Guide to Asian Poker Destinations - TAIPEI

Taipei has burst into the poker scene as one of the main stops on almost all Asian poker series. In 2019 alone I have traveled to Taiwan at least 5 times with another visit scheduled for December. Poker is definitely booming here and with Macau seemingly severing all ties with Poker, Taiwan is fast becoming a poker hot spot.

Taipei 101 tall building

However this guide is not about the poker here, it’s more about the destination. Taipei is a beautiful city with a well-balanced culture and lifestyle. Despite being a highly populated city, it does not have a lot of dense accommodation. There are parks every other block, and strong emphasis on recycling and cleanliness, it is a very green city. After a long day of poker, or like me, stone bubbling the High Rollers, I love to rent a city bike and ride around in the cool night breeze. It costs less than USD 1 to rent it, and you can park it at any bike stop and not worry about anyone stealing it. I rode it a lot from the poker room back to my hotel and if you ride for less than 5 minutes it’s free. There are bike kiosks everywhere so you can drop it off at your destination.

Bicycle around Taipei

I’m an outdoorsy person, however most poker destinations are usually big congested cities far away from nature. I just visited a random community park in Taipei and I saw 6 or 7 squirrels running around on the trees. Taipei zoo is also amazing. Only USD 2 for a world class zoo, it is amazing value and one of the best zoos I have been to regardless of price. Jiufen and Shifen are just an hour away and Beitou hot springs too. The hike up Elephant Mountain is also not to be missed. Super nice views of Taipei 101 and the city.

Public park in Taipei with squirrel

Don’t get me started on Taiwanese food. Although to be honest, after 5 visits in a year, each time staying minimum a week, I am losing interest in eating the same things over and over again. However for someone visiting Taiwan for the first time, you will love it. Notable recommendations are Jinfeng Braised Pork rice (must try the duck eggs), Ay-Chung Flour Rice noodles (that’s how they spell their own name), Yamatoya Ramen (in case you crave Japanese food) and Sushi Express (for super great value only USD 1 per plate).

Lastly I am quite impressed with the Taiwanese culture. Probably second in the world to Japan but a more laid back version. Generally the culture is friendly, polite and well-mannered. Children are brought up properly, respecting of elders, no cutting of queues, or speaking loudly in public spaces, etc.

Overall Taipei is a great place to come for poker tournaments. Only complaint for me is no legal cash games and the players are too fishy! (just kidding)