Despite all the changes that technology has brought about in our day to day lives, there are some traditional pastimes that refuse to lie down and die. Card games are a prime example. Playing cards were first introduced to India around 500 years ago by the Mughal emperors. These were round, and consisted of 10 suits. It was not until the British arrived that the playing cards we know today appeared on the scene.
There are dozens of card games, and every region of India has its own creations and variations on traditional favourites.
Popular throughout India, this game is based on the English three card brag. It also bears certain similarities to three card poker, although the rankings of hands are slightly different, with three of a kind, or “trio” outranking a straight flush. A fun aspect of teen patti is that a player can choose to play blind, wagering as normal but without looking at the hand he has been dealt. Winning a blind hand doubles the reward.
Poker is the most popular game on the planet, and has been elevated to almost the status of a sport thanks to global coverage of the WSOP on channels like ESPN. It’s also far more accessible to novices than it used to be, thanks to the dozens of mobile apps that are available. Online platforms like ComeOn Casino offer live dealer versions of popular poker games like casino holdem.
Satte Pe Satta
It’s the card game that became so popular, it spawned its own Bollywood movie! Satte pe satta is best played with a large group of friends and multiple decks. The objective is to discard your cards as quickly as possible, but those with a wicked sense of mischief take more pleasure in strategically blocking other players than going for the win. However you choose to play, this game is a lot of fun.
A little less raucous, but just as immersive, rummy has been a family favourite for centuries. It’s a game that everyone can play, whether you’re 4 or 104, although that might not have been the case when it was first invented. Historians believe the name derives from the common stake, which was a glass of naval rum! Incidentally, gin rummy and whisky poker have similar origins behind their names!
The great thing about card games is they can be as simple or as complex as you like. While rummy is the accessible crowd-pleaser, twenty-eight is something you can really get your teeth into, and is a big favourite among India’s more serious card players. It is particularly popular in Southern India, while those in Northern regions have their own version called twenty-nine. It is played by four players split into teams of two, and is conceptually similar to the ancient game of bridge. It’s worth taking some time to learn the rules, as this is a game that can bring hours of pleasure.