Folk Game – American

The game Flips is played with any kind of coin. Typically it is played with quarters. The matches usually take place during lunchtime and matches are quick so that the winner can go buy snacks with his winnings and still have time to eat them. To play the game you and your opponent must have identical coins. If you have a quarter your opponent must also have a quarter, for example. One person flips their coin. The other person has to flip their coin and get it to land on the same side as the coin that their opponent previously flipped. If I flip a quarter and it comes up heads then you have to flip your quarter and have it come up heads to win. If the opponent matches the side the coin lands on then he gets both quarters. If they do not match the person that flipped first gets both quarters. If you match it you win. If you don’t match it you lose.

Ira says that this game was first introduced to him during his freshman year of high school. It was very easy for him to learn and he played it almost every day. It was a good way for him to make snack money. He told me that his strategy was to play with quarters first and if he started losing he would switch to smaller currency, such as nickels or dimes, until he became profitable again, at which point he would switch back to quarters.

Part of the appeal of this game came from the fact that it was not expensive to play and when you lose it is only pocket change that you are losing. This game was convenient for high school kids since most of them did not make much money at the time. They were able to accumulate change from simply looking around there houses or saving up change from small purchases. Ira told me that he thought the game was a great way to kill time during the lunch break. It was a fun way to spend time with friends and meet new people at very little expense.

I think the game is a good way to create and strengthen friendships but as a consequence it seems that it could eventually lead to a gambling habit. Ira told me he played every day. It might not have affected him, but I think gambling daily can contribute significantly to a future gambling habit.

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