Han Solo wins the Millennium Falcon playing Sabacc, but what exactly is it?


In the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars story, Han Solo will win the Millenium Falcon from Lando Calrissian playing a heated game of Sabaac. But, what exactly is this iconic game?

The Millennium Falcon is one of the most iconic “characters” in the Star Wars galaxy, whose legacy has survived many decades. When you think of the Millennium Falcon, the iconic duo of Han Solo and Chewbacca likely comes to mind. But, the Falcon’s had many owners over the years.

  1. Lando Calrissian
  2. Han Solo
  3. Gannis Ducain
  4. Irving Boys
  5. Unkar Plutt
  6. Rey

Now, it’s a safe-haven for the small remnant of the Resistance (against the First Order) at the end of The Last Jedi, but its history goes WAY back. We know that Han Solo won her fair and square in a heated game of Sabacc — the Corellian spike variation to be exact — against the suave Lando Calrissian. But, what exactly is the game? What are the rules?

In layman’s terms, sabaac is a combination of Black Jack and poker, but it’s rules are a bit more complicated.

A Sabacc deck consists of a wide variety of face cards:

  • The Idiot
  • The Queen
  • Evil One
  • The Star
  • Four suits of fifteen pip cards: Coins Flasks, Sabers, Staves, and Coins) However, once the hand’s played on the card table, they maintain their current value.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

"The game of Sabacc used a deck of seventy-six cards featuring sixty numbered cards divided into four suits, and two copies of eight special cards. Each player is dealt two cards (sometimes five, depending on the set of rules in play at the table) which make up their hand. There are four phases within each hand: Betting, Calling, Shifting and Drawing."

The game could go on for hours and takes a Jedi amount of patience to wait out your opponent. Much like Texas Holdem, knowing your opponent is as crucial as what cards you hold in your hands. Your goal is to total a score of either plus 23 or negative 23, with multiple rounds before a winner is determined. The value of the cards changes during the game, meaning if you hold your cards too long, it may backfire on you.

Two hands will trump any score of 23; the “Idiots Array,” and “Pure Sabaac.” — with the Idiots Array as the best possible hand. Now, the odds of having one or even both of the two is rarer than a Meiloorun, but we’ve seen it happen before, in Star Wars Rebels — when Lando bests Zeb’s pure sabaac with an Idiots Array of his own.

Also, your opponents are known to cheat from time to time as well, and it’s unlikely that the establishment will enforce the penalty against such violation. Han Solo credits his lucky dice in aiding him in besting Lando, but rumor has it that both Lando and Han cheated during their intense game.

More from Dork Side of the Force

We first see this lucky charm of his in A New Hope, and again in The Last Jedi — where it plays a vital role in paying tribute to Han in the film.

For the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story film, we will see a Corellian Spike version, in which a six-sided dice are used.

Like poker, Sabacc manifests itself in many different ways, shapes, and forms.

If you want a taste of Sabacc within current Star Wars content, the Legends novel Darth Bane: Path of Destruction displays a full chapter of Bane boasting his sabaac skills.

It’s one of my favorite moments in any Star Wars novel — canon or Legends. For those of you Knights of the Old Republic faithful, you understand the obsession!

Next: Solo debates Hera whose ship is best in the galaxy

Embrace your inner Han Solo and Lando Calrissian, playing online and mobile Sabacc games in the luxury of your own home. But, watch out for scruffy looking nerf herders at the table, or you’ll go broke quicker than a Skywalker loses a limb.