How to Play Bunco

Bunco is played with dice.
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It's not the spelling so much as the way you play the game, right? Ranging from Bunco (the most popular) to Bonko and Bunko, the word varies by region and personal preference. At any rate, you just need nine dice and a handful of luck. Grab your friends - this game usually consists of three sets of four players.

Divide twelve players into three groups of four people. Two teams sit at each table; teammates sit opposite each other.

Assign the tables as the head, middle and bottom. At the end of a round, the winning team advances to the next table. Losers at the head table move to the bottom table.

Supply each table with three dice, a score sheet and a pencil for each player, and a scratch pad for the table's scorekeeper. Place a bell on the head table.

Begin play with the scorekeeper. The scorekeeper at the head table traditionally rings the bell to begin the round.

Roll your three dice.

Keep score at each table. (See the Related eHow "How to Keep Score in Bunco.")

Continue to roll until your roll earns no points. Play then moves to the left.

Continue to play at your table until a team at the head table scores 21 points or more - at which time, the scorekeeper rings the bell again.

Change partners after every round, with one player moving to the seat to the right before the next team arrives.

Play six rounds per set and at least two sets per game. The winner is the player with the most wins, though some groups award prizes in categories such as most Buncos and most losses.


There are six rounds in a set. In Round 1, points are scored for every "one" that is rolled; in Round 2, for every "two" and so forth. Score sheets should have a place to mark the round, the number of wins, the number of losses, and the Buncos. Keep extra copies of the score sheets on hand. Change partners at the beginning of each round.


There are several variations to playing Bunco, most notably in the way the round ends - some play until a team at any table scores 21, some until a team at the head table does. There are also variations in who moves at the end of each round - some groups have the winners move (except those at the head table); others have the losers move.

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