A new dice game is gaining in popularity: Sic Bo

online dice gamesA new dice game is gradually making its way into online casinos around the globe. It’s called Sic Bo, and it’s very popular in physical casinos in Asia – particularly those in Singapore and Macau, beaten only by baccarat at the time of writing this article. This game is Chinese in origin, and the name means “a pair of dice” in China.

Now it seems that western players will be able to participate in the new game by gambling online. The game is only available at a few online casinos at present, but it’s only a matter of time before it becomes more widely adopted. It is becoming more and more widespread in the US, and especially in Las Vegas, where you can often find it in Atlantic City.

The order of operations is not much different to all other betting games: pick a bet (same way as in Roulette) and hope for a winning outcome. There is a variety of betting options, and, after the three dice are thrown, you can watch variety of combinations come up. Bets on a particular number are much more risky, and a bet on either odd or even is a lot more safe, obviously. Different bets therefore mean different payouts, and different casinos may offer various payouts. That’s how the game works in general. Now, let’s get more specific.

How does Sic Bo actually work? At its core, it bears a close relation to the well-known dice game craps; the main difference is that Sic Bo is played with three dice instead of two. Players can bet on the specific outcome of the roll (if they’re feeling daring) or place more general bets (if they’d rather play the game cautiously). For example, players can bet on whether the total number rolled will be odd or even, or whether it will be ‘big’ (a roll of 11-17) or ‘small’ (a roll of 4-10). The addition of a third die means that there are more possible rolls than in craps. On the one hand, this means smaller odds of a specific total coming up. On the other hand, the payout when that total does appear will be significantly higher, so Sic Bo has the potential to be even riskier and more exciting than craps.

In most casinos bets on big and small come with the exception of “except for three of a kind”.

Some casinos have limitations for players who bet on odd and even at the same time to accumulate bonuses (same as people who bet on red as well as black on Roulette), so watch out for those rules if you have something particular in mind.

If you bet on a total of 4 or 17, for example, the house edge come to around 30%, just so you know. But it does pay 30 to 1 or so, depending on a casino.

Betting on any one number to turn up will get you a one to one payout ratio if you’re successful, and guessing three numbers will mean a 3 to 1 payout (but 12 to 1 in some places in Australia). Australia also features exactly half of the usual house edge (which comes to about 8% usually) and more kangaroos than citizen per capita anywhere in the world (that’s the official statistic).

Domino bets feature two unique numbers that a player chooses that have to turn up, and this bet pays out 5 to 1. One-face domino means that two numbers have to be the same, and the payouts are usually from 8 to 1 to 11 to 1, again, depending on the casino and country (significantly less in Macao than in the US).

Bets on odd and even kind of speak for themselves. Three of a kind are what zero and double zero are in Roulette: fail. Thanks to that the house edge is exactly the same as in European Roulette.

Betting any three numbers will get you a 30 to 1 payout (just as long as you remember you probably face higher likelihood of getting hit in the face with a bucketful of condoms in a monastery). The chances are about 3%, and the house edge is enormous.

Sic bo users enjoy enormous house edge (this purely is a game of luck, and there is not really much you can do about it). This is pretty much a game for those who enjoy having a good time and know they have money to spend. It is true that the house will inevitably win in the long run no matter what game you play (unless it’s a game you play with the mind of a hot stewardess who you recruit to help you rob the bank).

However, some casinos offer negative house edge for players who use perfect strategy, which means a game with positive expectation, and there is no house edge as such. We advise that, if you’re beginner, you stick to small, regular play with games that don’t require much knowledge of the rules, as long as you’re just having fun. When you get to grips with learning different kinds of strategy, however, we think you should try games with positive expectation to rise up through the ranks.

Sic Bo is a game that can be immensely fun to train on (especially Yee Hah Hi and Hoo Hee How, which are variations of Sic Bo where you get tickled if you lose, no, we’re kidding, these are legitimate versions that can be found on the Internet). It has a list of possible outcomes that can be easily calculated, thus giving you clear understanding of the rules and the way the game will roll as well as the chance to practice your skills without getting confused. Because of the simplicity of the rules, the chances can be easily calculated (but not predicted). After you learned the ropes with Sic Bo (we’re assuming you’re a novice player if you’re reading this article), move on to more complicated strategies. And then you’re laughing.

By the way, a time comes when you just get tired of thinking things through (that’s pretty much what we spend our working days doing) and you just want a no strings attached old-fashioned slot machine game. If you’re willing to go for Max Bets, you’re in for a chance of hitting a progressive jackpot.

Should you be seeking out Sic Bo games? Actually, it might be wiser to wait for the new game to come to you. If you already have an online casino that you use regularly and that you trust, the best course of action is to wait until it adopts the game. After all, it’s likely that huge numbers of casinos will adopt the game sooner or later. In the meantime, there’s no point playing versions offered by vendors who haven’t earned your trust! Most online casinos are safe, of course, but there’s need to take a risk on an untried site when the game will come to your regular casino soon enough.

Before you try Sic Bo, we recommend that you revise the exact rules of the game so you can jump right in when you have the chance! Have fun, watch your bankroll, and always keep a cool head.

I'm Jordan Gate, the editor at Netbet.org. Connect with me to stay up-to-date with what's going on in the gambling industry.