Have you ever bought a pack of playing cards or a pair of dice from a casino?
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If so, you’ll notice that they’ve been altered in some way. The most common alternations made to playing cards consist of cutting the corners of the cards, marking the corners, drilling a hole in the centers of the cards, or marking and cutting the corners of the cards.
For dice they simply drill a hole directly through the center.
Why do casinos drill holes in their dice and cards?
There is only one reason why the casinos deface their playing cards and dice:
To prevent players from sneaking them into live dealer games.
Why Do Casinos Drill Holes in Their Dice?
Casinos often sell or give away used dice from their gambling games. The dice are great souvenirs and advertising tools. Dice need to be retired from play because they become worn down on the edges from being thrown by the players. Dice can also become oily.
Casino dice have to pass inspection for flaws and imperfections. Anything that can affect the balance of a die or its randomness after being thrown across a table must be detected. It’s not cost-effective for the casinos to try to repair damaged dice. They just destroy them or render them unplayable.
A table may change its dice several times during a shift. This ensures that if players are slipping unauthorized dice into they game they are removed in a timely fashion without making a big scene.
It’s illegal in many jurisdictions for a player to switch out the dice. If caught, such players can be held for arrest by the local authorities. At the very least the player risks being banned from the casino.
Defacing or drilling dice is called “cancelling the dice”. Cancelled dice are not always drilled. They may only have defacing marks placed on them. Many cancelled dice are defaced on the “four” side. When you see used casino dice for sale on the internet, they may hide the cancel marks in any photos. Some collectors value uncanceled casino dice more than they do cancelled dice.
Why Do Casinos Deface Their Playing Cards?
Card decks cost next to nothing. Casinos have several practices for preventing players from surreptitiously changing the cards used in poker and blackjack games. The dealers can change out their decks several times during a shift. At the end of the day the cards may be examined and repackaged, or they may be sent off to another facility to be examined or repackaged, or the cards may be shredded.
Casinos often employ different card deck designs and colors on different days. You may play with a red deck on Monday, a blue deck on Tuesday, a yellow deck on Wednesday, etc.
Players and dealers alike can unintentionally alter the physical characteristics of the cards just by handling them. The cards can become smudged, greasy, bent, or even accidentally folded.
A player may also drop a card on the floor.
If you see one, leave it there.
Casinos Change Dice and Cards Frequently
The average life span for a deck of cards or a pair of dice in a well-run casino is about 4 hours.
Just 4 hours.
Every day the casino opens new packs of cards and boxes of dice. It’s just easier for them to change out the cards and dice than to be constantly inspecting them. Human inspection is expensive, even if the person inspecting the item is only paid minimum wage.
Because card decks and dice are mass produced to the casino’s specifications, they just plan on destroying or defacing these items every day.
Casinos Use Other Anti-Theft and Fraud Procedures
Casino Playing Cards In Bulk
The dice are produced in sets called “sticks,” and the dice in each stick have the same serial number emblazoned on them. The casinos are thus able to track the dice carefully.
Playing cards can have invisible bar codes imprinted on them. These bar codes may be detected by special hardware that can be operated by a dealer. If the dealer detects a counterfeit or unauthorized card on the table he can stop the game.
Casino Playing Cards 12 Pack
In addition to watching their cards and dice carefully, the casinos also pay close attention to their chips. Modern casino chips now carry embedded RFID (radio frequency IDentifier) chips. The chips are programmed to broadcast a secret code so the casino knows the chips are legitimate. They can use RFID tracking to follow chips they lend to players on credit.
Why do casinos drill holes in their dice and in their decks of cards?
The reasons are simple:
- To ensure random results.
- To prevent cheating.
Casinos buy playing cards and dice in bulk. Such gambling equipment is cheap to begin with, but when you buy in bulk, you get a discount.
It’s just easier to take the equipment out of circulation when it’s worn out. Trying to salvage or refurbish decks of cards or pairs of dice would cost more than replacing them.