Gambling City

We are Cash Back

Easy on the Eyes

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I tried to peruse your past columns, but didn’t find this particular answer.  I didn’t read every single one (yet), so please forgive me if you have already answered this question. Why are the dice in most casino’s red with white spots? Nelson S.  

Prior to exiting stage left the Green Felt Jungle, I came into a large collection of over 1,000 pair of dice from just about every casino in Nevada. Your question gave me an opportunity to crawl up in the attic and see exactly what I had.  

The lion’s share had various shades of red, but at least 20 percent represented a variety of colors like gold, blue, green, pink, purple, tangerine, black and amber. All the dice had white spots (pips) regardless of the body color. 

Pips on dice are white and sized purposely for ease in recognizing the pattern formed. The color red for dice makes it easy to see, read and call from the stick position against a green layout.

The white pips are always flush, offering the assurance of true uniformly distributed random numbers. To guarantee perfect balance of the dice, the depth of the different spots varies. The single one spot is drilled six times deeper than any of the six spots on the opposite side. The holes are filled flush with a paint of the same density as the acetate used for the dice, with equal weight-to-volume relation so the dice remain in balance. Dice makers who cut dice do it in lots of five or six deal in tolerances of .0002 inch, with imperfections discarded, again, making the random nature of a dice throw a dead certainty. All dice are then stamped with a matching serial number to prevent a cheater from sneaking in an alien cube.  

The bottom line, Nelson, is that dice are the hardware used for randomly presenting numbers in the range of one to six, with each of those values being equally likely. Their colors are typically red and pips white because that color combination is the easiest to read on a crap table.  

Dear Mark:  I won a $5,000 plus progressive slot jackpot (proof that these slots DO pay off!) a couple of weeks ago.  A nickel machine, no less!  When I went back a week later, I went looking to play the same slot machines (there were a bank of four that were the same) and they were nowhere to be found.  They weren't in the place where I had played them, and I walked all over the casino looking for them with no luck.  What's going on? I am just curious why they have removed them. Linda H.

Slot machines, Linda, are preprogrammed to pay out a certain percentage on a random basis notwithstanding all kinds of "fluke" streaks—good and bad—appearing. What the programming does is tell the casino operators that after countless decisions, “X” amount of money will be earned by the casino and lost by the players.

Although your jackpot probably didn’t tip the scale for removal, all machines still need to show reasonable results or their eradication from the floor is inevitable. A slot machine’s performance is measured by two factors: the volume of coins wagered daily (“coin in”) and the amount collected daily by the casino (“win”). If a machine’s performance wanes ever so slightly, a slot manager could decide a change is needed in the slot mix.

Sure, you won big, Linda, and yes, a superstitious slot manager might have yanked that bank of slots, but I would lean a little more toward the theory that the bank got the heave ho because it wasn’t delivering the results the casino was looking for.  

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “The people who think they can wind up ahead of the races are everybody who has ever won a bet.” - Ogden Nash, Pocket Book (1902-71)