We all know that arcade games are still extremely popular in Japan, as is the game of Pachinko. But what other games are popular in the rest of Asia. Macau has fast surpassed Las Vegas to become the world’s gambling capital. The sleepy fishing village is no more, and there’s a reason why the Asian city’s nickname is “the Vegas of the East”.  Statistics suggest that 50% of Macau’s economy comes from the gambling industry. But as well as all the usual classic games you can expect to find in any given casino, you’ll find others that are unique. Read on as we list some of the most popular games in Macau.

Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar or online casino, chances are, you’ll find Baccarat. It’s one of the most popular games in Asia, and also one of the easiest games to learn, making it popular with beginners. But the fact that there isn’t a consistent winning pattern is why Asians love it so much – they’re a firm believer in luck.

The rules of the game are simple. Players make bets before receiving cards, and they must wager on the outcome of the game. There are three options to bet on: the dealer winning, the player winning, or a tie. Each player receives two cards and adds the value of these together.  In terms of points, the ace is worth one, the numerical cards are their value, while 10 and face cards are worth nothing. The winner is the player closest to nine points, and should the value of the cards score higher than 10 points, only the second digit counts as the score.

Pachinko is best described as a cross between pinball and slots. The game dates back to the early 1900s and in Asia, the parlours thrive with bright lights, loud sounds and people. Much like a casino, it’s a sociable experience.

The aim of Pachinko is to shoot small balls across the machine, in the hope that they land in one of the pockets. Winnings take the form of more balls, which players can use to have extra turns (and increase their winnings) or exchange for prizes. Prizes can be as simple as chocolate bars or pens, or special prizes like electronics and bikes. Many opt for the simple prizes as they can then exchange them for cash in separate buildings.

Sic-Bo is most popular in Asian casinos, although it’s played worldwide and online. It’s a fast-paced game, based on luck. For beginners, it may be confusing, as there are a lot of rules and betting options. But once you get past the look of the table, it’s an easy game to play.

In Sic-Bo, players need to predict the faces of the dice before they are rolled and players can bet on one, two or three dice. Once a player has wagered, if any of the dice land on any of those numbers, the player wins.

The best way to learn how to play Sic-Bo is online, particularly if you can find a free game to practice on.

Pai Gow Poker
Pai Gow Poker is a cross between the classic Asian game, Pai Gow and the popular game of Poker. Pai Gow Poker utilises decks of cards, as opposed to the dominos used in traditional Pai Gow.

Like Poker, players aim to create the best hand they can, but players need to create two hands using seven cards. The five-card hand needs to outrank the two-card hand and both players’ hands need to beat the dealer’s. Once all bets are placed, the dealer goes around again to see if anyone wants to play the dragon hand and the dealer then reveals their hand.

Most people are familiar with the online game of Mahjong, which involves matching tiles – but in Asia, it takes on a different premise. It’s a popular table game at casinos, played with dominos instead of cards.

Players place their bets and then receive 13 tiles, face-down. Players can only see their own tiles and split them into sets of three and four tiles. Players take it in turns to pick up a further tile from the middle. If it can help to create a winning hand, they keep the tile and the player announces ‘Mahjong’. But if it doesn’t, the player discards a tile. The winner is the first player to complete a winning hand of 14 tiles.