership packages.

Facebook for Win Bridge and Poker

Other poker rooms and clubs in Hanoi

  • Alpha Poker Club in Hanoi. Facebook, Địa chỉ: Số 38 Bích Câu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội. Daily and weekly low buy-in poker tournaments.
  • Galaxy Poker Club in Hanoi, Facebook, Address: 139 Cầu Giấy, Hà Nội.
    Nơi tổ chức các giải đấu Poker chuyên nghiệp. Daily and weekly low buy-in poker tournaments.

Currency and banking in Hanoi

The Vietnamese dong (VND), Vietnam’s official currency, come in polymerized notes with multiple zeroes.

1 USD ~ 23,000 VND

When you buy-in or get paid out, usually you’ll receive bundles of VND200,000 or VND500,000.

Getting a grip on all those zeros can be challenging for the first-time visitor to Vietnam. With a little time and practice, buying and spending Vietnamese dong becomes second nature to the Vietnam visitor. Carrying all the piles after a big payout can be a nuisance and you might change to USD at the local bank or sell your dong to another player who’s looking to buy in.

Money exchange – You can do money exchange from all major currencies including USD, KRW, JPY at all the bank branches and at some money exchanges too.

ATMs in Hanoi – There are ATMs everywhere, however there is a low limit on each transaction and your foreign cards won’t always work. Just try another ATM. Foreign banks work more reliably. Near the VSOP room there is an HSBC ATM which works well for foreign cards. Also try Citibank or ANZ.

Credit cards – are widely accepted in Hanoi.

Open a bank account in Vietnam

Foreigners who are tourists might be able to open a local bank account in VND (depending on the bank, branch and your documents), but the bank account will not allow you to make deposits. The accounts are designed for bringing in foreign currency by wire transfer. You might like this if you plan on many trips to Vietnam, so you have your buy-in money safe and available. However, apparently there is a way in which a local friend can transfer VND from his account to yours via ATM, as a way of saving your prize money locally, ready for your next trip.

Power in Hanoi

Mostly you'll seed this kind of outlet

Mostly you’ll seed this kind of outlet

In Vietnam the power plugs and sockets are of type A, C and D. The standard voltage is 110 / 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If your device says something like “100-240, 50-60Hz”, it means it is compatible with all of different voltages used in the world, including Vietnam. You can use them anywhere as long as the plugs are also compatible.

Safety and dangers in Hanoi

Overall Vietnam is a safe country to travel in. Us poker players might be the danger!

Safety ranking of Vietnam compared to other countries

Vietnam is a safe country. Tourism is the main source of income for not only the governmental budget but private as well. So, the tourists’ security is number 1 priority. Vietnam is ranked 43rd out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

Disease and health

Common sense prevails: avoid mosquito bites, avoid street food, use protection during sexual activity and stay far away from poker tables full of coughing, sneezing nose-picking stinky belching gambling degenerates. For detailed advice, read here.

On your first trip to a new tropical country, it’s quite common that you’ll have some stomach bug. Often this is from parasites in water that you are not used to. You might get diarrhea or fever or cramping. If it doesn’t pass soon, consider treatment from the pharmacy to start.

Scams in Hanoi

In my previous trip I didn’t encounter nor hear of any scams. Hanoi is a rather safe city which is low on scams and crimes against foreigners. However, forewarned is forearmed. Read this link.

Internet access in Hanoi

You should have no problem with wifi in Hanoi, including the poker rooms. Very easy to stream netflix or download movies.

Wifi in poker rooms

All the poker rooms will provide you with internet access. However, when you attend a larger tournament, the hotel wifi might not have the capacity for so many people and speeds slow down.

Wifi in hotels

All hotels offer fast wifi in the rooms.

Mobile internet sim

Pick up a sim card at the airport with 4G and it will work well all around the city. I recommend Viettel with a one month SIM card with 4G. Mobile internet helps a lot with booking grabs and finding locations.


Hanoi has very fast internet speeds.

Laundry in Hanoi

Your hotel can handle it, or get a bag wash, dry and iron and one of the many local laundry shops – very cheap and usually take 1 day.

Awesome things to do in Hanoi on your day off from poker

You can do these things also after busting 3 or 4 in a row and cannot look at that poker room without crying.

Sites and places of interest in Hanoi

  • Museums: Vietnamese Women’s Museum, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Army Museum, Air Force Museum, National Museum of Vietnamese History, Museum of the Vietnamese Revolution
  • Temples, parks, Temple of Literature – Văn Miếu, Ngoc Son Temple, Bach Ma Temple, Hani Temple
  • Parks: Hoan Kiem Lake, Ho Tay – West Lake, Lenin Statue & Park, Ly Thai To Statue & Park
  • Wartime sites: Hoa Lo Prison (The Hanoi Hilton), B-52 Lake – Huu Tiep Lake, Downed Aircraft Memorial, Army Museum

Things to do in Hanoi

Visit the old quarter of Hanoi

  • Bia Hơi is abundant in the streets of the Old Quarter. At the crossing of Ta Hien and Luong Ngoc Quyen five separate venues fill up with travellers in the evenings, but you can get more local atmosphere on some of the side streets.
  • Hanoi is a lively city on the weekends, but the Old Quarter closes relatively early (at midnight) on weekdays, so you might want to start your night early. Other places outside the Old Quarter stay open later and vary in closing times.

Food and drink in Hanoi

Restaurants are all over the city and you’ll have plenty to explore.

Eating at night in Hanoi

Coffee in Hanoi

Oh, there is coffee everywhere you look. Find your favourite for take out to the poker room.

Languages in Hanoi

Hanoi has a dialect of Vietnamese. However, the city has a thriving overseas tourist market and most people in the service industry speak the necessary English, including at hotels. At some places, perhaps Chinese and Korean are spoken.

At the poker tables, usually both Vietnamese and English are accepted for the players. During major tournaments, you can expect English to be the common language of management, but the dealers typically will have limited English, unless they are from the Philippines.

Weather at Hanoi

From the rainfall chart below, you might like to avoid Hanoi during September to November.

Also, looking at the temperatures, January through to May is going to be more pleasant for outdoor activities, and May to August is the beach season.

Massage in Hanoi

No true poker player can do without massage, and you have so many choices in Hanoi. There are massage shops all over the city and densely in the tourist areas. Keep you valuables safe and on or near you.

You’ll find all types of massage including dry, shiatsu, Thai, oil, herbal and many more exotic massages. A professional massage in a fancy setting will cost you around US$20.

Even though there are “happy ending” massage places around, you can feel pretty confident that if your massage therapist is dressed in pants and a company-logo shirt, you’re going to receive a professional massage. If you’ve chosen a place where your therapist is wearing high heels and a miniskirt, I guess you must know what you’re doing. Also, erotic massage establishments usually look like private clubs from the outside.

Party, Nightlife in Hanoii

  • Beer Street – Ta Hien Street is the central heart of the party district in Hanoi. By 9pm the sidewalks are filled with the party going crowd drinking and eating outdoors at the local establishments. This is generally a good starting base if you are looking to party. Local bars pack the street and are largely irrelevant to know by name before arriving, as they are all packed in such close proximity on Ta Hien street that it is more sensible to simply go and choose a venue of your preference once you arrive.
  • Downtown Central Backpackers Hostel – Those who have traveled Vietnam are probably familiar with the reputation of “Central Backpackers” Hostel as a wildly popular and successful hostel brand that attracts and caters to young foreign travelers who want to mingle during the day and party really hard at night.
  • In the area between Ta Hien and Downtown Central Packpackers are four major bars/clubs that are ultimately the destination of anyone who isn’t at the above locations.
  • Lighthouse and Tom’s Bar, which are both open very late into the night.
  • Full-on disco clubs. The most popular clubs are The Bank, Lift, Infinity, and Rooftop, and all can be found through Google searches and are located roughly south of the Lake.

Foreigner friendly

Hanoi is refreshingly open to tourists from all countries and backgrounds. Service staff are usually courteous and patient with tourists and will often go out of their way to help you as best they can. Oftentimes, if you are struggling with communicating or paying for example, a local will voluntarily lend a hand. However, most locals are quite friendly and almost always willing to help (even when they do not speak English).

Adult entertainment in Hanoi

Read this blog for some ideas on how to meet your off-the-felt needs. Hanoi is quite an open-minded city.

Gay life in Hanoi

Hanoi has a thriving gay scene. I don’t know about a gay poker player niche however. Try this guide:

Romance in Hanoi

Your best bet is online. Try VietnamCupid and DateinAsia, and of course tinder and other dating apps.

Drugs in Hanoi

Alcohol and tobacco are legal and plentiful but other recreational drugs are illegal. Do not do illegal drugs in Vietnam and definitely do not ask around for the plentiful supply of weed and other substances because you might just find what you are looking for.

Smoking cigarettes in Hanoi

Most poker rooms have no smoking in the main poker playing area. Some of the poker rooms permit smoking around the hallway or fire escape. Smoking outside is common throughout the city.

Nearby cities and towns

Consider a cruise in the northern countryside. A round trip will bring you to a lot of charming villages and through hills and valleys with stunning nature.

  • Ha Long Bay‘s spectacular ocean karst topography is the most popular side-trip from Hanoi. A 2 day, 1 night Ha Long Bay cruise could be bargained down to USD45 at travel agencies.
  • The Sapa mountain region, home to ethnic minorities, gorgeous mountain scenery, and trekking paths connecting many tiny mountain villages is the second most popular trip.
  • Ha Giang is also a mountainous area with even more impressive landscape than Sapa. There aren’t many tours to Ha Giang, so most travelers have to figure out their own ways.
  • Perfume Pagoda, Tours are available anywhere in Hanoi. An ancient Buddhist pilgrimage site about 60km southwest of Hanoi.
  • Bat Trang, a village world-famous for its pottery, 9km southeast of Hanoi.
  • Cao Bang, featuring the beautiful Ban Gioc waterfall, is five hours away by bus, near the Chinese border.
  • The Cuc Phuong National Park, the largest national park in Vietnam and an easy day-trip from Hanoi,
  • Co Loa is the oldest ancient capital in the region; a little visited site slightly northeast of Hanoi.
  • Tam Coc/Hoa Lu: Located in Ninh Binh province, this day trip is a combines heritage tourism and natural landscape tourism.

Nearby countries to Hanoi

You ought to consider these nearby locations on your poker travels: Manila (cash games and tournaments) (2.5 hour flight), Japan, South Korea (cash games and tournaments), Phnom Penh (cash games mostly) and Bangkok (not for the poker though). Laos: You can go to Luang Prabang for 42$ but this trip is know as a “nightmare bus”.