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Fan-Tan

What is 'Fan-Tan'?

Fan-tan is a historic casino game based around betting on numbers of beans or counters. Fan-tan is rarely played these days, but still exists in some Macau casinos. The game originated in China and hit the peak of its popularity in the 1700s and 1800s. Players make one of four bets around a table square, aiming to match the number of beans or counters left on the table at the end of the round. Betting takes place in a series of rounds and can be played by two or more players at any time.

'Fan-Tan' Explained

The game of fan-tan is played at a casino table, which features a center square on to which a random amount beans, buttons or counters is placed. The square may be part of the table, or a metal plate added just for playing fan-tan. Around this square are the numbers one to four, and a cover similar to a cloche is used to hide the counters during play.These counters on the table are then covered and players make bets on how many will remain at the end of the game. After bets are placed, the dealer removes the counters in multiples of four, until just four or less remain. The number left on the table - one, two, three or four counters - represents a side of the square on which players have bet. If two counters remain on the table, players who bet on side two are paid for the win.In traditional Chinese casinos, fan-tan was one of the most popular games. It can be lively and active, with lots of players getting involved. Today, the game has become less popular as Western games like roulette and craps have grown in popularity and only a handful of casinos still offer fan-tan tables.
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