Rules for the 4, 5, 6 Dice Game

By Carlos Mano
Learn the 4, 5, 6 dice game.

A large number of dice games are called 4, 5, 6 dice games--and the games have a variety of rules. The original games came from China and even the Chinese games had different rules. About the only thing these games have in common is that none of them use exactly two dice.

The One Die Game

In the one die game, a bowl or hat is placed in the middle of a table and the players set around the table with three chips or markers (or quarters or dollars) in front of them. The starting person is chosen by a roll of the die. Play proceeds clockwise around the table until the game is over. Each player in his turn rolls the die. If he rolls a 4, he passes one of his markers to the player on his left, if he rolls a 5, he puts a marker in the pot. If he rolls a 6 he passes a marker to the right. This continues until the player has no markers; he then passes the die. When only one player has markers, he wins the entire pot if he rolls a 1, 2 or 3. If the situation arises where no player has markers, the pot stays and a new game begins.

The Game with Three Dice

The three dice game is called Cee-Lo and is closest to the Chinese versions. It is also the one most often referenced in hip hop culture. Any number can play but the game consists of a series of battles between two players. Each player puts up an agreed upon amount. Each player in the pair rolls all three dice until one of four recognized combinations appears. A 4-5-6 combination is the best combination. A "trip" is all three dice the same and is the next best combination. Next comes a pair with one die different. The different die becomes the "point." The worst possible combination is 1-2-3, which always loses. If two players tie, the pot is doubled and they start all over again.

The Game with Five Dice

Each player puts the same amount in the pot. Players take turns rolling all five dice. A player can roll (at most) three times. Each player is trying to get a 6-5-4 combination. If all three appear on the first roll, the player's "point" is the sum of the remaining two dice. If a 6 or a 6 and a 5 appear on the first roll, they are set aside. If a player has made the 6-5-4 and still has a roll left, he may roll the remaining two dice for a better point--but must take the point from the last roll. It is entirely possible for a player to roll three times and get no point because the 6-5-4 was never made. The player with the highest point wins. If there is a tie, the game starts again with a new pot double in size; everyone puts in the same amount again.