The legal situation for gambling in Malaysia is as strict as one can imagine in a muslim country but with the destination being popular for western travellers, some concessions have been made.
One beneficiary from this shift has been poker. Live poker in particular. Online Poker Malaysia is still catching up but there are signs that foreigners, at least, can enjoy playing while in the region.
Where to Play Poker in Malaysia?
In March 2020, Resorts World Genting became the first casino in Malaysia to offer poker. Fully legal cash games are now running around the clock in the integrated resort, starting at RM 5/10 ( US$0.72/US$1.44) with bigger games available if enough players are willing to raise the stakes.
Rake is only 5%, decent for a live casino cash game, and capped at only a few big blinds. 10/25 rake is capped at RM 150, 50/100 rake is capped at RM 200
The only requirements to sit and play in the casino are that the guest is non-muslim and over 21-years-old. Simple enough.
Why Is Poker on the Up in Malaysia?
Poker’s popularity in Malaysia has been boosted through travel to nearby locations such as Hong Kong, Macau, Cambodia, and the Philippines where the game is widely played.
Stars such as Ivan Leow, Paul Phua, and Richard Yong have played in some of the highest stakes games around and their profiles have helped to bring awareness of the game into the country.
Although muslims are forbidden from gambling inside the country, there are plenty of nationals with Chinese and Indian backgrounds who have shown an interest in taking up the game. Malaysia isn’t generally thought of as a destination for gambling pursuits but this may change over the coming years.
The Triton Super High Roller series might also play a part in building a healthy poker scene in Malaysia. Paul Phua is a major driving force behind the events that showcase the world’s very best players playing for massive stakes.
He was also instrumental in setting up the Wynn Macau Casino and Resort after entering the industry as a VIP junket operator. This experience could prove to be a big help in the future if more live poker venues open up around Malaysia.
Players who are more interested in the online sector can find many options where Malaysian residents are welcomed, sometimes even handling transfers in ringgits. We also couldn’t find any stories where somebody in Malaysia fell foul of the law while indulging in a little grind time.
We look forward to seeing how the burgeoning poker industry changes over the next few years.
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