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Lodden Thinks is a recent addition to modern gambling games. It was invented in the mid-2000s by pro-poker players Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. Bored during the World Series of Poker Europe, the two decided to spice things up with a new game. Deciding that their usual quips were getting repetitive, Laak decided to enlist Johnny Lodden to help.

Laak made the game simple in practice, he would ask Lodden a random question and then Laak and Esfandiari would bet on what they thought Lodden’s answer would be. The real answer to the question never mattered, only what Lodden thought it would be. This was very entertaining because it did not matter what the questions were either, in fact, the crazier the question the better.

The game caught on quickly and became increasingly more and more popular as time went on. It went from Laak and Esfandiari playing casually, to Lodden Thinks becoming a competitive game at tournaments and poker tables all over the world. Laak and Esfandiari probably never imagined their way to pass the time would become such a quick hit, but it most certainly did.


While the general aspects of the game may be simple the actual playing of it can be very strategic. It involves more than just guessing higher or lower and can change drastically between person to person. You’re not relying so much on blind luck, but on how well you can read the person answering the question.

To play Lodden thinks you need three people, some form of betting currency (i.e. chips or money) and finally your wits. One person will be the “Lodden” for the round or you can have a constant Lodden throughout the game. They will not participate in the betting aspect of the game but instead will provide the answers that the rest of the players bet on. The rest of the players will be betting based on what you think the “Lodden” would guess on random questions. You can do this through blind luck or by analyzing the person being questioned.

If you know the person that is being questioned, great, you have an advantage. If not, you must rely on different clues about that person to formulate what kind of answers you think they would give. You can do this by looking at their age, clothes, education level, and gender. Homing in on what they might be thinking is your best bet for making well-thought-out bets and puts you one step ahead of your opponents.

Gameplay begins like so. First, someone comes up with a numerically answered question and asks the “Lodden” of this round of betting what they think the answer is. The “Lodden” doesn’t answer right away instead they write down their answer secretly. The two betters go back and forth on what they think they will answer. The player who did not ask the question goes first and they bet on what they think the answer will be (i.e. Player one: “How many spots does a common ladybug have on it?” Player two: “I think Lodden will say 15.”) Then the player who asked the question, in this example Player one, gets to decide if they will keep the lower or bet higher.

If they take the lower this means they believe the “Lodden” will answer below the other players guess. If they decide to bid higher, they must counter with a higher number for the answer. (i.e… Player one: I will bet higher, I think Lodden will think there is 30 spots on a ladybug.”) If you bet higher play continues until one player takes the lower.

Once betting is finished and someone has taken the lower, the answer will be revealed. If the answer is below the last stated amount the player who took lower wins the bet, but if the number is the same or higher the player who made the last guess wins the bet. (i.e… Player two: I think Lodden will guess under 30, I will take the lower.” Lodden: I think Ladybugs have 20 spots.) in this example player two wins the bet because Lodden’s guess was under 30.


Lodden thinks has taken the poker community by storm and has quickly become a popular game in many gambling circles around the world. Its quick-to-learn and casual feel make it a must try for any betting fans. It has all the makings of a great game, the humor, competitive spirit, and real underlying strategy. A psychological game of who knows who better.

Bored from boredom, Lodden thinks is anything but. If you find yourself bored at your next poker night and want to spice things up suggest Lodden thinks. The hilarity and fun that will follow will make you the talk of the night.

Nakoa Davis