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Last Updated: May 16, 2016

Sic Bo

Introduction

Sic Bo, meaning "dice pair" is an ancient Chinese gambling game. It is very popular in Macau, in my estimation second to baccarat only. In the United States is often found in the Asian gaming rooms, especially in Atlantic City. The large Las Vegas properties will usually have one table in the general casino.

The game uses three dice and a table with a variety of betting options on the roll of those dice. The odds and table layout may also vary from place to place. However, the payoffs are the same across Atlantic City and Macau, but different from each other. In Vegas and on the Internet casinos, anything is possible. In fact, I have a whole page about playing sic bo online.


Image take from the Claridge Hotel/Casino rule book. Click on the image to see the rules on the next page.

Following is a list of the bets available. The payoffs vary on some bets, from casino to casino. For those bets, I indicate a range of viable payoffs. Please note that there is no universal acceptance on the titles of most bets. Other sources may use different terminology.

Common Bets

The following list of bets can be found on any self-respecting sic bo game. It is followed by a list of some more uncommon bets.

  • Small: Wins on total of 4-10, except for a three of a kind. Probability of winning is 48.61%. Pays 1 to 1. House edge is 2.78%.
  • Big: Wins on total of 11-17, except for a three of a kind. Probability of winning is 48.61%. Pays 1 to 1. House edge is 2.78%.
  • Total of 4 and 17: Pays 50 to 1 in Macau, 60 to 1 in Atlantic City, and 62 to 1 in Australia.

    Total of 4 and 17

    Pays Probability House Edge
    50 1.39% 29.17%
    51 1.39% 27.78%
    52 1.39% 26.39%
    53 1.39% 25.00%
    54 1.39% 23.61%
    55 1.39% 22.22%
    56 1.39% 20.83%
    57 1.39% 19.44%
    58 1.39% 18.06%
    59 1.39% 16.67%
    60 1.39% 15.28%
    61 1.39% 13.89%
    62 1.39% 12.5%
    63 1.39% 11.11%
    64 1.39% 9.72%
    65 1.39% 8.33%
  • Total of 5 and 16: Pays 18 to 1 in Macau, 30 to 1 in Atlantic City, and 31 to 1 in Australia.

    Total of 5 and 16

    Pays Probability House Edge
    18 2.78% 47.22%
    19 2.78% 44.44%
    20 2.78% 41.67%
    21 2.78% 38.89%
    22 2.78% 36.11%
    23 2.78% 33.33%
    24 2.78% 30.56%
    25 2.78% 27.78%
    26 2.78% 25.00%
    27 2.78% 22.22%
    28 2.78% 19.44%
    29 2.78% 16.67%
    30 2.78% 13.89%
    31 2.78% 11.11%
    32 2.78% 8.33%
  • Total of 6 and 15: Pays 14 to 1 in Macau, 17 to 1 in Atlantic City, and 18 to 1 in Australia.

    Total of 6 and 15

    Pays Probability House Edge
    14 4.63% 30.56%
    15 4.63% 25.93%
    16 4.63% 21.3%
    17 4.63% 16.67%
    18 4.63% 12.04%
    19 4.63% 7.41%

  • Total of 7 and 14: Pays 12 to 1 everywhere.

    Total of 7 and 14

    Pays Probability House Edge
    10 6.94% 23.61%
    11 6.94% 16.67%
    12 6.94% 9.72%

  • Total of 8 and 13: Pays 8 to 1 everywhere.

    Total of 8 and 13

    Pays Probability House Edge
    7 9.72% 22.22%
    8 9.72% 12.50%

  • Total of 9 and 12: Pays 6 to 1 in Macau and Atlantic City. Pays 7 to 1 in Australia.

    Total of 9 and 12

    Pays Probability House Edge
    6 11.57% 18.98%
    7 11.57% 7.41%

  • Total of 10 and 11: Pays 6 to 1 everywhere. House edge of 12.50%.

  • Double: Bet on any specific pair (for example two 1's). Player wins if at least 2 of the number chosen appears. Pays 8 to 1 in Macau, 10 to 1 in Atlantic City, and 11 to 1 in Australia.
  • Specific Triple: Player may bet on any specific trips (for example three 1's). Player wins if all 3 dice match the number chosen. Pays 150 to 1 in Macau and 180 to 1 in Atlantic City.

    Specific Triple

    Pays Probability House Edge
    150 0.46% 30.09%
    155 0.46% 27.78%
    160 0.46% 25.46%
    165 0.46% 23.15%
    170 0.46% 20.83%
    175 0.46% 18.52%
    180 0.46% 16.20%
    185 0.46% 13.89%
    190 0.46% 11.57%

  • Any Triple: Wins on any three of a kind. Pays 24 to 1 in Macau and 30 to 1 in Atlantic City.

    Any Triple

    Pays Probability House Edge
    24 2.78% 30.56%
    25 2.78% 27.78%
    26 2.78% 25.00%
    27 2.78% 22.22%
    28 2.78% 19.44%
    29 2.78% 16.67%
    30 2.78% 13.89%
    31 2.78% 11.11%
    32 2.78% 8.33%

  • Any One Number: Many sources call this bet "one of a kind," but I think that is an awful name. This is actually six bets, one for each face on a die. It pays according to how many of the dice land on the die face bet on. Following is the pay table:
    • One match: Pays 1 to 1
    • Two matches: Pays 2 to 1
    • Three matches: Pays 3* to 1

    * While 3 to 1 is the usual win for matching three, in Australia they pay 12 to 1.

    The house edge under the usual pay table is 7.87%. Under the Australia rules it drops to 3.70%. Internet casinos have a wide range of pays for matching three. See my page on playing sic bo online for more on that.

  • Domino (two faces): The player chooses a two-number combination, using two unique numbers. This bet is called a "domino" because the area on the table felt for these bets look like dominoes. For example 2-5. The bet pays 5 to 1 if the roll contains both numbers. For example a bet on 2-5 would win on a rolls of 1-2-5, 2-2-5, 2-3-5, 2-4-5, 2-5-5, and 2-5-6. Probability of winning is 13.89% and house edge is 16.67%.
  • Domino (one face): This is similar to the two-faced domino bet, except both numbers on the domino are the same. For example, 4-4. To win, in this case, the dice would need to land on at least two fours. Winning combinations would be 1-4-4, 2-4-4, 3-4-4, 4-4-4, 4-4-5, 4-4-6. I have seen pays on this bet ranging from 8 to 11. The following table shows the house edge at each win. The most common win is 10 to 1.

    Domino (one face)

    Pays Probability House Edge
    8 7.41% 33.33%
    9 7.41% 25.93%
    10 7.41% 18.52%
    11 7.41% 11.11%

Uncommon Bets

Following are some bets that are rarely found in sic bo, but have been known to exist.

  • Odd & Even: Wins on any odd total, except loses with any three of a kind. This bet I have only seen in Macau, never in the United States. Probability of winning is 48.61% and house edge is 2.78%.
  • Three-Number Easy Hop: I don't know the correct title of this bet, so made up my own. The player chooses a three-number combination, using three unique numbers, for example 1-3-5. The bet pays 30 to 1 if all three are rolled. Probability of winning is 2.78% and house edge is 13.89%. I am aware of only Macau offering this bet.
  • Three-Number Hard Hops: Again, I don't know the correct title of this bet, so made up my own. The player chooses a three-number combination, using two unique numbers, and specifying which will be rolled twice. For example 2-2-4. The bet pays 50 to 1 if the roll matches exactly. So, in this example, 2-4-4 and 2-4-5 would lose. Probability of winning is 1.39% and house edge is 29.17%. I am aware of only one Macau casino offering this bet.
  • Four-Number Easy Hop: Once again, my own title. The player chooses a four-number combination, using four unique numbers. for example 1-3-4-6. The bet pays 7 to 1 if the roll matches three of the chosen numbers. In my example, 1-3-4, 1-3-6, 1-4-6, and 3-4-6 would be the only winners. Probability of winning is 11.11% and house edge is also 11.11%. I am aware of Macau only offering this bet.

Following are tables summarizing each bet under the Atlantic City and Macau rules.

Sic Bo — Atlantic City Rules

Bet Pays Winning
Combinations
Probability Return
Small, Big 1 105 0.486111 -0.027778
4, 17 60 3 0.013889 -0.152778
5, 16 30 6 0.027778 -0.138889
6, 15 17 10 0.046296 -0.166667
7, 14 12 15 0.069444 -0.097222
8, 13 8 21 0.097222 -0.125
9, 12 6 25 0.115741 -0.189815
10, 11 6 27 0.125000 -0.125000
Triple 180 1 0.004630 -0.162037
Any triple 30 6 0.027778 -0.138889
Double 10 16 0.074074 -0.185185
Domino 5 30 0.138889 -0.166667
Any number 1,2,3 75,15,1 0.421296 -0.078704

Following is a table summarizing each bet under the Macau rules.

Sic Bo — Macau Rules

Bet Pays Winning
Combinations
Probability Return
Small, Big 1 105 0.486111 -0.027778
Odd, Even 1 105 0.486111 -0.027778
4, 17 50 3 0.013889 -0.291667
5, 16 18 6 0.027778 -0.472222
6, 15 14 10 0.046296 -0.305556
7, 14 12 15 0.069444 -0.097222
8, 13 8 21 0.097222 -0.125000
9, 12 6 25 0.115741 -0.189815
10, 11 6 27 0.125000 -0.125000
Triple 150 1 0.004630 -0.300926
Any triple 24 6 0.027778 -0.305556
Double 8 16 0.074074 -0.333333
xyz 30 6 0.027778 -0.138889
xxy 50 3 0.013889 -0.291667
wxyz 7 24 0.111111 -0.111111
Domino 5 30 0.138889 -0.166667
Any number 1,2,3 75,15,1 0.421296 -0.078704

Following is a table summarizing each bet under the Australia rules.

Sic Bo — Australia Rules

Bet Pays Winning
Combinations
Probability Return
Small, Big 1 105 0.486111 -0.027778
4, 17 62 3 0.013889 -0.125000
5, 16 31 6 0.027778 -0.111111
6, 15 18 10 0.046296 -0.120370
7, 14 12 15 0.069444 -0.097222
8, 13 8 21 0.097222 -0.125000
9, 12 7 25 0.115741 -0.074074
10, 11 6 27 0.125000 -0.125000
Triple 180 1 0.004630 -0.162037
Any triple 31 6 0.027778 -0.111111
Domino (one face) 11 16 0.074074 -0.111111
Domino (two faces) 6 30 0.138889 -0.027778
Any number 1,2,12 75,15,1 0.421296 -0.037037

Sic Bo House Edge Comparison

Bet Macau Atlantic City Australia
Small, Big 2.78% 2.78% 2.78%
4, 17 29.17% 15.28% 12.50%
5, 16 47.22% 13.89% 11.11%
6, 15 30.56% 16.67% 12.04%
7, 14 9.72% 9.72% 9.72%
8, 13 12.50% 12.50% 12.50%
9, 12 18.98% 18.98% 7.41%
10, 11 12.5% 12.50% 12.50%
Triple 30.09% 16.20% 16.20%
Any triple 30.56% 13.89% 11.11%
Domino (two faces) 33.33% 18.52% 11.11%
Domino (one face) 16.67% 16.67% 2.78%
Any number 7.87% 7.87% 3.7%



  • Sic Bo appendix. This is a brief explanation of how the odds are calulated for each bet.
  • Yee Hah Hi. Similar game found in Macau, using symbols instead of numbers.
  • Hoo Hee How. Similar game found at Internet casinos using Amigotechs software, using symbols instead of numbers.
  • Playing Sic Bo Online. Comparison of the pays offered at several software brands.

Written by: Michael Shackleford

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