Poker's fame is not questionable, especially in big casino places like Las Vegas and Macau. Part of their tourism is to lure people into enjoying pure entertainment and, of course, gambling. This addictive card game might be known all over the world, but surprisingly, it's the opposite in Japan.
So before you attempt to play poker in Japan, think twice. Learn about these essential truths with regards to playing poker in the land of the rising sun.
Playing Poker in Japan
Japan is highly regarded as one of the most advanced and successful countries not only in Asia but around the world, it still holds to the law that was made 100 years ago illegalizing such acts. This was under the Penal Code of Japan in 1907, stating that gambling is considered illegal. All forms of the game that involves betting and money-making are considered as illegal gambling.
That includes playing poker in Japan, no matter how cheap the betting is. As long as money is involved, you might get in trouble with the Japanese authorities when caught. So, don’t be tempted when you hear about underground casinos run by no less than, Yakuzas. You might be facing jail time plus a hefty fine that will break the bank.
Japanese organizes an open poker tour instead
The game of poker has gained popularity through the years and actually sparked an interest in some Japanese folks. Instead of letting its citizens get tempted to bet on underground casinos, the country organizes poker events such as Poker Stars. It sounds like an excellent alternative to enjoy playing poker, doesn’t it?
Instead of winning money when playing, players are awarded prizes such as gift cards to expensive shops or restaurants, special services to high-end establishments, and so much more. This is to avoid the issue of involving money that might be considered as gambling. The past years have seemed to work with the event and have attracted thousands of eager participants.
However, this event is only open for Japanese citizens and residents. Foreigners are not allowed to play for the event. But if you’re a foreigner and want to witness some poker in Japan, you can still do so by purchasing the ticket or watching their live streaming online.
You can still play poker in Japan
Fortunately, the game is not banned entirely in the country. You can still play your favorite game of poker with families and friends as long as there is no money involved or no bets placed. This should be followed strictly even if you say that only a small amount of money has been shelled out.
No matter how small the amount, as long as there is money on the table, that’s still gambling. Avoid being reported to the authorities and might as well enjoy a friendly game at home. If possible, do it privately and not outside so as not to gain public attention. People might perceive that you’re gambling and might report to the authorities.
It won't hurt to play cashless, or you can have a material exchange of awards, just like how it is in the Open Tour games. Just make sure it's not something too valuable like a car or precious jewels, for example. Make the game friendlier and less like a business.
Playing online poker is possible
With all fairness, the Penal Code of 1907 doesn't state that it prohibits playing poker online. It was specifically for face to face playing that involves money. Thanks to the ever-changing world and the introduction of the internet, an opportunity was opened for poker enthusiasts.
A lot of foreign websites are opening their doors to Japanese participants to play the game. And yes, money is involved. The government of Japan has tried its best to ban online poker. However, none of them was successful. The old law doesn't seem to give a proper defense of why online poker has to be banned.
As a foreigner living in Japan, it's good news. You can play the game online. There are no reports of citizens and foreigners being arrested for participating in online betting or gambling. There's still no law being passed by the Japanese government to prohibit such.
Key Takeaway Of Japan Poker
Playing poker can be fun and offers extreme excitement. Plus, the chance of a lifetime to win a lot of cash. But always consider one thing, especially for foreigners, always do your research. Every country, just like an example in Japan, bans any form of gambling. If you don’t do proper research and lack the information about the country, you can get in trouble.
In Japan, it seems not to be a big deal that gambling is banned. Poker is not that famous in the country, that's why there's not much opposition from its citizens. There's a mutual understanding between the government and its people why it was banned in the first place. It might be shocking, but it’s the truth.