Nintendo’s heroic duo Mario and Luigi are always dicing with danger. They risk their lives time and time again to rescue the hapless Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. You could say they take the ultimate gamble, but did you know the Italian brothers love betting in the traditional sense?
Gambling first appeared in a Mario title back in 1988 when Super Mario Bros. 2 hit the shelves on the NES. Players started with three lives and could obtain more by collecting the now-famous 1-Up Mushrooms or by using coins collected from Sub-space to win them from a slot machine mini-game! The slot machine gave the player the chance to win up to 99 extra live. Doing so was extremely rare, but it was amazing when it happened.
There have been several other instances where Mario and Luigi have had the opportunity to gamble. While the game is yet to make it possible to place bets with the best sportsbooks, casino games have appeared in several titles.
Picture Poker and Roulette in Super Mario 64 DS
Super Mario 64 DS was a launch title for the Nintendo DS and the first Mario game on the system. It was a remake of the Nintendo 64 classic Super Mario 64, as the name suggests. To say Super Mario 64 DS was a massive hit is an understatement. Nintendo sold more than 11 million copies, making this title the 10th best selling Nintendo DS game.
The game had several mini-games built into it and two of those were casino games. Picture Poker was one of the games arranged by Luigi and it has striking similarities to five-card stud poker, the main difference being there were no suits but icons from the Mario series. Mushrooms, stars, ghosts, Power Flowers, and more featured in this mini-game.
Like traditional poker, Picture Poker saw you try to make the best five-card poker hand and the number of coins you won depended on the strength of your hand.
Roulette also featured in Super Mario 64 DS with the game calling it Mushroom Roulette. The concept was extremely similar to the roulette games you find in casinos and online casinos. You started with a bankroll of 10 coins and could bet up to five coins per spin. This mini-game ended when you inevitably ran out of coins by betting too much and chasing the biggest prizes!
Blackjack in New Super Mario Bros
New Super Mario Bros launched a year after Super Mario 64 DS and it was a massive success. It sold over 30 million copies around the world, making it the best-selling title on the DS and one of the best-selling video games of all time.
Blackjack made an appearance in this title although it was named LuigiJack, of course, it was! The game played exactly the same as regular Blackjack with the players needing to get as close to 21 as possible without busting. Hitting 21 with three, four, or five cards won you an extra bonus that doubled your winnings. LuigiJack paid three-times your bet and going bust cost you five coins.
What Next For Gambling In Mario Games?
There has been a major clampdown around the world when it comes to gambling in video games, but there’s one Mario title that would be perfect for making a wager. Wouldn’t it be great to fire up a Mario Kart game with your friends and place a few virtual bets on who would win out of you and your friends? You could use your winnings to upgrade your Kart or start the next race with a power-up. The possibilities are endless.