Gambling In Japan And The Development Of The Japanese Hanafuda “Flower Card” Deck

There has always been a conflict in Japan between the desire of the authorities to ban gambling and a determination among people of all classes to gamble. Horse racing, boat and bicycle racing are popular forms of gambling, along with playing pachinko slot machines and mahjong.

Gambling with cards also takes place, although it does not seem to be so popular as it was in former times.

Although the ancient Japanese aristocracy used to entertain themselves with card games, they did not tend to play for money, and the games did not spread to the lower classes.

However, in 1549, when Francis Xavier landed in Japan, the Portuguese crew of the ship he sailed on introduced the 48 card Portuguese deck to the Japanese. This sparked a fashion for gambling with playing cards in Japan until 1633, when the authorities cut off all contact with the outside world, and banned foreign imports and influences, including European-style playing cards.

Various home-grown card decks were produced, grew popular and were then banned by the authorities in a continuing attempt to prevent gambling.

It was out of this period when the legitimacy of playing cards was contested by the state that the Hanafuda style deck was developed, consisting of twelve suits of four cards each. Instead of being based on a European-style number system, the twelve suits are each governed by a particular flower that is associated with a month of the year – hence the name, “Hanafuda” or “Flower Cards”.

In the Meiji Era (1862-1912) the government adopted a more permissive attitude towards gambling and gaming. Then, in 1889 the Nintendo corporation opened its doors and began to produce hand-made Hanafuda cards, and later on, mass produced cards, which they continue to produce to this day.

The most popular game played with Hanafuda cards is called Koi Koi. Players compete to match cards in their hand with cards on the table and get bonus points for making special combinations. However, as the game does not readily lend itself to gambling, a faster game was developed by the Yakuza, and their gaming parlours became popular resorts for urban gamblers.

However, towards the end of the Meiji era, government policy changed and gambling was once more made illegal.

The ban on gambling was even more strictly enforced during the Second World War but no sooner had the war finished than various forms of gambling began to flourish again, including games using the Hanafuda deck.

One example of such a game occurs in the first volume of the Gambling Legend Tetsuya comic series by Sai Fumei and Hoshino Yasushi (Shonen Magazine Comics, Kodansha, 1997). Tetsuya, the mahjong-playing hero of the series, begins his gambling career by playing a Hanafuda card game at night in an illicit gambling den in the chaotic aftermath of world war two Japan. In the game he plays, called “Uichokabu,” the cards are assigned number values according to their designated month of the year. Cards for November and December are omitted and the object of the game is to get closer to “9” than the dealer. The player places bets at a level of his choice and gets to call for another card or to stick, just as in Black Jack. The dealer plays four players at a time, each gambling on his own cards.

Tetsuya soon moves on to playing mahjong, and the rest of the series is about the vicissitudes of his fortunes at the mahjong table. It seems that the post war mahjong boom put Hanafuda gambling in the shade.

Today, with the emergence of video games and other forms of entertainment, traditional Hanafuda card games like Koi Koi are played less often than before, and mostly as a form of entertainment at home or with friends. Nevertheless, Nintendo continues to produce a range of Hanafuda decks alongside its range of video games products.

A typical Hanafuda deck consists of 48 cards which measure about 55 x 35 mm in size, considerably smaller than European playing cards. A typical Hanafuda card is made of paper pasted onto card. The back of the card and the frame on the front is either in black or red ochre. Nintendo’s highest quality set, the “Daitoryou” deck, comes in a smart plastic box with a picture of Napoleon on the top.

Many Hanafuda fans now play various video game versions of the game, including those produced by Nintendo. Moreover, the popularity of the Internet has now made information about Hanafuda more widely available, with Google recording over 150,000 pages related to Hanafuda at the time of writing this article.

The Evolution of a Deck of Cards – Face Cards

A military commander in the French army, who was in combat along with Joan of Arc was also an artisan who designed and crafted cards. His name was Etienne de Vignolles, AKA La Hire. Saint Joan so impressed him with her courage and heroic deeds that he removed the knight in the deck in favor of a dame. Decorating cards with religious motifs, or those depicting human forms were not a problem to the Catholic Church. King David was symbolized in the deck with the king of spades with sword in hand and quiver at his feet. Charles the Great was represented by the king of clubs, Julius Caesar became the king of diamonds, and Alexander the Great, the king of hearts. The four sources of western civilization were thus represented by the four kings.

The depiction of what we would call today Queens and Jacks was not as consistent. The queen of spades was drawn in the form of Athena, meant likewise to remind of the warlike Joan of Arc. The queen of diamonds was the beautiful Rachel that Jacob waited for 14 years before be able to take her as wife. The queen of hearts stood for Judith, the heroine who had beheaded Holofernes. While the queen of clubs was a collective image and represented a certain abstract favorite of kings, named Argine, which was apparently an anagram of “regina” (queen), or which possibly meant to suggest Joan of Arc again, since the king of clubs was Charles the Great, the distinguished French Catholic leader.

The jack of spades was the symbol for one of Charlemagne’s knights of the court. Hector stood in for diamonds; La Hire himself for hearts, while clubs were represented by Judas Maccabeus. For the sake of variety, the four jacks depicted four famous knights: Lancelot, Ogier, Roland and Valery. Each knight’s name appeared below their picture on the cards. They were long-haired, clean-shaven youths, warriors wielding battle axes. All of them buy Valery had at their feet a dog similar to a bloodhound. This may have occurred because Valery was also the lead craftsman of the deck.

Going lower on the scale, we have cards ten down to two, marked with their corresponding number and value. The Ace which was an English word meaning “unit” had translations in French, Spanish, German and other equivalents as well, such as: as, ass, aus, etc. The Ace was ranked lower than even the two. This greatly upset the Catholic Church of the middle ages as God was “one” and any numeric system defining His number as lowly was blasphemous and smacked as consorting with the devil. Should you disagree with this theory, you would undoubtedly come to see it their way on your way to the dungeon.

The Ace stands today for something almost metaphysical – the quintessence of oneness, if you will, which becomes more valuable than any one personification. In reality, should a lone, simple card be given such mystical attributes?

This was debated in the middle ages as it is sometimes done so now. Many countries in our world do not distinguish been spiritual and material matters with both being important to one’s definition of self. In modern times, perhaps more than in ancient times, the rational, mystical, and even blatant sexuality are revered in the designs of a deck of cards.

Otherwise, the cards serve us pretty much as they served any specific class or a mixture of class during the middle ages or the Renaissance. The basic hierarchy of the deck from King to lowest number, and the 2.598.960 possible combinations of varying value, the value of combinations decided by their rarity, allow ample possibility to project anybody’s social and spiritual aspirations.

How to Win Big Playing Gambling Games Online

Online gambling is a fun and convenient alternative to live casino gambling that has taken the Internet by storm in recent years. As gambling enthusiasts are discovering that they can play their favorite casino games 24/7 from the comfort of home, more and more people are signing up to play on online casinos. Gambling games can be a lot of fun to play. However, if you really want to succeed in online casinos you need to keep a few things in mind.

The first thing that you need to know in order to succeed in the world of Internet gambling is that online casinos work on the principal that the house has the advantage over the players. After all, if people won all the time the casinos wouldn’t have any money left to stay in business! However, the more that you play online casino games the more you will get used to the way different online casinos work and what you have to do in order to win.

As you play Internet casino games you will also notice that different games require different skills and strategies. Many people think that the outcome of online casino games is based on nothing more than luck but the truth is that the true outcome of many casino games is based on knowledge and strategy. For instance, in gambling card games such as poker and blackjack you can study up on odds and starting hands in order to know how to play like a winner. Learning different probabilities for different games can help you to greatly increase your odds of winning big in online casino games.

You should also remember that in gambling online it is always better to quit when you are ahead. Casinos work on the assumption that even if you win you will keep playing and spend away all of your winnings. It is a horrible feeling to end a winning streak with a huge loss in which you lose everything you’ve won, plus more. Therefore, you need to know how to resist the urge and stop playing.

If you need more help you can find a huge number of articles about strategy for any online casino game you can think of. Learn about odds, betting, game rules and more before you start betting in a casino online and you will be full of self-confidence and ready to win!

Once you know how to win you are ready to start playing. Starting to play online casino games is easy. All you have to do is choose a site that offers your favorite casino games and download their online casino software. If you want to play for money you’ll have to make a deposit and then you are ready to start playing! And remember-keep an eye out for ways to beat the house edge, work on your strategy and quit when you’re ahead! Practice these simple tricks and you are sure to win big in the world of gambling online!

Further articles that were written by Gene Marshall related to online casino can be found online. Skilled online casino buff Gene Marshall writes for several well-known online casino web sites.

101 Gambling Tips For the Avid Gambler

While many of the gambling facts you may have picked up in Las Vegas can be useful in online gambling it’s important that you realize there are some critical differences. But with a knowledge of the facts surrounding your chosen game, and armed with some gambling tips from experienced online players, you will find online gambling not only a fascinating and exciting adventure bit also an opportunity to turn your gambling hobby into a profitable venture.

Critical Rules for Every Game

1. Never chase after your losses. Don’t increase your bets because you’re losing and want to get even; only increase your bets as part of a pre-determined strategy.
2. Don’t gamble at any game that you don’t understand. Learn it first.
3. Don’t gamble and drink at the same. It’s hard enough to win at gambling even without dulled senses.
Money Management – General Guidelines
4. You will lose more often than you win and the longer you play the more likely that fact is. And it’s true whether you’re talking about hands of blackjack, rolls of the roulette wheel or throws of the dice.
5. The key to winning is to maximize your wins and to minimize you losses.
6. Learn and memorize the odds at the particular game you have chosen to play as well as the best strategies to use in an effort to maximize your winnings at that particular game.
7. Never gamble with “dear” money; only gamble with “excess” money. In other words, never gamble with money that you will need, or may need, to pay your everyday living expenses.
8. If you’re playing against other players online this is doubly important. The minute you start gambling with “dear” money the other player will sense your heightened stress and play accordingly – often bullying you out of a bet because they know you are more tentative with your “dear” money.
9. Set a stop loss amount and stick to it. Divide your total gambling bankroll into four separate amounts. Divide each of those amounts into four smaller amounts. If you lose one of the smaller amounts, change tables or games or just take a break. If you lose your entire first allotment, stop gambling for the day.
10. Be disciplined and avoid the gambler’s demise of going into your next allotment because you feel like your luck “just has to turn around.”
11. Plan ahead. When you start a gambling session determine the amount that you want to win (be realistic) and when you reach that point put the money away and walk.
12. When you are winning, draw some money occasionally from your gambling bankroll and put it into a “do not touch” bankroll to protect that portion from further risk.
13. No money management system will ever overcome the house advantage over the long term. You will always lose more often than you win. The key is that you must win more big bets and lose more small bets.

Money Management – Positive Progression Systems

14. A Positive Progression System is one in which you increase the amount of your bets when you win and decrease the amounts of your bets when you lose. To use this system properly you must establish a “standard” betting unit.
15. Your “standard” betting unit should be a comfortable percentage of the gambling bankroll that you will be working with for a particular gambling session. For example, if your session’s bankroll is $100, you might make your “standard” betting unit $10.00. This way you would be able to play at least 10 betting events before running out of funds even if you lost all 10 events in a row.
16. These systems allow you to win relatively large amounts during a hot streak while helping to minimize your losses during cold streaks.
17. A common example of this strategy is to add one-half of the amounts you win to your next bet. For example, at blackjack if you win a hand with your “standard” betting unit of $10.00 you would add $5.00 to the bet on the next hand for a total bet of $15.00. If you win that hand you would add $7.50 to the $15.00 for a bet of $22.50 on the next hand. When you eventually lose a hand, return to your “standard” betting unit of $10.00 on the next hand and start the system all over. Of course in practice these increases of 50% will be approximate.
18. Another more complicated system is to always keep your bankroll divided into a certain number of units and then bet one unit on each event. As you win, your total bankroll becomes bigger so each unit will grow and you’ll be betting larger amounts. As you lose, your units, and bets, become smaller.
19. Establish a system for drawing some of the winnings from your gambling bankroll occasionally to put it into your “do not touch” bankroll. For example, when you double your bankroll you might take one-half of the winnings to put into the “do not touch” bankroll. If you experience a long winning streak using a Positive Progression System the winnings can grow dramatically.

Money Management – Negative Progression Systems

20. A Negative Progression System is one in which you increase the amount of your bets when you lose and decrease the amounts of your bets when you win. Again, to use this system properly you must establish your “standard” betting unit.
21. The most common negative progression system is the Martingale System. Here you double the amount of your bet if you lose and return to your “standard” betting unit when you win. For example, at blackjack if you bet $10.00 and lose you would bet $20.00 on the next hand. If you win that hand you would then reduce your bet to the “standard” $10.00 bet for the following hand. In all gambling, the Martingale system will always fail in the long run.
22. This system can be very frustrating because during a hot streak you are winning only your “standard” betting unit. And during cold streaks you are continually losing bigger and bigger amounts.
23. Remember, draw some money occasionally from your gambling bankroll winnings and put it into a “do not touch” bankroll.

Playing Roulette

24. American roulette is one of the worst casino games that you can play because the house advantage under standard rules is 5.26% or higher.
25. European roulette offers a lower house advantage under standard rules of 2.7% because there are fewer slots with only one “0” as opposed to the “0” and “00” in American roulette.
26. All bets on in American roulette give the house an advantage of 5.26% with one exception: the “0”, “00”, 1, 2, 3 combination bet gives the house a much larger 7.89% advantage.
27. All roulette betting systems rely on the inaccurate assumption that the result of previous spins can predict future results. Unless the system is defective or fixed, each spin carries the same odds as every other spin.
28. The most popular betting system at roulette is the negative progression system known as Martingale (see #17). As in all other games, the Martingale used in roulette will always fail in the long run.
29. Because of the heavy house advantage if you are playing not just for amusement but to win money you might as well take a shot at the higher payoff bets and hope that you get lucky.
30. Try a modified positive progression system at roulette. Divide the amount you are willing to lose at one roulette session into 35 “standard” betting units. Pick one number and bet one unit on that number (must be at least equal to the table minimum bet). Continue playing one unit on that same number until you either win or run out of your 35 unit bankroll. If you win, bet two units on the same number and continue betting two units on that number until you either win or lose your bankroll. If you win again, walk away!
31. Roulette is a relatively slow moving game compared to other online games, so it should take you a longer time to lose your bankroll.
32. Do not play roulette as a way to win money; the odds are too heavy in favor of the house. Play roulette only as a way to have fun and pass the time without losing a lot of money quickly.

Playing Baccarat

33. Baccarat is one of the easiest casino games to play and offers a relatively low advantage to the house of just 1.06%.
34. There may be as many as 12 to 14 players at a table, with the role as dealer passed around the table much as the dice are passed around a craps table.
35. All players may bet on each hand and the bets are either on the “player”, on the “dealer” or on a tie. With the exception of the tie bet, baccarat is much like betting heads or tails on the flip of a coin.
36. Neither banker nor player can make any decisions regarding play; the rules of the game stipulate what must be done with every hand and a house “dealer” supervising the game will direct the play accordingly.
37. Winning bets on the player or the dealer both pay even money, minus a 5% commission paid either at the time of the bet or when the player leaves the table.
38. Winning bets on a tie usually pay 8 to 1, again minus a 5% commission.
39. In an 8-deck game, the house advantage is slightly less for a “banker bet” and dramatically higher for a “tie bet”, so it seems most logical to bet only on the banker.
40. As in all online gambling, card counting is meaningless because the deck(s) is usually shuffled after each hand in baccarat.

Playing Blackjack

41. Blackjack offers one of the lowest house advantages at around .60%, but expert players can actually create situations where the player has an advantage.
42. For the serious player there are many complex strategies that require time and dedication to master.
43. Never just sit down cold at a table. Blackjack tends to be a game of streaks, so watch a table for a few hands to determine if it is a hot or cold table for the players.
44. A “soft” hand is a hand with an Ace that can be counted as either a 1 or an 11 in value and still keep the hand’s total at 21 or less.
45. A “hard” hand is a hand with an Ace that must be counted as 1 in value in order to keep the hand’s total at 21 or less.
46. A beginning or social player should stick to the generally accepted rules of the basic blackjack strategy.
47. Never be afraid to take a card that might bust you. Always play the odds; don’t let the fear of a bust stop you from taking a card when you know it’s the option with the highest probability of success no matter how small that probability may be.
48. Read one of the many excellent books on counting cards if you are serious about blackjack and willing to spend a lot of time practicing and perfecting your play. As in all online gambling, card counting is of little value because the deck(s) is usually shuffled after each hand. In blackjack, however, with many players at a table it may be beneficial for that one hand.

Playing Blackjack to Win – The Best Moves

49. Always split Aces and 8s as the odds are good that the two new hands will be dramatically better than either the soft 12 or hard 16.
50. Stand with a hard 12 or higher when the dealer is showing a 4, 5 or 6. The odds are good that the dealer may bust on the next card or that you will bust if you take another card.
51. Take a hit on anything below a hard 17 when the dealer is showing a 7 through an Ace. Don’t be afraid to bust!
52. Always double your bet when you’re dealt an 11.

Playing Blackjack to Lose – The Worst Moves

53. Never split 10s because you may very well be trading one excellent hand for two mediocre or bad hands.
54. Never take insurance since the odds significantly favor the dealer. Even if you’re holding a blackjack on the hand yourself you will be trading a high probability of winning a 1.5 to 1 payout in exchange for a guaranteed even money payout.
55. Never stand with a soft hand that totals less than a soft 17.

Playing Craps

56. Craps is an entertaining and fast paced dice game that offers some of the best odds for players, as low as a 1.41% house advantage and even lower for some bets.
57. Craps can be a very complicated game so if you are going to be a serious player read and absorb a good systems book.
58. Establish a “standard” betting unit that is lower than your “standard” betting unit in most other casino games because in craps it’s easy to get a lot of money on the table quickly during a long roll.

Playing Craps to Win – The Best Bets

59. If you just want to enjoy the game but play like you know what you’re doing, try a very simple strategy starting with a new roller.
60. The Don’t Pass line offers relatively good odds with just a 1.40% house advantage.
61. The Pass Line also offers relatively good odds with just a 1.41% house advantage.
62. Place a minimum amount of your “standard” unit bet on either the Pass Line or the Don’t Pass Line and save the majority of the unit to “take the odds” after the point is established. In doing this you will get true odds on that backup bet with no house advantage at all.
63. Place a bet on the six or the eight in dollar amounts that are a multiple of six. The house advantage on this bet is only 1.52% and if the number is rolled you’ll win $7.00 for every $6.00 you bet.

Playing Craps to Lose – The Worst Bets

64. All of these bets offer impressive payouts but even those high payouts are not enough to offset the big house advantage.
65. The “Any 7” bet, where you bet that the next roll will be a 7, provides the worst odds on the table with a house advantage of almost 17%.
66. The “Any Craps” bet, where you bet that the next roll will be a 2, 3 or 12, also offers bad odds with a house advantage of just over 11%.
67. The “Hardway” bets and the “Big 6” and “Big 8” bets are also poor odds with a house advantage of from 9% to 11%.

Playing Texas Hold-‘Em Poker

68. The more players there are at the table the higher the odds that at least one other player has a strong pocket hand, so be more cautious with your pre-flop betting.
69. Be careful betting a high pre-flop card unless you have a good kicker as well.
70. Determine early the types of players at your table – aggressive or cautious – and remember and adjust your determinations throughout the game.
71. At games where notes are allowed make a note on any player whose tendencies you identify. You may see them later at another table.
72. Bet or raise with a good hand; don’t let other players get free cards that might make their marginal hand into a strong one.
73. Don’t be predictable. Vary your play to confuse your opponents as to whether you are an aggressive or cautious player.
74. Don’t bluff often and try to establish a cautious reputation at the table so that when you do bluff your opponents will think you must have a good hand and be more reluctant to call your bluff.

Playing Slots – The Facts

75. The payback percentages for online slot machines are generally better than the payback percentages in live casinos.
76. The numbers revealed on a spin of the wheels on a slot machine do not show up in any order. The numbers are being selected constantly, not just when the handle is pulled. The numbers to be displayed on the wheels are randomly selected at the instant that the handle is pulled or the spin button is pushed.
77. It’s impossible to tell when a machine is about to hit.
78. A machine can go for very long periods of time without a significant jackpot or it could register several large jackpots in a row. It’s all random selection.
79. The number of coins you choose to play affects only the amount of your bet; it does not influence the selection of the numbers.
80. Slot machines can be set with different payback percentages as well as different hit percentages.
81. Payback is the percentage of the money bet that the machine will return to the players over the long term. It usually ranges from 75% to as much as 99%.
82. The hit percentage is the percent of the time that the machine will payout some money on a spin. This can vary widely, from under 10% to over 90%.
83. Machines that are set to pay off frequently will usually have more small payout amounts and fewer large jackpots.
84. Machines with a high hit percentage (those that are set to pay off frequently) are normally referred to as “loose” slots.
85. Machines with a low hit percentage (those that are set to seldom pay off) will usually have more large jackpots and few small payout amounts.
86. Machines with a low hit percentage (those that are set to pay off infrequently) are normally referred to as “tight” slots.
87. There is no universally accepted “good” slot machine; it depends on the individual player and whether he would prefer many small payouts or a chance for one large jackpot.

Playing Slots – Strategies

88. Because of the random nature of each individual machine no gaming strategy will work over the long run on slots.
89. Before you start a gambling session on slots determine the amount you want to win and resolve to withdraw your cash when you reach that goal.
90. Choose an online site that does not have a wagering requirement that must be met before you can withdraw your money.
91. With all other factors being equal, choose the online site that offers the biggest bonus to new players.
92. Because the house has an advantage in slots, playing with small bets for long periods is a sure-fire strategy to lose.
93. The key to improving your odds of winning lies in knowing which type of slot machine to play.
94. When selecting a slot to play, avoid those with huge jackpots; the best odds of winning lie in the machines with small jackpots because their most frequent payoffs will be of medium size.
95. Play only on small jackpot machines that offer as many beneficial bonus features as possible.
96. Look for machines that offer wild symbols as well as multipliers to improve your odds of winning.
97. Look for slots offering second-screen bonuses or free spins to improve your chances of winning.
98. Look for slots offering what is known as the “gamble” feature where your wins can be gambled for double-or-nothing for as many as five times.
99. When you reach your pre-determined target for winnings STOP and cash in your chips.

Finally, there are two critical rules to all gambling, including online gambling, that you must follow and these rules bear repeating:

100. Never gamble with “dear” money; only gamble with “excess” money. In other words, never gamble with money that you will need, or may need, to pay your everyday living expenses.
101. Set a limit to the amount of money you are willing to lose, and can afford to lose, and stick to it.