Sic Bo remains a relatively unknown game in Western casinos, despite the fact that it’s been played for thousands of years in the East. Most online players have never even heard of Sic Bo, definitely never played it, and might opt not to even if they knew what it is. But why exactly has Sic Bo been unable to gain mass-market appeal with Western audiences?
Is it because Sic Bo hasn’t been as widely popularised and glamourized in films and books such as well-known games like Roulette, Poker and Blackjack? Perhaps it’s because it’s a game of pure chance and an unequal one at that.
The Unequal Game of Chance
Sic Bo originated in China where it has been played for centuries and it’s still one of the most popular games played in Macau today. A European variation called Grand Hazard has seen some widespread popularity and a Filipino variation called Hi-Lo is widely played across the Philippines. Sic Bo was originally brought to the United States by Chinese immigrants in the early 20th century, but failed to gain traction amongst players at Western casinos.
The idea behind Sic Bo is simple enough and involves the player predicting the value of three dice. Three dice are shaken in a container, and when the shaking stops the dice come to rest and reveal their values.
Combination of Craps & Roulette
At first glance Sic Bo could easily be mistaken for a combination of Roulette and Craps. The table looks remarkably similar to a Roulette table, but there is no wheel, and dice are used just like in Craps. What probably puts most players off is that the table looks rather intimidating at first glance, but if the game is broken down it becomes clear that’s its actually all pretty straight forward.
In fact, Sic Bo is no more complex than Roulette and Craps, and the rules are so basic that it’s almost insane to think that it hasn’t become popular!
Lack of Readily Available Advice
While there are hundreds and thousands of articles floating around the web that offers advice on sure-fire ways to win at more popular games such as Roulette, Poker, Craps, Blackjack and Baccarat, the range of advice regarding Sic Bo is limited at best. It’s hard to say why some games become popular, but many games get more action because players see crowds huddled around certain tables.
Most land-based casinos will only have one Sic Bo table in the entire casino, while many different options for table games will be offered, leading the player to believe that the game isn’t worth playing. Online variations haven’t fared well either, much for the same reason.
Smaller Chances of Winning
Of all the possibilities, Sic Bo has most likely not gained widespread popularity thanks to the overwhelming house edge that comes with most of the bets. There are two bets – Small and Big – which offer a 48.61% chance of winning, but the rest of the bets (of which there are many) offer an entirely underwhelming chance of winning of between 1.39-11.5%. Any player will tell you that those odds are just ridiculous.
A Small bet is paid out when the 3 dice total is between 4-10, while a Big bet is paid out when the dice total is 11-17, except for 3 of a kind in both instances. Any intelligent player is going to opt for either of those, but unfortunately a game loses much of its appeal when there are only 2 bets to choose from.
Sic Bo is a great game regardless of the fact that it hasn’t earned itself the notoriety of Craps, and if you’re looking for a challenge, or something different, it’s well worth giving a try!