Casinos that offer Sic Bo are easy to identify. Unlike most of the table games in the pit area, the surface of the Sic Bo table doesn’t feature a green or blue felt surface. Its rectangular betting area is garish—coloured in red, yellow, black and white—and made of translucent plastic or glass that is lit from below the table top.
Players make their wagers by positioning chips directly on whatever sections of the layout correspond to their desired outcomes. To show all successful wagers, the winning sections light up. This makes it easy for the croupiers to clear away losing bets and pay out winners.
Chips not in use can be placed within grooves built into the leather or wooden railing that surrounds the table. They can also be stacked directly in front of the player on the unmarked apron between the betting field and the table’s perimeter.
Elsewhere on the Sic Bo table there will be a placard that displays the table’s limits, both minimum and maximum. Near the croupiers’ position at the table will be a rack for the chips belong to the House, along with three dice and a Cage or Shaker.
One of the croupiers is responsible for rotating the Cage or else using the spring trigger of the Shaker to mix up the dice and reveal the result. This process is referred to as the “spin.” Immediately after the outcome becomes known, the losing wagers are collected from the layout’s unlit sections, and chips are stacked up for the winners whose bets remain on the lit sections.
Two very popular bets from which the game derives its alternative name, Big and Small (or Tai Sai), are made in the corners of the rectangular betting area furthest from the players. The two sections are for making even-money wagers on what total will appear when the three dice come to rest, either from 4 to 10 (Small) or from 11 to 17 (Big).
Sometimes, pictures of dragons and stylish Chinese ideograms are also displayed in these areas, and the game is called “Dai Siu.” The corners may be marked “Petite” and “Gros” in some European casinos. In the Philippines, they are designated as “Low” and “High.” All variations have the same meaning with the same 1-to-1 payouts.
Between the corners on the dealer’s side of the table, areas for betting on “doubles” and “triples” can be found. Because they show the actual faces of the dice that make up the pairs or three of a kind, there can be no misunderstanding about their meaning. Another area for betting on “Any Triple” appears right in the middle of these, and it shows six possible combinations for easy identification.
Across the middle of the table is a row of betting areas displaying the numbers 4 through 17. Wagers made here are a specific total appearing. Some Sic Bo tables show these numbers in consecutive order, from 4 on the left to 17 on the right. However, most tables have the numbers descending from left to right, showing 10 to 4 and then 17 to 11. This odd configuration has a certain logic to it, grouping the totals according to their odds, this putting the very highest odd (60-to-1) in the middle of the table and the lowest odds (6-to-1) on the outside.
A separate row of betting areas pictures the various non-double combinations of two dice. Starting on the left, the row shows 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, etc., all the way up to 3-6, 4-6 and 5-6 on the right. Once more, the faces of the dice for each combination are displayed so that no misunderstanding is possible. The payout for each winning selection here is 5-to-1.
Along the side of the layout closest to the players and away from the croupiers is one other betting row. It pictures each of the six single faces of the dice that may come up, from 1 through 6, left to right. The European table layout has the numbers spelled out in French: un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq and six. The payout is 1-to-1 when the selected number appears on the face of any of the three dice. It pays 2-to-1 for winners on two dice faces and 3-to-1 for winners on all three.