Are you looking to throw a wrinkle into that next poker night with friends? Poker dice might be an appealing way to break up the action and introduce a bit of fun.

While these dice may not work at the craps table, they offer a unique way to gamble for a few dollars with friends.

This article will show readers how to play a simple game of poker while rolling the bones.

Table of Contents

What Are Poker Dice?

Whether you’re a craps player or prefer some Monopoly, everyone recognises a set of dice. An average set of dice have pips number one through six.

Poker dice substitute playing cards for those pips on the dice. 

On a set of poker dice, players will find one each of these cards on each die:

  • Nines
  • Tens
  • Jacks
  • Queens
  • Kinds
  • Aces

The other cards in a deck aren’t on the dice because there are only six sides. But dice manufacturers don’t use suits. Due to the small surface area, the face cards are colours to make it easier to identify the individual cards.

There are no standard colours, but a common set of poker dice often sees the following setup:

  • RED for Kings
  • GREEN for Queens
  • BLUE for Jacks

Players often use a dice cup to shoot the dice and make sure each roll is random.

Dices

How to Play

Getting a game of poker dice going with friends is relatively easy. Each set comes with five poker dice. You can start with two or more players. 

  • Players generally have three rolls 
  • They can “keep” some dice (as seen in the popular dice game Yahtzee) each roll, depending on where they land.
  1. For example, a player may roll two Aces on the first roll and want to keep those. 
  2. The second roll may produce another ace, giving him three-of-a-kind.

That same player can then roll the two remaining dice to hit four or five-of-a-kind. Rolling a pair on this last roll also gives the roller another decent hand, a full house. 

After the first person rolls, the next shooter rolls the dice for three attempts and so forth.

Of course, hands and odds change a bit with five dice. Only a portion of a traditional 52-card deck is relevant - Nines through Aces. There are now only six card values instead of thirteen.

Many versions of the game don’t include straights. This hand is a Bust, aka high card in a traditional poker game. With so many fewer cards, straights are more difficult to draw. 

So, if they rank in a game, straights would rank above a full house. There are fewer possibilities in hitting a straight. 

Another obvious note is the ability to land five-of-a-kind. The lack of suits means flushes, and straight flushes are irrelevant. 

The game may not always come with wagering. But it can make for some fun poker-related action to pass the time.

Here’s a look at some key differences between poker dice and traditional poker using cards:

Scenario Poker Dice Poker With Playing Cards
Face cards per deck or set of dice 15 12
Cards used Nines – Aces (30 cards) Deuces – Aces (all 52 cards)
Hand differences
  • Straights are rare and count higher than full houses
  • Five-of-a-kind possible
Uses all traditional hands
Hands not used Flushes and straight flushes (because suits not used) N/A
Highest hand Five-of-a-kind Royal Flush
Number of cards or dice used to make a traditional hand 5 5

It’s essential to note that there are many variations of games involving poker dice. Some formats make use of multiple sides beyond the traditional six. This type of dice game makes for more corresponding cards used to make hands.

Several variants exist – such as the following:

  • Spanish Poker Dice with differing rules
  • Eight-sided dice which uses the Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, and 7,” 
  • The Encyclopaedia Britannica notes. “Poker dice may also be played with ordinary six-sided dice; the sides then count 1 (aces)-6-5-4-3-2 in descending order.”

History of Poker Dice

Poker dice may appear as a novelty or a child’s game. But poker dice aren’t new per se. The game dates back to the 19th Century and is believed to have originated in the United States.

  • That’s fitting since the modern version of poker has its origins in the U.S., beginning in New Orleans and spreading out across the country. 
  • The game was first patented in 1881.

The game has never achieved the popularity of traditional poker. But those buying a new chip set often note that a set of dice is often part and parcel.

While you can use a pair of dice with those chips to play some craps, you can also play a quick game of poker dice.

Some of those sets occasionally come with poker dice, making it easy to give the game a try.

Purchasing a Set of Poker Dice

Those who don’t have a set, but would like some, have several numerous options. 

Here’s a look at a few of those:

leather-lined dice cupA good set can be had for just a few dollars. Toptan offers this excellent set, complete with a leather-lined dice cup, for just $8.

This set would make an excellent addition to any game or poker room.

leather dice cup with a velvet-lined

Are you looking to up your poker dice game? This set (right) also features a leather dice cup with a velvet-lined, snapping compartment to hold the dice under the cup.

This setup is priced at under $20.

 

*****

Whatever dice setup you choose, playing some poker dice can offer a fun distraction. 

Put those five dice in a cup and shoot.

Here’s hoping they come up Aces.

About the Author
By
Sean Chaffin is a poker writer who appears in numerous websites and publications. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast
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