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Sampèn is a simple skill-free gambling game played in Java using Ceki cards.a[p. 56–7] It is also described as being played in China.b[p. 5]


The game is played by at least five players with a single Ceki deck of 60 cards, containing two copies of each card.

It can also be played by combining two decks of standard playing cards: from each deck, take the A–⑩♠ and the JQK♣, giving two copies of each card, and 60 cards total.b[p. 4–5]


Deal five cards to each player, then the dealer places the remainder of the deck face-down in the middle as stock.

Players first discard any identical pairs they have from their hands.

To begin the game, dealer turns up the top card of the stock. Any player with an identical matching card may play it to the middle, and then throw out any other card from their hand. Any player who has the matching card for this discard may then take a turn similarly.

Once a card is turned up or thrown out that no player can match, the dealer turns up the next card from the stock.

The first player to run out of cards (which will be by matching their last card, without throwing another out) wins the round.


The game is played for money in the wudhon tengah (‘middle bet’) fashion: at the start of each round, every player places the same stake in a central pot, and whoever wins the round takes the whole thing.

However, the winner must shuffle the cards and deal the cards for next time (including turning up cards from the stock).


In Card Games Around the World, Sid Sackson suggests dealing a varying number of cards depending on the number of players:

Players Cards

See Also

Tantanan is also called Sampèn.


  1. (). Javaanse Kaartspelen: bidrage tot de beschrijving van land en volk. A. C. Nix & Co.: Bandung, West Java, Indonesia.

  2. (, originally published 1981). Card Games Around the World. Dover Publications: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA. ISBN: 0-486-28100-0.