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Craps Cheats

Gambling has always had a tainted history. From rigged Slot Machines, crooked dealer and rigged dice in Craps. Cheating and Craps seem to go hand in hand especially when Hollywood is involved. In real life Cheating at Craps is a little more difficult than in the movies. You are more likely to lose money to chip theft than you are to crooked dice, however there are a certain number of cheating methods that have been effective at the craps table.

Chip Theft - While this doesn't affect the casino directly but it is no less a method of cheating at Craps. Because of the nature of Craps, with the exciting action, the cheering when dice are hot and the comradery when everyone is winning tends to have the affect of letting ones' attention down when it comes to watching your chips on the rail. How chip theft works is that the thief will be at the table and while your attention is elsewhere they will simply reach over a snatch a chip or two from your row. They may also reach out and take your chips after the dealer has paid out all winning bets. This is particularly effective when a player has a number of bets on the table or is new to the game. Unlike other games it is the players responsibility to take their chips and winnings off the table and new craps players tend to forget this fact.

Late Bets - Late bets are bets made after the dice have been rolled and the winning number called out. The cheat will try and sneak their wagers on to a winning spot while the other players are celebrating and creating a distraction. This cheat is a very bold one and easily caught by an observant dealer it is also very hard to get past the cameras watching the action at the craps table.

Loaded 'Gaffed' Dice - Loaded dice are dice that have been modified in a particular fashion to make a specific number turn up more often than it should according to chance. These modifications can including shaving, weighting, magnets and heating. Possibly the most famous craps cheat that every crooked casino in Hollywood has used is the magnetic cheat. In this cheat it's not the casino being taken but it's patrons. A coil is embedded into the table and connected to an electrical source creating an electromagnet. The dice have been altered to have a small piece of metal in the side opposite of the number the casino wants to have show. While the magnet is off the dice function like any dice would and no one would expect anything, but with the flick of a switch the magnet in the table is activated and then the next time the dice land on the table the metal loaded ends have a better than normal chance of landing down causing the desired numbers to show causing losses at the table. While this sounds like a very effective way of cheating and you might think it's being used when you are on a losing streak, you can rest assured that no legitimate casino in the US, Canada or elsewhere is going to try to be using a magnetic table to cheat it's patrons.

There are only two ways crooked dice can enter a Craps game, the first is through a dealer that is working in conjunction with someone to cheat the casino and the other way is by a cheat switching out the dice. This method is particularly difficult as the craps dealer will call "Dice Down' or 'No Roll' when they loose sight of the dice at anytime. When a dealer looses sight of the dice they will ask for the dice to be returned to them and they will put out a new pair of dice in play. The returned dice are then sent to be checked to see if they are loaded or not. If they are the player who switched them out is picked up and charged, if nothing is wrong then there was no harm done. Switch out the dice requires great slight of hand and a lot of courage, and even with all the security measure in place cheats still try to introduce loaded dice into the game.

Floaters or Floats - These dice unlike loaded dice have actually been made lighter by hollowing out the inside of the dice. The cheater will make the hollow off center to bias the die in the desired way. These dice are called floaters because when placed in a glass of water they will float instead of sinking.

Tappers - These dice are specially made dice with a dumb-bell shaped chamber inside of them. One end of the dumbbell is in the center of the die and the other end is in a corner the cheat wants to favor. One end of the dumbbell chamber is filled with mercury. When the mercury is in the end that is located in the center of the die, the die will be fair and will be undistinguishable from a regular die. But with a tap of the die with the empty dumbbell side down the mercury will move from the center of the die out to the other end thus creating a loaded die. Another form of tapper uses a thin wire and a small weight that is ratcheted to hold it in place until it's been tapped. The weighted die will use rubber bumpers to prevent any noise coming from the die. For obvious reasons tappers have to be in opaque dice. Tappers are rarely used as they can be unreliable.

Weighted Dice - These dice have been loaded by adding extra weight to them. Typically Lead, Gold or Platinum is used to weight dice because there are heavier metals and require less metal to achieve the same weighting. The extra weight is generally placed inside a pip or dot on the dice face and not necessarily in the center of the dice face. The extra weight will cause the die to settle with the weighted face down more often than it should normally. so people assume that the new transparent dice being used can't be weighted this isn't the case. A skilled dice mechanic can make a weighted die pass a visual inspection (a dice that is done poorly can be spotted by having a pip or dot that is deeper than the others).

Shaped Dice - These are dice that have a convex or concave shape to them or that have had one face shaved.

Beveled - These dice have had one or more side(s) that have been shaped to be convex. This will cause them to roll off the convex side onto a flat side.

Suction - These dice have a side that has been shaped to be concave. This has two effects depending on the table surface and both favor the shooter. On a smooth surface the concave side creates a slight vacuum while on a rough surface the concave surface tends to stick where flat surfaces would continue to roll. These dice favor the side opposite the concave side.

Shaved Dice - These dice have been shaved slightly on one particular side so that they are more rectangle than square. This has the effect of cheating a die with four sides that are shorter and thus have less surface area than the shaved side and it's opposite face. The shaved side and it's opposite face are more likely to show than the four shorter sides. These dice are also known as 'Bricks' or 'Barred' dice however there are specific names for the dice depending on what side has been shaved.
If the 1 or 6 side has been shaved the die is referred to as a 'Six-Ace Flat'. These dice will work against the shooter.
When a pair of dice have had either the 3 or 4 side shaved and the 6 or 1 side shaved this pair is called a 'Flat Passer'
If the 3 or 4 side has been shaved the die is referred to as a 'Flat Passer'. With these sides shaved dice totals of 4, 5, 9 and 10 will happen more often.

Sometimes by altering the edge of a die you can affect the outcome of the roll. Edge modifications can be difficult to spot and it is easy enough to assume that a die with rounded edges must be loaded. This is not the case, if all the sides are the same then the die is fair, if one edge of the die is different then the die is considered loaded. These dice are known as Trip dice. Trip dice will wear with use and will need to be replaced by the cheat.

Cut-Edge - A cut-edge die has one edge that has been shaved at 45 degrees while the other edges have a 60 degree edge. This will affect the roll of the die.


Raised Edge - This die has a lip on one or more sides. These lips increase the surface area of the particular side and also grip the table cloth when rolled.


Razor-Edge - These dice will have different edges making them more effective. One or more edges will be cut with a razor and the other edges will be rounded or turned. This will cause the die to roll on a rounded edge and grab on a razored edge.


Saw-tooth - These dice have had an edge scored with tiny cuts with the goal of having these cuts grab the table and come to rest on a certain number. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to determine where the bias of these dice is located thus making them worthless to someone trying to cheat.

As with anything there are some less effective methods of cheating. The following examples are those which are fairly ineffective methods of cheating.

Raised Spots - The idea behind this idea is that the pip (or spot) on the dice are actually raised off the surface of the die instead of being level with the surface. When the die is rolled the Raised pip is supposed to encourage the die to roll off that side. This type of loaded dice is strictly used by amateurs as it is less effective than other types of load dice and is easily noticed by anyone that touches the dice.

Capped Dice - A Capped die is one that has been shaved down on one side and then had the shaved off area replaced with a similar looking material but that has a different elastic properties. The goal is to have the dice bounce off the capped side and settle on an uncapped side. The cap when done properly is initially invisible but with use it quickly becomes evident that the die has been doctored. A capped die can be spotted by pressing a fingernail into all sides of a die, the capped side will have some give to it.

Painted Dice - Perhaps painted is not the right term. These dice have had one or more side painted with a clear sticky substance that is activated by moisture. The cheat would activate the sticky substance by blowing on the dice immediately before throwing them. The sticky face will then hopefully stick to the table surface as they roll down the table. While the sticky sides might stick to the table, other things might stick to the face of the dice giving them away.

Slick Dice - These are dice that have been polished on one or more side and roughed up on others. The idea behind this is that the roughed up sides will grip the table and the polished sides will roll more easily. Any advantage gained here is hard to determine because even fair dice will become rough with regular use.

Bristles - These dice have been doctored with a pin that in inserted into the center pip on the five side of a die. The pin protrudes from the die only very slightly and will catch on the table cloth. These dice are easy to spot, are a very old method of cheating at craps and no longer used by cheats today. The term bristles comes from when a single pig or horse hair was used before pins.

Mis-spotted Dice - Normal dice have opposing sides that add up to 7, Mis-spotted dice are dice that have opposing faces that are identical when used as a pair it can be almost impossible not to role a 7 but these are very easy to spot and have become relegated to the realm of jokes and magic tricks. Other names for these dice are tops and bottoms, tops, mis-spots, horses and tees (T's).
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