bun·co also bun·ko (bung’ ko)
n. pl. bun·cos, also bun·kos
1. A swindle in which an unsuspecting person is cheated; a confidence game.
2. A parlor game played in teams with three dice.
3. A winning throw in the above game; three of a kind of a specified number.
[Probably alteration of Spanish banca, card game, from Italian banca, bank, of Germanic origin.].
Strictly speaking, bunco is a game of dice, played in rounds. Players take turns rolling the dice and trying to accumulate as many points as possible to win each round. The game is played at tables of four in competing teams of two.
Players score points by rolling three dice and trying to match the number they’re supposed to roll for that round. They get a point for each die that rolls the number, and if all three roll the number they score 21 points. They also score 5 points for rolling three of a kind of any other number. They get to keep rolling as long as they score one or more points with each roll. Once they fail to score they pass the dice to their left and the opposing team gets a chance to score.
During each round the teams at the Head Table try to score 21 points. The first team to score 21 points wins the round and play stops. At all other tables play stops when the Head Table play stops and the team with the highest score at each lower table wins the round.
At the end of the round players change seats, the winners at each of the lower tables move up a table, and the losers at the head table move to the lowest table. Players also switch partners at the end of the round, so you never play with the same partner twice in a row.
During play, players track the number of rounds they win and lose as a team, and the number of Buncos scored individually, on their personal scorecard. At the end of the night wins/losses and Buncos are tallied and prizes awarded.
Now we’re going to tell you the truth…
Bunco is a social event. It’s a party. It’s a blast!
Twelve of us get together once a month, leaving the cares and worries behind, and leaving the kids with their fathers or baby-sitters.
We fall off our diets, snacking on M&Ms, Chex-Mix, or anything else we can get our hands on. We have appetizers, a (usually) delicious dinner, and seconds on dessert. We drink our favorite spritzer, Chardonnay, or Drink-of-the-night, and we talk.
We talk about our kids. About the neighbors. About anyone who didn’t show up. About our husbands, our jobs, their jobs, the builder in our community, TV shows, current events, and anything else that might tickle our fancy.
Oh yeah, and we play a silly, mindless dice game with wild abandon, hoping to take home a few more sheckles then we arrived with.