It does not matter if
it is blackjack or dice, both games develop a rhythm or pattern. It is
those times when we catch a streak of winning hands that the rhythm
really is noticeable. Everything is going so well, just before the
wheels fall off, and the streak suddenly ends.
So, what happened, and is there anything you can do about it?
What happened may have been the result of what I call break energy.
Here's an example. Think of break energy as being similar to a speaker
who is interrupted in the middle of a lecture. They stop for the
interruption and then, after losing their train of thought, they can't
continue with their talk. The stream of consciousness was abruptly
broken. The speaker was separated from the present moment during their
speech and crashed into a new reality or awareness, due to the
interruption. Where was I?
Here are a few examples in the game of blackjack when break energy can
You are playing a good game. You are pulling the hands and the "Break
Dealer" shows up to tap out your benefactor for twenty minutes. The
break dealer stops the game and shuffles the cards. Suddenly, the game
goes downhill as the interim dealer plucks off your stack of cheques
provided by the previous dealer. And you thought they were called break
dealers because they gave the table dealer a break?
A chip-fill arrives at your table and the game stops while the croupier
accounts for the delivery of cheques to the table. The game resumes, but
the cards have gone cold.
A new player or two join your table. Their buy-in interrupts the game.
The exchange of money stalls the game and breaks the energy. Also, with
additional players, the rhythm of the game is affected. The pace of the
game shifts and the good thing you had going, before the interruption,
is long gone.
The pit boss stops the game to introduce new cards to the table. This
sometimes has no influence, but if you were doing well with the old
cards and the new cards "mistreat" you, then this is a break in the
Disagreements during a game are particularly disruptive to the flow of
the energy. This is especially true if the pit boss must intervene to
referee. This game is over for sure.
Any other disruption or action that causes the game to stop, stall, or
otherwise breaks the rhythm is a warning sign to be on the alert, and
perhaps to be looking for the exit.
Sometimes breaks in the energy at a crap table are referred to as
superstitions. I am not superstitious. Some breaks are similar to that
of a blackjack game, chip-fills, buy-ins, changing the dice. Usually a
change of dealers is not much of a concern unless there is an attitude
problem with a particular dealer. I have observed a few jerks
masquerading as crap dealers that really messed with the energy.
When a crap game heats up, there is a tendency for the center field bets
to get more action. The game slows to a crawl. When so many players are
on these bets it interrupts a good roll. Time out is needed as the
dealers are either replacing the proposition bets after a roll or they
are paying winning bets. Since all the action goes through the stickman,
these bets cause the game to stall, losing air speed if you will, and
the game crashes. 7-out - line- a-way!
During a good hand beware of the anxious player. Unable to make enough
bets and unable to keep track of the bets, this individual requires
constant attention from the dealer, who must explain these anxious
questions: "What happened to my hard 8? How much do I have on my horn
bet? Did you press up my nine? I thought I told you to buy the 4 and 10?
Where are the odds for my come bet"? Eventually this player has the
boxman cross-eyed and you know the dice have long gone cold. "7 - line
down" is the call.
Things are going well in the game. The dice are passing. A new shooter
picks up the dice and decides to show off by throwing the dice with
vengeful force. One or both dice keep flying off the table. The shooter
calls for same dice and the game stops while someone hunts for the lost
cube. Frustration and grumbling from the gallery begins, the energy
breaks down and it is over for this game.
Because of high emotions, numerous bets, and a fast pace, arguments are
more common in a craps game than at the blackjack table. The occurrence
of disagreement, when money is involved, is way too volatile and always
results in an imbalance within the "force". This disturbance in the
energy is irreversible. Color up, it will not recover.
An inexperienced dealer, or a dealer that is not working at the same
level as the other dealers will drag on the energy of the game. Like
three horses pulling a heavy wagon, the one not pulling their weight
causes the other two to work harder and the pace is much slower. The
imbalance seems to keep the game out of synch and it is "chop dice" for
A count up by the pit boss and floor supervisor in the middle of a hot
hand, I believe is a deliberate act on the casino's part to effect the
energy of the game. Often the game is allowed to continue, but just as
often the dice are held in front of the boxman while the stacks are
called out and recorded. A cool breeze blows across the table and the
dice catch a cold.
During a chip fill, the game usually proceeds with the box of chips
placed in the middle of the table. This barrier or obstacle usually
forces the shooter to change their toss, consciously or unconsciously.
Recall my article on "long rolls and consistency" for the toss and
placement of the dice. (More info at my blogs, playing4keeps.com.) Too
often the "evil one" follows when there is a change in the dice toss or
end target. When the dice hit or land at a new position on the table,
there is no "maybe, baby". The energy shifts and they are "Out".
You can help yourself by being aware of the many factors that break the
energy of a game. However, there is not much you can do to supersede or
change it. Never the less, through your awareness of expectation, you
have the edge of knowing when to exit a game that is about to fall
apart. You do not have to leave the table. You can stop playing for a
while to witness whether the "break signal" resulted in what you
expected. If you are right, you saved yourself and have the
confirmation. If you are wrong, you are still at the table and in
position to get back in the game. Worse case, you missed out on a little
profit. Best case, you played clever and protected your bankroll. It
always comes down to money management in games of chance. It is never
wrong to walk with a profit.
Again, do not confuse breaks in the energy of a game with superstitious
dice dogma. Play with sensitivity, alert to the subtle messages
providing you with advance notice of "things" to come.
Copyright © 2016 Michael Vernon