Gambling dice has been a betting staple since the dawn of civilization. With early variants of the small cubes having been discovered in Egyptian tombs in 2000 BC, the game has evolved over the centuries as a common edition to all major casinos, both land-based and online.
A killer combination of chance and probability, modern-day dice games’ most popular variants include craps, sic bo, and Yahtzee. And, with online casinos rising to higher prominence, there is an exciting variety of dice video slots heading onto the market regularly.
Although primarily a game of “luck”, there are still certain ways to get the upper hand over the house when gambling dice. This article will unpack 3 of the world's leading dice games and uncover the best strategies a player can use to succeed.
How to play craps online
Craps is a fast-paced game played with two dice on a real or online table. The objective is to place bets and correctly predict the outcome of the two dice being rolled. The person rolling the dice, known as the shooter, changes from round to round. 3 of the most popular bets include:
Pass Line Bet: If the shooter’s first roll (known as a come-out roll) equals 11 or 7, players who bet the pass line win. If the first roll equals 2, 3, or 12, the players who bet the pass line lose. Any other number rolled becomes a “point” and the shooter will need to match that number in the next roll in order to win.
Don’t Pass Line Bet: The opposite of the pass line bet. Here, 2, and 3 are automatic winners and 7 and 11 are automatic losers.
Place Bet: Players can also bet on an individual number during any time in a round. If the selected number is rolled before a 7, the player wins. Players can also increase, decrease or remove their wager while the round is in play.
Let's talk about a few key craps strategies to put into motion when gambling dice.
Strategies for playing Craps online
Play for the best odds in craps: Putting statistical skills to the test in Craps can help a player raise the odds in their favour. Let's go back to 7 and 11. Players will win on the first roll if the shooter's dice lands on either of these sum totals. So, how does a player calculate the probability?
Dice combinations adding up to 7 consist of 3-4, 5-2, and 6-1. Multiplying these 3 combinations by 2 (i.e the no. of dice in play) will give you a 6 in 36 chance of hitting 7 on the first roll (or 17%).
11 carries less variation. The only way to hit the number is with the dice rolling of 5-6 respectively. So, using the same logic as 7, there’ll only be a 2 in 36 chance of hitting 11 on the first roll (or 5.5%)
Analyse the probability of recurring losing numbers: In the same way, players can calculate their probability of hitting losing numbers according to the above system. 2, 3, and 12 are universal losing numbers in craps. Using the same method, a player can deduce that the likelihood of hitting these numbers frequently is pretty low. (in fact, a 1 in 36 chance, or 2.7%)
The 3% rule: As a general guideline, players gambling dice should try and limit the house edge wherever possible. This entails using bet patterns that give a statistical advantage to the house of no more than 3% at any given time. If the house edge is anything larger than this, the probability of winning starts to reduce.
Stick with Pass Line/Don’t Pass Line Bets: As a rule, players who keep Pass Line/Don’t Pass Line bets in play 100% of the time while wagering online or at the table increase their probability of winning. These bets carry a lower house edge. And, if the above probabilities are taken into account, the chance of winning increases.
How to play Yahtzee online
Let’s dive into Yahtzee. A dice game based on Poker. Yahtzee has traditionally been played at home, but more online casinos are starting to adopt variants of the game. The goal is to collect points by rolling different number combinations with 5 dice.
In the online version, players can throw the dice up to three times by pressing the “roll dice” button. After the first round, a player can choose to re-roll a certain dice and leave others off the table. All of this is done in a bid to score higher points combinations such as…
- Rolling as many 1’s, 2’s, 3’s etc. (10-15 points)
- Rolling a “Full House” comprising 3 of a kind and a pair (25 points).
- Rolling a “Large Straight” comprising, 1,2,3,4,5 or 2,3,4,5,6. (40 points).
- Rolling “YAHTZEE” comprising 5 of a kind (50 points).
Yahtzee and its online versions are pretty straightforward, but there are a few things a player can do to swing the odds a little more in their favour when gambling dice.
Strategies for playing Yahtzee online
Tally up points strategically for higher bonuses: As a general rule, at the end of any Yahtzee game, a player can get an additional 35 points if their subtotal score (i.e no. of individual 1s to 6s) is greater than or equal to 63 points.
During a game, if a player were to hit multiple 4s, 5s, or 6s (as in, 3 or 4 of them at a time), they can either add these to their scorecard as 3 or 4 of a kind, or better yet, take the number combinations and add them individually to the top half of the scorecard. Whereas a 3 or 4 of a kind only generates points for that sequence, a variety of different numbers consistently added to the top fold will get players to the bonus criteria quicker, with the score for those dice plus the additional 35 bonus points being tabulated.
Always keep a Full House: By sheer odds alone, a Full House is more likely to come up in the game than a four or five of a kind. Instead of hitting the reroll button in the hopes of getting a higher sequence, rather take the full house. This way multiple point combinations are racked up more frequently, which can result in a much higher score at the end of the game. Holding tight and waiting for one of the less frequent sequences to show up can be risky. In general, full houses are 3.9% more likely to show up in-game than, say, a four of a kind with a probability of around 1.9%. Additionally, full houses have a higher probability of appearing in the first few rounds of the game, so snatching them up from the get-go will further boost points.
Roll the remaining dice to fulfil large combos: Large Straights award strong points multipliers (up to 40 at a time), but the chances of hitting them on a first roll are pretty low (around 3%). That said, you might roll a combination of 3 or 4 of the needed numbers in one roll. If this is the case, play the odds and keep rolling with the remaining dice that does not hold a sequence number.
For example, (and remembering that a Large Straight comprises either 1,2,3,4,5 or 2,3,4,5,6), if you were to roll 2,3,3,4,5, the chances of you getting a 1, or a 6 on your next roll will increase by a third (33% to be exact). So take the duplicate three off the screen and re-roll it. The chances of you hitting the Large Straight automatically become a lot higher.
How to play Sic Bo online
When gambling dice, Sic Bo is fun and easy to get the hang of. Played on a table with 3 dice, the objective is to place the correct wager on a host of different betting options (spots on the table). Several positions on the table will win on any given roll. The same rules apply to online Sic Bo. The most popular bets include:
Big and Small Bets: Select the “small bet” option and any number combinations between 4 and 10 will award a win. Select the “big bet” option and any number combinations between 11 and 17 will award a win.
Odd/Even Bets: A player will simply wager on the outcome of the dice total to be odd or even, and depending on their selection and the resulting dice roll, a player will either win or lose.
Strategies for playing Sic Bo online
Try for combination bets: Most Sic Bo tables and online versions allow players to make combination bets. Depending on the game a player may place a wager for “Odd/Even” as well as “Big/Small. Two specific numbers can also be bet on that may pop up from a given dice roll. Wagering a combination bet will reduce the house edge down to around 2.77% while raising a player's chances of winning a round to around 1 in 6. This is an especially sound betting strategy if bank roll is limited and moderate returns need to be accrued over a sustained period.
Wager on lower numbers: Sic Bo is all about increasing a player's edge over the house. Most tables and online variants will display a score table where each bet carries its own house edge. As a general rule, a total in the range of 7 to 14 will give the player a 1 in 12 chance of winning with a corresponding house edge of around 9.7%. Higher wagering totals on number combinations come in at around 13-14%. So, sticking with wagers on lower numbers is a good Sic Bo strategy as these numbers pop up more frequently than higher numbers.
Avoid triples: A triple is when all 3 dice bring up the same number. Although the corresponding payout is high, the chances of this happening are rare. The bet itself is worth 180x a player's initial stake, but it’s advisable for players to stay away from this bet, unless they have an unlimited bankroll and can afford to take the risk.
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Right, specific strategies out the way, let’s run through a general recap of dice strategy.
How to win dice
Repeating the above sentiment, when wagering, it’s crucial for a player to know what's at stake. That’s why having a solid understanding of dice probability is the ultimate strategy to winning frequently.
Understand dice probabilities: The probability in any existing game will rise or fall rapidly depending on (a), the number of dice that are in play (b) the coinciding sides of each.
A single dice has 6 sides. This means that there is a 1 in 6 chance that the dice will roll a particular number (from 6 possible options).
The main thing to know here, is that the possibility of a dice hitting the same number multiple times increases the more dice are in play. For example,
- Craps uses 2x 6-sided dice (low potential for duplicates)
- Sic-bo uses 3x 6-sided dice. (medium potential for duplicates)
- Yahtzee uses uses 5x 6-sided dice (high potential for duplicates)
If you go on sheer volume of available number combinations alone, a player is more likely to hit the same number multiple times with Yahtzee, then they might with craps, and so on.
For every added dice in play, the potential to hit a recurring number will increase by 6.
Find the balance between high and low-risk bets: This is especially important with a limited budget and a long night ahead. At the end of the day, dice is a game of chance. If a player finds themselves on a winning streak, it may make more sense in the moment to bet a little higher in the hopes of reaping higher rewards. As a general rule, if a high-risk bet has not paid off 2 or 3 times in a row, it would make more sense to tone down the risk factor and opt for wagering somewhere in the middle. In short, increase your overall bet after winning and decrease it after losing.
Combining Bets: As mentioned earlier, combining 2 low to mid-risk bets on a single wager carries a higher chance of bringing in returns. A player may find they’ll be cutting their losses less if both combos are wagered simultaneously. If one hits, a player will make their money back and then some. If both hit, a player could quite easily double their initial stake.
Look for the highest RTP: The great thing about an online casino is a player can choose to walk away at any time from a table or slot that is not delivering results and try their hand at a new and exciting gaming lineup. If a game is not delivering the results needed to continue, walk away and try something new. As a general rule, opt for gambling dice with the highest Return to Player percentage (RTP).
Look for games with an RTP of around 96% or 97%. The higher the RTP, the lower the house advantage and the better the game works in the favour of the player. Play a host of online dice slots with high RTPS, including Little Panda Dice, Almighty Sparta Dice, Golden Joker Dice and more.
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