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  Chuck-a-luck:

Though there is no reason why chuck-a-luck cannot be played in a casino, it is usually found on fairgrounds or charity parties. Fundamentally, it is about betting on the outcome of a toss of three dice. The twist is that the dice are not simply thrown down on a table, but placed in a wire structure that looks much like an hourglass. (This is why chuck-a-luck is also called “birdcage,” after the dice container.) The person running the game spins the dice by turning the birdcage over several times.

As with many other games of chance, a lot of the fun of chuck-a-luck is in the attendant ceremony (i.e. the turning of the birdcage, etc.) and the various types of betting.

Let’s look at the ceremony first. A person who runs a chuck-a-luck booth well should be able to make the experience theatrical and exciting, so that even the simple act of turning the birdcage over becomes fraught with thrills. He or she should also have done his or her best to have invested in an interesting, funky or elegant birdcage that would attract customers’ attention. Players who don’t mind being, to a large extent, spectators should be able to enjoy themselves, if the game is run by a person who puts a bit of effort and imagination into it.

The betting structure of chuck-a-luck tends to be relatively simple, given the venues at which it is played. These bets can be roughly classified into two types.

The first type is to do with the appearance of a number on a single die. You can bet on a single number appearing on any one of the dice, or two numbers appearing on two of the dice, or three numbers appearing. Of course, betting on one number gives you the highest chance of winning. This bet is usually only an even-money bet. The less likely you are to win, the more money you will earn if you do win, which is why betting on three numbers can potentially earn you more money. There is also a special variation on this bet, wherein a player wagers on the appearance of triples—that all three dice will show a particular number (i.e. all three will show two).

Chuck a luck


The second type of bet has to do with the sum of the numbers shown on all three dice. It has nothing to do with the individual numbers that make up the sum. In other words, if you bet that the sum will be seven, you can win whether the dice display a five, a one and another one. You can also win if the dice roll results in a four, a two and a one.

Like in sic bo, you can also bet on “big” and “small” outcomes. “Big” means that the sum will be eleven or over—though with some dealers, “big” means twelve or over. “Small,” of course, usually means ten or under.

The “skill” or “control” element in chuck-a-luck is obviously introduced by the betting structure. Depending on your budget, or the number of times you would like to play, you may choose a wager with small or large odds in your favor.

Its association with family-friendly events like carnivals or charities makes playing chuck-a-luck a slightly different experience than the feeling of playing other dice games like sic bo or grand hazard, which are usually connected to casinos and may in fact be called immediate relatives of chuck-a-luck. Players who like the slightly naughty thrills of gambling and casinos might therefore find chuck-a-luck a bit too tame, despite the fact that the mechanics are unusual and fun.

Of course, the “good, clean fun” concept attached to chuck-a-luck may be a benefit rather than a stigma in the eyes of some players. This is especially true when the game is played for charity. Players can actually say that their wagers are benefiting the less fortunate. This may help assuage some of the unpleasant guilt sometimes associated with gambling from the consciences of many players.

Chuck a luck Online


The relatively wholesome aura attached to chuck-a-luck hides another truth about the game. Despite the game’s often benign appearance, be wary before pronouncing chuck-a-luck an “easy win” game. The fact that it involves three dice instead of just one or two drastically lowers the odds in the player’s favor. The very simplicity of the betting structure can also be a disadvantage to players, as payout odds tend to be either very low or very high, without the variety of in-between options one usually finds in casino dice games. In a way, chuck-a-luck can be likened to slots, a charming, simple game on which many people nevertheless found that they have spent much more money than they intended.

Charity balls and carnivals may seem much more G-rated and “safe” than casinos, but they are also often subject to less regulation and inspection. In other words, think about whether or not you trust your chuck-a-luck dealer. Can you be sure that his or her dice are not loaded, or that the birdcage is not rigged? If not, you may be adding an unwanted dimension to your gambling.

As we have already said, chuck-a-luck bears many fundamental similarities to other games, especially to sic bo, from which it was derived. However, this is not necessarily a point against the game. Chuck-a-luck has enough going for it to set it apart from these other games. As such, chuck-a-luck is a great example of how a gambling experience is about much more than rules, odds and calculations. Gambling is also about performance, frills and the ideas or associations we bring to the game.

Whether you are going to play chuck-a-luck at a carnival, or at a benefit party, you will be in for some fun. You can also have a good experience if you find a casino that offers it. Players willing to look past the carnival sheen and the cutesy name will find a game that is just as fun as other dice games or games of chance. Chuck-a-luck may be seen as a gambling option for people who don’t like gambling, or a casino attraction for players who are turned off by casinos.

  List of casinos with Chuck-a-luck:

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