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Liar's Dice

Liar’s Dice, also sometimes called Pirate Dice, is a dice game that involves chance, deception, and statistics. You need to both deceive others and detect the deception from other players. Originally having its roots in South America, the game has gained popularity recently in part due to being in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Liar's Dice

Equipment Needed

Each player receives one dice cup and five six-sided dice.

Number Of Players

2-6.

Ages

6+.

Duration

Games typically last 5-15 minutes depending on the number of players.

Objective

To be the last person remaining with dice by outbidding, out bluffing, and outplaying your opponents.

Gameplay

In order to determine who goes first, roll one dice and whoever gets the highest number goes first. After the first game, the winner goes first.

Dice in Cups for Liar's Dice

You will need six-sided dice and cups to play Liar's Dice

Players put their five dice in their cup, shake the dice, and roll their dice onto a table or surface. The purpose of the cups is so that others cannot see your dice. For this reason, players should make sure to conceal their dice, so other players don’t gain information. Each player looks at their own dice to know what they have. They may look as frequently as they want during around.

Players will bid how many of a dice roll they think have been cumulatively rolled. Bidders are attempting to make an estimate of how many of a certain number the total group has. This is a game of incomplete information because you don’t know what others have. Often times, the bidders start out with a low number and attempt to gain information from the next bidders.

Ones are wild. They count towards whatever number the bidder says. For example, in a game with 5 people, there are 25 dice. If a player estimates that there are 6 total 6’s, and there are five 6’s and one 1, that would count as 6.

Let’s assume the first player to bid has 2 2’s, 2 4’s and 2 5’s. The first player may say that there are three 5’s total, which would be a conservative bid. As long as one of the four other players has one or five, which statistically there normally will be, he will win.

The second player to act has two options. They may challenge, which is saying they don’t believe that the bid is correct. If there is a challenge, then all players reveal their dice. Count up the number the bidder said, and make sure to add 1’s to this number.

The second option is to go up in a number, increasing the bid. In this specific example, it is highly likely that the second player increases the bid. For example, the second player could bid four of a number of their choosing (excluding one).

They also have the option of going up by more than one number. Instead of claiming four threes, they could bet five threes. This is a strategy if you don’t want the number to get back to you, and you are confident in going up.

If you win the challenge and there aren’t enough of what the bidder stated, the bidder loses a dice. However, if a challenger is incorrect, they lose a dice.

When a player loses a dice, they should put it in front of them so that the other players are aware of how many dice they are playing with. If you are confused at any time, you may ask other players. Knowing how many dice are in play is important.

Only the person whose turn it is may challenge or go up in a bid. This game will go in a clockwise direction, and as long as you have dice you are still in the game.

The loser of the challenge gets to bid first after the next roll.

The last person who has dice will win the game.

Strategy

While this game involves luck, there are definitely elements of strategy. Each bid gives players knowledge and insight. If a player tends to be truthful, you can take their bids at face value. However, if a player is constantly upping the bid to something that they don’t have, you should be wary of what they say. If you are immediately after them, this should increase your likelihood of either challenging them or going with the dice that you have more of.

When calculating the odds that they have a certain dice, be sure to include ones in your calculation. For example, if they have only one dice, there isn’t a 1 in 6 chance that they have a 4. There is a ⅓ chance because 1’s are wild. Playing Liar’s Dice can be intimidating at first, as you are trying to be a human lie detector, and mastering a strategy takes time. Remember, it is better to make an early bluff rather than a late one. Even if you don’t have certain numbers, by basic probability if you start with a low number, the collective should have it.

As the game goes on, your initial bet should be lower because there are less dice in play.

Variations

You can play that regardless of order, anybody can challenge a number. This can allow you to target certain people, such as the leader. If you bluff and they increase the number you said, you can instantly challenge them instead of waiting for your turn. Many prefer this version as they believe it requires more skill.

Instead of raising or challenging, a player can call "exact". If the previous number is exactly correct, then the last bidder loses a dice and you win by calling exact. However, if you are incorrect, even by one, you lose.

Interested in other Dice Games? Check out our Ultimate List of Dice Games.

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