Casino dice games are popular with gamblers all over the globe. The 6-sided cube dice we use today were born in China roughly 2600 years ago. Back then, dice were used strictly for fortune telling, but somewhere along the way that shifted. Dice began being used as entertainment, and dice games were created.
I’m going to cover some of these gambling dice games. The next time you walk into a casino, you’ll have a better understanding of these interesting games.
These games can be terrifying to the newbie or novice player, but you don’t have to let fear keep you away.
Sure, these games are fast-paced and have a crowd surrounding the table yelling and throwing out all sorts of phrases you’re unfamiliar with. Don’t fret, many players (including me) felt the same way before they took some time to learn. Knowing these dice games will give you the confidence to walk straight up to the table and place your bet.
1 – Craps
Craps is the king of dice games, no doubt. If you’re looking for a fun time and some true comradery hit the craps table.
Standing around the table, slinging around high-fives, laying bets and throwing dice combine to assemble my favorite casino nights. Craps may be the most complex table game at the casino, but it doesn’t have to be scary.
Let’s cover some basics and you’ll be right at home rubbing elbows with the avid players:
To pass or not to pass?
One mistake craps players make is to ignore the side bets for the moment and focus on the main game. This consists of the “Pass Line” or “Don’t Pass” line. Pass line bets are on the shooter to win.
So, if the shooter rolls a 7 or 11 on the come-out roll, the pass line bet wins. But if the come out-roll is a 2, 3, or 12, the pass line bet loses. If the come-out is any other number that becomes the point.
The shooter then tries to roll that point number again before rolling a 7. If the player rolls a 7 before hitting the point, they “seven out,” and the bet loses. The “don’t pass” bet essentially works juxtaposed to a “pass line” bet.
In other words, it’s a bet AGAINST the shooter. “Don’t pass” bets win if the come-out roll is 2 or 3. The bet is a push if 12 is rolled. A come-out of 7 or 11 is a loser.
If any other number is rolled it establishes the point and if a 7 is rolled before the point is hit the bet pays.
This is an abridged overview of craps, but it gives you a basis for how the game works. You’ll surely pick up the rest at the table.Whatever you do remember this:
Never say the word seven at the table.
And when you’re throwing the dice, please make sure the dice hit the back wall.
2 – Hazard
Before we had craps, we had hazard.
Hazard dates to at least 14th century England, and some suggest it goes as far back as the 12th century. Thought to be of Arabic origins; the word hazard derives from the Arabic al-zahr (“die”).
The game drew large crowds in high stakes gambling rooms throughout medieval Europe before waning in popularity. Craps got its name from “crabs”, a roll of 1-1 or 1-2 in hazard. The name isn’t the only thing craps stole from hazard; the gameplay and rules are largely the same.
Hazard takes place with two dice by any number of players. The shooter (or caster) begins by throwing the dice to establish the main point — any number from 5 to 9. This may take more than 1 throw.
After the main is established, the other players may make their wagers, betting on whether the caster will win or lose, after which he throws the dice again.
If a player throws in, or nicks, he wins. Five is nicked by 5, 6 by 6 or 12, 7 by 7 or 11, 8 by 8 or 12, and 9 by 9.
The caster loses when throwing aces or deuce-ace (crabs, or craps) or when throwing 11 or 12 to a main of 5 or 9, 11 to 6 or 8, and 12 to 7.
The player continues throwing until she wins or loses. The dice then pass to the next shooter. While the popularity of hazard has greatly diminished, you might still be able to find it in some casinos.
3 – Chuck A Luck
Chuck-A-Luck comes to us from Australia. Chuck-A-Luck is an exciting dice game where 3 dice tumble in a spinning cage and you wager on how many dice will come up with the number you chose. In the beginning, players would throw the dice in a horn shaped chute rather than using a cage.
The extreme simplicity of the game makes it hugely popular with the novice casino gamblers. The game pays 1:1 for a single up to 30:1 for a jackpot bet of 3 of a kind.
Chuck-A-Luck is a great introduction for players into gambling dice games. Stop by a table and enjoy the elementary fun.
4 – Klondike
Klondike is a gambling dice game that was popular in frontier America. The game is played with 5 dice that are 6-sided and is like poker dice. The objective in Klondike is to roll a better hand or combination than the banker to win. Gameplay begins with the banker rolling first to establish the benchmark.
The players then take turns rolling to try to best the banker. The 1 is like an ace and is the highest-ranking number. Then the numbers rank 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 from highest to lowest.
If the player rolls the same combination as the banker, she loses. To win at craps, you have to roll a better combination than the banker. Klondike is that simple.
5 – Banka Francesca
Banka Francesca is an extremely fast paced dice game. While it might not be familiar to U.S. gamblers, Banks Francesca is one of the most popular games at Portuguese casinos.
The game is played with 3 dice.
There are three possible bets:
- “Big” – the sum of all three dice is 14, 15 of 16
- “Small” – the sum of the dice is 5, 6 or 7
- “Aces” – the sum of the dice is 3; so, 3 ones.
The dealer will continue to roll the dice rapidly until one of these results comes up.
Bets of “Big” or “Small” pay 1:1 and “Aces” pays 60:1.
6 – Sic Bo
Sic bo is a popular gambling dice game around Asia and is played with 3 dice on a table where players make their bets.
“Sic bo” in Chinese means, “dice pair”. Despite its popularity in Asia, the game didn’t reach the casinos in the U.S. until sometime in the 1980s.
Sic bo has many variants, and Chuck-A-Luck may be the most familiar. The game table resembles the popular craps table with a multitude of side bets.
The most popular bets are “small” and “big”. The small bet is betting that the sum of the 3 dice are 4 to 10 and a big get pays on 11 to 17.
7 – Simplified Craps
There are dozens of variations of standard craps. This is a testament to the love affair gamblers have with the game. This variant, , is a wonderful game to start with for the beginner gambler. In this game a player simply wins if she throws 2, 3, 4, 10, 11 or 12 and loses if they roll 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9.
So, if you want to wade into the waters of casino dice gaming and aren’t sure where to start. I suggest trying simplified craps to gain your confidence.
You’re sure to have a great time.
Gambling dice games don’t have to be intimidating. They are, in fact, some of the most exciting tables in any casino or online casino site. The evolution of the die has certainly been interesting, and there’s little doubt that new and exciting gambling dice games will be coming to a casino near you for years to come.
Hopefully, with a little bit of understanding and Lady Luck on your side you’ll be able to make your next casino trip a success.