Hazard

Hazard is an English game of chance played with two dice. It’s an old game that’s been played for centuries and it is for instance mentioned in The Canterbury Tales, a book written by Geogrrey Chaucer in the 1300s.

Hazard can be played by two or more players and is played for money. It is similar to several other dice games, such as Grand Hazard (which uses three dice), Sic bo (which is a three-dice game from China) and Craps (which is a simplified version of Hazard). In essence, Craps is a type of Hazard where the main is always 7.

The name Hazard comes from Old French. The French word is believed to be derived from the Spanish word azar which means “an unfortunate card or dice roll”. In Arabic, the word az-zahr (الزهر) means dice.

Playing Hazard

The caster is responsible for throwing the dice. Before each round, the caster specifies a number between 5 and 9 (inclusive). This number is called main. After specifying the main, the cast throws the two dice.

  • If the caster rolls the main, the caster wins (throws in or nicks).
  • If the caster rolls a 2 or a 3, the caster loses (throws out).
  • If the caster rolls an 11 or 12, the result depends on the main:
    • with a main of 5 or 9, the caster throws out with both an 11 and a 12;
    • with a main of 6 or 8, the caster throws out with an 11 but nicks with a 12;
    • with a main of 7, the caster nicks with an 11 but throws out with a 12.
  • If the caster neither nicks nor throws out, the number thrown is called the chance and the caster throws the dice again:
    • if the caster rolls the chance, the caster wins;
    • if the caster rolls the main, the caster loses (unlike on the first throw);
    • if the caster rolls neither, the caster keeps throwing until the caster rolls one or the other, winning with the chance and losing with the main.

After having lost three times in a row, the caster must pass the dice to the player placed to the left of the caster.

Hazard table

When one begins playing Hazard, it can be good to have the following table on hand to refresh ones memory.

Main Nicks Outs Chance
5 5 2,3,11,12 Anything else
6 6,12 2,3,11
7 7,11 2,3,12
8 8,12 2,3,11
9 9 2,3,11,12

Hazard betting

Hazard is not only played in casinos and gambling houses but in informal settings as well. The bets are between the caster and the setter (the bank). The setter is usually all the remaining players (i.e. everyone who isn’t the caster) acting as a group.

  • If the caster nicks on the first throw, the caster is paid 1:1.
  • From caster’s the second throw and onward, the caster is paid 1:1 if the caster gets his/her chance before his/her main.

    From the caster’s second throw and onward, all players (including the caster) may place an additional wager on the chance appearing before the main. The odds for this additional bet is shown in the table below.

Main Chance
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
5 4/3 4/5 2/3 4/5 1/1 4/3
6 5/3 5/4 5/6 1/1 5/4 5/3
7 2/1 3/2 6/5 6/5 3/2 2/1
8 5/3 5/4 1/1 5/6 5/4 5/3
9 4/3 1/1 4/5 2/3 4/5 4/3

 

 

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