It’s gambling Jim, but not as we know it… Scratch beneath the surface of some of the world’s most famous casinos and you will discover a wealth of obscure, little known, games.
We have all enjoyed an evening at the blackjack table or spent a night spinning the roulette wheel but have you ever played La Boule, or Trente et Quarante, or Red Dog?
Although hard to find, some of these relatively unknown casino games are worth seeking out. It’s often the case with casino games that: the more complicated they are, the lower the house edge. If you learn the rules, you improve your chance of walking away a winner.
Some of these games are just minor variations or tweaks of the classics. Others are completely unique and unlike anything you have ever played before. It’s true what they say: variety is the spice of life. So, get ready for a well-seasoned smorgasbord of spicy action.
Vive La France. You can always count on the French to do things differently. In fact, several of these obscure games have French roots. La Boule is basically a simplified version of roulette, with a spinning wheel, betting table, and a rubber ball.
Although there are still 36 numbered holes, the numbers range from 1-9 and are repeated four times. The number 5 is the same as the 0 in roulette and negates all colour bets.
In La Boule, you have a much better chance of hitting your favourite single number but the odds are much lower. The house edge is around 11.11%. You can find La Boule mainly in European casinos.
Seven and a Half
Seven and a half is a game similar to blackjack, popular in Italy (Sette e Mezzo), Spain (Siete y Media), and Brazil (Sete e Meio). The basic aim of the game is to collect cards that total as near as possible to 7 and a half.
The game is played with a 40 card deck – eights, nines, and tens removed. Aces count one point, 2-7 as per card, face cards are half a point. You make a bet and get a card face up, you then hit or stand – blackjack style – to try and get as close to 7.5 as possible. Go over, you bust.
The dealer then draws – stopping at five points. All wins pay even money. The house edge varies according to the amount of decks of cards used.
You can enjoy a game of Seven and a Half in Italian, Spanish and Brazilian casinos. It’s also an option at the Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino in Uruguay.
Russian and Oasis Poker
These two variants of Caribbean Stud Poker are worth taking the time to learn because they both extend the game and improve the player’s odds of winning.
In both Russian and Oasis poker, the player can change one to five cards at the cost of the ante. In the Russian game, you can also buy a sixth card to improve your hand. In both games, the bonus bet pays from the straight.
These two variants on stud can be found in East European casinos. Oasis poker can be enjoyed at the Casino Helsinki in Finland. You can find Russian Poker at the Hotel Casino Mulino in Croatia.
Trente et Quarante
Trente et Quarante – Thirty and Forty – is unlike any other card game. Also known as Rouge et Noir (Red and Black), this 17th century game has a French heritage and requires a special table to play.
It has a great edge for players and can be found in Monaco’s world famous gambling rooms and in other casinos in France and Italy. It’s basically a combination of roulette and baccarat with players betting on black, red, colour, and inverse.
Without getting too tied up in the specifics of the rules (they can be found here), basically players choose either the red hand or the black hand. Cards score points and live hands total between 30 and 40 points. The lowest hand wins.
The only involvement players have with the cards is making a bet. Only the croupier handles the cards. The game is more than 300 years old but has a very generous player edge. It’s worth searching out.
In conclusion: if you’re looking for something a little different and fancy your chances in a European casino, there are some very interesting games waiting for your attention. Learn the rules and take advantage of some of these vintage classics with a low house edge.