Here's how to play Bunco with money and really raise the stakes
Set clear rules for the head table and others before you start to play Bunco
Your Bunco group can really raise the stakes for the next game night by playing Bunco for cash. Bunco groups should set whatever rules suit them and their members the best. For most, that means paying out cash for:
- Whoever wins the most
- Whoever has the most Buncos
- Other special rolls, like mini-Bunco or pre-determined dice rolls
Some winning categories award money to the person with the most losses, the last person to travel, or the most or least "special rolls", like if you intend to award anyone who rolls three 6's or three 1's during any round.
Putting money into the Bunco Pot
Before you start your first round, decide how much everyone needs to commit. That could be $10 each, or up to $100 or more, depending on everyone's comfort. The group decides the Bunco prizes here. If it's ladies’ night, extra wine may help loosen up wallets.
If you're using score sheets, it can be handy to write down the winning and losing combinations you determine for payouts and buy-ins on the back or sides.
For ease of math in this guide, we assume that eight players across two teams of four each put in $100. That's $800 in the Bunco Pot.
Bunco is traditionally played with twelve players across three tables, but a Bunco party can adjust. Check out some of our standard game rules and scoring guide for more.
Decide the payout scheme from the Bunco Pot
Next, the group decides what the payout scheme will be. An example could be:
- Whoever has the most wins receives 50% of the pot, or $400 in our example.
- Whoever scores the most Buncos receives 25%, or $200 in our example.
- Whoever has the highest score across all rounds wins 15%, or $120.
- Whoever spends the most time at the head table wins 10%, or $80.
You could, as mentioned, decide on other rewards that occur less frequently or with a higher bar for achievement. Ideas include:
- The number of times a player rolls a Bunco twice in a row
- A traveling prize for traveling the most or least
- Most rounds won or lost consecutively
- Whoever wins the first Bunco
- Whoever the last person rolls a mini-Bunco is
- The biggest loser
- Most points in a random round, such as round 3 and only round 3
- Most likely to sit on a losing team longest
- Person holding fuzzy die longest or at the end of the game
- A person rolls the same number of the previous round twice in a row in any round number
Different groups can decide point schemes, too, like deducting one point for dice that rolls off the table, or adding a one point handicap for bringing table snacks. Check out our guide on other Bunco house rules.
Buy-ins for the losing team or exhausted prize pot
If you decide to award money at the end of each round, say a $10 buy-in at the start that pays out to the winner of that round, players may need to continually buy in if they lose.
- Consider setting a maximum pay-out amount across all rounds, like $100. This way, Bunco players can continue rolling without feeling like they're being swindled.
- As the group plays, you might have to award money to someone for repeated wins. Consider reserving additional prizes for someone if they get on a roll and repeatedly land Buncos and mini-Buncos.
If your team awards prizes for the most wins, you won't run out of money until the round ends or the game ends.
Winning players can split or take the prize pot to re-up in the next round.
Increasing the pot with "negative penalties" for the winning teams
You can raise the stakes further by letting the Bunco Pot fill up across all six rounds and every table for various penalties. If, at the start of each round, people have to buy in and pay into the Bunco Pot for various scores, infractions, or player marks by a few dollars or more each time, money can really add up.
Ideas for "negative penalties" include:
- Not rolling a Bunco or a mini-Bunco in any round
- Two players that score a tie game
- Forgetting which round number the table is on
- A partner rolls some specific number
- Rolling all three dice to add up to a specific value, odd number, or another predetermined amount
The biggest prize as you play Bunco comes from being with your friends. It's a social dice game that's more about meeting others than scoring more points. But if you're going to play with close friends and money's on the line, it's a great way to award winners on a great game.
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