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A Beginner’s Guide to Sic Bo

An Introduction to Sic Bo 

You most likely think of Craps as the typical casino dice game; however, Sic Bo is an ancient Chinese game that in recent years has become hugely popular in casino around the world. The game uses three dice (whereas Craps uses two), but it is actually a much simpler game, despite having a betting area that can look a bit complicated and daunting.  

When you play Sic Bo at a land casino, the game involves two dealers who manage the bets and shaking of the dice. However, online you of course play alone, and in most live dealer versions, there is just one dealer and a machine that rolls the dice. In the following guide, you will learn all you need to start playing Sic Bo, including the basic rules and some strategy tips to get you off to the best possible start. 

How to Play Sic Bo 

The concept behind Sic Bo is very basic. You are simply betting on the outcome or the roll of three dice. However, there are many different types of bets that you can place, which make the game interesting and exciting.  

The Sic Bo table has a rectangular layout divided into different types of bets. Each bet is part of a set that offers a variety of payout options. There are five broad categories of bets. 

Single Number Bets 

The single number bets can be found at the bottom of the betting area and as the name suggests, they are bets on a single number being rolled. You will see six positions, labelled one through six, and if your chosen number is rolled on any of the dice, then you win a payout. As a nice bonus, if the number appears on multiple dice, then the payout increases. You will be paid at 1:1, 2:1 or 3:1 if the number appears on one, two or three dice respectively. 

Two Number Combination Bets 

These bets can be found on the second row from bottom in the betting area and you can bet on any two specific numbers showing up on the dice. For example, you could bet on the numbers 3 and 5 being rolled and if the roll produces 3, 5 and 6, then you win. Al of these bets payout at 6:1, regardless of which combination is bet on.  

Totals Bet 

This is the most popular kind of bet and it is a bet on the sum of all three dice. The possible numbers range from 4 to 17 (the totals 3 and 18 are excluded as they fall under a different category of bet). The payout varies depending on the total bet on; some totals are more likely to be rolled than others are. 4 and 17 pay 62:1, 5 and 16 pay 31:1, 6 and 15 pay 18:1, 7 and 14 pay 12:1, 8 and 13 pay 8:1, 9 and 12 pay 7:1, and 10 and 11 pay 6:1.  

Triple and Pairs Bets 

These two bets are very similar. A Pair bet is on two of the three dice showing the same number and a Triple bet is on all three dice showing the same number. In the case of a Triple bet, players have the choice between betting on a specific number or just any triple. The Pairs bet pays out at 8:1, a Triple bet on a specific number pays at 150:1 (which is the game’s highest payout), and an Any Triple bet pays at 24:1.  

Big and Small Bets  

This is another type of bet on the total of the numbers rolled. In Big bets you bet on the total being rolled being between 11 and 17 inclusive and in Small bets you bet on the total being between 4 and 10 inclusive. Both of these bets pay even money.  

Sic Bo Terminology 

When you play Sic Bo, there is some basic terminology that you should be aware of:  

  • Betting Table/Area – This is the place where chips are placed at the start of each round in order to place a bet. 
  • Cage – This is the container where the dice are shaken before being rolled. 
  • Clear – This is a term used to cancel or remove your bet from the table 
  • Re-bet – This is a term used when a player places the same bet as in the previous round 
  • Strong Bet – A triple bet is sometimes referred to as a strong bet. 
  • Weak Bet – A simple bet is sometimes referred to as a weak bet.  

Sic Bo Strategy 

Sic Bo is purely a game of chance, there is nothing that you can do to influence the outcome of the roll of dice, and one round will have no effect on another. However, this doesn’t mean that there are not strategies that you can use to improve your chances. Furthermore, as there is no skill involved in the game, it means that all players have an equal chance of winning. 

Low Risk Strategy 

Ultimately, the best way to reduce risk when playing Sic Bo is to place smaller bets, and this is generally a good idea, especially for beginners. The other thing you can do is to choose the bets with the smallest house edge and the best chance of winning. In the case of Sic Bo, these are the Small and Big Bets, and the Combination bet also has a lower house edge.  

The Small and Big Bets both offer even money payouts; they have a probability of winning of 47.62% and a house edge of 2.78%. The Combination bets have a payout of 6:1, a probability of 62.5% and a house edge of 2.77%. As you can see, all three bets have a relatively good chance of winning and they are basically the safest bets you can place (however, nothing is ever guaranteed when gambling).  

You can combine this with a simple betting system, such as the 1-3-2-4 system. You start with a bet of €1, the next bet should be €3, the next €2 and the final bet €4. However, you only move on to the next bet if you have won. If you lose then you return to the start of the sequence. The system will help you avoid significant losses, but it won’t help you win more often. There are other similar betting systems that can be used with Sic Bo, such as Paroli and 1-3-2-6.  

Advanced Strategy 

If you want to try to land bigger wins, then there are riskier strategies that you can use. Many people will advocate betting on at least four different numbers, as even if you lose all four bets, when you do win, the payout will cover the previous loss. However, there is always the risk of hitting a losing streak. 

In Sic Bo, the probability, payout and house edge is not the same for all the numbers. Therefore, you should take care when choosing which four bets to place.  

Sic Bo Bet 

Probability 

Payout 

House Edge 

1.59% 

62:1 

12.43 % 

3.13% 

31:1 

11.04% 

5.26% 

18:1 

12.03% 

7.69% 

12:1 

9.78% 

11.11% 

8:1 

12.52% 

12.50% 

7:1 

7.44% 

10 

14.29% 

6:1 

12.50% 

11 

14.29% 

6:1 

12.50% 

12 

12.50% 

7:1 

7.44% 

13 

11.11% 

8:1 

12.52% 

14 

7.69% 

12:1 

9.78% 

15 

5.26% 

18:1 

12.03% 

16 

3.13% 

31:1 

11.04% 

17 

1.59% 

62:1 

12.53% 

Double 

8.33% 

11:1 

11.08% 

Triple 

0.55% 

180:1 

16.74% 

 

As is always the case with casino games, the higher the payout on offer, the lower the chance of winning the bet. This means that you have to choose carefully, ensure your bankroll can cope with your system, and try to minimise the house edge.  

Some players will choose to follow a system that involves placing a bet of 3 units on 9 and 2 units on double 1, 5 and 6. Another option is three units on 12 and two units on double 1, 2 and 6. Both of these options have a potential return of 24 units if 9 or 12 wins, and the same amount if a double bet wins.  

Alternative Betting Patterns  

There are two other betting Patterns that are popular with Sic Bo players. The first involves betting three units on 8, and two units on double 1, 2 and 3. You should also place two units on a combination of 2 and 3. The possible return is 27 units if 8 wins, 22 units if a double bet wins, and 12 units if a combination bet wins. 

The second pattern is to place three units on 13, two units on double 4, 5, and 6, and two units on a Combination bet of 4 and 5. The possible returns are 27 units if 13 wins, 22 units if any of the double bets win, and 12 units if the Combination bet wins.  

To Conclude 

Sic Bo is not a difficult game to learn and it is a great deal of fun. As a game of pure luck, there is nothing you can do to improve your chances of winning, but as discussed, there are various betting patterns that you can use to minimise your risk and try to maximise the returns. Ultimately, the most important thing is to manage your bankroll carefully and make sure that you are betting small enough amounts that you will be able to keep playing for as long as you wish. Start playing Sic Bo today and you’ll soon discover just how much fun it is.  

 

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