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Vietnam’s Love Affair with Poker

Vietnam has produced some of the world’s best poker players. There are few players not familiar the story of The Prince of Poker Scotty Nguyen. He was born in a war-torn province in 1962 as the first of what would be thirteen siblings. After eventually fleeing to a refugee camp in Taiwan, as a teenager he made it the United States. From here he became a top player in Las Vegas and eventually one of the best in the world. He has cashed 39 times at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), has won 5 bracelets and has lifetime earnings over $11 million (USD).

Men “The Master” Nguyen has an equally impressive story, but I will save that one for a future post. He and Scotty are not the only dominant Vietnamese players. Ones you hear much less about are top cash game players Ming Lau, Chau Giang and Danny Dang. There is also of course J.C. Tran, Minh Nguyen, David Pham, John Phan, Nam Le, Tuan Le, Tony Ma, Vinnie Vinh and so many more that I could fill the rest of this page naming them. This is before even mentioning top female Vietnamese players Liz Lieu and Mimi Tran.

vietnam poker players

Some of Vietnam’s most famous poker players; from left-right – Scotty Nguyen, Men the Master, JC Tran, Liz Lieu

My theory on why there are so many talented Vietnamese poker players is because since childhood most of us have had a strong desire to “beat the game”. Back then the game was Squash Crab Fish Tiger (bầu cua cá cọp), Go forward (tiến lên), Six Cards (Cắt Tê), blackjack (Xì dách) and Xập Xám Chướng which is known elsewhere as Chinese Poker. During the New Year (Tết) celebrations family members gave us envelopes with money and we ran out and gambled stall to stall wanting to win. We’d come home at night and play in the family card game wanting to win more.

The fact poker is a skill game and that we have had the desire to win at card games since we were young, is probably what has helped produce many of today’s top Vietnamese poker stars. Of course we all grew up differently, and not all Vietnamese are good at poker. Some of us play for fun or treat it no different than a casino game. No matter what your motivation for playing poker is I will conclude this article by discussing how you can play online poker from Vietnam.

Where to Play Online Poker in Vietnam

The easiest poker sites to use in Vietnam come from Asian bookies. There are three different network options for this that accept bank transfers in Vietnamese dong (VND). I’ve selected the most reputable Asian bookie from each network and made the list below.

  • Rank
  • Site
  • How to Deposit
  • Language
  • Visit Site

After joining a poker site you will need to make a deposit in order to play for real money. You can of course practice for free at the play money tables, but be aware, the play here is alot wilder than the games where real cash is at stake. For depositing, Dafabet accepts local bank transfer from almost every bank in Vietnam. Last time I checked Dafa supports ACB, Sacombank, VietinBank, Eximbank and DongA. The step is to join, deposit money and start playing. Then when you win, simply cashout by requesting a payout. The payouts are made by bank transfer too and arrive in 1-2 days.

To help you decide which of these sites to use I will give some quick details on each.

DafaPoker operates on the iPoker Network. This is the largest poker site that is easy to deposit with in Vietnam. If you are a serious multi-tabler this is probably the website to use.

Bet365 is also on the iPoker network and is the best choice for players who prefer to use eWallets for banking. They have a bigger bonus than Dafabet but are less geared towards the Asian market.

Using European and US Poker Sites

Some Vietnamese players might prefer to have more options when playing online poker. For example at US poker sites you can sometimes find rakeback deals. Of course there is also the world’s largest poker site www.pokerstars.com and popular European poker sites 888, Pkr and Poker770 available too. To use these sites you’ll need an e-wallet.

The best e-wallet for Vietnam is www.wmtransfer.vn. When you open an account the purse you want to create and fund is WMZ which is based on United States dollar (USD). You’ll find on their website that there are MANY options for transferring and withdrawing money that is in you WMZ wallet.

If you can’t find one our largest transfer network baokim.vn offers WMZ transfer service. You can load Baokim from any Vietnamese bank and then exchange that money for WMZ. Later if you have WMZ Webmoney you want to sell, they will buy it by taking your transfer and adding to your Baokim balance. You can then send that Baokim money to your local Vietnam bank account.

Understand this is all needed because these other online poker sites mentioned do not accept deposits or make payments to Vietnamese banks. So you load your money to a WebMoney WMZ wallet, visit their cashier and select WebMoney as the deposit option. You can get payouts using this method too. Once you get the hang of it, you will probably really like this system as it allows you to easily move money around between poker sites or to get paid quickly when you want to convert your poker money to bank account funds. As you can see, it is possible to use Asian poker sites easily but really, Vietnamese can play at any poker site anywhere in the world thanks to WebMoney. The only issue is from time to time our government uses internet censorship and blocks access to certain poker sites. This is rare but when it happens you can explain via email and cash out your balance. Then you can just a pick a new site suggested on this page to keep playing. The options here are many.