Written 11th June 2019

Casino Games Around the World

The top casino games come in all shapes and sizes. From roulette wheels to card decks, there’s a few elements that make a certain type of casino game unique and instantly recognisable to players. However, venture into casinos around the world and you may find something a little different to what’s on your own doorstep - we take a look at some of the most unique and best online casino games from around the world.

Germany: Teetotum

Teetotum is thought to have originated from Germany during the Middle Ages. But what is teetotum? It’s a gambling spinning top, a six sided square in its earliest form, but now features a polygonal body. Each face is marked with either letters or numbers, which are used to indicate the result of each spin, similar to the modern Live Dream Catcher.

Today, teetotum lives on as dreidel, having been adopted by the Jewish community. On each side, you’ll find a letter of the Hebrew alphabet - Nun, Gimel, Hei and Shin, collectively forming an acronym which translates to “a great miracle happened here.”

The concept of dreidel is fairly simple - the game begins with each player bringing 10-15 objects (ranging from pennies to chocolate). Each player puts one of their items into the ‘pot’, and do so at the end of each turn. Each player takes their turn to spin the dreidel, and depending on which side is facing up, will either win everything, half of the items, nothing at all or will have to put another item into the pool.

A simple game, teetotum, or dreidel, is played in casinos for cash - it even has its own Major League in New York.

Belgium: Birdsong

A rather quirky form of gambling, you may not have heard of Belgium Birdsong. The game sees song birds put in cages, which are then placed in various parts of the casino floor. Players place their bets on which bird they think will sing the loudest for the longest period of time.

The birds take turns to sing - whichever meets the above terms is declared the winner. This rather unusual casino game is unique to Belgium, so if you fancy your chances at picking the loudest bird, head over to the chocolate capital.

Japan: Pachinko Slots

Most forms of gambling are currently outlawed in Japan. However, the answer to slots in the Land of the Rising Sun is pachinko machines. Pachinko machines are essentially a form of pinball machine. Since gambling for money is illegal in Japan, pachinko machines award winners with metal balls, which cannot be exchanged for money directly in the pachinko parlour. The balls cannot be removed from the premises - each one is engraved with a pattern unique to the parlour they belong to. These balls can be exchanged for prizes or tokens, which can then be exchanged for cash at a venue separate from the parlour itself.

Much like Western video slots, pachinko slots can be customised, and in true Japanese style, feature anime characters and action-packed storylines. As of 2015, Japan’s pachinko market generates more gambling revenue than that of Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore combined.

China: MahJong & Sic Bo

Whilst China may be known for Baccarat, which has infiltrated Western casinos, there’s a couple of other Chinese games that you may not be so familiar with.

MahJong is a tile-based game, developed during the Qing dynasty. Commonly played with four people, this is a game of skill, observation and memory, requiring tactical gameplay. There is of course, an element of chance. In most variations of MahJong, players begin with thirteen tiles each. They then take turns to draw and discard tiles until they complete a legal hand, using the fourteenth tile drawn. A hand is completed when it contains four melds (or sets) and a pair (or eye)

Another intriguing casino game from China is sic bo, also known as hi-lo, which is played with three dice. The literal meaning of sic bo is “precious dice”. You don’t often see many dice games in casinos, but if you do come across one, it’s probably sic bo. Much like roulette, gameplay involves placing bets on certain areas of the table, as each betting area represents a specific outcome. For example, you could bet on all three dice landing on the same number, or a certain number being landed among the three. Once the bets are placed, the dealer shakes a small chest which houses the dice, before opening the chest to reveal the outcome of the round.

USA: Tic-Tac-Toe Chicken

Another bizarre bird-focussed casino game, Tic-Tac-Toe Chicken sees renowned noughts and crosses player ‘Ginger’ take down human competitors. The infamous bird has toured casinos all over the United States, defeating almost every competitor who dares challenge her. Those who decide to take her on do so by simply approaching her and making their move using switches, before waiting for their feathered opponent to hit a button inside her cage which corresponds with a certain position on the tic-tac-toe grid. A board then lights up is playing both players’ moves - if Ginger loses, the player victorious player can win up to $10,000.

Casino Games at 21.co.uk

If you’re staying on home turf for the time being, then you can find all of your favourite casino games right here at 21.co.uk. You’ll even find a couple of quirky variants and perhaps something you’ve never played before - we cater to every interest. If you want to try a game mentioned in this article, unfortunately we can’t provide you with a tic-tac-toe playing chicken (maybe one day), but we do have Super Sic Bo - will your intuition pull through?

Take Time to Think | BeGambleAware.org | 18+

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