Nearly 2,500 compete in Saudi Arabia’s second Baloot championship

Nearly 2,500 compete in Saudi Arabia’s second Baloot championship
The tournament drew 2,480 participants on Saturday. (AN photo by Ahmed Fathi)
Updated 28 October 2018

Nearly 2,500 compete in Saudi Arabia’s second Baloot championship

Nearly 2,500 compete in Saudi Arabia’s second Baloot championship
  • The winning team were given SR1 million ($0.26 million), the second SR500,000, the third SR300,000, and the fourth SR200,000

RIYADH: The Kingdom's second Baloot championship, sponsored by the General Sport Authority, ends today at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Olympic Stadium.
The 12-day tournament has had 2,480 participants, selected from a random lottery system, and more than 140,000 registered. The participants were of different generations and from different parts of the Kingdom, all united by their love for the popular Saudi card game.
Abdulkarim Al-Shiha, one of the supervisors on the judging committee, told Arab News that it had been a triumph in organization to get all players to play under one system as the rules are slightly different from region to region, and even from household to household.
He said the tournament was not short of excitement and sometimes the results were one-sided when participants lost without scoring any points. "There were times that I encountered when a participant refused to play because when he sat down at the table he found he would be playing against his uncle and would have to forfeit out of respect for his elder,” Al-Shiha said, adding that there was a father-and-son team who played well but came short and were eliminated.
The winning team were given SR1 million ($0.26 million), the second SR500,000, the third SR300,000, and the fourth SR200,000.
Baloot is believed to have been brought to Hijaz by Indian immigrants at the time of the Ottoman Empire, and then spread all over the country when it was unified under the Saudi rule.