Sep 21 2012

Can’t lose in a crowd….

Published by at 12:48 pm under Drinking and more drinking

Back in the bad old days, before cell phones, e-mail, VTC's and women on warships-people used to amuse themselves ashore with dice games in bars. I was thinking about those games, and those days tonight.

As I may have mentioned before, I love bars. All kinds of bars. Dive bars, high brow bars-in between bars. I know I shouldn't-but I just do.

And back in the day-part of the fun in bars was dice games. Games played for drinks-or played for money.

Now before the Navy went on its morality kick and out lawed fun of any kind-it used to be a time honored tradition to go to the Officers Club. There upon as beer and other spirituous beverages were consumed, at some point in the evening someone would "bring em out!". Bring out the dice that is.

It usually took a lot more booze before any thing else came out.

Now the favorite game when rolling for drinks was "Horse". Learning the ins and outs of this rolling of the dice used to be a right of passage in a squadron and it was the duty of the older members to teach it to the younger ones. We know now, of course, that does not happen-because every one is too afraid of the morality police. Ah but once upon a time…………

The object is to create the best score of the dice. The scores, ranked from high to low, are five of a kind, four of a kind, full house, three of a kind, two pair and one pair. Straights or runs do not count in the game of horse. One variation of the game has aces, one dot on the dice, as wild. This increases the scores in the game. In a proper game of horse with a lot of players-the goal was to reduce the number down to two as quick as possible. Thus the origins of the phrase, "Can't lose in a crowd". Until you do. In most bars I played in four of a kind on the roll was an "auto-out" till you got down to some pre-determined number of people. ( Usually four). Prior to the that the dice would be rolled once. You took the hand you got-if you were low, you were still in. If you went out-well, God bless you. Go order the drinks.

The finale came when it came down to you vs one other person. At that point-mano y mano-may set aside any of the dice to build his score, and continue with a second roll of the remaining dice. He may roll a total of three times but is not obligated to. He can stop after any roll if satisfied with the score. Less rolls the better. Loser bought the round-which could be a big bill ( like the $75 round I bought in AFSOUTH once).

Now if one were more sporting-you played the money games. In the Navy there were primarily two: "Ships Cabin Crew" and Klondike. Klondike was a favorite with P-3 guys for some reason and some games-such as those at the Flytyrap in Sigonella could run into serious money. I knew a guy who refurbished his living room off of his Klondike winnings.

A banker rolls the dice first and players then roll the dice in turn trying to beat the combination first thrown. Only one throw is allowed. Numbers rank high to low as 1, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. Any die not used in a combination is ignored. If a player rolls a combination equal to the banker's the banker wins. The payoffs are made by the banker at even odds. i.e.. players get their stake back with an equal amount. Winning combinations in descending order are as follows.

  • Five-of-a-kind
  • Four-of-a-kind
  • Full House (Three-of-a-kind and a pair)
  • Three-of-a-kind
  • Two pairs
  • One pair

Obviously, the ability to stay and to put up a big stake were required.

The final game, I used to love was Ships Captain Crew. I played a lot of that at the Rodman O'Club in Panama in 1992. One night I walked out $150 dollars richer than I walked in-and that was in spite of buying several beers. In this game you rolled all five dice with first goal being to "qualify" . To do that you had to get a 6–5-4 in less than three rolls. You put money on the bar to place your bet-and in some games you also had to ante like in poker. In the simple 6-5-4 version you must first have the ship (6) before you have the captain (5); likewise, you must first have the captain before you have the crew (4). This can be very frustrating when you fail to roll a six, and have a score of zero. As you shoot each one of these points in order, you can pull that die out of the cup and set it aside. Alternatively, you can elective to put as many of the dice in the cup and try again (this is stupid, since it does not improve you odds, but it is legal).  Each player gets at least one and no more than three flops (toss of the dice cup) in the two player game. The score is the total of the two dice left over after the Ship, Captain and Crew have been completed. A 2 is the lowest score and is called a "minimum" while 12 is the highest score and is called a "midnight".

The highest score wins. If there is a tie in a two player game, they just play another hand and ante more money into the pot. If there is a tie in a multi-player game, then then players who tied for high score play shoot two dice again for highest score. This process continues until you have a winner.

Obviously in a more player game-the chances of a tie go up.

I have not played any of these games in years. But oh I do miss them so.


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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Can’t lose in a crowd….”

  1. Benjamin Walthropon 22 Sep 2012 at 9:38 am

    Ship – Captain – Crew…A very enjoyable evenining in the Oceana O'Club back in my MIDN days.

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  2. Old H-2 Guyon 23 Sep 2012 at 7:26 am

    And then there was Liar's Dice…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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