Three colored dice on top of a close up of a $20 bill showing Benjamin Franklin's face.

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:

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:

You could, as mentioned, decide on other rewards that occur less frequently or with a higher bar for achievement. Ideas include:

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.

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:

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.

You can play Bunco — no risks, no buy-ins — free anytime at

Play Bunco anytime on your own, no score sheets required, no head table, and all the snacks your kitchen can afford. Playing time is faster than a social group and while there are no prizes, you'll get the sense of satisfaction that comes from scoring the most wins.

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