Poker is definitely booming in Vietnam with regulation of poker rooms being pushed forward by the government. Somuchpoker.com has taken the opportunity to have a chat with Mr. Van, president of Win Poker Club, to see what’s happening in his poker rooms as well as get a better understanding of the poker scene in the country.
1) Can you introduce Win Poker Club to our readers?
Let me tell you about Win Poker Club.
Win Poker Club was the very first poker room in Vietnam that was given a legal license to operate by the Bridge & Poker Association. It was established in Hanoi.
After only 6 months of operation, Win Poker Club had grown so fast. We have hired more than 100 employees and have accumulated over 2,000 members in a short span of time.
Win Poker Club is truly the best choice for poker in the country because of the mission and vision that we have to push the game in Vietnam. Our mission is to lead the poker industry in the country by providing professional service, good infrastructure and ensuring that the game continues to exist and is available to players throughout the country. With this in mind, we are opening our 2nd club in Da Nang. We will keep you updated as we are sure there are more surprises and announcements to come….
2) What are the games currently offered in your Club?
We offer the following tournaments, events and promos:
– Daily & Weekly tournaments
Scheduled tournaments in various formats run daily and weekly, with buy-ins ranging from 10$ to 100$.
– Sit & Go Tournament&Headsup match (On Demand)
A SnG tournament can be requested by a group of players (9-max). A heads-up match (2 Players) can also be accommodated with 1 dealer and TD (to be provided for by the club).
– Livestream with hole-cards for big events
We are also the first and only poker club in Vietnam that has Live Stream technology for big events. The videos can be viewed on Win’s YouTube channel.
– Jackpot Prizes
We are also the very first club to offer a Bad Beat Jackpot. A minimum of Quads qualify for the jackpot.
– Player ranking
On a weekly and monthly basis, we will be awarding the Top 3 finishers on our player ranking list.
– Our special events on weekends include Sunday Million & Micro Million Events.
3) Can you give us more details about the membership application process in your Club? Are both foreigners and locals welcome?
Players must be above 18 years old to be able to join our tournaments. The registration is straight and simple. Members are only required to have a valid ID then we will be able to process their registration in 5 minutes. There will also be a one-time membership fee of 20,000 VND (ed : 1$) for printing the membership card.
After registration, players can join our tournaments by going to our cashier which accepts both cash & credit card payments.
Foreigners are welcome to our club. Our Tournament Director and dealers are well trained and experienced to serve international customers.
At the moment, about 5% of our patrons are foreigners but the numbers are increasing day by day.
4) Can you give us more details about the legal process involved in setting up a poker club in Vietnam?
The process of setting up a club in Vietnam is now more regulated than before. Our government has set a standard procedure for proprietors to follow. Because the rules have been established, the process is more straightforward and more clubs are opening now throughout the country.
This has helped create a new wave of players and has helped boost the popularity of the game. But what I think is most important is for club owners to gain greater knowledge of the industry. I have seen many clubs opening without truly understanding the business. Because of this, they do not know how to create professional events for the players. These clubs are having difficulty getting players at the moment because competition is fierce.
On the other hand, we see other clubs opening with a more professional approach. This has given them good results in the last few months and has helped build the poker community in Vietnam.
As you may have seen, there were very few Vietnamese players that have joined regional poker events in the past years. But this year, there are more players participating in Asian events and some have performed really well with significant results.
5) We have recently seen several Vietnamese newspapers publishing critical articles about the development of poker clubs like yours. What are your thoughts on it?
Actually poker tournaments are very new to Vietnam and its press. Although the business model has been accepted and given a license by the government, the local authorities and high level management still monitor these clubs and its activities tightly.
In our club, we follow the regulations of the Poker Vietnam Association and adhere to the requirements of the local authorities strictly. The government and local police have sent an inspection team to our club numerous times to make an audit of our operations. And each time, we get their approval.
If we have done anything wrong, as the press says, then we should have been closed down by the government already.
As I mentioned above, this is a new industry and it’s very new to the press. So I understand their concern but I believe this will change soon.
6) We have seen in Hanoi several clubs opening, but some of them are now already closed. What do you feel about the current competition between clubs in the city? How do you try to differentiate your club from the other venues?
As I’ve mentioned, there are 4 key points for a club to succeed: Quality of service, industry knowledge, location and infrastructure.
Some of these new clubs are not so serious about their investments and they lack knowledge of the industry. This has led to their failure because they don’t have good infrastructure and they cannot provide quality service. It is very difficult for them to keep the players that come to their clubs.
In Hanoi, I see 3 clubs in stiff competition. But as the market becomes bigger every day, the room for each club to develop is also getting wider. The poker community now has only about 300-500 regular players but we are seeing a big wave of new players coming in.
In our club, we aim to be the leader in this industry, not just in Hanoi, but in Vietnam as a whole. We are expanding our operations throughout the country and, very soon, we will have our presence in major cities.
The key difference between our club and others is the quality of service and the know-how of this industry. We are the 1st and only club that has successfully created a joint event with an international partner i.e.BOYAA Texas Poker. You can expect more events like this coming later this year.
We are also the 1st and only club to have live stream technology which we developed ourselves for our special events.
Recently we have launched our 3 main live streamed events which include the Sunday Million, Micro Million and High Roller Championship. All of them are very successful and they have made a big mark on the poker community in the North.
7) What are the next events planned at Win Poker Club?
We have just opened our new club in Da Nang city. With the capacity of 140 players and located right in front of Da Nang beach, our new venue will be a point destination for all local players from the city and for tourist & foreign players.
We have spent a lot of effort to set the club up as the most professional and beautiful poker room in Vietnam. And the results are amazing. You can check the pictures of the room out here. I believe, our poker room provides the best view as compared to all other poker rooms in South East Asia.
With our new venue in place, we are now planning to have our biggest national event by the end September.
This event will bring all players from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang to join in a multi-day tournament. The final day will be held in Da Nang along with many other side events to make it the biggest poker festival in Vietnam.
8) What is your personal view on the Vietnamese Poker Scene? What future do you see for the game in the country?
I see a very bright future for the Poker community in Vietnam. Now that the law is official, many clubs are opening. Many new players will come and existing players will have the time to improve their skills through daily tournaments.
Recently I’ve seen many Vietnamese players take down big prizes in the Asian Poker Tour (APT) and in PokerStars Live events. I believe and hope that this trend will continue and bring more success to the Vietnamese poker community.
Our aim is to bring the big events like APT and PokerStars to Vietnam and introduce them to Vietnamese players. Right now we will make our success through single events like the one with Boyaa. But when the time comes and our government opens the policy for foreign organizations to enter, we will be ready.