Embracing Sic Bo Superstitions
Gambling should be centered around a good strategy, and that means analysing your bets in a bid to trim the house edge. But that should never come at the expense of enjoying a casino's unique atmosphere, and few games have a more interesting ambience than Sic Bo.
Part of the attraction comes from Sic Bo's Chinese roots, which tap into a diverse array of traditional Chinese superstitions ranging from numerology to the existence of ghosts. While all casino games offer escapism to a certain degree, few are so comprehensively (and enjoyably) alien to the Western player than Sic Bo.
Before the Game
For those really keen to embrace Chinese superstitions, or planning a trip to the impressive casinos of Macau, there are a few conventions you can partake in before you even spot the table:
- The colour red is said to bring luck, so make sure to include some in your wardrobe.
- If you're staying in a local hotel, avoid rooms with the unlucky 4 in the room number. The Chinese word for 4 is the same as the word for death - instead, go for room number 8.
- Try to avoid passing churches and monasteries on your way to the casino. Seeing a priest before you play is an inauspicious omen (guilt never helps a player's focus).
- When entering the casino, avoid the main entrance as this is thought to bring bad luck. If there's an optional side door, go for that instead.
- Once inside, some Chinese players will use their knowledge of feng shui to avoid tables that are badly positioned for the flow of money and luck in a building. Seriously committed players may wish to do likewise.
During the Game
Like Craps, Sic Bo is among the more boisterous of table games. Players will jostle for the most popular bets like total 8 and single 6, and you'll have to be quick to get your chips down in time. But even in the midst of this hubbub, there's superstition to watch out for:
- Though you may be pushed or bumped out of the way, don't be tempted to tap someone on the shoulder to try and pass. Far from being polite, touching the shoulder is considered very unlucky.
- When betting on the totals, it’s wise to avoid betting on 4. It's unlucky and offers lower returns than betting on 8 or 13.
- A superstition you're less likely to encounter outside of China, which is interesting nonetheless, is the belief that a little ghost lives behind the table. Players ignore it at their peril, and can 'feed' the ghost with sugar to bring them luck. If you're trying this in the West, most suggest doing so subtly to avoid the wrath of casino staff.
- If the ghost brings you luck, don't count your money at the table - in most games, this is considered poor form.
If all that sounds too much, players can always strip away the atmosphere and play online at top sites like Gala Casino.