Online Sic Bo

Sic bo is a popular Chinese game that can be enjoyed at your favourite online casinos.

Similar to craps, but with far simpler rules, sic bo is an entertaining game that should appeal to gamblers looking for something a little bit different. Learn the rules and play with confidence using our comprehensive sic bo guide.

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About sic bo

Sic bo is an ancient Chinese gambling game that’s very much like roulette. Instead of a ball being spun around a roulette wheel to create the necessary random element, three dice are thrown instead. Players gamble on the how the dice will land, and are paid if the combinations they bet on come up. Sic bo itself actually means ‘precious dice’, although some claim it means ‘dice pair’ as the game was originally played with two dice instead of three.

Sic bo is a very straightforward game to play. There are a number of possible outcomes that players can gamble their chips upon, just as in roulette. The most profitable bet is to bet on a specific triple, i.e., that all three dice will land on the number that the player has chosen. This pays 180-1. Those with even a rudimentary grasp of maths will immediately spot that the odds of three tossed dice all landing on a certain number are in fact (6x6x6) = 216 to 1, which of course is where the house maintains its edge.

You can instead bet on ANY three number combination, at a payout of 30-1 and actual odds of 36-1. You can also bet on doubles, single numbers (you’re paid 1-1 if your chosen number appears on any one dice, 2-1 on two and 3-1 on three), and dice totals. A total of 17 wins odds of 60-1, as does a total of four. Totals between nine and twelve only have returns of 6-1. Of course, it is not possible to bet on totals of 3 or 18, as that would be the same as three ones or three sixes.

You can also bet on two-dice combinations, and either ‘small’ or ‘tai’ (which is totals four to ten and pays 1-1 unless a triple appears) or ‘big’ or ‘sai’ (same odds and rules as ‘big’).

When you’re playing sic bo, you only have a limited time in which to place your wagers. The croupier will announce when time is up, and no more bets are then accepted.

Unlike the other popular dice game craps, the croupier deals with the dice, and they are not tossed across the table. Instead, they are placed in a wooden box and which is then shaken. The box is then placed on the sic bo table and opened, so players are able to see if they have won or lost. In some casinos the dice are contained in a plastic globe with a flat bottom.

The history of sic bo

There is evidence that sic bo has been around since the first century AD. It was bought to the US (like ‘keno‘, allegedly) by Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s, and the game found its way into American casinos in the 1920s, where it has developed a small but staunch following. Initially in the US it was regarded more as a fun game than a serious gambling game, and was even called ‘chuck-a-luck’ for a while. The game only started to be taken more seriously following another wave of China-to-America migration in the 1940s.

Las Vegas began to offer sic bo in the 1990s as China started to become a major economic force, and waves of cash-laden Chinese tourists began to visit Nevada’s gambling capital.

Around one-in-five sic bo tables use dice with coloured symbols rather than numbers. This version of sic bo is known as ‘yee hah hi’ or ‘fish shrimp crab’ in English. There are some additional bets available on this game based on the colours of the symbols, which are red (fish or rooster), green (scorpion or crab) or blue (goard or coin)

Sic bo was relatively unheard of in the UK until 2002, when it was given the legal green light.

Sic bo at online casinos

Not every online casino will offer sic bo, mainly due to the fact that it has never really caught on in European casinos. The structure of the game is very similar to roulette, and of course most European gamblers would prefer to bet on a little ball being spun around a wheel, rather than the outcome of three dice.

A few software houses, including Microgaming and Playtech, do offer a version of sic bo for online casino players, but only the basic version of the game. It’s worth noting that the Microgaming version of the game has better odds than standard sic bo tables and other sic bo versions. For example, the totals of 4 and 17 return 62-1, as opposed to the standard 60-1.

How to play sic bo

Master Macau’s favourite dice game with RightCasino’s sic bo guide.

Sic bo (pron: ‘see-bow’ trans: ‘dice pair’ ) is a fast and furious dice game from East Asia. The game is superficially similar to craps and roulette, with players laying bets on a board and pay-outs determined by the outcome of rolled dice. However, sic bo is simpler than craps and far friendlier to newcomers. This introductory lesson will teach you the rules and show you the betting options in sic bo so you can roll with the experts.

The sic bo board

Where the action happens. As in casino craps, the sic bo board is segmented into different sections that correspond to different bets. Players place their chips in these sections to indicate their wagers.

The rules of sic bo

The dealer rolls

Unlike craps, there is only a single ‘dealer’ who handles the dice in sic bo. Three dice are thrown after players set their wagers.

Did you win?

Betting options include the total result of the thrown dice, any single number appearing, two specific numbers appearing or a given combination of numbers appearing. Chips are placed in betting squares on the board to indicate wagers.

Pay-outs distributed

Each bet has a different pay-out, based on the probability of the elected outcome. The dealer distributes winnings and collects losses based on the outcome of his/her roll, then players select their bets in preparation for a new round.

Sic bo bets

There are several betting options in sic bo, corresponding to segments of the board.

Total

A bet on the total face value of the three rolled dice, placed in the middle strip of the board (ranging from 4 to 17). Pay-outs are displayed in the betting squares.

Small and big

Players bet on the total value of three dice being ‘small’ (between 4 and 10) or ‘big (between 11 and 17). Chips are played in the upper right and upper left betting squares. Wins pay even money.

Combination

This is a bet on any two specific numbers appearing on the three dice. Chips are placed in the second lowest strip on the board and the pay-out is always 6/1.

Single

A bet on any specific number appearing on any three of the dice. These bets pay even money on one dice, 2/1 on two dice and 12/1 on all three. Chips are placed in the lowest strip on the board.

Double

This wager supposes that two of a particular number will show on any of the three dice. Chips are placed in the second-right and second-left corners of the board. Pay-out odds are 10/1.

Triple

The player bets that a chosen number will appear on all three dice. Chips are placed on the upper centre betting square and wins pay at 180/1.

Live sic bo

Nothing beats casino-style sic bo with a real casino dealer.

If you can’t experience sic-bo in an authentic casino, live online sic bo games are the next best thing. Using advanced video streaming technology, online casino companies can broadcast sic bo tables to millions of players around the globe, meaning you can play for real from the comfort of your own home.

What is live sic bo?

Live sic bo is played in exactly the same way as virtual versions of the game. However, instead of a random number generator (RNG) determining the outcome of dice rolls, a real human being throws the dice and distributes winnings.

Live online games have become popular with players, partly because of the realistic experience they offer but also because you have the assurance of knowing that everything is fair and above board. Not everyone is happy to entrust cash to a computer algorithm.

  • Live sic bo online

    Sic bo is a popular staple of Asian casinos. However, you needn’t shell out on a plane ticket just to experience realistic casino sic bo. Many casinos use sophisticated live streaming technology to broadcast real sic bo tables from working casinos or specialised studios to millions of gamblers all over the world.

  • How to play

    Players use a virtual interface to place bets while a dealer handles the dice and distributes winnings. Visual recognition technology identifies the outcome of dice rolls automatically, which keeps up the pace of the game. Several players can gamble at once at a single sic bo lobby.

  • Meet the dealers

    Plenty of casino websites allow players to access dealer galleries. This means you can get to know the croupiers before you start to play. Some casinos even allow player-dealer interaction via live chat. If you’re a loyal customer, you might have the option of requesting your favourite dealer after you log in.

How live sic bo works

There are a few 'live dealer' casinos where you can play live sic bo if you so desire. There are usually at live dealer casinos that are specifically designed for the Asian market, so if you are trying to play sic bo outside of Asia, you may find that licencing restrictions will prevent you from doing so.

If you do manage to find your way into a live dealer version of sic bo, you will be presented with a video feed of a croupier at sic bo table, coupled with a computerised overlay of the sic bo table itself, Note that the 'live' sic bo table is only there for decorative purposes only – no chips will be laid during the course of the game.

You'll also be able to see a countdown clock, counting down the seconds you have remaining until the bet time limit is reached. You place your bets by picking up your virtual chips and laying them on the virtual sic bo table. Once you're happy with the placement of your chips, click the 'confirm bets' button and your wagers will be fed into the computer server running the game.

The croupier will then toss the dice. The dice are usually contained within a large plastic container that looks a little like a snow-dome. After shaking, the croupier will slam the container down on the table, and the dice will eventually settle. You'll be shown a close-up of the container so you can see how the dice have landed, and more importantly, if your wagers are going to win you any cash.

Some 'live dealer' casinos now go for the automated dice tossing option. The 'snowglobe' is mounted on the table, and the base of the device is vibrated when the croupier presses a button. This vibration causes the dice to jump and land on new values.

The croupier (or an assistant) will immediately feed the results of the dice toss into the computer server. Your success or lack thereof will be calculated and your bankroll upsized or downsized.

If you are expecting a great deal of live dealer interaction during your live sic bo you are going to be disappointed. Sic bo (as with all forms of gambling) is serious business in Asian market, and croupiers are trained to be respectful and to take matters extremely seriously. Do not expect much in the way of dealer chat that you might be used to if you play 'live dealer' roulette, or any other kind of interactive flirting. The croupier is unlikely to say anything other than 'place your bets', 'no more bets', 'good luck' and to announce the numbers on the dice and the winning selections. Some 'live dealers' are friendlier than others though, and you'll find that most of them are Asian, in keeping with the Asian theme of sic bo.

Mobile sic bo

Get the finest sic bo entertainment on your smart device.

Advancements in mobile and casino gaming technology mean that it is possible to enjoy high-quality gambling entertainment on an assortment of mobile platforms. In this lesson, you can find casinos that offer sic bo for your operating system.

What is mobile sic bo?

Mobile gambling has totally revolutionised the way we play online. In fact, roughly $10 billion wagered each year via mobile platforms, and many gamblers prefer to play sic bo on their mobile/tablet devices than on desktops.

Virtual sic bo on your mobile or tablet is exactly the same as you would expect on a desktop. You simply place your bets using a touch-activated virtual interface and a random number generator determines the outcome of dice rolls.

Sic bo on mobile devices

The biggest challenge facing sic bo fans who want to see a few dice tosses while out and about is finding a piece of software that will allow them to do so. There are a few apps out there which you can use to play sic bo via your mobile device or smart-phone, but most of them are simply either for play money, or you compete against other players to rise up the sic bo leaderboard.

The best chance of being able to play sic bo on your mobile device is to try and find an Asian-based casino that still accepts players from outside of the Asian continent. Sic bo is also common in US-based casinos, but as the US's relationship with online casinos remains more than fractious, don't expect any US-based online casino software just yet.

Also, at the time of writing, we know of very, very few 'live dealer' casinos that offer 'live dealer' sic bo that can be played on a smart-phone or tablet. If you prefer to take your casino action 'as live' it will take you a little bit of hunting in order to find an online casino where you can.

Playing sic bo on a mobile device

Playing sic bo on your mobile or tablet is still a relatively straightforward task. Sic bo is, after all, still a relatively straightforward game.

The app will open to display a sic bo gaming table, on which you can place all your bets. If you need a reminder of the bets that are available to you, simply refer to the main sic bo article. Just as a reminder, you are betting on the outcome of a toss of three dice. You can bet on certain numbers appearing, a combination of certain numbers appearing, or the total of the three dice.

You can pick up the chips from your stack with your finger and drop them anywhere on the gaming table. You can cover as many bets as you want, as long as you have enough chips to cover your wagering.

Once you are satisfied with your bet, you stab the 'toss' button and the dice will roll across your screen and eventually settle. The software will automatically work out how much you have won (or not) and adjust your bank balance accordingly.

Because the sic bo gaming table has a lot of possible bets, it's probably a more pleasant gambling experience if you play mobile sic bo on a tablet, or a smart-phone with a large screen.

Mobile sic bo software should be available as a download version for both iOS and Android powered mobile devices. If the casino from which you have sourced your game uses HTML5 as the software tool by which it creates its games, then you should be able to play on a Windows Phone or a Blackberry as well.


  • Crown & Anchor

  • Sic Bo – Microgaming

  • Sic Bo – Playtech