Never tell me the odds! Poker in the Star Wars universe
From sabacc to real life poker sets, Star Wars fans really do love their card games
Good day, Battlefrontians! The Star Wars franchise has been a part of the cultural zeitgeist for almost 40 years. Imperial Stormtroopers, the Mos Eisley Cantina band, and even the Ewoks are now recognizable even to casual sci-fi fans. There are Star Wars conventions in almost every corner of the world, and this year’s Star Wars Celebration in Germany drew over 30,000 people from over 400 countries. The franchise’s continued popularity has resulted in a whole load of licensed merchandise from action figures, video games (Battlefront 3 in 2015, people!), and even playing cards and poker sets. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The Belgian card company Cartamundi has made a business out of churning out playing cards based on the franchise, but what most poker-playing Star Wars fans might find most attractive is the company’s glow-in-the-dark poker chip set. Well, to be more precise, the case’s interior glows in the dark. The translucent chips themselves don’t glow, but the LED lights built into the carrying case makes them look like segmented lightsabers when they’re sitting in it.
The set’s chips are comprised of 50 red chips with Darth Vader’s face on them, 50 green chips featuring Yoda, and 100 blue chips split evenly between Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The set also comes with a pair of playing card decks and a chromed metal Dealer button with a Death Star on the front. The 200-chip set works best for small group games, as you’ll definitely need more chips if your poker group has more than four people playing.
For a “purer” Star Wars card playing experience, there’s always Sabacc, poker’s more complicated analogue in the Star Wars universe. Every hardcore fans knows the game’s name as it has played a large part in both Han Solo and Lando Calrissian’s history. The former won the Millennium Falcon from the latter in the Cloud City Sabacc Tournament, which seems to basically be the Star Wars equivalent of the World Series of Poker or partypoker’s World Poker Tour. Lando Calrissian also won the rights to Cloud City in a game of sabacc.
West End Games’ old Crisis on Cloud City RPG supplement from 1989 included a full 84-card sabacc deck as well as an explanation of the rules, but tracking down a copy might prove to be hard especially if you’re in Germany or any other country outside the U.S. Fortunately, the Star Wars Artist Guild put together a printable deck and rules. The German fansite Star Wars Union also has a set up for download. Since sabacc’s face cards seem to be patterned after a typical tarot deck, you can also turn one into a workable sabacc deck with a little creativity.
IIRC Sabacc has not yet been included as a mini-game in any of the Star Wars video games, but maybe it’ll show up in the future. Perhaps not in Battlefront 3, but with Episode VII drawing nearer there is still plenty of time for another Star Wars game to be released.