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Why You Shouldn’t Fear Playing Sic Bo

By Randy Ray in Casino
| September 20, 2020 1:40 am PDT
Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Fear Playing Sic Bo

Sic bo, or “precious dice,” is a casino game that originated in Asia. In fact, it was exclusively played in Asia up until the early 1900s.

Chinese immigrants brought this game to the United States by the turn of the twentieth century. Even then, though, sic bo didn’t find its way into American gambling venues until much later.

Sic bo has only recently begun gaining traction in Europe as well. The UK finally legalized sic bo for casino play in 2002.

Given its relative newness outside of Asia, sic bo can feel like an intimidating game. Its board is a confusing mix of dominoes and dice combinations.

It also carries the reputation for having a really high house edge. Therefore, you may be turned off before you even get started with this game.

Nevertheless, sic bo is still a quality casino game that’s worth trying. You can read more about the reasons why you needn’t fear it below.

Simple Game Play

Despite its complicated board, sic bo isn’t very difficult to understand. The general premise is that you wager on the outcome of three dice. Assuming you’ve played craps before, you’ll be perfectly comfortable with this concept.

Each round begins with you placing your chips on the desired spot(s) on the board. Once you and all other gamblers have finished betting, the dealer will shake a small cage that contains three pair of dice.

After the dealer finishes shaking the dice, they open the cage and reveal the combination. If you win, your bet will be paid according to the pay table.

Fairly Low House Edges on Some Wagers

The tough part about playing sic bo for real money is avoiding the many sucker bets. The board contains many terrible wagers that feature house edges as high as 29.2%.

However, nobody’s forcing you to making any such bets. Instead, you can skip all the atrocious wagers and concentrate on “Big” and “Small.”

Both carry a 2.78% house edge, which is low in the grand scheme of casino gambling. For reference, European roulette, a well-liked game, carries a similar 2.70% house advantage.

Here’s more info on these wagers.

  • Big – You win with a total combination of 11 through 17. You lose with anything under 11 and three of a kinds (4:4:4 and 5:5:5). Winning bets pay at 1 to 1.
  • Small – You win with a total combination of 4 through 10. You lose with anything over 10 and on triples (2:2:2 and 3:3:3). Winning wagers pay at 1 to 1.

Simple Strategy

In contrast to casino games like blackjack and video poker, you don’t have to think too hard with this one. You achieve optimal strategy simply by betting on Big or Small.

You just need to find the spaces on the board that are designated by “Big” (upper right-hand corner) or “Small” (upper left-hand corner).

The other part of sic bo strategy is to avoid the other bets. The board is a minefield of awful prop bets with house edges ranging from 7.4% to 29.2%.

You might as well leave the casino and play the lottery — which pays just as poorly — if you’re thinking about other sic bo wagers.

Exciting Atmosphere

Nothing in the table games section beats craps with regard to atmosphere. However, sic bo does present a fun environment in its own right.

First off, this game is still fairly new in its modern casino format. Assuming you haven’t tried sic bo before, then you’ll get to experience something fresh.

Secondly, the sheer anticipation of waiting on the dealer to finish shaking up the dice and revealing the combination is also exciting.

Sure, you may not get to roll the dice like in craps. But you still experience the thrills of dice-based gambling.

Interesting Variations

Although sic bo is primarily considered an Asian game, it’s based on English dice-based games in Grand Hazzard and Chuck-a-luck.

The former, which is based on the even older game Hazard, is played with three dice just like sic bo. Grand Hazzard sees the three dice shaken in and rolled out of a cup.

Chuck-a-luck, or “sweat cloth,” was spun off Grand Hazzard. Its three dice are shaken and rolled out of a birdcage-like device.

Chuck-a-luck was once quite common in Las Vegas casinos. Now, it’s rarely found anywhere in the gambling world.

No Worse Than Craps

Earlier, I described the dire situation you face when going away from the Big and Small bets. Long story short, you don’t want to make either of these wagers.

But sic bo isn’t any different from craps in this regard. There are also a lot of really bad craps wagers.

This game does offer a few solid wagers, though, in pass line (1.41% house edge), come (same), don’t pass line (1.36% house edge), and don’t come (same).

Assuming you venture too far away from these bets, then you can hit some very high house advantages. The worst of the bunch is Any 7 (single-roll 7), which carries a 16.67% casino edge.

If you’ve heard that sic bo is the worst game in the casino regarding house edge, then you can discount this thought. Craps also features some risky bets too.


Sic bo is by no means brand new to the casino landscape. However, it hasn’t had quite as much time to warm up gamblers as many other table games.

Therefore, sic bo is often stereotyped as an intimidating or even bad game. In reality, it’s not much worse than craps regarding these aspects.

First off, sic by has pretty simple game play. You mainly need to know what each betting square means. As long as you can figure out your desired wager, then you’ll have no trouble playing.

Once you place your bet(s), the dealer will shake up the dice and roll them. Your results depend upon the three-dice combination.

Unfortunately, most sic bo bets are really bad in terms of house edge. But Big and Small allow you to bring the house edge down to 2.78%. You should never go away from these wagers if you want the best odds of winning.

Sic bo also presents a fun-and-exciting atmosphere. Everything from waiting for the dice to be shaken to seeing the bones roll out of the cage is thrilling.

Assuming you’re interested in playing sic bo, then you can find it at both land-based casinos and most of the top online casinos. If you’re on the fence about playing it, then you can simply play free sic bo online.

Of course, half the excitement is enjoying this game in land-based casinos. That said, you haven’t truly experienced sic bo until you’ve tried it in a brick-and-mortar venue.



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