The game of Sic Bo is an appetising combination of craps and roulette: a dice game with atmosphere, and plenty of clear betting options for the mathematically-minded to exploit.
There are two things that give Sic Bo an edge over craps for stats-led players. First of all it is played with three dice, so it has more combinations to explore. Secondly, it isn't soaked in jargon and etiquette, so it's easy to jump straight in.
Before getting started, it's important to note that the payouts discussed below relate to the usual rates found in the UK and US - lower odds are often paid out in Macau, while you can get higher odds when playing in Australia.
Usually there are two bets that give players a near 50% (48.61%) chance of winning for returns of 1/1 (evens). They are the 'Big' market, which means betting on the three dice total amounting to between 11 and 17, and 'Small', which means totals of four to 10.
Some casinos allow bets of odd or even for the same odds. Note, however, that big/small and odd/even bets come with the same caveat: there is no payout when the dice land on three of a kind. That's the source of the house edge (2.78%).
Nonetheless, these Sic Bo bets offer an extra percentage point on their comparable roulette bets (red/black, odd/even), which have a 47.4% chance of landing once the zeros are factored in. So Martingale devotees are well catered for.
Like roulette, Sic Bo enables players to lay combination bets to reduce their exposure and improve chances of winning, as well as offering markets that do that for you. Betting on the appearance of a single number is one such market. If your number appears on any of the three dice, the game pays 1/1, if it appears on two it pays 2/1, and for three it's 3/1. This is a handy step up because there's a 42% chance that the number will appear.
These bets also open the possibility of reducing risk by betting across several numbers at once, viewing multiple appearances as a small bonus in the system.
However, the totals markets are perhaps a more inviting way of tailoring your own exposure. Based on the odds, betting on totals of 10 or 11 and 8 or 13 offer the best returns, as these pay 6/1 and 8/1 for 12.5% and 10% win percentages respectively. To further reduce exposure, it's sensible to follow the probability scale south: only including the lowest returns (found on the 9 or 12 market) as a last resort.
Like all good table games, Sic Bo also has markets that give high rollers the chance to play for big money. Betting on a triple will be an unpopular choice in live games, since it means profiting from the failure of all big/small bets, but when any triple pays 30/1 and a specific triple pays 180/1 it might be worth a sidewards glance for the profit.
Savvy high rollers may well prefer a bet on the 4 or 17 total, which pays 60/1 and doesn't come with any resentment when your win lands. Make sure to check out our Sic Bo tips and tricks before diving in.
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