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Dealing with the dice

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Dealing with the “dice”

Anyone who’s visited a bar in China will have seen small groups of Chinese huddled around their table or at the bar with a little (usually red) saucer and cup, shaking it franticly and shouting at their friends. It’s a very popular game and is playing in pretty much every bar and nightclub in China. It has the same regard and popularity of what Hold ‘em Poker does in the west.

It’s called Liar’s game but is known amongst foreigners as the “dice game” and in Chinese is called “chui niu” (吹牛) simply translated to “bullshit”.
Whilst the game has many variations, just as western games do, there are one standard set of rules that players abide to which we will cover a little later.

Firstly you will need a set of 5 dice and a cup for each player, just ask at the bar.

Now you are ready to play.

The object of the game is to guess when someone is telling a lie about how many dice there are in the game.

For example if you have four players then that means there are twenty dice and could be up-to twenty of any number, so you could say that there are five two’s or eight threes and so on.

The game ends when another player thinks that person in “bluffing” or telling “chui niu”. At this point everyone opens their dice and they are counted. If they are telling the truth then the person who called must drink, if they were bluffing then they must drink.

The game is very easy to pick up and start playing but is very difficult to master and takes a lot of (drunken) practice. The locals know how to play and are very good at it so be warned!

Here’s a quick guide to some useful phrases in the game

wo xiang - I think
yi - one
er - two BUT when used as the possessive it becomes ‘lian’ (lian ge)
san - three
si - four
wu - five
liu - six
chi - seven
ba - eight
jiu - nine
shi - ten
ge - possessive when used with the number e.g. four 2s would be “si ge er”

To make the hand gestures for the numbers they are very simple

1-5 just count them on your hand like in the west
6 - make a fist but extend your thumb and pinky (little finger)
7 - use your thumb and index finger and make what looks like a 7
8 - same as seven but point upwards like your shooting a gun into the sky
9 - make a fist and with your index finger make a little hook
10 - use the index finger from both hands to make a cross

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