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Hoo Hey How

Hoo Hey How (from the Chinese Hokkien dialect: 魚蝦蟹, Fish-Prawn-Crab) is a Chinese gambling game played with three, six-sided dice. It is very similar to Bầu cua cá cọp (squash, crab, fish, tiger) in Vietnam, and similar to Crown and Anchor in the West Indies. Each of these games uses three dice that have symbols instead of numbers, like most gambling games.

In the United States, the same three-dice game is called Chuck-a-Luck, and payouts are similar. However, by nature of the numbers on the dice, two additional bets, high and low, are found on the American table layout. Surprisingly, the game in the US has become nearly obsolete in land-based casinos, but is often found at online casino sites.

In Vietnam, Bầu cua cá cọp is popular because it requires just three dice to play the game. Although not as popular as Xoc Dia, it is now offered at land-based casinos and has a steady following at online casino websites.

hoo hey how

The above image shows 3 versions of Hoo Hey How as it’s found online and various dice used in the game

How to Play Hoo Hey How

In the traditional Hoo Hey How game, the three, six-sided dice have six characters painted on the sides. These include Hoo Hey How (Fish, Prawn, Crab) and also Stag, Gourd and Cock (Rooster). In some games the deal rotates, but at a casino, the house banks the game and a dealer handles all wagers and the dice.

To begin play, the dice are picked-up by the dealer and placed on a saucer. Players are encouraged to place their wagers on corresponding symbols of the sides of the dice found on the betting layout. When all bets have been placed, the players (or the dealer) will scoop the dice from the plate and roll them on the layout – or the dice will be covered with a bowl, the bowl and saucer shaken repeatedly, and then placed back on the layout and the bowl removed to reveal which symbols are now face-up.

The payoff system is very simple: each wager on a correct symbol is paid. Wagers on symbols that do not roll, lose. If the player has a wager on a winning symbol they are paid even money, or 1 to 1. If the symbol is shown on two dice, they are paid 2 to 1. If the symbol is face-up on all three dice, they are paid 3 to 1. This payoff system results in a house edge of 7.9% which is similar to wagers on Xoc Dia and Sic Bo.

Also like Sic Bo, a separate TRIPLES wager may be available. This wager wins if all three dice have the same symbol face-up after the roll. It does not matter which of the six symbols results in triples, the wager wins and is paid 30 to 1, with a 13.9% house edge. However, some land-based casinos, such as those in Macau, pay only 24 to 1, giving the house a 30% edge.

In American casinos, the dice for Chuck-a-Luck are held in a spinning, metal cage, which prohibits cheating. Some casinos use a similar bird-cage device for dice games, while others use a cylindrical Plexiglas holder with a shroud, like the one used on many Sic Bo games.

Online casinos (unless they have a live dealer) use a random number generator that automatically chooses which symbols will appear, based on the actual mathematical odds of the 216 (6 × 6 × 6) possible outcomes for a single throw of three dice.