Muay Thai Gambling

Muay Thai Gambling

lumpinee-stadium-620x350 You have, surely, asked yourself the meaning of the gestures and body movements of the Thai Gamblers during Muay Thai fights. In this ‘mini’ guide we will explain in general the meaning of some of this gestures, because making a complete guide results almost impossible,as these gestures vary from each region.

This guide is based on researches made on gamblers in central Thailand.

Basics:

Bets, in Muay Thai, are carried out mostly by Thai people, masters of this ‘mime’. In Thailand, in fact, it’s legal to bet on fights and in every stadium there are always groups of gamblers who live out of this. Lumpinee Stadium (the Mecca of Muay Thai) is the most famous arena or ‘pure’ Muay Thai in the world, characterized by a substantial group of gamblers. (Info on NEW Lumpinee Stadium)

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As a first step in betting, the gambler has to choose which fighter he wants to put his money on: the favorite will be indicated by the hand with the palm facing down, and the underdog will be indicated with the palm facing up.

The example below shows the cases in which the favorite fighter is winning 5 to 1 (first picture) and the underdog is winning 5 to 1 (second picture).

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Betting quotations:

Each fight, in order of prestige, will have an initial quotation that can be for example 1 to 1 if the fight is evenly matched up to 1 to 120.

In the picture below we show all the gesture for quotations and also to indicate the amount of money a gambler wants to play. In big fights, prices run up to millions of Baht.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

It is important to keep in mind that, during the fight quotations change depending on how the fight goes, therefore, during the fight gambler use those gestures to communicate the changing of quotations or to place a new bet.

Each variation of the fighters attitude causes the quotations of the bets placed on him to change.

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This gambler’s ‘mime’ is quite hard to comprehend and to carry out, in fact, it’s not recommended to Farangs (non-Thai people) to try to bet, because they might go through some trouble in the gamblers niche.

Gambling in Muay Thai is positive on one side, because the fighters are stimulate from the bets and give their best of the ring to win and bring home even more money to their family and camp; this makes fights become even more intense and spectacular. On the other hand, everything that sparkles isn’t gold, because when there are too many bets on a certain fight the gamblers have the power of ‘influencing’ the decision of the judges.

When there are big bets on a fight, a small percentage will be given to the fighter.

Finally, gamblers and bets is an unique feature in the Muay Thai world and create a great and electrifying atmosphere in the stadiums.

Chok Dee

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Gian Carlo Corba (Ginga)

Main author, photographer/videomaker, Graphic Designer Etc at Muay Farang Co. Ltd
Gian Carlo Corba, born in South Africa from Italian descendants, moved to Italy when he was 2; after he finished high school in Turin (Italy) he then and then grew up in Pattaya (Thailand).The main author of MF blog articles. Together with Roberto and Mathias Gallo Cassarino he founded the Muay Farang website and group. Fighter profile - View profile - Bio/Personal Blog
  • I have been in this profession for long and I somehow manage to learn about this muay thai hand gesture. Truly helpful and interesting that you are able to list some.