From Gerbil Roulette to the Chicken Challenge, a Look at the Weirdest Casino Games Out There

Posted: February 19, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Most casino games are household names even to those who do not gamble. We have all heard of poker, blackjack and roulette, but what about some of the more obscure games like Gerbil Roulette or the Chicken Challenge?

Even if you don’t understand the rules of poker, the chances are you will have seen it in a number of films or even tried a hand of it yourself. However, while some games hold iconic status others are just downright weird.

The classics work for a reason, but now and then casinos fancy getting adventurous and will try out a new game to spice things up.

Here’s a list of odd casino games to keep an eye out for.

Gerbil Roulette

Gerbil Roulette is an alternative to the traditional casino game. Instead of a roulette ball, a gerbil or another rodent, like a rat or a mouse, decides your outcome.

And no, a gerbil isn’t dropped into a roulette wheel in a hamster ball – that’s just cruel – in this case a gerbil is placed in the bottom of a roulette wheel in a box. The wheel is spun and the box is removed.

Instead of the traditional roulette grooves, the gerbil has a series of numbered boxes on the perimeter, each with a little mouse-hole. The gerbil walks around the wheel and eventually chooses the box in which it hides, and the number box is the result of the spin.

Rodent Roulette still makes the gambling rounds from time to time, although some deem it controversial due to the use of a live animal.

Belgian Bird Song

If rodents are not your thing, then maybe birds are a better bet. The Belgian Birdsong game originated in a Belgian casino, which pretty much does what it says on the tin.

Several birds are placed into separate cages and players place bets on which bird will sing for the longest, which will sing the loudest, or which bird will not sing at all, and other similar bets.

It does seem like a weird game, but it does have some advantages to it – like there are no odds to calculate. Not to mention the novelty of the game is appealing to players. This is a good one for nature lovers to keep an eye out for.


Weird things you can bet on:

• When will alien life be proven? Odds for 2014 are 80/1, with the other years being listed as 1/100.

• Who will be the first to leave the band One Direction? The odds for Harry Styles leaving the band is 5/2, whereas Liam Payne is set at 7/4.

• Will the next James Bond be black? The odds for yes are 4/1, and no 1/7.

Imagine if Top Trumps were a casino game. War is an adult version of the game, where the dealer and the player get two cards from the deck, where the highest number is the one that wins.

However, it’s not as simple as that. To officially win the game, the winner has to get hold of the entire deck, which can make it a very, very long game to play indeed.

It’s not exactly a sophisticated card game requiring some kind of strategy, like you would find in poker or even blackjack, but it is a throwback to childhood card games.

It is easy to see why War hasn’t exactly taken off as a casino card game hit like its more sophisticated brothers.

Sic Bo with baskets

If you watch the James Bond film the “Man with the Golden Gun”, you’ll remember Roger Moore’s version of the iconic spy playing a game involving lots of baskets in a casino in Macau.

Sic Bo as a game is not as obscure as the others listed here, since it’s a traditional Chinese game that bears quite a bit of resemblance to craps, where players tend to bet on the outcome of either dominos or dice, depending on where they’re playing.

But what makes the version in the James Bond unusual is the use of the small money baskets that are used to hoist cash and the golden bullets up and down. This isn’t part of a unique strategy, but rather it allows more players to get in the game on a single table at the same time.

So while the use of the baskets makes the game look more complicated than it is, it’s simply just there for practical reasons.

Sic Bo is however a popular game in Macau, so keep an eye out for it should you visit any of its casinos.

The Chicken Challenge

The tic-tac-toe chicken at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City began life as a casino promotion.

Basically, the game is simple. Players line up to play a game of tic-tac-toe with a live chicken called Ginger. If you can defeat your feathered opponent, then you get a huge cash prize of $10,000.

Seems easy, right? Well Ginger is a champion chicken and beating her is no easy feat. But she has been a huge hit in the gambling world and has toured casinos all over the US.

The chicken has been touted more as a promotional gimmick rather than as a casino game, but Ginger the chicken is definitely garnering quite a bit of attention from those with the inclination to gamble, and has been awarded the most successful casino promotion ever.

Ginger is available for hire at a casino near you.

These games might be obscure in the casino world, and hit the headlines when you do catch a game of the Belgian Birdsong Game or Gerbil Roulette, and they’ve also made the transition to the internet and mobile casinos.

JackpotCity is the first online gaming company to install these obscure games on its platform, although we can imagine other gaming companies might also start to think outside of the box.

After all, there are already online sportsbooks in the UK that offer hamster racing where you can place your bets, so keep an eye out for War, Gerbil Roulette and the Belgian Bird Song.

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