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The casino game of sic bo has its origins in Asia. It’s believed to date back some 1,900 years, when an ancient version was played in China. The words “sic bo” mean “dice pair”. This suggests it was once played with two dice. However, the version played today has three dice.

Also known as “tai sai” or “dai siu”, it’s a popular game in bricks-and-mortar casinos worldwide, although perhaps isn’t as well-known as other dice games, such as craps. In recent years, it has been added to the list of games offered by the majority of online casinos. Its main advantage over other casino games is that it’s simple to play and understand the rules. For newcomers to online gambling, this is an added bonus.

Although it has been compared to craps, sic bo is actually easier to play. The game uses a table and three dice. There’s a variety of betting options, depending on the roll of the dice.

A brief history of sic bo

Before playing cards were invented, games of chance were played in China using painted stones (an early type of dice) and tiles, some 1,900 years ago. Although the means of playing has changed, first with the invention of paper cards and more recently with innovations in computer technology, the basic rules have remained the same for centuries.

Historians believe sic bo was played with two dice. These were small, stone bricks with numbered sides that were tossed on to tiles. The object of the game was to place bets on what combination of numbers would be rolled. Over the centuries, the standard six-sided dice has evolved, but the object of the game hasn’t changed.

Sic bo was taken to the USA in the 19th century by Chinese immigrants working in the mines and building railroads. It was a game played in the camps where they lived to pass the time. It wasn’t until the 1920s that the general population of America started playing the game that was so popular with the Chinese workers.

Initially, sic bo was merely a carnival game in the USA. The Americans renamed it “chuck-a-luck” or “birdcage”, because the dice were shaken in a cage before being rolled. In the UK, a different version of sic bo evolved, marrying some of its rules with an old British army game called hazard. This resulted in a similar game called grand hazard. The game was always known as sic bo in China.

The original version of sic bo survived, but it wasn’t until 1970 that it became a mainstream casino game, set up on the main floor, next to the baccarat and roulette tables. Gradually, its popularity spread across the United States. However, it didn’t appear in Las Vegas until the 1990s. Soon, it became a big hit, but it wasn’t until 2002 that it was played in UK casinos.

Sic bo is a very recent addition to online casinos. The good news is that many of them offer members the chance to play free sic bo. This enables you to try it out with no fear of losing any money if you’re unsure of how it works.

Bet types and pay-outs

There’s quite a large number of different bets that can be placed when playing free sic bo. The most popular wager is “big or small”. This is the simplest type of bet. The “big” refers to when the three dice are rolled and the total of all three adds up to between 11 and 17. The “small” refers to a total of between four and ten when all three dice are rolled.

If you win on a big or small bet, the odds will be even money (1/1). With this type of bet, you will lose when a “triple” is rolled. This means if three of the same numbers are rolled in a single throw, such as three fives, or three fours.

An “odds or even” bet is just what it says. You wager on whether the total of the three dice will be an odd or an even number. Again, you will lose when a triple is rolled with this type of bet. If you win, the odds are again 1/1 for your pay-out.

A “total sum” wager is one in which you predict the total of all three dice. This is always a popular bet and, if you’re lucky enough to win, it can net you quite a respectable pot of money. There are different odds for the different totals that can be achieved. For a total of four or 17, the odds are 50/1; total of five or 16, odds of 18/1; total of six or 15, odds of 14/1; total of eight or 13, odds of 8/1; total of nine, ten, 11 or 12, odds of 6/1.

Each of these is an independent bet, meaning that in order to receive a pay-out of 50/1, you can’t bet on both four and 17 to be rolled, for example. You can bet only on one or the other to receive those odds. Alternatively, you can bet two separate wagers, of course, on the same roll of the dice.

Triple numbers and triple bets

A triple number bet is made when the player predicts that all three dice will land with the same number on each, such as three ones, three threes or three sixes, for example. This bet, not surprisingly, offers a high pay-off, given that it’s difficult to achieve. If you’re looking for free sic bo games online,or any other free online games you will find that most casinos will offer high odds of 150/1 should you place this wager.

Alternatively, you can wager any triple bet. This means that you place a bet on any triple lot of numbers coming up, rather than on one specific set of numbers. This is easier to achieve and the odds will be 24/1.

Other types of bet

A double bet is similar to a triple bet, except you place a wager that two of the three dice will land with the same number on them. With this type of bet, it doesn’t matter what number the third dice lands on. The odds for a double bet are 8/1.

You can also place an exact numbers bet. As its name suggests, you wager on the exact numbers that will be rolled on two of the three dice. There are 15 possible combinations for this. You must wager on two specific numbers, such as two and five, or four and six, for example. The odds for this are 5/1.

A popular wager is an any numbers bet. You predict the exact number that you think will be rolled on the dice. You can place your wager on predicting one number correctly, two numbers correctly or all three numbers. Remember, this is not the total of the dice that you’re predicting, but rather the number on each dice. You choose a number between one and six.

The odds vary, depending on whether you bet on one, two or three dice. Betting on one dice awards odds of 1/1; betting on two dice offers odds of 2/1; betting on all three dice awards odds of 3/1.

Are there any tips or strategies for free sic bo?

Unfortunately, the simple answer is no. This is a game of luck, with no skill involved at all. There are no strategies that can improve your chances of winning. The only thing you can do is be aware of the house edge for each of the bets and then wager accordingly. This doesn’t give you more chances of winning, but gives you a better pay-out if you do win.

The best bets in terms of the house edge are the big or small wager and the odd or even wager. Each features a house advantage of around 2.78% in comparison to other bets, including triple bets, where the house advantage can be up to 30%.

If you’re playing a free sic bo game online, you can choose the type of bet you fancy. Most casinos will offer free sic bo to let players enjoy a trial run and get you started. Once you start playing regularly, if your goal is to have fun and play a lot of games, without spending a fortune, you could go for the big/small wager or the odd/even wager.

If you want the chance to hit some bigger pay-outs, play the other bets regardless. You never know how it’s going to go and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a large sum if you’re betting at odds such as 5/1.

How to minimise risks and maximise returns

When you’ve played free sic bo, the chances are you will start playing regularly, maybe at a number of online casinos, where you’ll be spending your money. Although there’s no guaranteed formula to win, because, as mentioned earlier, it’s purely down to luck and chance, there are ways of playing that will minimise your risk of over-spending.

Before you start playing, think about the kind of approach you’re going to take. How long are you planning on playing in this session? What type of bets are you planning to make? How aggressive is your game going to be? It’s all down to the individual.

Remember that the riskier bets are those with the higher odds that are harder to win. By continually placing wagers in this way, you stand to lose more money, because your chances of winning are less. The riskiest bet is the wager on the specific triple, such as betting that three sixes will come up, for example. The odds are high (usually 150/1) because the probability of your winning is approximately 217/1 against. If you continue to place bets on a specific triple coming up, you will possibly end up spending more money than you intended if you get carried away waiting for a win.

A popular sic bo system

Despite this, the high reward, high risk bets remain popular. Most regular sic bo players combine the high risk bets with some medium risk or low risk wagers. One method of betting that’s commonly seen is using a system based on the number two. The combination system could be to place one wager on a triple bet of three twos; one wager on a double bet of two twos and one wager on the single two.

The likelihood of a single two coming up is 34.7%. The likelihood of a pair of twos coming up is 6.94%. The chances of three twos coming up is 0.46%. You could win on the single two wager, which would be the most likely win. If a pair of twos came up, you would win the single and double wager. If you were very lucky and the triple bet came in, you would also win on the double wager and the single wager, which would add up to a lot of money!

What are progressive betting systems?

When you are placing big and small wagers, this provides a low-reward, low-risk chance of winning. It’s known as a more passive strategy, the aggressive strategies being those on high-reward, high-risk bets. The house edge on this type of bet is usually around 2.78%. This means that you should be able to place low wagers on this type of bet, allowing you to endure four or five consecutive losses, without having to place a large wager to try and make up the money lost.

Feel ready to play free sic bo?

If you’ve read all the rules, the odds and the wager types and feel ready to start playing free sic bo games, why not give it a whirl? The beauty of online casinos is that you can play from the comfort of your own home, or from any location on your mobile device, if you don’t fancy going out to a bricks-and-mortar casino. You can experience the excitement of free sic bo without the hassle of having to go to a crowded, noisy casino. If you’re busy, baby-sitting, tired or simply feel like having a night in, but need some entertainment at the same time, click on one of the affiliate links above and try your hand at live sic bo! It brings the thrills of a real casino to your own home!