Dice games are among the oldest forms of gambling and leisure activities in general. The invention of the die showed how people were fascinated with the role of chance in their lives. Chinese excavations and Egyptian tombs showed the first models of dice – since ancient times, these throwable objects were used in ritualized activities and games.
The oldest common game with the dice was brought to Europe, as it is believed, in the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 17th century, though, until this entertainment spread through different countries. It was known in England namely as Hazard, and in France, it was called Crapaud – not a nice word, actually, which basically means “a toad”. So, it was the street masses who were responsible for the popularity of the game. Back then, it was also widely practiced by soldiers. Only centuries after, what became known as craps, reached gambling venues and gained attention from privileged social groups.
In comparison with other gambling games, the ones with the dice stand out because of being very fast-paced. This feature makes them more challenging for both players and dealers. Along with the tempo, dice games gave rather complicated betting systems with lots of options to consider. Players need to look through payout tables and the odds for each bet carefully.
Craps is a universally accepted game with dice. It has become so popular that now you can find dozens of books on craps strategies and video tutorials teaching how to play it. Some iconic movies feature scenes with the game of craps (like one of the James Bond epic, Diamonds are Forever) or use one of the in-game terms as symbolism for developing the story (like Hard Eight). Famous films also reveal some dirty secrets that come in hand with craps: the dice can be loaded, and cheating often happens at the table.
Speaking of strategies and various approaches, people always try to find the best way to play craps. The game requires math on many levels, but you won’t end up a winner just thanks to certain calculations – you will need a massive portion of luck. There are some tips that will focus your attention on the right type of bets, but no more than that.
Games originated in Asia, as well as Asian-themed products, are growing in popularity in Western casinos. Many people want to explore exotic cultures while playing. Sic Bo is an exciting dice game which, unlike most of the others, uses three dice. Despite this difference, it is played quite similarly to craps. There are the same bet types, and the game is entirely based on luck as well. Interestingly, identical versions of Sic Bo have impressively different house edge in Europe and Asia (the average of 16.2% and 30.1% respectively). The main attraction of the game is its exotic charm and decoration. More authentic versions are usually played with pictures instead of numbers on the dice.
All other dice games are significantly less popular. Chuk-A-Luck is practically the same as craps. It originated in Australia and spread to Europe during World War I. Klondike is quite an unusual entertainment with as many as five dice. Banka Francesca is a version of the three-dice game localized in Portugal. You can also find lots of Asian games with beautiful pictures painted on the dice, but they are mostly considered as cultural heritage rather than a gambling activity.