International players give poker in Taiwan a thumbs up

Due to the lack of information online, players may not be aware that poker is very alive and growing in Taiwan. While covering the GPL China Season 2 Taiwan Tour & Master Poker Series festival these past days, Somuchpoker discovered that several poker rooms exist in Taipei and in other cities around the country. Only tournament poker is offered; cash games are illegal with laws similar to Vietnam and China.

Poker is booming in Taipei
Poker is booming in Taipei

2018 has already seen three international brands host events in the country, all of them at the Chinese Texas Hold’em Poker Association (CTP) poker room in Taipei. The All Japan Poker Circuit was the first to visit in August followed by PPPoker, and J88 Poker. J88 Poker drew a field of 360 entries amassing the largest-ever seen Main Event prize pool in Taiwan of over NTD 6.3 Million (~US$204,000).

Since poker players are always seeking out new markets and destinations, we thought it would be interesting to hear what a few international players had to say of their experience in Taiwan.

Ray Chiu from Hong Kong on his nth visit to Taiwan:

“Last year, Sparrow ran into David Tai in Macau – owner of CTP – and found out that surprisingly they have poker in Taiwan. They were going to have an event called the Taiwan Millions and Sparrow asked if I wanted to go. So I grabbed a few players, counting myself 6 of us came. It wasn’t in Taipei at the time, they were in Chung Li. We even communicated with them prior and had a Hong Kong versus Taiwan tiny tournament. We had a blast. The buy-ins were lower than what we were used to in Macau but everything was great. The tournaments were well run, Taiwanese people are exceedingly nice, the food is great. The cost is reasonable. So from there, we continued to come. The second time we came we grew to 15 people and then more tournaments were happening like the AJPC, PPPoker, and recently J88. For J88 I think 40 of us were here from Hong Kong. At the beginning, I pushed for Taiwan really hard. I enjoyed it here I wanted people to come but for J88, I didn’t even do anything. People already knew and spread the word to others in Hong Kong. Right now it’s a pretty big step up too. This is a great location in the center of Taipei, they are up to 25 tables, brightly lit room, and an excellent streaming table. Very convenient for everything. I can safely say HKPPA members are in love with Taiwan poker and CTP.”

Danny Tang from Hong Kong:

“It’s my first time to play poker here. It was quite a rush for me to come directly from Prague to Taiwan. To come with a bunch of friends to play a team event for a brand like GPL (Global Poker League), it’s an honor. I enjoy Taiwan. The place, the people, the food is great, the living expenses are really low. So for people who want to experience overseas tournaments, travel on a short weekend getaway, I definitely recommend coming to Taiwan.”

Yuri Ishida from Japan:

“This is my second time to come to Taiwan to play poker. The first time was for the AJPC Taiwan event in August. The AJPC president asked me to join the GPL teams event so I also came this time. It is very easy to travel from Japan to here, it is near and cheap. The Taiwanese players are also very kind to the Japanese. I like Taiwan. I will be back to play the events next year.”

Mark Gruendemann from Ireland – 6 year Taiwan resident:

“Tournament poker here started only around 6-7 months ago. I’m sure there were smaller tournaments before but marketed more to the locals, no international events. The first one was the AJPC in August this year. So when I found out about it, I went. Then this new room opened in Taipei and from there, tournament poker just exploded. I attended PPPoker and J88 Poker after that. There seems to be a big one planned now every six weeks. But even if it was an international event, the fields were made up of I’d say 90 percent Taiwanese. The market is quite big. A lot of the good Hong Kong players have gotten behind it too. Every tournament there’s at least 15 of them. It’s really just a great place to play poker. It’s developed so it is up there with places like Seoul and Tokyo. It’s not expensive to get here either. And it is only tournament poker here. So they are really good tournament players.”

Willy Doorman on doing research for Somuchpoker:

“I had a hard time finding information on poker in Taiwan on the internet for my research. When I type on Google in english, I only found information like poker is illegal there. Which is actually completely wrong! There are a tons of poker clubs in Taipei and other cities. I took a foot to the 3 main clubs in the city and I was really amazed on what I found. Every evening you can find tournaments quite cheap from 10$ to 50$ with locals which are very friendly. The thing which surprised me the most is they are not like the usual poker clubs with open entry with advertisement. Instead you go to a building which looks like an usual building with offices in every floor. You take an elevator to the 3rd or 4th floor and tada…a room with 20 poker tables is in front of you. And all of that is completely legal with appropriate licence.”

Upcoming festivals

Two big events have already been announced at the CTP room in Taipei with more in the works throughout the year. The fifth edition of the Taiwan Millions Tournament takes place from January 16 to 27. The Main Event comes with a guaranteed NTD 2,000,000 (~US$65,000). Then on February 20 to March 3, the Asian Poker Tour hosts APT Taiwan. Full schedule to be announced.

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Somuchpoker’s main goal is to provide the latest poker news and information from around the world, with greater focus on the happenings in the Asian Market. More about Somuchpoker's newsroom.

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