The game of poker is booming in China they call Chinese Poker. Maybe you’ve heard a lot about this. In fact, for players in Asia and other continents, this is a trendy topic of conversation.
It has been argued that some media outlets started writing about the increasing number of participants at the tournament being held in Macau.
But what actually happens on Mainland China poker is, in general, unknown.
In August 2016, the So Much Poker team spent two weeks in Beijing observing the development of poker in China. We started by attending the first Asian Poker League (APL) offer of $ 500,000.
We then visited a poker club and conducted several interviews to get a background on poker levels in the People’s Republic.
Poker Tractor Alias Tuo La Ji
When it comes to poker, it’s important to note that the Chinese are not new to the game. China has a long tradition of card games including its own form of poker called Tuo La Ji or Tractor Poker.
Tractor Poker is played with 2 decks and 4 players in a fixed partnership. Similar to the game of Mahjong, Tractor Poker follows a points system with the aim of 1 team achieving an ace above score while preventing the other team from doing so.
In 2002, China’s State Sports Administration (CLSAC), the governing body dealing with recreational sports, adopted the game as a mind sport and standardized its rules to allow for national competition.
Creating uniform rules across mainland China balances playing styles across regions and makes national competitions easier to organize.
Seeing great odds, the World Poker Tour (WPT) made its way to the great wall of China using the government-accepted Tractor Poker game. In 2007, the WPT was granted a 5-year license from CLSAC to broadcast the National Tractor Poker Tournament on national television.
This of course still isn’t Holdem that is played by the rest of the world. But broadcasting Tractor Poker to all corners of China, and achieving incredible visibility for all poker variants, sparked a level of awareness that would be the start of the poker boom in the country.
While Tractor poker was turning family in the past into a national sport, Texas Holdem, the international poker variant known to all, is starting to take root behind the scenes.
Somewhere in the 90s, especially in expat cities like Beijing and Shanghai, Holdem was introduced by foreigners at home games.
With a Tractor Poker background, it is easy for Chinese, especially educated Westerners, to fall in love with the game. And with that, games started to develop, and casual home games became more organized.
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The start of the Tractor Poker Tournament
Organizers began renting apartments and hiring dealers to run games. Regular games are played with a limit of US $ 1 / $ 2 and US $ 2 / $ 5 with 5% and unlimited rake. These games are usually run 24/7 non-stop.
This happened without a problem with the Police for 2 reasons:
- At this time when Mainland China is still starting to tear down its walls around the world, governments that are still trying to build relationships with the international community, avoid encounters that could provoke hostility and do not interfere with the activities of expatriates living in the country.
- The game of Texas Hold’em is quite unknown and is only played by a very small population.
Ultimately, however, the locals were exposed to Texas Hold’em by participating in these organized home games.
In addition, the increasing number of Chinese traveling and studying abroad supports the exposure of the game against which Hold’em’s growing popularity is growing.
Since gambling is illegal on land, operators cannot “formally” offer cash games to their customers. Instead, they hold official tournaments with an entrance fee to participate.
Enchanting Prize Offered
In exchange for cash prizes, players compete to win prizes that can be easily exchanged for cash as well as Apple products such as iPads and iPhones, or travel vouchers, etc.
But soon poker took root in the country, and soon the room started enjoying an influx of subscribers, who could reach up to 300 customers per night at the most popular clubs.
With this number of customers, the demand for cash prizes is increasing mainly because consistent winners and regular buyers do not need 4-5 Apple Products or similar travel vouchers.
As a result, operators got smarter and started offering, directly or indirectly, more ways for winners to turn their prizes into the cash they wanted.
The playing of the rings also forces operators to be innovative in their performance. To combat the itch for cash games, the room offers a game similar to Sit N ‘Gos, where players wait for a 9-seat table to fill up before starting the game.
Similar to Sit N ‘Go, this game features a floor structure with additional blinds. The difference is that when the game starts, everyone can stand up at any time to hand over a prize – they don’t have to knock on each other or wait for the last person to stand up.
Over time, the game has become more creative so that it can resemble what the rest of the poker world enjoys.
And in order for operators to meet the ever-increasing market demand of Texas Hold’em players, they must find any loopholes that cannot be considered gambling, thereby pushing legal boundaries to continue operating.
Some of the poker venues in Chinq are taking a bigger risk by offering real-time court games in private rooms to their most trusted regular customers. But in doing so, they are clearly breaking the law.
This is a review of an in-depth look at the rules of Chinese poker, also known as Tuo La Ji. Hopefully it can be a source of information and inspiration for you readers.