Bunco: Dice Game Rules, Instructions & Winning Strategy


Bunco is a social dice game that’s all about luck, laughter, and a lot of rolling. It’s been around since the 1800s, starting in England before making its way to America. The game gained popularity as a family game in the 20th century and is often played at parties or gatherings.

The basic idea is to roll dice and score points based on the number you’re trying to hit in each round. There are six rounds, corresponding to the numbers on the dice. You play in teams, and there’s a lot of switching around, which makes it a great way to mingle and meet new people. The game is simple to learn, but it’s the social aspect that keeps people coming back for more.

Quick Tip for Bunco

Always pay attention to the number you need to hit for each round. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun and forget!

Rules for playing Bunco

The rules for Bunco are pretty straightforward. You need 12 players, divided into three tables of four players each. Each table has two teams of two players. You’ll also need three dice at each table, score sheets, and a bell. The game is played in sets of six rounds, and in each round, players are trying to roll the number that matches the round number.

For example, in the first round, you’re trying to roll ones. You get points for each correct number you roll. If you roll three of the same number that matches the round number, that’s a Bunco, and you get 21 points! The game continues until all six rounds have been played, and then you tally up the scores to see who won.

Equipment and Setup for Bunco

To play Bunco, you need:

  1. 12 players (ideally, but can be played with fewer in my experience)
  2. 9 dice (three for each table)
  3. Score sheets for each player
  4. A bell for the head table
  5. Pencils or pens

Set up three tables and assign four players to each. Players at each table form two teams of two. The head table controls the pace of the game with the bell.

How to Play Bunco

Here’s how you get the game rolling:

  1. Key Game Mechanics: Roll the dice and score points by rolling the number that matches the round number.
  2. Setup: Players sit at their assigned tables and decide who will start rolling the dice.
  3. Gameplay: Players take turns rolling the dice, trying to score points. When the head table reaches 21 points, they ring the bell to signal the end of the round.
  4. End of the Game: After six rounds, the game ends, and players tally their scores to determine the winners.

How to Win at Bunco

Winning at Bunco is mostly about luck since you’re rolling dice. But there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. Pay attention to the game, cheer on your partner, and keep the energy high. The more you enjoy the game, the better you’ll play. Also, make sure you’re clear on the rules so you don’t miss any scoring opportunities.

Best Strategies for playing Bunco game

While Bunco is a game of chance, you can still have a strategy. Focus on rolling quickly and efficiently to get as many rolls as possible during your turn. Encourage your teammate and stay positive, as high spirits can sometimes feel like they influence the dice. And always keep track of the current round number so you don’t accidentally roll for the wrong one.


There are many ways to mix up Bunco. Some people play with different rules for scoring, or add fun penalties for certain rolls. You can also change the number of rounds or players, depending on how many people you have. Feel free to get creative and make your own house rules!


Sometimes you’ll be on a hot streak, and other times you can’t seem to roll the right number. When things aren’t going your way, just keep rolling and having fun. The tide can turn quickly in Bunco. If you’re doing well, enjoy it, but don’t get too comfortable – the next round could be a different story!

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Bunco game

Q: How many people can play Bunco?
A: Bunco is best with 12 players, but you can adjust for different numbers.

Q: What if I roll three of a kind that’s not the round number?
A: That’s a mini-Bunco, and it’s worth 5 points.

Q: Can I play Bunco with kids?
A: Absolutely! Bunco is great for all ages.

Q: How long does a game of Bunco take?
A: A full game usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half.

Q: What happens if there’s a tie?
A: You can have a roll-off, where the tied players roll the dice and the highest number wins.

For more information on Bunco and official rulebooks, check out these links:

Bunco Dice Game Review and Scoring [Video]