Try your hand at Asian dice

May 22, 2006 1:24 AM

Sic-Bo uses three dice, although the term "sic-bo" actually means "dice pair." A lavishly lit Sic-Bo table can be found in most casinos that have Asian games.

There are many bets, all of which are explained on the gaming table. Each number from four to seventeen is a point and after all the bets are made, the dealer "shakes" the dice container. No one in this game actually touches the dice themselves, and each game begins on a new "shake," after all the bets are placed.

In Sic-Bo you have 14 point numbers (4 to 17). Besides betting on the three dice totals that form the points, you can also bet the following:

Three of a kind (such as 6, 6, 6): you must specify the number.

Two of a kind (such as 4, 4): again, specifying the number.

Duo: two different numbers, such as 4, 6.

Any three numbers pays with any three of a kind.

Small: the sum is 10 or less (excluding any three of a kind).

Big: The sum is 11 or more (excluding any three of a kind).

One: Any specified number appearing on the dice.

These seven basic bets plus the 17 point numbers and more are all graphically illustrated on the beautifully lit Sic-Bo table. When a decision is reached, the dealer lights up the winning combinations, removes the losing chips and pays the winners at the house odds.

Unfortunately, the house odds are not standardized and may be slightly different from casino to casino.

The two bets with the lowest casino advantage are the Big bet and the Small bet. These both provide a 2.7 percent house edge, which is the best you’ll get in Sic-Bo.

Sic-Bo is a fast moving, exciting game, but it is usually called in Chinese! Also, you must use Sic-Bo chips, which are similar to roulette chips.

The table minimums and maximums are posted. Most play flat bet systems on the Big and Small numbers. An easy system is to increase your bet by one unit when you win and decrease your bet by one unit when you lose.

Although the odds are better in craps, Sic-Bo is a lot of fun to play — if you can find it and understand the language!