Rolling Through Time: The History of Sic Bo
What is sic bo? That’s the question that this blog post aims to answer in detail. Read about the history of sic bo and its roots, all the way to its place in modern gambling society, and understand the whole journey. Additionally you’ll learn about the latest modern online variations of this casino classic.
- What Is Sic Bo?
- The Origins and Early History of Sic Bo
- Sic Bo’s Journey to the West
- The Difference Between Sic Bo and Craps
- Modern Casino Sic Bo
- Playing Sic Bo Online
- Variants of Sic Bo
- A Brush With A Famous Spy: Sic Bo in Film
- The Best Bonuses to Unlock Sic Bo Online
What Is Sic Bo?
In essence, sic bo is a simple game where three dice are rolled every round. However, the main object of the game, and what really brings it to life, is the betting. There are 12 different bet types where you can place your chips on a modern sic bo table.
To understand how to properly play the game and get into it, it’s best to check out some detailed sic bo strategy guides. Not only can such guides help to enhance your experience when you play sic bo, but they can also help you to win.
The Origins and Early History of Sic Bo
The modern version of the game might use three dice, but the history of sic bo actually pre-dates the invention of the six-sided die. The exact origins are disputed among gambling and gaming historians, but what’s for sure is that its roots are firmly planted in Ancient China.
Before the invention of dice, Ancient Chinese workers would play the early variations of sic bo (pronounced SEE-BO) with whatever materials they could get their hands on. Keep in mind that this was around 2,000 years ago, so even simple things such as paper were unavailable.
In seaside locations, where it’s thought that sic bo history started, shells and pebbles were used to play the game. As the game spread to in-land Chinese communities, stones and stray pieces of wood were used.
While workers and migration were responsible for the game spreading across China, they were not the inventors of the game. The game was first created by martial artists who used to play it during their downtime between fights and training sessions.
For thousands of years, sic bo remained in its Native China. As we will see below, it wasn’t until much more recently that the game was brought to Western shores.
Sic Bo’s Journey to the West
The history of sic bo in the West didn’t begin until the early 20th century. Although Chinese workers began immigrating to the US in the late 19th century during the California Gold Rush, sic bo wasn’t properly introduced to the wider US population until the early 1990s.
Fast forward to the present day, and sic bo tables can be found in the vast majority of casinos in Canada. Similarly, it is also popular in Europe and other Western casinos, as well as in Macau and the Philippines, closer to where its origins began.
The Difference Between Sic Bo and Craps
Sic bo is often compared to craps, which is logical given that both are popular dice-based casino games. However, there is a distinct difference between how to play craps and how you play sic bo, as you can see in the table below:
Three dice, dice cage, sic bo table.
Two dice, dice stick, craps table.
Usually, the betting area is rectangular, with various-sized squares and rectangles within it for different bet types.
Oddly shaped with a diagram for the different bet types. On the outside of the betting area is a small border to represent the “pass line”.
Players place their bets, the dealer rolls the dice then winning bets are paid out.
The “shooter” rolls a number on the dice, and then tries to roll that number again before a seven. All players’ bets must be placed before the dice are rolled.
Modern Casino Sic Bo
Now that we’ve covered the sic bo history and origins, here is how it is played in a modern-day Western casino:
On a modern sic bo table, you and the other players would be standing on one side, with your chips in front of you. Facing you would be the dealer and the playing area, where you can place your bets by putting chips on your favored selection.
Rather than rolling the dice across the table the old-fashioned way, there will usually be a “dice cage” to the dealer’s left, which they can push down to roll the dice. In front of you and to the dealer’s right will be the result table.
Here are the different bet options in a game of modern sic bo:
- Specific “alls” or triples
- Specific doubles
- Any “alls” or triples
- Three-dice total
- Dice combo
- Single dice bet
- Four-number combo
- Specific double and single-number combo
Playing Sic Bo Online
You can play sic bo online in most online casinos, and it is widely played world over. In place of the dealer, the digital versions of the game use a random number generator (RNG). This is a technology that is designed to keep the numbers random and the games fair.
In addition to these fully digitized versions of the game, there are also live versions of online sic bo. These variations are played much the same as you would at a land-based casino, only that you are playing directly against a live dealer during a live stream.
Here are some popular sic bo online brands:
- Ultimate Sic Bo – This is a popular version of the game by software developer Ezugi that randomly adds extra payout multipliers to certain bets.
- Sic Bo Dragons – This Oriental-themed version by Wazdan has a larger paytable with more betting options.
- Sic Bo Live – There are many live dealer versions of Sic Bo that you can play in real-time, but the best versions are by Evolution and Ezugi.
- Super Sic Bo – An enhanced live version by Evolution where a random multiplier up to 1,000x is added each round.
Variants of Sic Bo
So far we have covered the history of sic bo mostly from a Chinese and US perspective. Now let’s take a look at the variants that are played around the world:
- Grand Hazard – Like sic bo, this game is played with three dice, but the betting is more straightforward as the table is simplified.
- Chuck-a-luck – In this version of the game, three dice are rolled in a birdcage, and you can only place your bets on numbers 1 – 6. You receive a payout for every dice that lands on the number(s) you have bet on.
- Hoo Hee How – This Chinese game is played with three dice that have symbols in place of the six numbers. The betting follows the same pattern as Chuck-a-luck.
- Yee Ha Hi – Very similar to Hoo Hee How, only with different colored symbols on the dice. You can therefore bet on colors and symbols, giving you more options.
A Brush With A Famous Spy: Sic Bo in Film
There are many great gambling movies, including James Bond. While you might associate 007 more with poker and blackjack, the famous spy became a part of sic bo history back in 1974.
In ‘The Man with The Golden Gun’, it isn’t actually 007 himself who is playing sic bo, it’s the enemy. Bond, played by Roger Moore, travels to a Macau casino, where he observes from afar as Lazar plays a game of sic bo.
Or should we say, pretends to play a game of sic bo.
Lazar is a gunsmith who supplies ammunition to the main villain, Scaramanga. In this scene, Bond closely watches the gun supplier use sic bo as a cover while he secretly puts a cigarette pack full of bullets into a basket above the casino tables.
The Best Bonuses to Unlock Sic Bo Online
One of the best ways to get a head start when you play sic bo online is through a no deposit casino bonus. This gives you the chance to enjoy sic bo and other online casino games with a little something extra to enhance the experience. You can discover the best no deposit bonuses at online casinos in Canada and more right here.