Online sic bo
Sic bo is a popular Chinese game that can be enjoyed at your favourite online casinos.
Similar to craps, but with far simpler rules, sic bo is an entertaining game that should appeal to gamblers looking for something a little bit different. Learn the rules and play with confidence using our comprehensive sic bo guide.
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Sic bo is an ancient Chinese gambling game that’s very much like roulette. Instead of a ball being spun around a roulette wheel to create the necessary random element, three dice are thrown instead. Players gamble on the how the dice will land, and are paid if the combinations they bet on come up. Sic bo itself actually means ‘precious dice’, although some claim it means ‘dice pair’ as the game was originally played with two dice instead of three.
Sic bo is a very straightforward game to play. There are a number of possible outcomes that players can gamble their chips upon, just as in roulette. The most profitable bet is to bet on a specific triple, i.e., that all three dice will land on the number that the player has chosen. This pays 180-1. Those with even a rudimentary grasp of maths will immediately spot that the odds of three tossed dice all landing on a certain number are in fact (6x6x6) = 216 to 1, which of course is where the house maintains its edge.
You can instead bet on ANY three number combination, at a payout of 30-1 and actual odds of 36-1. You can also bet on doubles, single numbers (you’re paid 1-1 if your chosen number appears on any one dice, 2-1 on two and 3-1 on three), and dice totals. A total of 17 wins odds of 60-1, as does a total of four. Totals between nine and twelve only have returns of 6-1. Of course, it is not possible to bet on totals of 3 or 18, as that would be the same as three ones or three sixes.
You can also bet on two-dice combinations, and either ‘small’ or ‘tai’ (which is totals four to ten and pays 1-1 unless a triple appears) or ‘big’ or ‘sai’ (same odds and rules as ‘big’).
When you’re playing sic bo, you only have a limited time in which to place your wagers. The croupier will announce when time is up, and no more bets are then accepted.
Unlike the other popular dice game craps, the croupier deals with the dice, and they are not tossed across the table. Instead, they are placed in a wooden box and which is then shaken. The box is then placed on the sic bo table and opened, so players are able to see if they have won or lost. In some casinos the dice are contained in a plastic globe with a flat bottom.
The history of sic bo
There is evidence that sic bo has been around since the first century AD. It was bought to the US (like ‘keno‘, allegedly) by Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s, and the game found its way into American casinos in the 1920s, where it has developed a small but staunch following. Initially in the US it was regarded more as a fun game than a serious gambling game, and was even called ‘chuck-a-luck’ for a while. The game only started to be taken more seriously following another wave of China-to-America migration in the 1940s.
Las Vegas began to offer sic bo in the 1990s as China started to become a major economic force, and waves of cash-laden Chinese tourists began to visit Nevada’s gambling capital.
Around one-in-five sic bo tables use dice with coloured symbols rather than numbers. This version of sic bo is known as ‘yee hah hi’ or ‘fish shrimp crab’ in English. There are some additional bets available on this game based on the colours of the symbols, which are red (fish or rooster), green (scorpion or crab) or blue (goard or coin)
Sic bo was relatively unheard of in the UK until 2002, when it was given the legal green light.
Sic bo at online casinos
Not every online casino will offer sic bo, mainly due to the fact that it has never really caught on in European casinos. The structure of the game is very similar to roulette, and of course most European gamblers would prefer to bet on a little ball being spun around a wheel, rather than the outcome of three dice.
A few software houses, including Microgaming and Playtech, do offer a version of sic bo for online casino players, but only the basic version of the game. It’s worth noting that the Microgaming version of the game has better odds than standard sic bo tables and other sic bo versions. For example, the totals of 4 and 17 return 62-1, as opposed to the standard 60-1.