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It Ain't Cheating

Please remember!  These are archives!  The Dice Setter message board was shut down. What is published here are just a few of the threads documenting the early days of dice setting strategies and opinions written by the pioneers of dice influencing.


Well, there's been so much talk about this lately that I was forced to do an article about it. Actually, it's excerpted from the Axis Power Craps book. The article is in this months Craps Companion newsletter. Irish - feel free to copy and paste it into my articles section here on dicesetter.com. Meanwhile - here's the the Craps Companion piece:

It Ain’t Cheatin’ by Stephen “heavy” Haltom, published on Thursday, December 19 2002

What is precision shooting in the game of craps?

First of all, let’s talk about what it is not. It is not cheating. Cheats abound at the craps table. There are rail birds who attempt to steal your chips from the rack when you are not looking. Little old ladies who accidentally pick your winnings up from the table by mistake. Crooks who try to substitute gaffed dice into the game. Past-posters who place their bets after the decision has been made.

You’ll even find trick-shot artists who have mastered the whip shot – a difficult throw that sends both dice spinning on a vertical axis all the way down the table without tumbling over. The whip shot, by the way, is rarely used in today’s casinos. Craps supervisors are trained to recognize the throw, and modern, razor-edged dice rarely maintain a vertical axis on craps tables equipped with speed bumps and rubber bumpers. Still, the occasional cheat will attempt the shot - usually accompanied by the box man’s call of “no roll.”

Even so, casino-legal precision shooting is a reality. It is not a perfect art. It is a percentage throw. It is not so much controlling the dice control as it is influencing the dice. Like the expert card counter at blackjack, the skilled precision shooter often finds he is playing a positive expectation game. How much skill does it take? He only needs to control one roll in forty-three. Can you do it? Absolutely!

Let’s take a look at the dice. Each die has six sides, numbered one through six. That yields a total of thirty-six possible combinations of numbers. Just about every beginning craps book contains a numbers distribution table similar to chart 1.1. Take a moment to review it. Understanding the random distribution of numbers is key to understanding the controlled roll.

~table removed~

The seven is the most powerful number on the craps layout.  Careful study of the above chart reveals that the seven is the most frequently rolled number. Out of thirty-six possible combinations of the dice, there are six which add up to seven.  It can roll 1-6, 2-5, 3-4, 4-3, 5-2, or 6-1.    All of the true-odds calculations in craps are based on the number of ways the seven can roll when compared to any other number.  For example, there are six ways to make the seven versus five ways to roll the six.  The true odds are 6-5 against the six rolling before the seven.

The precision shooter’s task is to alter those odds.  How is this accomplished? One way is by rolling more naturals - sevens and elevens - on the come out roll and fewer sevens after the point has been established.

Look at the table again.  Let’s say you could roll one less seven in thirty-six rolls, and one more six.  What effect would that have on the game’s odds?  You would have rolled six sixes and five sevens.  This would give you a clear advantage over the casino on the six.   Further scrutiny reveals that the axis-adjusted true odds on the eight yield a 1-1 even-money bet.  But since the casino is paying you 7-6 for your place bet on the eight, you have an advantage over the house on that number as well. Shifting the odds in favor of the player. That, my friend, is what precision shooting is all about.


FWIW, I looked in the Nevada gambling statutes. The section below is the only language that seems applicable in this situation. I think a good lawyer, prosecutor or defense, could make whatever he wanted out of this:

NRS 465.070 Fraudulent acts.
7. To manipulate, with the intent to cheat, any component of a gaming device in a manner contrary to the designed and normal operational purpose for the component, including, but not limited to, varying the pull of the handle of a slot machine, with knowledge that the manipulation affects the outcome of the game or with knowledge of any event that affects the outcome of the game.


Ok, I didn't want to have to admit this, but here it goes, I am a lawyer in MS. Please don't hold that against me. I am still a craps player. As to statutory construction and analysis, I think that most people would look to the "intent" language of this particular statute. This is helpful in that it is not a strict liability type offense i.e. running a stop sign. Nobody cares whether you intended to run a stop sign only that you did it, now pay the fine. Here, they have put an intent element into a statute that would be almost impossible to prove absent loaded dice. You have to love the wisdom of our legislators. Finally, when we walk up to a table and hold the dice with a particular grip do we intend to cheat? Certainly not!! Do we intend to manipulate the out come? Who cares they can't prove the first element of intent. There is nothing talismanic and or wrong with staying on a particular axis, some people do it naturally. In addition, who is to say that dice weren't meant to be thrown on a particular axis or in a particular rhythm.


we could get into month`s of debate, however, imho , let`s do it, just don`t talk about it....daveygene


I agree with both Daveygene and Slazey.

And if NRS 465.070 is the applicable statute, then it seems it could be argued that dice is simply a game which includes the element of skill in rolling the dice as one of its "designed and normal operational puiposes," and therefore any manipulation of the dice component with the intent merely seeking to enhance the odds of a favorable outcome for the player is precisely what shooting craps is all about. But this statute may be antiquated. Slots are digitized now so manipulating the handle could probably have no affect.

I think those that wish to believe precision rolling is superstition could carry the day in this argument because who's to prove that any particular shooter has "intent to cheat" or that they actually intend to affect the ultimate outcome of the game as opposed to just using their "lucky" grip and throw like anybody who handles the dice.

Finally: Consideration should be given to the fact that these statutes are written, in part at least, as regulations of the gaming industry as protection for the players as well as to regulate players' conduct. This statute could easily have been really aimed to regulate inside manipulation of slots (and wheels, balls, cards, and dice) by dealers or licensees' other employees who have far greater access and opportunity to take the players for a ride, not vice versa. The language regarding the pulling of the slot handle could have been a compromise among legislators' concerns regarding player cheating, but kind of a red herring as to who may have been the object of regulation here.

It's a complex subject, of course, and the statute could be interpreted any number of ways.

But this all speaks volumes in favor of redoubling efforts at discretion among setters. Otherwise, eventually the casino lobby will grease palms to get statuory language more explicitly seeking to restrict us in our endeavors.

Any gaming lawyers out there to give us further insight?


I also agree with davey .......take our winnings and loses in stride then go to your room and roll in the money ....not in the casino ........ when im up a lil to much i play the Irish setter Dont system



"red herring" "antiquated" do I smell another lawyer?


As long as the casinos hand you the dice and say "beat us if you can" every shooter is going to do his best to do just that. If, through practice and determination, I can achieve enough skill to develop a positive expectation without violating the casinos rules - e.g. playing with THEIR dice on THEIR table hitting THEIR back wall - I can't imagine them having any room to complain.



Na, na, nana, na.

Takes one to know one. But, is the smell really that strong?


Your views always make me sleep a little better.

The Man In Black

That's some interesting reading. However, I direct y'alls attention to this:
Gambling know-how; state draws fine line between skill, chance

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 29 May, 1994, p. 1A
Phil Linsalata

"Welcome to Missouri," Mr. Linsalata writes, "the only
state in America with riverboat casinos filled to the
gunwales with 'games of skill.'"

In January of this year, the Missouri State Supreme
Court ruled that several gambling games, including bingo
and keno, are "lotteries" and hence, by the state
constitution, prohibited in the riverboat casinos. The
ruling states that in lotteries, "skill does not affect
the probability of winning," whereas "in skill games,
one person can be a better player than the others." Both
poker and blackjack were deemed to "involve skill", and
were thus not prohibited in the casinos. But the Court
did not rule on games such as craps, roulette, and video
versions of poker, blackjack, etc., all considered to
have some element of skill as well as of "pure chance"
in some part of the game. A constitutional amendment
was required to allow these on riverboat casinos.

But this all changed in April when, after such an
amendment was defeated in the polls, the Missouri State
Legislature redefined craps and some video games of
chance so that they were allowed in the riverboat
casinos when the casinos opened in May. An anti-
gambling group, Citizens for Life and Liberty, have
called the state's actions illegal.
Sounds to me a court has ruled craps as a game of chance...


The statute apparently allows us to pull the slot machine handle in any fashion that we like, depending entirely on our own individual superstitions, until we do so with true knowledge that it surely changes the outcome of the game in our favor.

If the rule of "ejusdem generis" for statutory construction applies here, i.e., if the general language of the statute takes it's meaning from more specific language in the same statute, then we could be in some serious poop here. It's not hard to extrapolate from knowingly manipulating the slot-machine handle for advantage to knowingly spinning and throwing the dice for advantage.

I nonetheless see constitutional problems with allowing vague extrapolations to create a crime. The casinos presently allow everyone to pick up and throw the dice however they please so long as the the dice are thrown in the air and hit the back wall. Unlike slot-machine handle pulls, there is no statutorily- and sufficiently-described range of dice physics that have been declared criminal if knowingly effected.

If knowingly achieving an advantage within the rules were always a crime, then even those dice throwers who take the dice as given to them (with no sevens) and who toss them gently to reduce the permutations would be criminals. As such, there's a wide-ranging difference between defining the knowing and precise pull on an old-style slot machine handle as criminal and also defining the wide range of "possibly" effective dice shooting styles as criminal. Criminalizing dice setting and shooting styles would in effect criminalize winning if and when performed by the merely superstitious and lucky. Can a court or jury be relied upon to draw the line correctly between luck and skill? Would a successful prosecution make the average superstitious shooter feel safe to use his or her 'secret' technique? As such, would a successful prosecution actually be in the gaming industry's best interests? Of greater concern, would casino owners be tempted to abuse the statute to rob big random winners of their winnings?

These and many other questions indicate that the statute, as presently drafted, would and should be declared void for vagueness as applied to dice setting and precision shooting.

However, be forewarned, I was stripped of my right to self-representation in Nevada and convicted in two criminal cases, and the reason given for stripping me of my right to self-representation was that my pleadings and motions were deemed "utterly unintelligible."

(If anyone failed to understand my writing and reasoning above, please let me know.)

Thus, be forewarned, if Nevada feels that it simply must prosecute and convict you, then it can and may do so with no actual legal authority.


FWIW, I believe (I'm not sure, so if someone knows differently, please post), that sliding and spinning are considered to be cheating under the law. If they catch you doing this, they won't just kick you out, they'll arest you. I would guess the section of the law I quoted above (in NV) would be applicable. That being the case, it isn't a big jump from that to axis throwing.

The big difference is that axis throwing conforms to the casino policies on throwing the dice (ie. they must travel through the air, hit the back wall, etc.), spinning and sliding don't. Then again, I don't know if that counts for anything. Those policies are not publicly stated rules, but internal rules that state what the table crew should and shouldn't allow. A method of throwing that could be shown to derandomize the dice, in any case, could by viewed as a violation.

Remember in NV, and most of the other gambling venues, the state is a revenue sharing partner in the casinos, and has every bit as much of a vested interest in see us lose.

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