This is an ancient Chinese gambling game still very popular in parts of Asia.

Number of Players:

As many as are willing to part with their money.


A square board or table with each corner marked with a number from 1-4, and a large bowl or bag of beans, (or beads, buttons, precious gems, after dinner mints…anything will work). It is also good to have a small stick, or comb to use as a rake.


Not much to this game. Players begin by placing a pre-determined wager or bet on one of the four corners of the playing board (on top of a number). Someone acting as a banker then grabs a handful of the beans (a random amount) and pours them into the center of the board. The rake is then used to count the beans off in groups of four (4 beans are separated and removed from the table, then another 4, etc.). This continues until there are only 1-4 beans left. Whichever number remains (after it becomes impossible to remove 4 beans without removing them all) determines the winner (for example, if 3 beans are left then all players who placed a bet on corner #3 split all the money on the other 3 corners). When played in a casino, or on the street, the banker usually takes a percentage of the payout.


Let’s face it, the only real winner here is the banker.

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