Gambling in China is absolutely illegal. This has been reinforced by President Xi Jinping in 2014 when he declared war on gambling which has affected the whole of the mainland as well as its SARs like Macau & Hong Kong.
However, as gambling is in the culture of the Chinese, locals have found means and ways to be able to gamble without having to violate the law. This especially holds true for the game of poker.
Although poker cash games are illegal in the country, operators and organizers have been innovative in their offerings of poker tournaments to address the growing population of poker players in the country. It is not unheard of to find legal poker rooms in Beijing or Shanghai running tournaments that offer goods that can be converted to cash as prizes.
And because of this strategy, China has been able to hold some of the biggest tournaments in the region. Becoming quite popular as a poker destination is the island of Sanya, a beach paradise found in the southernmost part of the Hainan province. Due to its tropical weather, Sanya has been the venue of most of the poker tournaments held in China. It has hosted tournaments like the WPT, APT and the China Poker Games Event. Tournaments like this also bolster tourism for Sanya which China is promoting as a tourist destination.
Because of the government’s strict rules on gambling, numerous unauthorized games do happen but farther away from the metropolis and far from the eagle eyes of the police. It is said that the more luscious games have moved to Changsa in the Hunan province. The games there are said to be so profitable that it has been named “Little Macau.” But the risks of getting caught in an illegal game are high in China with the penalty of grave fines and imprisonment.
Online gambling is also illegal in China, making online poker games essentially dead in the country. Despite this, players have found ways and means to play online. And online operators are becoming more innovative in their offerings by not having “real money” transactions but instead use alternatives that can be converted to cash.
Article by Gabrielle Barredo
Population: 1,5 billions
Calling code: +86
Time zone: (UTC +7)
Online rooms: Access to all major poker sites
Internet: Average quality with foreign websites due to greatwall firewall. Sites like Facebook, Youtube, etc are blocked and need a VPN to access.
Live poker: Foreigners are chinese are allowed to enter in legal poker clubs which are few in China.
Online poker: No regulation. No Restriction
Online Payment: Skrill, Neteller & paysafecard