3 Sixes and An Ace, Forty-Six

Unlike every other place I’ve been, in Wisconsin most bartenders play dice with their customers. Suddenly from across the room, you can hear a cup filled with dice being shaken and slammed down on the bar to see what shows.

I’ve rolled once before, and that was when I first moved here. I didn’t really get the rules (and honestly, I still may not). But today someone explained them to me, and as I understand, they are:

  1. The goal is to get the highest number possible; calculating this is a a little weird though. 6 sixes would be best and would be scored as 66. 6 fives would be 65, 6 fours 64, and so on.
  2. Whoever rolls first “sets the pace,” which just means that you can roll anywhere from 1-3 times and the number of rolls the players get is determined by the first roller. If they roll something awesome on their first try, they can choose to pass the dice along, and the rest of the rollers only get one turn as well.
  3. If you roll a 1, that’s like a wild card. You can put as many of these aside as you get and roll the other dice to see what you can pair with them.
  4. And finally, whoever loses buys shots for the people who played.

This is a game I’ve only ever seen people play against the bar tender, but today I was told about a bar that offers dice, but only for patrons. Apparently the bartenders had been spending the whole night either just throwing dice with their friends, drinking too much, or losing on purpose (sometimes all three).

But without the possibility of getting free shots for yourself and your friends, what’s the point of rolling? To see which one of your friends is going to buy the round? Lame.

There is another rule (actually, I’m sure there are many variations and/or other rules for the game–I was at a bar in Milwaukee, which probably has different rules from places in Hudson or Green Bay or Sheboygan), but as soon as the guy told me about it he quickly said, “no one really does that though.” And that rule is this: If on your first turn you roll all aces, you have to buy everyone sitting at the bar a shot–even people not playing. Probably because he was about to roll.

Like most things, there’s a time and a place for dice. The time being when it isn’t too busy in the bar, and the place is wherever you’re a regular enough customer that the bartender knows you. If the timing is right and you’re a regular, you’d just ask for the dice; if these aren’t both the case, you may get laughed at.



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