How to play WW2 dice games


A pair of dice could bring out a friendly rivalry between Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen during World War II. Even though gambling was illegal in the army, it was one of the main sources of entertainment. There are accounts of soldiers running dice games like “heads and tails” (most commonly, heads was even, while tails was odds). They would play small games, rolling for “five, ten pounds“. If they won, they would go over to the “big game” for big money. Higher ranking officers would sometimes join in.



Players: 2 or more
Equipment: 2 dice, counters, and a backstop (optional)
Duration: seconds to hours (all depends on how long you want to play)

Starting the Play:
Players gather around a level surface and create a backstop (books are ideal). The players decide what the max. bet will be. The first player (known as the shooter) says the amount he will bet, puts the numbers of counters (= Nl. fiches) (or money) into the center and in the language of craps says, “ I’ll shoot three.” This means the shooter has a bet of three counters (tegenstanders) to win. At this point other players have the option to fade (NL.weddenschap aangaan), or bet against the shooter by covering the bet and putting their money with the shooters (in the pot or kitty).

One player can fade the whole bet or several can cover parts of it. Any part of the shooters original stake that is not covered must be withdrawn (dragged down) before the dice are rolled and no more counters must be bet than are in the shooters original bet. (NL. de shooter moet het teveel aan fiches of geld terug nemen, dat niet door het tegenbod wordt gedekt, hij kan ook niet overboden worden)

There are no official rules, but it is customary that no one can touch the dice until they have stopped and until everyone betting has seen them. It a dice is cocked, that is, resting in such a way that it is doubtful which face is uppermost, than the throw is declared void. (NL. opnieuw gooien)

If the first roll is a 7 or 11 (a natural), the shooter wins.

If it is a 2, 3, or 12 (craps) the shooter loses.

If it is a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 the shooter has to “make point” that is to roll again and again until the same number is rolled. If the shooter throws a 7 before he “makes point”, the bet is lost and the dice pass to the player on the left. The shooter can voluntarily pass on the dice at anytime between rolls. (NL. mag de beurt doorgeven)

If the shooter wins he takes all the money in the pot if the shooter loses, those players who faded each take double the amount of money they put in the pot. (their original bet plus the shooters stake). If, for example the shooter has bet three counters and two players have bet one counter and two counters respectively, the player who has bet one counter takes 2 counters the player who bet 2 takes 4.

In addition to the shooters opening stake bets, players can also bet among themselves as to whether or not the shooter will win (come right) or lose (come wrong).

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