Dice poker is an addictive game played throughout the world of The Witcher, and it is very popular in Temeria. If you are good enough, it is a great way of making money.
After finding a starter box of dice, Geralt is given the quest A Game of Dice. Opponents can be found far and wide as it seems mercenaries took it with them to the farthest reaches of the kingdoms as they scattered after the war. A clever witcher could finance many little extras with the proceeds of a few games.
- Each player uses a set of five dice.
- Bet levels are based on the experience of the players.
- The goal of the game is to roll the strongest hand in two out of three hands.
- Place your bet and left-click "roll dice".
- Choose whether to raise the bet.
- Select any dice you wish to re-roll.
- The player with the highest-ranking hand wins.
Ranking of Hands
From the lowest to the highest:
- Nothing — five mismatched dice forming no sequence longer than four.
- Pair — two dice showing the same value.
- Two Pairs — two pairs of dice, each showing the same value.
- Three-of-a-Kind — three dice showing the same value.
- Five High Straight — dice showing values from 1 through 5, inclusive.
- Six High Straight — dice showing values from 2 through 6, inclusive.
- Full House — Pair of one value and Three-of-a-Kind of another.
- Four-of-a-Kind — four dice showing the same value.
- Five-of-a-Kind — all five dice showing the same value.
Playing Dice Poker
Each game has two rounds and each round has two rolls. Geralt always starts. Between rounds each player who can afford to may raise the bet once. After Geralt makes this decision, the opponent can surrender, accept or raise (re-raise); surrendering is effectively forfeiting the round. If (after both re-roll decisions) both hands match, the highest face-value prevails: e.g. if you have a Pair of 3s and your opponent has a Pair of 4s, you lose. 'Extra' dice (in the case of Pairs or Three-/Four-of-a-Kind) are only considered if matching hands are identical: e.g. if each player has four 6s, your fifth die is a 3 and your opponent's is a 1, you win. If both players end with all five dice matching, it's a draw; this adds another chance to raise the stakes and re-roll, and though rare, can happen more than once per game, dragging it out until one hand exceeds the other.
"In his diary, the dice collector claims that dice poker became popular in the village of Murky Waters during the war with Nilfgaard. There should be loads of enthusiasts in the area."
- AI players in the game have been vastly improved in the Enhanced Edition of the game. Previously, they would often make absurd mistakes, especially the novices. This has been fixed.
- Playing conservatively no longer works quite as reliably as in the original game, but it is still an adequate strategy, i.e. only roll the dice that are not part of a pair or three-of-a-kind for your second roll and always roll those dice. But hey, it is a game of chance, nothing is assured.
- In the Enhanced Edition, three or four of a kind rolls are still much more common than in real life. One popular strategy to win these matches is to always discard the second pair when two pair are rolled because it is relatively common to get three of a kind or four of a kind.
- The use of the quicksave key (F5) before starting the match allows you to accumulate winnings by always betting the maximum and hitting the quickload key (F9) if you lose a match.
- This may be a 'game of chance' in theory, but in reality some players are inherently 'luckier' than others, including yourself. What this means is that as Geralt moves on to progressively more advanced players, the system that calculates the dice values is modified to favour the NPC, with the NPC having a greater probability of getting a better hand than the player. At higher levels this can be particularly frustrating, with Geralt's opponent easily cranking out great hands with each throw when he himself has trouble getting three-of-a-kind.
- The fact that Geralt always rolls first would appear to put him at an automatic disadvantage because only the NPC has the luxury of knowing what he has to beat on the second roll. So if the NPC has a higher hand after your throw, he will only throw the dice he doesn't need.
- Alas only the NPC can re-raise a bet. This happens when e.g. Geralt has a pair of fours and the opponent has three fours. Now even if Geralt was able to roll another four he would only get a draw. The AI understands this, and re-raises.
- Since you are in this to win, it usually is a waste of time to not bet the maximum amount of orens at any stage of the dice poker game. Should you lose, simply reload the game.
- The initial bet seems to determine the overall 'luck' of the game. A low first bet dramatically improving the chances that you will beat your opponent. This is unconfirmed mathematically, but has been anecdotally observed many times. (This is as close to being confirmed as is possible without empirical evidence, having played twenty games of poker dice, ten where the initial bet was the largest possible one, and ten where it was the lowest, the statistics speak for themselves: Of the ten first games, eight were lost and only two won. The remaining ten (where the initial bet was the smallest one), resulted in nine wins and only one loss. Furthermore, the chance of getting an initial combination of matching dice seems to improve drastically when opting for the smaller initial bet. Naturally, this does not guarantee a win, as mentioned above, the game is still about chance, this little trick does however seem to improve your chances of monetary gain. This was tested on the Enhanced edition of 'The Witcher'.)
Playing the Odds
Start your first match with the lowest ante and bet conservatively. If you win, quit here. Otherwise, up the ante and play again, betting more aggressively. Repeat once more if needed. If you still haven't won after three tries, you need to study the odds! By this method, assuming you can win half your matches, you will usually come away with at least a small monetary gain. The chance of losing three matches in a row is 12.5% if you are evenly matched.
Here are the odds rolling five fair six-sided dice:
- Five of a Kind = 0.08%
- Four of a Kind = 1.93%
- Full House = 3.86%
- Straight = 3.09%
- Three of a Kind = 15.43%
- Two Pairs = 23.15%
- A Pair = 46.30%
- Nothing = 6.17%
If your hand is worse than your opponent's, call. If it is much worse and the opponent raises, fold unless it's the third hand; by that time the pot is usually rich enough that it's worth your while to call unless your opponent has an unbeatable hand. If your hand is better than the opponent's, raise. If it's much better, raise the limit... it's always possible to see a good hand fall to a better one, but usually you will win if you're starting with a straight or better, so you should make your opponent pay for his chance to beat you. A smart opponent will often fold to you if you make him pay too much to stay in with his bad hand.
Below are the odds for improving your hand:
- Rolling four or five dice is not normally recommended because your best chance with "nothing" comes from rolling for the straight (16.7%)
- Rolling three dice: Your most common situation - you have a pair and end up with
- Five of a Kind = 0.46%
- Four of a Kind = 6.95%
- Full House = 9.29%
- Three of a Kind = 27.7%
- Two Pairs = 27.8%
- One Pair = 27.8%
Rolling two dice: You have three of a kind and end up with:
- Five of a Kind = 2.76%
- Four of a Kind = 27.8%
- Full House = 13.9%
- Three of a Kind = 55.5%
Rolling one die: You have four of a kind, in which case your game is won, or you are rolling for a straight (16.7%) or trying to improve two pairs (33.3%). If you instead throw away the lower of your two pairs and roll three dice, your odds are worse.
Dice poker-related quests (all technically optional):
- A Game of Dice
- Dice Poker: The Novice
- Dice Poker: The Professional
- Dice Poker: The Sharper
- Dice Poker: The Legend (not technically a quest, but the goal)
- Gambler at the Inn in the Outskirts.
- Gambler at The Hairy Bear.
- Gambling woman in the Country Inn in Murky Waters.
- Zoltan Chivay, at the Outskirts Inn (after Racists).
- Odo, found at his house south of the Outskirts Inn.
- Mikul, found guarding either the Merchants' Gate or the Miller's Gate.
- Haren Brogg, found at his house in the Outskirts' fishing village.
- An Elven convict in the dungeon, for the first scene of Chapter II only.
- Carmen, in or just outside of the Eager Thighs brothel.
- The Gardener at St. Lebioda's Hospital.
- Vaska, found in or near her house in the Brickmakers' village.
- Thaler, only while at home in Chapter II.
- Munro Bruys, found at the Hairy Bear.
- Roderick de Wett, found upstairs in the guard tower (after A Posh Reception).
- Velerad, found downstairs in the guard tower (after Gold Rush).
- The Hierophant, found in the Druids' grove in Chapter III.
- The Hermit, found at his 'compound' in the fields by Murky Waters.
- Julian, residing at the inn by Murky Waters.
- Tobias Hoffman, found at his house in Murky Waters during the day.
- Koster, found at the Gamblers' den in the Trade Quarter; he typically arrives around 13h30.
- Gambling Ghost, found near the Fairytale ruins outside Murky Waters.
- Dandelion, who appears from Chapter II onward but only counts as a sharper in Chapter IV.
- Chireadan, usually outside the elves' cave at Lakeside.
- King Foltest, you do not find him, he finds you!