What are the Most Popular Card Games in Asia?

| November 27th, 2018

It’s often been said that the 21st century will belong to Asia. Sports wise we’ve already seen the football world cup hosted by South Korea and Japan in 2002, the Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and the Rugby World Cup will be in Japan in Autumn 2019. From the previous century where America and Europe ruled the roost, Asia is now coming into its own and showing the world what to do. It’s amazing when you think about it how each country and culture is associated with different games – think of the UK and immediately you imagine middle class gentlemen playing cricket, over in Paris the bourgeoisie are playing boules, in South America dice games are continuing to flourish. So let’s look at what the most popular card games in Asia are!

In the past, people from Asia used to fly to the States to try their luck at card games in ‘all you can imagine’, American casinos. Now, the Asian card game industry has grown so much, everyone is taking to the decks to try their hand.

Baccarat is the Ace of Asian card game popularity. It is a classic game of chance – that is simple to learn and easy to play. If fate as opposed to strategy is your preferred friend, this could be the one for you.

Let’s look specifically at Chinese poker. Wonderfully, it is based on poker hand rankings and is intended to be a beginner-friendly game so no huge knowledge required! Even better, there is a huge amount of luck involved so without straining yourself to understand Chinese poker to a high level, you might even beat the World number 1.

Over in Thailand we have Black Frog Red Frog – or ‘Gob dum Gob dang’ as the locals call it. Similar to Chinese Ten, but with black 2-9 counting face value, black 10-K 10 points, ace of spades 50 points, red cards and ace of clubs worth nothing!

‘Catch the pig’ is similar to the Chinese game Gong Zhu – it’s all about the jack of diamonds as your bonus card and the ten of clubs doubling your score. Hearts and the queen of spades are penalty cards.

Over in Malaysia we saw a new card game take the country by storm in 2013 – Politiko by Zedeck Siew and Mun Kao. This game mirrors Monopoly with players as political parties competing for voters, and alliances needing to be formed so you can get the all-important voting bloc to win. It knows how to play dirty as well with scheme cards based on real Malaysian political scenarios – you can steal voters and ruin other players and their political parties’ plans.

India shows much of its British colonial past with popular games such as rummy, cheat and poker continuing to be played. As with its landmass there is such a variety in culture, weather and scenery so you could easily end up playing trumps on a boat with a local fisherman in Kerala, or indeed rummy with many layers on in the winter in Mohali. Local popular games include Teen Patti, Satte Pe Satta and Teen Do Paanch. Socially, card games are believed to come 2nd only to cricket in India which is no shame!

So there we have it, as with many things in life, when you look closely there’s more which unites the world than divides it. Many of the games above are very similar to popular games over in Europe or in America, played by families and taught to children from a young age. You may not speak the same language, but as with smiling in the same language, a deck of 52 cards is something that binds us all together.

50 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

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