The dice game that is super fun and easy to play!
Originating from China, Sic Bo is a dice game that is quickly growing in popularity. In Chinese, Sic Bo is called Tai Sai or Dai Siu, which literally means “Big Small” in English. If you have never been to Macau to see Sic Bo in action, then you have been missing out on a real cultural experience. Betting is fast and furious in Macau casinos, and the players in Asia really get into it! If anything, learn about Sic Bo to enjoy the experience of a truly popular Asian betting game.
The table layout is very different to Baccarat, Roulette, or any other casino game, and naturally for new comers this can be quite confusing and intimidating. There are many different betting patterns, and the table can be quite large. Often the table is covered in transparent glass or plastic, with the patterns seen through the glass. The patterns behave very much like Roulette or Craps, whereby the player is required to place their chips on the anticipated band of the outcome of the dice. After the dice are rolled and the winning band is determined, lights underneath the glass table turn on to show which bands are winning bands.
In a corner of the table, at the hand of the dealer are three dice contained in a covered glass dome. The dice are shaken and then displayed in the glass dome. The dealer enters the results of the dice into a computer programme which then lights up the winning bands on the table.
There is only one layout for all players, with standard casino chips used. The online Sic Bo table layout is exactly the same as the layout found at land casinos.
Please note that pay outs can vary between casinos and online casinos. Knowing this, the casino edge may increase greatly in their favor. In this guide, I have used the most common payouts and casino edges.
How to play Sic Bo
There are several variations of bets that you can place to predict the result of the three dice after they have been shaken.
You can choose from big/small totals, odd/even totals, specific doubles or triples, specific totals of the spots on the dice and various number combinations.
Big Small Bets
When viewing the table layout front on, you will see that on the far left and right are betting boxes for Big and Small respectively. Placing a bet in either of these boxes is betting that the total value of the three dice is either high or low. A bet that it is high means a result that is 11 – 17. A bet that it is low means a result that is 4 – 10. On any result that the dice has rolled a triple all bets either Big or Small are lost. Totals of 3 and 18 are therefore excluded from the range, and rolls of triple 2, 3, 4 and 5 are also deemed as a loss.
These bets usually pay even money, but because the triples result in a loss the casino has an edge of just under 2.8%.
Odd Even Bets
Most table layouts will offer the betting boxes for Odd or Even. Placing a bet in either of the Odd or Even boxes is betting that the total value of the three dice will either be odd or even respectively. Again, should a triple be rolled then all bets, either odd or even are lost.
These bets usually pay even money, as with Big Small bets. And similarly, if triples arise a loss results, hence the casino edge is also just under 2.8%.
Split into three blocks of three, you can bet on any two dice matching their score and forming a Double. The betting outcome is therefore either a pair of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 after the dice has been shaken. The outcome of the third dice if the other two dice are a pair has no bearing on the outcome.
A winning bet in these bands normally results in a pay out of 10-1. These bets give the house a huge edge of 18.5%.
Triple bets can be placed in two categories. You can either specifically bet that the outcome are triple 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Or you can place a bet on a category which covers any triple.
A winning bet in these bands normally result in a pay out of 180-1 for specific triples or 30-1 for any triple. These pay outs may sound great, but in essence the edge to the casino is 16.2% and 13.2%, again not great odds for the player.
Dice Total Bets
In the middle of the layout are boxes which hold numbers that the value of the three dice might total. You will notice that there is no option for 3 or 18, which is covered by the Triple Bets.
4 and 17
These totals are the least unlikely and therefore the pay out is a whopping 60-1. The casino edge however is still quite high at 15.3%.
5 and 16
These totals are the second least likely and pay out 30-1. The casino edge is 13.9%.
6 and 15
The pay out is 17 -1 with the casino edge 12%.
7 and 14
The pay out is 12 -1 with the casino edge 9.7%.
8 and 13
The pay out is 8 -1 with the casino edge 9.7%.
9 and 12
The second most likely of outcomes pay out 6 – 1 with a casino edge of 7.4%.
10 and 11
The most likely of outcomes pay out 6 -1 with the casino edge of 12.5%.
Bets on Precise Number on 2 dice
On the table layout you will see boxes that appear to look like dominoes. These bets ask you to predict the outcome of two out of the three dice. All combinations except doubles can a bet be placed on. The pay out is 6-1 with a casino edge of 2.78%.
Bets on a number appearing on any three dice
At the bottom of the layout of the table, you can place a bet on a number appearing on any three of the dice. I.e. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. If the number you have selected appears more than once, then the pay out is even higher.
- If your number appears once, the pay out is 1 – 1.
- If your number appears twice, the pay out is 2 -1.
- And if your number appears three times, the pay out is 3 -1.
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Sic Bo Strategy
Sic Bo is a game of luck, and therefore simply put the best strategy is to play the table layout with bets on boxes with the best odds for the player. Similar to Craps and Roulette AVOID the betting bands that have poor casino edges.
Therefore the best bet to play at Sic Bo is Big/Small or Odd/Even. These boxes offer the best odds. Even though the pay out is only 1 -1 the house edge is a mere 2.8%. So this will stretch your bank roll.
Having said that, that doesn’t mean you can’t place a bet on any other betting boxes. You can, but be aware of the pay out ratios as described in the previous sections.
Managing your betting amounts can be performed in two ways: either keep to the minimum wager at all times, or if the betting limit allows a small enough wager use the Martingale strategy. The Martingale strategy will allow you to earn a consistent profit if there is sufficient bank roll.
Sic Bo, Big Small or Dai Siu is a great game to learn and play. It’s very simple which makes the game fun and entertaining. If you are looking to stretch your bank roll, then keep to placing bets on Big/Small or Odd/Even and keep bets small. Remember, this game is a game of luck not of skill. Don’t over analyse the previous outcomes, as each new game has the same odds of outcome as the previous game.