Trope Workshop:Gambling Game

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Any game can be used for gambling - just slap a bet on any particular outcome. Then there are those which incorporate gambling directly into the core gameplay, whether it be for actual money or a set of in-game pieces (Side Bets optional). These Gambling Games date back to the Paleolithic period, before written history; the earliest six-sided dice date to about 3000 BC in Mesopotamia, and were based on "astragali" dating back thousands of years earlier than that.

Gambling Games are frequent sights at casinos, both in Real Life and in various fiction.

Examples of Gambling Game include:


Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Tabletop Games

  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Originally, the official default way of playing the game was called Ante: At the start of the game players would put a random card from their deck on the table, and the winner of the game would keep the ante cards. There are a handful of cards that interact with the Ante mechanic, and must be removed from the deck prior to playing a non-Ante game. Ante proved wildly unpopular, resulting in non-Ante becoming the official default playstyle; WotC stopped printing Ante Cards, and Ante format Sanctioned Events are not allowed. Even so, official Ante rules do exist as of September 24, 2021: "each player puts one random card from their deck into the ante zone after determining which player goes first but before players draw any cards. Cards in the ante zone may be examined by any player at any time. At the end of the game, the winner becomes the owner of all the cards in the ante zone."
    • The tourney-exclusive format Grandmaster plays a starter deck trimmed from 60 cards down to 40 cards. Grandmaster tourneys were run with an 8-player bracket: the winner of a match obtains their opponent's deck - which can be used to improve or rebuild their own during the rest of the tournament - and after the first match, the remaining players would have a 60 card minimum. The winner of the tourney gets to keep all the cards they won.
    • Mini Masters was initially a variant of Grandmaster, and carried over the same card-claiming rules in its earliest incarnations.
  • There are various playing card games that revolve around gambling:
    • Poker is probably the most famous example, and actually refers to a entire group of similar card games.
  • The Jewish game of spinning the dreidel is a game of chance in which each player begins with an equal number of game pieces (usually 10–15); these pieces can be any object, such as chocolate gelt, pennies, raisins, etc. Each participant places one game piece into the "pot" to start, as well as when the pot is empty or only has one piece. Each player spins the dreidel once during their turn, and depending on which side is facing up when it stops spinning, the turn player \gives or takes game pieces from the pot.
  • Roulette is a game dating back to the 18th century, likely developed from the Italian game Biribi. A player places a bet on a single number, various groupings of numbers, the color red or black, whether the number is odd or even, or if the numbers are high (19–36) or low (1–18). To determine the winning number, the wheel is spun in one direction, then a ball is spun in the opposite direction around the track composing the outer edge of the wheel. Winnings are paid to anyone who successfully bet on where the ball lands.

Video Games

  • Both New Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64 DS have a set of casino-style minigames played with coins, some of which are naturally examples of this. Luigi acts as the dealer is most of these.
    • Super Mario 64 DS has Mario Slot and Super Mario Slot, as well as Mushroom Roulette and Picture Poker.
    • New Super Mario Bros. also has Picture Poker, and adds Luigi's Thrilling Cards (a Texas Hold 'Em-style game where players bet on their unseen card being higher than the other players' cards) and Luigi-Jack (two-player blackjack).

Web Original

Other Media

Real Life

  • The highest of high-stakes games, Russian Roulette. You literally bet your life on a one-in-six chance of losing it.