Sic Bo in a typically ambiguous translation from Oriental language, means \"dice bowl\" or \"dice pair\". This is thought to be a reference either to the bowl that the dice are rolled in or the fact that payouts are made on pairs of numbers rolled. Other names it can be known by include \"Tai Sai\" meaning \"Lucky Dice\" or \"Dai Siu\" which means \"Big-Small\". In the Phillipines, the games is simply known as \"Hi- Lo\".
The game has its roots in Ancient China using 2 bricks and a bowl, and to this day, its popularity lies largely with the Oriental communities. It is played with some vigour in the casinos of Southeast Asia, in places like Macau. In the early part of the 20th century, Chinese immigrants brought the game with them to the United States of America, and Sic Bo tables are starting to make a more regular appearance in the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
The game involves 3 dice, which are tossed into a chute/bowl/cage containing different levels, which help the dice to tumble as they roll. The game tables are usually elaborately lit, to attract players, and to appeal to the oriental sense of luck. Sic Bo is a game of chance more than anything else, and bears a great similarity to the traditional game of Grand Hazard. There is also a more American version called Chuck-a-Luck, which has a similar concept but a different layout.
The object of the game is simply to bet on the outcome of the three dice and the layout of the cage provides, in pictorial form, the 50 possible bets and their payouts. The players place their bets, watch the dice roll and hope for the best! Bets can be placed on a variety of possibilities from Odd or Even totals, to pairs, or Triples (also known as Raffles), and any possible total from 4 to 17. The percentage of the payout with each option varies considerably, and it may be the complexity of the payout system which more Western players have found intimidating.
Sic Bo is simple to play however, and is good fun too. The more complex bets can be made after a very little experience and the thrill of winning is emphasized by the special tables which light up when the dice fall.