Istanbul, Turkey 2013
I met these two Takhteh playing men in a café in Istanbul. Takhteh is the Persian name for Backgammon, where the game is originally from, and the rules are slightly different from those in Western Backgammon. Another interesting thing was the size of the dice. “It’s much harder to cheat that way even if you’re an expert at throwing dice” a man sitting next to the two players explained.
“I always win anyway!” the man on the right proclaimed loudly, and the rest of the group laughed, except for his opponent. “Actually, it’s because the other guy takes it so seriously and is such a bad loser that we laugh about this,” the friend added quietly. “Look, he even closes his eyes and prays when the big man rolls the dice.”
“But that won’t help him – this game is not a matter of faith, nor even as much of skill as one would like to think.. it’s mostly a game of luck.”