Sic bo, also known as dai siu or tai sai, is a gambling game of ancient Chinese origin, which was introduced to North America by Chinese immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century. Confusingly, while sic bo translates into English as ‘dice pair’, the game is actually played with three dice, which are shaken in a closed box, or ‘chest’, or by a mechanical shaker. After each roll of the dice, the outcome is revealed to the table by the dealer and bets are settled accordingly.
Sic bo offers a variety of betting options and, while the table layout, the titles of the bets and the odds on offer vary from one casino to the next, the most popular wagers are pretty much universal. The most popular bets, not least because they offer, far and away, the lowest house edge of any available on a sic bo layout, are known as ‘Big’ and ‘Small’. These bets win on totals of 11-17 and 4-10, respectively, except in the event of a triple, or three of a kind, typically pay 1/1 and offer a house edge of 2.78% in both cases.
At longer odds, other possibilities include a two dice combination, or ‘domino’, bet, where players attempt to predict the outcome of two dice, rather than three, a double bet, on a specific pair, a specific triple bet. Bear in mind, though, that increased payout odds are offset by a higher house edge. A specific triple bet, for example, typically offers enticing odds of 180/1, but a house edge of 16.2%.