That Time We Learned About Burning the Dice in Craps

We’ve played craps a time or two during our innumerable Las Vegas outings, but until recently had never heard the term “burning the dice.”

A helpful yet surly floor supervisor at one of our favorite casinos shared that “burning the dice” is a method cheaters use, so it’s not permitted.

“Burning the dice” is when a player rubs the dice against the table felt repeatedly in an attempt to dull the corners and influence the roll.

dice hard six
Players should take care to avoid friction with the felt, as well as casino management.

Casinos are always on the lookout for cheaters, of course, so there are a number of rules and procedures to prevent tampering with the dice or making rolls less random, the way Mother Nature intended.

Longtime followers of this blog will recall we compiled a list of 11 Casino Dice Security Measures to Keep Players From Cheating. It was the one time we did “research” and “took notes.”

Security steps include the serial numbers on dice, making dice translucent, backfilling the pips, canceling used dice and the aforementioned sharp corners.

Dice pips drilling filling
The dots on dice are pips. When they’re drilled, they’re filled back in (backfilled) to ensure perfect balance.

Here’s a fun game. Whenever you see an advertisement for a casino, make sure to notice whether the dice have rounded or sharp corners. If the corners are rounded, you know somebody slipped up, as dice with rounded corners are never used in casinos.

Dice with rounded corners are typically used in board games and for other non-gambling purposes.

Once you start noticing dice corners, you can’t not see them!

Even bigtime movies get casino dice wrong. Check out this still from the popular documentary starring Bruce Willis, “Armageddon.”

Armageddon dice
We trust this prop person never worked in Hollywood again.

We call “no roll” on that one! Landing on an asteroid to divert it from a collision course with Earth is a lot more believable than a casino using dice with rounded corners.

Now, you know.

Knowing what “burning the dice” is will win you a bar bet someday, or at least help you avoid the wrath of a casino pit boss.

Note: Yes, we know a pit boss is different from a floor supervisor. We honestly didn’t expect you to read this far.