Every animal has within its brain a system that helps it figure out how the world works. Once you learn how to do something, it fires off dopamines that make you feel good
. Even pigeons and rats have the ability to figure out "push button, get food".
Some systems can't be beaten. The randomness at their core defeats the ability of even the smartest animal to figure out cause and effect. There's no cause, just the Random Number God
. That's why we love gambling; it feels so good when you win. It's also why some people get addicted to gambling; it feels so bad when you lose.
Nevertheless, people have figured out as much as they can about gambling. The odds are very well known. One party's going to win, the other party's going to lose. Eventually. Face it, the casino wouldn't play the game if they weren't going to make money off of it. If you gamble, you're either lucky or a loser.
Some people Take a Third Option
. They don't like to lose, and they don't like to gamble. If you cheat, you're not gambling and you're not losing. This is a trope that covers the many different ways people have found to not
Works that feature cheating at gambling:
- Gintama Played with this trope by having a man gifted with the ability to see the flow of luck. Which turned out that he lost that ability a few years back and has been cheating at games since then.
- 21 is a film entirely about counting cards. They also did that in Real Life. The consequences are exaggerated in the film.
- Casino was set in a casino, a few people tried to cheat. The results were unpleasant.
- Rounders features gambling and two best friends. One is a Professional Gambler. The other is a cheat.
- Ocean's Eleven is a heist movie, but more than one person is a cheat. Danny finds Rusty teaching poker to celebrities. As soon as Danny sits down, the two of them rook the kids for a couple grand. Just for fun.
- Brick Top likes to run crooked boxing matches in Snatch. Turkish doesn't which is the reason people like him. Then he ends up in debt to Brick Top. Unfortunately, Mickey doesn't know how to take a dive. And he ends up betting on himself, reversing the fix.
- Qui Gon Jinn cheats at dice.
- The Polish film Wielki Szu is a story of a young man who becomes an apprentice to a cheater. It contains a quote that might serve well here "We played fair. You cheated, I cheated, the better man won."
Live Action TV
- Ludo Bagman came up with a unique and brand new way to cheat. Just don't pay when you lose.
- Skeeter Jackson loves to gamble, and he's not exactly an angel. After his Heel-Face Turn, he ends up in a beautiful Victorian casino and plays a few rounds of craps to "keep his hand in". After he walks away from the table, he says that he threw three sets of dice and all three were loaded. One with heavy paint, one with a mercury tumbler, the third with shaved edges. The person he's with is astonished and appalled. Then Skeeter sits down to play poker and relates an amusing anecdote about a guy with a device up his sleeve.
- Jack Aubrey plays some whist in the second book of his series. He accuses the people he's playing with of cheating. As one is a Smug Snake, The Gambling Addict, and a traitor, that's not implausible.
- Mat Cauthon occasionally gets accused of cheating. But he just very, very lucky.
- One episode of Psych featured a Professional Gambler who got cheated at poker. Shawn then figures out that the game must be rigged, then he figures out how.
- Angel accidentally lost his destiny and got stuck at the slots, feeding in money. Cordelia gave the machine a psychic nudge and Angel won.
- On Mentalist Jayne is a skilled cheater though he usually just prefers to use mind tricks to win. In one episode he is banned from a casino for counting cards and later tricks the murderer into implicating himself by beating him in a poker game. When the guy asks how Jayne did it, Jaynes says "I cheated"
- Unforgettable: the lead character has an Eiditic Memory; in an Establishing Scene she gets in trouble at a casino for counting cards.
- The Dukes of Hazzard: One time the Dukes took on a crook with a Travelling Casino in the back of a semitruck. They rigged the roulette wheel and had Uncle Jessie play when they blew the horn.
- M*A*S*H: Klinger gets in a craps game in the back room at Rosie's bar and discovers that the dice are loaded, causing a fight to break out.
- Guys and Dolls: Big Jule has his own set of dice; he had the numbers taken off of "for luck." Fortunately he remembers where the spots formerly were, so when he rolls he tells people what his point is.