Many players love playing betting squares because it’s easy to learn and simple to understand. In fact, there are so many variants of this game that it’s hard to keep track of what squares you’re supposed to play and how the game is actually played. One of the simplest rules to remember is: you play a 3×3 grid of squares, and you place your bets on the diagonal.

## How Many Squares are in a Standard Betting Squares Game?

For decades, people have been playing betting squares using these traditional 3×3 grids. Each square in the grid is labeled A, B, C, or D, and the goal is to select a row, column, or diagonal to go through to win the game.

Let’s examine this well-known format in greater detail. Since there are four rows (A, B, C, and D) and four columns (1, 2, 3, and 4), the maximum number of squares in a standard 3×3 grid is 16 (4×4). And, yes, you guessed it, 16 is the minimum number of squares you need to play. More commonly, people use a 5×5 grid because then there are 25 squares to choose from. Even in a 5×5 grid, though, you’re still only looking at the original 16 distinct squares (4 rows and 4 columns). So keep those numbers in mind when playing the game later this week.

## How Many Squares are in a Joker Betting Squares Game?

In most cases, joker bets aren’t used in traditional betting squares games. That’s because the game is played in such a way that the joker bet doesn’t affect the outcome. Still, people sometimes use jokers when playing dice or spin games because it’s fun to guess what number or symbol will come up next. For example, can you guess which number will be next in Colossal Joker Spin? You’ll have a chance to try out this exciting game later this week, so keep that in mind.

## What is Each Square’s Objective in Betting Squares?

Each square in a standard 3×3 grid has a distinct objective. Let’s take a look at the game layout:

1, 2, and 3 are the corner squares, and they’re worth 1 point each. The center square is worth 2 points, and the middle square is worth 3 points. (It’s important to understand that the center square is different from the other 2 squares because you get to choose which of the 4 possible diagonals to use to get to it. The other squares can only be used to get to the diagonals.)

The diagonal squares (4, 6, 8, and 10) are worth 2 points each, and the remaining vertical and horizontal squares are worth 1 point each.

## How Do You Score In Betting Squares?

The objective of the game is to be the first person to score 16 points. Just like any other game of chance, you’ll need to add up all of the squares on your side of the grid (horizontals and verticals together) and make sure you’re below the line on the opposite side. There’s also an artistry factor in some games, based on how the squares are arranged on the grid. But in most cases, it’s simply a matter of addition and comparison. Let’s take a look at a simplified example:

Say you have 3 horizontal squares (in the blue boxes) and 4 vertical squares (in the green boxes). You start by adding up all the squares on your side of the grid (in this case, 17), and you want to compare that total to the opponent’s side. In this case, you’d add up all the green boxes (16) and then compare that to the blue boxes (17). In theory, the sum of all the boxes should be equal.

Even in a 3×3 grid, though, things aren’t always as simple as they seem. For example, let’s say you have 3 vertical squares (in the green boxes) and 4 horizontal ones (in the blue boxes). In this case, you’d start by adding up all the green boxes (16) and then compare that to the blue ones (17). In this case, you’d be losing because the blue boxes are worth more than the green ones (3 vs. 2).

## What Are Some Other Varieties of Betting Squares?

Besides the usual 3×3 grid, people have also come up with some inventive ways to play this game. Here are some other varieties that are worth looking into:

4 Corners Squares – These are the classic 4 squares arranged in a square at the corners of a board. Each square takes up 4 spaces on the board, making it the smallest of all the standard 3×3 grids. This game is worth noting because it’s the precursor to the more traditional 3×3 grid. As a result, many of the rules and strategies used for traditional 3×3 squares apply to 4 Corners Squares as well. (If you want to learn more, you can read about it on our blog.)

Dia-Betting Squares – These are the original diagonal squares that were used to form a 3×3 grid. This grid was then subdivided into a 5×5 version by setting one of the corner diagonals as the starting point and the other 4 as the goal. The first person to arrive at the goal wins! This game is interesting because it requires strategic planning and guessing to arrive at the right answer. (If you want to learn more, you can read about the details on our blog.)

Escape Room Betting Squares – These are the same as the traditional 3×3 grid, but they’re played in a room with furniture blocking all the exits. It’s the same as Russian Roulette, but with some complex twists. This game is a lot of fun to play, because it adds an additional level of difficulty. It’s also interesting to note that some escape room squares are based on the popular board game, Clue. (If you want to learn more, you can read about it on our blog.)

## What Is the History of Betting Squares?

This game has been around for centuries, and it was originally played with knucklebones or pebbles. These days, people usually use cubes or beads, and, yes, chips when they play online. The history of the game is fascinating, and it goes all the way back to ancient Greece. Here’s a short timeline:

1585 – The first known reference to the game is in a book describing the rules of “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

1743 – English author and wit Charles Dickens introduces the idea of the “joker” in A Christmas Carol, referring to it as “the nugatory rule” that you can use to end a game when you’re bored. According to the dictionary, a nugatory rule is “one that does not matter.”

1880s – The modern version of betting squares appears in an English card game called Piccadilly. These days, the game is usually played using a 5×5 grid because it has more squares than the 3×3 version. The popularity of the game increases during this time, and it eventually starts to appear in bars and gaming halls throughout Great Britain. In fact, some casinos and bars in London even install gaming squares inside their own bar counters for patrons to play while enjoying a drink!

The first time the joker appeared in print was in an 1883 book titled The Game of Squares, which was published in Great Britain. (Some sources say that it was first played with a knucklebone and later translated to paper and counters.) This book goes on to describe how to play the game.

1889 – A version of the game appears in the 1889 book called The Practical Casino Guide, which was written by Alfred H. Mackenzie and originally published in London. This particular guide focuses on teaching players how to play casino games like roulette and baccarat, but it also includes tips on how to play traditional card games like blackjack and poker. (If you want to learn more, you can read about it on our blog.)

1907 – The term “betting squares” is first used in a publication called The Gentlemen’s Magazine to describe a card game that was played in a bar in Paris. (If you want to learn more, you can read about it on our blog.)