Sic Bo is an ancient Chinese game that has stood the test of time and has survived for thousands of years. Nowadays it is a regular offering in casinos. Not the most popular one, but it is quite well-known. However, it is a very interesting game so we want to show you its history! If you are curious about the history and evolution of Sic Bo, keep on reading!
The Chronicle of Dice – To Understand the Origins
We wrote articles about dice games, however, we never talked about the history of dice. Till today! Here is a summary of it!
Civilizations used dice in games throughout history, from ancient Egypt to the online casinos. Near 2600 BCE there were the first confirmed dice. Historians found pyramidal dice in the board game, the Royal Game of Ur from ancient Sumeria. During the thousand years, historians found cubical dice in Egyptian tombs and Chinese excavations.
You can find the very first written records of dice, in the Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata. It was around 600 BCE. People also buried dice in Viking grave mounds and sold at auctions in the Roman Empire.
After Galileo’s mathematical analysis on dice in 1600, it became more popular. More-sided dice appeared, like 8-10-20-sided ones. Nowadays, we cannot imagine our favorite board games or role-playing games without dice.
Dice plays also a huge “roll” in the History of Craps!
Where the History of Sic Bo Begins
The game has many names like Dai Siu, Tai Sai, and Hi-Lo; however, the Sic Bo is the worldwide accepted name. It was played in ancient China before the invention of the paper – and of course, cards.
The name Sic Bo means “a pair of dice”, as the Chinese used to play with two dice. Today’s you play the game with three. They enjoyed games of chance that made use of painted stones, tiles, and dice. The game had the same concept as today and was referred to as “big-small”, which is one of the betting options in the game.
It has been a very long time since the day Sic Bo was created and widespread across the Asian continent. In the early period, the game was popular with its 3-dice variant in the Philippines.
Nevertheless, the rules were the same everywhere. They bet on what combination of numbers will be rolled and what the outcome will be. Unfortunately, this game did not spread quickly and did not became very popular.
The Game Sails to America
The evolution of Sic Bo continues in the 19th century. Chinese laborers traveled to the USA to build the transcontinental railroad. Besides their competences, they brought with them many ancient traditions, including the game of Sic Bo.
The game was played in railroad and mining camps, however just among the immigrant population. It took decades to spread this game among the Americans, who initially adopted Sic Bo as a carnival game. They made some changes to the payouts, and the game was popular under the name Birdcage as they mixed up the dice in a cage.
Meanwhile, the Sic Bo spread in America, the game of Hazard became popular in the UK. You can call it another variation of Sic Bo, which they played with two dice. However, somewhere during the History of Craps, players added another dice to the game. This variation is the Grand Hazard.
Luckily, as the Chinese nation stuck to their heritage, the original form of Sic Bo survived. It became extremely popular not only in the gambling halls in China but around the world.
The Game of Sic Bo Conquers the Casinos All Over the World
Sic Bo became extremely popular commercially in Asia in the 60s. In Macau, the biggest casino offered the game next to monumental casino games like Baccarat and Roulette directly on the main casino floor. It was the first “boom” in the History of Sic Bo!
This huge success in Asia aroused the interest of Las Vegas casinos. Soon, they began offering the game, but only to Chinese players. After a few decades, in the 90s, the game became part of the main floor. Non-Asian guests also loved the Sic Bo and quickly other casinos picked up on this trend too.
Nowadays You Can Play Sic Bo Online
Today, besides in land-based casinos around the globe, you can find Sic Bo or some of its variants in any online casino sites in China. In fact, with the creation of online casinos, Sic Bo caught its biggest break. While the biggest classics, like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat became extra popular in online casinos super-fast, Sic Bo did not get the deserved place among the online casino games. The reason is simple: it was not popular in the European continent, just in Asia and America.
In the UK, on the other hand, Sic Bo received reception much later at the beginning of the 21st century. Although many UK land-based and online casinos started to offer the game. After other Europeans got to know the game by the online casinos, they also started to sell Sic Bo on their sites. Now you can play Sic Bo from anywhere and luckily, it has still the same simple rules. However, online Sic Bo games use a random number generator to simulate the rolls, but it does not kill the experience.