The game used to be called Drop-pan in Jamaica, now it is called Cashpot .
1duppyGhost, milk, clothes, rice, anything white
2small fire, battyAnus, sitting, bed, crab
3deadDead, duck, tongue
4egg, sexEgg, blood, wine, breast, sexual intercourse
5thiefThief, dirt
6strong man, stoneStrong man, iron, running
7married woman, hogMarried woman, hog
8belly, holeBelly, belly woman, hole, bag, ring
9old man, old deadMarried man, cow, ol' dead, brain
10small house, crib, coopSmall house, car, gaol, small boat, animal pen
11boy, two legsBoy, dog
12headHead, common horse
13police, black womanKnife, cutlass, policeman, butcher, old man, fisherman
14mouthMouth, undertaker, wild puss, doorway
15running, swimmingWeak, rat, running coolie woman
16young girlYoung gyal, grass, tree, bees, anything green
17old dead, chiney manChineyman, drapan player, gambling, brown man
18doctor, doctor bird, doctor fishDoctor, race-horse, tame puss
19silver moneySilver, coolie man, hair, scale
20sickSick, bed, food, meat, naked
21bad girlWhore, mule, bad
22white womanNurse, white woman, pigeon, coffin, bird, queen
23black manBlack man, monkey
24fresh waterFresh water, medicine
25john crowJohn crow, crowd, paper money
26white manWhite man, king, Jesus
27big fireFire, accident, gun, madman
28fowlRoad, fowl, pasture, commons, graveyard
29parsonParson, bull, ram, male of any species, right foot
30fishFish, flowers, rum, mud
31lizard, long stick, penisPulpit, kaki, wood, small rope
32goldGold, ****, ripe fruit, beggar
33big houseBig house, hospital
34babyGyal-baby, soldier
35goat, vaginaShe-goat, ******, bible
36old womanHong Kong, foreign country, old lady, donkey

DROP AND FOLK CONSCIOUSNESS By Barry Chevannes in Jamaica Jurnal vol22 no2 p45-51 May-July 1989

This is a full article describing the game, its story, and analysing the 36 symbols.

Drop Pan is a numbers game played in Jamaica and so named because tickets numbered from 1 to 36 'are dropped into a pan to see which one wins' .

Today it flourishes, to my certain knowledge, as a little-known part of the vast informal economy of Kingston, Portland and St Thomas and, I would wager, in every parish of the island. Each of the thirty-six numbers is assigned several meanings, making a possible total of 1,296 single interpretations.


The game is run by a banker who employs vendors to sell the numbers. In the urban community where I collected my information he plays twice a day. Each play is called a pan. The first pan is played at 4 pm, the second at 7 pm. People buy modestly, from fifty cents upwards by multiples of fifty. A win is $28 on every dollar, which, in the context of a working class community, could be a more lucrative form of gambling than horse-racing. The number that is drawn for each pan becomes dead and cannot be played again for two pans. Such a number is used to govern the play for the following week on the same day and at the same time of day.

And so, before each pan, it is already known what number 'im under', that is, what number acts as guide to the likely number the banker will play. In point of fact, the permutations of associations are so many that almost anything the banker plays can be justified.

People decide on the number to buy in three ways: by dreams, by 'rake' or simply by guessing. As we know, dreams are of enormous significance to the Jamaican people: they constitute a medium of communication between the spirit world and man. A rake is a portent, perhaps as significant a form of spirit communication as a dream. Guessing requires study of the pattern of play used by the banker. According to one informant, there were two which the Chinese used, ken and tai ken. The former was a straight method whereby the banker studied the purchasing pattern over a period of time and arranged his pan accordingly. In the latter pattern, derived, he said, 'from the Egyptians', the banker arranged all thirty-six numbers in four lines of nine and played according to a vertical, horizontal or diagonal sequence.

Most people who play buy by rake or by dreams.

Dictionary of Jamaican English By Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Robert Brock Le Page

DROP-PAN : A gambling game of the lottery type in which tickets are bought, put into a pan, and the pan 'dropped' as a means of drawing the winning tickets.

tai shiin : (Hakka dialect of Chinese, or perhaps Cantonese) : great spirit, divinely endowed human spirit. A book of numbered tickets, each representing something -e.g. a part of the body- and used in gambling Drop-Pan.

PEAKA-PEOW : A gambling game introduced and illegally run by Chinese : From a paper with 120 numbers on it, 30 are chosen by the throw of dice ; each player marks 8 numbers on a paper, and if any of these correspond to any of the 30, he wins. The police were making a raid on a Peaka Peow bank premises and while they were holding those occupied in gambling there, in walked a Chinese holding a sheet of paper with Chinese characters all over it. It turned out that the sheet of paper was a vast number of

Dictionary of Caribbean English usage By Jeannette Allsopp

drop-pan: A folk lottery game, resembling WHE-WHE, played by using numbers aligned with symbols, one of which is drawn making all holders of the number winners.

peaka-peow : A Chinese gambling game played by guessing eight of thirty secretly selected numbers; it is a privately run, unlicensed lottery, the buyer's chosen numbers being marked on a piece of paper.



1953, Mr. Samuel Kong with his wife, Wong Fong Yin, and their eight children. Courtesy of the Kong family.

By this time, in the 1940s, many of the second-generation, those who were truly Jamaican-Chinese, began to rebel against their parents' desires to remain wedded to Chinese culture. They left the family business, went into other professions and embraced aspects of Jamaican culture. Many also converted to Roman Catholicism. Resentment from African-Jamaicans waned as tolerance of aspects of Chinese culture grew and some amalgamations occurred.

One of the most notable examples is the numbers game "drop pan." Drop Pan in Cantonese "Jih Fah" and Hakka "Sue Fah," is named for the fact that tickets numbered 1 to 36 are dropped in a pan to see who wins. Many players play based on dreams and portents, although some play by odds based on a study of the pattern of play. Drop Pan is said to have arrived in Jamaica with the earliest Chinese immigrants in the 1850s. It was restricted by the government as early as 1898. This law was amended in the 1920s due to the game's substantial popularity.

Today, drop pan's meanings are most likely both Chinese and Afro-Jamaican in origin. According to Barry Chevannes in a Jamaica Journal article on Drop Pan,

"the number 7 means married woman and hog. In Chinese custom a son-in-law makes a gift of a pig or pork to his mother-in-law every New Year.
The number 11 means baby boy and dog. Among the Chinese, the dog is a blessing as are newborn males".
The number 8 stands for belly, belly (pregnant) woman, hole or ring, all of which could be related to Rastafarian belief that "a woman has no lineage. A woman is only a vessel".

The candywine development John Morris - 1970 - 287 pages

Peaka pow is a South Chinese gambling game based on number series which are changed every week. It is so complicated that only a Chinese can manage to keep track of its weekly permutations and....

Caribbean quarterly University College of the West Indies (Mona ... - 1996

the AG went on to state:
l have known of similar games in other Colonies under different names such as "Drop Pan" and the more oriental name of "Peaka Pow", but l must say that the ethics of those games are on a much higher standard than those of whe whe, for at least those who contribute are given a sporting chance (however remote that may be) of some success, but the game as played here has no redeeming feature whatever, l am sorry to say. lt is impossible to control those who promote the game, and they are so able to manipulate the winning numbers that they choose those on which there has been the least amount of contributions, and by that way they are able to retain by far the largest amount of money involved. Those who go about soliciting subscriptions, commonly called "markers", have a very wide latitude. They get somebody to choose a particular number, and if per chance this happens to be the winning number the marker goes back to his friend and says "l am very sorry. l was too late". As a matter of fact he is never too late but ...

Urban Life in Kingston, Jamaica: The Culture and Class Ideology of Two Neighborhoods By Diane J. Austin

More popular among women are the street corner games, peaka-peow and drop-pan, both Chinese numbers games. Drop-pan. where even a five cent bet may be placed, underlines the precarious financial position of many Selton Town Where DROP-PAN is conducted on the streets, peaka-peow is normally conducted from a SHOP. SHOP: A small store normally operated by a Chinese family and situated on the street corner of a working class area. Shops sell a limited number of items:

Encyclopedia of Jamaican heritage by Olive Senior

DROP PAN Folk lottery brought by CHINESE immigrants, an illegal game that is still played though not as widely as it once was. This is a numbers game: books of tickets numbered from 1-36 are sold by vendors working for the 'banker' who is the person running the game. Each numbered ticket sold is dropped into a pan for the draw, each draw or play being called a 'pan'. All holders of the number drawn become winners. Each number is assigned a special meaning or several meanings ('mark'), some originally brought from China, others developed in Jamaica, eg the number 1 signifies 'white', 18 'doctor', and so on. Purchases are therefore often based on dreams, guesses, signs ('rakes'), or TOKENS of the number or symbol, and Dream Books are sometimes consulted. Drop Pan is also called Tyshin and Woppy and in other parts of the CARRIBEAN, Whe-whe. The game is still popular in the DANCEHALL-environment, with specially coded meanings assigned to the numbers.

PEAKA-PEOW Gambling game introduced and run by the CHINESE, like DROP PAN, once very popular - though illegal. From a paper with 120 numbers, 30 are secretly chosen by the throw of a dice; the player marks 8 numbers on a piece of paper and wins if any of these numbers correspond to any of the 30 chosen.

Jabari: authentic Jamaican dictionary of the Jamic language ; featuring Jamaican Patwa and Rasta Iyaric pronunciations and definitions By Ras Dennis Jabari Reynolds

drop-pan : a national numbers game

Jamaica talk: three hundred years of the English language in Jamaica By Frederic Gomes Cassidy

Another game is known as drop-pan from the method of play. One buys from a book of tickets (/tai shiin/ is the Chinese name by which this generally goes) numbered from 1 to 36, each ticket representing something — for example, a part of the body. Later the tickets are dropped in a pan to see which wins. A rake is a 'hunch' — a sign or token that guides one in buying a drop-pan ticket. The person who feels he has got this token may say, 'I ketch de rake.' Money Jamaica has adopted or developed a number of names and nicknames for coins

Neither led nor driven: contesting British cultural imperialism in Jamaica, 1865-1920 By Brian L. Moore, Michele A. Johnson (2004)

"Drop-pan" (chefa in guyana, whe-whe in trinidad) was ostensibly simple, involving thirty-six Chinese characrers painted on pieces of paper, each representing persons, animals, birds, reptiles or sea creatures (for example, an old man or woman, a horse, cow, sheep, dog, alligator, scorpion and so forth). One of these characters was selected at random and placed in a pan (or box, basket or cloth) which was then suspended from the roof by a string and pulley. The object was to wager on which character was in the pan. Each bet, for which a ticket was given, cost 3d. At an appointed time the pan was solemnly lowered ("dropped"), opened, the paper unrolled and shown to all. Seven shillings (twenty-eight times the value of the bet) was paid our on each winning ticket. In order to ensure the viability of these lotteries, they were officially recognized by the "Chinese Court", and every morning the amount of the bank was registered at the Chinese Club (located in the same compound as the temple), which served as insurer in the last resort. Furthermore, in no case was more money received from bettors than the bank could pay.

Drop-pan became immensely popular among Jamaicans during the 1890s, crowds of working-class people congregated at the lottery shops day and night in a stare of "lotto mania". According to the Jamaica Post, by 1896 there were twenty-five or more Chinese gambling dens flourishing in Kingston, frequented and mainly supported "by the lower orders - that large class of young men and women who have no visible means of support";

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