Purewin Casino Logotype
SportsLive CasinoGamesBlog
Log inSign up

The Complete History of Teen Patti in India

24 Aug 2022

Teen Patti is as much a part of Indian culture as cricket and Bollywood, and when we say that, we mean it. 

So let’s look at the history of Teen Patti, how long it’s been around, who’s been playing it over the centuries and how the game has evolved.

Ending in its move to online Teen Patti and a subsequent new lease of life thanks to mobile apps.

Teen Patti Origins

It’s never easy to be absolutely sure where a game came from, especially one as ancient as Teen Patti, that originates from a country as vast as India. 

The popular English card game three-card brag, as well as poker, almost certainly originated from Teen Patti, rather than the other way around.

It’s sometimes suggested it was English settlers and merchants who brought their three-card brag game with them to India at the start of the 19th century that then became Teen Patti.

But the likelihood is that gambling and playing cards had been around in India long, long before that and that versions of Teen Patti were being played in India before the first Briton had ever set foot there.

In a sense, the mysterious origins of Teen Patti are exactly that: a mystery! It’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly where and when this game first appeared.

Teen Patti and Diwali 

Given the purpose here is to primarily explain the history of Teen Patti, we won’t go into massive detail about the presence of 3 Patti during Diwali in present times. 

But in a nutshell: the religious festival and brightest of all Hindu celebrations is partly about the playing of Teen Patti.

Fun for the Whole Family…for Real Money 

With some Hindu families celebrating Diwali for a month and a half before the actual day, there’s a lot of Teen Patti to be played. 

Certain household rituals and social expectations are part of the celebrations, and one of those is that everyone plays Teen Patti, irrespective of age, sex and role in the family. 

Given there’s a fasting period as part of the religious element, many say playing Teen Patti takes their mind off the hunger and the food that will eventually come. 

And boy does everyone gamble! Stakes could vary from a few dozen Rupees a hand to enough money to buy a car, depending on the players in question. 

What’s worth pointing out is that there isn’t any sort of stigma attached to gambling over Diwali.

But why Diwali? 

Legend has it that Parvati, the Mother Goddess in Hinduism, played dice with Lord Shiva, her husband. 

She proclaimed that whoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper over the following year. 

That’s why Diwali is associated with wealth and games, why people gamble at this time of year and also why it’s embraced, rather than frowned upon. 

Again, it was dice that led to the tradition of playing during Diwali rather than Teen Patti itself, but it’s the idea of it that’s important. 

What idea?

The idea is that Teen Patti is a reflection of one’s fate and that the three cards you’re dealt are a metaphor for the cards you’re dealt in life. 

It’s also a battle of wits. The betting element of it is a test of nerves, skill, outwitting opponents and decision-making - all vital skills in life as a whole.

Evolution of Teen Patti over Time

We don’t know much about who specifically invented Teen Patti, where the idea of playing cards came from, or how the rules have changed since first being played. 

But here’s what we do know. Variations of the core game these days include: 

  • Best-of-four 

  • Lowball

  • Wild draw

  • Low wild

  • High wild

  • Two-lowest wild

  • Bust card draw

  • Stud

  • Community

  • Draw

  • High-low split

  • Cobra

  • Blind King and Jack

Often several variations could be in play at the same time for more excitement and greater twists and turns.

For example, in best-of-four, players are dealt four cards rather than the regular three. Players can choose any three to make up their hand, thus leading to higher hands than in the traditional three-card format.

In High Wild, each player’s highest-ranking card is deemed to be a Wild, like a Joker in other card games. If the highest card is a King and the player has two of them, they’d be holding two Wilds. 

But the version most detached from the original version is Cobra. Here, each player is dealt just one card and has to put it on their forehead, meaning all other players can see it except for the player in question. 

They then gamble based on that, while being in the dark about their own hand. It’s often played as a dramatic finale to the game, often as the last hand of the day. 

That said, most Teen Patti games played both live and online use the traditional rules. 

Teen Patti in Indian Pop Culture

Appearances of the Teen Patti game are few and far between in pop culture. 

That’s understandable. 

Whereas the likes of roulette and blackjack are played the world over and therefore likely to appear in music, movies, TV and other media in a host of different countries, Teen Patti is essentially an Indian game played only by Indians. 

But here are a couple of times it’s popped up in Indian pop culture. 

Teen Patti (2010)

Legendary Indian actor Amitabh Bachlan plays ageing genius mathematics professor Venkat, a man obsessed with the theories of probability and randomness. 

During a trip to a London casino sponsored by a British mathematician played by Ben Kingsley (of ‘Gandhi’ fame among others), Venkat tells him about an equation that could change mathematics forever. 

Venkat chooses Teen Patti as a way of putting his theory into play. 

The theory is that if Player A also knows the three cards held by Player B, he can then predict the cards held by Players C, D, E and the rest. This in turn means he can predict the winner of the hand, which is like gold dust. 

Whether Venkat’s theory is credible from a mathematical point of view is debatable. 

But it makes for a good plot in a successful movie with Teen Patti at its heart!

Teen Patti: The Three Card Brag (2019)

The 2019 story by Saugata Chakraborty is the first of three short stories making up the book and is the one called ‘Teen Patti’, the other two being ‘An Affair to forget’ and ‘The Tune’.

Like the movie just mentioned, it may also have Teen Patti in its name but this time round, the game isn’t at its core. 

The story involves the discovery of a limbless and headless human torso in a South Kolkata house and the investigation that follows to discover what happened to the victim and why. 

Here the reference to Teen Patti is more of a metaphorical one while the ‘three card brag’ is a reference to the fact the book is made up of three short stories. 

Teen Patti’s Rise to the Top Indian Card Game

Is Teen Patti India’s most popular card game? That’s debatable. 

The likes of poker, solitaire, rummy and satte pe satta are all part of that conversation. It’s certainly hard to come up with a definitive answer.

In some cases, the popularity of each game will vary from state to state and will also depend on whether you’re talking about it being played offline or online.

But it can probably lay claim to being the one that Indians know the best in terms of the rules and its gameplay. 

Why is Teen Patti so Loved? 

For starters, the format and rules are simpler than, say, poker, even if the latter stages of the betting are a bit more complex. In this regard, it appeals to players of all ages and has widespread appeal. 

The other reason is its association with family gatherings and its place at the heart of certain religious festivals, as discussed already. 

But Taash parties have contributed, as well. 

Taash Parties

Taash parties are events specifically organised for friends and family in India to meet up and play cards during the Diwali season and are not just exclusive to Teen Patti. 

These parties can vary from small family gatherings to lavish affairs featuring waiters, expensive food, extravagant dress codes and professional dealers managing the games. 

The biggest and best ones are often found in Delhi.

Either way, it’s not unusual for the social butterflies to have a full schedule of Taash Parties to attend around the time of Diwali.

Gambling is integral to the whole occasion, and some players’ desire to raise the stakes to excessive levels is a shared dread for many Taash party guests, who don’t like things to get out of hand. 

But to suggest Taash parties are solely about gambling is missing the point. 

They’re as much about catching up with old friends, meeting new people, gossiping between hands and enjoying yourself as they are about playing cards. 

However, there are no prizes for guessing who’s got the biggest smile on their faces at the end of the night! 

The Transition to Online Casinos

Teen Patti is widely available to play at our online casino and in addition to the regular benefits of playing online such as bonuses and 24/7 action, there’s another reason why it’s becoming increasingly popular.

The “Forbidden” Card Game 

One aspect of playing Teen Patti, whether at specific Taash parties or otherwise, that hasn’t been discussed, is its legality. 

Indian gambling laws are complex, but in a nutshell, the gathering of people to play cards in India for money is (mostly) illegal outside the casinos in the states of Goa, Sikkim and Daman.

There’s a lot of leniency towards the playing of Teen Patti around Diwali for historical and cultural reasons, but less so outside the Diwali season. Saying that, police crashing Teen Patti games are very much the exception to the rule, it can happen.

That’s because it’s yet to be considered a game of skill. If it was, as Rummy is, it would be legal.

And that’s part of the reason why being able to play online is such an attractive option. 

Software provider Ezugi has been at the forefront of this by being one of the frontrunners when it comes to offering Teen Patti online. 

The Shift from “Player vs Player” to “Player vs Dealer”

Online Teen Patti is mostly played in a “Player vs Dealer” format rather than “Player vs Player(s)” so in this regard, it’s closer to a game of Blackjack or Caribbean Stud Poker than it is to Texas Hold’em.

However, we at Pure Win have made it our mission to offer a version whereby you can bet on whether Player A or Player B will win the hand, similar to playing online baccarat. It’s known simply as Bet on Teen Patti

In the classic version of online Teen Patti, you’re essentially taking on the dealer.

You start by placing an Ante Bet and get dealt your three cards. Your hand will ultimately be up against the dealers in a showdown and you get paid out at even money if you win. 

But if you’re dealt a strong hand, now is the time to force the issue by matching your Ante stake on the ‘Play’ option.

However, the dealer will only go to battle, so to speak, if it qualifies. And it qualifies by getting a minimum of a Queen high. 

So if your hand beats the dealer’s which did qualify, you get paid out at even money on the Ante bet and then again on the Play bet. 

If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you’ll get paid out on the Ante Bet but not on the Play bet. If you decide to Play but get beaten by the dealer, you’d lose on both bets. 

Side Bets on Online Teen Patti 

There are a few different versions of Teen Patti at our live casino but the most common one features two types of side bets. 

  1. The Pair Plus

  2. Six Card Bonus

Let’s go into them in more detail below.

The Pair Plus Options

You’ll have to place a bet on this one before receiving your cards and you’ll get paid out if you manage to secure at least a pair with the hand you’re dealt. 

The better the hand, the better the odds that you’re paid out.

The Six Card Bonus

Here you use your own three cards plus the dealer’s three cards to build as good a hand as you possibly can. 

Players are obliged to always place the Ante bet on any hand. Then it’s up to them if they want to place any additional side bets and if they want to ‘Play’ once they’ve seen their hand. 

Social Teen Patti Apps

Away from games played in real life and at online casinos, there’s another way of going about playing Teen Patti: on mobile apps.

The rise in the popularity of playing Teen Patti apps can be put down to three main factors: 

  • A country that’s very tech-savvy and where most people have access to a smartphone.

  • The fact that family members have migrated to big cities and abroad makes it impossible or at least impractical to play live games.

  • Covid-19, where it just wasn’t possible to meet up in person to play card games.

When playing on apps, it’s the traditional “Player vs Player” format that’s played, meaning lots of players can take part in the same game from anywhere in the world.

The norm here is to buy tokens that allow players to bet during the game but the games aren’t always played for actual money.

Conclusion

So that’s the history of Teen Patti summed up for you by looking at the origins of Teen Patti and how the game has evolved over the years. 

One thing is for sure: the thirst for playing Teen Patti in India isn’t going to be quenched anytime soon!

If you’re looking to play Teen Patti for real cash, you should check out our extensive range of games available. Good luck!


Recommended posts

The History of Roulette
12 Aug 2022
What are your chances of winning in online casino games?
17 Apr 2022
How to Manage Your Casino Bankroll
30 Apr 2022