The history of Sic Bo dates back to the game's origins in ancient China, the term Sic Bo meaning literally "dice pair", although to add an element of oriental intrigue into the equation the game is actually played with three dice! Sic Bo is, in essence, a simple dice game; historically it is thought that the game was played with bricks, tumbled between two plates and an overturned bowl, which over time was adapted to the dice and cage shaker variant common in today's casino versions.
The ancient game of Sic Bo is also as Tai Sai, "Lucky Dice" and as "Hi Lo" in the Philippines. In Macau the game is widely played under the name "Dai Siu", meaning "Big Small", referring to the most popular betting option. The game is also similar in concept to an English game called "Grand Hazard." Throughout the history of Sic Bo the game has been throughout Southeast Asia, Korea, China and increasingly, due in part to the movement of populations from those countries to the west during the nineteenth century, it has gained popularity in the West and is now played in many Western casinos.
The object is to bet on the outcome of a role of the three dice, to include combinations of any two or three of the dice, single numbers, two of a kind or three of a kind. Sic Bo payouts can be very large as the maximum odds are 180:1 for a specific triple (this requires all three of the dice to show the selected triple e.g. 3 x 2). At the lower end of the spectrum payouts of 1:1 are for betting on the value of just one dice. Similarly paying out 1:1 are "Small bets", a wager that the total of the three dice will be between 4 and 10 (although this does not payout for triple 1, 2 or 3), and "Big Bets", which require the total of the three dice to be between 11 and 17 (excluding triple 4 and 5).
The game is played on a table that illustrates the 50 permissible bets in pictorial form, with their associated payout. Players place their bets on the appropriate section of the gaming table, much like in roulette. The dice are usually tumbled in a basket by the dealer, who will enter the results on the table, and the winning combinations are then lit up. Finally, the dealer will pay-out the lucky winners and remove the unsuccessful bets.
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