More of a carnival game than a true casino game, Chuck-a-luck — sometimes called birdcage for the wireframe cage used in the game — is a simple gambling game. The cage, shaped somewhat like an hourglass with a pivot at the middle, contains three dice. Players have the option of betting on the numbers 1 through 6. If the number appears on one die, the bettor is paid even money. Should it appear on two dice, the winner is paid at 2-1 odds. If the number appears on all three dice, the payoff is at 10-1 odds. Some games also have a bet which pays 30-1 for “any triple,” when all three dice match. The operator may also offer a “big” or “small” bet which pays even money when the total on the dice is 10 through 17 for the “big” bet, and 4 through 10 for the small; both bets lose when a triple is rolled.An elementary examination will find that the game’s expected value (barring loaded dice, which are common), is worse than that of most other table games, often much worse.
The game is sometimes used as a fundraiser for charity, but the odds of coming away with more money than originally put in are quite small.
A version of the Big Six wheel is loosely based on chuck-a-luck, with various combinations of three dice appearing in 54 slots on a spinning wheel. Because of the distribution of the combinations, the house advantage for this wheel is even worse than chuck-a-luck.
- Chuck-a-Luck page