The Philippines has a rich and colorful history and these are manifested in the games that people play. Just take the case of popular gambling activities or games where bets are involved. Filipinos are known to bet on several sports and this tradition dates back to the times of the Spanish colonizers. One popular form of gambling in the country is cockfighting, one that has been around for centuries. Also, Filipinos love to bet on horse racing. These races are not just exciting to follow; these races can also provide players with an opportunity to play for money. Also, Filipinos love to follow and bet on sports. Basketball, boxing, and football are just some of the most popular sports that people bet on. But when it comes to games that are both colorful and sociologically influential, only a few games can rival sakla.
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Sakla is just one of a dozen ways that Filipinos gamble but it’s one that has a deep-rooted impact on the way of life and culture of the locals. So what is sakla and why is this a popular form of gambling among locals? To fully understand the game of sakla, one has to look first at its meaning and the traditions that are attached to it. Just like mahjong, this game takes features a deeper meaning and takes on a unique role in Philippine culture.
Sakla as a Cultural Activity for Many Locals
Some games are played for the sake of earning money and some are planned and hosted due to its cultural or societal influences. Just take the case of sakla, one of the most popular forms of gambling in the country. If you have been to the Philippines and have paid a visit to a wake, then there’s a big chance that you have witnessed the game of sakla. Together with bingo and other card games, sakla is played in many wakes.
Sakla is a local version of the Spanish tarot and is a favorite form of gambling in these places to keep people engaged and awake. This is often hosted during wakes because the homeowner will get a share of the revenues from the game of sakla. And according to one prominent sociologist from the Philippines, Professor Randolf David, sakla has its functions and it’s a way to keep mourners around. Although it has become a flourishing business for many, sakla still has its own set of benefits for many that cannot be ignored. And because this game has become popular, some enterprising individuals often use and organize ‘fake wakes’ just to host sakla. This arrangement has led to the growth and popularity of game which in turn attracted the interests of law enforcement.
Today, the game of sakla is considered illegal and the subject of several laws in the country. However, some law enforcement agencies and authorities often turn a blind eye to the activities. This is linked to how the games are played. These are played and hosted during wakes, and a part of the revenues can help the grieving families. We will describe below the general rules that you need to remember when playing the game.
How to Play this Game?
So how do you play sakla and what are the general rules to remember? As a popular game in the Philippines, you will not find an accurate translation of sakla in English. What you should know that this is a card game and traces its roots to Spanish tarot. Although this is a card game, sakla does not come with the ranking of the cards which is a standard when you learn how to play pusoy dos.
When you play the game, you will need a deck of sakla cards including the Jokers, but the eight and nines are taken out of play. In short, you will play four suits with three pictures, the king, the horse, and the jack. The table will also show numeral cards from 1 to 9 in each of the four suits. The four suits in the deck are swords, clubs, cups, and coins. The kings, horses, and jacks will also numerals from 10 to 12 which you will find in the corners. Also, the suits in sakla will feature several breaks in the borders. The swords will show three, the clubs with two, the cups with one, and coins none.
In the sakla board, players will find 5 combinations for each suit with 20 possible combinations to choose from. When playing sakla, you need to pay attention to the possible pairings or combinations. For example, the King and Ace, Four and Five, Two and Three, Six and Seven, and Horse and Jack. If during the game the Two and Three Coins are shown first, that will become the winning combo. When playing in real money, you can wager different amounts on different combinations until it reaches the maximum wager that is set by operator. In sakla, the normal payout is 1 to 18.
This game is widely played not just in communities but in other regulated casinos as well. When playing in a casino, the game follows the standard rules. To start the game, the casino dealer will announce ‘Place your bets’. The dealer will then load the cards into the automated shuffling machine. After all bets in sakla have been made, the dealer will announce ‘No more bets’. The sakla dealer will then show one card at a time starting from the back of the playing deck. The idea here is to come up with a matching card. The first matching pair of card (say Two and Three Coins) will serve as the winning combination. If it happens, the casino dealer will then announce the winning combination.
Compared to other card games, sakla does not involve complicated skills. Also, players no longer need to memorize or train in certain skills and strategies. It is up to you to decide which you think will serve as the first matching pair of the game. Some players place bets on a random combination and there are players too who follow some rituals in choosing a pair to bet on in sakla.
Sakla is also different compared to other table games that are also popular among locals. Compared to the popular blackjack, baccarat, and poker, this card game is not readily available online. The main reason for this is that the game is uniquely Filipino. Although it takes inspiration from an old Spanish game, players here managed to add unique cultural sensibilities to the game. You will not find a leading online casino that offers this game both in free demo or in real money mode. If you plan to participate in the game, you have two general options. One, you can visit local communities where there are gatherings like wakes. You can observe the game, place your wager, and take part in this exciting card game. Two, you can also visit some registered and licensed casinos in the country. A few of these best Philippines casinos to play sakla offer their versions which can accept real money bets. Whether you decide to play in small gatherings in communities or dress up to visit a casino, you can expect the same set of rules, conditions, and payouts