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How to Play Bunco and Printable Bunco Cards

Bunco is a really fun game that requires no strategy, very little knowledge of game playing, and a lot of luck.

Find out how to play Bunco, and download free printable Bunco cards!

Playing Bunco with a crowd is such fun!  It’s a fast paced game that require absolutely no strategy, so every one has the same odds of winning as everyone else.  This makes it a great game for a mixed crowd, as a 10 year old has the same odds of winning as a 50 year old.

Materials needed:

Bunco is best played with groups of 4 people, with the ideal number being 12 or 16 people.  However, it can be played with any number of people, see the bottom of this post for how to deal with an odd number of people.

Set up a table for every 4 players.  On each table, have 3 dice.  Each player will need a bunco card and a pen.

The tables will be numbered 1, 2, 3, etc, with the #1 table being the “head table.”  The head table starts and stops each round of play.

Players will be working in teams, with the players opposite each other at the table being a team.

When everyone’s ready, the head table rings the bell, and play begins at all of the tables (at the same time).

Find out how to play Bunco, and download free printable Bunco cards!

One player per table rolls all three dice at once.  During round #1, they are trying to roll 1’s.  If they get one or more 1’s, they roll again, and each 1 rolled counts as a point.  So if they roll two 1’s, they get 2 points and roll again, until they don’t roll any 1’s.  Then they pass the dice to the next person.  The second player will now roll for 1’s, until they don’t get any.

If at any point a player rolls three 1’s at once, they yell “Bunco!” and make a mark in the Bunco spot on their card.  A bunco counts as 21 points towards the round.

Each team will keep track of their score, and try to get as many points as possible during the round.  The head table will end the round when one team gets to 21 points.  At this point, they will ring the bell again, and play at all of the other tables will stop.  If a person is in the midst of rolling, they can continue to roll until they don’t get any 1’s to end the round.

Once the round ends, players will tally up their points, and the winning team will advance to the next highest table, while the losing team will go down a table.  You will circle either W (win) or L (loss) for that round on your bunco card.

Click picture to download your free printable Bunco cards!

For instance, at table 2, the winners will advance to table 1, while the losers will go down to table 3.  Each “team” will also split up, and take a different seat than before, so the teams are completely different every time.

The only exception to this is at the head table and the last table.  The winners from the head table will both stay at the head table, but one of them will move seats so they aren’t on the same team again.  The losers at the last table will also stay at their table, and one will switch spots as well.

For the second round, you’ll be rolling to get the most 2’s.  For the third round, 3’s, and so on.

Prizes are usually given out for the most buncos, the least buncos, the most wins, and the most losses.

If you happen to not have a number of players divisible by 4, you can still play.  Put the odd number of players at the last table.  If there are 3 players here, 2 will play as a team, and the other will play with a “ghost” partner.  The partner will roll for both their turn and their ghost partner’s turn.

If you have only 2 players at the bottom table, you will just play against each other, but both people will move up at the end of the round.

If you have only 1 extra player, they can switch turns with another player.

Overall, Bunco is a great time.  You will get to play with most everyone that is there, and play as their teammate and also as their opponent, so it makes for a fun time.

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Find out how to play Bunco, and download free printable Bunco cards!



Johna Danner

Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

is 1"s the only way to Bunco or is it a bunco with three of the numbers that your rolling at that time?

Jamie H

Friday 25th of August 2023

@Johna Danner, A bunco is 3 of whatever number is currently being rolled.


Saturday 6th of April 2019

when we play with 16 players we play the same as with 12. we have the Head Table who starts and ends the rounds and then table 1, 2, 3, & 4 and play just like a game of 12 with 3 tables. Winners move Head table #1 winners move to table 4. Table 4 moves to 3, 3 moves to 2 and table 2 moves to table 1 the Head Table.

Jamie H

Friday 25th of August 2023

@Marlene, yes, you can play with any multiple of 4. We once had a Bunco party with around 8 tables, and simply designated a top table and bottom table, and went up and down from there.

joyce asselin

Monday 11th of March 2019

who get the ghosts score

Jamie H

Friday 25th of August 2023

@joyce asselin, the ghost acts in place of whoever needs a partner. So if you have players A and C on a team, and B has no partner, the roll would go from A to B to C and back to B again.

Johna Danner

Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

@joyce asselin, you add the score to the person who is rolling for the ghost or the player that is alone>


Tuesday 12th of February 2019

when we play, winners move up a table and losers stay table they are at.

Jamie Harmon

Friday 15th of March 2019

There are so many variations on this game!


Tuesday 12th of June 2018

I have played with 12 players, 3 tables & know where losers & winners go but now I am going to play with 16. Where do losers & winners go from the 4 tables? Please let me know asap as we play this Sat. the 16th.

Jamie H

Wednesday 13th of June 2018

Cori, when we've played with 16, we just pick a table that will be the head table. They get the bell, and start and stop each round. Then we have Table 2, Table 3, and the Loser Table. At the end of each round, the team that wins at a table will advance to the next table. So if you won at Table 3, you would move up to Table 2. And the losers drop down a table, so if you lost at Table 3, you would move down to the Loser Table. The only exception is at the Head Table, the winners stay there, and at the Loser Table, the losers stay there. And then at the end of each round, the team splits. So if you were playing with another person, you would play against them on the next round. I hope this all makes sense-- if you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I'll be watching to make sure I can answer you promptly.