Bug Fights: Betting on Crickets


Posted: December 20, 2019

Updated: December 20, 2019

  • Fighting with crickets is an old Chinese tradition
  • Huge sums of money are bet during competitions
  • No crickets are hurt.


Betting on crickets goes back more than 1,000 years to the Tang Dynasty, the fighting of male crickets is still remains a very popular sport and past time in modern day China.

Introduction: Bug Fights: Betting on Crickets

With the huge number of activities (just look at this list of sports books from the US)one can gamble on, and more so, like Bovada, with the advent of the Internet, it’s still not enough. Whatever your thoughts about betting on crickets, today people still gable huge sums of money on the outcome. We should point out that this activity is harmless for the little critters.

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Teach yourself Chinese with crickets                                          Photo: Yang Jeng-Tze

Some History

Starting in 614 AD, the fighting and betting on crickets proved very popular with the working class people. The Southern Sun Dynasty Prime Minister, Jia Sidao, wrote a thesis for the sport. His obsession with this was said to have led to the fall of the Dynasty. Between 1966 to 1976 the Cultural revolution was in full swing and the Communist Party banned the sport as a “bourgeois predilection”. Thanks to a revived interest in the traditional past, the sport is once again popular with young people.

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Assorted fighting cricket cages

Some Culture

The cricket fighting season begins at the start of the Summer. And the championships take place in late September. In the capital, Beijing, there is an Association of Cricket Fighting. Though gambling on the fights themselves are illegal, the actual fighting with them is not. But is goes without saying that everyone and their dog is betting on crickets. In Macau, many large hotels hold tournaments. We don’t thing US sites like Bovada are represented there. Prized crickets become famous and those that die can have funeral services held. Some breeders construct special houses for them and feed them a special diet.

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Inspecting the contestants                                                             Photo: IvanWalsh

Let’s Talk Money, Chirp, Chirp

You can buy yourself a cricket at one of the many markets. In fact, in 2010, over $63 Million was spent buying them. As for the gambling, we’re talking big money here, the same as with online sports books in the US. One owner recently won over $20,000 on a single match. It’s not unheard of for some matches to have a betting pool of over $150,000. That’s a lot of money for betting on crickets. The actual matches last only a few seconds. There are weight classes, tiny fighting “beds” and a referee to oversee everything. During the Championships, each player can have an entry of 35 insects, with each being weight before competing. The losing cricket is the one that runs away first, stops chirping or leaves the ring. No insects suffer any harm.

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