In these past few years, I
have had the honor and privilege of playing and working with some
wonderful people. Their approach to the game is business like, investing
their time and money in an effort to gain an advantage in their craps
I have witnessed many of them excel in their game, and share their pride
and joy when they report their steady successes.
But, not everyone wins. From time to time, I hear the stories of fellow
players experiencing tremendous disappointment in their play. They become
disenchanted and seek answers to what went wrong at the tables.
It is these individuals that I care most about. I want everyone to be a
winner. What stops these players from succeeding?
While I’ll never claim to have all the answers as to what ails players at
the craps tables, I can say that my experience these past few years has
taught me a thing or two about the “power of believing.” Winning starts
Our own worst enemy can be the beliefs we harbor in our mind. It is those
subtle negative thoughts that simmer just below the level of our
consciousness that trip us up on the path to winning. We often sabotage
our own play by not assessing what is really in, or on, our minds during a
In my observation, our fellow players who are losing more than they are
winning are placing undue pressure on themselves. They attempt to play up
to the standards of some mythical golden shooter. You know, the ones who
always report fantastic or monstrous rolls on every session. Or, who state
that they are making a huge financial score every time they walk up to the
First and foremost, I strongly believe a craps player has to recognize
that this game is not a team sport. Unless we formally form a team play
situation beforehand, we come to the craps table as individuals. We each
play with our own separate bankrolls. We buy in and “color” in
individually. And, winning or losing is solely based on our own ability to
make decisions founded on what we know and what we feel.
With this in mind, here are some of the subtle ways I believe we sabotage
our play. If we experience any one of these concepts during our play, our
success will be difficult to achieve. If two or all three are present, I
can guarantee a losing session. Being mindful of these points has kept me
on the winning side of this game.
First, accept that no session can ever be perfect. Expecting perfection is
an impossibility. Anyone can walk up to a craps table, at anytime, and
apply a strategy that can win. But, will that strategy work every time?
You can practice your grips and throws religiously, but as the Dice Coach
often says, we are not machines and can not always duplicate the same
perfect throw each time we roll the dice.
Don’t get hung up on the “perfect grip, set or throw.” We sometimes
terrify ourselves with our efforts to be “perfect” every time. A perfect
throw or strategy that works each and every time we play simply does not
Before everyone starts debating the concept of “striving for perfection”,
understand that I am not saying that we should “not intend to have good
rolls.” What I am saying is that placing the burden of “expecting
perfection” every time you walk up to the craps table is unrealistic, and
we are missing the real key to winning. As I have heard Michael Vernon of
“Playing For Keeps” state countless times, the key to winning in this game
is “being at the table when the hot roll comes along.”
So, winning has nothing to do with “expecting perfection”, but has
everything to do with your ability to read the table and put your own
knowledge and skill to work. Detaching ourselves from the burden of this
concept keeps us heading in a positive direction.
Fear would be next on my list. Fear of not being able to perform. Fear of
losing. The fear of being judged by those around you. The tensing, jaw
clenching, palm sweating thought of not being able to simply toss the dice
from one end of the table to the other side. What are we afraid of? If we
break this game into simple and small steps, we won’t bog down the
process. Free your mind, and the dice will follow.
And be yourself. We have to stop and realize that no human being can
possibly be exactly like another. I cannot shoot the dice like Dice Coach,
any more that he can shoot the dice like me. As an academic exercise, you
can mimic someone’s style of shooting and play when you start. But you
have to evolve and create your own unique style. To not develop your own
individual style of play, will in the long run, work against you.
And, for those of a metaphysical nature, it is extremely important to
remember that fears are nothing more than beliefs projected into the
future. And, our experiences become consistent with our beliefs.
Do not take the “baggage” composed of “experiences and expectations” with
you during a session. In other words, while playing, forget for that
moment all the things you wish to accomplish should you win. Remove the
“if I win, then I can have….” mentality from your game. Pinning your hopes
on winning creates what I call “craps drag.” Uncouple yourself from the
subtle thoughts of what you will do if you win. We all want to win, so for
the moment, just “play.”
And lastly, play for fun. Relax, enjoy the game, and don’t become so
focused on techniques, systems or strategies that you lose the excitement
of the game.
So, as we all continue to journey to new discoveries in our craps world,
please remember that the only obstacle that comes between you and winning,