Boss Dice


I have heard that playing Boss Dice was a traditional way to decide who paid for the bar tab in San Francisco. Taverns would even keep dice cups and dice behind the bar for patrons. I am not certain if it is as popular there as it once was, but I would like to hear from any readers who have seen it or play it themselves. I decided to include it because it is a fun game that needs minimal equipment, is easy to learn, and requires a little more decision making then many dice games. Who knows, after trying it maybe you can help start the Boss Dice revival.

Players 2
2 dice cups
10 dice
How to play

Both players roll five dice from their dice cup on to the table at the same time.

The player with the highest poker hand showing is called the boss. If neither player rolls at least a pair, both players roll again. On the roll to determine who is boss, two pair only counts as the higher pair.

The boss puts to one side the dice that gave him the higher ranking hand. The boss then rolls any remaining dice keeping them concealed from the other player. For example if the boss rolled 3 sixes 1 four and 1 five, the the sixes would be kept and the five and four rolled again.

After the boss looks at his concealed dice he may call “Pick them up” or “Come up”.

If the boss calls “pick them up” both players pick up their dice and start again and the round has no winner.

If the boss calls “come up”, the other player can roll some or all of his dice. Player who rolled the highest hand wins the round. Two pairs now counts as a hand.

First to win two out of three rounds wins the game.

Rank of hands
Five of kind,
Four of kind
Full house ( three of a kind and a pair)
Three of a kind
Two pair
A pair with 6 being highest 1 being low


5 thoughts on “Boss Dice

  1. I had never heard of that game. Here in China, people at bars play a dice drinking game. It’s based on prediction and bluff. Basically everyone rolls their dice and conceal the results. Going around the table, people predict how many of each face numbers there will be on the table (including other people’s dice). They can only go up in their predictions (either go up in the number of faces or go up in the face values).
    Player 1 (looks at his dice): 2 ones.
    Player 2 (considers player 1 then looks at his dice): 2 twos.
    Player 3 (ditto): 4 fives.
    At any point someone can call someone else’s bluff and people reveal their dice. The loser(s) drink!


    • Thanks for for your comment. The game you described is called liars dice in the United States. I have read that liars dice is popular in China. Someone told me that hand signals are used to tell the face number and the amount on the table. I thought this would be very useful especially in noisy bars. Do you know if this common practice while playing in China?


      • Yes it is common practice in China to use your hands to clarify meaning (as many dialects are spoken throughout the country), and this is particularly true for numbers. This page describes them well:
        Apart from 4, 5, and the first version of 10, the fingers mimic the (simple version of) characters used to write the numbers down.


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