We Answer All Your Bones Questions in Honor of National Dice Day
It’s National Dice Day! Each year, on December 4, casinos across Las Vegas celebrate this momentous occasion by hosting “craps games” and “providing complimentary beverages when certain gaming thresholds are met.”
Dice are one of the oldest known gambling devices, along with domino tiles and the middle finger.
“Why are dice called bones?” you ask. The Greeks and Romans made dice from sheep anklebones, and the name stuck.
“What are the dots on dice called?” you ask. The spots on dice are called “pips,” we answer. You make a pip by drilling a small indentation and filling the hole with paint.
“How deep are those indentations?” you pester. Exactly 17/1,000th of an inch deep. Yes, we measured.
“What’s it called when someone tries to predict the future using dice?” you ask. Sort of a weird question, but the answer is “astragalomancy.”
“Do the sides of dice have names?” you inquire. “Why, yes,” we answer. “The six sides of a die are called ace, deuce, trey, cater, cinque and sice.”
There is a high probability you’ll win a bar bet with that one someday.
On the subject of “die,” you inquire, “Where does the term ‘die’ come from?” Actually, “die” comes from the word “datum,” which means “something played.”
“Hey,” you shout. “Is there a name for the pattern of a five on dice?” My, you do ask some peculiar questions, which we don’t mind, because you’re only asking questions we know the answer to. That pattern, with four pips in the corners and one pip in the center is called a “quincunx.”
“Dice clocks and Vegas,” you ask. “What’s all that about?” We’re not sure, but we know these popular Vegas souvenirs were invented by Reve White, although that’s the subject of some debate among dice clock enthusiasts. (Hint: Never invite them to a party.)
“Oh, all-knowing Pulse of Vegas blog,” you continue. “Do you have any other amazing facts about dice you can share?” Thanks, but we are not all-knowing. We are all-knowing and humble.
And here’s another dice fact. At any given time, you can only see three sides of a casino die.
“Just one more?” you plead. Oh, all right, did you know that in the 18th century, in English gambling dens, there was a person whose sole job was to swallow the dice in case of a police raid?
Now you know!
Dice are the ultimate random number generator, so celebrate National Dice Day by getting out there and letting ’em fly! Just keep your dice arc lower than eyeball level if you’re playing craps in a Las Vegas casino. Keeps the pit bosses happy.