Aboard the Flying Dutchman, the terms of the crewmen were that they would throw their dice in a cup and guess the number of a number on their top faces (i.e. three sixes, eight twos, etc.). The game included every player's dice, and wagers were made on years of service on board the Dutchman. Any crew member could be challenged, and Will Turner once used this to his advantage when he was forced into service aboard the Dutchman. He challenged Davy Jones himself to a game in order to find the location of the key to the Dead Man's Chest.
Davy Jones always knew whats going on aboard his ship. It was said that he can feel the ship. In theory, some think that Davy Jones knew what was under all of the cups seeming as the board which they played on was wood from the ship.
Five dice are used per player with dice cups used for concealment.
Each round, each player rolls a "hand" of dice under their cup and looks at their hand while keeping it concealed from the other players. The first player begins bidding, announcing any face value and the number of dice that the player believes are showing that value, under all of the cups in the game. Ones are often wild, always counting as the face of the current bid.
Turns rotate among the players in a clockwise order. Each player has two choices during their turn: to make a higher bid, or challenge the previous bid- typically with a call of "liar". Raising the bid means either increasing the quantity, or the face value, or both, according to the specific bidding rules used. There are many variants of allowed and disallowed bids; common bidding variants, given a previous bid of an arbitrary quantity and face value, include:
- the player may bid a higher quantity of any face, or the same quantity of a higher face (allowing a player to "re-assert" a face value they believe prevalent if another player increased the face value on their bid);
- the player may bid a higher quantity of the same face, or any quantity of a higher face (allowing a player to "reset" the quantity);
- the player may bid a higher quantity of the same face or the same quantity of a higher face (the most restrictive; a reduction in either face value or quantity is never allowed).
In Dead Man's Chest, Bootstrap Bill's bid has a reduction in face value from the previous bid made by Davy Jones, meaning the third variant listed above is not the one used in the movie.
If the current player challenges the previous bid, all dice are revealed. If the bid is valid (at least as many of the face value and any wild aces are showing as were bid), the bidder wins. Otherwise, the challenger wins. The player who loses a round loses one of their dice. The last player to still retain a die (or dice) is the winner. The loser of the last round starts the bidding on the next round. If the loser of the last round was eliminated, the next player starts the new round.
Behind the scenes
- In the audio commentary of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, it was said that Jack Davenport introduced the game to the cast and crew. After that, the Liar's Dice scene was put into the film.
- Hasbro released "Pirate's Dice" which is exactly the same as Liar's Dice, it just has a different name. When you lose you take a die out of the losers game.