Entry 4: It is 3:15 am in the morning and my neighbor has been gambling for 6 hours straight


I hear the continuous slaps of cards being served in a war of flower cards. ‘Hwatu’ or ‘화투’ is the Korean word for this sort of matching card game from Japan known as ‘Hanafuda’.

Although it’s appealing to the eye when used in high stakes gambling it’s a card game that can ruin people very much like high stakes poker. Koreans have long since frowned upon this form of gambling since it was introduced from the Japanese and long since has sprung a Korean gambling ban.

I long since questioned why Koreans like to gamble in other countries but it’s made clear that the Korean government worries about the addictive nature of gambling for Koreans.

I find that many Koreans especially Korean men resort to such addictions because of the way Koreans live their daily lives with high stress and families to support. Koreans drink away their worries, they smoke to calm stress, they get obsessed with their electronics because real life isn’t interesting, and they gamble to chase fortunes/relive debt.

Koreans often play hwatu during family gatherings such as Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) or Chinese New Years but aren’t allowed to play for money.

Any reports of illegal gambling are to reported to the authorities but a lot of times it all goes unnoticed.


Tazza: The hidden card (타짜: 신의 손) is a movie about this underground world of flower cards and it features T.O.P from Bigbang as the male lead. Having the chance to see the movie was a good time and I liked the comedic aspects of the movie but then when it switches from fun and winnings turns to a high-stakes gambling death trap. The parts I liked most where the parts when all sorts of people walked in to gamble a rigged high-stakes game including Buddhist monks. Defiantly would recommend this to people who enjoy crime, suspense, action, gambling, some romance, and comedy.


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