Passa and Dice Game History and Rules

Dice games are largely believed to have originated in India. Dice is mentioned in the Rig Veda, and also in the Buddha Games List; a list of games Great Buddha himself said he would not play. The oldest written reference of dice in India text can be found in the Atharva Veda which a known copy carbon dates to around 1300 BC. There have been other Passa Indian Dice archaeological discoveries as well. Perhaps even older references to dice were included in both of India’s most ancient Sanskrit epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

In the Ramayana trees losing their fruit are compared with a defeated dice gambler losing his shirt. The core story of the Mahabharata has a king gamble away his wealth and kingdom before eventually gambling his brother, himself, and his wife into servitude. Dice was a game in ancient Indian times that fortunes were won and lost on. Today, it’s merely a fun pastime offered in a select few casinos including Casino Royale in Goa.

Indian Dice and Passa

Today the best known dice games in India are Passa and Dice, the later referred to by those outside India as “Indian Dice” or “The Dice Game”.

To clear up a little India gambling history before explaining these games, neither Passa nor Indian Dice is likely to have been the game Yudhisthira played against Kauravas for the northern kingdom of Hastinapura. It is far more likely they played the game mentioned in Rig-Veda X-34-13 which was a game played with about 150 nuts from a tree called Vibhīdaka. Indians did however have the dice available to do so, as they were the inventors of modern dice, with copies having turned up from 3000 BC.

With the history of the dice in India now covered let’s look at how each of the two Indian dice games are played.

How to Play Passa

How the game is played is rather simpler. Each player makes a bet on either hare (loosing) or jeetae (winning). Once the bets are understood a special set of dice are rolled until the winner is determined. These dice are rectangular in shape and use only numbers 1, 3, 4 and 6. Both dice are rolled together. If the outcome has no pair, the dice are rolled again. As soon as a pair is rolled the outcome is decided. A pair of 4’s or 6’s are winning hare bets. A pair of 1’s or 3’s are winning Jeetae bets. Overall it’s a rather simple game similar to heads or tails, but more fun because dice are involved.

Where to Play Passa Online

To the best of our knowledge Passa is not offered online, not even in play money format. If you like simple games that are heads or tails like in outcome, consider baccarat. If you’re a fan of games involving dice than no doubt craps is the best game to play. Both of these games are available with great odds at

Indian Dice Game

Another game that’s grown much more popular than Passa is simply called “Indian Dice”. This game uses standard dice; ones are wild, so 2’s are low, and 6’s are high. The object of the game is to make the highest number of matches possible. 5 of a kind the best hand, 4 of a kind the second best, followed by full house, trips, two pair and one pair. It’s basically similar to poker except there are no straights or flushes.

The game is played rather unique. The player who goes first can roll up to three times (taking two draws) however he might choose to stop if he wishes. The next player to act may only roll as many times as the previous player rolled. Generally the game is played in a best two out of three format.

Where to Play India Dice Online

Again this is another blank. The closest you’ll most likely find is play money Yahtzee. If that interests you I’d suggest searching for it at

Note: Another popular India Dice game played mostly as a hobby is explained in this YouTube video.