Poker sets are excellent for casual players who want to set up poker games without too much upfront costs. It includes everything that you’ll need to play poker, competitively or not, including chips, decks of cards, and buttons for the dealer and blinds. But there’s something inside poker chip sets that have puzzled a lot of players — the dice.
So, why do poker chip sets have dice in them? You need dice to play a game variation we call poker dice. It’s a less popular type of poker that simplifies the typical poker game that we play, including the rankings. A standard poker dice game doesn’t have the same level of ambiguity, but other variations encourage bluffing. It hasn’t hit the mainstream, but it’s starting to gain traction because of its simplicity and fast-paced gameplay.
The use of cards isn’t the only thing that’s different in a poker dice game. The betting style, number of players, speed, and strategies that you need to win is different from poker card variations like the 5 Card Stud, Texas Hold’em, and 5 Card Draw.
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Poker With Dice Vs. Poker Without Dice
Poker dice is somewhat similar to a usual poker game without dice.
Poker with dice uses five specially-marked dice that represent six of the highest cards in poker — 9, 10, jack, queen, king, and ace.
Before the game starts, each player places their ante. The objective of the game is to have the best possible hand within three throws to win the pot. Betting is also simplified; players can’t check, call, raise, or fold.
Similar to a 5 Card Draw, the player can choose whether to rethrow all dice or pick the ones to keep, then rethrow the rest. Players don’t have to rethrow the dice if they think they already have the best hand. There are no community cards, and all throws are visible to other players, which simplifies the gameplay.
The hand ranking, although reminiscent, is perhaps the most significant difference between poker with dice and poker without dice. Here’s the hand ranking in a poker dice in order of strength:
- Five of a kind – unlike a poker card game where royal flush is the highest possible combination, five of a kind is the best possible hand in poker dice. It follows the same card ranking — ace being the highest and 9 as the lowest.
- Four of a kind – in poker card games, it’s impossible for two or more players to have the same four of a kind hand, but it happens in poker dice. When two or more players get the same four of a kind, the player with the highest fifth (kicker) card wins the hand.
- Full house – here’s where poker dice starts to become similar to other poker card games. A full house is a combination of three of a kind and a pair in one hand.
- Straight / Flush – in some variations, straights don’t count. Flushes, on the other hand, aren’t possible in any poker dice game. If you’re playing a game that counts straight, it’s ranking is similar to poker card games.
- Three of a kind – ranking of this hand is similar to other poker variations. Two players can have the same three of a kind in Hold’em, but in poker dice, there can be more than two players with the same hand strength. When this happens, the player with the highest kicker wins the hand.
- Pair – a lot of players make mistakes when drawing pairs in poker dice. In a card game, this hand is strong enough to bet through every street, but in poker dice, it’s the weakest hand. With all the rethrows available for each player, it’s highly unlikely that a player wins the game with a pair.
- High card / Bust – unlike card games where a high card could be enough to win the hand, a high card in poker dice has the lowest possible chance of winning because of the rethrows for each player. With very low probability of rolling five dice with only a high card, some variations of poker dice consider it a bust.
A typical poker dice has different variations when it comes to hand ranking. The objective of getting the best hand remains the same, but sometimes, straight or high cards don’t win the game.
All players need to agree with hand rankings even before they start the game because it changes the dynamics of poker dice.
Here’s a quick table to show you hand rankings and their probability to help you strategize when playing poker dice:
|Five of a kind
|6 / 7776
|T T T T T
|Four of a kind
|150 / 7776
|J J J J Q
|300 / 7776
|Q Q Q A A
|240 / 7776
|T J Q K A
|Three of a kind
|1200 / 7776
|K K K T J
|1800 / 7776
|A A T T J
|3600 / 7776
|A A J K T
|Bust / High Card
|480 / 7776
|A K Q J 9
In poker card games, bluffing becomes a crucial part of a player’s strategy, but not in typical poker dice. All throws are visible to every player, putting a significant risk on the under-the-gun player. It’s because his goal is to have the best hand possible without any benchmark, whereas the remaining players’ goal is to have the nuts.
This gameplay makes poker dice straightforward and more manageable for beginners.
Unlike in poker without dice where you’ll have to strategize to maximize your hand’s potential or possibly outplay your opponent and force him to fold, poker dice heavily relies on luck and position.
Liar Dice — Ambiguous Poker Dice
If you’re looking for a poker game that has some level of ambiguity and still retains the simplicity that poker dice offers, then you’ll love playing Liar Dice. It’s a variation of poker dice that simplifies the single most powerful strategy that you can use in poker card games — bluffing.
The rules remain the same, with some variations: only two players can play it, and you’ll hide all throws from your opponent. After three throws, you’ll announce the hand that you have — true or not.
Your opponent will then make a call to see whether you’re bluffing or not. Double the money if he makes the right call, then you’ll trade spots with him to announce his hand next.
Hand rankings won’t matter with this variation because the other player will only make the call. It’s an uberly simplified strategic gameplay that you use in poker card games. You don’t have to consider the hands of your opponent, the bets that you make, and the calls that you’ll do will only be between bluffing or not.
Dice in poker chip sets aren’t unusual because other players use it to play poker dice. You don’t have to use it if you’re playing card games and serves no other purpose than to play that variation.
The simplicity of this poker variation makes it preferable for casual players or those who are starting to learn the basics of poker. Although there are a few adjustments to have some level of ambiguity, it’ll always remain a simplified version of any poker game that uses a typical deck of cards.