Asia Poker is an increasingly popular casino game that combines the gameplay of Pai Gow Poker and a Chinese game named “13 Cards”. Since it was created in 2010, this Asian poker game has steadily become more popular among casinos in the USA, and around the world. By using elements from other casino games, Asia Poker offers players a unique experience without having to learn overly complicated rules.
This guide was written to help players learn more about this game, including the rules and the steps to play Asia Poker. We will show you the brick and mortar casinos that currently offer Asia Poker. For those that want to play Asia Poker online may not have many options available to them. Get ready to start winning at the casino tables with the help of the Asia Poker strategy.
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A New Twist: Fortune Asia Poker
At some point, Tang licensed his Asia Poker concept to international casino game manufacturing titan Bally Technologies, which began marketing the game under a slightly different name: Fortune Asia Poker. The inclusion of the word “fortune” is an homage to the Pai Gow Poker variant known as Fortune Pai Gow Poker, as Asia Poker borrows its structure and gameplay elements from the classic hybrid of poker and the ancient Chinese tile game of pai gow.
Bally Technologies was eventually acquired by Scientific Games Corporation, but the Bally brand lives on, and Fortune Asia Poker stands out as one of the company’s most popular products.
With the Fortune Asia Poker fad sweeping through casinos all over the country, many players find themselves walking up to the table to take a look, only to turn away when they see a seemingly complex arrangement of three poker hands. In actuality, Fortune Asia Poker is a deceptively simple game, so we wrote this page to help bring casual gamblers up to speed.
Asia Poker incorporates many elements found in Pai Gow Poker, so if you’ve never played a hand of that exciting hybrid table game, head over first to our main Pai Gow Poker page for a quick refresher course.
Once you’ve brought yourself up to speed on concepts like setting your hands, the role of the joker, and how to rank four card poker hands, you’ll be ready to dive into this Asia Poker demonstration.
Asia Poker utilizes the standard 52 card deck of playing cards, but an added wrinkle is throw in: the joker. This 53rd card in the deck serves as a “semi-wild” card, which means players can use the joker as an ace, or as any card which completes a straight, a flush, a straight flush, or a royal flush.
Asia Poker Hand Rankings
Before we move on to the actual Asia Poker gameplay, let’s make sure you know exactly how making four card poker hands really works. The chart below shows an adjusted form of the traditional poker hand hierarchy below, based on using only four cards rather than five:
|Royal Flush||Four consecutive cards in the same suit, must be (A K Q J)|
|Straight Flush||Four consecutive cards (9 8 7 6) in the same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four of the same card (Q Q Q Q)|
|Three of a Kind||Three of same card (Q Q Q 2)|
|Flush||Four cards in the same suit (2h 6h 9h Kh)|
|Straight||Four consecutive cards (6 5 4 3)|
|Two Pair||Two pairs of the same card (Q Q A A)|
|One Pair||One pair of the same card (K K 2 3)|
|High Card||Highest of four unmatched, non-straight & non-flush cards (A 7 3 2)|
Now that you know which hands beat what, here’s how Asia Poker works.
Bonus Bet Payouts
The four most common Bonus bet pay tables can be reviewed below:
|HAND||TABLE #1 PAYS||TABLE #2 PAYS||TABLE #3 PAYS||TABLE #4 PAYS|
|8888 Plus Any 3 of a Kind||5000 to 1||5000 to 1||5000 to 1||5000 to 1|
|Five Aces||800 to 1||800 to 1||800 to 1||800 to 1|
|Royal Flush||200 to 1||200 to 1||200 to 1||150 to 1|
|Natural Straight Flush||80 to 1||50 to 1||50 to 1||50 to 1|
|Straight Flush Plus Joker||40 to 1||40 to 1||40 to 1||40 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||30 to 1||30 to 1||25 to 1||25 to 1|
|Full House||5 to 1||5 to 1||5 to 1||5 to 1|
|Flush||4 to 1||4 to 1||4 to 1||4 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||3 to 1||3 to 1||3 to 1||3 to 1|
|Straight||2 to 1||2 to 1||2 to 1||2 to 1|
|9 High||10 to 1||10 to 1||10 to 1||10 to 1|
House Way Rules
It’s important to know a bit about how the House Way works because you’ll be attempting to beat the dealer’s hands in order to win. Take a look at a typical House Way structure for Asia Poker, which is used by the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas:
Asia Poker House Way Key
|LOW CARDS||MEDIUM CARDS||HIGH CARDS|
|2 through 6||7 through 10||Jack through Ace|
When holding one pair of high cards, but either no other high cards or a single high card which is lower than the pair, the dealer divides the pair to use in both their medium and their high hands. In all other cases when the dealer holds one pair, they will use the second-highest card for their low hand; the highest and third-highest cards for their medium hand; the remaining cards in their high hand.
When holding two pairs, with one pair being either aces or kings and no high cards, the dealer uses the two pair as their high hand. In all other cases when the dealer holds two pairs, they will use the highest remaining card for their low hand; the lowest pair for their medium hand; the remaining cards for their high hand.
When dealer holds three pairs, with one pair being either aces or kings and the single remaining card is either low or medium, they will use one card from the high pair for their low hand; the remaining ace or king plus the single low or medium card for their medium hand; the remaining two pair for their high hand. In all other cases when the dealer holds three pairs, with one being either aces or kings and their single remaining card is either low or medium, they will use one card from the highest pair as their low hand; the medium pair for their medium hand; the remaining cards for their high hand.
In all other cases when the dealer holds three pairs, they will use their single remaining card for their low hand; the highest pair for their medium hand; the remaining two pair for their high hand.
Three of a Kind
When dealer holds three 2s through 10s, they will use the second-highest remaining card for their low hand; the highest and third-highest remaining cards for their medium hand; the remaining cards high hand. When dealer holds three jacks and no high cards, they will use the highest remaining card for their low hand; one jack plus the second-highest remaining card for their medium hand; the remaining cards for their high hand.
When dealer holds three jacks plus one high card, they will use one jack for their low hand; the two remaining cards for their medium hand; the remaining cards for their high hand.
When dealer holds three jacks plus two high cards, they will use the same guidelines as for three of a kind in 2s through 10s.
When dealer holds three queens, kings, or aces, plus one or two high cards, they will use one pair from the three of a kind for their high hand; while using the remaining cards in order of strength for their low and medium hands.
Three of a Kind Twice
Straight, Flush, Straight Flush, Royal Flush
When the dealer can play a four card straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush for their high hand, and one pair for their medium hand, they will do so; except when the one pair is of aces the single remaining card is a not a king, in which case they will divide the one pair to use for their low and medium hands. When holding a four card straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush which also contains two pair, three pairs, or three of a kind, the dealer will divide their four card hand before applying the appropriate rules for their remaining hands.
When dealer can form both a straight and a flush for their high hand, they will use the method which leaves the strongest remaining cards for their medium hand. Should the medium hand be the same in any event, the dealer will leave the strongest remaining cards for the low hand.
When holding a four-card straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush which also contains three or four high cards, and no high cards among the remaining cards, they will apply the No Pair rules listed above.
When holding a four-card straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush, which also contains one pair as part of that four-card hand, plus an ace, king, queen, or jack, the dealer will use the four-card hand for their high hand.
In all other cases when holding a four-card straight, flush, straight flush, or royal flush, which also contains one pair inside the four-card hand, the dealer will use the one pair for their high hand.
The standard set for a dealer holding a full house is to use the highest remaining card for their low hand; the pair for their medium hand; three of a kind and the lowest remaining card for their high hand. When holding three of a kind in queens or higher, and remaining cards which are both low or medium, the dealer will divide the three of a kind to use for their low and high hands, while using the pair for their medium hand. When the dealer holds at least one high remaining card, they will use the standard set.
When holding one pair of aces of kings as part of a full house, and no high remaining cards, the dealer will divide the pair to use for their low and medium hands, while using three of a kind for their high hand. When the dealer holds at least one high remaining card, they will use the standard set.
When holding three of a kind in queens or higher plus one high pair, and no high remaining cards, the dealer will divide the three of a kind to use for their low and high hands. When the dealer holds at least one high remaining card, they will use the standard set.
In all other scenarios when holding a full house, the dealer will use the standard set.
Three of a Kind and Two Pair
When holding three of a kind plus two pairs of low or medium cards, the dealer will divide the three of a kind to use for their low and medium hands; use the two pair for their high hand. In all other cases when holding three of a kind plus two pairs, the dealer will use one card from the high pair for their low hand; the low pair for their medium hand; the remaining cards for their high hand.
Four of Kind
When holding four of a kind in low cards, and two high cards with one ace, the dealer will use the four of a kind for their high hand.When holding four of a kind in aces or kings, and no other high cards, the dealer will split the four of a kind and use one pair for their high hand; and one high card each for their low and medium hands.
In all other cases when holding four of a kind, the dealer will split the four of a kind and use one pair for each for both their medium and their high hands.
Four of a Kind and a Pair
When holding four aces or kings, along with any pair, the dealer will use three of aces or kings for their high hand; one ace or king for their low hand.In all other cases when holding four of a kind, along with any pair, the dealer will use the pair for their medium hand; the four of a kind for their high hand.
Four of a Kind Plus Three of a Kind
When the dealer holds four queens or higher, plus a low or medium three of a kind, they will use the three of a kind for their high hand.In all other cases when holding four of a kind plus three of a kind, the dealer will use the four of a kind for their high hand.
Steps to Play Asia Poker
Below you will find the basic steps every player will follow during a game of Asia Poker.
Place Your Bet to Start
To begin the hand, you’ll need to put up a mandatory Ante bet equal to or exceeding the posted table minimum. Typically, casinos use a low $5 minimum for table games like Asia Poker and go up from there.
At this time, you can also choose to put up an optional side wager known as the Bonus bet. Some players love making the side bets, while others stick to the base game wagers, so that’ll be up to your discretion in real life.
Later on, in the strategy section, you’ll find a discussion on the odds offered by this Bonus side bet, and the relative merits of playing it on a regular basis.
Seven Cards are Dealt
Once all players present at the table have placed their Ante wager, the dealer will then distribute seven cards face down to each player, along with seven cards face down to themselves.
You may examine your own seven-card holding, but no sharing of information between players will be permitted.
Determine Three Different Hands
Based on the seven cards you hold, the objective of Asia Poker is much like Pai Gow Poker: set your cards into distinct hands. In this game, however, you’ll be trying to form three different hands:
Your four-card high hand is based on the poker hand hierarchy discussed earlier, while the two cards medium hand can form only two types: pair or high card. For the one card low hand, the highest card wins.
The most important rule to keep in mind when making your hand setting decision is how to order the low, medium, and high hands. Your high hand must always outrank your medium hand, which in turn must always outrank your low hand.
In the event that you play a low hand which is better than your medium hand, or a medium hand which outranks your high hand, this will cause you to “foul,” and both your Ante bet and Bonus bet will be immediately lost to the house.
A Losing Hand Example
As an example of a fouled hand, consider the following hand setting arrangement:
- High: (Qh Qc 5s 2s)
- Medium: (Ad As)
- Low: (Js)
In this case, by putting the pair of queens in the high hand, but the better pair of aces in the medium hand, we would foul the hand and lose our bets. With an obvious example such as this, fouling may not seem all that likely, but when you have seven unconnected cards that don’t coordinate all that well, making a subtle mistake in your hand setting can happen to the best players.
Dealer Reveals Their Hand
Once all players have decided how to set their hands, and arranged their cards accordingly (still face down at this point), the dealer will then reveal their own seven-card holding.
The dealer must set their cards into the same high, medium, and low hands as you did, but they won’t have the freedom to decide on how to do that. Instead, dealers in Asia Poker – as they do in Pai Gow Poker – rely on a predetermined set of hand setting rules known as the “House Way.”
Use the House Way to Your Advantage
Using what you learned above, about the House Way may be difficult at first, but you don’t need to memorize the entirety by any means. Rather, get a decent feel for what sort of hands the dealer will be winding up with so that you’ll be better prepared to set your own three hands in a superior fashion.
Furthermore, whenever you don’t know exactly how to play your own cards, you can even request that the dealer applies the House Way to set your three hands. Although you’ll rarely use this move following your study session on this page, new players will often have the dealer use the House Way on their own cards in order to avoid making costly mistakes.
Comparing Your Hand & the Dealers
With the dealer’s three hands now set according to the House Way, they will then compare them to the equivalent player hands. Thus, your low hand is compared to the dealer’s low hand, your medium hand to their medium hand, and your high hand to their high hand.
The highest-ranking single card wins the low hand, the highest-ranking pair or single card wins the medium hand, and the highest-ranking four-card poker hand (high card through royal flush) wins the high hand.
All ties fall in favor of the dealer in Asia Poker.
Winning the Round
You must win any two of the three hands in order to win the game, at which point you’ll be paid even money on your Ante bet. If you win only one of the three hands, you’ll lose your Ante bet, and the same goes for occasions when the dealer trumps you on all three hands.
Unlike in some Pai Gow Poker style games, Asia Poker does not charge any commission fees on winning wagers, so you’ll always receive a straight double up on your Ante bet when you can beat the dealer in two hands out of three.
Bonus Side Bet is Paid
Finally, the optional Bonus side bet is paid out based on the combined strength of your seven hole cards alone. For the Bonus bet, you don’t need to beat the dealer during the base game, as only your seven cards will be used to determine payouts.
Repeat the Above
Once all winning wagers have been paid out, and all losing bets scooped for the house, the dealer will reshuffle the deck to begin a new hand.
Let’s run through the ways we might set our own example hand of Ad As Qh Qc Js 5s 2s to see how this process works.
One way to arrange these cards would be to take the four spades (As Js 5s 2s) to use for our four cards high hand. This gives us a powerful flush, and one of the ace high variety to boot, giving us a strong likelihood of winning the high hand portion of the game (more on this in a minute).
For the two cards medium hand, we’d go with the pair of queens (Qh Qc), leaving only the Ad to play as our one card low hand.
In each respect, we’d have a very strong hand that would be likely to win.
Of course, Asia Poker allows players to make their own choices, and you’ll usually have a few different routes to consider. Using the same seven cards, you could also form the following three hands:
- High: (Ad As 5s 2s)
- Medium: (Qh Qc)
- Low: (Js)
This way of setting your hands wouldn’t be nearly as powerful compared to the first example, but you’ll see players arranging their hands in all sorts of curious combinations. That’s all part of the game’s beauty.
We’ve tabled the As Js 5s 2s for an ace high flush in the high hand, Qc Qh for one pair of queens in the medium hand, and the Ad in the low hand.
The dealer turns up the Kh 10h 9h 3h for their high hand, the 8d 8s for their medium hand, and the Ac for their low hand.
With these cards, we’d tie the dealer on the low hand (our Ad versus their Ac), so that hand would go to the dealer. On the medium hand, our pair of queens outranks their pair of eights, so we take that hand. For the high hand, our ace high flush just nips their king high flush, so we win that hand as well. This makes two hands out of three in our favor, so we’ve doubled our $5 ante bet with an even money payout.
Best Places to Play Asia Poker
According to the Tang Dynasty Entertainment website, the following brick and mortar casinos located throughout the United States currently carry Asia Poker:
- Pechanga Resort & Casino
- Harrah’s Resort Southern California
- Barona Resort & Casino
- Cache Creek Casino Resort
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
- SugarHouse Casino
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack
- Greektown Casino
- Gold Coast Hotel and Casino
- Paris Las Vegas
- The Venetian Las Vegas
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
- Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino
- Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel and Casino
A search on the Caesars Table Game Finder confirms that five of these locations still host the game (Bally’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Chester, Harrah’s Resort Southern California, and Paris Las Vegas).
However, that particular search tool is limited to casino properties which are owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, so many more locations found on the main list above are likely to offer Asia Poker.
In addition to the states listed above, the Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC) has also listed Asia Poker – better known as Fortune Asia Poker in that jurisdiction – on its approved table games list. With dozens of tribally operated local casinos and other gambling establishments scattered throughout Washington, chances are high that you’ll stumble upon an Asia Poker table there at some point during your next visit.
Finally, the Tang Dynasty Entertainment website hasn’t been updated since 2012, so you may find that a few of the listed locations have since elected to drop the game.
Search Around at Local Casinos
In any event, this list should give you a good starting point to begin your search for live Asia Poker tables near you. As always, remember to include Fortune Asia Poker in any queries, as many venues list the same game under this alternate title.
When it comes to online casinos, a search for a relatively generic term like “Asia Poker” can produce a confusing mishmash of conflicting results. You may find links to poker rooms in Asia, online poker rooms catering to the Asian market, or contributions from the poker community in any number of Asian countries. However, there are a few obscure online casinos that do offer Asia Poker, but we would recommend proceeding with caution if you want to still play. You can play Asia Poker online for free, however, if you want to play for real money proceed with caution.
None of the major online casino software providers (Real Time Gaming, Playtech, etc.) currently host any versions of Asia Poker at this time.
Asia Poker Strategy
In a game like this, which offers players a seemingly endless combination of ways to “set” their three poker hands, it would seem that arriving at an optimal Asia Poker strategy would be next to impossible.
Instead, because of the restriction against setting your hands out of order when it comes to strength, or “fouling” the hand, the decisions you’ll face are actually quite straightforward. In most cases, you’ll only have a small number of possible arrangements with which to make three non-fouling hands using your seven-card combination.
More often than not, a player with even some “card sense” will be able to correctly assess the situation and put their cards in the proper order. Thus, the best Asia Poker strategy is simply to stick to the script, arranging your seven cards into the three best non-fouling hands you can.
Basic Asia Poker Strategy
According to Asia Poker experts, you can also take advantage of the following rules to help you make the game’s toughest decisions:
When you just aren’t sure how to proceed, Asia Poker also builds in an additional safety net in terms of strategy: the House Way. Just as the dealer must use a predetermined system of hand rankings to help them set their own hands, players can also fall back on the House Way upon request.
Just tell the dealer you’re stuck on a tough decision and that you’d like to use the House Way. When you do, they’ll take a look at your seven-card holding and apply the same House Way rules which govern their own actions. After that, your three hands will be set according to the “standard” approach, and invariably, this will put you on the right side of probability.
House Edge & Avoiding the Bonus Bet
When it comes to the game’s optional Bonus side bet, the most favorable of the four pay tables you can expect to find offers a house edge of 5.79 percent. From there, you’ll face house edge rates of 6.55 percent, 7.54 percent, and 8.40 percent for pay tables 2, 3, and 4, respectively.
Considering the base game offers a combined house edge of just 4.82 percent, you’d be better served by avoiding the Bonus side bet and sticking to Asia Poker’s primary wager. Of course, part of the fun derived from playing table games comes from the risk versus reward calculations that come into play when assessing side bets and their escalating pay tables.
If you must splash around on the Bonus side bet, be sure to stick to the pay table listed as Pay Table 1 in the Rules and How to Play section above. This pay table offers a significantly lower house edge than each of the three alternatives, and within the scope of side bets, a 5.79 percent house isn’t actually all that bad anyway.
History of Asia Poker
The original U.S. Patent application for a hybrid table game concept known as “Asia Poker” was filed by casino game designer Matthew Tang in June of 2010.
By 2012, operating under the Tang Dynasty Entertainment LLC, the aspiring inventor brought Asia Poker to market.
Tang initially secured multiple placements for his new game throughout Atlantic City, New Jersey, and in just four short years since then, Asia Poker has expanded to several states across the U.S.
Currently, you can find Asia Poker tables in places like California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and of course, Las Vegas, Nevada.