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Gaming Guru

 

Weird and Wonderful Forms of Gambling

18 November 2002

People bet on some funny things. Here are some of the strangest:

Australia

The Australians favourite gambling pastime is called "two-up". The game has all pretentious qualities we associate with Australians, involving betting on the throw of a coin or, for the daring, betting on two or more throws of a coin.

Japan

The Japanese, in many senses earth's premier gambling nationality, bet billions a year on power-boat racing.

Belgium

The Belgians apparently bet small fortunes on bird singing. No, really. Birds are kept in covered cages and bets are placed on the pitch and duration of bird song. Apparently.

Iran

Gambling is forbidden here, apart from one day of the year when top Muslim clerics compete against each other in dodgem cars and the strongest man wins. Okay, I made that one up.

France

The French have a card game known as trente te quarante ("thirty and forty"), a blackjack/baccarat type game where cards are added up in two separate rows at face value and the row closest to thirty-one wins.

Here is an extract from a description (in Syd Helprin's "European & Asian Games") of how trente et quarante wagering works:

The "color" bets wins and "inverse" loses when the actual colour of the first card is the same as the arbitrary "color" of the row that wins the red or black bet. The "inverse" bet wins and the "color" bet loses when the actual color of the first card dealt is opposite to that of the arbitrary "color" of the winning black or red row...

Any the wiser? Me neither.

Korea

The Chinese have a game called Fan Tan, or "buttons", which involves a dealer cutting into a pile of lacquer-coated beans. The gamblers bet on the how many will be left. Apparently Korean legend associates a man's reproductive competence with the ability to win successive games of Fan Tan.

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May