Strategies for playing Sic Bo can be divided into categories according to the amount of risk involved. The higher the risk, the greater the potential reward, and the lower the risk, the less likely a big win will occur. What kind of approach one takes at the table will depend largely on what the player can afford to lose, how long the session of play will be, and how aggressive or passive the individual’s style of play may be.
Minimize Risk, Maximize Return
The most risky of all bets on the Sic Bo table is a wager on a specific Triple, such as 2-2-2. If it wins, it will pay 150-to-1 or 180-to-1, depending on the House Rules, but the probability of such an occurrence is just 0.46%, or about 217-to-1 against. Just waiting for a specific Triple to show up can be a slow and sure way to lose a bankroll.
Nevertheless, the attraction of high-risk, high-reward bets is great, so a common strategy is to combine them with one or more medium- or low-risk wagers to hedge the risk. For example, using the number 2 as a focal point, a combination strategy might be to place one wagering unit on the 2-2-2 Triple at 180-to-1, one unit on the 2-2 Double at 10-to-1, and three units on the Single 2 straight up at 1-to-1. The total risk per spin is five units.
If a Single 2 comes up, which is likely 34.72% of the time, the total wager will win one unit in net profit. If a pair of 2s appears, which should occur on 6.94% of all spins, the payout will be 2-to-1 for each of the Single 2 units bet, plus 10-to-1 for the Double, minus the lost unit on the Triple, or a profit of 15 units in total. And on the lucky spin when all three dice show a 2 face up, with the likelihood of 0.46%, all three bets will win, with the Single 2 wagers paying out at 3-to-1 plus the other two payouts adding up to 199 units in profit.
Other combined-bet strategies are variations on this, such as wagering one unit on Double 1 and two units on Big. It wins one unit 48.61% of the time when the total is 11 through 17 (except Triple 4 or 5). It wins nine units when the Double 1 comes up, or 6.95% of all spins. That means some form of return can be expected on 55.56% of all wagers—more than half.
Progressive Betting Systems
The Big and Small bets on the Sic Bo table provide low-risk, low-reward alternatives to more aggressive strategies. They are essentially the same as betting Red or Black at the European (single zero) Roulette table. The House edge is almost identical—2.78% versus 2.7%. That means it is possible to apply progressive betting strategies here. The most promising ones should be able to endure a series of four or five consecutive losses without requiring huge wagers to make up money lost, such as d’Alembert, Labouchere, or the 1-3-2-6 system.
d’Alembert – This system is based upon the “Law of Equilibrium,” assuming that the number of spins a player wins and loses will, over the long term, be very close to 50:50. Following a loss, the player increases the wager by one unit. Following a win, the wager is reduced by one unit. The progression ends when the required bet is zero, and then it begins again.
Labouchere – Also known as the “cancellation system,” this is a negative progression that requires wagers to be increased when losses occur. It begins with a series of numbers, such as 1+2+3+4. The player wagers the first and last numbers—in this case, 1+4 = 5. If the hand wins, those two numbers are crossed off and the remaining two numbers are bet. Upon a loss, the amount of the loss is added to the end of the series and the first and last numbers are bet. This continues until all numbers have been crossed off.
1-3-2-6 Betting System – This is a positive progression, meaning bets increase with wins, not losses. The goal is to win four hands in a row, betting one unit until it wins, and then three units. If it wins, then two units are wagered, followed by six units after a third win. Any loss resets the progression to one unit.