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Chuck-a-luck: An old gambling game

7 July 2012

Chuck-A-Luck, also known as Chuck Luck, Chucker Luck and Chuck, was originally called Sweat Cloth in England. In Malaysia and Singapore the game is known as "Mini Dice." This is a banking game related to Grand Hazard. The operator usually rolls the dice in a special chuck cage (an hourglass-shaped wire cage that rotates) and provides a layout with the numbers 1 to 6 on it for players to place their bets.

During the Gold Rush in the mid-1800s, when entertainment was hard to come by, gamblers played this low-stakes dice game. Three dice were used and a player would bet on various possible combinations: (1) all three numbers the same, (2) two dice were the same, (3) or only one specific number showing up.

Professional gamblers who couldn't afford the fancy chuck cage used a horn-shaped metal device that the three dice were thrown into before being cast on the table. That helped to ensure no one was palming dice or otherwise manipulating the toss. The device was called a Tin Horn. The game was considered too simple for the more sophisticated gamblers, who preferred Faro and Poker, so it was viewed with contempt. Later, the device name was used to describe a cheap, bragging lout gambler who dressed flashily and pretended to be wealthy. That individual was called a "Tin Horn Gambler."

Players bet on any number from 1 to 6. The operator rolls the dice and pays out according to the numbers thrown and keeps all other stakes.

If a player's number comes up on one die, they are paid at odds of 1 to 1.

If a player's number comes up on two dice, they are paid at odds of 2 to 1.

If a player's number comes up on all three dice, they are paid at odds of 10 to 1.

This game is so simple yet the odds are deceiving. As with most gaming games, the operator has the odds in his favor and will usually end up winning more than the player in the long run. With three dice the odds of any number coming up are 50-50, which pays even money. However, if a triple shows up the player is awarded at the 10-to-1 rate, which gives the house an overall edge of only 4.63 percent. Today, the only casino where the game is still played is in New York-New York in Las Vegas.

Bet You Didn't Know

  • In San Francisco, during the gold rush in the 1850s, the market for gambling space was so strong that a simple canvas tent 15 by 25 feet cost $40,000 annually, payable in advance with gold dust.
  • It takes 14 different operations to manufacture casino dice.
  • Hazard is the first "modern" betting dice game. Scholars believe it was introduced to the western world during the Crusades in the 12th century by English soldiers at the siege of the Arabian Castle of Harart.
  • When looking at a pair of casino dice, you will find there are a total of 42 dots.
  • In most casinos the average life of a pair of dice is only about eight hours. As each new shift comes on, the dice are usually replaced.
  • The stickman at the craps table will continually turn the dice over with his stick. He does this to ensure that each die is correctly numbered from 1 to 6 and that foreign or crooked dice have not been introduced into the game.
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Best of John Marchel
John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

KISS Guide to Gambling

> More Books By John Marchel

John Marchel
John Marchel is an author, speaker, teacher and player -- what John plays are casino games. He’s been a casino player for over 25 years and has played successfully in Europe, Panama, the Caribbean, Canada, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, on Indian reservations, cruise ships and in over 350 casinos throughout the US. He is also the author of six books about gambling, and has written numerous magazine articles and is currently a columnist for three gambling magazines and one internet magazine.

Since 1988 John has combined his experience as a manager, teacher and player to present seminars and lectures about gambling. In addition, John has had an Internet website since 1995 that offers books, special reports and tips about gambling. He also publishes a monthly Internet gambling newsletter. The newsletter keeps subscribers alert to trends, information and winning techniques that allows them to be more successful when visiting casinos.

John Marchel Websites:

johnmarchelgambling.com

Books by John Marchel:

101 Casino Gambling Tips: Affordable Strategies & Techniques for Maximizing Profits & Reducing Loses

> More Books By John Marchel