In any game where money is changing hands, some people will do anything to make sure they come out on top. Craps is no exception. Whether you are looking at an established Las Vegas Casino or a back-room game there are always ways people can (illegally) get the better of the house.
Dice control in the sense of a skilled dice roll is not cheating. Dice control by using “loaded dice” is! There are a couple prominent ways to load your dice. The most well known dice loading technique is weighting the dice. When you put an off-centered weight in a dice, the center of gravity shifts towards one side, which will then be more likely to land facing down. Then obviously the opposite side will be more likely to be facing up when the dice come to rest. The first known weighted dice we discovered in the ancient remains of the city of Pompeii (made with small pieces of lead installed in the face of wooden dice), which dates to over two thousand years old. To keep players from using weighting dice casinos are very strict about dice handling (to prevent a switch) and use special precision dice. These precision casino dice are translucent to make sure no weight is added internally. Also if the validity of the dice comes under any scrutiny the weight can be measured as a first line of defense against and the serial number of the dice can be verified.
Weighting a set of dice is nearly impossible if you plan on playing with translucent dice. Under these circumstances, some cheaters choose to take a different route to making their dice cheat for them. ‘Shaved’ dice are dice that have been misshapen so that they aren’t perfect cubes with sharp edges. This usually means the shaved dice are actually rectangular solids (at least one dimension different than the rest), or they’ve got some rounded edges and some sharp edges. Regardless of how the dice is reshaped it is relatively easy for casinos to catch these. First of all if the casino is changing the dice every round (which they probably are) each set of shaved dice is only good for one round, and with such a small statistical benefit from these cheating measure, it is not worth the risk to try to use this method. Also if a casino worker is suspicious of a pair of dice, they can quickly come to a verdict with a standard micrometer.
There are other methods to cheating in craps that don’t have anything to do with the dice. These resemble theft more than cheating, but you should be aware of them. Past posting is a technique where the cheater posts a bet after the dice come to a halt. This is difficult to accomplish with modern security technology but it has been used successfully in the past. To learn more read this article on past posting. The lowest form of craps cheating doesn’t just resemble theft, it is theft. The cheater uses a variety of diversions and sleight of hand to literally rob other players. It is one thing to try to take the house, but it is entirely below most cheaters to actually rob fellow players. Sadly this is an all too common problem.
It should be said that all of these cheating techniques are probably illegal where you live/play and they are definitely immoral. This is an informational article and contains no information, nor provocation to aid in any form of craps cheating.
By Sean Terrel
A former Las Vegas security worker, Sean Terrel is working to educate the public as to the many risks posed in casinos.