Passe-dix

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Passe-dix, also called passage in English, is a game of chance using dice. It was described by Charles Cotton in The Compleat Gamester (1674) thus:

"Passage is a Game at dice to be played at but by two, and it is performed with three Dice. The Caster throws continually until he hath thrown Dubblets under ten, and then he is out and loseth; or Dubblets above ten, and then he passeth and wins."[1]

Andrew Steinmetz, in The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims, described it at greater length but somewhat confusingly (the results of rolling a 10 are unclear, depending on whether it wins for the bank or is a push, there is house advantage is at best 0, and at worst negative, and the suggestion that it was played at the crucifixion is of course sheer speculation):

"Passe-dix is one of the, possibly the, most ancient of all games of chance, is said to have actually been made use of by the executioners at the crucifixion of our Saviour, when they parted his garments, casting lots, Matt. xxvii. 35.

"It is played with three dice. There is always a banker, and the number of players is unlimited. Each gamester holds the box by turns, and the other players follow his chance; every time he throws a point under ten he, as well as the other players, loses the entire stakes, which go to the banker. Every time he throws a point above ten (or passes ten -- whence the name of the game), the banker must double the player's stakes and the stakes of all those who have risked their money on the same chance. When the game is played by many together, each gamester is banker in his turn."

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