First ever cards tournament kicks off in Saudi Arabia

First ever cards tournament kicks off in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH - Riyadh has recognized the popular Saudi card game Baloot and kicked off its national first-ever cards tournament in the capital.

The first national Baloot championship is being held at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh from April 4 and will be held until April 18.

According to the Saudi General Sports Authority, the top four players will receive prize money totaling more than $270,000, including $133,350 for the winner.

According to Saudi media reports, more than 12,000 people are participating in the tournament. Several prominent personalities have visited the tournament venue, reported Al Arabiya.

The card game, similar to the French game Belote and Rummy played in India and Pakistan, is popular with Saudi men of all age groups and is commonly played by youth in open places in Saudi neighbourhoods and even during friendly meetings, family gatherings, and weddings. It was considered taboo by many in Saudi society and an addictive game that deprived God's blessing.