According to historical consensus, the first methods humans devised to gamble against one another involved rudimentary dice fashioned from shells and bones. Over the millennia, those early dice contests evolved into an English game known as “hazard,” in which shooters sought to hit a seven and the two and three were instant losers.
By the time hazard reached American soil in Louisiana, the derisive term “crabs” used for the dreaded two and three roll out was pronounced as “craps” in the Cajun tongue. Today, craps remains one of the most popular casino table games ever invented – but that hasn’t stopped enterprising inventors from trying to improve on the gold standard in real money gambling.
Playing Poker Dice Online
By 2012, the “poker boom” launched by an anonymous World Series of Poker (WSOP) champion had already begun to fade into fad status.
Even so, that year saw online casino software provider Wager Gaming Technology take a crack at merging poker’s popularity with the most appealing features of craps. The company’s Poker Dice product was released on several iGaming networks in 2012, including major European sites like William Hill and Intertops.
To play Poker Dice, participants utilize a special set of five dice which each show the standard six sides. But instead of the 1-2-3-4-5-6 “pips” found on standard craps dice, Poker Dice incorporates six poker “cards” – 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace.
After placing your Ante bet, clicking the “Roll” button sends all five dice flying across the virtual felt at once. From there, players are hoping to see their dice combine to form various five-card poker hands.
The best possible hand in Poker Dice is five of a kind, paying out a whopping 20 to 1 on your wager. Unlike the usual “X to 1” payout structure, Poker Dice’s “X for 1” system means the house takes your Ante bet for itself before paying out the posted prize. Thus, a $1 bet that wins 4 for 1 produces a $3 profit ($4 win – $1 “lost” Ante bet = $3 profit).
Next up is the High Straight (A-K-Q-J-10) at 6 for 1, followed by the Low Straight (9-10-J-Q-K) at 5 for 1, Four of a Kind (4 for 1), the Full House (3 for 1), Three of a Kind (2 for 1), and Two Pair (break even).
Any “hand” ranked lower than Two Pair is considered a loss and the house claims the player’s wager.
As with traditional poker hands, the odds of forming these five-card hands range from highly improbable to highly likely. For example, your chances of hitting a perfect Five of a Kind using only five dice are just 0.07 percent. Landing either of the Straight hands is a 1.54 percent longshot, while finding Four of a Kind runs at a 1.92 percent probability. The Full House is slightly better at 3.85 percent, while forming Three of a Kind clocks in at a 15.43 percent likelihood.
Unfortunately for players – and the game’s designers if we’re being honest – Poker Dice produces Two Pair 23.14 percent of the time – meaning players will break even on almost a quarter of all rolls. Even worse, they’ll lose outright on 52.46 percent of plays.
In other words, you’ll either break even or lose your bet on more than three out of every four rolls.
Add all those figures up and Poker Dice offers the player a house edge rate of 2.01 percent. This is extremely reasonable when compared to many poker-themed table games, but it’s higher than the standard Pass Line bet (1.41 percent) that is craps’ staple wager.
All told, Poker Dice offers online gamblers a nice change of pace from both basic craps and poker. With that said, most iGaming networks these days don’t spread the game, and it never become popular enough to warrant any live casino installations.
The Classic Dice Game Chuck-a-Luck
Known by many names over the last two centuries – including “Chuck ‘Yer Luck” and “Sweat Cloth” – the age-old game of Chuck-a-Luck is a relic of a bygone era in gambling lore.
Chuck-a-Luck rolls begin with three standard six-sided dice placed in a special container known as the “birdcage.” The player then decides between five different betting options which are described below:
- Single Die – The player chooses any number between 1 and 6. When one of the dice lands on the chosen number, the player wins an even money payout. Two dice landing on the number is worth 2 to 1, and all three dice corresponding with the player’s number pays out at 10 to 1.
- Big – The player is betting that the sum of all three dice will equal 11 or more. When this occurs, the player wins even money on their wager.
- Small – The player is betting that the three-dice total is 10 or lower to earn an even money reward.
- Field – The player hopes to see the three dice combine to create any total between 5 and 8 or 13 and 16 for an even money payout.
- Any Triple – The player is betting that all three dice will any three matching numbers. Should this longshot come in, the payout is juicy at 30 to 1.
As for the casino house edge implications, the best bets in Chuck-a-Luck are the Single Die and the Field at 3.70 percent.
Conversely, the Big, Small, and Any Triple wagers inflict a massive house edge of 25 percent – putting them on par with keno as some of the worst bets in any casino. Accordingly, most gamblers these days who stumble upon on of the last remaining Chuck-a-Luck tables in Sin City rightfully view the affair as nothing more than a carnival game.
Dazzling Dice by Wager Gaming Technology
Another design developed by Wager Gaming Technology, the Dazzling Dice online casino game is essentially a fusion of Poker Dice and slot machines.
Players see a basic slot machine screen layout featuring 12 pay lines and a 5×5 reel grid alignment. After placing an Ante wager, players simply click the “Spin” button and send those reels flying to reveal their fate.
The reel symbols found in Dazzling Dice are basically ported over from Poker Dice, so expect to see the 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace adorning each die. Once these symbols have tumbled and landed in place, you’ll be hoping to see five-card poker hands formed along any of the 12 pay lines.
Once again, the game’s premium hand is Five of a Kind with its generous 100 for 1 payout. After that, players want to see a High Straight (10 for 1), a Low Straight (8 for 1), Four of a Kind (6 for 1), a Full house (4 for 1), or Three of a Kind (2 for 1) in that order.
Even with 25 dice in play rather than the five found in Poker Dice, the win probabilities in Dazzling Dice are almost identical. Five of a Kind will rain down on just 0.07 percent of spins, the Straights offer a 1.54 chance of success, Four of Kind appears on 1.92 percent of plays, the Full House shows up 3.85 percent of the time, and Three of a Kind is a 15.43 percent likelihood.
And just like in Poker Dice, the player stands to lose their bet on 75.61 percent of their spins.
The major difference between Dazzling Dice and Poker Dice lies in the games’ respective house edge rates. While players at a Poker Dice table enjoy a friendly 2.01 percent disadvantage, Dazzling Dice runs at a more slot-like 6.64 percent house edge.
That may be acceptable for real money slots players, but unless you’re a craps player who specializes in longshots like the Hard 8, an edge that steep just isn’t worth trying to overcome.
Casino Craps Is Still King
The anticipation felt when the stickman slides the bones in your direction. The kisses, cradles, and other superstitious talisman shooters rely on to guide their dice perfectly to the point number. And the roar that erupts when a group of strangers collectively cashes in on yet another successful roll.
These unique features, found only at the craps table, have come to define the definitive dice game in the minds of most gamblers. Because of this, any attempt of other dice gambling games to improve upon the original has been an exercise in futility – as the trio of failed craps variants found above clearly demonstrates.