Gambling Games Played in WW1

We often take for granted how privileged we are to be able to gamble freely and lawfully. A century ago, when the world was raging a war against itself, things were very different. Monetary betting was outlawed in a number of countries, officially at least.

Compare this to today and it is easy to see how far we have come. There is an entire city, Las Vegas, dedicated to casino gambling. With the advent of technology, we are able to play games like Mummys Gold App with just the click of a button. The soldiers of WW1 were not afforded such luxuries.

Gambling was officially forbidden by the higher ranks. Soldiers found breaking these rules would be punished accordingly. However, the average private would still play a variety of bet based activities regardless. Card games were the most common form of betting on the Western Front. This was done on both sides.

A favourite game of the Germans was one called Skat. It requires three men to play. One player is the “declarer” and the other two are the defenders. The two defenders cannot talk to each other. They must each attempt to win by attaining the right suit, null and grand types of card.

A round will start with each player placing a bet. Each card is given a value which will affect the overall score. If the declarer manages to attain over 60 points, then they win the round. If they do not, then the defenders will win.

On the other side of No Man’s Land, the British Tommies enjoyed playing a game called Crown and Anchor. It is simpler than Skat and requires the use of dice. Players throw three dice over a mat that contains six symbols. They can then win based on where the dice falls and how much they have bet.


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