There are many names for this popular dice game, such as Doubting Dice, Dudo, Perudo, Mexacali, Call My Bluff, "pirate's dice," "deception dice," and so on.
But regardless of the name, Liar's Dice requires two or more players and is typically played with a set of five 6-sided dice for each player.
Since players must keep their dice concealed from other players, one dice cup for each player is recommended.
How to play Liar's Dice
There are two ways to play Liar's Dice. In one, each player has five standard 6-sided dice, and in the second, all players share a single "hand" of five dice that is passed around the table. We'll describe each version and a few variants for each.
"Single Hand" Liar's Dice
The game is played over multiple rounds. The first player for the first round is determined by mutual agreement or by all players rolling two dice with the highest roller becoming the first player. Play then proceeds clockwise around the table.
To begin each round, all players roll their dice simultaneously. Each player looks at their own dice after they roll, keeping them hidden from the other players. (If any dice has landed on top of another, the player must roll all their dice again.)
The first player then states a bid consisting of a face ("1's", "5's", etc.) and a quantity. The quantity represents the player's guess as to how many of each face have been rolled by all the players at the table, including themselves. For example, a player might bid "five 2's."
Each subsequent player can either then make a higher bid of the same face (e.g., "six 2's"), or they can challenge the previous bid. (Note that there are a large variety of bidding variations that can be used. We'll describe some of them below.)
If the player challenges the previous bid, all players reveal their dice. If the bid is matched or exceeded, the bidder wins. Otherwise the challenger wins.
If the bidder loses, they remove one of their dice from the game by placing it in front of their dice cup.
The loser of the previous round begins the next round.
(In the event that the game comes down to two players with only a single dice each, bids are then made on the sum of both dice instead the quantity of faces rolled.)
Example of play:
Bob, Lauren, Steve and John are playing a game of Liar's Dice. Bob is the first player. After they have all rolled and looked at their own dice, Bob begins by bidding "three 4's."
Play passes to Lauren, who makes a higher bid of "five 4's."
Play passes to Steve who bids "seven 4's."
Play passes to John, who challenges Steve's bid. Because the bid has been challenged, all players lift their dice cups to reveal their dice. There are six 4's showing, so John wins because Steve's bid was not matched or exceeded. Steve would have won if there had been seven or more 4's showing.
Because he lost the round, Steve takes one of his five dice and places it in front of his dice cup. It will not be used for the remainder of the game.
"Common Hand" Liar's Dice
This version of Liar's Dice uses Poker Dice hands, which are (from highest to lowest):
- Five of a kind
- Four of a kind
- Full house (Three of a kind and a pair)
- High straight (2,3,4,5,6)
- Low straight (1,2,3,4,5)
- Three of a kind
- Two pair
- One pair
- Highest single number
This version also requires several chips, counters or other tokens (usually ten) for each player.
The game is played over multiple rounds. The first player for the first round is determined by each player rolling their five dice. The player with the highest ranking poker dice hand becomes the first player, with play proceeding clockwise around the table.
The first player then rolls the dice and examines them while keeping them hidden from the other players. They player then announces a poker hand. The hand they announce may be the actual hand they rolled or it might be a complete lie. If it is a lie, it may be either a higher or lower ranking hand than the actual one on the concealed dice. (For example, if the player rolled a three of a kind, they could bluff and say they actually rolled a full house or two pair.)
The next player may then either accept the hand or challenge it.
- If a challenge is made, the dice are revealed. If the challenger was right and the dice show a hand ranking that is lower than the hand declared by the last player then the challenged player puts a counter into the pot. If the challenger was wrong and the hand revealed is equal or higher to the one announced, then the challenger puts a counter into the pot.
- If a challenge is not made, then the dice are passed to the player without being revealed to any one else. The player takes a look at them and may throw any of them again but must declare without lying how many are being rolled. He must then announce a hand ranking that is higher than the previous one. (For example, if the previous roll was three of a kind, and the player chooses to reroll two of the dice, they must then announce that they now have a full house.)
Play continues passing to the subsequent players, each announcing a higher ranked hand, until a challenge is made. Once a challenge is made, a player loses a counter and the challenger starts the next round.
Players are out of the game when they lose their last counter.
How to win Liar's Dice
In "Single Hand" Liar's Dice, the winner of the game is the last player to have any dice remaining.
In "Common Hand" Liar's Dice, the winner of the game is the last player to have any counters remaining.
Rule variations for Liar's Dice
There are many, many variations of Liar's Dice.
"Single Hand" variants include:
Ones are wild and count as the face of the current bid (unless "ones" are the currently-bid face value).
- A player may bid a higher quantity of any face, or the same quantity of a higher face.
- A player may bid a higher quantity of the same face, or any quantity of a higher face.
- A player may bid a higher quantity of the same face or the same quantity of a higher face.
A "Common Hand" variant is:
Each player is allowed three rolls of the dice before they have to declare their hand. After each roll they may put aside any dice they wish to keep for their hand, rolling the remainder.