Readers' Submissions

Shut The Box

  • Written by Anonymous
  • May 3rd, 2005
  • 4 min read

Playing Shut the Box dice game with bar girls, and beating them by surprise:
You’ve seen the game played at bars in Pattaya, and if you’ve played it you probably lost. Time to change that. Shut the box is a bar dice game in which the goal is to “flip off” or close off all the numbers from 1 to 9 on a small square wooden board by using any number that’s visible from two dice that are rolled within this box. You can use a number from one die, or the other die, or the total of both dice. You must do this without getting into a “stuck” position by rolling a number that doesn’t have an available number to close off. If this happens, you lose; if you close off ALL of the numbers in nine rolls you win. The board looks like this, a series of “close-off” flippers for the numbers:


With the dice landing area just below this.

Players take turns running the board until they either clear the board by closing off the all numbers made (and winning), or get stuck with no closable number on a roll, and lose. It’s played for fun, and to break the ice with a bar girl that you’ve just met. Thai bar girls seem to stomp their farang customers, and enjoy the friendly aggression of this immensely. You may also play for lady drinks, or for 20 Baht per game or so. (While gambling is nominally illegal in Thailand, so is prostitution, officially, anyway. What are they gonna do, send you to the Bangkok Hilton for buying a Radie drink after loosing a petty bar game to a hooker?)

In Las Vegas I frequently see out-of-towners bonding with their “hired lady for the night” at the craps and BJ tables here before hitting the sheets, with these working girl companions generally cleaning up at the tables, and even instructing their clients on how to play, as in “Jack, You DO wanna split those eights against a dealer’s six…”, or “Buddy, you should take five-times free odds on your point of eight….”, etc. It’s fun to watch these temporary couples in action before the action, if you know what I mean.

Same with you on your next trip to Pattaya, but it’s not the same-same in Pattaya: the Bar Girls generally enjoy the aggression of the win against their stupid farang customers, and as working girls take pride in being a good winning gamer. (Do they TEACH gambling in hooker’s school, I wonder??) So we need to teach to Shut-the-Box basic strategy to YOU punters, just to make the rest of us look respectable. I’m sure KJ Vegas and Vic Vegas would agree.

In shut the box, there are a series of numbers written on a set “flippers” that get set into a “canceled out” position when you decide to shut out that number from a dice roll you’ve made. The strategy is to wisely close off the harder-to-roll numbers first, saving the easy-to-make numbers for the final rolls. Get the hard-to-make numbers out of the way first, and chances are you’ll close out the board with an easy to make number when you down to the wire. Nothing to it, just knowing the number of ways a “number can make” using both the probabilities of the dice total as well as the individual numbers. If you’re used to crap shooting, just remember the value of a single die is just as usable to close out a number as the two-dice total.

Below is a table on the number of ways a pair of dice can make a number of 1 to 9 with both the total and the chances of an individual die showing a number. Below that are the groupings on what to close off first. Nothin’ to it.

Table of one-roll probabilities appearing, out of 36 “dice ways or pictures” on one roll for a total of two dice, plus 2/6 (33.33%) added to the numbers that can be made on one die with two dice in play. Per roll:

Num Ways two dice total on one die Percentage/odds to get
—— ——- —————- ———— —————————
1 2 0 2 33.33% (1:3)
2 3 1 2 36.11% (> 1:3)
3 4 2 2 38.89% (~1: 2.5)
4 5 3 2 41.67% (~1: 2.3)
5 6 4 2 44.45% (~1: 2.2)
6 7 5 2 47.23& (~1:2)
7 6 6 0 16.67% (1:6)
8 5 5 0 13.89% (~1:7)
9 4 4 0 11.11% (1:9)

As you can see by the table, the strategy is to:
a) Get the 7, 8, & 9 out of the way first, or upon their first dice appearance, then
b) The lower numbers first, from one up towards the six.

Stickman's thoughts:

There's gonna be some betting in Pattaya tonight!