If you’ve ever played dice, you’ll know that rolling snake eyes (or double one) isn’t the outcome that you’re looking for. But, what happens if you roll snake eyes in Monopoly?
Is it good, bad, or indifferent? Let’s take a closer look…
What does snake eyes mean?
When you roll two dice at the same time and get one pip on each die, it’s called snake eyes. This is because each die only has one dot so it looks like there is an eye on each. There is a 1 in 36 chance of rolling snake eyes.
The term snake eyes is commonly used in gambling games that involve dice, such as craps. The term gained popularity towards the end of the 1920s and early 1930s.
In most dice games you’re trying to score as many points as you can, so rolling a double one is generally a pretty bad result since it’s the lowest possible score.
Where does the term ‘snake eyes’ come from?
The term snake eyes comes from the appearance of the dice. When they have only one spot showing they look a lot like a pair of eyes staring back at you.
That is where the eye part comes from. But why a snake? Why not a cow or a mongoose? That part is slightly harder to answer but probably has a connection to the use of the word ‘snake’ to refer to treachery and betrayal.
It makes a bit of sense. You can imagine feeling that you’ve been betrayed by the dice because they have given you the lowest score possible rather than giving you a nice big number (and probably lost you money in the process).
There’s a long history of being disappointed with rolling two ones. Way back in ancient Roman times there was a similar term in a game called knucklebones whereby a rioll of double ones was called “the dog throw”.
What happens when you roll snake eyes in Monopoly?
When you roll snake eyes in Monopoly you get to move your token forward two spaces and take the relevant action for that space as normal. You then get to roll the dice again and have another go. This is the same process as if you roll any other double with the dice.
One time when it’s advantageous to roll snake eyes is if you find yourself languishing in jail. Rolling a double is one of the three ways that you can get out of jail (the others are paying a $50 fine or having a Get Out of Jail Free Card).
If you happen to roll snake eyes when you’re locked up, you can celebrate your freedom and immediately carry on around the board by moving two spaces forward.
If you’re following the official Monopoly rules, nothing special happens when you roll snake eyes. It’s just the same as rolling any other double in Monopoly (except that you move fewer spaces).
This just isn’t fun enough for some people. They think that rolling a score with a cool name like ‘snake eyes’ deserves something a bit more exciting to happen so they incorporate their own Monopoly house rules.
The Snake Eyes Monopoly House Rule
House rules are any variation of the official Monopoly rules. You can come up with your own or use ones that are commonly used by other players.
There are a couple of popular options when it comes to rolling snake eyes:
- You get a cash reward when you roll snake eyes (This could be $500 or any other sum that you have agreed with your opponents before the game)
- You get to stay rent-free on the next space that you land on
House rules have actually been incorporated into some video game versions of Monopoly where you can have them turned on or off as you wish. Monopoly Plus offers a $1000 bonus for rolling snake eyes.
In a normal game of Monopoly, house rules must be agreed on by all players before the start of the game. Remember there is a 1 in 36 chance of rolling snake eyes so it could well happen but is a fairly rare occurrence.
Any changes to the official rules will change the balance of the game. For example, if you get a $500 windfall for rolling snake eyes this could save you from the brink of bankruptcy. This could extend the length of the game or even help you to win the game when all had seemed lost.
It can be fun to try out different rules like this, especially if you play Monopoly regularly. You could argue that it increases the role of luck in determining the winner.
But then this is a game that gives you Chance cards that can be good or bad depending on luck. So, it’s pretty much in the spirit of the game!
So, the choice is yours. You can follow the standard Monopoly rules whereby ‘snake eyes’ is a cool name for rolling a double just like any other. It’s still a lucky roll and means that you get an extra go and an extra chance to buy a property (if you’re lucky) or pay rent to an opponent (if you’re unlucky).
If you’re in jail it can win you your freedom, so there are definite benefits to rolling snake eyes even with the official rules.
Alternatively, you can mix it up by using one of the snake eyes house rules. These will give you an extra special bonus on top of the normal rules for rolling a double. It could be a game-changer, so why not give it a try?