Gambling and Boardgames
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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I love to gamble. Poker has exploded in popularity. Well... I lived in Vegas for half a year as a fulltime poker player and I played tons of boardgames with my friends in our free time. Naturally, we started to put small wagers on our board games and it totally enhanced our gaming experience!

The following is a list of games (which I hope you will add to) that you've bet on before. Please talk about the luck vs skill factor and also how condusive the game is to betting.

One important factor that I realized when betting on our games is that some games are not gambling-friendly. Games involving diplomacy (ie. Risk) are not good for gambling because friendly alliances (between husbands and wives, close friends, etc...) can almost seal up victory too early in a game and the money aspect can cause bitter feelings. The best games for gambling IMO are games where there is less teamwork and players play for their own personal gain each turn.

Gambling also solves one of the all-time classic problems of gaming. Games are at their best when all players are trying their best and give the game their full attention. Sometimes, players tend to give up on games halfway through or lose interest if they feel they can't win which ruins the experience for everyone else. Sometimes this is called a kingmaker problem (when I person can pretty much choose who wins) The solution: put some money down! If there is a points system, that player who is behind by 20pts in Puerto Rico suddenly becomes just as involved as everyone else, trying desperately to minimize their loses! It creates an incentive to try your best even on the very last turn if you can't win.

Hopefully by the end of this, we can have a ranking for the best gambling games! For the record, I'm not going to include obvious games such as poker and other card games since we already know those are great gambling games.

Please add a comment and include a thumbsup if you agree that this would be a good game to bet on or a thumbsdown if you disagree.

Have fun and good luck! robot

Tips appreciated!
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1. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:20]
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Puerto Rico is a game that greatly benefits from putting some money on it. We like to play for $1 a point, with $5 going to the winner as well. This makes it an intense game for all players, even if you are behind in the beginning, you have so much incentive to catch up and minimize your losses.

The game is pretty much 98% skill so putting some money down was probably the best thing to do in terms of improving our play. GREAT SUCCESS!!!
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2. Board Game: Scrabble [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1629]
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Believe it or not, scrabble is probably one of the best gambling board games out there. Its a great mix of skill and luck. I'd say 80% skill / 20% luck which is a pretty good ratio for a gambling game. Its probably best to play this as a two player game if gambling but I think 3 or 4 would work as well.
 
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3. Board Game: Mahjong [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:672]
William Hostman
United States
Alsea
OR
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I've been Banished to Oregon... Gaming in Corvallis, living in Alsea... Need gamers willing to try new things...
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Oriental Style Rules. (See my webpage for the specifics of how we played the game, for scoring at least.)

Essentially a gin-rummy variant... But with losers paying winner a penny-a-tenpoint each hand.

Due to doublings, scores can exceed 50,000. points. Typically, hand differences run 10 to 500 points or so... but every so often, a huge hand comes along. My record was around 70,000 points when gambling... back in my undergrad days.

One weekend, one of the guys insisted on upping the stakes to penny-a-point... My buddy Mark was crowing about a thousand points showing... (four kongs and 4 doublers showing on the draw!), I went out on the draw with 3 kongs and a pung, in my own hand of my own round, all honors and dragons, on the deal (aka no discard), and 2 doublers. (Playing W in W Hand of W Round: WWWW =128, RRRR=16, SSSS=16, GGG=4, BB=0, total 168)x2^6=10752... everybody was groaning. We never played for more than penny-a-tenpoint again.

That one was luck. Pure and simple. Mah Jongg has a large skill component, though.The typical 5000 point hand is mostly skill... knowing what you can make, and then making it by careful collection.

If you've never played, it's worth a try.
 
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4. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:34]
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Power grid is a very good game to put money on. We play for $5 a game and $1 for each city you are behind on the last turn. The gambling aspect of this sometimes causes analysis paralysis so you will need to have a time limit on each turn and also hide each player's money.

I must say coming from behind on the very last turn to overtake 3 opponents and win $20 is such a satisfying feeling!!!
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5. Board Game: Wits & Wagers [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:564]
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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This one is an obvious choice since it already involves a gambling aspect. Try playing this game with REAL money. Even small stakes work well. Its hilarious!
 
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6. Board Game: Manila [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:683]
Adam Daulton
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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We played this last night and were talking about changing the money to real money somehow. This game after all is essentially a gambling game.
 
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7. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:290]
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Since Battlelore is so quick to play, my brother and I play each scenario twice, switching sides. We put $10 on the line and you need to win 2/2 to win. Alternatively, you could add up the total number of banners won during the 2 matches with the winner being the player that won the most banners.

This is GREAT FUN! Its hilarious how the other player never gives up and does their best to save each unit from being destroyed. A lot of defense and new tactics are involved when playing for money.

For all battlelore fans - you've got to try to play for some money. Even small stakes work. One of these days, I'm going to have an epic $100 battle hahaha
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8. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:79]
Mike Lee
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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OK This is a game of skill and betting on this would be similar to people betting on snooker, golf, bowling, etc...

I haven't bet on this before... has anyone on BGG? What stakes? What rules?
 
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9. Board Game: Win, Place & Show [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:2523]
Jim Pulles
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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Play with real parimutuel betting!
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10. Board Game: Boomtown [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1592]
Marc Gilutin
United States
Alhambra
California
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Boomtown could easily be played 'n' dollars/point + '10n' dollars to the winner. (We almost always use 'real' poker chips anyway)
 
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