Welcome to the intricate world of Sakla, a traditional Filipino gambling game that has been part of the local culture for many generations. Known for its complex rules and unique gameplay, Sakla is deeply intertwined with Filipino social customs and events, particularly during wakes and vigils. As a game that involves Spanish tarot cards and a good dose of strategy, Sakla has established its mark in the Philippine gambling scene. With the advancement of technology, Sakla is also gradually making its transition to online platforms, reaching out to more audiences and retaining its significance in the modern world.

Gambling in the Casinos

Historical Roots of Sakla

Tracing back to the Spanish colonial period, Sakla, also known as “Spanish tarot,” came into existence as a part of the cultural influence brought by the colonizers. The game was adopted and modified to suit local preferences and has since become an integral part of Filipino culture. Played with a special deck of cards that features a blend of religious and mythological imagery, Sakla’s connection with spiritual beliefs has also contributed to its cultural relevance.

Over the years, Sakla has evolved, but its core essence remains the same. From humble beginnings in local communities to becoming a popular gambling activity, Sakla has stood the test of time. Its deep cultural roots and distinct gaming experience have earned it a special place in the hearts of Filipinos.

How Sakla is Played

At the heart of Sakla is a deck of Spanish tarot cards divided into two sets, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The game involves a complex system of bidding and predicting, with the main objective being to forecast the outcome of the card draw accurately.

The game begins with the dealer or ‘banker’ drawing two cards, one from each set of the deck. Players then make their bets based on predictions of what the next card draw will be. The game’s unpredictability and reliance on luck, combined with the need for strategic betting, make Sakla a captivating game for gamblers.

Sakla stands out from other card games due to its unique blend of chance, strategy, and cultural relevance. The use of Spanish tarot cards adds a layer of intrigue, while the game’s association with Filipino customs gives it an unmatched depth. As a game that captures both the thrill of gambling and the richness of Filipino heritage, Sakla continues to be a beloved pastime in the Philippines.

Sakla and Filipino Society

Beyond its role as a gambling game, Sakla has cemented its position in the fabric of Filipino society. Historically, it has been an integral part of social gatherings, specifically during the mourning period following the death of a loved one. Its presence at wakes and funerals, known as “puyatan,” is seen as a means to lighten the mood and provide an outlet for communal bonding during these emotionally challenging times.

In terms of legality, Sakla occupies a gray area. Despite its cultural roots, gambling in the Philippines is heavily regulated. Sakla, being a form of gambling, is subject to these regulations. However, it is often tolerated during wakes due to its cultural significance. Public perception of Sakla is multifaceted. While some view it as a harmless traditional game, others see it as a form of gambling that could potentially lead to addiction. The balance between cultural preservation and responsible gambling continues to be a topic of discussion in the Philippines.

Online Sakla: A Modern Twist

As the world becomes more digital, Sakla has begun to adapt. Several online platforms now offer the chance to play Sakla from the comfort of one’s home. This transition to digital not only broadens the game’s reach but also introduces a younger generation to this classic game.

The integration of technology into Sakla has also addressed issues of accessibility and convenience. Now, enthusiasts don’t need to wait for a wake or gathering to play Sakla; they can connect with players across the country at any time. However, like any form of online gambling, online Sakla requires vigilance to ensure fair play and the protection of players from potential fraud.


In essence, Sakla is more than just a gambling game. It is a piece of Filipino heritage that resonates with cultural significance and traditional values. While it provides thrill and excitement, it is also a conduit of social connection, serving as a reminder of the vibrant culture and the shared experiences that bind the Filipino society. As Sakla ventures into the digital realm, the challenge lies in preserving its cultural integrity while promoting responsible gambling. So whether you’re playing it online or in a traditional setting, always remember: Play responsibly and enjoy the experience that this classic Filipino game offers.