How To Play Sic Bo

21 March 2016 5 minutes to read
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Sic Bo originated in China. The game is often called Dai Siu or Tai Sai. Some experts think it’s a precursor to craps. Sic Bo is a popular game played by Asians in Atlantic City casinos. Some of the larger Las Vegas casinos have it but the game can only be played during certain hours of the day. The majority of Sic Bo’s bets carry a high house edge.

In this article I’m going to tell you how the game is played, its house edge and betting strategy. Of all the games played in the casino it’s the least popular game. With an array of bets Sic Bo is played on a large table where the dealer uses a dice shaker and three dice. Players can place their bets on any available wager. Once betting is closed, the dealer shakes the dice, opens the shaker and lights up all the winning bets according to the combinations that appear on the dice.

Payoffs vary from casino to casino. If you’re an avid player of Sic Bo you must visit Macau. Not because the casinos there offer a better house edge, on the contrary the house edge is higher than any other casino, but it’s the cultural experience that carries the day. Chinese players are a rowdy bunch and like to show emotion whether they’re winning or losing.


The Sic Bo Table

The table on which Sic Bo is played is unlike any other table. It’s covered with different betting patterns and larger than the standard table.

Bets are placed on the layout similar to that of craps and roulette.

When the winning options are decided all winning betting positions light up. This enables both the dealer and the players to see who has won. Some tables even add bells making the game more exciting to play. The online version of the game is identical to a land-casino’s layout. Only play the game when the payouts offered are 10 to 1.


How To Play The Game

A lot of betting options are at your disposal. To win at Sic Bo you must predict the outcome of each shake of the 3 dice. It includes the odds, even totals, doubles, specific totals, combinations and spots on the dice. A series of proposition bets are nearest to the dealer. They include the small/big bets, triples and doubles.


Small/Big Bets

On the far left and right hand side of the table are the Big and Small bet boxes. A bet in one of these boxes is betting the total value of the spots on all 3 dice: will it be be low or high? The totals in the small betting boxes cover 4 to 10 and in the big betting boxes a bet covers totals 11 to 17. When all three dice match, a triple, big and small bets are lost. Any dice combination of 222, 333 and 444 loses. Because all triples lose these bets pay even money. The house edge is more or less 2.8%.


Even Total Bets

Some tables offer a bet where the spots on the dice add up to an even or odd number. If you land a triple all bets are lost. Even money propositions pay out 1 to 1 and carry a house edge of just under 2.8%. In conjunction with the small/big bets these are the best bets at the table.


Double Bets

Adjacent to the Big/Small bets the double bets are divided into three blocks of three. You can wager on any two dice forming a Double and matching their score.  In any of the following boxes a bet of 10 to 1 pays out as follow: Double 1, Double 2, Double 4, Double 5, Double 6. I must point out that the house edge on these bets are 18.5 percent which is extremely high.


Triple Wagers

If you believe that the dice might roll on a triple (all 3 dice have the same number), this could be accomplished as follow:

  • Individual Triple Bets: Towards the center and back of the layout they are located next to the Double Bets. You can bet that the following outcomes may occur: 111, 222, 333, 444, 555 or 666. If you can accomplish this feat the payout will be a whopping 180 to 1. At the same token the house edge is 16.2%
  • Any Triple Bet: This betting box is situated next to the dealer. If you manage a win on this betting box the payout will be 30 to 1 but the house edge is 13.9 percent.


Playing Strategy

If you’re looking to take some money off the casino, Sic Bo is not the best game to do so. Normally it offers poor odds and the house edge is very high. But give it a shot even if it’s just for a session or two. Just like craps you must avoid the worst bets on the table. Generating the best number of bets on the dice is based on pure luck. Stick to the lower odd bets where the house edge is relatively low:

  • Bet on Big/Small bets. They only pay 1 to 1 and the house edge is a mere 2.8%.
  • If you want a bet that’s more risky, bet on the Dice Totals of 9 or 12. They pay 7 to 1 and the house edge is 7.4%.
  • If you’re playing at an online casino and the payouts are 7 to 1, try betting on the ‘Number Appearances‘ layout. On 1 dice they pay 1 to 1, 2 to 1 for two dice and 12 to 1 for 3 dice. The house edge is 3.7 percent.



To keep your losses to a minimum use a small bankroll. Most Sic Bo players normally use a bankroll 40 times their stake. This means you must wager $10 per bet which is 40 times your stake. If you manage a profit of 20 percent leave the table.


A Grand Payout

Many years ago the Grand Casino in Biloxi introduced Sic Bo but made a mistake on the table’s layout. Instead of paying 60 to 1, bets on the 4 and 17 paid 80 to 1,p0-= resulting in a player edge of 12.5%. Stanford Wong a gambling expert saw this error and posted the information on his website. Wong’s readers reacted swiftly and flew to Biloxi. Suffice it to say the pros took the casino to the cleaners.

In summary. It requires loads of discipline to play a game like Sic Bo because it carries a sizeable negative expectation. Stick to the minimum bets and only increase your bets when you are winning. If you start losing return to the minimum bets where the house edge is 2.7%.

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