Being a poker player comes with great freedom. Sure, you have to spend a set number of hours grinding through your sessions. But, other than that, you’re not restrained in any manner by when and where you can do it.
If you happen to be a poker grinder who also likes traveling, Vietnam is undoubtedly one of the top destinations to visit.
But, before you pack your bags and set your sites on the country’s beautiful sandy beaches, make sure to read this page. We’ll cover everything you need to know about playing poker and living in Vietnam.
Is Poker Legal in Vietnam?
Poker and gambling, in general, have had a turbulent history in Vietnam over the previous decades. Casino games have been banned under the communist government for the best part of the last century.
Only in the past couple of years have we seen the country open up towards gambling activities.
Up until recently, playing poker and all other casino games was unavailable to the Vietnamese population. Only foreigners or foreign passport holders could get into land-based casinos.
Speaking about land-based gambling venues, there’s a surprisingly rich selection across the country. There are seven fully licensed casinos featuring all of the games you would expect to find in a Las Vegas venue.
You’ll also find top-quality poker rooms spreading Texas Hold’em and other popular poker variations.
There is one caveat to this, though. All Vietnam casinos must to operate from five-star hotels. This means that people living in rural areas don't have easy access to live poker and often have to travel to play.
With all of this in mind, most people who move to Vietnam to play poker tend to play the game exclusively online. In that regard, you won’t encounter any issues or legal problems.
Since you’re a foreigner, you’ll still be able to play at your favorite site without restrictions. You might not want to go around and tell everyone that you’re an online poker player. In general, though, no one will specifically come after you if they find out by chance.
If you want to play online poker from Vietnam, you’ll find plenty of rooms that will be happy to have you. This includes sites catering specifically to Vietnamese players, such as V9BET, as well as some international operators.
As long as you keep your profession to yourself, nobody’s going to bother you. There are several convenient methods you’ll be able to use to get money to and from your favorite poker site. Thus, there are no real obstacles to playing online poker in Vietnam, whether you do it full time or just as a hobby.
Life Outside of Poker – Is Vietnam a Good Country to Live In?
If you plan to move to Vietnam or visit this country for a more extended period, you should acquaint yourself with the local life. This will help prepare you for when you arrive there. With that in mind, here are a few things you should know about.
Living Expenses in Vietnam
Vietnam is generally a very affordable country to live in, especially for foreigners from the western part of the world.
Apartments can range from a couple of hundred dollars for a smaller flat to a couple of thousand for a full rental apartment with a pool and gym.
Houses are also reasonably low-priced compared to those in Europe or North America.
If you’re looking to move long-term, the best cities to live in are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang. The latter has become particularly popular among expats, as it has nice beaches, a great lifestyle, and is very welcoming of foreigners.
Keep in mind that these big and tourism-oriented cities will have higher living expenses than more rural areas.
Lifestyle in Vietnam
Like people in most South Asian countries, the Vietnamese have a reputation for being kind, welcoming, and very warm towards foreigners. They are traditional, calm, and mostly keep to themselves.
In the bigger cities, the situation is slightly different, as there’s a more significant influence of the western culture on the local lifestyle.
There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues where you can spend your free time when you’re not busy putting in the volume and upping that poker hands count.
As a foreigner, life is much easier and convenient if you can speak Vietnamese, but this isn’t a prerequisite. Many Vietnamese people can speak English pretty well, especially in larger cities.
Most expats don’t know the language, and you’ll be fine just hanging out with them if you don’t make any local friends. The Vietnamese poker community isn’t that big compared to Thailand or some other nearby countries, but there’s still a good number of poker players to hang out with.
The weather in Southeast Asia is excellent year-round. You can expect pleasant temperatures that are never too hot or cold.
The best periods to visit the country are spring and autumn, as the weather is the most favorable during these months.
Vietnam does have a tropical monsoon climate, meaning that summers and winters are often dominated by strong winds and heavy rainfall.
Much like its western neighbor Thailand, Vietnam is known for some truly delicious cuisine. The country has a number of national dishes and local delights worth trying while you’re there. The most popular dishes are Pho, Cha ca, Ban xeo, and Cao lau.
One thing is certain; you’ll have great freedom to spend as much or as little as you prefer. From one dollar street food to expensive five-star restaurant meals, you’ll always have options available for your price range.
Generally speaking, food in grocery stores is also much more affordable in Vietnam than in the US or the UK.
Poker in Vietnam – Worth it?
Ultimately, when you weigh in all of the aspects of playing poker in Vietnam, is it worth it? The answer to this question is a resounding yes.
The weather is fair, the beaches are beautiful, and the lifestyle is very affordable. With the latter particularly in mind, it means you won’t have to grind as much. This will leave you plenty of time to explore everything the Vietnamese culture has to offer.
That said, moving to a country halfway across the world is never a simple decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The legal and financial aspects play big roles in the decision-making, especially if you’re looking to move long-term.
Hopefully, this guide has provided you with enough information and knowledge and set you one step closer to your adventure! Whether you play poker for a living or use the game to subsidize your income, Vietnam will provide you with everything you need.