Sic bo is wildly popular throughout Asia, and its origins stretch all the way back to ancient China. It has been known by numerous names over the years, including dai siu, hi-lo, big and small, and tai sai. The game was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century thanks to Chinese immigrants. Since then, it has become a staple in land-based casinos across the globe, and most online gaming establishments also offer it to customers.
How to Play Sic-Bo
The rules of real-money Sic bo are easy to understand, which is why it's so popular in many parts of the world. The game includes a betting layout, three dice, and a box (or a virtual container for online players).
At the start of a round, players choose which betting options they want before placing their money down. Multiple options can be chosen by a player. The three dice are then placed inside the box, shaken, and revealed. Based on the resulting roll, winners and losers are then determined.
Betting Options for Sic-Bo
The Sic Bo betting layout can be daunting for those who've never played the game. In an effort to clear up any possible confusion, this section lists all the wagers available to Sic bo players. I've also included the house edge and overall probability for each bet.
Big - Players who choose this option are counting on the three dice having a score of 11 to 17. The one exception would be if the same number was rolled on all dice, as this would count as a different wager. The probability of this combination turning up is 48.6%, and it's common for the house edge to be 2.8%.
Small - The total of the three dice will range from 4 to 10. Once again, the same number coming up on all dice counts as a triple. The probability for this one is also 48.6% with a house edge of 2.8%.
Even - With the exception of a triple, the sum of all three dice equals an even number. There's a 48.6% chance of this happening, and the house edge on such a wager is 2.8%.
Odd - When the three dice have been rolled, their total equals an odd number. The lone exception is with a triple, as it counts as a separate wager. This outcome occurs 48.6% of the time, and the house edge is 2.8%.
Specific Doubles - For this wager, the player chooses a number from one to six and wagers that it will be rolled on at least two of the dice. There's a 7.41% chance of this happening, and the house edge can range from 11.1% to 33.3% (depending on the payout ratio).
Specific Triples - Also known as "Alls." The player wins if a chosen number from one to six is rolled on all three dice. This only occurs 0.46% of the time, and the most common house edges for this bet are 16.2% and 30.1%.
Any Triple - Instead of choosing a specific number to turn up three times, the player gets paid if any triple is rolled. The chance of this happening is 2.8%, and the common house edge ranges from 11.1% to 30.6%.
Single Dice Bet - The player chooses a number from one to six and wagers that this number is going to appear on one or more of the dice. The chance of it happening once is 34.72%, while two dice lowers the probability to 6.94%. The same number on all three dice is the least likely, of course, with an overall probability of 0.46%. The payout increases with each die that rolls the specified number, and the house edge is usually 3.7% or 7.9%.
Dice Combinations - The player wagers that two of the dice will show a specific numerical combination. For example, the player might bet that a 3 and a 6 are going to be rolled. The probability is 13.9%, while the house edge is normally 2.8% (6 to 1 odds) or 16.7% (5 to 1 odds).
Three Dice Total - The player wagers on the specific sum of the dice, from four to 17. The following are the numbers and their probability of occurring: 4 or 17 (1.4%), 5 or 16 (2.8%), 6 or 15 (4.6%), 7 or 14 (6.9%), 8 or 13 (9.7%), 9 or 12 (11.6%), 10 or 11 (12.5%).
Specific Double and Single Number Combination - On this tricky wager, the player chooses a number to come up twice, as well as a single number to be rolled. This only works about 1.4% of the time, and the house edge can be as high as 29.2%.
Three Single Number Combination - The player chooses three different numbers. If they turn up on the next roll, a payout is issued. The house edge is 13.9% with a 30:1 payout, and the overall probability is 2.8%.
Four Number Combinations - The player chooses from one of four numerical combinations and wins if three of the numbers in his combo get rolled. The options include 6, 5, 4, 3/6, 5, 3, 2/5, 4, 3, 2/4, 3, 2, 1. The probability is 11.1%, with a house edge that also stands at 11.1% on a 7:1 payout.
Sic-Bo Pay Table
The payouts on Sic bo may differ from one location to another, but I wanted to include this section to give readers a basic idea of what kind of financial rewards they could expect. In this case, I'm using the pay table provided by Bovada online casino.
Specific Triple - pays 180:1 (which means you win $180 for every $1 wagered)
Total 4 or 17 - 62:1 Total 5 or 16 - 31:1 Any Triple - 31:1 Total 6 or 15 - 18:1 Total 7 or 14 - 12:1 Single Number on Three Dice - 12:1 Double - 11:1 Total 8 or 13 - 8:1 Total 9 or 12 - 7:1 Total 10 or 11 - 6:1 Two Dice Combo - 6:1 Single Number on Two Dice - 2:1 Single Number on One Die - 1:1 Small or Big - 1:1
Winning Strategy for Sic-Bo
If you type "Sic bo strategy" into Google, you'll find a lot of websites that promise to give you some sort of magical formula for walking away a winner. In reality, the smartest thing you can do is ignore the so-called experts and pitch men looking to spread bad advice or sell you something.
Sic bo for real money is a game of random chance, and no manner of betting system is going to change that. Even if a strategy works in the short term, the house is always going to catch up with you over hundreds or thousands of rolls. That's why it's called a "house edge."
The best real-money Sic bo tip I can offer involves playing the odds. I listed the probability for the various wagers in an earlier section, and the most player-friendly options were big, small, even, and odd. Each of these has a 48.6% chance of turning up on any given roll, so the wise player should wager on these options and avoid the more colorful bets.