What is Farkle and how to play it like a pro?

farkle dice

Farkle is one of those games that students play in their college dorm rooms, but also one of the most popular gambling activities that people enjoy in casinos.

It’s a fun and entertaining way to pass the time. Farkle is also known as Zilch, 6 Dice, Ten Thousand, Squelch, or Hot Dice. Although the game is very popular and dates back to the 1980s, no one knows its origins for sure.

Farkle is one of Americans’ favorite party games, and you only need three items to play it:

  • Six standard dice with six sides
  • A score sheet and a pen or pencil
  • One or more dice cups, though this is optional as you can roll the dice with your hand

The basic rules of Farkle

To play Farkle, you will need at least two players, but the game is best experienced when there are at least three and maximum eight players.

There are numerous variations of the game rules, but we will be sticking to the standard ones for the sake of making it easy to understand to newcomers.

First, get your scoring sheet out and choose which player starts the game. Now the player has to roll the six dice and see what numbers they got. Depending on what combination of numbers they got, they will receive a certain number of points as follows:

1 100
5 50
Three 1s 1000
Three 2s 200
Three 3s 300
Three 4s 400
Three 5s 500
Three 6s 600
1 through 6 3000
3 pairs or 4 of a kind and a pair 1500

Let’s say a player gets three fours and no other pair. They keep the 400 score in mind, set the three fours aside, and roll the remaining dice once more.

If their roll results in no additional scorable numbers, they lose the 400 points. However, if they roll, let’s say, three more fours, then they will add another 400 points, resulting in an 800-point round.

Additionally, if a player rolls a complete winning combination on the first try (1-6; 3 pairs; 4 of a kind), then they can put their score directly on the board or they can choose to roll all the dice again. If they score nothing on the second run, they lose all the points. But if they score another winnable combination, then they add the extra points.

farkle betting

Passing to the next player

After the first player’s turn is over, the dice go clockwise to the next person sitting at the table. This is where things get interesting, as the next player can vary their strategy to outwit the previous one.

Depending on how much points the previous player had before you, think carefully about the risk versus reward. Let’s say you rolled 1-5-5-5-2-4. You have several options if such a scenario ever occurs to you:

  • You can set aside one of the 5s and the 1 for a score of 150 points
  • Setting aside just the 1 will net you 100 points
  • Putting aside the three 5s gives you 500 points
  • And putting aside the 1 and three 5s will give you a great 600 points

Now here comes the tricky part: if you don’t roll any other winnable combination, you’ll lose all your points. But if you do, you’ll earn even more and possibly go way ahead of the other players’ score. However, you can also choose to play it safe and end your turn. This is why Farkle can be so engaging despite the fact that rolling the right dice depends on luck.

Other scoring variations

Now that we’ve seen the standard scoring system, let’s check out some interesting variations that can make a game of Farkle even more interesting:

  • Four of a kind = 2x (double) the 3-of-a-kind value
  • Five of a kind = Triple the 3-of-a-kind value
  • Six of a kind = Quadruple the 3-of-a-kind value
  • Six 1s = 5000 points
  • A player who rolls three Farkles (zero points) in a row loses 1000 points
  • Welfare variation: A player must score exactly 10,000 points to win the game. If a player scores more than 10,000 points, then all points scored that turn are given to the player with the lowest score.

Can you play Farkle online?

Yes, you can. There are numerous sites where players can engage in a few rounds of Farkle and set their own variations, often times free of charge.

However, not all of these sites feature the security measures that one would expect to protect their privacy and data. Fortunately, aspiring entrepreneurs can build their own websites with Farkle and numerous other games that can be played either for free or for real money. Click here to see one such option.

The bottom line

Farkle is both a game of luck and strategy alike. It’s a fun way to wager bets or simply enjoy the time spent with friends, family, and whatnot.

If you calculate your moves and risks accordingly, you’ll be able to outwit other players and become a true Farkle champion amongst your close circle.