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If you have heard the phrase recently and did not know what it meant, then you may be interested to know that Matka is a form of gambling which first originated from Mumbai in India. It is something that has really grown very strongly in that area and which is well known by many people in India, and in fact it has risen to the point that the word itself can sometimes be used as a synonym for all types of gambling and not just the one to which it originally referred. This gives you some idea of its scale, and will also help you to understand how important it is in a cultural sense.

It seems that Ratan Khatri is the person who was able to turn Matka into a big money proposition, making it a successful venture for gamblers and for those who hold the games. The system itself is rather ingenious and simply involves gambling on numbers, with each punter choosing a two or three digit number to bet on – and if you manage to win, then you get an amazing payout of eighty times the bet that you placed. There are even smaller payouts as well to make sure that it is still exciting even when you are not getting the full scope of the rewards, and if this sounds familiar but you are thinking of Satta then you may be surprised to learn that this is just another name by which the same gambling game is known. With Mumbai being the city hub where the game originated, this is of course the most important part of the particular scene and it is currently mostly run by small time bookies. These bookies are largely to be found in the areas of Kalyan and Mulund although there are others in a few more places too, and though there have been a few instances of criminal involvement in the past this has been widely exaggerated and indeed flared up by the press, so that even Ratan Khatri himself has been quoted by the Indian Express newspaper as saying that the game suffered and lost some appeal because of it – but that this does not mean that the game cannot be enjoyed in a fully legal way and in a much more wholesome environment which focuses just on the playing element and on how much fun it can be.

This is still a very popular game and industry, and indeed you can find more than four hundred Matka bookies in Mumbai and more than one thousand across the state in which it rests. Having first really come to light in the seventies and having enjoyed a heyday right up to the nineties, it is essentially a lottery type game which is very simple to learn and to play. You start off by picking three numbers from zero to nine; for example, you might choose 5, 3, and 6. In order to take the game to the next level, you add all of your numbers up (in this case, 5 + 3 + 6 = 14). However, the number that you take away from this equation always uses the last digit only, so fourteen is very quickly changed into four. Then you draw a second set of numbers in the same way as the first, for example an 8, a 2, and another 8. When you add all of these together you get a sum total of eighteen, so again taking just the very last digit this gives us a score of eight. Your final card will be set out as follows: 5, 3, 6, *4 x 8, 2, 8 *8. In order to win the game you have various options and payouts which range from nine to one all the way up to nine hundred and ninety nine to one, although of course there are more popular options such as the one that we discussed when first outlining the game. You can place a bet on any chance of any or all of the numbers of being chosen as the first, last, or any other number in the sequence, so you can go all out or just try a little bet.

This is one of the elements which ensures that it is a very popular game for those who are trying it out, because of the payout multiples, but Matka certainly remains as a game of chance and no more. It requires luck to get the win, but a lot of players will approach their numbers the same way that they do lottery games: they will keep the same ones and feel really superstitious about them, making sure that they never change or miss a game just in case it happens to be the one in which their numbers would have come in. Generally speaking, over a large number of games that they take in from all customers the betting agent should be able to take in five per cent on each rupee which is wagered, and generally the cards and numbers are picked at 9pm and 12am in order to give a regular schedule to both the drawings and the payouts, allowing players to know what times they should always come to the bookies in order to play and to get the numbers that they need put down on a card before the draw starts.

Some examples of payouts might be that if you have the correct first number drawn, then you get nine times your wager; if you choose the number which is drawn second, you get nine times your wager again; and if you choose both the first and the middle number, known as the jodi, in combination, then you get ninety times your wager. There have been plenty of Indian celebrities who were involved in Matka draws in the past, thanks to the expertise of Khatri and how he brought these people in, and you can still enjoy it yourself on a smaller scale.

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