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#1
Old 07-11-2009, 04:50 PM
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Comments: How do you make a loaded dice? - References

Great job Ian - thanks!

Other works inspired by The Big Con include the movie The Sting and the TV show (and later movie) Mission Impossible.

The Big Book of Hoaxes has an informative chapter on scams. Snake Oil by Jim Rose is more comprehensive -- though I couldn't say whether it's reliable.

Let's not forget the internet. Quatloos! is an ever expanding website dedicated to scams and frauds. Scams 101 provides a useful list of traps. Those wishing to fight such activities can join the scambaiters at 419eater.com or perhaps here if you prefer harder-edged stuff.

Link to staff report: How do you make loaded dice?
#2
Old 07-11-2009, 06:59 PM
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Just a note: you cannot make a loaded dice.


Of course, don't tell ABBA that, since they once used the lyric, "The Gods may roll a dice..."
#3
Old 07-11-2009, 07:21 PM
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They were Swedish - slips are forgiven. Their English is a lot better than most Anglophones' Swedish!
#4
Old 07-11-2009, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
J\Of course, don't tell ABBA that, since they once used the lyric, "The Gods may roll a dice..."
I always heard that as "may roll at dice" - as a reference to the game, rather than the actual equipment used.
#5
Old 07-12-2009, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Just a note: you cannot make a loaded dice.
Being Swedish here: Why not?
#6
Old 07-12-2009, 08:27 AM
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"Dice" is plural; the correct term for a single spotted cube used in gaming is "die". As in "the die is cast", referring to Caesar making his gamble by crossing the Rubicon.
#7
Old 07-12-2009, 09:11 AM
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Thanks. That's what suspected, though I always associate the Swedish "tärning" (sing.) with the English "dice". Checked it on an online dictionary, and it says:

Quote:
tärning substantiv (även om andra föremål med samma form), (E) dice [" also used of other objects with the same shape"]
That's when I posted. After I read your reply, LurkMeister, I also checked my old Swedish-English dictionary on the shelf, and it says

Quote:
Tärning 1 die (pl dice) ...
I guess books are still the shit.
#8
Old 07-12-2009, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bookkeeper View Post
I always heard that as "may roll at dice" - as a reference to the game, rather than the actual equipment used.
Well, sadly, I have the album, with the lyrics, and they definitely were saying "a dice." It's not surprising, because they had other instances of imperfect English grammar in order to make the lyrics work better from a scansion or rhyming standpoint. And I cut them some slack, because any band that manages a #1 hit out of a song about the Mexican Revolution of the early 1900s is entitled to some slack.
#9
Old 07-12-2009, 10:39 AM
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Mad magazine ages ago had an article on cheating at gambling. It included a picture (drawing, really) of "loaded dice" including a magnified view of a corner and went on about how the precise beveling would enable a "skilled person to throw a seven nearly every time." The three faces visible on the one die were all five spots, and on the other, two.
#10
Old 07-13-2009, 03:49 AM
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The language moves and changes, and most people use "dice" now as the singular as well as the plural. Those who insist on old-fashioned and out-moded uses probably still think that "data" is plural and that "whom" is useful.

(Aside: I used to be more of a grammarian until I heard a series on the development of English -- from the Teaching Company -- where the guy basically said most of those rules are silly and outmoded and should never have been applied to English in the first place. Everyone says, "It's me" -- including the other romance languages. "C'est je" ? Not a chance. )

And, thanks to ianzine for a wonderful guest staff report!
#11
Old 07-13-2009, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
The language moves and changes, and most people use "dice" now as the singular as well as the plural. Those who insist on old-fashioned and out-moded uses probably still think that "data" is plural and that "whom" is useful.
I cannot think of a use of "data" where it could not be understood to be plural. To get a singular, we usually use expressions like "bit of data," as in, "There is not a bit of data on the SDMB linking Dex with his real name."
#12
Old 07-13-2009, 09:29 AM
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Speaking of dice, a TV show recently had an episode where a guy took a fair pair of dice and was able to throw whatever he wanted. Claimed it was all in the wrist. Is this possible, that a person could become adept enough at dice to throw them in a way to always get the numbers they want?
#13
Old 07-13-2009, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
Speaking of dice, a TV show recently had an episode where a guy took a fair pair of dice and was able to throw whatever he wanted. Claimed it was all in the wrist. Is this possible, that a person could become adept enough at dice to throw them in a way to always get the numbers they want?
You can read the Wikipedia article on dice control:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dice_control

I'm sure I read an article in Games magazine about an annual tournament devoted to dice control (trying to get the highest average over N rolls), but my Google fu is coming up empty.
#14
Old 07-13-2009, 06:05 PM
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Hi Irishman and Hogarth. I can't prove any of this or provide cites, but here's the best information I give you, based on my own personal experience and that of many people I know who have far greater expertise, and who get paid to advise casinos and so on.

Is it possible to throw dice in a manner that looks fair but in fact you are secretly trying to control the outcome? Yes, but it's hard, not many have ever learned to do it, and the results are variable.

A few magicians, especially those who like to specialise in gambling-themed routines, have developed techniques for doing this. It was said that Ed Marlo (a legendary magician and gambling cheat expert) could achieve pretty impressive results. However, note that in this case we are only talking about moves and techniques that would work in a show or a demonstration where the performer or magician can control the conditions, and where strict casino rules do not apply.

What's more, even the best aren't able to achieve very consistent results. Its the old dilemma: the more fair the 'throw' looks, the less certain the results; the more certain the results, the less fair it looks.

Is it possible to throw dice in a professional casino in such as way that you can secretly rig the outcome? No. I have never heard of anyone even claiming to have achieved this. Casinos have rules about what constitutes a 'fair' throw of the dice (e.g. when playing craps the dice have to bounce against the back wall) and they are very, very smart at making sure a fair throw of the dice yields a random result.

Of course, there are always going to be some people who boast that they can do it, or have done it. But I've never come across any reliable proof. In this field as in any other, there are always claims and boasts, but most can be written off as purely anecdotal.
#15
Old 07-13-2009, 06:42 PM
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Variable results trying to demonstrate a skill which improves your odds in a game of chance aren't surprising; and don't prove whether there's a skill involved.
#16
Old 07-13-2009, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
I cannot think of a use of "data" where it could not be understood to be plural. To get a singular, we usually use expressions like "bit of data," as in, "There is not a bit of data on the SDMB linking Dex with his real name."
Pop quiz: Would you say "The data indicates...", or "The data indicate..."?

Quote:
Speaking of dice, a TV show recently had an episode where a guy took a fair pair of dice and was able to throw whatever he wanted. Claimed it was all in the wrist. Is this possible, that a person could become adept enough at dice to throw them in a way to always get the numbers they want?
Did the TV show show the guy's face while he was allegedly doing this? I saw a video once where all you see is the guy's hands, and he's saying "And now I'm going to throw a five", and so on, but without seeing his face while he's saying that, he could have just made all of the throws randomly, and then added the voiceover afterwords once he knew what he'd get.
#17
Old 07-13-2009, 10:21 PM
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Well, if he's going to cheat, he might as well record the face as well, but just do it over and over until he gets the right result. Though I guess if he wants to do a bunch of rolls in a row with no cuts, that'll become prohibitively time consuming.

Last edited by Indistinguishable; 07-13-2009 at 10:22 PM.
#18
Old 07-13-2009, 11:08 PM
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I once read a story where a crooked casino had dice with metallic paint in the spots on some sides, and then an electro-magnet under the table, so that when it was turned on, it would increase the odds that the magnetic-painted spots would be on the bottom of the table.

Is this actually feasible? And, if so, would it change the odds enough to make a significant difference to the casion?
#19
Old 07-14-2009, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SeanArenas View Post
Variable results trying to demonstrate a skill which improves your odds in a game of chance aren't surprising; and don't prove whether there's a skill involved.
It depends what you mean by 'variable'. If 'variable' is deemed to mean 'random', then yes, your statement is of course true. However, if 'variable' means 'with results that are at least sufficiently consistent to tip the odds in the cheater's favour' then we are referring to a demonstrable skill.
#20
Old 07-14-2009, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I once read a story where a crooked casino had dice with metallic paint in the spots on some sides, and then an electro-magnet under the table, so that when it was turned on, it would increase the odds that the magnetic-painted spots would be on the bottom of the table.

Is this actually feasible? And, if so, would it change the odds enough to make a significant difference to the casion?
No, it isn't even remotely feasible. It would difficult, bordering on impossible, to create dice and a table that would work in this way. Also, it's hard to operate an electro-magnet indetectably (they tend to make a humming noise and give rise to vibrations). Even if you somehow get the whole thing to work, the dice would behave in a way that looks anything but fair. The motion of two cubes coming to rest naturally as a result of a fair throw, and coming to rest under the influence of a magnetic field, are conspicuously different. Nice story, not going to work in reality.
#21
Old 07-14-2009, 09:09 AM
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In Ocean's 13, they fixed the dice at the factory by adding some powdery substance to the liquid mixture before it went into the molds. I don't remember them explaining just what they were pouring in or exactly how it was supposed to work. Not that the movie made much sense anyway, but I wonder what the idea was there?

Last edited by Wheelz; 07-14-2009 at 09:11 AM.
#22
Old 07-14-2009, 02:02 PM
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Okay, some more details. The show was an episode of The Mentalist, so it's not like it was a documentary or how-to demonstration. It was a TV drama. Thus my very large dose of skepticism.

The Mentalist was not playing craps, or casino rules. He was playing Backgammon at a gentleman's club (the fancy social club kind, not the one with dancers). So it is likely if the technique is possible he had the environment in which to do so (table top game, one on one). Of course, they didn't give any hints as to how this might be possible. He states, "It's all in the wrist." They did not demonstrate any special way of holding or throwing the dice - it looked like a standard one hand cupping two dice and rolling out of the palm. Since it is a TV drama, and the writers can do anything they want, it doesn't matter if what he was doing bears a resemblance to what the actual technique would be. My question had to do with the plausibility of having a technique at all that would look like a fair throw.

I can see how trying to spin the dice horizontally and have them glide along a surface might produce the ability to improve the odds of the outcome. I think I've done that before. I can understand how casino rules are made to keep that kind of thing (and pretty much any kind of thing) from working. It is plausible that one could affect a nonchalant air while throwing dice in said manner and look reasonably natural. However, it is fairly obvious if you are looking.

SeanArenas said:
Quote:
Variable results trying to demonstrate a skill which improves your odds in a game of chance aren't surprising; and don't prove whether there's a skill involved.
I think you misunderstand. Yes, someone who has the ability to slightly improve the odds to a game of chance is not going to show the consistency of hitting every time, or calling his shots. That is not the claim in this sentence. This sentence is stating that demonstrations under casino-like conditions have not demonstrated improved odds compared to chance. That is a measurable outcome, regardless of how effective or ineffective the technique is for any one throw. The aim is not the one-off big score, but rather a pattern over time of improved odds.
#23
Old 07-14-2009, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
The language moves and changes, and most people use "dice" now as the singular as well as the plural. Those who insist on old-fashioned and out-moded uses probably still think that "data" is plural and that "whom" is useful.
Not in my circle is any of this true. Certainly not the singularity of "dice". "Roll a die" is still very common in game instructions, and "roll a dice" sounds as bad as "trap a mice" does to my ears.

I admit to being a bit of a language prescriptivist, but it seems to me that some sort of standard has to be maintained.


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#24
Old 07-14-2009, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ianzin View Post
...it's hard to operate an electro-magnet indetectably (they tend to make a humming noise and give rise to vibrations).
Only if they're running on AC or crudely rectified DC.
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#25
Old 07-14-2009, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ianzin
If you shave two opposite sides of a regular die, such as the one and the six, these two numbers will tend to come up more often than the two, three, four, or five.
More likely to roll snakeyes or boxcars? You might want to choose different faces.
#26
Old 07-14-2009, 08:21 PM
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I have a loaded die I bought at a garage sale for the novelty. It is very crudely weighted with a lump of lead on the 1 face. I sometimes manage to make it not roll a 6.

I've heard of weighted polyhedral dice but have never seen any.
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#27
Old 07-17-2009, 11:20 PM
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On controlled throwing

Someone explained the basics of controlled dice throwing to me once. Personally, I don't particularly enjoy gambling, but I found myself in a casino with nothing to do and nowhere to go for a couple hours. The tables were cheap so I put down $60 and gave it a try.

- I picked the intersection of a couple of lines on the table to set my dice before each roll. (at the edge of the 'field', in case you're wondering.)

- I set the dice to be oriented the same way each time.

- I picked a spot for the dice to land, between the pass bar and the wall.

- My throw had enough force for the dice to bounce in the target spot, hit the wall and land. I also threw the dice so they didn't spin in the air. Over the course of the throw, they only spun for a short distance after hitting the wall. Needless to say, I tried to throw with the exact arc and force each time.

Result - I had a hell of a roll. Walked away with my original $60 and another $85 on top of it. If I weren't a conservative gambler, I might have made a lot more.

Observations - The guys working the table clearly knew what I was doing. They tried to throw me off, each time returning the dice to me in a different spot and a different orientation. But they didn't say anything. They just made me reach in different spots each time, probably making it harder for me to develop a sense of kinetic repeatability. (Yes, I just made that term up.)

Have I tried it again? No. I still think gambling is boring, even when I do win. And I'm not dumb enough to think this is anything more than coincidence. It did make the game slightly less dull for me, and I used the $85 to buy my wife and I a nice steak dinner. If I were to play craps again, I'd definitely see if I could repeat the performance. What the hell.
#28
Old 07-18-2009, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by C K Dexter Haven View Post
The language moves and changes, and most people use "dice" now as the singular as well as the plural. Those who insist on old-fashioned and out-moded uses probably still think that "data" is plural and that "whom" is useful.
Most? You really think so? I can't remember ever seeing "dice" as a singular in print--at least not from native English speakers. I rarely hear "a dice" spoken by an educated adult, either, although it's common in kids, so it may change in a generation or two if their teachers don't fix it.

I agree that "a dice" sounds just as wrong as "a mice."

Last edited by Gary Robson; 07-18-2009 at 07:05 PM.
#29
Old 07-22-2009, 04:47 AM
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Selecting preloaded dice from the manufacturer

In statistics class at high school, we spent one period doing this practical experiment with dice. We had a thousand dice - just bought from the store - on a tray. Tray is covered and vigorously shaken. Lid taken off and all dice showing a 6 were removed. We'd record how many, and at first it was pretty closed to 1/6th each time. We'd later plot the variation from the 1/6th, and the variance formed a bell distribution. All good stuff.

But we got down to the last 50 dice and we could not make them roll a 6. We'd pick 2 or 3 off at a time, but often it was none. After an hour, starting with a thousand, there was 30 we could never make roll a 6. They had 6 on them. We'd take them and roll them individiually and they just never came up 6.

How to load dice? Buy a large set, and find which are already loaded for you.
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