To beginners in online gaming, Sic Bo may be compared to an uncharted territory.
Even old-time fans of casino dice games may still be “unfamiliar’’ with it or are still “baffled’’ by it.
So what really is Sic Bo?
Also known as tai sai, dai siu, big and small or hi-lo, sic bo is an unequal game of chance of ancient Chinese origin played with three dice.
Grand hazard and chuck-a-luck are variants, both of English origin. The literal meaning of sic bo is “precious dice’’, while dai siu and dai sai mean “big (or) small.’’
Sic bo is a casino game popular in Asia and widely played (as dai siu) in casinos in Macau
It is played in the Philippines as hi-lo. It was introduced to the United States by Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century, and can now be found in most American casinos. Since 2002, it can be played legally in licensed casinos in the United Kingdom
Gameplay involves betting that a certain condition (e.g. that all three dice will roll the same) will be satisfied by a roll of the dice.
Sic Bo is a fast-paced game that also appeals to both craps and roulette enthusiasts.
How Sic Bo is played
The rules of Sic Bo are very simple.
Three dice are thrown in a small cage by the dealer, and punters bet on the results of the throw – e.g. the total of the three dice, any single number appearing, two specific numbers appearing, or a certain combination of numbers.
Each bet has a different payout based on probability, and you can place as many bets as you like similar to Roulette.
Types of Bets in Sic Bo
The easiest bet on the Sic Bo board is the bet on the three dice total. This ranges from 4 to 17 (3 and 18 are covered by Triple 1 and Triple 6).
The payouts on each of these bets differs, based on the probability of each score occurring. These are clearly displayed on the betting squares.
For example, a total of 4 pays around 60 to 1 (win 60 units per unit staked) whereas a total of 10 or 11 pays out at 6 to 1 (win 6 for every 1 staked).
Small and Big
You can bet on the total of the three dice being Small (4 to 10) or Big (11 to 17).
The payout on Big and Small is 1 to 1 (it’s an evens chance bet, like Red / Black in Roulette, making these bets the basis of risk Sic Bo strategy.
An important rule to note is that Big and Small both lose if any triple appears. This explains why a total of 3 and 18 is not included in these bets.
The “triple rule’’ works in a similar way to the zero in Roulette i.e. it makes the 50/50 bets slightly less than evens chance, and the house edge stays in favour of the casino.
The Combination bet is a bet on any two specific numbers showing on the three dice. For example, you could bet on a Combination of 4 and 6, which would win if the three dice show 3, 4, 6.
The payout on a Combination bet is 6 to 1 (you win 6 units for every 1 unit bet, giving a total return of 7 units), regardless of which combination you bet on.
This differs from the Total bet, which pays different amounts depending on the specific total.
The Combination bet forms the basis for Medium Ris Sic Bo strategy.
The Single bet is a bet that a specific number will show on any of the three dice.
The payout on a Single bet depends on how many occurrences of the chosen number turn up on the three dice.
If the number chosen turns up on one dice, you get paid 1 to 1 (1 unit won per unit staked). If it turns up on two dice, you get paid 2 to 1 and if it comes in on all three you get paid 12 to 1.
This latter payout differs wildly from the Triple bet (see below), which pays 180 to 1 for a specific triple.
The Double bet is a bet that two of a specific number will show on the three dice.
For example, a bet on Double 2 would win if the three dice show 2, 6, 2.
You can bet on any double from 1 to 6 and the payout is 10 to 1 (you win 10 units for every 1 unit staked, giving a return of 11 units).
Unlike the Triple bet, there is no option to bet on any double – you have to bet on a specific double, though you can bet on as many doubles as you like, in combination with any number of other bets.
The Triple bet is a bet that all three dice will show a specific number.
You can bet on any specific triple from 1 to 6 and also bet that any triple (non-specific) will occur.
The payout on any triple is 30 to 1 ( you win 30 units for every 1 unit staked), but the payout on a specific triple is a whopping 180 to 1, making it the biggest payout on the board, and a far larger payout than the measly 35 to 1 on a single number in Roulette!
It is a fantastic return if it comes up, but odds against it happening are 216 to 1.