The first principle of cheating is that you don't want to win all the time, just most of the time, so as not to raise any suspicion. In casino games that use dice to determine random numbers, crooked or altered sets of dice are often tried by cheats to gain an advantage of the game. One of the most common types of crooked dice is called a 'loaded' die, which has weights inside to favour the landing on the particular number more often than the laws of probability would indicate. The side where the weights are attached is slightly heavier than the rest, forcing the dice to land on that side more often. The casinos were quick at figuring out this scam, and many are now using dice made from clear plastic to make sure they are made of uniform material. However, the race does not end there. To get around this, crooks either use clear weights bearing the same physical properties as the material used to make the dice, or they attach the weights to the solid spots on the dice, so that they are harder to detect. If the dice fly off the table at any point during the game, the boxman will examine them carefully before letting them back into play.
1-4-5 Casino Tops
Casino tops have also had their share of rolls at the casinos. Since only three sides of the die are visible to any person (unless they more around the table), the basis of this type of dice is to strategically place the numbers so that only certain combinations can be rolled. The example on the right shows a 1-4-5 die, where the numbers stand for the actual sides the die features. The mirror reflection in the picture identifies the opposite sides to be the same, which is the case for all dice of this type. Because of this feature, the die can only have three different numbers on it, repeating them twice. This type of die is one of the easiest to detect in a casino setting or anywhere else for that matter; it only takes a second to inspect and disregard it.
Maybe you have seen some people blow on the dice before they throw them. A lucky gesture, you think? Actually, this is just another way for cheats to get by. The dice are painted with a clear sticky substance that is activated by moisture, and what better way than to use that in your breath? By strategically placing the dice in your palm and blowing on them to trigger the adhesive, a skilled player may be able to sway the odds in thier favour.
Another type of crooked dice is the 'shape' die, which does not have a perfect shape. Normally, one of the sides is slightly larger than the rest, forcing the dice to land on the larger side more often. When a shape die is created, one side is usually shaved off (the amount can be as small as 3 hundredths of an inch) so that two of the sides, such as the six and the one have larger surfaces. Following the laws of physics, the die is more likely to fall on one of the larger surfaces. A 6-ace casino shape is depicted in the example on the left. The '6-ace' represents the fact the surface areas of the six and the one are the larger ones. The image has been enlarged considerably to show the difference between a casino shape and a perfect die; the difference in reality is hard to spot. The disproportion is so minor it often goes by unnoticed, though not at the craps table. One thing the craps attendants make sure of is that no crooked dice are being used.
Magnets and different placements of the spots are also ways used to cheat the casinos, many of which have been detected preventive methods have been taken against them. But, naturally, they ways are only improving and the casinos have to be on a constant lookout for the unexpected.
Read on about detecting crooked dice...