Casinos today just about bend over backwards to provide their players with excitement and great gaming for entertainment. Sometimes, this means things get weird, and casinos go to somewhat extreme lengths to give players new options in the gaming scene.

We have searched through some of the weirdest concoctions and put together a list of the 7 strangest casino games of the world. Now, if your interest is peaked and you feel compelled to give these games a go, you will likely need to travel. These 7 strangest casino games of the world are not common to see in the casinos of Australia and the United States.

I guess you can say that Aussies and the Yanks are just too basic. Having a bet on the Melbourne Cup, the Kentucky Derby, and which wannabe tv-star is eliminated next on the Bachelor would be about as weird as it gets.

Get ready for your mind to be blown as we share our unorthodox list of the 7 strangest casino games of the world:

  • Casino War
  • Dreidel
  • Tic Tac Toe Chicken Challenge
  • Belgium Birdsong
  • Rodent Roulette
  • Chinese Fan-Tan
  • Pachinko

7.     Casino War

Casino war, which is also known as ‘WAR’ is one of the easiest card games to play. You would have likely played WAR, or a variant of some sort as a child. This game is one of the most famous and fun-filled card games ever. It is also one of the strangest casino games which can also be found in practically every casino, even played at online casinos.

The goal of the game WAR is to win all the cards. By placing a bet, players are then dealt one card, if the player’s card is higher than the dealers’ card, the player wins the round.

In the event of a draw, the player can decide to either surrender half of their bet or go to battle! Doubling down on their stakes if their card comes out on top.

This is the very simplified version that players will find in many casinos of the world.

The game of WAR has a house edge that is a bit different to typical games. The house edge comes from going to war itself. A player can hand over half their initial bet, or they can double their bet to win back their initial amount, meaning you either win one unit or lose two units.

For example, you originally bet $10 and choose to surrender $5 to avoid going to war and keep your remaining $5. In the event of war with the same bet, a player would then double their original $10 bet, risking $20 to win only $10.

6.     Dreidel

Dreidel is the name of a unique four-sided spinning top that is used by the Jewish community during Hanukkah to celebrate, however, it is traditionally a gambling game and is very similar to the European game ‘teetotum’.

Traditionally speaking – Dreidel was played by families and involved making small bets with each other using raisins, or small change. In some casinos today, Dreidel is offered as a cash game.

Learning to play Dreidel is very easy; players start by putting all their cash into the centre of the table which is referenced as a ‘pot’. On the Dreidel itself, there are four different sides with each side having a different meaning, these are:

  1. Nun – meaning ‘nothing’ – the player who spun the Dreidel top receives nothing
  2. Gimel – meaning ‘everything’ – the player who spun the Dreidel top receives everything
  3. Hey – meaning ‘half’ – the player who spun the Dreidel top receives half of the pot
  4. Shin – meaning ‘put in’ – meaning you have to place an additional bet into the pot

For players that land on ‘shin’ but have no more bankroll to bet are then out of the game, however, they can ask another player for a loan – some casinos don’t allow these loans though.

The game of Dreidel ends when one player lands on ‘gimel’ and wins everything in the pot. The next round of betting starts once the pot is claimed and the process repeats itself.

If you thought it couldn’t get any stranger, an interesting fact about Dreidel – the game has its own Major League in New York City.

5.     Tic Tac Toe Chicken Challenge

We are really getting some wind behind us with this list now!

You can count the number of times that you have challenged a chicken to a game of good old fashioned noughts and crosses. Its zero? We thought so.

At the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, punters can challenge ‘Ginger’ to an old school game of noughts and crosses, against a world champion – that is an also a chicken. Yes, ‘Ginger’ is a chicken.

‘Ginger’ is not chicken for a high stakes game either. Players can be in it to win a cash prize of $10,000. Be warned though as ‘Ginger’ doesn’t cluck about when it comes to noughts and crosses. She has toured casinos across the United States; strutting a path of distruction behind her as she defeated almost everyone that challenged her.

Are you game enough to challenge ‘Ginger’ or are you too chicken?

4.     Belgium Birdsong

Really, another bird? We are not making this one up… Belgium birdsong is a very popular game in Belgium casinos and is very strange.

This strange casino game involves songbirds in cages which ‘take turns’ on singing for punters. Players place bets on which bird they think will sing the longest and the loudest.

Each of the birds are required to sing, with whichever bird singing the loudest and longest is determined as the winner.

If you think Belgium birdsong is an interesting casino game, then head to Belgium and wait for the fat bird to sing as you squawk your way to riches!

3.     Rodent Roulette

This is a really strange casino game, but also an intriguing take on a classic casino game favourite. Rodent roulette is played using a rat (or similar), which is placed on the wheel instead of spinning the wheel itself. The rodent will eventually hide itself within one of the pockets on the wheel – deciding who wins.

If the rodent selected the pocket you placed a bet on you win!

Given the state of animal affairs in 2019 and the strong views people have about animal cruelty – some people believe Rodent roulette takes things too far. There have even been protests at casinos for animal cruelty and exploitation.

There is no doubting that the game is certainly unique and harmless to the rodent working the wheel.

2.     Chinese Fan-Tan

Asia is the home to plenty of strange casino games which unfortunately we will likely never see in Australian and American casinos. Well, WAR is a casino game these days, so maybe Chinese fan-tan will have its day?

Fan-tan is a traditional Chinese gambling game played on a flat surface with a cup and many handfuls of tiny plastic beads or objects.

The game of fan-tan became very popular around the world in the 1800’s. Back in the game’s earlier days home games of fan-tan were played with simple objects like beans or coins. However, in the notorious gambling dens in China, fan-tan was played with beads made of bone, or ivory.

Playing fan-tan is quite simple, although some players can be overwhelmed or confused because of the heaped bundle of beads spilt on the table. Playing is simple and the object is to choose the correct number, from one to four – which represents how many beads are left after subtracting groups of four at a time.

Once the dealer (called a Tan Kun) announces a game, players make their bets by placing their bet on any of the four numbers on the table, or on any combination of numbers. The dealer then grabs a large cup (called a tan) and covers approximately 60 of the 200 or so beads before the remaining beads are removed, and then the cup is removed. The dealer then uses a small bamboo stick to separate the beads into groups of four. Eventually there will be just a few beads remaining – either one, two, three or four – which is the winning number.

Betting on Chinese fan-tan has changed over the centuries. Today players can bet on the following options:

  1. Bet on a single number: 1, 2, 3, 4 with odds of 3 to 1 minus a 5% commission (house edge of 3.75%)
  2. Bet on two numbers: 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4, or 3-4. This bet pays 1 to 1 minus a 5% commission (house edge of 2.50%)
  3. Bet on three numbers: 1-2-4, 1-3-4, 2-3-4, 1-2-3. This bet pays 1 to 3 minus a 5% commission (house edge 1.25%)

1.     Pachinko

This brings us to our number one of our 7 strangest casino games of the world – Pachinko. Think of the pokies, but with a distinct Japanese manga/anime vibe.

Gambling in Japan was basically illegal up until December 2016, when their Government passed legislation that legalized casino gambling in the country – putting an end to a 15 year back-and-forth political battle.

Prior to this, there was only a minimal amount of legal gambling in Japan – Pachinko (the most popular), lottery tickets, boat, and betting on boat, horse, motorbike and bicycle races.

In Japan, Pachinko players bet 23.3 trillion yen ($291 billion AUD) in 2015 – which is only one third of the amount it was during its peak 10 years earlier! This is largely due to the population ageing and finding other forms of entertainment.

Now the game of Pachinko has the typical Japanese vibe – the machines look like they are straight out of a video game or anime. The game itself is strange, the machines are a mix of the pokies and a vertical pinball machine.

Each of these machines have small steel balls that ricochet hectically around assorted pins and blockers, with the aim for the steel balls to land in the small designated holes that activate a payout which rewards more steel balls.

Most of the steel balls simply drop down the machine and disappear, so it is fairly rare to have balls land in the special holes – think pokies and jackpots.

The steel balls can be purchased from the parlours with Japanese currency – Yen. The balls can then be exchanged at any time into goods at the parlours gift shop – like an arcade. Now, as gambling had been illegal at the time, players would need to bypass this by exchanging the balls into some special goods; and then go outside to a window and exchange the special goods for cash. There you have it, 7 of the strangest casino games of the world that you can play if you really must. If quirky games interest you, Planet 7 Oz has many of these modern and quirky pokies and specialty games to play including one of our latest – Cubee which you can play right here!

Amelia Brown
After studying journalism for 3 years at University of Canberra, Amelia Brown went for a 2-year walkabout in Europe. After catching the travel bug, she decided to spend the rest of her life as a digital nomad, writing freelance articles from remote locations. She is a regular contributor to Planet 7 Oz and an enthusiastic online gamer.
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