NOT a game of little consequence!
I stumbled down a “research rabbit-hole” today. Often our stories include stories in which the characters play games—card, billiard and otherwise. Today, I researched the rules, etc., of the game of Hazard. It’s a game that uses dice and, in a convoluted number of rules—-mostly specific to the various faces of the dice that are rolled— allows the player with the turn to roll multiple times. Any number of people can play, but it’s the numbers that are rolled that turn the game. And the rules are quite complex. Once it becomes a player’s turn, they are called a caster.
Here are some basic rules:
If they neither nick nor throw out, the number thrown is called a chance. They throw the dice again:
- “In each round, the player chooses a number between five and nine, called the main. If they roll the main, it’s called throwing in or nicking, and they win.
- If they roll a 2 or 3, it’s called throwing out or outing. They lose.
- If they roll an 11 or 12, it depends on the main:
- with a main of 5 or 9, they throw out with both an 11 and 12;
- with a main of 6 or 8, they throw out with an 11 but nick with a 12;
- with a main of 7, they nick with an 11, but throw out with a 12.
- if they roll a chance, they win;
- if they roll the main, they lose (unlike on the first throw);
- if they roll neither, they keep throwing until they roll one or the other, winning with the chance or losing with the main.
Betting is done between the caster and the setter (the bank), which can be one person, or the rest of the players. (*1) After the first roll, side bets can be made—and believe it or not, these side bets are cast according to odds governed by the main and the chance. There are tables to refer to!For example, if the main was 7, and the chance was a 5, the proportion of the main to the chance is 3/2. With an odds stake of 10 pounds, a main of 7 and a chance of 5, a caster stands to win 15 pounds. (3/2 x 10 pounds).
Of course, as with any game, statisticians have established probability of winning and losing. I found a chart, but I am not sure all of this would have been available to those hearty gamblers playing Hazard all those years ago. Add to this the alcohol that was nearly always a factor in the gaming halls, and there could be even higher probability that cheating could take place, undetermined, and losing happened more than winning, but this is only my opinion. However, I cannot imagine alcohol mixed any better with cards in 1815 than it does in 2022. Eventually this game was diluted to the game of craps—a game which more of us may be familiar—even though the game of hazard is still played today.
My questions for my readers are:
- How much detail about topics like game rules is needed? (I’d really love to know.)
- Do you enjoy reading about gaming in stories? If so, what games do you feel you know enough about to follow in the stories? (Or does it even matter?)