Satta Matka is a form of gambling that originated in India. It is a cross between financial speculating and the lottery. This form of gambling lasted in its original form from before Indian Independence, to the 1960s.
The game still survives, but simpler forms of drawing random numbers have replaced the original form of betting on cotton prices. The game is still considered illegal, which may have been an issue if only people still played it. Today criminal gangs rig the games and very few people play it, except in the rural areas where police presence is minimal.
The Game Origins
Satta Matka started out when Indian workers would bet amongst each other on what the opening and closing rates would be on the Bombay Cotton Exchange. Teleprinters were used to gather the information from the New York Cotton Exchange, but in 1961, the New York Cotton Exchange banned the practice.
Indian workers then replaced the cotton speculation system with a similar system, but now the speculation was managed by drawing random numbers written on slips of paper and placed inside an earthenware pot. This eventually evolved further until it was replaced by simply drawing three playing cards from a standard deck.
As textile mills popped up around India, the game found new life and soon betting shops started up all around the textile industry in Mumbai. Today, due to government crackdown, Matka is mostly played in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Most bettors have moved on to sports betting on cricket matches, probably the single biggest betting activity in India.
How To Play The Game
The game play may remind you of something like Baccarat and it is also completely luck based. You start the game by picking 3 numbers. You then add these three numbers up and take the last digit of this figure. You then do the same to get a second set of numbers. Both sets are written down on your card and this becomes your ticket.
So as an example, let’s say you pick 7, 3 and 9. This means to get the fourth digit, you must add the numbers, get 19, and use 9.
The second set of numbers will be picked as 5, 6 and 2, meaning your forth digit will be a 3. This makes your numbers 7, 3,9,5,6 and 2.
Payouts range between 9/1 to 999/1. The casino offering the game will charge a flat fee of 5% commission, but this can vary greatly amongst the more unscrupulous businessmen.
The Founding Figures
The first and probably most famous figure in the story of Satta Matka is Kalyanji Bhagat. Born a simple farmer, but well known by the King of Kutch who gave the family honorary religious titles, he arrived in Bombay working odd jobs to make ends meet in 1941. 20 years later and Bhagat had reinvigorated Satta Matka by offering ticket sales from his business.
Rattan Khatri is the second notable figure in Satta Matka. He was affectionately known as the Matka King since he established a nationwide, illegal Satta Matka gambling ring that even had international contacts and players.
Khatri is the person who introduced the use of playing cards to replace the cotton price speculation that was still being used up to this point. Khatri eventually spent 19 months in jail, after which he retired to Tardeo where he can still be seen on occasion making wagers at the horse racing track.
Today there are Satta Matka games available online that fall outside the jurisdiction of the Indian Police, meaning people are free to enjoy some great real money action with Satta Matka.