The idea of fixed dice must be about a younger minute of the idea of the dice itself.

As soon as these little cubes have come to represent destiny, it must happen to someone to organize a way to control that destiny. Most dice manufacturers make mostly true nuts, rather accurate in their specifications as to square shape, smoothness and so on.

But most of the same vendors also make such novelties as loads, shapes and sizes, to name just a few of the fold, especially in casinos.

They can also produce marked cards and other dishonest devices, all under the appearance of novelty items or salon-magic tricks. To be sure, some deceive platforms or false dice end up in homes of harmless practical jokers or amateur magicians.

But there are others not so innocent as house wizards and not so expert as the best card manipulators in casinos who are ready to risk getting caught for the advantage a marked platform gives them to play.

It is not illegal to make such devices, even if they are clearly cheating aids, because a magic-and-novelty market actually exists and proscribing the missing spotted dice or trick decks would constitute trade restraint.

Unlike his expert counterparts with pasteboard rectangles, the dice mechanic will use make-up dice. There is very little else he could do, since no trick throw has yet been discovered that will make the honest dice turn out the numbers you need.

All the same, a good nuts mechanic can use a movement known as the lock-grip, or just the lock, where the nuts are firmly pressed together and then carefully fell into place on the table.

Naturally, the mechanic takes pains to make them look as if they are agitating and rolling the normal way. But this maneuver falls short of being a sure thing. Once the honest dice leave your hand, all kinds of things can happen before they come to rest on the green canvas.

More certain to the fraud is fixed or gaffed nuts. Such servers can not be used in casino craps games, where the rakes croupier in the dice after each roll and would be sure to spot even the thinnest of the fixed dice after a few bettors.

Very nervous or very inexperienced mechanics could try to slip into a pair of shapes or bevels for one or two turns, but more tact is not worth the risk. The croupier probably saw at least as much action as the mechanic as he is and knows where and when to look.

So play safe and keep the novelty dice and cards from legitimate games and just take a chance on luck that is on your side. The risks involved are just not worth it.