Sic Bo is a casino dice game that is of Chinese origin and has been played there for thousands of years. Its name translates to “two dice,” suggesting that the game may have been played with just two dice rather than the three that are used today.
Sic Bo even predates the invention of dice though, and prior to that, bricks with marked sides were tossed instead. The invention of dice did make things more convenient. Obviously, we’re talking about a game with a very long history indeed.
Sic Bo is also known as Tai Sai or Dai Siu, both meaning “big and small.” Big and small does factor in heavily in the game of Sic Bo as it turns out, with the majority of bets being placed on either big or small, in other words, low or high numbers being totaled by rolls of the three dice.
Chinese immigrants brought the game over with them to the West during the 19th century, but it was only in the 1920s that the game became known to Westerners. Western variations emerged, inspiring the carnival game Chuck-A Luck in the United States, and Grand Hazard in the U.K., a take on the old game of Hazard that inspired the modern day game of craps.
The Chinese stuck with their original version that they had been using for millennia, and once Macau built large casinos, and started attracting Westerners, the game eventually made its way to Las Vegas, who first started offering it to their Chinese guests. The game ended up catching on among non Chinese as well in time, and is now a regular offering at many casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere, as well as at select online casinos.
While Sic Bo remains a side game in non Chinese casinos, it is enormously popular in Macau and at some casinos there is second only to baccarat in terms of gaming revenue. While the majority of Sic Bo is played by Asians, it has caught on at least somewhat now among non Asians.
The Advantages of Sic Bo
Sic Bo is the other casino dice game, and provides players with an alternative to playing craps if they want to gamble with dice. Sic Bo is a sort of combination between craps and roulette, with bets such as high low and on specific numbers rolled, similar to roulette, and of course sharing the dice with craps.
Sic Bo is a much simpler and immediate game than craps is though, where with craps it can take many rolls to decide the outcome of a game, but with Sic Bo the outcome is always immediate.
This makes Sic Bo a much faster paced game and that’s a real advantage of it compared to other casino games, meaning more action per hour, even more than roulette which takes a fair bit of time to deal, waiting for the ball to settle. With Sic Bo, the dice hit the table and you just count them up.
A simpler game does not exist in a casino actually, and even people who have never played it before can catch on very easily, especially with starting with the big and small bets.
How To Play Sic Bo
Sic Bo simply involves betting on the outcome of throws of the three dice. There are a number of different options players can select, starting with the big and small bet, where players bet on the total of the dice either adding up to 4 to 10 (small) or 11 to 17 (big).
Both of these outcomes have an equal chance of occurring, and pay out 1 to 1. Triples, where the dice are all the same number, don’t qualify, and this is where the house gets their edge on these bets.
One may also bet on odd or even, with the same 1 to 1 payout, with triples being excluded as well. The house edge on both big and small and odd and even bets is a very reasonable 2.8%.
There are a number of other bets that can be made, on specific totals, specific doubles, specific triples, on a certain number coming up on one of the dice, and on various combinations, however all of these bets give the house a considerably higher edge.
The house edge on these other bets is at least 7.9% and are almost all in the double digits, with the actual house edges depending on the payouts of the casinos. None of these are good bets though no matter where you are playing Sic Bo. Still though, these other bets are offered and they are an option if one finds themselves entertained sufficiently with them to justify the poorer odds they bring.
Sic Bo is also offered online at certain casinos and while some players may find the game to be overly simple, gambling itself can be plenty enjoyable, and if you’re looking for a nice relaxed way to gamble, it doesn’t get much simpler and more relaxing than this.