24 Apr

Farkle: A Fast Game for Fast Money

How to play Farkle for money (without losing your shirt, or your friends!)

Farkle: A Fast Game for Fast Money

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you not only know the rules of Farkle, but you consider yourself to be an above average player. One might venture to say you’re so confident in your capabilities – that you trust your tried-and-true Farkle strategies so unquestioningly – that you’re willing to stake your hard earned money on their efficacy.

First of all, let me clear up two things.

  1. Farkle is a game less dominated by skill, and more influenced by chance. Yes, a smarter player who knows the odds and probabilities of Farkle dice will gain a slight edge over their opponents. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to win great sums of money.
  2. Family and friendship are worth far more than proving your Farkle supremacy. Winning is fun. Winning money is even more fun. But winning large amounts beyond extra pocket cash isn’t worth losing trusted relationships.

Suffice it to say, if you’re going to play Farkle for money in a social setting, keep the mood and the cash pot light. With that being said, let’s take a look at a few of the…

Best Ways to Bet Money on Farkle

There are actual several great and enjoyable ways to play Farkle for cash. Below, I’ll describe some of the ways I’ve played, and other ways I’ve only heard about.

Straight Up Betting

This is the easiest and most casual way to go about wagering on Farkle. It involves straight up betting on a game, or the total combined scores of a series of games. Each player puts the same amount of money in the pot, and the winner takes it all.

If betting per game, keep the amount small, such as a quarter, or one dollar at most. If betting on a series of games, the bet size and number of games should correlate with the number of players involved. If you have 5 players, play 5 rounds, betting up to $5 each.

Pot Building

This version is similar to straight up betting, but a lot more fun in my opinion. Everyone places the same, small bet size in the pot to start. Each time something special happens, players pay the pot.

For instance, if a player Farkles, that player throws in a quarter. Or if a player rolls a straight (1-6), everyone else pays a nickel or quarter to the pot.

You can take these rules in any direction you wish. You could even allow players to pay the pot to negate a Farkle and try again, although I’ve found that this particular rule is best applied in early rounds, not the final round of play.

Penny-a-Point Farkle

Farkle can be a very fun game to play by penny-a-point rules. Being a potentially high scoring game, however, I suggest putting a cap on the payouts. Or, eliminate the last zero in each players score for payment purposes.

For example, if one player has a great run, ending with 10,000 points, and another experiences terrible luck, finishing with just 2,000, by penny-a-point rules that loser would pay the winner $80.00! That’s a lot of money to lose on a quick game of dice.

Instead, erasing that last zero (0) would bring the loss down to $8.00; a much more reasonable amount. Instating a $5.00 cap might be an even better idea. If combining scores from multiple games, a larger but still manageable cap of $15 to $20 might be in order. Set the cost at a level that’s appropriate for all of your group’s members so there’s no loss of enjoyment for the losers, and the entertainment can last a good long while.

Tournament Farkle

This option is best suited for even-number groups of more serious. Each player pays a small amount to join in. Then everyone splits off into pairs of twos. You’ll need 6 dice for each pair, as they’ll all be playing their own heads-up Farkle match. The winners of each match faces off against one another until just two players remain.

Alternatively, if you only have 6 dice, allow everyone to participate in a single game. At the end of each round, half of the players with the lowest score are eliminated. The other half move on to compete in the next round, with either two or three finalists (depending on starting number) battle it out for the championship.

In a small group of up 4 to 6 players, the winner takes 75% of the pot, and the runner up 25%. If playing with 7+, add a third place position, splitting the pot 50%, 30% and 20%. You can divvy the pot any way you wish, and to as many players as you like, so long as the last person paid gets an amount equal to or exceeding their buy-in.

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