Thai Dice Cheat Sewed Magnets into Fingertips

A man in Thailand spent 40 years with magnets implanted in his fingers so that he could cheat at dice, Thaiger reports.

Thai gambler, magnets, fingertips
The above image, posted to social media, purports to show the man’s fingers after the magnets had been removed, as well as as the implants themselves, left. (Image: Image: Dr Wat Lun)

Dr Wat Lun of the Wiwat X-ray Clinic-Lab in Chon Buri, Thailand claims the man visited him to have the magnets removed because he needed to take a flight and was worried they would set off the airport security alarm.

Lun posted post-op images of the man’s stitched-up fingers on social media, which have gone viral in Thailand. He noted that the man had “two very tightly embedded magnets,” one in the middle finger and one in the ring finger of his left hand. The man said they had been there for 40 years.

Another image posted by Lun shows two dark magnets the size of fingernails laid out on a piece of gauze.

Hi-lo Cheat

The man had the magnets fitted so he could cheat at the dice game known in Thailand as hi-lo, and as sic-bo or dai siu, in many other parts of Asia. He told the doctor the dice would be loaded with small piece of metal so he could manipulate them with his magnetic fingertips.

Sic-bo is a game of Chinese origin played with three dice. Players place their bets on areas of a table that are divided into sections, each denoting a possible outcome of the dice roll, such as whether the total number will be between 1-11 or 11-18, or whether it will be an odd or even number.

It’s a game that is popular in the casinos of Macau and the Philippines and today is found in many US casinos, too.

In Thailand, there are no legal casinos, but illegal gambling is endemic. Penalties for playing dice in illegal casino could land you in prison for three years and see you fined 5,000 baht (⁓$150).

Positives and Negatives

The idea of using of magnets to cheat at gambling is nothing new. Back in the days when slot machines were mechanical and made of metal, it’s believed cheaters used strong magnets to manipulate the reels.

However, since it’s unlikely this technique would have been particularly effective and because most evidence for it is anecdotal, it may be something of an urban myth.

Craps originated from the European dice game hazard in the gambling halls and riverboat casinos of 19th century America. Many of these venues were notoriously crooked, but the evidence suggests they favored weighted dice over magnets when rigging their games.

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