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No gambling sign in ceki tournament

(Balitrips.net) / 11 Dec 2012
No gambling sign in ceki tournamentClad in traditional Balinese attire, around 500 participants enthusiastically joined the first ever ceki card tournament at Kompyang Sujana Sports Center from Saturday through Sunday afternoon, without the usual betting.The sports center was filled with laughter, although some players did look serious during the game.

“I have never seen a ceki competition in which betting is prohibited. Ceki without betting is so unusual for me as a Balinese man. But this is a great tournament for us to prove our ability in playing this card game,” 48-year-old Agung Dharma, one of the participants from Karangasem regency, said.
Dharma admitted that he did not always bet when playing ceki.

Meanwhile, 27-year-old Made Rudianta used the tournament to channel his card-playing talent and, of course, to win the tournament. “I want to get the first prize,” the native of Mengwi, Badung regency, said in an ambitious tone. Rudianta seemed to be okay playing ceki without betting. “Sometimes, we don’t bet for money, we use other things, such as drinking. Those who lose the game have to drink a glass of water, we make the game playful and fun,” Rudianta said.

The Bali branch of the Recreational Sports Federation for Indonesian Society (FORMI) organized the two-day ceki tournament, which had total prize money at stake of Rp 42 million (US$4,350). The winner received Rp 15 million. The competition started with a preliminary round on Saturday at 10 a.m. divided into five sessions. Each session involved 100 players competing in 25 games. There were four participants playing in each of the one-and-a-half hour preliminary games.

Winners of the preliminary sessions went through to the semifinal, and those winners onto the final stages on Sunday. The point system was similar to that used in bridge. “We employed 30 referees to handle the tables. The judge was required to strictly monitor the game and to ensure that there was no betting,” Gede Joni, the organizer, said.

FORMI chairman AA Ngurah Oka Ratmadi said that the tournament was held to preserve ceki as a traditional Indonesian card game. “We are eager to eliminate the gambling element from ceki. This game has been played for hundreds of years. This is part of our tradition, our cultural heritage that should be preserved,” Ratmadi said.

Ceki is a traditional card game played in many countries in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, people from various different ethnicities, including Balinese, play the game. In Bali, ceki is usually played as entertainment during a traditional event, locally called magebagan. The game is usually associated with illegal gambling. Most people, when playing ceki, bet stakes of Rp 1,000 up to Rp 300,000.

Ratmadi stressed that ceki should not always be identified with gambling. “The bad image of gambling that was following ceki threatened our cultural heritage. FORMI expected that this tournament would help people understand that ceki is actually not gambling. This is a recreational game that enhances our mind, like chess and bridge,” Ratmadi said. “We, in FORMI, firmly reject gambling in all forms. And we should separate ceki from gambling, to preserve our culture,” he stated. Wayan Suantina, secretary of FORMI Bali, added that gambling had damaged the image of ceki and threatened the cultural heritage. “Nowadays, many of the younger generation do not understand how to play ceki because there is no transfer of knowledge from the older generation,” Suantina said.

He was optimistic that the tournament, planned to be held annually, could eliminate the lingering poor image of ceki. “Another example is genjek. Previously, people kept linking genjek with getting drunk. But now, it is becoming an exciting art performance that conveys a social message,” he emphasized.

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