6 Casino Games That Originated in Asia

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Asia is responsible for giving the world so many amazing inventions, and there are a number of casino games which started off in this region before eventually spreading internationally.

Here is a look at the best known and most influential Asian casino games, so that you know which continent to raise a toast to the next time you play them.

Pachinko

Pachinko is the epitome of Japan’s gambling scene and is essentially equivalent to slot machines favored in other parts of the planet.

The first examples of pachinko were created back in the early 20th century, and while they would initially be intended to entertain children, they would quickly be adopted as a gambling experience for adult players.

You will find pachinko parlors throughout Japan’s biggest cities today, and with more people working out how to play pachinko during Covid pandemic, it has also migrated to online casinos. This game is partly so popular because it helps operators to get around Japan’s strict gambling regulations, with winners able to exchange tokens for prizes at nearby stores.

Even with slots dominating Western land-based casinos, the rise of online outlets has helped to introduce pachinko to a wider audience digitally.

Pai Gow

In the West most people will be familiar with the game of dominoes, even though it is not often associated with gambling. Unsurprisingly there is an Asian equivalent, in which tiles with markings used to represent numbers can be played in order to make pairs and score points, which of course makes it far more suited to casino entertainment.

In US casinos it is possible to find the classic tile-based Pai Gow being played, but more often it will be the card-based equivalent, known as Pai Gow Poker.

Pai Gow is not the most fast-paced game, but that is part of its charm, as it allows players who prefer a lower pressure experience to have fun.

Mahjong

Another tile-based game from Asia, Mahjong is perhaps the most globally renowned of its counterparts, with its popularity spreading quickly over the past century.

While it is perfectly possible to play a game of mahjong without placing bets whatsoever, casinos offering the game do create this opportunity for those who are confident in their capabilities.

The quicker pace and decision-oriented nature of Mahjong also means that it rewards skill as much as luck, and top players can reliably outwit their opponents.

Sic Bo

Lesser known and played in casinos in Europe and North America, yet with a huge following in its native Asia and particularly in the casino hotspot of Macau, Sic Bo combines the random outcome of a dice roll with bets placed on a table surface divided into separate scoring boxes.

While it is often compared to craps, if anything Sic Bo is actually less strategic, since wins and losses can occur on any bet. This randomness means that it is more akin to slots or indeed roulette, and it is therefore one of the more accessible Asian casino games, with very few rules to learn before diving in.

Keno

Lotteries are commonplace across lots of countries, and in Asia they have been embraced in casinos in the form of Keno, although evidence suggests that this was indeed a European import at some point during the 19th century.

In order to bet, players need to pick a selection of numbers from an available set of 80, after which a draw of 20 numbers is selected, and payouts are made according to correct matches.

In China, Keno is played not with numbers, but with written characters, although it is fundamentally identical in terms of how it functions.

In a casino context, these lotteries are adjusted to ensure that the operator is able to profit from the outcome of each draw, securing at least 5% of the total amount wagered by players.

Fan Tan

In terms of supreme simplicity, Fan Tan has to be the Asian casino game that sits at the top of the pile. It is played with a dealer and a pile of small buttons, with a random number of these counters collected beneath a cup, and bets then placed to predict the outcome.

It is not the total number of buttons that matters, but rather the final set once the rest have been taken away in groups of four, so really it is about guessing the multiples of four that are in play and getting a 1 in 4 decision correct.

So there you have it! There are lots of Asian casino games enjoyed internationally, and of course a multitude of casino experiences from the West which are also big in Asia.

Tech Digest Correspondent