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Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
— "Everybody Knows", Leonard Cohen

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 gamble. Supertrope to Two-Headed Coin. See also Throwing the Fight.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gamble Fish is about an international illegal gambling ring where even presidents bet the fate of their organizations and countries on anything from the most dangerous game to the flip of a coin, and the academy they funded to teach their kids how to gamble lives and futures away. Naturally, (almost) everyone cheats their way through the games.
  • Played with in Gintama 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.
  • Weaponized by Sontenkun in Hoshin Engi: inside his Pocket Dimension, opponents who accept his challenge and lose are tranformed into toys he can control, and only by beating him they can return to normal. However, since the dimension is under his control, no matter the game, he will always win. The heroes have to Take a Third Option with a rather gordian solution.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders:
    • Daniel J. D'Arby is a known gambler who has managed to hoard a number of souls, but the heroes discover that he's more than willing to cheat ("Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught" is his motto) after he captures the souls of Polnareff and Joseph. Jotaro manages to defeat him by psyching him out: D'Arby has a seemingly random little kid (who actually works for him) deal the cards and give Jotaro a crap hand. Jotaro gives a subtle demonstration of his Stand's incredible speed and keeps raising his bet higher and higher, making D'Arby wonder if he'd used Star Platinum to change his cards faster than the eye could see. When the stakes get too high for D'Arby (Jotaro says that if he wins, D'Arby has to tell them about DIO's Stand), the strain is too much and he "admit[s] defeat in his heart" — and then it turns out that Jotaro didn't change his cards at all and still had the same crappy hand.
    • This also comes up against D'Arby's younger brother Terence, who uses video games instead of games of chance. Terence's Stand allows him to mentally ask yes-or-no questions and read the answer in his opponent's soul, which allows him to outflank Kakyoin in a racing game. Jotaro pulls the psych-out again while trying to suss out D'Arby's Stand power, placing his hat so it blocks D'Arby's view of his face, but when that doesn't change the outcome he gets a good idea of what D'Arby is capable of. So he has Joseph use his Stand Hermit Purple to input entirely different commands — so even though Jotaro intends to throw a fastball (and thus that's what D'Arby's Stand tells him), Joseph changes it into a curveball, rendering Jotaro completely unreadable and leading to his victory. And just to add insult to injury, Jotaro even delivers the elder D'Arby's motto after his trick is revealed.
  • Karakuri Circus: Automaton Jack Gambler is a Fat Bastard who claims that he can only be fought by gambling against him in various games, and enjoys humiliating his opponents as they lose, boasting about his luck. However, as Ming-Xia finds out, luck means nothing against him, since he can actually control the result of each gambling game going on, so she just slugs him in the face with a Qi-powered punch while he's tossing the coin for the last bet.
  • Cards games are such a Serious Business in Yu-Gi-Oh! that cheating tends to happen a lot. Those who don't have supernatural abilities need to use more mundane methods to rig the game. (In almost all of these cases, it ends with the cheater losing.)
    • Jonouchi seemed to attract a lot of cheaters, which was ironic, as he was a gambler who did not cheat. Mai was the first, and tamest case, who simply tried to psyche-out her opponents by guessing what her cards were by not looking at them. (She actually used perfumes to do so.) After that, he dueled quite a few guys who played dirty, like Bandit Keith (kept his copies of 7 Completed concealed in his wristband), Haga (paid a kid to sabotage Jonouchi's deck), Espa Roba (had his younger brothers peek at his opponents' hands using a telescope and communicate with him using an earpiece), and Big-5 member Johnson, who used the technology of Noah's virtual world to manipulate Jonouchi's dice rolls and coin tosses. (This guy was a lawyer. Go figure.)
    • Yugi had his share of folks who rigged the game too, mostly Rare Hunters. His unnamed first opponent in Battle City used counterfeit Exodia cards that were marked with invisible ink that only he could see using special contact lenses. Also, there was Arkana, a stage magician, who in the anime boasted - to himself - that he knew over a hundred ways to cheat at cards. For this duel, he trimmed the edges of certain cards, making them slightly smaller than the others, so they'd wind up on the top of his deck easier.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, there was the Duelist Assassin Titan, who used an Archfiend Deck, using monsters who depended on die rolls. It was edited out of the dub, but his custom-made Duel Disk was actually rigging the rolls. (He lost when the cursed magic of the Abandoned Dorm turned the duel into an actual Shadow Duel. Such technology doesn't work in that type of battle, and as a result, his final die roll missed.)
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, there was Clark Smith, the member of Yliaster who murdered Sherry LeBlanc's parents (although Sherry does admit that he didn't do it himself, but simply "allowed" it to happen). When Yusei confronts him, he challenges Yusei to a Concentration Duel, a special duel with house rules with elements of the game Concentration. It's rigged; the cards are all spread out face-down on the table, and Clark knows what his are due to marks on them that only he can read due to his special glasses. Yusei realizes he's cheating and wins anyway, and Clark pays dearly after he tries to kill Yusei and Sherry, something that defies the orders of his masters - they erase him from existence, literally.

  • Dogs Playing Poker: In "A Friend in Need", one of the dogs is using its rear paw to discretely pass an ace of clubs to his/her friend during a game of poker.

    Comic Books 
  • Chassis: Organized crime largely controls the betting on the Aero-Run, and their attempts to influence the outcome of races is a constant threat in the series. In the second miniseries, Chassis discovers someone among the select circle of high-rollers is fixing races.
  • Laff-A-Lympics #13 (Marvel, January 1979) tells that Dread Baron and Dick Dastardly are brothers. In a flashback it shows them playing poker as kids, each trying to out-cheat each other by pulling out and displaying endless aces. Dread Baron pulls out a box with a million aces ("Acme Aces—for the discriminating cheat").
  • In Lucky Luke, cheating at cards is the rule rather than the exception. A poker game in a Lucky Luke comic will rarely result in getting anything else than either aces or twos at your hand.
  • In the MAD Magazine story "Religious Promoter of the Year", an immoral preacher tells the reporter that they have a casino in the church. When the reporter asks him if games of chance aren't sinful, that's exactly the Loophole Abuse he needs to argue that since the games are rigged so that the house always wins, that takes the sin out of it.

    Film — Animation 
  • In a Freeze-Frame Bonus in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, all four penguins are playing cards with each other, and all of them (only three hands are shown, but it's easy to infer that Rico also had the same hand) have five aces.
  • The Road to El Dorado: The plot is kicked off when Miguel and Tulio use a pair of loaded dice to amass a pile of cash. When a suspicious man bets his map to the city of gold against the pile, he insists they use his dice for the last roll... and Miguel and Tulio end up winning. Unfortunately, while collecting the gold, the dice fall out of Tulio's pocket and their scam is exposed, forcing them to go on the run and end up getting stuck on Cortez's ship.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery follows along the Bond parody by having Number Two cheat at blackjack by using the x-ray scanner embedded in his eyepatch to read the next card in the deck, hitting on 17 to make 21.
  • In The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, the main character catches a star college quarterback buying pot and blackmails him into shaving points on his next game. The quarterback can't go through with it and fakes an injury to get out of the game, but his team fails to beat the spread anyway.
  • The Bargain: The roulette wheel that Sheriff Walsh gambles at is fixed, with a hidden lever that the croupier can flick to get the result he wants.
  • In Cabin in the Sky, Little Joe's friends used loaded dice on him, so they could cheat money out of Little Joe. It takes Petunia to play against them to figure this out.
  • Casino was set in a casino, a few people tried to cheat. The results were unpleasant.
    • At that time, the The Mafia still ran a few casinos in Vegas, so their method of dealing with cheaters is no different from how they normally do things.
  • The Casino: The titular casino is a scam used to cheat gamblers of their money, with the dice used being loaded with weights to fix dice rolls.
  • Destry Rides Again: Kent the crooked saloon owner, with help from Frenchy The Chanteuse, is scarfing up land in the valley by luring gullible ranchers into poker games and then cheating.
  • Diggstown has a bet between the main character (a con man who just got out of prison) and the Big Bad, who owns the titular town. The bet involves the main character's friend, a former professional boxer, who is supposed to fight ten opponents one after another in a day. Naturally, both guys try to rig the games in their favor. The main character pays off two of the boxers (brothers) to take a dive, while the Big Bad brings in the only boxer who ever beat the main character's friend and also convinces his son to not step in the ring, meaning the good guys think they won an easy fight, when, in fact, the Big Bad has an even tougher fight planned. Unfortunately, one of the brothers is too obvious about it, and the Big Bad quickly figures out the truth. He forces the other brother to fight for real or "bury [his] brother". It doesn't end well for the brothers. At the end, the Big Bad brings out a tough-as-nail prison inmate to the fight... except the main character was previously in the same prison and gets the inmate to throw the fight in the most obvious way possible.
  • In Francis Goes to the Races, Francis the Talking Mule and his sidekick Peter Sterling visit Colonel Travers and his granddaughter on their family horse farm. Peter soon finds himself involved in the world of horse racing and a crime boss and his men trying to "fix" races involving the Travers' horses.
  • In Hallelujah!, Hotshot has a pair of loaded dice that he uses to cheat Zeke out of his bankroll.
  • In The Hangover, Alan reads up on card counting while they're driving to Vegas. When they quickly need a large sum of cash to rescue their friend, Alan suggests they win it at the casino. He starts counting cards and ends up winning the money. When the security is moving to get him, his partners fake a health problem to divert the guards' attention, allowing Alan to get away.
  • The Heist (1989): As a distraction, Neil plans to get Ramirez to ride one of the horses, then fake a fall to cause the race to so Dancer will pick him up in the Trojan Ambulance. This actually a decoy plan, and once he is certain that Ebbet knows about it and has put plans in place deal with it, he switches it ensure that Ramirez wins.
  • The Hunger Games aren't precisely rigged... but, yeah, they're rigged. They're a start-to-finish popularity contest in addition to the "survival of the fittest" angle. Mentors can have supplies (new weapons, rations, etc) dropped on the tributes at various points, depending on their situation and what they can afford. The more popular the tribute, the more sponsors pitch in. Most infamously, Finnick made himself so popular he earned a trident and soloed the rest of his Games. Of course, the people in charge are just as creative at endangering tributes who get too comfortable.
  • This turns up quite a bit for James Bond:
    • The titular character in Goldfinger loved to fix games. When playing cards at a resort, he has an employee in a nearby balcony using binoculars to read the opponent's cards. Later when playing golf with Bond, he has Oddjob cheat so lower his score. Both times, James turns the tables (first by seducing the employee, then by cheating even harder at golf). This goes a long way to help establish Goldfinger's character; he's already extraordinarily wealthy, but is still greedy and petty enough to cheat to win (ultimately rather minor) sums of money in friendly bets.
    • In Diamonds Are Forever we discover Q created a ring that allows him to win at slot machines; it contains a magnet that stabilizes the tumblers in such a way that every machine always brings out a jackpot. Since Q doesn't hand this device over to James, or even collect his winnings when he does this to various machines, he appears to have just created it for his own amusement.
    • Octopussy has Bond noticing an exiled Afghan prince named Kamal Khan taking a British gent for all he's worth in backgammon. He quickly figures out that Khan is using loaded dice that always come up double sixes (how nobody else caught on is a mystery). He offers to play him for double-or-nothing. Khan agrees. Bond invokes the "player's privilege" and uses Khan's dice to win. Instead of letting his Sikh dragon beat up Bond (and cause a scene), Khan pays Bond but warns him to spend the money quickly.
    • In Licence to Kill, Bond is cleaning up playing blackjack in Sanchez's casino. Sanchez sends Lupe in to replace the dealer. After Lupe expertly shuffles and cuts the deck, Bond asks if he is going to lose. Lupe replies yes, but not much. Bond quits the game.
  • Paul Crewe's backstory in The Longest Yard (both the original and the remake) has him, being "in a bad way with some worse people," shave points off a football game.
  • In Murder at the Baskervilles, Moriarty attempts to ensure that Silver Blaze loses the Cup: first by extorting Straker into laming the horse, and then by shooting the jockey during the race.
  • 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.
    • The plot of the third film itself is the crew doing this to all of the games in Banks' casino after he screwed over one of the True Companions. Not only do they get the money back but finacially ruining himnote .
  • In Racket Girls, Scalli fixes horse races by doping the horse (one of whom drops dead in the starting gate), and attempts to fix wrestling matches. However, all the wrestlers he approaches turn him down because "women's wrestling is a clean sport".
  • Rancho Notorious: The chuck-a-luck game in Baldy Gunder's saloon is fixed. The wheel spinner initially thinks Altar is shilling for the house when she tosses a $20 gold piece on table and ensures she wins. She keeps winning until Baldy steps in and orders her to lose. However, Frenchy intervenes, takes over the wheel, and ensures she wins the final spin.
  • Rounders features gambling and two best friends. One is a Professional Gambler. The other is a cheat.
  • In Save Your Legs!, Mark deliberately throws the cricket match against the toymakers.
  • The Scar of Shame: Louise helps Eddie win at poker by carefully manipulating the mirror in her compact to let him get a look at the other players' cards.
  • 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.
  • In a flashback of Sgt. Bilko, the titular character (played by Steve Martin) is known for rigging games and fights. He makes a deal with one of the fighters to take a dive, but his assistant screws up and pays the wrong fighter, who assumes that the payoff means that he should take a dive. The other guy then assumes that he'll be paid after the fight. The result is both guys circling each other for half an hour, afraid to land a punch. Finally, one of them punches the other out of habit... and both fall down. When Bilko's superior Thorne starts investigating, he finds the payoff in a locker belonging to the second fighter and confronts him about it. Just then the reporters burst into the locker room and take a picture that makes it look like Thorne is the one paying off the fighter. Thorne gets Reassigned to Antarctica and comes back bitter and itching for revenge.
    • Naturally, since the movie is about Sergeant Bilko, he's portrayed as a good character, even though he does many illegal things for fun. Meanwhile, Thorne is merely trying to show Bilko for what he really is. Obviously, the film has to show Thorne going overboard and performing even more illegal acts than Bilko in order to establish him as the villain.
  • In The Sleeping Cardinal, Roland Adair has been cheating in high-stakes bridge games. Moriarty uses this to blackmail Adair, and explains how he has been doing it to show that he knows everything and is not guessing. Adair is a skilled amateur conjurer, and can palm an entire deck of cards. He uses this skill to place a pre-loaded half deck on top every time he cuts the cards.
  • Solo: Lando wins his first game of sabacc against Han with a high-value card hidden up his sleeve in a wrist holster. After their stint of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, they have a rematch, in which Han out-Guile Heroes him by pickpocketing Lando's own high card.
  • Qui Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace uses the power of the force to cheat at dice with Watto. Although the die used was already loaded in the first place.
  • The Sting has Henry Gondorff joining Doyle Lonegan's poker game aboard a Chicago-bound train, and he's on a run. Lonegan tries to use a loaded deck after a break, and when hands are called, he has four nines. Initially, Gondorff had a hand that was strong but weaker than Lonegan's (four threes, which Lonegan dealt him in an attempt to trick him into thinking he had a winning hand), but when he shows his hand, he has four Jacks. When Donegan asks Johnny Hooker (who is sent to collect his winnings) how Gondorff won, Hooker merely says, "he cheats." Earlier it was explained that Lonegan's game used two possible brands of cards and it was known that when he cheated, he tended towards 8's and 9's, probably to make the cheating not appear too obvious. It was simply a matter of Gondorff using sleight of hand to switch in the proper cards.
  • Strictly Ballroom: Head Judge Barry Fife rigs the Pan-Pacific Dance Championship so that Ken Railings will win and Scott Hastings will lose no matter how either of them dance. Wayne and Les try to confront Barry but he refuses to back down. When Scott and Fran make it onto the floor anyway the crowd reacts so enthusiastically it's clear they don't care who the official winner is anymore.
  • In Things Change, Gino convinces a mobbed-up casino to let his friend Jerry win a game of roulette so that the old man gets a thrill before going to prison. Unfortunately Jerry inadvertently lets all his winnings ride and earns a huge jackpot that Gino will have to find a way to pay back.
  • Unsurprisingly pops up in the poker tournament in Maverick, with Coop going around pulling players' hidden aces out and then throwing them overboard. Then it comes up in the final round when Maverick notices the dealer drawing cards from the bottom of the deck, and demands a new deck, dealer and shuffle.
  • 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."

  • Angels of Music: In "The Mark of Kane", Kane has set up a casino where all of the games are rigged. He plans to use it to secretly distribute funds to his Legion of Doom to allow them to put in motion their various schemes that will tip Europe into war. The Persian and the Angels re-fix the games so that all of the cash flows back to the casino. Needless to say, this does not go down well with the collected fanatics, zealots and madmen, who now think that Kane is trying to humiliate them and rip them off, and start extracting suitable vengeance.
  • In Walter Jon Williams's book Angel Station, the protagonists are down-on-their-luck brother and sister named Ubu Roy and Beautiful Maria (that is her full name). Maria is an "electronic witch", genetically-engineered with an ability to manipulate electrons with telekinesis. As a way of making money while they look for a contract, she plays a game (with a decent payout) that simulates navigating a ship through a field of black holes. Using her ability, she's able to win consistently by intercepting and altering computer signals before they appear on the screen. Ubu then suggests going for a big score and cheating at the roulette at a big casino on the titular space station. By that point, all casino games are electronic in nature, so Maria feels she has a good chance. She ends up winning a lot, but both are then taken to a back room, where it's revealed that the casino monitors all machines and detects any attempts at hacking them. Their only curiosity is the fact that Maria doesn't appear to have any equipment with her. They start beating on both of them. Even when Maria admits her ability, the casino owners don't believe her. They are thrown out the back of the casino badly beaten and without their winnings.
  • In Aubrey-Maturin, 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.
  • In Banco, Papillon joins a man known as "Jojo the Craps" in conning miners out of their findings. Jojo's scheme involved dice that were very carefully filed to remove roughly a millimeter from the dice edge, allowing him to fix the game without being noticed.
  • Beware of Chicken: After Tigu wins several challenging carnival games, she realises that if they're challenging for her, as a cultivator, then they must be completely impossible for regular mortals, which she finds disturbing. What really draws her ire, though, is the stall where the owner is outright cheating, with strings attached to the targets so he can ensure that the rings never settle properly on them. (She uses a cultivation technique to overcome his interference and win anyway.)
  • In Harry Harrison's Deathworld series, the protagonist Jason dinAlt is a professional gambler, who uses his weak telekinetic ability to cheat at dice. He claims he can cheat at the roulette as well, but stopping a big wheel is more difficult than a small die. At the beginning of the first book, Kerk Pyrrus asks him to win 3 billion for him. Unfortunately for them, the casino owner has connections in the planet's corrupt government. When Jason is on a big winning streak, the dealer keeps requesting new dice, hoping Jason's luck will change, culminating in him being given dice that are perfectly balanced... except for one side having an iron based paint, which means a magnet in the table will shift the odds firmly enough. With some quick thinking, Jason exposes the dealer by using a magnetic ashtray to reveal the rigged dice. A security guard tries to intervene, but Kerk breaks his arm. Finally, when Jason has won all he can, they barely manage to get off-world by getting aboard a ship from a planet whose people absolutely hate the local Wretched Hive. Jason isn't shown gambling again.
  • As with so many things, goes meta in the Discworld books. The Guild of Gamblers regulates things like marked cards and loaded dice. It doesn't ban them, though, it standardises them. Therefore, any contest between two Guild members becomes a matter of skill and luck, since they have exactly the same advantages. Any contest between a Guild member and a member of the public ... well, that's their look-out.
    • In Witches Abroad, a card shark tries to play Cripple Mister Onion against Granny Weatherwax, and several unfortunate accidents later (Granny is taking advantage of stories, and everyone knows how the story ends when a ruthless cheat tries to take advantage of a helpless old lady) is trying desperately to remember how you play Cripple Mister Onion without fixing the game.
  • One short piece in the Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker features a thoroughly rigged guessing game that Sergeant Varl, the regimental piper Milo, and a few other Ghosts use to fleece other regiments of their money: Varl plays the crowd to hype things up and convince them that it's legit (by convincing them that he was rigging it but has lost control), the troopers act as shills to get the bets going, and Milo brings it home by playing, at first to lose and then, in the final, highest-value round, to predict a perfect win. Trouble arises when one of the other regiments starts a rumor that he's using unrevealed psychic powers to rig the game and an Inquisitor shows up.
  • In Harry Potter, Ludo Bagman pays his debts with Leprechaun Gold, which disappears after a few hours. When that fails to get him out of his high number of gambling debts, he bets on Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament and uses his position as a judge of the Tournament to give Harry information he shouldn't have or give him inordinately high numbers of points.
  • In E.E. Smith's "Masters of the Vortex" (set in the Lensman universe, but outside the main story arc), the main characters team up to destroy a mob boss's casinos across four separate solar systems, knowing the three on which he isn't located will send an interplanetary distress signal to the fourth, enabling the Galactic Patrol to seal the system and trap him. The methods involved include telepsychic card reading and card counting, with hints fed telepathically but anonymously to ordinary gamblers on the floor in such a way as to create improbable but untraceable winning streaks. No matter what the mobsters do - switch systems, shift them, even remove cheating entirely - they get utterly destroyed and are forced to inform their superior, who is eventually caught.
    • It doesn't hurt the Patrol that the people in charge of the operation are a mathematical savant and a cybernetic engineer, both of whom are telepathic. At one stage, they break a crooked croupier's system, openly tell him what they're doing, and offer to sacrifice a thousand-credit note to prove which one of them has broken it correctly.
  • In The Licanius Trilogy, Davian's status as a Living Lie Detector makes him impossible to beat at Gesh, Desriel's favourite bluffing card game (similar to Cheat).
  • In Marianne, the Matchbox, and the Malachite Mouse by Sheri S. Tepper, Marianne's sorcerous husband goes into a high-stakes game armed with a pair of dice he's enchanted to throw any number he requires — even if the number he requires is 1.
  • At the beginning of the James Bond novel Moonraker, Bond is asked by M to look into another member at M's club who is suspected of cheating at cards. Bond figures out how the man is rigging the game, and conspires with the club's management to rig it better, serving notice to the cheater that he's been caught out without embarrassing the club with a public accusation. Hugo Drax turns out to be the villain of the novel, and his behavior at the card table reveals his defining character flaw: he hates to be beaten at anything.
  • Nick Velvet:
    • In "The Theft of the Lucky Cigar", Nick is hired to steal the cigar that a high roller keeps, unlit, in his mouth during a regular high stakes poker game. The client is convinced that the gambler is cheating and that the cigar is part of it. After stealing the cigar, Nick discovers a small vibrator in the mouthpiece. The gambler has a spotter placed on the opposite side of the room, who transmits the opponents hands via code through the mouthpiece with the gambler sensing the vibrations through his teeth.
    • In "The Theft of Nothing of All", Nick gets caught up in a scheme to rig the drawing of the state lottery.
  • In The Pyrates, Colonel Blood's troubles start when he is caught using special glasses and marked cards to cheat.
  • The magician Caleb from The Real Boy sells enchanted decks of cards that can be used to cheat, labelled "strictly for entertainment." It's illegal to use magic while gambling for money, so Caleb sells magic detection systems to casinos, and doesn't tell the owners that his own cards will go undetected.
  • Shades of Magic: The unspoken rule in the card game Sanct is for each player to cheat as shamelessly as possible without actually getting caught in the act — an honest Sanct player is a bad Sanct player.
  • Sherlock Holmes
    • "Empty House": Colonel Moran murdered his usual whist partner because he was about to expose Moran's cheating, which would get him banned from playing at any respectable club.
    • "Silver Blaze": Straker tries to lame his master's prize racehorse so that Silver Blaze will lose the big race and Straker can win the money he needs to repay his debts by betting on a different horse, only to be killed when the horse doesn't cooperate.
  • In a Star Trek Expanded Universe novel, it's revealed that Quark bans telepaths from his establishment, as they would have an unfair advantage at gambling.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • "Skifters" are Sabaac cards that can be made to change faces whenever the holder wishes, as opposed to when the deck's randomizer triggers as normal. Han Solo and Lando Calrissian are infrequently accused of using them.
    • In Zorba the Hutt's Revenge Zorba wins Cloud City from Lando in a Sabaac game using cards marked with UV symbols on the back, which Hutts can see.
  • Skeeter Jackson from Time Scout 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.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Mat Cauthon occasionally gets accused of cheating. But he's just very, very lucky. On one occasion he runs up against someone who actually is using loaded dice, but his Born Lucky power is so strong he still manages to get a winning roll out of them that should have been nigh-impossible.
  • In Xandri Corelel, a lot of advantage chroming is done for this purpose. Xandri has seen finger mods that make sleight-of-hand easier, skin pouches for hiding chips, and eye mods that let you see through cards or pouches. These are only used in the seedier dens, as fancier casinos have scanners that catch anyone with this kind of chroming.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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 Arrow, Felicity gets caught counting cards at a casino. Subverted in that getting caught was part of the plan to infiltrate the casino and plant a bug on the owner's computer.
  • Blake's 7
    • In "Gambit" while Blake and the others are playing hero, Avon and Vila play hooky to rob the Freedom City casino with the help of Magical Computer Orac. The casino owners then try to get their money back by conning Vila into a Deadly Game.
    • In "Death-Watch", two planetary systems use a Combat by Champion in lieu of warfare. One side cheats by using a Ridiculously Human Robot that is faster than its opponent. Actually the real plan is to expose the fraud and start a war for real. So before this can happen Tarrant challenges the android to another duel, and again Orac is used to hack into the computers so Tarrant knows which battleground he's entering, giving him a momentary advantage in setting up an ambush.
    • In "Orbit", two Mad Scientists are playing Variant Chess. When one gets checkmate, the other is suspicious and has the computer replay the last few moves, revealing that the 'winner' cheated.
  • CSI: In "Lying Down With Dogs", one of the suspects in the murder has been drugging the dogs involved in the dog fights.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "Against the Odds", a bookie attempts to fix the results of the Ballarat Cup by arranging for the jockey riding the favourite (who is Trapped by Gambling Debts) to throw the race.
  • 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.
  • On Fantasy Island, a compulsive gambler wishes he can win at anything. In a subversion of the expected trope, rather than finding Victory Is Boring, the man loves this and ready to continue playing until his young daughter begs him to stop. The man tries to leave the island by one of the resort's boats. Roarke bets that if the boat won't start, the man will give up his gambling life to care for his daughter. When the boat fails to start, the man is bound by his own code to follow through and become a better father. After he and his daughter leave, Tattoo dryly notes how the boats are always trained of fuel every night with Roarke waving "details."
  • Hustle: In "Clearance From A Deal", the gang stage an elaborate con in order to fix the outcome of a roulette game.
  • In one episode of I Dream of Jeannie, Roger cheats at craps by instructing Jeannie beforehand to make all of his dice rolls show a 7 or 11. It works swimmingly until Jeannie makes one of his dice rolls show double 7s.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", Lestat de Lioncourt aims to ingratiate himself to his Love Interest Louis de Pointe du Lac by cheating at poker. He puts the game on "pause" by freezing time, then he takes the Jack of Hearts from Tom Anderson and passes it to Louis so that the latter now has a full house (three Jacks and two 9s) instead of a measly two pair. In exchange, Louis gives away the useless 6 of Clubs to Lestat, who then places it in Tom's hand. Time then resumes its normal flow, and Louis ends up winning a lot of money.
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Kilgrave cheats at poker by simply ordering every single player to go all-in, and then telling them to all fold simultaneously, making him the winner by default. One of the players, who had annoyed Kilgrave earlier by lighting a cigar, confronts him as he's leaving to demand his money back. To which Kilgrave tells the player to bash his head repeatedly against a solid wooden column.
  • Leverage features a poker game involving this in the episode "The Two Horse Job" as the team cheats a corrupt horse owner out of the only horse that he had left after burning down his own stable for the insurance payout.
  • 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.
    • An earlier episode had Hawkeye in a poker game playing against a soldier who had an indentured national whom Hawkeye was trying to liberate. Hawkeye had an earpiece in which Radar (from a distance and with a telescope) was relaying the soldier's hand via radio.
  • On The Mentalist Jane 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 Jane did it, Jane says "I cheated".
    • Unlike the Casino example and many others, when Jane is caught memorizing cards (which he's very good at doing), the head of security politely tells him that he may keep his winnings, but that he is no longer welcome at their establishment. After all, there's nothing illegal about remembering things.
  • Nathan, from Misfits, uses his new powers (basically minor Reality Warping in the form of close-up magic) to do this in Vegas (in the webisode that shows what happened to him after he left the show). Like the I Dream of Jeannie example above, it works pretty well until he makes an 11 with a 4 and a 7.
  • An early Mission: Impossible episode ("Odds on Evil") has the team break the bank at a casino owned by a dictator (who is forced to pay their winnings with money he'd set aside for an arms deal) using various cheats to rig the games in their favour, including a device that can measure where the ball on a roulette wheel will land before bets are closed.
  • In the episode of Monk where he goes to Vegas, he is able to consistently win at Blackjack at the suspect's casino, despite the dealer using multiple decks. Finally, the suspect declares him a card-counter and has security drag him out. Of course, Monk is naturally this observant, which is the reason why he's such a good detective.
  • In the NCIS episode "Double Down", the key to the mystery was that the General's injured son and his friends were rigging craps games, and the son wanted to go straight. The way they managed to keep uncaught was to not get greedy: they'd win one round with the loaded dice, then a second with the loaded dice while doing a double down to get a substantial amount of money, then switch back to using fair dice to cover up the cheating.
  • An episode of NUMB3RS deals with a card-counting ring made up of college students. Then one of them ends up dead. Naturally, the feds suspect the casino manager. Turns out, they were laundering drug money with the casino manager being in on the deal, only two of the students decided to come clean, and the third one wanted to get rich.
  • Only Fools and Horses:
    Boycie: Where did you get those four bloody aces from?
    Del: Same place you got them kings. I knew you was cheating, Boycie.
    Boycie: Oh yeah? How?
    Del: Because that wasn't the hand that I dealt you.
  • In one flashback scene in Person of Interest, Finch tested the still in-development Machine's prediction algorithms by having it call his plays in blackjack. After winning a quarter of a million dollars in a single evening, he deliberately went against the Machine's advice and lost most of it in one hand to make it look like he was just a guy who had a lucky streak that ran out.
  • 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.
  • In the Starsky & Hutch episode "The Omaha Tiger", Huggy Bear runs mouse races. He gives the winner of each race a piece of cheese, and the extra weight causes it to come in last during the next.
    Huggy Bear: And that's how I fix- how I set the odds.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In "The Royale", Data determines that the dice on the craps table are loaded and manually reweights them. He then throws winning rolls until he, Riker, and Worf can successfully pose as the foreign investors the situation calls for. Earlier, he also easily calculates how to win at Blackjack with only rudimentary knowledge of the game (and not knowing that the means he's using to do so are usually frowned upon).
    Patron: Hey... You ain't onna them card-countin' folks, is ya?
    Data: [genuinely confused] The number of cards and their relative values remain constant. What purpose would there be in counting them?
    • In "Time's Arrow", Data is stranded in the 19th Century and finds a group of card-sharks who take him for an easy mark. Since he needs currency to get by, he agrees to play. Unfortunately for the card sharks, Data's CPU is more than advanced enough to calculate exact odds and count cards plus he's had several years of experience in learning to read other players at the senior staffs' poker nights. Not to mention he could stack the deck faster than the human eye can follow, if he were so inclined, and his lack of emotions meant he had no emotional tells. Data promptly cleans them out of all their cash and a few stylish pieces of clothing that help him blend in better.
    • The ship is stuck in a time loop that ends with it being destroyed in a collision. The crew realizes what is going on and devises a way to use Data's CPU to send a short message ("3") to the next iteration of the loop. This results in Data unconsciously stacking the deck during a poker game so everyone's hands contain a 3 followed by three of a kind.
  • In Tracker 'Eye of the Storm', Nestov uses his natural alien intelligence to do mathematical analysis and use it to cheat on the game he was playing.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Silence", as he knew that he couldn't remain silent for a year, Jamie Tennyson hoped to ensure that he would win the bet by having surgery to have his vocal cords severed. Since Colonel Taylor is broke, it ends up not making a difference.
  • Unforgettable: the lead character has an Eidetic Memory; in an establishing moment she gets in trouble at an illegal casino for counting cards. She is presumably banned from all the legal casinos on the East Coast.

  • The Leonard Cohen song "Everybody Knows" starts "Everybody knows the dice are loaded/Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed."

  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Dungeon Keeper 2: Running a Casino in your Elaborate Underground Base provides a valuable boost to your evil minions' morale but can become quite expensive, so you have the option of rigging the games to favour the house. Doing so makes your minions very unhappy when they catch on, so a Pragmatic Villain does this sparingly.
  • In League of Legends, Twisted Fate's passive is Loaded Dice, which grants him 1 to 6 gold for each kill. True to his character and the nature of loaded dice, he has a higher chance to roll high numbers. "Never lost a fair game of cards. Never played one either."
  • In Mass Effect, you have the option of helping a salarian develop a cheating module for Quasar. Of course, cheating is illegal, so he has no intention of using it himself, just selling it to others.
  • The antagonists in Need for Speed Payback are a syndicate called "The House", who control nearly every backroom deal and and high-stakes game in the Vegas-esque city of Silver Rock. By the start of the game, they've expanded their operations to rigging illegal street races for high rollers to bet on, paying off certain racers to take the fall for others and giving high-performance self-driving car tech to the racers under their sway.
  • In Persona 5, the entirety of the events occurring are revealed to be a conducted fixed game by the god of control, Yaldabaoth, who rigged the outcome so that he will be able to Take a Third Option that will allow him to rule over humanity. For this to work, years before the plot began, he awakened Goro Akechi’s persona abilities that was to serve as the piece for the world leading into ruin if Akechi was the victor. Then he approached the master of the Velvet Room, Igor, and proposed the game to him. After that he defeats and imprisons Igor within Mementos and splits Igor’s attendant Lavenza into two halves with her memories erased. He then proceeds to impersonate Igor to lead Igor’s piece (the protagonist) into the outcome where neither he or Akechi was the victor so that he can allow himself to control humanity. Problem is, the Protagonist himself cheats through sheer force of rebellion, which Yaldabaoth failed to account for and which ultimately gets him killed.
    • This also occurs against Shadow Sae. The gimmick of the boss fight is a roulette wheel, which the boss spins every few turns and forces you to bet on. If you win, you get the listed benefit; if you lose, the boss does. You can't win the first spin, but the Phantom Thieves notice something's off. Sae puts a glass lid over the numbers you bet on. On seeing this, the Phantom Thieves station a sniper who shoots out the lid, forcing Sae to play fair.
  • One treasure you can find in Rise of the Tomb Raider is a pair of dice, one of which had sixes on all sides.
  • Upon completing the Bonus Dungeon of Tales of Berseria, the plans of the Greater-Scope Villain for both that game and Tales of Zestiria — which takes place in the same world but chronologically after Berseria — are revealed to have been set up by the villains so that they would win. The original seraphim made a bet with seraphim that descended down to Earth that seraphim couldn't live peacefully with humans. The stakes were that if the original seraphim won the bet, they would destroy both humanity and the descended seraphim; if the descended seraphim won, the original seraphim would leave both them and humanity alone. However, the originals cheated by placing a curse on the world that would cause humans who were exposed to too much malevolence to become daemons, and seraphim who were exposed to too much malevolence to become dragons. This effectively made it impossible for the descended seraphim to win the bet, plunging the worlds of Zestiria and Berseria into endless misery because the original seraphim didn't want to believe that humanity and seraphim could coexist.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony has the backstory of Ryoma Hoshi, the Ultimate Tennis Pro, involve attempting to defy this by entering what was supposed to be a rigged tournament and then playing as normal. Unfortunately, the gangsters who organized the tournament did NOT appreciate this. One One-Hit Polykill from Ryoma in rage and re-retaliation later, and he was put on death row...before the game even starts. He's not exactly an idealist, as a result.
  • In Double Homework, Dennis helped his dad by building and coding an online casino. As it is eventually revealed, the games were rigged.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Arthur, Arthur buys a Trivial Pursuit-like board game. After his friends keep beating him at the game, he rigs the game by hiding its easiest question cards up his sleeve and then secretly placing one of them on top of the card pile whenever it's his turn.
  • The Batman: The Animated Series episode "Fear of Victory" centers on a plot by the Scarecrow to raise a lot of money gambling on sporting events (guess how). He even drops the title "I fixed the games."
  • In Futurama, Bender is an inveterate gambler and has no compunction against cheating. Hell, he even has a cheating unit, though it's prone to malfunctioning. He's fixed horse races, used x-ray specs, stacked decks...
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons", Grunkle Stan is playing the titular game for Dipper and the Author's lives and has to roll a natural 38 in order to beat the last monster. After he pulls it off, it turns out he attached a piece of gum to the opposite side of the die.
  • Mr. Benn: In "Balloonist", Mr. Benn gets involved in a balloon race only to discover that one of the competitors, Baron Burtrum, has sabotaged all the other balloons, including Mr Benn's, which he has tied to a drain pipe.
  • As a joke: the Rocky and Bullwinkle story arc "Wossamotta U." has Boris Badenov (as usual) plotting against the Wossamotta football team, of which Rocky and Bullwinkle have been recruited:
    Boris: [to Natasha] You know how I'm always breaking things, destroying things, blowing things up?
    Natasha: Yes?
    Boris: Well, this time I'm going to do the opposite.
    Natasha: You don't mean...?
    Boris: Yes. I'm going to fix a game!
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "Lisa's First Word", Krusty Burger becomes a sponsor of the Olympics, and runs a promotion with a scratch-off contest where customers win a free burger when America wins a Gold Medal. To be safe, his agent rigs the game so that the events on the tickets are the ones "Communists never lose." Unfortunately, the Soviet boycott of the Olympics means he loses a fortune because of it. (This is actually a Shout-Out to an actual McDonald's Olympic promotion which was just as ill-conceived.)
  • Chode in Tripping the Rift tries to pull this on The Devil to buy time but Satan, being, well, Satan, anticipates it and demands they play a variant of poker where the lowest hand wins.