Editors note, or the Editors Caveat, if you will:
At the time that this article was written, you could go to almost any of the Online Casinos that we back up and support and play a game or two or nineteen of Sic Bo. This has since changed and you cannot find it at any of the Online Casinos we support. In fact, with a quick Google search and just a little looking around, we just cannot find anywhere to play some Sic Bo.
So what happened? Why would casinos up and essentially get rid of a game that people enjoy and act as though it never existed?
We don’t know. That’s all there is to it. We have no answer for this. The people seemed to enjoy it. This author enjoyed it, but it’s gone, at least for the time being. Hopefully one day it’ll make a return and we can all play again but there’s nothing we can do about it. Until that time, all we can do is present this article to you and get you ready for the Return of Sic Bo if there ever is one! Enjoy!
If you have always felt a draw to the craps table but are not ready to wade through the daunting complexities, you might instead gravitate to the game of sic bo.
Like craps, sic bo is a dice game. Indeed, both these games are similar enough that if you enjoy one, you will likely enjoy the other. But sic bo is not as complex, and thus a beginner may find it easier to get into than craps.
In our sic bo 101 guide, we will go over everything you need to know to start playing sic bo online.
We will tell you what this game is, some background on how it became popular around the globe, how to play it, odds for different sic bo bets, and where you can play sic bo online. Let’s begin!
What is Sic Bo?
As mentioned before, sic bo is a dice game. It is classified as a game of chance.
Whereas you throw your own dice when playing craps (leading many players to believe that skill is involved), it is the croupier that shakes up the dice in a game of sic bo.
At a glance, however, the two games appear similar, at least if you are walking past the tables and not looking too closely.
Actually, however, sic bo and craps tables look completely different. Once you know how to recognize each, there is no way you would ever confuse the two games unless you cannot see past the crowds.
The History of Sic Bo
There seems to be little detailed information available as to the origin of sic bo. But we do know that its history dates back centuries, and that the game was first played in China.
The name sic bo means “precious dice” or “dice pair”, depending on the translation (I have heard both).
Sic Bo Spreads Throughout the World
Sic Bo made its way from China to other Asian countries. In some of those locations, it is known by different names. If you want to play sic bo in the Philippines, look for a “hi-lo” table.
Encyclopedia Britannica writes, “During the 1980s and ’90s, it spread to American and European casinos, partially in an effort to appeal to gamblers from the East.”
Interestingly enough, it took an extra long time before sic bo made its way legally to the UK. Up until 2002, it was not available there!
Of course, now you can play sic bo no matter where you live. Online casinos bring sic bo games to players in Asia, the US, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere around the globe.
Even so, not every online casino offers sic bo. It remains much more popular in Asia. So, it is still a bit of a niche game.
How to Play Sic Bo
It is easiest to explain how to play sic bo by starting with how the game works when you are playing at a brick-and-mortar casino. We will then tell you how it works online.
What is the Goal of Sic Bo?
When you play sic bo, a croupier will shake up three dice and reveal how they land. Your goal as the player is to wager on what numbers will be facing up.
How Sic Bo Works Offline
If you play at your traditional, brick-and-mortar casino, here are the steps:
- Place your bets on the table
- Wait as the croupier picks up the chest with the three dice (it is always three), closes it, and shakes it
- Watch as the croupier opens the chest to display the dice
Based on the outcome, you will win or lose your wagers and receive the applicable payouts.
As you can see, it is a super simple game, and pretty passive. Aside from choosing your bets, you don’t do anything except wait to find out if you won.
How Sic Bo Works Online
As you would guess, sic bo online works about the same way as it does offline. In fact, if you have a live croupier through a video feed, it works identically. You place your bets, the croupier shakes real, physical dice in a real, physical chest, and shows you the result.
Without a live dealer, here is how to play sic bo online:
- Choose the bets you want to place
- The software displays the result using a random number generator (RNG). The RNG’s output determines if you win or lose
Once more, it is beyond simple! It is easy to get into a hypnotic flow with sic bo since you can place bet after bet quite rapidly.
Sic Bo Strategy
You might be wondering if there is a way you can play sic bo strategically.
The answer to that question is simple, and it is, “no”.
The reason that is the case is because it is a game where chance alone determines the outcome.
There is no way for you to possibly predict how the three dice will land if you are playing the physical, brick-and-mortar version of the game.
And if you are playing the online version of the game, there is no way for you to predict the result because, by definition, the outcome produced by a random number generator is, in fact, random.
Different sic bo bets do have different odds, because some of them are more likely than others.
So, the only thing you can do it is to acquaint yourself with those odds.
That way, you can decide how much risk you want to take when you place your bets before each round.
If you want to extend your bankroll for as long as possible, it makes sense to only place the bets with the lowest house edge.
On the other hand, if you want to give yourself a chance at higher payouts, you can take riskier bets with longer odds.
Sic Bo Bet Types
So, what are the different types of bets you can place when playing sic bo?
Below is a basic introduction. Note that my references to house edges and probabilities of winning are based on the common UK rules.
Common Bets With the Lowest House Edge
These first four types of bets all have a house edge of 2.78% and a 48.61% probability of winning.
If the total of the three dice is 11-17, you win this wager.
If the total of the three dice is 4-10, you win this wager.
If the total of the three dice is an odd number, this bet wins.
If the total of the three dice is an even number, this bet wins.
There is an important exception for the four types of wagers above, and that is if the result is three of a kind.
If the three dice match, you lose your bet, even if the result otherwise satisfies the criteria.
So, say for example that the dice came up trip threes for a total of eighteen.
If you had wagered on even, you would not win because of the three of a kind exception, even though eighteen is an even number.
Likewise, if you had bet on Small, you would lose, despite six being within the “Small” bracket.
If you do not want to take big risks while betting on sic bo, these four bets are all good options because of their relatively low house edge.
Other Types of Sic Bo Bets
Here are the other types of sic bo bets:
- Dice Combinations
- Three Dice Total
- Single Dice Bet
- Four Number Combination
- Any Triple
- Three Single Number Combination
- Specific Double
- Specific Double and Single Number
When you make a dice combination bet, you are wagering on the outcome for two dice. To place this wager, you need to specify which two numbers will appear on the dice.
You can make this wager by specifying a number which the three dice will add up to. There are multiple versions of this wager type. I will delve into that in just a bit.
Wager on a number which will show up on one or more of the dice.
With this type of bet, you are wagering that the numbers on the dice will match three out of four numbers (any three out of four) of a given four-number combination.
If a triple of any sort shows up, you win this bet.
You are wagering on three individual numbers to appear in combination with one another.
Specific Triple: If you want to take an even longer shot, you can wager not just that any triple will appear, but that a specific triple will appear.
Instead of specifying a triple, you can simply specify a double.
This is combining a wager on a Specific Double with a wager on what the remaining non-matching die face will show.
And then you’ve got what are known as Three Dice Total Bets.
You can wager on the total that the three dice faces will add up to with any of the following wagers:
- 4 or 17
- 5 or 16
- 6 or 15
- 7 or 14
- 8 or 13
- 9 or 12
- 10 or 11
Something else that is important to know about sic bo is that there are various rules which modify the payouts.
For example, playing the game using Macau rules is different from playing the game using Atlantic City rules or Australia rules.
Different software providers online also have different house edges and payouts.
Generally speaking, you are not going to see a lot of variation (if any) with Small, Big, Even, and Odd bets.
Those bets will consistently feature 1:1 odds a house edge of 2.78%.
But with some other types of bets, variations are possible.
Take a bet of 4 and 17, for instance. RTG and Playtech both have a house edge of 15.28% for that type of wager, but the Microgaming edge is only 12.50%.
So, always check the pay tables before you decide what kinds of bets you want to place!
Advantages to Playing Sic Bo Online
We have just talked about the types of bets you can place when you are playing the simple and exciting game of sic bo.
What are the benefits of playing sic bo online versus at a brick-and-mortar casino?
- You can choose the version of sic bo you want to play.
- You can decide whether to use a live croupier or not.
- You can take advantage of amazing bonuses and also earn points as you play sic bo online.
- You can pace yourself without pressure.
- You can wager a low minimum amount.
- You can avoid the crowds and the distractions.
- Playing sic bo online removes travel time and saves you money.
- These days, you can also stay safe playing sic bo at home.
First of all, you have far more choices when it comes to playing sic bo games online than you do at a local casino.
Were you to visit your local casino, you would only be able to play sic bo according to the rules which govern the game at that casino.
But online, you can choose the version of the game which appeals to you the most.
Some factors to consider include:
The interface for the game. You may enjoy the graphics and sounds on one game more than another.
The house edge and the payouts. RTG, Microgaming, Playtech and the other casino software giants have different house edges for some types of bets, as we talked about. Payouts can range as well.
Playing online puts the entire world of sic bo at your disposal. So enjoy trying a variety of games.
Some people love the live casino experience. They want their at-home gambling experience to be as close as possible to the traditional casino floor experience.
If that is you, you probably will love playing sic bo with a live croupier online. It is just like playing at Atlantic City or Vegas or your local casino, but you have the table and the croupier to yourself.
Casinos usually look to hire attractive croupiers for their live online table games, just like brick-and-mortar casinos do. So if you are looking for some eye candy to add more fun to your sic bo experience, you will find it with online live dealer games.
But not everyone likes the live dealer aspect of gambling. For many people, a live dealer is a distraction, not a contribution to an experience. If you prefer to gamble in complete isolation, you have that option. You can play a regular online sic bo game which does not feature a live croupier.
Playing sic bo online gives you a further advantage in being able to claim promotions which you would not be able to at a traditional casino.
Yes, traditional casinos offline do have rewards programs. But most of them just don’t hold a candle to those offered online.
For one thing, when you sign up at a new casino to play sic bo, you can grab a massive welcome bonus.
Then there are the points programs which are offered at many casinos online. When you play sic bo and other games, you earn points which you can use for cash-back and more.
The value you gain through these programs is often more pragmatic than the value of free drinks and similar comps at traditional casinos.
There is not as much pressure when you are playing sic bo as there is when you are playing craps. Nevertheless, you may feel rushed offline when making your bets.
If you want to take a more laid-back approach to playing sic bo, you may enjoy playing at home on your computer or mobile device a lot more. No one will be waiting on you to make your bets.
That means you can take your time and place your bets after you have had time to think about them.
If you are trying to learn more about odds and house edge, having this extra time to think can really help you get more out of playing sic bo.
Sic bo is not necessarily a high stakes game by default, but that does not mean that it is not more affordable online than offline.
The reality is that playing table games at land-based casinos has become less and less affordable over the years.
Why? Because younger gamblers prefer them over slots. Casinos do not like that, and thus tend to set higher minimums to try and drive people back to the slots.
But online, you can play sic bo and other table games with low minimum stakes. Indeed, you may be able to play sic bo while wagering no more than $1.
So, no matter how large or small your bankroll is, you will be able to enjoy sic bo online.
Some people like mingling with the crowds at a brick-and-mortar casino. But a lot of people prefer a quieter, more peaceful gambling experience.
At home, you will not be constantly bumping elbows with others around the sic bo table.
That means that fully concentrating on the game is possible, which makes it more likely you will get into a pleasant state of “flow” while you play sic bo.
Even though visiting a land-based casino can be fun, there is no denying that it can be expensive and inconvenient.
Even if there is a local casino relatively close to your location, you may have to take a bit of a drive to get there.
And while you are out, you will probably spend extra money on food, drinks, and other miscellaneous expenses.
It is much more convenient to play sic bo online, since you can use your desktop, laptop or mobile device.
There is no need to pay for gas or other transportation, and no miscellaneous expenses to worry about.
That means that you have more funds available to stake on your sic bo bets.
I am writing this as coronavirus is still a problem, especially in the US.
A crowded table at a brick-and-mortar casino is not where you want to be right now.
Thus, one more advantage of online sic bo is that you do not need to take any risks with your health just to have fun gambling.
Playing sic bo also can provide you with a pleasant distraction from all the scary things happening in the world, helping you to relax and ease your mind.
Where to Play Sic Bo Online
Now that we have talked about the different types of sic bo bets as well as the advantage of being able to choose your own sic bo games online, where can you play?
Note: Look Under Specialty Games
Being a table game, you would probably expect to find sic bo listed under “table games” on most casino sites right next to games like craps.
Nevertheless, it usually seems to be located under “specialty games.”
So, that is where you should look for it first.