Gambling is restricted in Vietnam. A government resolution allows Vietnamese aged 21 or older with a good legal and financial record to enter casinos from December 2017, but they are limited to a number of places. Moreover, Vietnamese are also allowed to play the lottery or bet at the horse racing track in Ho Chi Minh City.
Poker is legal in Vietnam. The Ministry of Home Affairs has licensed a Bridge and Poker Association, and many cities and provinces have established their own clubs. But in this context, Poker Cash Games are generally prohibited. However, many Poker rooms have opened in recent years in Vietnam, basing their business model on tournaments.
Vietnam has produced a very nice roster of Viet Kieu professional poker players (Vietnamese descent but born or lived overseas) such as Scotty Nguyen, Men “The Master” Nguyen, as well as others, including a lot of good online players as well.
Online Poker: Access to all major sites
Live Poker: No Cash Game in most venues
Casinos with Poker:
– Casinos & Poker Rooms in Vietnam –
The Pro Poker Club in Ho Chi Minh City is currently one of the most prestigious Poker clubs in Vietnam, and the host venue for most major international tournaments. Read More …
Opened in 2017, the Airport Poker Club, as the name suggests, is located close to the Tan Son Nhat Airport of Ho Chi Minh City. Read More …
The Crown Poker Club has opened its door in 2018 in the city center of Hanoï. Read more …
The Diamond Bridge & Poker Club is located in the 3rd largest city of Vietnam, Hai Phong. Read More …
The Imperial Poker Club offers tournaments on a daily basis in the District 2 of Ho Chi Minh City. It is opened since 2018 and popular amongst expatriates. Read More …
Khanh Pokerface Poker Club is located in the district 7 of Ho Chi Minh City. Read More …
Thai Nguyen Poker Club is located 70km North of Hanoï in the City of Thai Nguyen. It reopened in August 2018. Read More …
Victorious Poker Club is located in the District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. It offers a large quantity of tournaments. Read More …
You can find VStar Bridge & Poker Club in the city of Hanoi. Read More …
Win Poker Club Danang is not allowed to hold cash games in the premises but local citizens of Vietnam & foreigners are allowed to join its daily tournaments. Read More …
Win Poker Hanoi is not allowed to hold cash games in the premises but local citizens of Vietnam & foreigners are allowed to join its daily tournaments. Read More …
– Playing Live Poker in Vietnam –
Live Poker Legislation in Vietnam
The laws of Vietnam are based upon the stakes (Article 248 and 249 of the Penal Code), with the first level concerning very small stakes and social gambling, which involves a small fine and being essentially put on probation.
Being caught winning or losing between 2 million and 50 million VND (about $90 to about $2200) involves a more serious crime, where the fines go up, the probation is longer, and there is also a risk of jail time. Those sentenced to this must report to the relevant authorities as instructed. They must also remain in their district and report any change of residence and employment.
The third level is for those who have won or lost over 50 million VND (about $2200). There is a minimum three years in prison for this one which can be extended to up to 7 years, in addition to being fined (3 million to 30 million Dong). This also applies if you are a professional gambler or have been found to be operating a gambling establishment.
Then again, those apply to Cash Games. More and more tournaments are taking place on a daily basis in Vietnam, especially in its major Cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Nha Trang… not mentioning international competitions such as the APT, the APL and the WPT, where locals can participate.
Live Poker Venues in Vietnam
You can now find live Poker in Poker Rooms & Clubs throughout the country, but mostly in tournament forms. Cash Games are available in Nha Trang as it is a tourist destination; however, it remains illegal in the rest of the country. Clubs that do not respect this rule face serious consequences; with some having been raided by the police, catching both foreigners and nationals red-handed.
The same goes for the many private games taking place in Vietnam. Some look like real casinos, raking in thousands of dollars per week, but they eventually get busted.
Currently, the biggest events mainly took place in Ho Chi Minh City at the Pro Poker Club. Many other clubs offer an interesting choice of tables and tournament formats, often with free rolls and overlays to attract a new public.
– Playing Online Poker in Vietnam –
Online Poker Legislation in Vietnam
Gambling in Vietnam is restricted but not completely outlawed. There are no IPs blocked for Online Poker in Vietnam. You have access to all major poker sites.
However, restrictions on deposits from local banks or with local credit card can exist. It is then harder to move money in and out of online poker sites.
That being said, there are a couple of Vietnamese online wallets that can be used (Baokim, EntroPay, Skrill…). There are even Vietnamese online poker websites such as ThanPoker that operate who have partnerships with the largest Vietnamese banks: Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), Sacombank, DongABank, Vietinbank and Vietcombank.
Recommended Online Poker Websites
– More about Poker in Vietnam –
Gaming had always been in the bloodstream of the Vietnamese but the love for poker started with the “Việt Kiều”, Vietnamese who fled the country after the fall of Saigon in the 70s. A lot of the “Việt Kiều” settled in the West Coast of the US and got exposed to game. It was love at first sight and this love had resulted in some of the best players of poker in the world like Scotty Nguyen, Men “The Master” Nguyen, J.C. Tran, and Nam Le just to name a few.
After the Doi Moi, which were economic reforms made during the 80s, some of these poker playing Việt Kiều returned home and brought their knowledge of the game with them. But with Gambling laws still being stringent on the locals, only 2 casinos offered the game of poker, and only with electronic tables which took out the social and psychological strategy of the game.
The Grand Ho Tram Strip
A breakthrough happened when The Grand Ho Tram Strip, in cooperation with the World Gaming Group (WGG), opened a poker room which offered cash games with starting limits of $1/$2. Local poker players became more hopeful when, in May 2015, the Asian Poker Tour (APT) brought their brand to the country and held a tournament for both locals and foreigners. For the first time, the community enjoyed and played in an international poker circuit. But all hopes for a budding poker scene were dashed when The Grand Ho Tram Strip ended their agreement with WGG resulting in the cancellation of the 2nd APT Vietnam supposed to be held on November 2015. To make matters worse, New World Hotel had stopped its electronic poker tables making poker almost non-existent in the country.
That is until July 2016 when Aces Poker Club, the very first brick & mortar poker room, in the country opened its doors. Like a breath of fresh air, the Vietnamese poker community had once again been revived.
This time, their future seems brighter and with the recent news of Poker King Club announcing its imminent arrival to the beaches of Vietnam, poker players have something to look forward to in this part of the peninsula.
Article by Gabrielle Ruiz-Barredo