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Yatzy Casino Games

If you’ve ever sat down to play a dice game with your family, there’s an excellent chance that the game was Yahtzee. Particularly popular in the United States, the game of rolling and pressing your luck in order to make a series of combinations in order to earn points. What many players never realized was that this was just one of a number of variations on a theme that includes Poker Dice, Cherrio, and Yatzy, a game most popular in Scandinavia.

Perhaps owing to their Danish roots, Spigo made the decision to recreate Yatzy as part of their line of skill-based games. No matter which of these versions you’ve played before, the basic flow of the action will be very familiar to you. However, the specifics of what you’re shooting for might be a bit different, and two different versions of the game offer more variety than ever before. Throw in the ability to play against opponents for real money, and you have a fun, fast, and thrilling contest on your hands.

Rolling for Points

Yatzy is a dice game that can be played with anywhere between two and four players. The object of the game is to be the player who scores the most points by the end of each round. The game can be played in a fun mode, in which you can compete against other humans or a computer opponent, or for real stakes against other players in a winner-takes-all contest.

There are two versions of the game that can be chosen for play: the classic five-die version, and an expanded six-die variant. For most of this section, we’ll be talking about play with five dice; later on, we’ll discuss the changes that occur when you play with six.

At the start of the game, one player will be chosen at random to be the first to roll. Five six-sided dice will be rolled, and the results will be displayed for you on screen. The player must then decide which of the dice they would like to keep, and which they would like to reroll. Players get up to three total rolls in this manner. A player’s turn ends when they either decide to keep their current roll in total, or when they complete their third roll, which they will be forced to keep.

Once the player has a roll they are keeping, they must assign it to one of the categories they appears on their score sheet. If the dice cannot score in that category, the player will receive zero points (sometimes necessary or desirable if there is nowhere good to place the current dice). Otherwise, each category scores as laid out below. The scorecard is split into two sections: the upper section, where you place individual numbers, and the lower section, where certain combinations are necessary to score.

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Yatzy

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Upper Section

In the upper section, there are six categories: ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes. If you play into one of these categories, you score points equal to the total of the appropriate dice. For instance, four twos will score eight points, while three sixes will score 18 points.

In addition to these individual categories, there is also a special bonus of 50 points available if you can score a total of at least 63 points in this section. This is the equivalent of getting three of each number.

Lower Section

There are a number of different categories here with varying requirements. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can shoot for, and how many points they score:

  • One Pair: Two of the same number. Scores points equal to the total of that pair.
  • Two Pairs: Two each of two different numbers. Scores equal to the total of the two pairs.
  • Three of a Kind: Three of the same number. Scores equal to the total of the three dice.
  • Four of a Kind: Four of the same number. Scores equal to the total of the four dice.
  • Small Straight: Five dice in the combination of 1-2-3-4-5. Worth 15 points.
  • Large Straight: Five dice in the combination of 2-3-4-5-6. Worth 20 points.
  • Full House: Three dice of one number and two of another. Scores equal to the total of all five dice.
  • Yatzy: Five of the same number. Scores 50 points, plus the total of the five dice.
  • Chance: Any five dice, scoring equal to the total of those dice.

A player may only score once in each category, after which they cannot use it again, even if they scored zero in some of them. The game is over when all players have assigned dice to every category (again, including zeroes), and the player with the most points is the winner. If the game is being played for real money, then the winner takes the money put up by each player, minus a small percentage kept by the site (the equivalent of the rake in a poker room).

Changes with Six Dice

Yatzy plays very similarly with six dice. However, as you might expect, there are some new combinations and some slight changes to the rules in order to accommodate the additional die.

First, you’ll need a total of 84 points in order to score the bonus in the Upper Section. That’s the equivalent of getting four of each number, rather than three. In the lower section, a Yatzy now requires all six dice to be of the same number. In addition, the following new categories will be added:

  • Three Pairs: Two each of three different numbers. Scores equal to the total of all six dice.
  • 2 x Three of a Kind: Three each of two different numbers. Scores equal to the total of all six dice.
  • Five of a Kind: Five of the same number. Scores equal to the total of the five dice.
  • Royal: A combination of 1-2-3-4-5-6. Worth 30 points.

In addition, both versions of the game offer the potential for access to the Spigo jackpot game. In order to earn a jackpot spin, you’ll need to roll a one on the first roll of each of several consecutive turns. In the five-die game, you’ll need to do this on four turns in a row; in the six-die variant, you’ll need five consecutive successes. The top prize in the jackpot game is posted above the chat area, though several smaller prizes are also available.

Strategy Plays a Roll

Given how the entire game relies on rolling dice, it might seem like strategy plays a very muted role in Yatzy. However, appearances can be deceiving: in fact, a player with a strategy that is close to optimal will have a reasonably large edge against someone making random or even average decisions. With optimal strategy, one study found that the average expected score is around 250 points; play around with the game for a bit, and you’ll realize that mediocre play results in a much lower average.

We have not seen a useable optimal strategy chart for players, nor are we sure one is entirely feasible given the large number of possibilities one might encounter during a typical game. However, there are a few tips we can pass along to help you improve your results:

  • Do everything you can to ensure you get the Upper Section bonus. This means that your first four-of-a-kind (or, in the six-die variant, five-of-a-kind) should probably go in the Upper Section if it is a high value number. This will give you leeway later on in the game, allowing you to come up short with a smaller number and still get the bonus. In some cases, it may even be worth putting a Yatzy into sixes very early in the game.
  • Whenever possible, fill in harder difficulty combinations earlier than easier ones. That means that you should take your full house before your three-of-a-kind, your two pair instead of one pair, and so on. This will minimize how many zeroes you are stuck with later. On the other hand, you should leave your Chance – the most flexible of all spaces – for as late as possible.
  • Speaking of zeroes, if you have to start taking some late in the game, stick them in the straights first. Given how difficult these combinations are to make, they are worth relatively few points. Other good places for zeroes include the Ones category (since it will only make it slightly harder to hit the bonus target and is never worth many points) or the Yatzy, which you will rarely complete with only a couple rolls remaining.

A Fun and Challenging Competition

If you enjoy Yahtzee or any of its variations, we imagine that you’ll have a great time playing Yatzy as well. It’s similar enough that you’ll be able to pick it up and start playing immediately, and the six-die variations is a great change of pace if you’re looking to mix things up. And, like most games, it’s always more fun when there’s a little bit of money on the line.

Like all skill-based games, there’s always the risk that you run into some sharks who are much better than you. But we can’t imagine that many people will be playing this game for high stakes, which should lower the risk of anyone really looking to take advantage of their competition – and the pain if you should happen to lose a few games in a row. In the end, this is an entertaining, fast paced game that is only enhanced by the gambling aspect: something that combines the joy of a childhood game with the excitement of betting as an adult.

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