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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.