Shooting/Rolling Dice -
Rolling the dice in a game can be a contentious issue. A series of lucky throws may lead to resentment from other players who may believe, rightly or wrongly, that the dice are being held and thrown in a special way. Using these controlled dice throws is sometimes known as honest cheating. Make no mistake, there is nothing honest about it.
Casino Craps Shooting
Brick and mortar casinos require a Craps player to throw or shoot the dice against a backboard so that they rebound before coming to rest (online casinos will simulate the rolls using software). This is supposed to ensure the roll is random but many crapshooters try to control the outcome and change the odds. The subject of controlled throws on casino Craps tables is a hot topic. It's sometimes called rhythm rolling and dice setting because players are said to develop a rhythm of holding and throwing the dice in a set way. If anyone could alter the outcome of the dice, even slightly, they would be rich beyond their wildest dreams and casinos have been scammed in the past. If you want to learn dice control and how to set the dice for a Craps game, try the links below.
Casinos have strict procedures for shooting dice that must be adhered to. For more details, see Casino Dice Procedure.
Switching the Dice
If a cheat is going to roll crooked dice in a game then the problem of switching them for the straight dice originally being used presents itself. An expert dice "mechanic" can achieve a switch of the dice almost unnoticeably and with such smooth action that even someone who knows a switch is being made will have trouble spotting it. Of course, the crooked dice will have to be very similar in appearance to the straight ones, but this is always possible for a determined scammer.
A dice mechanic will substitute crooked or gaffed dice for the real ones and can quickly switch them back once they have gained their advantage. If you suspect a switch has taken place then you could examine the dice yourself. Remember, the dice you are playing with may not be the dice that started the game and cheats will switch the dice back and forth as it suits them. A cheat may even leave his crooked dice behind, just writing his loss off as part of his scam. .
The links below describe the professional techniques used in secretly exchanging dice, unnoticed.
Techniques for Switching Dice...
Hand Rolling Dice in the Private Game
Without doubt it is possible to control throws in a private game and there are a number of techniques around. The best way to prevent a controlled throw is to insist that the dice are rattled and thrown against a backboard, although even this is no guarantee. The Greek shot is a technique of throwing a pair of dice so that they hit a backboard but so the bottom die does not turn. Only a real expert can pull this one off.
Techniques for Controlled Throws by Hand...
Conventions/Rules For Rolling Dice in the Private Game
The dice should be vigorously shaken and cleanly rolled/thrown. Should a die not land flat on one side, but tipped at an angle, then it is declared cocked and all the dice must be re-thrown. Similarly, if a die is resting on top of another it is declared stacked and all the dice must be re-thrown.
Dice Throwing Cups
A cup to hold and roll the dice can help to overcome the problem of controlled throws and can help to ensure that the dice are shaken properly and fall at random. However, the use of throwing cups for dice does not always guarantee the dice fall at random. In fact, some cheats prefer them. Crooked dice can just as easily be thrown and even straight dice can be controlled with practice. Cheats develop techniques where the dice are placed in the cup and are then slid out of the horizontally held cup rather than rolled.
Both the Greeks and Romans used specially made throwing cups and some incorporated crossbars inside to prevent controlled rolls.
Today purpose made ribbed dice cups can be purchased with a rubber ribbed interior to specifically prevent controlled throws. Tripped cups have a lip around the rim to trip the dice as they come out. A slick cup is polished and smooth on the inside to facilitate controlled throws. Cheap dice cups are available in plastic while more expensive deluxe dice cups can be bought made from real leather. Dice cups are sometimes referred to as a "box" by dice players.
The best safety check against controlled throws with a cup is to insist that the dice are vigorously rattled and that the dice cup is completely tipped upside down.
Dice cups are suited to games where more than three dice are being rolled because shaking and rolling more than three dice in a player's hand becomes awkward and difficult. They are also useful for games where the dice must be concealed from other players.
Techniques for Controlled Throws with a Dice Cup...
Dice Trays and Bowls
Dice trays are used to prevent dice rolling off or outside the playing area. Usually wooden, they come in various shapes, often hexagonal, octagonal, rectangular, circular etc, and have a surrounding wall an inch or few high, often with a green felt-lined base. Sometimes a groove is included in the surround for holding out-of-play dice.
The French game of Shut The Box is usually played with a traditional wooden box which incorporates a throwing tray.
Chinese dice games (like Cockfighting, Grasping Eight, Strung Flowers, Heaven and Nine, Pursuing Sheep and Sic-Bo) are often traditionally played with a flat-bottomed porcelain bowl to throw the dice into. Highly decorative antique dice bowls from the Ming and other dynasties often fetch high prices at auction.
There are crescent-shaped wooden bowls available for storing out-of-play dice and for presenting them to players. You may come across them in casinos on their Craps tables holding a number of special casino dice for the shooter to make a selection from.
Dice Rolling Devices
Operators of the game Chuck-A-Luck often use a specially made chuck cage (an hourglass-shaped wire cage that rotates) to roll the dice. This is supposed to assure players that the outcome is random. However, crooked dice could be substituted for straight ones including electric dice with an electromagnet placed underneath the chuck cage.
The games of Grand Hazard and Chuck-A-Luck used to be played using a special hazard chute. This was a cone or horn shaped device that often had inclined trips inside to ensure random rolls of the dice. (For more on hazard chutes see The Wild West term "Tinhorn".)
Spring loaded transparent domes with dice inside have been used for children's dice and board games. They are operated by pushing down on the plastic dome and then releasing it. The base then snaps or springs up causing the dice to jump and bounce around inside.
Many patents exist for other dice rolling devices that haven't succeeded in gaining widespread use. Maybe some of these ingenious contraptions will be featured in the future on dice-play.
Bewareof crooked dice and controlled throws. Don't play with strangers but rather stick to a friendly game with people you know well and trust. Should you ever find that you are in a crooked dice game the best advice is to cut your losses and take no further part. Even if you are positive the game is rigged the situation could rapidly turn ugly if you were to accuse someone.
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