Despite being based on the same cubic concept, the world’s games of dice vary an enormous amount by region. Just as with cards, much of this plays into their history, their culture, their environment, and the values which the different players hold.
In the modern international age, this gives players the advantage of having an enormous selection to choose from. The only downside of this choice is the confusion it can introduce, which we want to address today.
Here are our picks for some of the best dice games from around the world and what makes them special.
South America – Dudo
The game of dudo (Spanish for doubt), also known as perudo, is thought to have originated in Spain, after which it was taught by the conquistadors to South America’s native Incas. The action in this game is separated between at least two players, each of whom are given a cup and five dice.
The goal of each player is to correctly guess the number combination of the other player’s dice and to end up as the player with at least one die remaining. This is a game where the competition is entirely the other players, and because of this it is perhaps not as well suited for casino play as other dice alternatives.
This does, however, make it a perfect fit for a few games between friends, once you learn the rules.
Italy – Ten
Not to be confused with the card game with a similar name, ten requires three dice and at least two players. In this game, the players simply bet on whether or not the sum of three thrown dice will equal ten or more, with the banker having to payout an equal amount to all other bets.
As this game places the banker at a disadvantage, some players elect to equalize the odds by making the number ten a special winning roll for the bank.
While the origins of this game aren’t strictly known, legends state that it was played by Romans who wished to claim Christ’s clothes following the crucifixion. Accuracy of this claim aside, this does at least make this an incredibly old entry into the dice gambling arena.
Much like dudo, this is a great game to play between friends, though you’re not likely to find it within a casino.
China – Heaven and Nine
Played with two dice, Heaven and Nine (also called Tien Gow) separates each of the 21 possible landing combinations into either Civil or Military designations. In this game, the banker sets the pace by throwing first, which they might win instantly by hitting a 6-6 or 5-4, also known as Heaven and Nine, respectively.
If no win is claimed, the players then roll until the match the category of the banker, winning or losing if their combination thrown is higher or lower.
As with Ten, we don’t know exactly when Heaven and Nine began. What we do know is that it was being played long before the Song Dynasty, which places its invention sometime before 960 AD.
It can take a while to learn all of the different names given to throw combinations, but for those after one of the more engaging millennia-old dice games, we would highly recommend this pick.
South Africa – Craps
Craps boasts the position of most popular dice game in the world, due in no short part to its ubiquity in both online and offline casinos. Despite being one of the more intimidating games to look at, playing is actually incredibly intuitive and exciting for players and spectators both.
Played with two dice, the game’s origins are found within French taverns of the 17th century, where it went by the name of Hazard. The modern version, as modified by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, thankfully, didn’t inherit his name.
Despite its French origin, the game has travelled far and wide, gaining popularity not only in the US, but in South Africa too. South Africa has an emerging gambling scene, with online casinos constituting a key component of this. Craps invariably always features, cementing its popularity with the help of strategy guides, demos and How Tos. Casinos.co.za, a new face in the industry, even provides bets users can use, facilitating the game and giving an overall better idea of how to play this challenging game.
Improving Your Play
Like any game, gambling or not, practice is going to play an enormous part in each player getting better. That said, there are also guides that can help ensure you’re consolidating the right lessons, and not falling into any bad habits.
This part can be tricky, however, as not all guides are created equal in all regions. Taking from the above examples, we know that craps is a massively successful game. This means finding guides for it in English is simple, with the strategies contained within being not just accurate, but viable on all scales of the games.
Dudo, on the other hand, is a much more difficult game to find guides for. While it certainly includes mathematical probabilities, a large part of this game also comes down to being able to read your opponents. As such, the best teacher in dudo is experience and learning how to understand the other players.
Heaven and Nine is a game where strategy plays a much smaller part. This is a game of true random chance, making it a perfect fit for those who wish to leave the outcomes of their game up to the hands of fate.
Whatever form of gambling you prefer, it’s comforting to know that anybody left with a few dice lying around will have their bases covered. These are only a few of the most popular examples in the world, with dozens of other games and regional versions available for those who take the time to look.
With some of the oldest legacies in gambling, this corner of the world is not something to be underestimated.