Live Dealer Sic Bo

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The Chinese dice game known as Sic Bo has risen greatly in popularity over the past decade. It was not until the 1990s that it was even seen in most American casinos, and in the U.K. it was not allowed in gambling halls until 2002. But with the advent of online gaming, Sic Bo has become a staple among the table games offered at Internet casinos and has subsequently developed a wide following outside its Asian home.

When live dealer platforms were first introduced on the worldwide web, baccarat, roulette and blackjack were the “Big Three” games streamed in real-time. Some attempts were made at introducing a live casino version of craps, too, but because players could not handle the dice, it did not prove viable. In search of a dice game to add variety and attract a large clientele, some providers began looking to the Far East.

In many ways, Sic Bo is perfectly suited to live dealer platforms. It involves dice, but players do not have to be the shooter. Betting is made directly on a table layout, quite similar to roulette. A single croupier or dealer can oversee every aspect of the game, and multiple players can wager simultaneously at one table.

Among the first to offer Sic Bo through live dealer casinos was Playtech, one of the world’s leading suppliers of gaming software. The company’s first live dealer studio was set up in Asia in 2003, so the game was well known not only to management but also to dealers who had to be hired. That was no small consideration, especially when the goal was to operate the game 24/7.

Playtech’s Live Sic Bo was created by using a live dealer, a real set of dice and standard Sic Bo rules. The player’s computer screen could show the live feed in the upper half a browser window and a simulated table at the bottom. Areas were also provided for a control panel on one side and a chat panel on the other. By clicking on the top right of the control panel, the dealer view could be maximised to fill the entire screen. Another toggle allowed the video bit rate to be changed, enabling a better picture and clearer audio for those with sufficient bandwidth.

By entering messages into the text field at the bottom of the panel and clicking “Send,” players could “talk” to the dealer, who could respond in live audio. Other features included Game Information, such as the current bet and win amounts for the last round played, plus an “Information” tab showing the current server time, the game round’s unique ID number, and the minimum and maximum total bet amounts. A special “History” tab enabled display of the outcome of recent game rounds.

Sic Bo tends to be a very fast action game with a strong social aspect, so much thought was put into creating an interface that gave the player considerable control. For example, keyboard shortcut commands were included to help increase the speed of play. The Tab key could be used to move from one field to another in the browser window, and a simple tap on the space bar allowed repeat betting like a “Rebet” button.

Today, Playtech supplies live dealer Sic Bo to casinos such as Dafabet and bet365. The latter accepts minimum wagers as low as €1 and maximum bets up to €300. The same limits can be found at Nova 21, a William Hill casino, which receives its Playtech Sic Bo feed from the Philippines, but its other live dealer games from the company’s Euro studio in Riga, Latvia.

Another provider of live Sic Bo broadcasts is CWC Gaming based in Costa Rica. Among their clients is Ladbrokes, offering table stakes of €5~€300. And Bodog88 have developed an in-house Sic Bo game streamed from a proprietary studio in Makati City, Manila. Stakes there start at just €1 but can run as high as €2,500.

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