Playing for money in this meaning would be single games played for some stake, not tournaments with a prize money.

Backgammon has a large tradition to be played like, chess a smaller one (I think). I havn't heard of Go in such a context. Is this (widely) done?


4 Answers 4


In the West, Go is almost exclusively played for fun. The exception here would top players who strive for tournament price money. This is actually a pretty important, there have been intense discussions between the organizers of the major Go tournaments/congresses and top players about the sum and distribution of money.

In Asia, Go is more often than not played without money on stake, however, betting on your own games is well known, too, especially for older folks. In Japan, there is a basic differentiation how money is distributed according to the result:

  • In ban-go the winner simply takes it all.
  • In me-go money is exchanged according to the territory at the end, so winning with a large difference is advantageous.

In Korea, betting games are called Bang Neki, typically with a fixed sum for winning and extra money for each bang (score difference of 10 points).

  • Well considering everything I know about Go in Asia comes from a cartoon, and in it there is gambling (Mitani), +1 to you Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 15:48
  • The online go server tygemgo.com supports betting on games as part of its service.
    – ulty4life
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 3:10

There is no particular tradition of players gambling over a game of Go. Go is generally a teaching game, where a higher-skilled player will grant an opponent a number of handicap stones in order to even the playing field. This is not really compatible with the cutthroat atmosphere that wagers bring to the table.

  • This is very true, I never understood how handicap and betting can be used together in the same game.
    – mafu
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 15:05
  • @mafutrct Handicaps with betting make perfect sense, if you are offering 1:1 odds on the outcome of the game there is no incentive for the weaker player to take the bet. With handicap you can try to get a 50:50 win ratio and so make the bet "fair". - Not that this has anything in particular to do with go, but with all betting games in general.
    – Nick
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 16:39
  • 1
    @Nick Yes, but wouldn't you always try 'sandbag' the other player (claiming you're weaker than you really are)?
    – mafu
    Commented Jun 17, 2012 at 15:17

If you go to Chinatowns, particularly in New York or San Francisco, you can find games played for money.

Some of them are run honestly, in other places, you might get robbed.


Korean baduk servers (baduk = Go) have a bet system.


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