Sic bo strategy

As the game of sic bo is based strictly on chance, strategy is not too complex. However, it is vital to understand the different types of bets and how to best apply them, otherwise you can haemorrhage money fast – and this page will explain just that.

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Sic bo is one of the most popular casino games in Asia, widely played in casinos across Macau. It made its way across borders and seas early during the 20th century, to reach European, United States and Australian casinos.

Sic bo bets, payouts and house edge

Also known as big and small, tai sai, dai siu and hi-lo, sic bo is an entirely chance based game where three dice are rolled each round, and players can bet on a number of diverse outcomes of the rolls.

Sic bo plays host to a number of betting combinations, some which pay out at low odds of 1:1 but hold close to a 50 per cent chance of success, and some which pay out as high as 180:1 but hold less than a one per cent chance of success. Below we outline all possible betting combinations allowed on the sic bo table:

Sic bo by Microgaming for real money online
1. Big and small bets: The most commonly played wagers, small bets are successful if the total of three dice are four through to 10 (inclusive) and big bets are successful if the total of the three dice are 11 through to 17 (inclusive). All big and small bets lose if the three dice result in a triple (three of a kind). The probability of winning a big or small bet is 48.61 per cent, and each pays out at 1:1. The house edge is 2.78 per cent.

2. Odd and even bets: The total of all three dice will either be an odd number or an even number, with all odd and even bets losing if a triple is rolled. The odd and even wagers hold the same probability of winning and house edge as the big and small bets, and also pay out at 1:1.

3. Three dice total bets: Bet on the specific total of the three dice rolled, ranging from four through to 17. Below are the traditional Australian payouts for each total:

  • 4 or 17: Payout of 62 to 1, with a 1.39 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 12.5 per cent
  • 5 or 16: Payout of 31 to 1, with a 2.78 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 11.1 per cent
  • 6 or 15: Payout of 18 to 1, with a 4.63 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 12 per cent
  • 7 or 14: Payout of 12 to 1, with a 6.94 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 9.7 per cent
  • 8 or 13: Payout of 8 to 1, with a 9.72 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 12.5 per cent
  • 9 or 12: Payout of 7 to 1, with an 11.57 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 7.4 per cent
  • 10 or 11: Payout of 6 to 1, with a 12.5 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 12.5 per cent

4. Specific double number bets: A wager that a specific number will appear on at least two of the dice rolled (such as two 4s). This bet pays out at 11:1, has a 7.41 per cent probability of winning and holds a house edge of 11.1 per cent.

5. Specific triple number bets: A wager that a specific number (such as 6) will appear on all three dice. This bet pays 180:1, has a probability of winning of 0.46 per cent and holds a house edge of 16.2 per cent.

6. Any triple number bets: A wager for any three of a kind to appear (any triples). This bet pays 31:1, has a probability of winning of 2.78 per cent and holds a house edge of 11.1 per cent.

7. Any one number bets: A wager on a specific number being rolled. If it appears on one die (probability of 34.72 per cent), the payout is 1:1. If it appears on two dice (probability of 6.94 per cent), the payout is 2:1 and if the number appears on all three dice (probability of 0.46 per cent), the payout is 12:1. The house edge for this type of bet is 3.7 per cent across the board.

8. Domino bets: Called a domino bet because the allocated area for this bet on the sic bo table is designed inside domino images, this is a wager on at least two of the dice showing two of the different numbers you have chosen (for example, a 4 and a 5). This bet pays 6 to 1 and holds a house edge of 2.8 per cent. The chance of success for this wager sits at 13.9 per cent.

9. Three single number combo bets: An uncommon wager typically only found in online casinos and in Macau, the player selects a three number combination of three different numbers. If the dice show that combo, the bet is successful. The pay out is 30 to 1, the chance of winning is 2.8 per cent and the house edge is 13.9 per cent.

10. Specific double and specific single number combo bets: Another uncommon wager also found at Internet gaming sites and in Macau, the player selects a number he or she thinks will appear twice, and a number he or she thinks will appear once. A successful selection (the exact combination chosen is rolled) pays out at 60 to 1, holds a house edge of 15.3 per cent and has a 1.4 per cent chance of winning.

Applying sic bo strategies

Now you understand the different types of sic bo wagers you can make, the risk versus reward should also now be clearer when you play this great game of chance.

The big/small and odd/even wagers are near identical to playing the red/black wagers at the roulette table (in terms of chance of winning), so you could apply progressive betting strategies to these wagers, such as the Martingale, D’alembert and Labouchere betting systems.

Always keep in mind repeated bets on the same outcomes (while increasing and decreasing your stakes according to your chosen strategy) does hold the potential to bankrupt you, because tables have maximum betting limits, and while unlikely, it is possible to lose enough consecutive wagers and reach max limit.

The three dice totals of nine or 12, which holds a payout of 7 to 1, an 11.57 per cent chance of winning and a house edge of 7.4 per cent, are the most likely totals to be rolled, out of the totals ranging from four through to 17, and so that is a wager you could choose more often than others.

Ensure you do not lay out more money than you stand to earn in winnings, and you can have a heap of fun playing this ancient Chinese dice game.

Where to play sic bo at online casinos

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