Thailand / หวย ก. ข.


หวย ก. ข.
Lottery, Lottery abc
พรหมชาติpʰrom má cʰâat เล่ม name of for fortune-teller book, name of a treatise in astrology
หวย ˈhǔaya gambling game in which players bet on letters or numbers.
ˈkɔɔmiddle consonant, pronounced k initially and finally.
ˈkʰɔ̌ɔhigh consonant, pronounced kʰ initially and k finally.
ไพ่ ˈpʰâyplaying cards
ต่อแต้มtɔ̀ɔ tɛ̂ɛmdominoes, card game; playing card; gambling card
ไพ่ตองpʰây ˈtɔɔŋa Thai card game/the cards used in playing the game [suits]
คั่วkhuaaFto get three-of-a-kind in the Thai card game ไพ่ตอง
ตองdtaawngMa trick of three cards in a card game called ไพ่ตอง
ไพ่ผ่องphaiF phaawngL[name of] a Thai card game [bright cards]
อีแก่eeM gaaeL[name of a certain] card game
ถั่วˈtʰùagambling game
โปˈpooa kind of gambling game.

Thai-English Dictionary

หวย hu-ie2 : Lottery; a system of gambling by betting on letters of the alphabet. This is of Chinese origin and was introduced into Thailand in 1835 A.D. The system, has it originally existed in China, was to place stakes on the names of pictures of thirty-four important personages of the period; these were intended to represent the thirty-four letters of the lottery. When introduced into Thailand, these were increased to thirty-six and, to popularize the system to the Thai, each was assigned a Thai consonant, each letter to represent the personage and the animal which was the former birth-state of the said personage. On placing a bet, the better received a ticket and, if successful, received twenty-nine times the amount of his bet. The Huey lottery was stopped on April 1st, 1916 having had an existence of eighty-one years.

Description du Royaume Thai ou Siam: comprenant la topographie, histoire naturelle, moeurs et coutumes, legislation, commerce, industrie, langue, littérature, religion, annales des Thai et précis historique de la mission : avec cartes et gravures By Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix (1854)

Les jeux des grandes personnes sont le jeu d'échecs chinois, le tric-trac, les cartes chinoises et les dés. On voit tous les jours des gens si passionnés pour le jeu, qu'après avoir perdu tout ce qu'ils ont, ils finissent par jouer même le langouti qu'ils portent sur eux. Depuis quelques années, les Chinois ont établi une sorte de loterie dont ils ont le monopole ; elle se compose d'une trentaine de figures diverses sur lesquelles on place l'argent qu'on veut, et si la figure sur laquelle on a placé vient à sortir, on gagne trente fois son argent. Cette loterie fait fureur et cause un grand dommage au pauvre peuple, qui s'y fait gruger au profit du roi et des Chinois.

The kingdom of the yellow robe By Ernest Young (1907)

In every street there will always be found a Chinaman, wearing big goggles, sitting at a table in the front of an open house or shop, wearing upon his wooden countenance a quiet and meditative smile. By his side is a small pile of thin sheets of yellow paper, and a quantity of writing material. He is an agent of the gambling farmer and deals in lottery tickets. The Government farms out the monopoly and derives a considerable revenue from it, as in some years as much as thirty thousand pounds sterling has been paid for the privilege of being allowed to gently ease other people oftheir superfluous cash. The lottery farmer chooses, every day, one out of thirty-four characters of the alphabet as the lucky one for that day. He keeps the secret of his choice to himself, and leaves those people who are of a speculative turn of mind to guess the particular letter he has chosen. Everyone is at liberty to try his luck. The gambler goes to one of the numerous writers of lottery tickets and names a letter. The writer slowly inscribes the letter upon one of the sheets of paper. He then folds it up, and on the back states his own name and address, the name and address of the purchaser of the ticket, and the amount paid for the same. He keeps possession of the paper till the close of the day. The city is divided into districts, over each of which the lottery farmer places a trustworthy overseer. Towards evening the overseer visits every ticket writer in his locality, collects all the papers, and the money paid for them. These he afterwards takes to the office of his chief. »At a given hour the farmer declares the winning letter and the papers are opened. All those papers that do not bear the chosen character are thrown away and the money appropriated. Those who have been fortunate enough to guess correctly the letter for the day, receive back twenty-nine times their stake, so that the man Who staked one pound receives twenty-nine as his reward. The chances in favour of the proprietor of the Iottery are so great, and so many thousands of people patronise him every day that he can easily afford to award a prize of high value to the few winners. Some people endeavour to calculate their chances beforehand. In every writer's house is placed a board divided into squares. Every day from the beginning to the end of the month, the letter chosen is written in one of these squares. The board is consulted by those about to try their luck, and they try to work out a system which shall guide them in their choice. Many gamblers, especially if they are Chinese, consult their gods about the matter. They go to the temples and stand in front of the altar. There they find a bamboo box containing thirty-four strips of bamboo, on each of which is printed one of the letters used by the lottery farmers. They address the presiding deity of the place and promise him abundance of fat pork and chickens if only he will be so kind as to help them in their venture. After having made this tempting offer, one stick is chosen from the bundle. The gambler looks at it, and then wonders if the gods are going to make sport of him. He proceeds to test the sincerity of the deity. He takes two pieces of bamboo root, which have been flattened on the one side and rounded on the other. He throws them into the air, exclaiming as he does so, "If I have chosen the right letter, let these two roots fall with the flat sides up." Suppose they fall as he desires, he repeats the experiment, saying, "If I have chosen the right letter, let these two roots fall with the round side up." Even if success again crowns his experiment, he still feels inclined to doubt the playful deity to whom he is appealing for counsel. So he throws the roots yet once again — "If I have chosen the right letter let these two roots fall, one with the flat side up, and one with the round side up." If they should fall in this way, he is practically certain the gods are with him. He pawns everything he possesses and stakes every farthing he can obtain on the letter of his choice. Thirty-three chances to one that he loses, and he may spend the rest of his life in extreme poverty, bewailing the fickleness of the god he supplicated.

Anyone who can write can set up a stand, for it is the policy of the farmer to have his agents scattered all over the city. The overseers are not directly paid for their services, but on the contrary, actually pay to be allowed to hold the office. The writers of the tickets receive a commission of one shilling for every forty-four shillings they hand to the overseers. The overseer receives from the farmer the same proportion of the total amount he collects each day. Thirty times the sum actually staked is handed to the writer of a correct letter. He then hands over to the winner twenty-nine times the sum, so that he gets a further profit of one-thirtieth of all the winning money that passes through his hands.

A few years ago, the gambling farmer lost a considerable sum of money through his own indiscretion. He had obtained a new wife of great beauty, of whom he was passionately fond. One day she asked him what letter he had chosen for the winning one. "Why do you wish to know? " said he. Woman-like, she replied, "Oh, I merely asked you out of curiosity." "Well," said the infatuated adorer, "promise me that you will on no account reveal it to any single person you may meet. Remember, if people were to know what letter I had chosen, I should lose a tremendous sum of money." The new favourite answered, "I promise not to tell." He gave her the letter, and faithful to her promise, she kept the secret. But she went to one of the writers and staked all the money she had on what she knew was to be the lucky character. The writer knew who she was, and jokingly asked her why she had chosen that particular letter. She answered that she had simply selected it as any one else might have done in order try her luck. Several people standing by heard the conversation, and learning that the chief had been to see her the day before in her own quarters, they thought it extremely probable that she was in possession of that day's winning number. They promptly followed her example, with the result that her confiding spouse lost several thousand dollars on the day's transactions. He at once accused her of betraying his trust, and although she pleaded her innocence, he sold her within a few days to gratify his want of revenge, or perhaps, to recoup himself in part for the losses he had sustained as the result of his own folly.

In the small gambling houses that abound, various games of chance are played all day. They are open to the road, and are always fairly well filled. Idlers strolling by with an odd cent in their waistband, step in and lose it, and then pass on their way to give place to others who seek easily-made fortunes. The games played require no skill on the part of those who play. It is all pure chance, as the following descriptions will show.

A Brief History of the state lottery in Thailand in Remembering the Pop Queen: The Cult of Phumphuang Duangchan and Lottery Mania in Contemporary Thailand By Pattana Kitiarsa

Siamese Amusements (The Southern Literary Messenger Vol. XXIV no.5 May 1857)


Old cards

Found on a Thai website

Nowadays' Diagram

Found on a blog : เชียงตุง เมืองลา เซอร์เวย์ทริปกับสมาชิก : มีบ่อนหวยเล็ก

Diagrams from the Shan State

การเสี่ยงโชค ของชาวไทใหญ่ : Lottery in Shan States

Bulletin de la Société des études indo-chinoises de Saigon, Volume 11 1895 page 67? 70?

Par le nombre et l'importance de ses cercles de jeux, Bangkok est le Monte-Carlo de l'Extrême-Orient.
Dans des salles suffisamment éclairées, on voit de nombreux groupes d'indigènes
et même d'Européens autour de tenanciers chinois ramassant à pleines mains les mises presque toujours perdues.
Des disputes et quelques fois des coups s'ensuivent, mais le dessus reste aux Chinois, supérieurs en nombre.
Le jeu des 36 bêtes fonctionne également, sans compter les nombreux tripots clandestins.
La population siamoise de Bangkok est pauvre et misérable, malgré la richesse naturelle du pays. La cause n'en est pas entièrement due au peu d'ardeur au travail du Siamois.
Elle tient surtout à ce que toutes les fermes importantes sont entre les mains des Chinois qui ne négligent rien pour encourager l'indigène à devenir ivrogne et joueur, vices qui le mènent tout droit à l'esclavage. La suppression ou du moins une réglementation très sévère de tous ces coupe-gorges autorisés s'impose. Par malheur, le gouvernement royal ne peut plus le faire sans ébranler fortement ses finances. Dans un avenir plus ou moins éloigné, Bangkok sera une ville française, mise en communication directe avec l'Océan Indien par l'isthme de Krat, elle partagera avec Singapour l'honneur d'être un port central de permier ordre au lieu d'en être, comme de nos jours, sa dépendance.

Sons of the yellow emperor: a history of the Chinese diaspora By Lynn Pan 1994

Lotteries were popular, and in Thailand the hua-hui, a game in which players stake on thirty-six animals and the prize is thirty times the amount of the stake, was a revenue farm in itself. The drawing of the lottery was held twice a day, and one heard tell that until the winning animal out of the thirty-six was announced, normal business could not resume. In Singapore you could not move for the crowd of men, women, children and domestic servants that thronged Hong Kong Street, the place for the hua-hui lottery.

Gambling in Nam Kham Moved to Remote Area By Taifreedom Saturday, 21 February 2009 09:12

Sources : English; Thai; Shan

The pro- junta militia group has already moved the gambling in Nam Kham northern Shan State, Burma to remote area, following one of Shan websites’ reporting about the gambling in Wain Sa village, conducted by local police top officer and Myoma militia group during Chinese New Year, said a source from Sino- Burma border. Gambling in Wain Sa village was at first arranged from January 27 to 31, but it was extended to February 2 and moved to the remote Wan13 miles village since then, reported a Nam Kham resident.

He continued “We heard that as one Shan website was reporting about this gambling in Wain Sa, the Musae authorities then were informed about it. And they ordered Nam Kham police to stop and arrest the men who involved the gambling at once. But all the gamblers escaped before police got there by message which sent by police who close to them. When police reached there, nothing was awaiting them.”

There were scores of gamblers in Wain Sa gambling with some brought millions of money to the games. Most had a big loss and even had to mortgage their cars or motorbikes to bet again.Lao Wu led Myoma militia group escorted Wain Sa gambling while Kyaw Myint (Chinese Muslim) militia group took the security of Wan 13 miles, said a villager of Wan Kaung Hto Lin.

He added “Wan 13 miles village, Wan Sa Lu and Wan Awm are located in the remote area along the plateau that far away than Wain sa from Nam Kham. It is on the shot -cut path to Nam Fat Ka sub –township. Kyaw Myint himself led his men guarded the games. He vouched the gamblers that there would no police to dare arresting them. Thus, there are many gamblers joining the games.”

Also the source confirmed of 6.5 million Kyats in funding of Musae and Nam Kham authorities by Kyaw Myint to get gambling permission


The history of Bangkok: summary of political and cultural events from the age of establishment to the present By Abha Bhamorbutr 1987

We have the historical documents about the story of Huey (Alphabet Gambling), King Rama IV said that in the reign of King Rama III, the flood occurred in 1831, the water covered the area of Bangkok, and the other provinces in the central part of Thailand, the flood damaged the fruit gardens and rice fields, it caused the situation of "the High Price Rice", Thailand imported foreign rice to sell to the people, the people had no money to buy rice, they employed as workers by changing rice for wages. Nai Arkhon (the tax collectors) had no money for paying the Royal Treasury, the King thought that the people might keep money for buying the illegal opium for smoking, The King ordered the polices to arrest the illicit opium dealers, but the money was still disappeared in the puttttc- market. Phra Sri Chaiban (Chin Hong, the Chinese origin) told King Rama III that in China, if the financial problem was likely as in Thailand, such problem was solved by the method of gambling, the money circulation might be much better for business buying and selling, he continued this was the best way to solve the money depression situation, the King agreed as Chin Hong's recommendation, and Chin Hong set up the gambling house in 1835 ....

Les Distractions de Bangkok La Loterie Royale J.-G. de Poutrol 1906

Bulletin de la Société de géographie de Toulouse.

De quoi veut-on que parle un fermier de jeux, sinon des résultats de son entreprise ? Notre hôte, comme ces bons bourgeois, le dos au feu, le ventre à table, gémissant sur les malheurs des temps, pose pour la pauvreté.

Tout d'abord, à l'entendre, il n'est pas riche, il frise le dénuement. C'est ainsi qu'ii raconte négligemment que sa maison particulière, qui n'est pas celle des jeux, où nous nous trouvons, ne lui acoûté que 80 lattyrs, c'est-à-dire 200.000 francs. Il possède, en outre, 400 hectares de bonnes rizières au Siam; à Canton, un millier de petites maisons ou boutiques qu'il loue à la petite semaine. Comme l'usure nulle part n'est bien portée sans philanthropie, il nous raconte qu'il a fait construire dans son pays natal une chaussée qui demande deux jours, à bonne allure, pour être parcourue de part en part par un piéton.

Enfin, cette année, il a acheté la ferme des loteries royales 650.000 ticaux, c'est-à-dire près d'un million de francs.

Il faut qu'il s'y retrouve, les temps sont durs et, à l'en croire, il a bien peur d'y être du sien. Le pauvre homme !

La loterie se tire non sur des numéros, ni sur des couleurs, pas même sur des bêtes, dont ce jeu des trente-six bêtes porte le nom aussi injurieux, que caractéristique, mais sur des lettres. Beaucoup plus riche que le nôtre l'alphabet Siamois compte trente-six caractères différents.

Au lieu de choisir un numéro on prend une des trente-six lettres de l'alphabet et c'est l'une de ces trente-six bêtes de lettres qui fait le bonheur des gagnants.

De nombreux camelots les promènent en ville et chacun en achète pour la somme qui lui convient depuis un cent qui est souvent tout ce qu'il possède (valeur de 2 centimes et demi) jusqu'à des milliers de francs.

Préalablement, pendant que la musique et les jeux font rage, le tirage se prépare.

Dans une salle, où l'on a porté les registres à souches des marchands de billets, des employés habiles établissent le montant des sommes engagées sur chaque lettre.

C'est une opération curieuse. Elle se fait sous les yeux du public, dans la grande salle protégée par des grilles dont j'ai déjà parlé. Des Chinois, sortes de croupiers, sont assis par terre, formant un cercle autour de lampes américaines, d'écritoires et de crachoirs. On sait que tout Chinois qui se respecte doit chiquer le bétel. Ils ont tous à la main leur légendaire machine à boules à compter, sorte de règle à calcul.

La rapidité avec laquelle ils opèrent tient du prodige. Il n'est pas d'européens capables de rivaliser avec eux sur ce point.

Les opérations s'accomplissent en silence et avec une discipline parfaite.

Au fur et à mesure que chaque comptable a achevé sa besogne, il renouvelle sa chique à bétel, allume une cigarette, croise les bras et attend impassible que les autres aient terminé leur besogne.

A l'extérieur, le public s'écrase littéralement contre les grilles. Notre présence, dans la salle, excite sa curiosité. Nous sommes, pour le fermier, un numéro imprévu d'attraction et nous avons la sensation d'être pour le public, non les bêtes sur lesquelles on parie, mais les bêtes curieuses que l'on regarde.

Ces regards sont éloquents et disent bien des choses. On n'y lit ni la sympathie, ni l'affection pour l'étranger.

Il est vrai que la conduite d'un certain nombre de nos nationaux n'est pas toujours de nature à inspirer ni l'estime ni le respect.

Toutefois ce qui domine en ce moment dans ces regards c'est la fièvre du jeu, l'avidité du gain. Tout altruisme a été laissé à la maison et chacun s'attend à gagner l'argent du prochain en dépit des grandes mortifications religieuses de la veille, mortifications destinées à exalter l'esprit de sacrifice. Est-ce seulement à Bangkok que se voient semblables contradictions et de tels accomodements de conscience ?

Mais les comptes sont sur le point d'être achevés !

Trois coups de tam tam annoncent que la vente des billets est close.

La foule trépigne et ne se contient plus. Ce sont des cris et des convulsions.

Le fermier s'excuse galamment de nous quitter et s'en va supputer, avec ses courtiers, les comptes de chaque lettre, car c'est à lui qu'il appartient, de choisir celle qui va gagner.

Il est évident que son intérêt est de prendre celle sur laquelle il y a le moins de mise. Mais il y a un inconnu. Les enjeux de un ticau et au-dessus peuvent rester secrets, le preneur ayant le droit de cacheter sa souscription. Il suffit qu'un de ces derniers ait mis mille ticaux sur la lettre choisie par le fermier, pour que celui-ci soit tenu de lui verser vingt-six fois sa mise et les souscriptions secrètes de 100 à 500 ticaux ne sont pas rares.

Le conciliabule est court. Un petit sac à la main, le fermier sort de son cabinet. La foule pousse un cri formidable. Il se dirige vers un cadre vide, suspendu, en pleine lumière, à un mètre du sol.

Il défait lentement le sac, comme s'il accomplissait un acte rituel, en tire une planchette dorée sur laquelle est peinte la lettre gagnante et la place dans son cadre.

Cette apparition est saluée par de formidables tha! tha ! tha ! Et l'assemblée se livre aussitôt aux manifestations délirantes les plus diverses.

Les uns, les yeux hagards, le visage défait, les dents serrées, les mains crispées s'en vont droit devant eux bousculant tous ceux qu'ils rencontrent sur leur passage.

Les autres se mettent à courir en rond, comme des fous, tenant la tète entre la mains.

Un certain nombre affectent l'impassibilité, le détachement où se montrent d'une jovialité outrée.

En réalité, à la contraction des muscles de la face, à la mobilité du regard, on comprend que tous sont très émus aussi bien les perdants que les gagnants.

En ce qui me concerne, j'ai pris, par politesse, un billet de deux ticaux et j'apprends avec un étonnement mêlé de satisfaction qu'il me rapporte 58 ticaux, c'est-à-dire 80 francs.

Il est 3 heures du matin !

On paie rapidement les heureux gagnants. La foule se disperse; 90 p. 100 se retirent décavés, l'esprit en désarroi.

Ils sont venus avec l'espérance, ils s'en vont avec la déception. Ce qui ne les empêchera pas d'édifier à nouveau, pierre à pierre un nouvel idéal, au fur et à mesure que se reconstituera leur petit pécule.

Pendant ce temps la musique joue l'hymne royal et nous remontons dans notre voiture pour regagner notre bungalow, à 8 kilomètres d'ici, sous une pluie battante, la pluie de la saison.

Telle est une des grandes distractions de la vie mondaine à Bangkok !