Dice Games from Around the World


Dice Games from Around the World


Old wooden dice on a checkered wooden board.

Dice Games from Around the World


Old wooden dice on a checkered wooden board.

Did you know that dice have been found in China that are nearly 3,000 years old, and going even further back, dice discovered in Egyptian tombs date from 2,000 BCE? As far as dice games go, the oldest we know of is the Royal Game of Ur (also called the Game of Twenty Squares) which is a two-player strategy race board game that was played in ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in the early third millennium BCE.

Whether you prefer to play real casino games at a brick-and-mortar establishment, or their modern equivalent in the form of live dealer games, you’ll know that it’s the roll of the dice that determines the outcome of a player’s fate in a game.

Let’s find out more about how dice are used around the world in some of the best casino games, as well as those that are still enormously popular among friends.

A woman holds up a red dice showing five.

Ten – Italy

Despite dice having been around for millennia, we’re starting in Italy. According to recorded history, it wasn’t until the 16th century that Italian mathematicians Galileo Galilei and Girolamo Cardano studied the concepts of randomness and probability in dice games. Before this, players believed that the way the dice fell depended on the intervention of the gods or supernatural forces.

While you won’t find Ten played in casinos, it’s been around for a very long time. The legend of Ten, which is highly unlikely but points to the game’s longevity, is that it was played by the Roman soldiers who rolled the dice for Christ’s clothes at the crucifixion.

Legend aside, the game is still popular and is often played at social gatherings. Three dice and at least two players are required. The rules are simple, with players betting on whether or not the total of the three dice, once thrown, will equal ten or more. If you play casino games like blackjack, you’ll notice that the concept of getting a dice or card value closest to a set number (21 in blackjack) is similar.

Once a winner is declared, the banker has to pay out an equal amount to all other bets and, since this places the banker at a disadvantage, players sometimes decide to equalize the odds by making the number ten a special winning roll for the bank.

Balut – Denmark

Balut was invented by American soldiers stationed in the Philippines during World War II because playing cards for games of poker were in short supply, but these days it’s a popular Danish game that is played often in Denmark and by Danes who live overseas. The story goes that a Dane, Niels Lumholdt, learned to play on visits to the Philippines while working for Thai Airways.

While it’s easy to play your choice of exciting online casino games whenever it suits you, if you ever do find you have the urge to play poker but can’t access an internet connection, you should consider giving Balut a go. This game was specifically invented as an alternative to poker that could be played with dice instead of playing cards. It’s also a great way to switch up your next house party and give any poker-loving pals a new spin on their favorite game!

You’ll find all the details online, but to give you an idea, the basic rules require players to build a range of scoring combinations and assign points to them. Once you’ve agreed to your combos, players roll a set of five dice in turns and record the points that they’ve scored.

You’ll keep taking turns to roll until every possible scoring combination has occurred at least once. Then the player with the highest score wins. The modern game has a number of add-ons – you might even think of a few of your own! For example, each time a player rolls five of a kind, all players must shout “Balut!”, or each person can bet at the start of a game how many times a Balut will happen in a game, with a prize for the closest guess.

Sic Bo – China

Sic Bo, which means “precious dice”, has been played for at least 2,000 years and has spawned several types of casino games around the world, including grand hazard and chuck-a-luck. It’s a popular game in casinos in Macau (sometimes called the Las Vegas of China) and Hong Kong. It can also be found in casinos in the US and the United Kingdom.

The game is managed by two dealers and played at a large table that features several dice combinations that players can wager on. All possible bets are illustrated along with their associated pay-out odds, which makes this game easy for newbies to pick up. There are three dice in Sic Bo (pronounced see-bo) and players bet on the outcome of each roll. Unlike the craps casino game that requires some technique when throwing the dice, Sic Bo uses an electronic dice shaker to ensure that all rolls of the dice are completely random.

Dudo – South America

Another game that has its origins in the distant past, Dudo (which means “I doubt” in Spanish), and sometimes also called Cacho, Pico, Perudo, or Liar’s Dice, is a popular dice game across South America, and Chile in particular.

Players each have five dice and a cup. The dice are shaken in the cup and kept concealed from other players. The first player then places a wager on how many dice of a particular value are showing among all players. Aces (any dice displaying a one) are wild, which means they can represent any number. For example, a player will bet that there are at least two dice showing a four or an ace. Now, the player challenges the person next to him or her (always moving clockwise) to raise the bid or call “dudo” to end the round.

Then all dice are shown and, if the guess is incorrect, the player who made the wager loses one of their dice. A player drops out of the game when they no longer have any dice left. Since a correct claim has a lower chance of being correct than a challenge, a correct “spot on” call often has a bigger reward. This could be a player getting back a previously lost die.

Craps – United States

A woman throws dice onto a casino craps table.

The closest resemblance to the modern craps casino game was Hazard, created by Sir William of Tyre in 1125 during the Crusades. Much later, in the 17th century, the game became popular in French taverns because it didn’t need much equipment to be played. It’s believed the name “craps” came from the French “crapaud” (or “toad” in English) which referred to the way players crouched over a floor or sidewalk while playing.

The game was brought to America by Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a wealthy gambler and politician descended from colonial Louisiana landowners.

For beginner players who want to learn how to play craps at a casino, the object of the game is simply to correctly predict the outcome of the roll of two dice. Players place wagers on what dice combination will show each time the dice is rolled and must apply some technique to get the most favorable throw of the dice.

Play craps and other dice games at Borgata Online casino

There is plenty of opportunity to perfect your craps dice-throwing technique and betting options when you play online casino games at Borgata. Simply register online and in a few easy steps, you’ll have a world of games at your fingertips.