With a market of over 4 billion potential players, it is no secret that Asia has huge potential regarding casino gaming revenues.
The Asian market differs in many ways from its western counterparts. The typical Asian gambler believes heavily in luck playing a part in their fortune, so it is no surprise that they are very superstitious as well.
This market is also different in regards to the games people prefer to play.
While in the west, people may prefer the allure of simpler games such as slot machines, black jack, or roulette. In the east, most people prefer games with a very high volatility, almost as a black and white thing; you win a lot, or don’t win anything at all, “go big or go home”. The following is a list of some of the games preferred by this market.
- SIC BO: Sometimes known by the name Hi-Lo is an ancient Chinese game that is played with three dice. The premise of the game is simple, the player must wager on a variety of betting options relating to the final positions of the three dice once they are shaken and revealed by the dealer. For example, will the sum of numbers from the three dice be an even or odd number, will the total score range from 11 to 17 (Known as big, or HI), or will the combinations add from 4 to 10 (known as small, or LO). Unlike craps, this game is strictly a game of chance since every roll of the dice will cause a win or a loss, whereas in craps several rolls of the dice may be necessary to achieve a win, thus encouraging betting strategies.
- Mahjong: A very popular Asian game that is well known throughout the world. Recently converted and altered in order to make it a playable casino game. Since it is already very ingrained in the local culture, this game is played with domino-style tiles but plays very similarly to a card game, very much like rummy.
- Pai Gow: While Pai Gow poker is known in the west due to its increasing popularity in land-based casinos, it is played very differently in Asia. There, it is played with a set of Chinese dominoes that some researchers say predate most, if not all modern casino games. Interestingly enough, Pai Gow is one of only two games where it is possible to find an edge for the player, granted that the casino tables’ conditions are perfect, and the players decisions are optimal.
- Baccarat: A true example of the “go big or go home” philosophy prevalent in plenty of Asian gamblers. High rollers will always frequent the baccarat table if one is available, and it is not strange to see thousands or millions of dollars being lost in a single night by them. It is no surprise this game dominates Asian markets, especially Macau.
- Keno: While most players see this bingo-clone game as nothing more than an afterthought, many Asian players will buy several cards while doing their regular gambling. The slow pace of the game and the fact numbers are called at specific timed intervals gives these players a chance to gamble their games of preference while still keeping an eye out on their cards in case they win, effectively enabling to basically play 2 games at once.