Sic Bo- The Game of Three Dice


Do you remember when you had last played with a dice? And how you had wanted the dice rolls to number six to win a board and table game.  Many of dice games had their origin in China.  Chinese enjoyed playing games with stones, tiles or dice.

Many of these have survived intact to this very day, their rules virtually unchanged for centuries. Among them is the dice game known as Sic Bo or Tai Sai or Dai Siu, meaning precious dice pair.

This game of chance was earlier played with two dice but gradually those unwieldy implements were replaced with three six-sided dice. What has never changed is the object of the game: To wager correctly on what combinations of numbers will be rolled.

Hotel Lisboa, Macao

Hotel Lisboa, Macao

The oldest Casino at Macau known as the Hotel Lisboa featured Sic Bo on the main casino floor right next to the Roulette and Baccarat tables. It is now the number two game in terms of gross revenue generated, surpassed only by Baccarat. Some casinos have modified the payout rates, so players should always be sure to check the House Rules before wagering. Otherwise, Sic Bo is now played pretty much the same way the world over.

The immigrants from China brought this game to United States in 1940s, and initially Sic Bo was adopted as a carnival game. They made some changes to the payouts and called it “Chuck-a-Luck.” Because a “cage” is used to mix up the dice before they are rolled, in many places the game became known as “Birdcage.”

Sic Bo became extremely popular not only in the gambling halls that appeared in Chinatowns around the world, and in the Portuguese colony of Macau, where Fan Tan gambling houses had existed since long. Soon it reached Nevada when China’s economic growth enabled droves of wealthy tourists to begin exploring the Las Vegas Strip.

Sic Bo was such a hit, that non-Chinese visitors began playing it, too.

By 1995, even casinos as far afield as Biloxi, Mississippi had added tables.

In United Kingdom Sic Bo merged with army past time game called Hazard which was played with two dice but this merge resulted in three dice version known as “Grand Hazard.” Casinos in the United Kingdom were not cleared for Sic Bo until it was legalized in 2002. Owing to its late start, the game has only recently begun gaining a following among U.K. casino goers.

The Eight Bets In Sic Bo And The Order Of The Dice (PDF)