Variously translated as “dice pair” or “precious dice”, Sic Bo was exported from its home of China in the early 20th Century along with work seekers travelling around the world, portability being one of its virtues, and can now be found in most casinos from Macau to Atlantic City.
The good news for Australians is that here at home, Sic Bo tends to pay out more than it does in any other place, making it a good choice of game for those looking for high stakes based on pure chance. Playing Sic Bo online also gives players the advantage of being able to try out the game with no deposit, giving them the chance to master the art before risking a cent.
Sic Bo Basics
Sic Bo uses three dice, and is nowadays played on a special table, whose design may vary, but is generally printed with the odds given on any possible combination. Traditionally, the dice-holder would shake these in a special box rather than roll them, perhaps highlighting the “precious” nature of the dice to workers far away from their homes, but today the dice are rolled as in craps, so that they are visible to all punters at the table.
Unlike craps, however, where certain combinations of dice are needed in order to unlock different odds, Sic Bo does not allow for any strategic play, and any player’s fortunes are dictated by luck and cold mathematics.
Variety of Sic Bo Bets
Because of the simplicity of the game, the fun in Sic Bo lies in the large variety of bets that can be placed. The corner of each table is marked with Low and High areas where bets can be placed (indeed, another name for the game is dai sui, or Big or Small, because of this). Along with simply betting on the dice having an Odd or Even total, these spaces can offer a 1 to 1 payout.
Next up in offering greater odds is to bet on individual totals, the odds of these being calculated by the number of combinations of dice adding up to each number: so while 4 can really only be made by a roll of 1,1,2, the number 9 can be made up of 1,2,6 or 2,2,5 or 2,3,4 or 3,3,3, and is thus four times more likely to occur.
Like wagering on the scores in cricket betting, Sic Bo players can also bet on the likelihood of any one number coming up on any of the dice, obviously a 1 in 18 chance: if betting on a double or triple occurrence of any number, the odds increase significantly, while betting on a triple appearance of a particular number will garner the biggest reward. It’s this possibility of high odds, combined with the fact that there really is no such thing as a novice or a skilled Sic Bo player, that have helped this classic game, played wherever a few people are gathered together with a handful of dice, become a popular draw card for casinos worldwide.