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Sic bo

27 Aug 2019

By Frank Scoblete
If you have a checkbook handy, now would be a good time to take it out and write a check to your favorite casino that offers the game of sic bo. The game is that bad, so if you are flirting with playing, it save yourself the heartache and just write a check. Sic bo means “dice faces.”

It is extremely popular in Asian casinos and in the Asian games rooms of American casinos but it is also quite popular in mental health hospitals where security personnel had to drag those poor deluded players who tried to beat the darn game, couldn’t and went away foaming and screaming, “Where did all my money go?” The house edges, even on the best bets, are ridiculous and on the worst bets, which are legion, they are ridicu-lousy and ridicu-lousier! My advice, even before I discuss this game, is really simple – ignore it.

Strangely enough, there are many variations in payouts for sic bo, which makes writing about it a real pain in the you-know-what. But the game stinks in all its forms, so I will use just one basic sic bo game and you can take it from there. Why would a game that is so awful have so many versions?

Sic bo is played with three dice. OK, that’s it, now on to the next game . . . OK, OK, I was just kidding.

The object of the game is to bet on what faces show when those three dice land. The three dice are in a cage which is rotated so the dice land randomly. The game’s layout will show the winning combination because the winning combination will light up. Many of the players are probably lit too or why else would they play this game?

Dice Faces: The player wins if any one of the dice faces he bets on appears. If one die has the face, he is paid off at even money ($1 for $1). If two dice have that face, he is paid off at two to one ($2 for $1). If three dice have that face, he is paid off at three to one ($3 for $1). The house edge is 7.87%.

The Two-Face Combination: You are betting that a given two-face combination will appear. The bet is paid off at five to one. Sound good? Don’t get excited; the house edge is a monstrous 16.67%!

The Three-Face Combination: You are betting that a given three-face combination will appear. The casino pays the bet off at 150 to one. Wow! No, actually, ouch, as the real odds are 215 to one. Since the casino is paying off so little, the house edge is 30%! Ouch is right.

The Couplet: You are betting that a pair will be thrown – like 3:3 – and if that should happen the casino pays you off at eight to one. Ouch, ouch: the house edge is 33.3%.

The Triplet: If any three of the same face show, the player wins 24 to one. The true odds on this bet are 35 to one. The house edge is 30.5 percent.

The Totals Wager: This wager is the total of the three dice. The house edges vary widely based on the totals. Check out the chart – some of the edges are really, really, really bad and some are worse.

Total, Payout, Casino Edge, Loss $10 Bet
4 or 17, 60 to 1, 29.1%, $2.91
5 or 16, 18 to 1, 47.2%, $4.72
6 or 15, 14 to 1, 30.5%, $3.05
7 or 14, 12 to 1, 9.7%, $0.97
8 or 13, 8 to 1, 12.5%, $1.25
9 or 12, 6 to 1, 18.9%, $1.89
10 or 11, 6 to 1, 12.5%, $1.25

I saved the best bets for last.

Small: You win on a total of 4 to 10 but you will lose on anything over 10 or on triples (2:2:2 or 3:3:3) appearing. The payment is even money, $1 to $1, and the house edge is 2.78%.

Big: You win on a total of 11 through 17 but lose on anything under 11 or on three of a kind (4:4:4 or 5:5:5). The payment is even money, $1 to $1, and the house edge is 2.78%.

Betting and Bankroll: Only bet Small or Big and make sure you only play about 40 to 50 decisions per hour. Bet table minimum.

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Visit Frank's website at

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

Sic bo is republished from
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