Sic Bo: A Simple Game
Many people miss out on a lot of fun at the casino because they think certain games are too complicated. Someone who has never played roulette might look at the betting table and become intimidated just by the multiple options. Little do they realize that each bet is very easy to understand or, in some cases, they are completely self-explanatory. Sic Bo is such a game.
Sic Bo is quite similar to both Roulette and Craps in this way. The game features a betting board with all sorts of betting options on it. However, the betting table merely outlines the full range of possible outcomes for rolling three dice.
Sic bo is sometimes called tai sai, dai siu, big and small, and ho-lo. It is an ancient Chinese game that is played with three dice. You will find Sic Bo in land-based and online casinos all over the world. It’s believed that the game made inroads in the United States in the early 1900s after being introduced by Chinese immigrants.
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The Basics of Sic Bo
One of the most attractive traits of Sic Bo is that it is a game based entirely on luck. The player places a bet and the outcome of the wager is determined by the outcome of a roll of three dice. As an aside, rolling three dice can result in one of 216 possible outcomes. The lowest number you can possibly roll is a three and the highest is 18.
You can bet on the outcome being a high number or a low number. You can bet a roll will result in an odd number or an even number. You can wager on any single die or a certain combination showing up. If your prediction is correct, you win. If it’s not, you lose. It’s that simple. Of course, the different possible outcomes come with a wide range of odds. We’ll get into that in detail soon.
The Sic Bo Betting Table
To tackle Sic Bo, one must first understand the simple concept of the betting board. The sic bo betting board has several betting areas on it.
Small Bet and Big Bet: Let’s start with two of the most popular wagers which are the Small Bet and the Big Bet. These betting areas are typically located in the top-left and top-right corners of the board. If you wager on the Small Bet, you are betting that the outcome of the roll will be between 4 and 10. A Big Bet requires a roll totaling between 11 and 17 to win. Why are these particular bets so popular? That’s because the payout is 1 to 1 and the house edge is a comfortably low 2.78%. The probability of hitting either is around 48.61%.
Odd/Even: While this isn’t a standard sic bo bet, some land-based and online casinos will offer it. Correctly predict whether the outcome of a roll will total an odd number or an even number. This bet loses if the roll comes out as triples. Thus the palatable 2.78% house edge.
Specific Doubles: Between the areas for Big and Small bets is an area for betting doubles. In other words, you are betting that a specific number will appear on two of the three dice. Double ones, double twos, double threes, double fours, double fives, or double sixes have about a 7.41% chance of showing up on a given roll. However, many experienced players shy away from this type of bet because the house edge is a whopping 18.5%.
Triples: If you place a Triples wager, you need the dice to all have the same value. For example, you bet on triples and three 3s show up. You win a 24 to 1 payout.
Specific Triples: Also referred to as “Alls”, betting on Triples means you must bet on the correct set of triples to show up. For example, if you bet on triple fives, then you need three fives to show up. Three fours or any other triples would result in a loss. While the house edge on such a bet is 16.2%, a win will earn you a hefty 150 to 1 payout.
Three Dice Total: This type of bet more or less speaks for itself. You are looking for a specific total between 4 and 17. The odds of rolling certain totals are greater than others, and this is reflected in the payout ratios. For example, you can only roll a four by having a pair of ones and a two show up, while several different combinations can result in a total of 12. Refer to the chart below.
|Three Dice Total Probabilities and Payouts|
|4 or 17||1.4%||50 to 1|
|5 or 16||2.8%||18 to 1|
|6 or 15||4.6%||14 to 1|
|7 or 14||6.9%||12 to 1|
|8 or 13||9.7%||8 to 1|
|9 or 12||11.6%||6 to 1|
|10 or 11||12.5%||6 to 1|
Two Dice Combinations: You can also wager on two of the three dice being a certain combination of two different numbers such as a three and a four, or a one and a five. You should be able to nail one of these bets about 13.9% of the time and cash in on a 6 to 1 payout. With a two-dice combination bet, doubles and triples are excluded leaving only 15 possible winning combinations.
Single Dice Bet: With a single dice bet, you are wagering that a specific number will show up on one, two, or all three dice. The odds of any single number appearing once is 34.72% and it nets a 1 to 1 payout. Having a specific number appear on two of the dice happens about 6.94% of the time and earns a 2 to 1 payout. Having the same number appear on all three dice is a remote 0.46%. Doing it successfully with this particular wager would net a 3 to 1 return. Remember, the object of this bet is to earn a 1 to 1 return by correctly predicting one number. If that happens to turn into a double or triple, then it’s just gravy.
Four Number Combination: This type of bet involves wagering that all dice will fall into one of the following number combinations:
3, 4, 5, 6
2, 3, 5, 6
2, 3, 4, 5
1, 2, 3, 4
So, if you bet on the 2, 3, 5, 6 combination, you would need the roll to result in a 2, 3, 5; 2, 3, 6; 2, 5, 6; or a 3, 5, 6. You should be able to pull this off 11.1% of the time for a 7 to 1 payout.
Three Single Number Combination: Correctly predict a specific combination of three different numbers and win a 30-1 payout. The key here is that those numbers all need to be different.
Specific Double and a Single: Bet on two of the dice being a specific pair with the third die being a specific number. The chances of this happening are just 1.4%, but it pays 50 to 1.
It’s probably going to be a challenge to remember all of these bet types. Beginners shouldn’t worry about knowing all of them for now. Instead, they should just focus on some of the more basic bets like Big and Small bets, Single Dice bets, and, if applicable, Odd or Even bets. They aren’t just easy to understand, but you’ll win more often with those bets than you will win with some of the longer-shot wagers.
Sic Bo is a Game of Chance
While Sic Bo players can approach the game a couple of different ways, there really is no strategy involved with the game. You have absolutely no control over the outcome of any roll. Like in roulette, patterns can develop in past Sic Bo outcomes such as so many Evens or Big rolls coming up in a row.
They might even form a definite zig zag pattern. Nevertheless, the outcome of the next roll is in no way related to the outcomes of any of the previous rolls. The only thing you have any control over is where you place your chips.
Approaches to Sic Bo
Even though Sic Bo is a game of chance, there are certain approaches that players take. These plans of attack mostly depend on the type of player you are.
OK, let’s assume you are completely unfamiliar with Sic Bo, but you hear it’s fun and you want to give it a shot. As previously mentioned, you are probably best off sticking to the most basic bets like Big and Small bets, Single Dice bets, and Odd/Even bets. This serves a couple of purposes.
Most importantly, it gets you into the game and you understand what you’re betting on. Second, these bets give you the best chances of winning which will make it more fun while building your confidence. You can incorporate other bets into your repertoire once you are comfortable with the basics.
The Conservative Approach
Let’s be honest, some Sic Bo bets like Specific Triples, Three dice Totals, and Specific Doubles have very high house edges. This makes them way less profitable in the long run. A conservative approach is more about minimizing losses and remaining patient.
To walk away a winner using this approach, you’re going to have to grind it out and hope that the gambling gods are on your side. While they may throw in the occasional Three Dice Total bet on a 7, 9, 12, or 14 because the house edge isn’t so outrageous, they will tend to mainly stick with the basic Big and Small bets, Single Dice bets, and Odd/Even bets.
The “Let’s Gamble!” Approach
As opposed to the cautious conservative approach, some players like to take their chances on those bigger payoffs. While betting on Three Single Number Combinations, Any Triples, or Specific Triples will result in fewer wins, the wins that you do earn will be much more significant.
The key here is having a bankroll that can endure longer losing streaks. It also helps immensely if you can be patient. You will likely have to wait a while between wins.
There isn’t really anything wrong with this approach except that you perhaps stand to lose more often. But many experienced players who use this method know they are gambling and just want to have fun while experiencing a nice payoff every once in a while. After all, shouldn’t gambling be fun? If you are playing casino games solely to make money, then you’re in the wrong racket. Besides, there are loads of other casino games that are way easier to profit from.
This is a combination of the conservative and the “Let’s Gamble!” approaches. You mix up your bets with some riding on lower-risk bets and some on higher-risk bets. This approach is especially enticing to those who are playing with the house’s money. They can still grind it out with 1 to 1 bets while hoping for a nice payout on those high odds bets.
A Couple of Practice Rounds
You head over to the Sic Bo table and, as a beginner, you place $5 on the Big bet to start with. The croupier engages the automatic dice roller and the result is a 2, 2, 6. Now, how does this end up for you? Well, the total is a 10 which doesn’t qualify as a Big bet winner. Undeterred, you place another $5 on the Big bet. This time, the result is a 3, 4, and a 5. That’s a total of 12 giving you the win. The table host returns your $5 stake plus another $5 for the win.
That was fun! But you now decide to try something new by placing a $5 Single Dice Bet on 4. Low and behold, the roll is a 3, 4, 6 giving you another 1 to 1 payout. You decide to place the same bet again. This time, the roll results in a 2, 4, 4. Hey, that’s two 4s which means you get paid out 2 to 1 on your bet.
Now that you have Big/Small bets and Single Dice bets down pat, you go for it by betting $5 on the Big Bet and another $5 on a Single Dice bet on that lucky 4. The croupier sets off the automatic dice roller and produces a 6, 6, 6. How does this play out for you? Well, you obviously lose your Single Dice bet because the 4 didn’t appear.
But what about that total of 18? Doesn’t that qualify as a Big roll? No, it doesn’t. A Big bet wager only wins if it is between 11 and 17. If anyone at the table happened to plunk down $5 on Triple 6s, they would be jumping with joy as the table host forks over $750 in winnings.
Martingale System on Sic Bo
While the Martingale system is by no means a Sic Bo strategy, it can be used in some situations. To be clear, this controversial system does not guarantee you anything. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, the Martingale system has players doubling their bets after a loss. The thing with employing the Martingale system in Sic Bo is that you can only realistically use it for a few different bet types. Specifically, those bets that offer a 1 to 1 payout.
Let’s say you bet $5 on Small and you lose. Using the Martingale system, you would then wager $10 on Small. If that loses, you would double up again placing $20 on Small. The theory is that you will eventually win around, thus recouping your lost wagers. This system has a couple of problems though.
It’s easy to see how losing five or six hands in a row could decimate your bankroll. On top of that, you could find yourself in a situation in which your bet size would exceed the table limit. You’re kinda screwed in either case. Unless you want to play with reckless abandon and throw away your chips, you shouldn’t use the Martingale system on any bets other than those with 1 to 1 payouts. You’ll likely go broke if you do.
Sic Bo Takeaways
We must once again stress that Sic Bois a game of chance. While you can approach your betting style in a few different ways, you’ll never be able to influence the outcome of a roll. Some bets give you a better chance of winning small payouts more often, while others lead to the occasional larger payouts.
If you like Sic Bo and play it when you go to the casino, you’ll enjoy some successes, but, in the long run, don’t expect to profit from it. This is merely a fact of casino gambling. If you are looking for a casino game in which you can use your skills to give yourself a better chance of winning money, this isn’t the game. If you enjoy fast-paced action and rules that are easy to understand, Sic Bo is definitely worth a try.
Can I play sic bo for free online?
Yes. There are several websites that allow you to play Sic Bo for play money. In fact, many online casinos give you this option too. It is highly recommended that beginners play sic bo for free before they commit their own money to it. This allows them to learn the game and make mistakes without it costing them any real money.
How do I know online Sic Bo games are fair?
Some of the biggest and most trusted software developers including Playtech, NYX Interactive, and Microgaming have produced excellent versions of Sic Bo. These games are rigorously tested for fairness by certified third-party agencies. You can be confident that the outcome of each and every roll is completely random. If you play Sic Bo for real money, make sure you are playing at a licensed and regulated online casino.
What are the most helpful tips for Sic Bo?
We’ve discussed a variety of topics related to Sic Bo. The most important tips for beginners are:
- Stick to bets that have the lowest house edge.
- Avoid betting Triples.
- Don’t place conflicting bets.
- No approach or betting system will lower the house edge.
- Know when to leave the table.
- Have fun.