No Limit Bet Chess: The Ultimate Gamble!

A chess variant with all the aspects of No Limit Texas Holdem: skill, luck, betting, and bluffing

No limit Bet Chess is a gambling form of chess where each player makes a wager before revealing his or her move.

The other player must decide on resigning (in which case the chips in the pot are forfeited), or calling the bet upon which the player who placed the bet must reveal the move on the board, or raising the bet.

While this game can be played with just a standard board and rules, the best way to play it is to combine the betting with the luck based chess game: Random Move Number Chess.

In this game each player throws a die that determines the number of moves he/she makes. For example, a 1, the player misses a turn, a 6 make two moves etc. (see table).

Play begins as follows: Players throw the die to decide who pays white. The higher number takes white. The die must be re-thrown in case of ties. Each player records the number he/she threw on a piece of paper.

The first move involves no betting and the die number does not dictate the number of moves. Thus, even if player A gets a six, he/she will only make one move first. However, on the next turn if a six were to turn up, this player can now play 3 times! 2 (because the number repeated) +1 (because it is a six) =3.

Once player A and B make their first moves, the gambling begins!

Player A throws the die and checks the number landed without showing it to player B. A die cup holder can be used for this purpose. If this is a game with a lot of money involved, an arbitrator may have to throw the die to ensure there is no cheating. So say you are player A and you throw the die. You peek at it without letting the other player see. (Or the arbitrator shows you the die number).

Taking the number into account, and assessing the position on the board, you decide on what move to play but do no reveal it.
Then you make a bet. You must bet at least one chip. If this is early in the game only, then you may just reveal the die, make the move and place the chip all at once, since there is not much reason to bluff all the way in the beginning.

For example, if it is a six, and it looks like this enables you to checkmate the other player, you can bet a large amount or go all in (bet all the chips). The opponent must now decide if you are bluffing or are telling the truth. Upon being called, you reveal the number, and make the number of moves dictated by the die. If it is checkmate you take the whole pot.

It is also possible that you were bluffing and you bet a large amount but not all the chips. If your opponent is very sure of this, you might be raised! In this case you might have to resign, but if you are still not all in, you can try a very risky all in re-raise! That might convince your opponent that you have the die roll to give you two or more consecutive moves! Or perhaps in this scenario, you really did have a six, and the winning combination and your opponent raised you in disbelief!
The bluffing, counter-bluffing possibilities are endless.

A minimum of 1 chip per player's half move will require at least 80 chips per person for a 40 move game. So a good starting chip amount is about 500.


The game of chess is played completely unaltered except for the use of a die (and paper and pencil to record each throw) and the betting.

Strategy & Notes

Bet Size:
As a rule it is best to bet the minimum one chip at the beginning of the game, since the outcome could swing both ways depending on the die. Later on, when the position is still close, it would be possible to pull off a bluff especially if it is quite obvious that a person making two consecutive moves can win by checkmate.

Call, raise or re-raise?:
For the most part, betting and re-raising may be quite rare between competent players because unlike poker, chess is a game of complete information.
Unless you are fairly confident that your opponent is bluffing, it is not advisable to raise.
However if you are sure your opponent is bluffing, and you have a winnable position, that nothing, not even two consecutive moves can offset this advantage, then you can raise. However, your opponent may not have been bluffing, and being capable of making multiple moves to a winning position, might re-raise!

Bluffing Tips:
Do not bluff unless you are fairly certain your opponent is very 'tight' i.e is not willing to put much chips in the pot.
For example, you can be playing a very good but timid player - all the time putting one chip per half move until you come to a position where clearly getting multi-moves would checkmate your opponent. Then, you can feign excitement as you peek at your die number, and push all your chips in. Your opponent, realizing that two moves lead to checkmate does not want to forfeit his/her chips and resigns!
Then you can show your bluff, if you wish to rub it in! Or choose not to and your opponent would never know what really happened.

Handicap Games:
Games between two players with diparate skill levels can now prove to be quite exciting. For example Player A is a strong 1800 ELO rating points while player B is a mere 1200! An exciting match can be set up with Player A getting 1000 chips while player B gets 2000! Player A must now win more games than B to win all the chips.

Material Advantage
Being up a pawn, knight bishop or even a rook may not be enough to win. Is is best to bet the minimum even if up by a minor piece if the position still has a lot of play. Only increase the bet size when the material advantage seems decisive. Note that all it takes is a die roll for your opponent to be equal or even better than you.,

It is better to resign quite early when you have a serious material deficit. For example being a whole queen down is quite a disadvantage that you cannot recover easily from, even with favorable die rolls.
On the other hand, never resign if down by a pawn or even a minor piece unless you judge the position to be too difficult to recover from. Bear in mind, you can catch up back with a favorable die roll.

Position Analysis
This game is more about good judgement and analyis of chess positions. Try to avoid risky situations in favor of more solid setups where even 2 moves by your opponent will not cripple you.

Further Thoughts

Standard Chess has always been a game of skill, and most practitioners of the game are quite proud of this fact. However, this may diminish the fun aspect of the game for some who wish not to tax their brains for every single move.

I came up with the idea of this unique variant while watching Texas Hold'em Poker on TV.

The popularity of this game was jumpstarted when Chris Moneymaker, won an online tournament to earn a $10000 seat to the WSOP main event and then went on to win the whole thing! He was an amateur player who outlasted Poker professionals like Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan and then faced Sammy Farha heads up and defeated him as well! Since then it has become quite apparent that skill alone will NEVER win a poker tournament.
As Phil Hellmuth said, "If it wasn’t for luck, I would win every one of them." Putting aside his exaggeration that he is the greatest no limit Hold’em poker player in the world, it brings up an interesting comparison.

You would never hear a Chess Champion blame luck for losing to an amateur a few hundred points lower than him. In fact it would be impossible to beat a chess champion in regular chess. But in poker, almost every tournament features some amateur sometimes almost a complete novice (celebrities for instance) outlast and beat seasoned poker pros! But this actually is what makes the game so popular - anyone can win!

My thoughts were as follows: could chess ever become a game of both skill and luck? The answer: of course! In fact, chess games with dice have been around for quite a long time; in fact the original game played in India was a dice playing game for up to four players.

This game however is relatively simple, and can be described as Chess combined with a Heads Up No Limit Poker game.

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Posted by: Barry M on 2011-09-14 18:14:13     Rating: Excellent
I did not bet ,,,
Posted by: n3m3sis on 2011-09-06 03:05:20     Rating: Average
lookin toi play top players to improve...lookin to play shit players to make up my losses
Posted by: n3m3sis on 2011-09-06 03:03:18     Rating: Average
lokkin to play better players and improve and play shitty polayers to make up for my losses;)
Posted by: observer on 2008-10-01 07:49:50
I heard Durr (Tom Dwan ) on Poker After Dark say he played chess with Knight odds.
He might be interested in this.

I dont think the poster calling himself durr below is durr!
Posted by: ActionKing on 2007-12-14 17:35:04     Rating: Excellent
Sounds good, dude - not a bad idea.
How about making the 1 chip ante/bet optional?

Me thinks the poster below was commenting on him self!
Posted by: Durrr on 2007-12-14 13:46:10   Rating: Poor
Very stupid.
Posted by: Jimmy on 2007-11-30 22:20:40     Rating: Excellent
Sounds good - It might catch on if chess was not so darn complicated.