Chuck A Luck
Chuck a Luck is a casino dice game that resembles other popular titles like Craps and a simplified version of Sic Bo. Using three dice, the players wager on several possible outcomes of a roll. Having the three dice in a birdcage, they are rolled either by the dealer or a mechanical system. This is done after the players have placed their bets on the outcome of the roll.
This guide is written to help you learn the basics of Chuck a luck. Learn the different rules and possible bets you can place, along with a simple step-by-step guide on how to play. Look for the best casino to play at, with our recommended locations. Despite being a luck-based game, players can still get insight into the Chuck a luck strategy that can be used.
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Rules and Bets
The table setup for Chuck A Luck is similar to another popular game of chance, the Big Six Wheel, in that players stand up rather than sit to play the game. Most players see this as a simplified version of Sic Bo, another popular casino dice game.
The table itself is a simple affair, featuring a basic dealer’s box with chips on the backend, along with the signature birdcage dice tumbler. Players face the dealer from the opposite side of the table, and the felt is lined with various squares and areas containing numbers and terms, on which wagers will be placed.
Chuck A Luck Bets
There are four basic bets make up the foundation of Chuck A Luck, as explained below. There is a fifth rule that only certain tables have.
Single Number (10 to 1)
When wagering on a single number, players will choose any number between 1 and 6. Payouts are awarded based on the number of dice which happen to land on the player’s chosen number. A player betting on the number 4, for example, would win even money on their wager when a single die lands on 4. Should a pair of dice land on 4, the payout climbs to 2 to 1, and the payout for landing all three dice on your chosen single number can range from 3 to 1 up to 12 to 1 (more information on the payouts and associated probabilities for each wager can be found in the strategy section below).
Field Bet (1 to 1)
Two different versions of the Field Bet can generally be found, but in both cases the concept remains the same: players are wagering that the combined total of the three dice will fall within a particular range. One version of the Field Bet rewards players when the three dice create a total between 5 and 8 or 13 and 16. In order to win this bet, players hope to see a three dice combination which falls within the required ranges. The second version, which offers slightly worse odds, changes the winning ranges to 3 7 and 13 18. Under both versions, the payout for a winning Field Bet stands at even money.
Over 10 (High) (1 to 1)
By betting on the Over 10 wager, which is also labeled as “High” on some Chuck A Luck tables, players are simply hoping to see the three dice total add up to any number higher than 10. Under the rules of this bet, a three dice total of exactly 10 would be deemed a loser, and thus, 11 is the minimum threshold required to earn an even money payout. In some Chuck A Luck games, landing on three identical totals causes an Over 10 (High) bet to become a loser.
Under 11 (Low) (1 to 1)
By betting on the Under 11 wager, which is also labeled as “Low” on some Chuck A Luck tables, players are hoping to see the three dice total add up to any number lower than 11. Under the rules of this bet, a three dice total of exactly 11 would be deemed a loser, and thus, 10 is the maximum threshold required to earn an even money payout. In some Chuck A Luck games, landing on three identical totals causes an Under 11 (Low) bet to become a loser.
Triple (30 to 1)
This wager is only offered on some Chuck A Luck tables, and players are simply hoping that all three dice will land on the same number. It doesn’t matter which number, so long as all three dice fall on identical numbers to create a “three of a kind.” Winning wagers on the Triple pay out at 30 to 1.
Play Chuck A Luck
To play Chuck A Luck:
Place Your Bets
Players place their chips on the appropriate betting squares. The best bets to place can be determined by looking at the basic strategy section. If you need to know what the actual wagers are, simply look at the Rules section.
Shake the Dice
Once all wagers have been placed, the dealer will proceed to tumble the shaker or birdcage.
This is doing either manually (rare) or is done by pushing a button where the dice will get shaken or tossed inside the glass enclosure.
Looking at the Dice
Once the dice have settled from being shaken, the players and dealer will look at the outcome. The fall of the dice will determine winners from losers depending on the bets placed.
The dealer will distribute all payouts, while claiming all losing wagers. The payouts for each type of bet can be viewed in the basic bets section.
After all of the winners have been paid, the table will be cleared. After which, the game will begin again with the placement of new bets.
Best Places to Play Chuck A Luck
For the most part, Chuck A Luck has been all but replaced by another dice-based game of chance: Sic Bo.
With limited floor space to work with, and less demand for historical curiosities like Chuck A Luck, casinos in the modern age have largely shifted to Sic Bo – a dice game which follows a similar gameplay structure offers additional wagers and increases the house edge against players.
Las Vegas Casinos
That being said, players can still spot a Chuck A Luck table occasionally, especially when frequenting America’s gambling mecca of Las Vegas, Nevada.
In Sin City, the game of Chuck A Luck has been reported to be operational in:
- New York-New York Casino (The Strip)
- Paris Las Vegas (The Strip)
- Binion’s Gambling Hall (Downtown Las Vegas)
- The Excalibur (The Strip)
Your best chances to find the game come by straying off the beaten path, so to speak, so consider a visit to Reno, Nevada – “The Biggest Little City in the World” and the previous home to dozens of Chuck a Luck tables. Along with the “off-Strip” casinos in Las Vegas, smaller locations with a greater sense of history are more likely to house the game today.
For players who make their way to Asia on occasion, Chuck A Luck is widely played under the name “Mini Dice” in the nations of Singapore and Malaysia.
Shop Around for Best Experience
A final word on locating Chuck A Luck games: exercise due diligence and place a few phone calls if you’re serious about finding a table near you. Contacting the table games managers for a few different casino properties and inquiring about Chuck A Luck can’t hurt, and you just may find a holdover somewhere that has escaped the public eye.
Chuck A Luck Strategy
When it comes to a game like Chuck A Luck, which is predicated on pure chance alone, players have no ability to influence the outcome.
This removes the element of strategy that gives the most popular casino games, such as blackjack, a sense of challenge. After all, once you’ve made your bets, there’s nothing you can do except watch the dice fall and hope they land on your chosen numbers or combinations.
With that said, players who enjoy a few rolls on the Chuck A Luck table from time to time can still improve their understanding of the game. You won’t be any better at landing winning rolls, mind you, but you can still study the game’s probabilities and odds to determine which bets to place, and which to avoid.
Single Number Bet Strategy
Beginning with the game’s basic wager, the Single Number bet, an analysis of the probabilities versus the payouts conducted by Michael Shackelford (AKA The Wizard of Odds) shows a total house edge of 3.70 percent.
Diving deeper into the numbers, a total of 75 combinations exist which will result in you landing just one die on your Single Number bet. The number of combinations available to land two of the three dice on your chosen number stands at 15, and obviously, only one combination exists in which you’ll land all three on the same number.
Remember, however, that while the payouts for landing one and two numbers on a Single Number bet stand at even money and 2 to 1, respectively. The payout for landing all three numbers, however, is variable depending on the house, with some establishments paying out only 3 to 1 when you land all three numbers, and other casinos raising the reward all the way to 12 to 1.
Take a look at the table below to see exactly how these adjustments to the “three of a kind” payout for Single Number bets affect your bottom line:
|12 to 1||3.70 Percent|
|11 to 1||4.17 Percent|
|10 to 1||4.63 Percent|
|9 to 1||5.09 Percent|
|8 to 1||5.56 Percent|
|7 to 1||6.02 Percent|
|6 to 1||6.48 Percent|
|5 to 1||6.94 Percent|
|4 to 1||7.41 Percent|
|3 to 1||7.87 Percent|
As you can see, the first strategic consideration to keep in mind when playing Chuck A Luck is to seek out tables which offer the highest possible payouts for landing all three numbers on a Single Number bet. As the payouts for this bet drop, the house edge working against you rises in kind, so you’ll immediately benefit by taking your action to the 12 to 1 payout tables rather than a lower version. And if you can’t find the generous 12 to 1 payouts any longer, look for the closest payouts to that figure, while avoiding those that fall closer to the disadvantageous 3 to 1 rate.
Field Bets are Sucker Bets
Another strategic element to keep in mind when assessing the relative value of Chuck A Luck tables concerns the Field Bet. As mentioned above, some tables limit the Field Bet to ranges of 3 to 7 and 13 to 18, meaning any three dice combination which falls on 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 will be deemed a loser.
Under this setup, the house edge on Field Bets stands at a whopping 15.74 percent – putting this wager on par with some of the worst on the casino floor.
However, when you can find Chuck A Luck tables offering Field Bet ranges of 5 8 and 13 16, the house edge against you instantly falls to 3.70 percent.
Clearly, when choosing to splash around on the Field Bet in Chuck A Luck, sound strategy dictates that you never waste your money on the 3 to 7 / 13 to 18 range tables, as these games offer truly unbeatable odds on par with other “sucker” games like keno.
When it comes to the Under 11, Over 10, and Triple bets, each wager carries an obscene house edge of 25 percent. Knowing this, players should never put a single chip at risk on any of these three bets unless they are fully prepared to part with that portion of their bankroll.
Of course, Chuck A Luck is supposed to be a fun gambling game, with the emphasis on gamble, so you can always feel free to chase the high risk, high reward Triple bet, as it offers payouts of 30 to 1. The Under 11 and Over 10 bets, on the other hand, offer even money payouts with a built-in house edge of 25 percent, making these some of the worst ever conceived (at least from the player’s perspective).
After running through the numbers on Chuck A Luck, it’s clear that a preferable strategy for playing this game of chance is to limit your betting to Single Number bets, and Field Bets when the ranges are between 5 to 8 and 13 to 16. Doing so will create conditions in which you face a house edge of 3.70 percent, which isn’t all that great when compared to casino classics like blackjack and baccarat, but falls under the rate set by double zero roulette and most hybrid table games.
Chuck A Luck History
The age old dice game known as Chuck A Luck predates the founding of the United States, with roots stretching back all the way to medieval England.
Casino game enthusiasts will immediately recognize many of the game’s elements as familiar. Chuck A Luck resembles the English dice game of Hazard, while also incorporating the three dice scheme used by the Chinese game Sic Bo.
Also known as Crown and Anchor, due to the presence of a crown symbol and an anchor symbol on the dice faces, the game was played under a number of different names as it evolved over time. Alternative names for this simple gambling game based on the roll of three six-sided dice include: Sweat Cloth, Sweat, Chuck Luck, Chucker Luck, and also simply known as Chuck.
Arrival in the United States
The game made its way to American shores in the early 1800’s, transported by English immigrants en route to the New World. Versions of the game played by Civil War soldiers have been documented, and by the early 1900’s, Chuck A Luck had taken on a new title: Birdcage.
This name was derived from the game’s use of a small birdcage to hold the three dice. By tilting and revolving the birdcage, which is traditionally shaped like an hourglass, the dice would tumble down to the other side and land, providing players with the winning numbers for that particular roll.
This birdcage device replaced a simple setup involving a cup and three dice, after allegations of weighted dice and deftly manipulated cups caused players to doubt the legitimacy of the game. By installing the birdcage tumbler, gambling establishments sought to preserve the game’s integrity, while assuaging any doubts that players may have as to the accuracy of a given roll.
Introduced to Casinos
Eventually, Chuck A Luck found its way into the legal casinos which cropped up throughout Nevada and California during the mid 20th century, becoming a staple offering on most casino floors. But even as the game became quite popular during this era, it eventually began to fade away into obscurity, and today Chuck A Luck is considered more of a historical relic than a viable casino game offering.
Nonetheless, players can still locate Chuck A Luck tables from time to time, especially when playing in some of the older, off the beaten path casino properties located throughout Nevada.
If you’ve ever stumbled across a Chuck A Luck table sitting in the shadows at your favorite casino, or you simply want to learn about the game before it becomes extinct, this page was written with you in mind. Here you’ll find a detailed breakdown of the game’s rules and setup, followed by a guide to locating casinos which currently run Chuck A Luck tables, and finally, an introduction to the game’s strategic elements, such as the odds against you and the house edge percentage.