Dice games have been around in one form or another since pre-history. Indeed, the title of David Schwartz’s encyclopedic guide to the history of gambling, Roll the Bones, alludes to our prehistoric ancestors rolling knuckle bones to get a random result. In essence, these were the first dice, and we still roll them to this day.
You might think dice games are something of a sideshow compared to the more popular slots and card games. That’s true to a certain extent if you are accustomed to visiting casinos in Europe or playing casino games online. However, the rise of Macau as a global gambling hub led to a boom in dice games. Since then, this popularity has spread worldwide. Let’s take a look at some of the games that are available.
Undoubtedly the best-known dice game, craps looks quite complicated at first glance. However, the basic concept is very simple. The shooter will roll the dice, and their total value is known as the “point.” The shooter’s objective is to roll the point score again before rolling a seven.
If you are a beginner, focus on the pass or don’t pass bets. These offer even money odds, and you are essentially betting on whether the shooter will succeed or fail in making the point score before going “seven out.” There are other bets, and special circumstances if the shooter rolls a seven as the point score, but these basics are enough to get you started.
Ridiculously popular in mainland China, Sic Bo is the game that took Macau by storm and led to a renaissance in dice games. It’s very simple. Three dice are rolled, and there are various bets you can place, including exact value, value within a range, sequences and so on.
Different casinos offer different odds, so keep your wits about you. As a general rule, though, big / small usually pays out even money, which equates to a very respectable house edge of 2.78 percent. Avoid the “specific double” bet, as this typically pays out somewhere between 8-1 and 11-1, meaning a house edge between 11 percent and 33 percent.
This is a relatively new game, developed by Evolution Gaming and available to play live at online casinos like Thrills. Bac Bo is essentially baccarat, but played with dice instead of cards. As with baccarat, you bet on either player or banker or tie. Two dice are rolled for each and to ramp up the suspense, they are rolled one at a time, going player, banker, player, banker.
The winner is dictated by the highest score, and there are no side bets to think about, so bac bo is refreshingly clear and straightforward compared to other games. Player or banker wins pay out at even money, while the payout for the tie depends on the value, ranging from 4-1 for 7,8 or 9 to 88-1 for 2 or 12. The overall house edge is just 1.13 percent, and strategically, the value bet is the same as baccarat – always back player or banker, not the tie.