India Games and the History of Indian Gambling

Indian Casino GamesThe number of games that were created in India and brought to other countries is amazing. The world’s oldest surviving textbook the Rig-Veda describes games of a dice and there is even an Indian hymn over 3200 years old that warns of the dangers of gambling. Yes, gambling was around then and also plays a major roll later in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata where a famous dice story is told. Indians invented dice, marbles, and checkers during Indus Valley Civilization (3250 BC to 2750 BC). During the early Hindi period (600BC-320BC) Chaturang was invented, which later evolved into the game we know as Chess. In 300AD Pachisi (know in US as Parcheesi) was invented in India. In 1200AD Snakes and Ladders (later called Chutes and Ladders).

This only covers a few of the games we’re aware of; no one at Casino Online is a history buff. It is quite reasonable to assume many other games were invented in India as well. Of course, when people mention Indian games they generally don’t mean checkers and chess, even though these games were invented in India. Also, considering our website is about gambling, on this page I’ll cover only well known gambling games, played largely in India. I’ll also skip mention of internationally famous games that might have Indian origins.

Indian Gambling Games

We’ve covered four of the most popular Indian gambling games in detail on our website. Here is a short summary for each, but be sure to click the links contained within to learn more about each specific Indian game.

Paplu (Indian Rummy)

Paplu is a version of Rummy extremely popular in India. This game uses two or three standard decks each containing 53 cards, the extra being a joker. Each player is dealt an agreed upon number of starting cards, and the left over cards are called the stack. To start the game one card from the stack is turned over creating a pile. From here on out all cards of that matching rank are wild. Players then take turns either selecting the top card from the discard pile (which is face up) or the stack (which is face down) and then discarding one card to the pile. The goal is to make Paplu (Rummy) which is getting all cards into combinations of runs and sets. A run is three or more cards in consecutive order of the same suit. A set is three cards of the same rank all in different suits. In order to win the game a player needs all his cards as part of sets and runs AND needs at least two runs of which one cannot use a wild card. When he makes this hand he declares Paplu, and the rest of the table pays him based on their hand holdings at the time. The scoring as well as the opportunity to pack is covered in our article how to play Paplu.

Teen Patti (Flush)

This is a game with many names. It’s often called Flush or Flash in Goa and Mumbai, but elsewhere referred to as Teen Patti. The game is three card poker using standard hand rankings, except as is common in three card games a straight beats a flush. What makes Flush unique is the betting, it’s a game of skill and bluffing, and players can choose to play their hands blind which allows them to bet only half the standard bet. You can read full details of how it is played in our article how to Play Teen Patti.

Andar Bahar (Katti)

Casino Online did a detailed article on how to play Katti, although there really wasn’t much to cover. This is known in India as Andar Bahar, which means inside outside. How it works is a card is cut and a player decides inside or outside. The cards are then reshuffled and then dealt one at a time to each of two spots called the inside spot and the outside spot. If the player was correct in his choice of inside or outside based on where the previously cut card lands, he wins the bet. If not, he loses the bet. This is a very simple game similar to heads or tails, though it uses cards instead of a coin.

Passa (Dice)

Passa is a really simple dice game you can read about it in our article how to play Passa. To give the gist of it here, the game is played with traditional Indian four sided dice that are rectangular shape. These dice only have the numbers 1, 3, 4, 6. The game starts with players taking turns rolling dice until a pair is made. When the made pair is 4’s or 6’s the roller wins, if it comes out 1’s or 3’s they lose. Again another rather simple game; this one is offered at Casino Royale Goa.

Other Casino Games in India

As I mentioned in the intro, India was the inventor of many games popular around the world. Excavations from the Indus valley civilization found all sorts of children toys. Early Indians understood the importance of song, dance, games and recreation. They also preferred strategy games that involved deep though, using these to help develop a man’s character. Europeans enjoy taking credit for various games, but interesting enough most the earliest gaming devices uncovered in Europe had Indian symbols on them. Whilst we don’t cover too much history on our website, if you navigate our other pages you can learn about internationally popular games such as roulette, craps, slots and the like. These games are quite popular in India, as are the Indian games mentioned on this page.