Of all the games in the casinos, Sic Bo is definitely the oldest. It dates back to about 2 millenniums ago. Before the Chinese invented paper and playing cards some 1,900 years ago, they enjoyed games of chance that made use of painted stones, tiles, and dice. Although the words “Sic Bo” literally translate as “dice pair,” indicating that it may have once been played with two dice, the game originally involved tossing bricks with numbered sides.
Gradually, those unwieldy implements were replaced with three six-sided dice. What has never changed is the object of the game: To wager correctly on what combinations of numbers will be rolled. Good thing we don’t have to play with bricks now. But for those who have never played before or have played it but don’t feel they are very good, we decided to make this little article to help all you aspiring Sic Bo pros play Sic Bo like a pro.
Sic Bo Odds
Before you begin training your Sic Bo strategy, you must first understand how the odds work. Unfortunately, there is no uniformity throughout the world regarding what Sic Bo odds should be. As a general rule of thumb, payouts are higher in Las Vegas than they are in Macau and even higher in Australia than in the United States. So, just as a reference typical Atlantic City odds and payout will be used.
The built-in advantage kept by the House on every roll of Sic Bo spans from just under 3% to over 30%, depending on the type of wager made and the odds offered. The very best bet from an odds point of view is Big or Small, where the payout is even money. Because these bets lose when a Triple comes up, the probability of winning on either wager is 48.61%, meaning the House edge is 2.78%—very similar to the percentages when betting Red or Black at a European Roulette table.
The wager that will produce the largest payout is on one of the six specified Triples, which pays 180-to-1 in the better casinos, although just 150-to-1 at most Sic Bo tables in Macau. At the higher odds, the House has a 16.20% advantage; at the lower odds, the House edge shoots up to 30.09%.
As it turns out, however, it is actually better to on Triples than Doubles. When the payout is the standard 10-to-1, the House can expect a return of 18.52%. When it drops to 8-to-1, as it does in many Macau casinos, the margin becomes 33.33%, which is triple the House edge in Australia, where payouts are 11-to-1 on successful Doubles wagers.
Sic Bo Tips
Here are some tips to help you Play Sic Bo like a pro:
- Develop a winning strategy: Some players use a system, such as d’Alembert or Labouchere. Others rely entirely on their gut feelings and luck. Over the short term, any approach to Sic Bo may be successful, but in the long run, those who play with a specific strategy tend to fare much better than those who rely purely on intuition.
- Balanced action: No combination of bets made by a player can eliminate the mathematical advantage the House enjoys in the game of Sic Bo. However, there are ways to wager that make more sense than others from a statistical point of view. Big and Small, for example, have the lowest House edge, so they should be part of each wager made, even when other bets are placed.
- Tough Triples: The biggest payouts are for a Triple, correctly predicting a single number that shows up on all three of the dice faces. But this is also the riskiest wager one can make at the Sic Bo table. Experienced players either avoid betting Triples altogether or else use them as side bets, never the primary wager. Such bet can be expected to lose 99.54% of the time.
- Mind the minimums: If a table has a minimum wagering requirement of $5, it not necessary to wager $5 in a single bet. A combination of $1 wagers totaling $5 is fine, and it is even preferable. Combinations of wagers pay out more frequently and involve less risk.
Hope these tips help you play Sic Bo like a pro, or at least help you understand the game better!