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Robert Eisenstadt's
Antique Gambling Chips &  Gambling Memorabilia Web Site

JUMBO (2") CATALIN POKER DICE, AND LARGE CATALIN BACKGAMMON DOUBLING "CUBE" (NOT FOR SALE)

(Incidentally, I have other web pages featuring dice:  poker dice and other dice )


 

catalin poker dice -- in "pictures"

These were probably made in the 1920's-30's.  I am told that they came with a large plain unmarked leather dice cup.


doub cube1 doub cube 2

This is something I bet you don't see too often.  It must be a "doubling cube" for a form of backgammon.  It is 3" across  and 1-1/2" thick.  There are 8 sides; 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256.  Most doubling cubes I have seen are on 6-sided dice.  The one I have above is 8-sided, so it must make for a more expensive game.  Michael Solinas, who saw this web page, emailed me as to how the doubling cubes are used.  He said:  

"Say we're playing backgammon for $5 for a game (keeps it simple).
Most likely you pay something like 10 cents a point, so the amount I
beat you by matters.  For simplicity, say we're just playing one game
for $5.  Initially, the doubling cube is right in the center of the
board - where either of us can use it.

Say I get ahead of you, and think I will win.  I'll pick up the cube,
set it so the "2" is uppermost, and offer it to you.  If you decline
it, I win right there.  If you accept, you've accepted an offer to
double the stakes.  Now we're playing for $10.  You have possession of
the cube, so I can't use it now.

Say things turn around again, and you get in a better position.  Since
you possess the cube, you can double it again to "4".  My options are
quit now, and pay you $10 (the $5 doubled) or to accept it, making us
play for 4 times the original bet.  $20.

It can get interesting.  By the time that 256 comes up, our $5 game is
for $1,280.  Only it probably won't get that high.  Accepting double
the stakes when you are at a disadvantage isn't done lightly."


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