Sic Bo – the dice game that has Aussie gamblers in its grip

According to just about any scale you care to use, Australia is rated the top gambling nation in the world. It comes on top in terms of percentage of adults who gamble, amount gambled per capita, number of casinos per 1,000 people and probably numerous other measures, too. Any gambling trends that are noticed in Australia, therefore, tend to catch the attention of the industry across the globe.

One such trend that has been hard to miss over the past year or two has been the booming popularity of sic bo. This dice game has moved right up there with roulette and blackjack to become one of the nation’s top five casino games.

A little background

The game might be new to western audiences, but it has been a mainstay of Asian casinos for years. When online casinos started to take off a decade ago, we started to see a richer variety of casino games from all around the world.

Although there are other versions of the game with more “Australian” sounding names like Chuck-a-Luck, it was with its traditional Chinese name of sic bo that this three-dice game appeared at online gambling sites Australia. If you are visiting an online casino platform in Australia, you should have no difficulty finding it. Indeed, both Evolution and Playtech recently launched live dealer versions, both of which are a lot of fun.

How to play

Sic bo is not as famous as that other great dice game, craps. But it is also far more straightforward. There’s none of the convoluted betting over whether a particular number will come up before another. With sic bo, the dice roll and you bet on what numbers will appear.

At first glance, you might think the table looks even more complicated than craps. However, don’t be deterred, that is only because there are so many possible bets. Each is clearly marked in its own area on the table, and helpfully, you will see the odds marked there too. The layout and gameplay is similar to roulette in a lot of ways, in as much as you can bet on specific single numbers, a range of numbers or a pattern such as a pair or triple.

Once all bets have been placed, the dealer will roll the dice. This is usually done by pressing a button to activate a patented automatic dice shaker, but some casinos prefer the theatricals of shaking and rolling the dice manually. When the dice come to rest, winnings are paid out, losing bets cleared and it all starts again.

Sic bo strategy

Sic bo is a game of pure chance, so there is no strategy you can learn that will help you predict the right numbers. However, unlike roulette, different bets have a slightly different house edge.

To minimize losses, your best strategy is to stick to the bets that have the lowest house edge – these are the “small” and “big” bets that pay out even money, and also the combination bets. These all have a house edge of less than 2.8 percent.

Huynh Nguyen

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