Because it is easy to learn and play, Sic Bo has rapidly gained in popularity in recent years. Apart from a Sic Bo table layout for wagering, the only types of equipment required are three six-sided dice and casino chips for wagering. One other useful device is a Cage or Shaker for mixing the dice, but a leather Dice Cup can be substituted, too.
Sic Bo is most commonly played at a table crowded with players. Much like Roulette, players make their wagers directly on the table layout to indicate the combination(s) they are backing. The number of areas of the table on which a player may bet is not restricted in any way, but Table Limits put a cap on the total amount that can be wagered on one spin, as well as the minimum bet required to play.
Most casino-based Sic Bo tables are staffed by three croupiers. One of them is responsible for spinning the dice, while the other two look after collecting and paying out bets, one on the Small side of the table and the other on the Big side. Unlike the other most popular casino dice game, Craps, players are never allowed to handle the Sic Bo dice.
The main croupier calls out “No more bets” to end wagering ends before the dice are spun. Late bets must be removed from the table. After the dice come to a halt, the winning combinations are lit up from underneath the table layout. Losing bets in the unlit areas are collected immediately; then the winning wagers in the lit sections are paid off. Winning players should refrain from picking up their chips and placing new bets until after all wagers have been settled and the table lights have been turned off.
The goal of Sic Bo, of course, is to predict correctly just how the three dice will come up. Players can bet on the outcome of a single die, two dice or all three dice in several different ways. To be specific, eight universal betting possibilities are offered, as follows.
Small – This wager is made on the total of the three dice coming up between 4 and 10; it pays even money, 1-to-1. The bet loses, however, whenever a Triple comes up, such as 3-3-3 or 5-5-5.
Big – This even-money wager predicts that the total of the three dice will be between 11 and 17. Like the Small Bet, it loses if a Triple comes up.
Three Dice Total – This wager backs a specific total, from 4 to 17. It is successful when the faces of the three dice show exactly the total selected, paying 60-to-1 for the 4 or 17; 30-to-1 for the 5 or 16, 17-to-1 for the 6 or 15, 12-to-1 for the 7 or 14, 8-to-1 for the 8 or 13, and 6-to-1 for the 9 through 12.
Single Number – This wager is a bet made on one of the six faces of the dice coming up, 1 through 6. The payout is 1-to-1 for a single occurrence of the number selected, 2-to-1 for two occurrences and 3-to-1 for all three dice showing the selection.
Combination (Pair Match) – This wager predicts that two specific numbers will come up when the three dice are spun. For example, the player might back 2-5 or 3-6. A successful wager will pay 6-to-1.
Double – This wager is made on a specific number appearing on two of the three dice, such as 2-2 or 5-5. When successful, it pays 10-to-1.
Triple – This wager is made on a specific number appearing on the faces of all three dice, such as 2-2-2 or 5-5-5. When successful, it pays no less than 150-to-1 and in some venues up to 180-to-1, depending on the House Rules.
Any Triple – This wager pays out when any number appears on the faces of all three dice. When successful, it usually pays 30-to-1.
Variations of Sic Bo may offer other forms of bets, such as “Even” or “Odd” totals that even money or Odd/Even Triples, which pay out 25-to-1 for spins that result in only odd or only even numbers. Some tables have a betting area for “Any Double,” too. And “Colours” are a betting option in the Sic Bo spin-off called “Yee Hah Hi,” which is currently popular in Macau. Players are always well advised to check the local House Rules before placing any bets.