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The 3 Strangest Gambling Games Originating in Asia!

Updated: 21.02.2022


And yet, as far as casino games in general go, compared to most, it’s pretty ordinary. In fact, some experts on the field say it’s downright predictable. And we are inclined to agree, as rarely which popular casino game is more predictable than Blackjack. Well, perhaps those who’ve played Roulette would beg to differ. Many say it takes first place in being the most predictable.

Now don’t get us wrong or anything, we’re not trying to be haters. In fact, we’ve played practically any and all casino games out there at least once before we make our judgment. And we’re by no means writing off Blackjack as something overrated. We are simply saying that it is just so super-familiar, no matter the location: Las Vegas, Macau, or any other. But it is exactly that kind of familiarity which players may find comforting, trusting in their polished skills and whatnot.

Be that as it may, the truth is, most of us are limiting ourselves by playing the same old games. That’s why we’d like to divert your attention onto something which is not that well known at North American casinos. You can usually find them in Macau, among other places – they are, after all, Asian gambling games. The three we are going to discuss below are definitely not the only ones, but we personally find them the most interesting. You may just learn something new!

1. Pai Gow Poker

This type of poker is absolutely a hit among any and all Asian casino players. It is also fairly easy to learn, no overly complicated stuff. We shall try our best here to explain it. The goal of this gambling game is to make 2 hands, both of which rank higher than the 2 of the banker. You will have a ‘high hand’, which is made up of 5 cards, as well as a ‘low hand’, which is made up of 2 cards.

As we said, both of these hands of yours have to rank higher than the ones of the dealer, in order for you to come out the winner in this game. Furthermore, you should know that this game also offers plenty of betting opportunities of all kinds, largely due to the fact in you having the option of ‘banking bets’ against any other players at your table. And yes, this even includes the dealer, which makes this rarely-known Asian gambling game all that more exciting and fun!


2. Pai Gow Tiles

Next up, we have something which shares its name with the first game we discussed, Pai Gow Poker, only this time, it’s Pai Gow Tiles. And believe us, if you try the first and discover that it suits your particular fancy, you will absolutely adore Pai Gow Tiles as well!

Much like the shared name, the goal of this gambling game is pretty much the same. Meaning, the player will need to create 2 hands that both outrank the two hands of the banker. The key difference in comparing the two is that here, instead of cards, the player will be dealt with tiles!

Now, this can be either a bad or a good thing, depending on the player him-or-herself. You see, some players love card games and find them easy, while others find them rather difficult, or even confusing. On the other hand, there are those who prefer to play with tiles when gambling, in contrast to those who find card games to be the better option. The reason the latter think so is usually that they are not fans of counting the dots or figuring out the points, for that matter.

In this specific gambling game, the player will be dealt with four tiles. Then their job will consist of placing two tiles together and thus, creating a hand. 4 tiles – two hands, the logic is simple here. There is also a ‘low hand’ and a ‘high hand’, precisely like in Pai Gow Poker. As for the dots, they denote a certain value, with each of the two hands essentially being assigned a certain number of points.

As we said, tiles can be more confusing for some, and admittedly we also found it a bit puzzling at the very start. But you can rest assured that once you get the hang of it, it will be as if you’ve played it your entire life! It is truly more straightforward than it may appear at first.

3. Chinese Fan-Tan

Last but by no means least, we have something for you called Chinese Fan-Tan. The chances of you seeing this game at a North American casino are doubtful, at best. But hey, who knows what might happen in the near future? And you are sure to stumble upon it at a casino in Asia. In this gambling game, a square is marked right in the center of the table, usually in the shape of a metal, cubed piece.

The sides of this square are given the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. We hope you’re not confused for now – try and keep up, as it can become slightly more confusing! There is a banker in this game too, and their first job is to toss a handful of small beads, dried beans, coins, and buttons down on the table, and proceed by covering them with a metal bowl.

Now it’s time for each of the players at the table to place their individual bets on one of the four numbers we mentioned. Once all the bets have been placed, the croupier, using a bamboo stick, removes all of the buttons from this bowl. This, in batches of 4, until the very last batch is reached. This means that this final batch will contain either 1, 2, 3, or 4 buttons. The player whose bet corresponds with the number of buttons in the batch wins 3 times that of his bet, minus a 5% commission.


If you are intrigued by this game and wish to give it a try, but don’t feel like traveling to Asia (assuming you don’t already live there), then we strongly suggest finding it online. Admittedly, it is rare even on the internet, and here, the beads and buttons usually step back to make room for something more modern.


We hope these fun Asian gambling games have managed to win your interest. If they have, as we mentioned, there are certain places you can play them at, whether online or on the very spot. The choice remains yours as always. Good luck out there, regardless of your gambling game choice!

Fabio Duarte
Fabio Duarte
Expert in: News, Blog, Slot reviews
Fabio is a young writer with +6 years of experience in gambling & betting. Fabio creates professional reviews of casino and slots. Every single article Fabio made exhibits deep analytical skill and comprehensive coverage of a topic. It’s Fabio – one of the leading authors on slotsjudge.com.