Saturday, August 13, 2005

Popular Pachinko

Pachinko is an immensely popular pastime for japanese and every city here seems studded with pachinko parlours. Pachinko is a combination of slot machine and pinball game.
This trip to the pachinko parlor was indeed a nervous one. Not wanting to disturb the serious gamblers (pachi-puro), if any, sitting in silence in front of their chosen machines and concentrating on their game (plus an impression that pachinko parlors are owned and operated by yakuzas), I quickly snapped a few pictures and set off for home.
Players purchase a large number of small steel balls which are inserted, in bulk, into the machine. One will pay about 4 yen per ball and can buy just 100 yen's worth of steel balls. No serious gambler would start by spending less than a few thousand yen.
The balls then drop and usually simply fall through to the bottom, but occasionally fall into certain gates which make the machine pay out more balls. Players can control the speed at which the balls are fed into the device. Most current machines include a slot-machine (these are called pachi-slo, topmost picture), and the big winnings are ultimately paid not from the balls falling into gates, but from the slot machine matches (either numbers or pictures) that follow.
The pachinko parlors also often feature a small number of slot machines. One may use cash (1,000 yen) to purchase coins for the slot machines.
Winnings may be exchanged for more play, or a parlour's goods and services - though not directly for money because of strict Japanese laws against gambling. But players seem able to exchange certain prizes for cash at small centres located nearby. But some parlours flaunt the law, allowing winner to exchange balls for cash (2.5 yen per ball).

How big is the pachinko business in Japan ? If you come to Japan and want to play pachinko, you won't have to look very hard to find one.


Anonymous said...

Pachinko doesn't buy but borrows(rental) the ball.

Melissa said...

Pachinko is the devil!

emotionalistic said...

Luckily i dont really like to play games...else there goes my money!!!

Anonymous said...

I must go one day!

Acrix said...

I think i read from somewhere last time that most of the pachinko machines are made by the yakuza syndicate :P ANyway will love to try it if Genting got such a thing :) Alwayz see them in drama and never get a chance to try it~

Elisa said...

no tengo mucha suerte en el juego ;)

PD: pero dicen q mala suerte en el juego... buena suerte en el amor (^^)

Amanda Brightwell said...

I never quite understood the attraction to pinball =/

Patrick Leong said...

either because of lack of interest in pinball games or no luck in gambling, i am never keen on playing pachinko. many foreigners do not understand pachinko (like how to strike it rich ?!?) - a skill that foreigners rarely acquire. on the other hand, extremely noisy place and smoke-filled room - therefore no reason for a visit (unless picture for blogging :P)