Vital Vegas

A First Look at the Long-Awaited Street Dice at Downtown Grand Las Vegas

Downtown Grand, formerly Lady Luck, opened on October 27, 2013. Even before the hotel’s grand re-opening, there was buzz about a new game to be offered at Downtown Grand: Street Dice.

The much-talked-about game will finally debut to the public on Friday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m., and we’ve got a first look at the game Downtown Grand touted as “unprecedented,” “crazy fun” and “unlike anything Vegas has ever seen,” which is technically the same thing as “unprecedented,” but let’s not get bogged down in details. Behold, Street Dice!

Yes, there are dice, but don’t get your hopes up about the “street” part.

We should get something out of the way right up front: The name “Street Dice” is a misnomer. The game is played on the sidewalk outside Downtown Grand, not on the street.

“Sidewalk Dice Under an Awning” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Street Dice is, as advertised, unprecedented. And it can only be found at Downtown Grand at the moment.

It’s played on a special table, with a unique layout, and the dice are thrown against a large, enclosed, simulated wall.

Yeah, rumors of the dice being thrown against an actual wall appear to have been thwarted by the Nevada Gaming Commission. At one time, the game was going to face the wall of Downtown Grand, but regulators nixed that, so the game was turned parallel to the wall.

We’ll be withholding our “meh” until we get a chance to play. We’re fair like that.

The dice used in the game are not, as was predicted by many (including this Las Vegas blog), larger-than-life dice. No fuzzy dice. No inflatable dice. No epic dice. Just, you know dice, although they’re about twice the size of regular craps dice. They’re the largest legal casino dice, apparently.

It gets even better.

The dice are retrieved by a “stick” of sorts, but it’s really one of those grabber thingys you use to get objects off the high-up shelves in your kitchen.

Yes, “grabber thingy” is the technical name.

Now, for the layout and game play.

The brick motif is awesome, but would be even more so if the game involved actual bricks.

Players make their basic bet, then throw the dice. Go ahead and set them if you like. The “wall” you’re shooting against is 10 feet away, so controlling the dice would be beyond impossible.

If you roll a 2, 3 or 12 on the first roll, you lose your bet. A seven is a “push.” Only an 11 wins on the first roll (it pays even money).

If you roll something other than those numbers, the dealer marks the point, and you have three rolls to hit the number again. There’s a digital counter on the wall that counts down from three.

Counting backward from three is, you know, a lot harder than counting to three.

Payouts on the numbers, if hit, vary based upon which roll it is, first, second or third. For the numbers 4 and 10, hitting the number on the first roll pays 5-to-1, second roll pays 4-to-1 and third roll pays 3-to-1. For 5 and 9, hitting the number on the first roll pays 4-to-1, second roll pays 3-to-1 and third roll pays 2-to-1. For 6 and 8 (the most commonly-rolled numbers, after seven), hitting the number on the first roll pays 3-to-1, second roll pays 2-to-1 and third roll pays even money.

If you roll a seven (the most commonly-rolled number) after the point has been established, you lose your bet.

So, hit your point (win), “seven out” (lose) or fail to hit the point in three rolls (lose), and you start all over again.

The casino has wisely put the rules and payouts right on the layout, so even the drunkest of us can keep track of our wins and losses. Especially that last thing.

Thanks for the convenient payout table, layout designer persons.

That’s pretty much it. Easy game, easy payout table. To illustrate the simplicity of the game, we grabbed these photos as dealers (presumably dice dealers in the main casino) were being trained to run Street Dice, and their entire training took less than five minutes.

The straightforward nature of Street Dice at Downtown Grand should make it accessible to people intimidated by traditional craps, as well as those with far too much disposable income.

There’s one side bet in the game, just to keep things interesting.

The side bet in Street Craps is called a “Brick Bet” (again, no actual bricks, and this bet must be made before the start of a roll). It pays if an established point of 4, 6 , 8 or 10 hits as a pair, or “hard way,” within three rolls. On the “come out,” or set-the-point roll, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 12 lose, as those aren’t among the four numbers (4, 6, 8, 10) that can be made the hard way. A roll of 7 loses, too. An 11 on the set-point roll is a push. A winning “Brick Bet” pays 25-to-1.

Traditional craps has more than 100 bets and bet combinations. Street dice? Two.

So, will we play Street Dice when it makes its grand entrance at Downtown Grand? Yes! Do we expect to win? Hell, no!

Street Dice isn’t about winning. It’s about having fun, and it’s about playing a casino game outside. It’s a novelty, and it will definitely garner some interest as a one-of-a-kind table game.

Unfortunately, Street Dice’s hype doesn’t appear to match the final product (imagine that in Las Vegas), so we’re going out on a limb to say there won’t be much of a wait to play.

Downtown Grand can’t seem to overcome its challenging location, despite a number of excellent offerings nearby (including Pizza Rock and Triple George, both outstanding restaurants), and it’s unlikely Street Dice will have much impact there. Downtown Grand’s restaurants, like Stewart + Ogden, have improved a lot since the hotel opened, but even vastly improved food can’t seem to help the hotel’s struggling casino.

When it comes to Downtown Grand, we tend to follow the philosophy below.

We remain optimistic, but not inexhaustibly so.

Still, we love us some Vegas newness, and we’re looking forward to trying Street Dice during the last few moderate days of spring before Las Vegas slips into its predictable 100-degrees-plus summer. (When an outdoor table gets hot in Vegas, it really gets hot!)

Will you try your hand at Street Dice? If you do, we’d love to hear about your experience.