Roll the Dice for the Shake-a-Day

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You don’t have to venture to the Wind River Casino to win big in Wyoming. Instead, sidle up to the bar at your favorite watering hole and request to play the shake-a-day (or shake-a-shift at some establishments). Shake-a-day has become a local phenomenon: a little dice game to add some intrigue to your alcohol consumption. Upon first glance, the goal is simple: five of a kind, or Yahtzee, wins the pot. But local bars have upped the ante, adding rules that allow for multiple rolls, smaller prizes and more.

Earliest Shake

Cowboy Coffee, opening its doors at 6 a.m., boasts the earliest shake of the day you can play. Just $1 gets you a roll. Three of a kind, you can roll again for another $1; four of a kind, roll again for $1 or get a free drink; roll the dice off the bar and you’re on the hook for espresso shots for the whole café. The last person to win left a $100 tab with his winnings, gifting each customer with a pleasant surprise of free food, drink, etc. until the $100 was spent.

Paying it Forward

The shake-a-day has evolved to include some philanthropy in the victory. The pot at the Silver Dollar Bar is currently more than $1,800. An easy five of a kind takes the pot, with some percentages taken off the top: 10 percent to local charity of player’s choice, 5 percent to the bartender and 5 percent or $100 (whichever is more) back to the pot. Also, the Silver Dollar Bar operates on a shake-a-shift system — when the morning bartender leaves customers can play again with the new bartender on duty.

Don’t Drop the Dice

Keep it on the bar, end of story. The rules at Calico are similar to the aforementioned, but if you roll the dice off the bar you’re on the hook for shots for the bar. There’s also a three roll maximum and out of towners only receive 50 percent of the pot. With a Teton County Wyoming or Idaho ID you get the full pot, minus 10 percent to refund the jar, 10 percent to WFD and a suggested gratuity of 10-15 percent. The pot at Calico is at about $800 these days, and they strongly believe that buying a round for the bar with your winnings promotes good karma. brew pub shake

Shake-a-shift

Moe’s Original Bar-b-que also allows a shake per shift, so pay attention to those bartender turnover times. Won a little over a week ago, the $1,200 pot dropped down to $300. When you win at Moe’s you owe 10 percent to Search and Rescue, 10 percent back to the pot, must buy everyone at the bar a drink and leave a generous tip for the staff.

The Biggest Pot

These days, shake-a-day is synonymous with The Bird. That’s because their pot has grown to unimaginable dollars, a Jackson Hole version of the lottery. You must have a local ID to win this game. The infamous prize has reached more than $65,000. How? Part of it can be attributed to the 12-sided dice, while the other contributing factor could very well be the ability to roll multiple times. The rules at The Bird are a long list. Pair of sixes? Roll again for $2. Small straight? Roll again for $2. On and on it goes until your $1 shake morphs into $16. That’s how money grows in the shake-a-day world.

Multiple Chances to Win

Snake River Brewery boasts two floors, and thus, two bars. Both bars have a separate shake-a-day. Customers can shake once a day at both bars, as long as they buy a beverage from each bar. If the dice roll off the bar it’s game over, and two of a pair gives you the chance to roll again for $1. At present, the bar upstairs has a pot that’s closing in on $400, while downstairs the prize hovers around $600. Win, and 10 percent goes to charity, 10 percent goes back in the pot and 10 percent is suggested as an optional tip. Shake handle bar

Extraordinary Prizes

The shake-a-day at The Handle Bar presents a consistent set of rules: three of kind lets you roll again for $1, 4 of a kind gets you a free drink or another roll for $1, and five of a kind takes the pot. But the Four Season’s restaurant has added a personalized prize to the mix: roll five fours and you can opt for a free night’s stay at Four Seasons Jackson Hole (subject to holiday blackout dates). Which would you take- the money or the staycation?

Current Target

At $1,720 and only six-sided dice, the shake at Hayden’s Post may be your best bet for an upcoming payout. Two, three or four of kind lets you roll again for another dollar. Roll five of a kind, with a local ID and you get 80 percent of the pot, 10 percent goes back into the pot and 10 percent goes to a local charity chosen by the establishment. Without a local ID you win 50 percent, with 40 percent going back to the pot and 10 percent to charity. Your turn ends if the dice roll off the bar.

So the question is: What are you willing to risk to win the pot? Which odds do you feel are in your favor? Pair your beer with a bit of good luck and you just might leave that bar without a tab. Try one game or try them all on a little shake tour. Good luck!

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About Author

Raised in the land of casseroles and deep fried cheese curds, Sam Simma left rural Wisconsin for the mountains of Wyoming in summer 2012. Her appetite for adventure is the only thing that rivals her passion for food. She has always used writing to document and critique her travel and dining experiences. Her warmest memories among family and friends have been associated with the food that was at the center of the occasion. From staging cooking shows with siblings to perfecting turtle brownies with her dad, today Sam enjoys connecting people over food by hosting cookie decorating parties, wine pairing nights, and Midwest-inspired potlucks. A dessert fanatic, she has come to impress friends and family with key lime pies, Oreo bon bons, and Snickers ice cream cakes that are far simpler than they could ever imagine. Shhh! Don’t tell.

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