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Sic Bo

Another game of Chinese decent is the game of Sic Bo, which literally means “dice pairs”. Although Oriental in origin it is very similar to Grand Hazard which is a popular English game. You will also notice that the game is also similar to Big Six in the manner of placing the bets and, unfortunately, the odds.

When you wander up to a Sic Bo game, you might think you’ve taken a wrong turn into the arcade. The Sic Bo table is an elaborately illuminated affair, with the winning bets highlighted by the illuminated sections.

Sic Bo is really a simple dice game. After all the bets have been made, the dealer will spin a small cage which contains three dice. Players have made their wagers by placing chips on the sections that designate possible combinations of the results of the dice role.

The various sections of the table represent the faces of the dice in different patterns. After the dealer spins the dice, the results are entered into the table, which lights up in the winning pattern. The dealer pays off the winners and removes the losing bets from the table.

On the Sic Bo table there are seven different types of bets. First of all, players may wager on any one of the six dice sides, 1 though 6. If that number comes up on any one of the dice, the player is paid even money. If two of the dice come up with the same number, the bet is paid off at 2-to-1 and finally if all three of the dice are the same number, the bet is paid at 3-to-1. The house edge on this bet is about 7.8 percent.

The next bet is a combination of two particular numbers. If, for example, a 2-5 or a 3-6 come up on any two of the dice, the bet is paid off at 5-to-1. This bet gives the house a big 16.6 percent advantage.

Bets can also be made on the total of all three dice. The player can bet on any specific total from 4 to 17. The payoff on this bet varies from 6-to-1 to 50-to-1, depending upon the total bet. The house edge on this bet has a wide range from about 9.7 on the low end to 47.2 percent.

The next bet that you can place is a wager of “small” or “big”, which means that if you bet on small, you’re wagering that the three dice will total between 4 and 10. Conversely Big bets win if the dice total between 11 and 17. At first glance, this wouldn’t seem like such a bad bet. After all, there are 216 possible combinations on the dice (6 x 6 x 6 = 216), so you could discern that there would be 109 ways to win and 107 ways to lose. But there is a rider on this bet. If you look at the find print under the small and big bets. It says “lose if any triple appears”. This means that if all three dice have the same number come up, you lose even though the total might constitute a small or big win. This means there are only 105 ways to win and 111 ways to lose. But even with the catch thrown in, the big and small bets are the best at the Sic Bo table, giving the house a rather reasonable 2.7 percent edge.

Let’s say you want to hedge your big or small bet and wager that a particular triplet will come up. This is a bad idea, due to the fact that the three of a kind bet is among the worst on the table. For instance, if you bet that three fours will come up, you’ll get paid at 150 to 1, but the true odds are only 215 to 1, giving the casino an almost criminal 30 percent advantage.

Betting on any triplet is even worse. You get paid 24 to 1 on this best, but the true odds are 35 to 1. You’re bucking a 30.5 percent house edge.

Don’t think things can get much worst? Try betting that a pair of any particular number will come up. The house pays 8 to 1 on this bet, but you’re going up against a nasty 33.3 percent casino advantage.

Sure, Sic Bo is an easy game to play, but if the dice are what appeals to you spend a little time and learn how to play craps. If it’s the flashing lights, you’ll do better playing the slot machines than this terrible game.

Sic Bo Totals



Casino Edge

4 or 17



5 or 16



6 or 15



7 or 14



8 or 13



9 or 12



10 or 11



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