We all know that poker, blackjack, and slots are beloved the world over. However, there are many games, unique to a range of different countries, that often stay localised in their corner of the world.
Some of these can shape the culture and history of a country, even moulding social and political factors. Others are simply a lot of fun to play. Below, we cover some of the most curious casino and gambling games from around the world.
Jogo Do Bicho
Jogo Do Bicho is a lottery that is only available in one of Brazil’s states. It runs alongside the state lottery, using the numbers from it to decide the outcome of its results. Yet Jogo Do Bicho is much more popular and has a greater cultural impact.
The term translates as ‘animal game’. Each of the 100 numbers from the state lottery breaks down into groups of 4, which each have an animal character assigned. People can then bet on individual numbers or place bets on which animal will appear. Run by gangsters known as banqueiros, there’s no limit on how much can be gambled.
The animal characters used have seeped into folklore and superstition. The elephant is associated with death, and numbers that match the elephants are considered very unlucky. The deer, a symbol of sexuality in Brazil, is number 24, which has now even become a symbol of the LGBTQI movement.
Pachinko is an extremely popular game in Japan, one which mixes a hybrid of pinball and slot machines in one game. The machines are housed in brightly coloured and lit pachinko parlours which tend to attract a crowd.
A player will buy balls at a machine or from an assistant using cash or a pre-paid card, which they then feed into the machine. These will either fall into a hole and vanish, or into a slot that activates a special slot game. This allows you to win even more balls, which can be exchanged in the gift shop.
As gambling for cash is illegal in Japan, these machines live in a loophole of legality. Balls won cannot be taken off the premises and are usually traded for special tokens in the gift shop. These tokens are then taken out to a separate salesman who will buy them for cash. This salesman will then sell them back to the parlour with a small commission, who then provides them to the next customers.
Belote is a game most popular in France. However, it has numerous followers across Europe in places such as Armenia, North Macedonia and even Saudi Arabia. It uses a deck of 32 cards, removing the 2 to 6 cards of each suit from a standard deck. Played by four players, some other versions exist for different numbers of players.
The aim is to collect as many points as possible between you and your partner. Points are earned by showing the cards that are held in your hand, with different sets having point values attached. For example, four jacks are worth 200 points, a sequence of three cards is worth 20 points and so on. The team that reaches 500 points is the first to win the game.
Andar Bahar is a curious game that involves the use of two boxes. One of these is the Andar box and one is the Bahar box. The aim is to predict which of the boxes a specific card will land in. The dealer reveals a joker at the start, then deals out the pack, alternating between each box. If gamblers bet on the correct box the joker lands in, they then win a prize.
The game is popular in India and is said to have originated in Bengaluru (Bangalore). Along with Teen Patti and Rummy, it is one of the most popular games in Southern Asia. It is often played during Diwali when people gather to celebrate and entertain themselves. Many online casinos have now begun to offer it as well as more traditional establishments.
Considering the many exciting developments within casino gaming, it’s great to see that these international classics are getting the recognition they deserve.