Bangkok Post – As a former supervisor of an underground casino, M promised he would make me some profit. My stake was 3,000 baht.
Some 50 people were playing at a townhouse-turned-casino in a district on the outskirts of Bangkok. The place is one of an estimated 1,500 illegal casinos nationwide, dozens of which operate on a franchise basis under the tycoons known as “Gold Dragon Teu” and “S Sommai”. With only one table divided into two, it was so crowded that players had to ask those in the front line to place bets for them.
On very crowded days, people would be five deep around the table. The majority of small to medium-sized illegal casinos in Thailand have the dice game “hi-lo”, also known as “sic bo” in some Asian countries, as the main attraction because of the low maintenance cost.
The table contains a variety of betting options on the roll of the dice. You would win on the “low” bet if the numbers on the three dice add up to less than 11 or on the “high” bet if the numbers total 11 to 18. Just like red and black on a roulette wheel, you double your outlay if your bet is correct. Players can also bet on individual numbers and combinations for better odds, but I decided to take the low-risk option of betting on “small” for every round.