For your informational purposes, we have provided the below guide for how to cheat at craps (and why you shouldn’t do it). While some acts such as introducing loaded dice into the game are obvious acts of cheating, other acts such as dice setting are technically legal strategies that you can use to improve your odds.
Anyone who is concerned about other players (or casinos) cheating should know how to identify a loaded dice. We explain how, as well as give our recommendation for response. Generally, if you stick to legal (regulated) casinos, you should be fine – but you may want to avoid private play.
Craps Cheats & Cheaters
Cheating at craps is a bad idea for multiple reasons. We don’t encourage anyone to cheat. But some people might have legitimate reasons for wanting to learn how others cheat at craps, so we’ve included this page about various cheating methods and techniques. You can also see our cheating pages for video poker or slots here.
Why You Shouldn’t Cheat at Craps
The first reason for not cheating at craps is simple enough. You should find a way to earn an honest living. Selling your integrity for casino winnings is a losing proposition, so just don’t do it.
Another, more practical, reason not to cheat at craps is that it’s illegal. We’re assuming that you’re playing casino craps when we say this. If you’re playing street craps or in a bar somewhere, just playing is illegal, but if you get caught cheating in that kind of game, you’d probably be better off getting busted for cheating in a casino. Spending some time in jail and paying restitution to a casino are both better than getting shot in the kneecaps by one of your “gambling buddies”.
If You Were Going to Cheat, How Would You Do It?
The most obvious way of cheating at craps would be to introduce some kind of loaded dice into the game. Casinos are pretty hip to this trick, though, and they require that the dice be in view the entire time you’re holding them.
Some sleight-of-hand experts might be able to switch a loaded pair of dice with the casino’s dice and affect the game’s outcome, but he’d have to pretty talented and skilled at sleight-of-hand. There’s not much margin of error here, either, because if you screw up and get caught, the casino will prosecute.
Other Ways to Cheat
Past posting is one way some players try to get an edge over casinos. The phrase means placing a bet after knowing the outcome of the game. (It’s also called “late betting.”)
It’s obvious how this would benefit you. Suppose you bet $10 on the pass line, but you’re watching closely, and you add another $10 chip after you know you’ve won. Clearly, you’ll win more money with a 100% chance of winning.
The problem is that a craps table has lots of people working, and many of them are there specifically to watch you and make sure that you don’t try any kind of past posting tricks. If you get caught trying this, you’re going to face a stern warning and a lot of embarrassment at the least, but you’re more likely to face expulsion from the casino and prosecution.
Casinos have no patience for cheaters.
Cheating without Cheating – Dice Setting
What if you could throw the dice with such skill that you could affect the outcome of the roll? Would that constitute cheating?
Strictly speaking, it would not constitute cheating, because you haven’t modified any betting amounts or equipment. You’re just playing with a lot of skill.
We’ve seen people describe this type of skilled dice throwing as making craps into a game of skill similar to darts. We’re skeptical about some of the claims that we’ve seen, but we’re also intrigued by the possibility that someone could affect a roll’s outcome.
If you’re interested in learning more about dice control and dice setting, you can buy any number of books and videos with instructions about how to hold and throw the dice.
Michael Shackleford, a gambling math expert, has expressed some interest in dice setting because his friend Stanford Wong went to a seminar on the technique and gave it credence. Wong is one of the better-known advantage gamblers and card counters in the business. On Shackleford’s page on the subject, he mentions Frank Scoblete as well, and we’ve read one of Scoblete’s books on the subject. (We have not tried his techniques or even practiced.)
If You’re Not Convinced
If you’re still not convinced that cheating is a bad idea, we’ll relate one story about a well-known alleged craps cheat. Quinton Carter, who played safety for the Denver Broncos, was charged with three felonies. Apparently he was trying to increase his winnings by past posting.
The court dropped its charges against Carter, but part of the agreement included his forfeiture of his $1000 bond.
Guess how much money Carter was allegedly adding to his bets?
$5 at a time.
Vegas casinos, even small ones like the Texas Station, take cheating seriously. So should you.
Loaded Dice – What Is It & How Does It Work?
The most common method of cheating at craps is the use of loaded dice. Casinos have strong countermeasures in place to prevent the use of loaded dice, but it’s still common in private games for cheaters to use such crooked tools to get an edge over the other players.
The purpose of this page is to take a closer look at the different ways of “loading” dice, and it also provides some advice about how to make sure you’re NOT playing in a game with such equipment.
Do Casinos Use Crooked Dice to Rig Their Craps Games?
The first thing you should know about loaded dice is that casinos don’t use them to rig their craps game. They have no incentive to do so. Every bet except one at the craps table offers the house an insurmountable mathematical edge, so they have no need to cheat. In fact, they have a huge disincentive to cheating—they could lose their gambling license and wind up out of business.
Types of Loaded Dice
Percentage dice are dice that are modified so that some numbers will come up more often than probability would predict. There are two main types of percentage dice:
- Passers favor certain point numbers. These favor right bettors (players who bet on the shooter to make the point).
- Miss-outs favor a total of seven. These favor wrong bettors (players who bet on the shooter to miss the point).
With these kinds of dice, a cheater just places the appropriate bets and shows a profit because the odds are now in his favor rather than the casino’s.
Shapes are the most common type of percentage dice. As the name might indicate, the shape has been changed on these so that they’re no longer cubical.
Flats, on the other hand, have been shaved down on one side (or even multiple sides). This makes them shaped more like a brick than a cube. It doesn’t require a lot of shaving to change the percentages, either. 1/500 of an inch will change the odds significantly enough to give a cheater an edge.
Six-ace flats are the most common miss-outs in use. The side with the 6 and the side with the 1 are shaved down, and thus they come u more often than they would otherwise. This increases the likelihood of rolling a 7.
Flat passers, on the other hand, have the 6 and the 1 on die A shaved down, while the 3 and the 4 on die B are shaved down. This increases the likelihood of rolling a 4, 5, 9, or 10.
Two-way flats are also called fast sevens or four-way sevens. The shapes on these are shaved down on sides that aren’t opposite each other. For example, if you shave off the 6 and the 3, you increase the chances of rolling 1, 3, 4, and 6. If you cut both dice like this, you increase the chances of rolling a total of 7.
Bevels are dice with slightly rounded sides. This is usually accomplished using sandpapers. Since those sides are rounded, the likelihood of landing on the flat sides is increased because those rounded sides tend to “roll”.
Cut edges have different angles on the edges than the standard 45 degrees. This gives some sides a larger area than the others, which causes them to land on the larger side more often.
Loaded dice are dice that are modified on the inside. (We use “loaded dice” to refer to any dice that are modified in order to cheat, but the actual phrase means something more specific.) The extra weight on the inside of a loaded die causes the opposite side of the weighted side to come up more often.
How to Spot Loaded Dice
The easiest way to spot loaded dice is to fill a tall glass with water and then drop one of the dice into the water. Be gentle and hold the die close to the water before dropping it. If the die turns over as it goes down, then it’s probably loaded. Try dropping the die several times, with a different face pointing upward each time. If a couple of numbers come up more often than the others, then you’ve probably got some loaded dice in your hands.
Legitimate dice should land evenly in the bottom of the glass.
Spotting beveled dice is easy too. Just hold the two dice together and see if they wobble. The dice should rest flush against each other and not wobble.
Flats are harder to detect, but you could easily take a pair of dice that aren’t crooked and compare them by holding them next to each other. Look for sides that are noticeably shorter than the others.
What Should You Do if You’re Playing in a Game with Crooked Dice?
The best thing to do is to avoid private craps games altogether. At legitimate, licensed casinos, you’ll rarely (if ever) run into this situation. Security measures are strict, and as we pointed out earlier, the casino has a big disincentive to allowing cheating of any kind.
On the other hand, if you catch someone cheating in a private craps game, you’re not sure who you’re dealing with necessarily. If it’s a close friend, then you might reevaluate your choice of friends. If it’s a stranger, it’s probably better just to back out of the game altogether without making a scene. Some cheaters might be real low-lifes, and it might be better to not get on their bad side.
Finally, if you’re thinking about using crooked dice of some sort, think again. No good can come of this. Legitimate, licensed casinos will prosecute you for cheating, and cheating at gambling is a felony in states where casinos are legal. In private games, you might fare even worse, because a suspected cheater might be injured or even killed by the aggrieved party. Besides that, if you cheat, you’ll have a hard time looking yourself in the mirror.