Beginners Guide for the Ancient Chinese Dice Game: Sic Bo

sic bo
Sic Bo Table: Image source: Wadems via Wikimedia Commons

Another famous casino game involving dice is Sic Bo. This ancient Chinese game made its way right into the casinos and now everyone loves it. A generic summary regarding the game would simply categorize it as a guessing game. Adding further on this statement, this means players have to guess which combination will appear on the dice. Similar to craps, this game is a little less complicated in nature, with simpler bets and an easy understanding of the table layout.

The game is most popular in Asian casinos however it is gaining more popularity with each day. Simple gameplay which does not require memorization of strategies makes this game a treat to play. With higher payouts than most casino table games, Sic Bo is an extremely entertaining game. Online casino guide for beginners is a sure way to get acquainted with this game. Let’s begin.

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First stop – the basics:

Whenever learning a casino table game, the first priority is to understand the table setting along with the layout. The game is run by two dealers, who manage the bets and the shaking of the dice. Talking about the dice, there are three used in a game of Sic Bo. The method of revealing a combination is slightly unusual when compared to other casino games. Instead of handing over the dice to a player to throw, the dealer places them in a jar which shakes the base electronically. This allows dice to shuffle inside the encased shaker and land revealing a combination.

The aim of this game is to bet on the outcome of each roll. In case the bet is on the correct outcome, the player wins. Betting is done on the table which has a layout with all the possible combinations of 3 dice. There are numerous ways to bet in a game of Sic Bo. Each outcome is illustrated on the table along with the payout options which eliminates any complexity.

Along with the table, there is an electronic board that displays the recent most outcomes. Some assume this board makes it easier to guess the next roll. However, it is essential to remember that the game runs on pure chance. The dice rolls are a completely independent event and are in no way related to previous or future roles.

sic bo
Dice games are the most ancient form of gambling

The categories of bets

A Sic Bo table has a rectangular layout where bets are divided into sections. Each bet falls in a set that offers a variety of payout options to choose from. To help distinguish these bets we can classify them into 6 categories:

  • Single number bets

Single number bets are the bottom row of the layout. These bets demonstrate all the face numbers of a die, 1 through 6. If a player bets on a single number and that number appears on any of the dice in the next roll, the player wins. A little added bonus in this bet is, that in case the number appears on more than one die, the player is rewarded accordingly.

Payout: There are 3 ways a single number bet can pay. In the case of only one die showing the chosen number, the payout odds are 1 to 1. If two or all three dice show the same number, the payout odds are 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 respectively.

  • Two number combination bets

These bets belong to the second row from the bottom and illustrate the possible combinations which may appear in the next roll. This row includes all possible combinations with the exception of two or all same numbers showing on the dice. Those are left for a separate bet. The odds of a specific set two number combinations to appear are higher. For instance, if a player bets on the combination 5 and 3 and the dice rolls 2, 3, and 5, the player wins.

Payout: For a combination bet the odds are at a consistent 6 to 1, which means for a bet of $10 the player would earn $60. Despite the different combinations, the payout will remain at a set value.

sic bo
Sic Bo isn’t just entertaining but also rewarding
  • The totals bet

As the name suggests, this bet is made on the sum of all 3 dice. The numbers for this betting range from 4 to 17 which are the available options to bet on. Some new players wonder why two possible sums, 3 and 18 are excluded from the list. This is because that will happen in the event where all 3 dice show either 1 or 6 which will accumulate to a total of 3 or 18 respectively. Again, these two combinations belong to different betting options which excludes them from the totals bet.

Payout: The payout odds for totals vary from one another and are marked across the table. The difference occurs due to each total having a different probability of appearing. The casino is most cases does not offer true odds which accounts for the house edge. The odds for totals are each share by a pair and are listed below:

Sum of all 3 dice (Totals)Payouts
4, 1762
5, 1631
6, 1518
7, 1412
8, 138
9, 127
10, 116

The triple and pair bets

Triple bets and pair bets are similar in nature. In the case of a pair bet, two from the three dice have to show the same number. A player can bet on any specific number bets they choose to. Similar to this, triple bets offer similar wagering options but in this case, all three dice have to display the same number. For triple bets there are two options players can bet on. One allows players to bet on a specific number to appear on all 3 dice whilst the other collectively permit wagering on any number to show on all 3 dice. These triple bet options allow players to bet on the same outcomes but in multiple ways.

Payout: For the pair bets the odds for two same numbers to appear are at 1 to 10. For option one of triple bets allowing specific bets, the odds are at 1 to 180. These odds are spectacularly high compared to any triple number appearance. The odds for wagering on this option are at 1 to 30. The triple bets higher odds only concur to the fact that these combinations are rare and have a thin chance of appearing often.

  • The big and small bets

The big and small bets conclude the Sic bo board. Their placement is at the top corners of the layout. These bets are similar in comparison to the totals bet. For the small bet, players can bet on a sum between 4 and 10. While for the big bets, the limit is set from 11 to 17. A little twist for these bets is, that in case a triple roll appears, these bets will be lost. Exclusion of the numbers 3 and 18 is due to the same reason: they belong to a different betting category.

Payout: Due to the high chance of these bets winning, the payout odds are at a low of 1 to 1, which means the player will earn an even amount of money on their bets. Some consider big and small bets steady bets due to their very nature of earning slow but steady profit.

sic bo
Sic Bo is more popular than you would think for the first time

Explaining odds in a game of Sic Bo

After establishing Sic bo is a game of chance it is relevant to note that the game does not depend on any event, be it in the past or future. The dice rolls are completely independent and will be for every turn a player takes. Therefore, in a game of luck, there are always alterations which raise the house edge for the casino. Despite the popular saying ‘the house always wins’ there are ways to play Sic Bo and not lose miserably at it.

The entirety of the game is based on mathematical probability which means there is no way a game can be fixed. The game runs purely on the role of the three dice which determine who wins and who loses. Games involving probability normally do not favor those who play with high stakes. That being said, one should keep in mind which bets will be profitable in the long run. For instance, a player who consistently bets on the triple bets will eventually run out of bets since the probability of these bets appearing is very low.

Hence, one should not be drawn in because of the allure some bets have. This thinking does not go well in a game of Sic bo.

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How does house edge work in Sic Bo?

Every casino game includes a house edge which makes sure the customers do not bankrupt them. In Sic bo, true odds are not considered for payout odds. This is what accounts for the house edge. To explain further we can take the example of total bets. For a total of 4, the dice needs to roll a combination of 2 ones and a two. For this combination, the true odds are at 71 to 1. However, some casinos offer payout odds of 60 to 1 for a total of 4.

The difference between the true odds and payout odds is what culminates in the house edge. In this case, the house edge stands at 12.43%, which is considerably higher than most betting options. This means playing at this bet for a longer period will eventually result in loss.

If there were no house edge, the true odds would replace the payout odds. For instance: true odds for a specific triple bet are at 216 to 1. If, the casinos did not include the house edge that is the ratio according to which players would be paid instead of 180 to 1.

sic bo
Let’s Play Sic Bo

Strategy in a game of Sic Bo

When it comes to strategy it is simple, players should play responsibly along with fighting their most prominent urges to raise the stakes. The game will remain fun which all depends upon the playing style. Sic bo is a game with one of the highest house edges ranging from 2.48 – 18.98%. Keeping this in mind it is significant that players refrain from placing bets on high payout odds options. It is definitely tempting which is why the sensible playing style has proved most effective.

Similarly, players have the encouragement to wager on bets which have low payout odds. This is in particular with the bets which have odds of 1 to 1. They offer a winning chance of 50% each roll. It may be a slow game but it will be a long one.

Sic Bo is quick to learn and engages the players throughout the game. Everyone can participate in the game and at the same time which also mirrors the energy of a craps table. With such an affiliation with excitement, Sic Bo ensures a good time for all its players.

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