Taipei poker players travel guide
Check out my travel guide for Taipei here!
I think the players are Taipei are some of the toughest in Asia. They study hard and play hard. They eat GTO for breakfast and paint their houses color bluff. Be ready to be challenged.
Where is the CTP Poker Room?
The CTP poker room is in the heart of Taipei city. You can get there by taxi from anywhere in the city or by the subway, which has stops nearby. Taipei is a very walkable city too, with wide, usually covered sidewalks. To enter, you need to go down some stairs to the basement level.
Address: B1F., No.32, Sec. 3, Bade Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei City 105, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
To explain a Taipei address:
Taiwan is the country
Taipei city is the city (New Taipei City is the outer area of Taipei)
Songshan is the district
Bade Road is the road
Section 3. Long roads are divided into sections
Number 32 is the location on the road
B1F means basement floor 1
Most taxi drivers can accept the address written in English.
*Alert, in 2019, pre-pandemic, the management were in process of moving to a nearby larger location. These plans were put on hold but might come back soon.
Also, you can message on Facebook.
CTP Poker room websites
History of the CTP Club
The CTP Poker Club was established in 2015. The club has 9 branches around Taiwan.
The biggest one is in the middle of the capital city Taipei, Taiwan, and can easily accommodate 250 players at the same time. All the international poker tournaments are played at the CTP Poker Club in Taipei City.
Cash poker games or tournaments at CTP?
The CTP management have worked hard for years with the Taiwan government to present poker as a mind sport, rather than a form of gambling. Gambling in Taiwan is mostly illegal. To date, the work has been successful, and live poker tournaments are fully legal at the CTP. There are no cash games to speak of there. Furthermore, during my visits, on several occasions teams of police have swept the premises checking player IDs to ensure there are no criminal elements lurking. At first I was put off by this, but later I appreciated the extra safety of having the room policed. The police don’t push foreigners too much for ID, but having your passport on hand will ensure no problems.
Ask around, and players might invite you to home games (so I’ve heard) for cash but probably they need to feel the trust vibe with you first considering home games are illegal in Taiwan.
Tournament schedule at CTP Poker Club
The CTP poker room offers tournaments for all buy-ins and players of all types from beginners to international pros.
- There are daily tournaments that run reliably. Buy-ins range from NT800 to NT3000 more or less. These are small buy-ins but the games are still taken seriously.
- The standard series is called the Taiwan Millions, or TMT. These series are designed for local players but all are welcome. The main event has buy-in around TWD8000 (~US$250) and a high-roller for around TWD20,000 (Under US$1000)
- The more serious and higher buy-in series are called Championship series. There seems to be a few of these each year.
- CTP also actively engage with many international poker brands including the Asian Poker Tour, the World Poker tour and others. These are the times worth travelling to Taipei for live poker tournament action.
International Poker Tours at the CTP poker club
The management are very engaged with the regional and international poker community. They’ve, in just a few years, put Taipei on the international map for poker.
I’ve enjoyed playing the Asian Poker Tour and the World Poker tour there. Sometimes they even have back to back tours, making visiting all the more worthwhile.
What currencies does CTP Club accept?
The national currency is the New Taiwan Dollar (NTD). This is also called the Taiwan Dollar (TWD). NTD = TWD same thing. Currency conversion from USD here. Typically 1 USD = 30 TWD
You can exchange money at any bank. The room might take your USD too and exchange them back with your winnings.
Management of CTP Poker Club
David is the owner and he puts his heart and soul into this business. He has a tight-knit management crew and loyal dealers. Everyone is well trained and professional, without exception. Management are very approachable for any problems or ideas.
Comfort? Lighting? Sound? Screens? Chairs? Tables?
Generally the room is comfortable for playing. Lighting is fine, although it is mostly a dim room with blackened ceilings and walls. Sometimes there is music playing, sometimes now. A gym next door seems to be an annoying duff-duff source. The tables are fine. The chairs are a little on the rigid side for me, so I often bring a pillow. One are that could be improved is fresh air. During major tournaments, the room is crowded and can fill with a sweaty smell. Perhaps equipment needs more frequent wiping down.
Can you breathe at CTP?
There is absolutely no smoking in the room, although the air does become dank when the room is crowded all day. They’ll set up fans to help when the a/c buckles.
Smokers go the street mostly.
Size of the CTP Poker room
The room is large, and all tables are in the same room. I estimate over 20 tables can run at once.
Cheating and collusion
Generally, the players play to win. They are a serious crowd who study the game hard and enjoy challenging their friends. Now, the locals do know each others’ playing style inside out, so often quick folds will look like collusion, but usually it’s just accurate ranging. Like any local poker room, some soft play will occur, especially in low buy-in tournaments.
There was an instance when players watching a final table stream, raised eyebrows at what looked like collusion. Management investigated and found enough evidence. Those players were punished, prize monies redistributed and the incident made public. I take my hat off to the management for handling the situation seriously and for making game integrity a priority. That’s the only time I’ve seen such professional management who care about the game integrity so much anywhere in Asia. Well done CTP!
Dealers at CTP Poker Room
They are well groomed and polite. They know the rules and enforce most of them. They are fast too. Great dealers all-round.
Floor rulings and fairness at CTP
I’ve never had a problem with any floor rulings at CTP.
Payouts and cashing out
The front desk does all the payouts on the spot. There isn’t even a cage, to give you an idea of how safe the room is.
The local players very much enjoy the socializing and there is a club atmosphere amongst some of the players. But at times, the room quietens and it is down to business. A comfortable mix of enjoyment and concentrating.
Attitudes to foreigners
I’ve felt very welcome to play, to lose, to win, to socialize at CTP. I have a mild sense that some players might play more aggressive toward me, for reasons unknown. Generally, I also felt that all rulings were made without bias to my background.
I will say however, if as a foreigner you somehow pick on a local, they will defend their own, like most people will. For example, I can table some talk in a heads up situation, and one time, some other players rushed to the defence of the poor victim (who actually started the table talk but picked the wrong guy!).
Women can win at CTP
This room, and most of Taiwan society for that matter, is welcoming to female participation. I’ve met many women playing at CTP, locals, Japanese and other foreigners and they all seem comfortable and enjoying the games.
Language and English at the CTP Poker Club
Taiwan has various languages. The main language spoker is Mandarin, which is the standard dialect of Chinese. Some nationals also speak Taiwanese and other Chinese dialects. In the poker community, many people can speak English too, although they may be shy to do so.
The staff at CTP Poker room speak enough English so that you register and explain any problems during gameplay. Some players will enjoy engaging with you in English.
The dealers will usually automatically make announcements in English if there is a foreigner at the table, and certainly you request counts etc in English.
In summary, there is no language barrier for English speakers.
Food and drinks from outside welcome
The room sells water, drinks and there is a coffee machine that makes a great cup! The room does not sell food however. Nearby there are countless food vendors, including convenient stores, coffee shops and restaurants. The room supports you bringing in takeout or ordering online. They have trolley tables for your convenience.
Drink alcohol while playing poker at CTP Club
Generally the locals do not drink alcohol while playing. Nevertheless, if you want to get tipsy you could find a drinking partner and the players will not mind at all as long as you don’t get rowdy.
There are plenty of bars in the area too that you can visit after your play.
Safety at CTP Poker Club
I’ve played at the CTP over 20 times, and I have always felt 100% safe there. I’ve never witnessed any physical violence at all and rarely is there a heated argument. I heard a story of an outsider popping in to snatch bags and so now all the players are vigilant about leaving bags unattended.
Also, the tournaments are legal and supported by the government so there is no risk of raids.
Nearby to the CTP Club
Check out my travel guide for Taipei here! Within walking distance, you can find:
- Awesome cafes for eating, coffee, people watching or hacking away on your laptop.
- Convenience stores that have the best food of any I’ve seen.
- All kinds of take out food, including noodles, soups, rice dishes, sushi, burgers etc.
- People everywhere, shopping, strolling, eating
The CTP poker room is in a very convenient location for everything.
Taxation on winnings
There is no tax withheld at all for anyone on your winnings.
Summary of CTP Poker Club in Taipei
Overall, I’ll give this room 4.5 stars for live tournament action. Coupled with a modern, affordable and interesting city, I’d give it 5 stars. I highly recommend travel to CTP Poker Club as part of your poker travels.