Tuesday, 14 December 2010

How to beat a Thai bar-lady at Jackpot

Another popular and silly bar-game in Thailand is Jackpot.
For those who don't know the rules, throw your two dices and you may select one of the results or take the sum of the two. You flip the selected number and continue until you're able to turn all nine numbers, whereby the word .JACKPOT. appears. If the numbers you throw have been flipped already, you lost.
You can keep winning-scores when playing with others.
On the photo on the left you could choose between 3, 6 or the sum 9.
I'm very shy to admit but in my previous post I made a calculation mistake, playing the game over and over again, I noticed that the chance of throwing a 1 or 2 was far more higher than my predictions would allow, so I recalculated the whole thing, counting every combination from the 6 x 6 possible outcomes with two dice, with what some call a truth table. I now came to the following new graph, which shows that 9, 8 and 7 have the lowest chance, so it's best to fill them up first, and if you can, after that, fill it up from the left. Which would mean in the above specific case always choose 9 first, not 3 and definitely not 6 which has a likelyhood of showing up four times in a winning game.
The ideal sequence keeping the highest probability for consecutive numbers to be thrown is: 9, 8, 7, then 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and finally 6.

* Divide the vertical axis by 100 to get the likelyhood of the numbers 1 to 9 showing up in a winning game.

See also How to beat a Thai bar-lady at Connect 4


  1. Excellent post. I had always noticed that 5 and 6 seem to come up the most (so should be left towards the end of the game) and it's interesting to see some statistical validation.

  2. Except that the rules of the game state that once 7,8 and 9 have been lifted, the player may only use one die. Therefore it's a good idea to try to keep 7 as long as possible, so that two dice can be used.
    Ideally 7 should be the last number as there are 3 combinations that roll 7. Once the player can only play with one die, each number only has a 1:6 chance.

    1. I have heard that the rules of the game can differ and perhaps the rules you mention are the original rules, however I only describe how it is being played in Phuket, ie. with two dice all the time.
      I think these rules are used elsewhere in Thailand too, but I am unable to really confirm that with certainty.

  3. I think the higher number of 1's may have to do with Benford's Law...

  4. I've always found that if I work from the outside in I have greater success.
    For example going for a 1 or a 9 or a 2 or an 8, then you only are relying on single digit dice for a "jackpot".
    7 shouts in half an hour wasn't too bad at Kangaroo Bar in Patong.



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