A loaded or gaffed die is a die that has been tampered with to land with a selected side facing upwards more often than it would simply by chance. There are methods of creating loaded dice, including having some edges round and other sharp and slightly off square faces. If the dice are not transparent, weights can be added to one side or the other. They can be modified to produce winners (“passers”) or losers (“miss-outs”). “Tappers” have a drop of mercury in a reservoir at the center of the cube, with a capillary tube leading to another mercury reservoir at the side of the cube. The load is activated by tapping the die on the table so that the mercury leaves the center and travels to the side. Often one can see the circle of the cut used to remove the face and bury the weight. In a professional die, the weight is inserted in manufacture; in the case of a wooden die, this can be done by carving the die around a heavy inclusion, like a pebble around which a tree has grown.
A variable loaded die is hollow with a small weight and a semi-solid substance inside, usually wax, whose melting point is just lower than the temperature of the human body. This allows the cheater to change the loading of the die by breathing on it or holding it firmly in hand, causing the wax to melt and the weight to drift down, making the chosen opposite face more likely to land up. A less common type of variable die can be made by inserting a magnet into the die and embedding a coil of wire in the game table. Then, either leave the current off and let the die roll unchanged or run current through the coil to increase the likelihood that the north side or the south side will land on the bottom depending on the direction of the current.
Cheat dice (see below) are often sold as loaded dice but usually are not technically loaded.
Transparent acetate dice, used in all reputable casinos, are harder to tamper with.
Plastic dice can be biased to roll a certain number by heating them (for example in an oven) with the desired face upward, so that the plastic will soften slightly and “pool” at the opposite (bottom) side of the die without showing much, if any, visible distortion.
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