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How To Get THERE from HERE
Part IV   

Let’s jump right back into where we left off in Part Three…

Stepping Up to the Big-Leagues

If you are thinking of playing in the big show of the Major Leagues of Precision-Shooting, then you have to be prepared to play at a skill-level, and at an intensity as high, if not higher, than your major-league peers. 

You can still retain your minor-league sensibilities, your down-home friendliness, and your love of the game; but at the same time, you have to bring you’re best-skill, best-intensity, best-focus, and best discipline “A-game” to the table, EACH and EVERY time you step up to it.

That’s what it takes to make the big and consistent money at this level of play.  If that sounds like it’s too difficult; then I won’t try fooling you by saying that it’s not.   The brutal truth is that it IS difficult, and this lifestyle IS NOT for everyone.

Though it’s a path less traveled, it’s one that I enjoy walking on nearly every single day of the year.  If you have any notions of following the same path, I can candidly tell you that it is STILL the Toughest Way To Make An Easy Living.

When Are You Ready?

How do you know if and when you are ready to move up to the next snack-bracket in terms of throwing-skill and betting-level?

Well, I want to say that you should automatically know in your heart as well as your mind, when you are ready to kick it up another notch.  Unfortunately, some players OVER-rate their current level of play, while others are too harsh, and tend to under-estimate their skills and under-rate their abilities. 

I used to fall into that second category, where I kept my bet-size down due to an overabundance of caution in trying to avoid losses.  In actual fact, my shooting-abilities were outpacing my betting-endeavors by a wide margin. 

In my early years of Precision-Shooting, I gave up more profit opportunities than I actually took advantage of, which meant I was making decent money, yet I knew for (literally) years at a time, that I was missing out on more opportunities than I was actually collecting on.  There were countless times when I’d have 30, 40, 50 and even 60-roll hands, yet only garner a couple of hundred bucks in profit.

I used to drive the dealers and box-men absolutely CRAZY because they’d be on the other side of the table, watching what they knew was a classic mega-hand; yet not only couldn’t they bet on it (since they were working), but the guy throwing the actual hand (me) was not wagering in any amount that reflected the true potential of what was happening. 

One particular boxman (quite an accomplished gambler in his own right), would get so frustrated that he’d start screaming at the base-dealer on my end of the table, NOT to pay me in full for a Place-bet that just came in, but rather, to use a portion of my payoff to Press my bet. 

He’d say, “You have no business throwing the dice like that if you aren’t going to do anything about making more money.  You’re not gambling, you’re just throwing the dice and passing up all the profit.  I’m not going to let you do that anymore, MP you’re driving me insane.  Either bet properly or take your luck elsewhere ‘cause I can’t stand it anymore.”

One night he became so flustered that he dug into his own pocket for some cash, and he said (half jokingly), “If you don’t start pressing your bet, I’m going to have to use my own money to do it…you’ve hit the 6 at least twenty times and you’ve worked it up to a whopping $60…now make a bet you can be proud of before I kill myself.”

So yeah, I guess you could say that I used to under-bet my abilities…but not any more, or at least not by as much of a frustrating margin. 

These days, I match my betting as closely as I can to my current, and I do mean “RIGHT NOW” current, shooting abilities.  By doing so, I’m able to wring as much profit as I can out of each hand; yet not have to endure undue risk if this particular roll doesn’t fall within the stellar or even the mediocre shooting-skill category.

Matching your bets to your current Precision-Shooting ability is one more way that we get from HERE to THERE; and in doing so, it insures that we’ll get called up to the major-leagues as far as maximized profit-potential is concerned.

The Table-Minimum vs. Shooting-Opportunity Trade-off

I received a lot of e-mail regarding what some consider to be the dangerous advice that I dispensed in my Creating More Shooting Opportunities - Part One and Part Two articles.  As I mentioned there, one of the ways to increase the number of times per hour that you get to shoot the dice; is to move up to a less-crowded higher-denomination table.  With less players and less-diverse (high-maintenance) bets, the dice tend to cycle around the table quite a bit faster. 

I opined that based on that factor and a couple of other compelling reasons, it makes a lot of sense to move up to the next higher snack-bracket IF, and ONLY IF your dice-shooting was showing DEMONSTRATED and SUSTAINABLE profit at the lower-echelon tables.

It is dangerous to over-estimate your abilities, especially if you are under-funded.  In fact, if you are under-funded, you have no reason to be IN A CASINO in the first place, let alone betting it up at the higher-denomination tables. 

All of my advice is based on common-sense and well-founded decisions…not on trying to unrealistically turn a match-stick into a lumberyard.  

The biggest dangers are encountered when players ignore the most basic tenets of sensible, reasonable, rational and prudent behavior that I’ve painstakingly laid out in my articles; yet they expect to achieve the same level of success while ignoring most, if not all of the essential fundamentals that got me here in the first place. 

It’s been often said that those who ignore history, are apt to repeat its mistakes.  In craps, that’s not just dangerous, it’s downright perilous to do so.

So I’ll repeat again… it makes a lot of sense to move up to the next higher snack-bracket IF, and ONLY IF your dice-shooting is showing DEMONSTRATED and SUSTAINABLE profit at the lower-echelon tables.  If you can’t make money at a $1 or $2 or $3, or $5 table…and I’m talking about sustainable, steady and consistent profit…day-in, day-out, session after session…then you aren’t going to miraculously turn it around by playing at the $25, $50 or $100 table.

A Personal Example…

Let me give you an example to illustrate how I set a personal benchmark to which I hold myself to EVERYDAY before I permit a move up to the higher-denomination tables. 

The first thing you should know about me is that, even now, I rarely start out playing right away at a $25 table. 

If it is my first session of the day, and there is an open spot at a $5, $10 or $15 table, and the dice are approaching that open-position (and the open spot is one where I am at least semi-comfortable in shooting from); then I will start there first.  

For my first session of the day…the cheaper the table-minimum…the better. 

I want to qualify MYSELF, and groove-in my shooting for as low a cost, and as low a risk as possible.  Oh don’t worry, I’ll give myself lots of chances to move on up to higher betting-levels, but the first hand of my first session is where I can set the tone for the rest of the day.  I want to make it a victorious debut, but I also don’t want to start out with an unrealistically high betting-level; and have to face an early defeat that will take me a lot of time or effort to dig myself out of.  Low, Slow & Easy describes both my first bets of the day as well as describing one of my throwing techniques. 

I keep the risk low, and the presses slow, and set a winning-standard that makes the rest of the day go EASY.

By the end of my first hand during my first-session, I’ll pretty well know if I am ready to move over to the more expensive (higher-minimum, and less-crowded table), or whether I should stay at the cheaper one for some remedial toss-improvements and confidence-building. 

While most of you already know that I have a high opinion of my own shooting ability, and to my mind it is a highly deserved, earned and righteous opinion; my shooting is NOT ALWAYS outstanding.  In fact, sometimes it downright sucks.  However, my ego is mature enough to recognize that if my shooting isn’t that great during any given session, my manhood will remain intact, and my self-worth is not in jeopardy.

By forcing the first hand of my first session of every single day, to re-prove itself (to re-qualify my own shooting) BEFORE I do any serious betting, compels me to meet that criteria on the lower-limit table BEFORE I move up to the high-rent layouts. 

If my shooting isn’t up to par; then it makes absolutely no sense to play at a tougher-to-win higher bet-level UNTIL my shooting-skills are back to firing on all cylinders.

If my shooting is ready, and my mind is properly focused on the task at hand; then I’ll know I am ready to tackle the quarter ($25 or higher) tables, or in the alternative to raise my base-bet levels at my current (and hopefully uncrowded) cheaper table. 

If I decide to switch, I’ll simply tell the Table-Game Supervisor that I’m moving.  That simple courtesy does two things…well, actually three. 

       It tells the TGS where I am going to be, so that when he looks up and doesn’t see me, he doesn’t conclude that I have left, and therefore inadvertently close out my Player Rating Card.  By letting him know that I am moving or have already moved, it guarantees that he won’t “close it out”. 

       Secondly, he’ll physically move my Rating Card from the former table I was at, to the new table, so I’ll continue to be rated. 

       In doing so, he’ll usually AUTOMATICALLY RAISE my average-bet rating simply because he knows that I’ll be wagering in commensurately higher increments, and therefore the comps that accrue to my play, will accrue at a much faster rate.

By the way, if I move from the $25 table over to a cold and deserted $10 layout, I won’t be so quick to notify him of that move, since the longer I am on the higher-rated bet-levels at the $25+ table, again, the faster the comps add up.

Delving Deeper Into My Own Shooting…

Let’s say that I walk into a casino with four open tables.  

       The lone $5 one is packed to the gills.  I couldn’t get in there if I tried to buy a spot, and there appears to be a handful of guys waiting for the same reason.

       The $10 table is pretty full with a couple of open spots that are in my Top 10 shooting-positions, but definitely none are in my Top 4, so I take a look at both the $15 and $25 table.

       The $15 table has about half-a-dozen players and the dice are at my favored end of the table, and only two player-positions away from one of my preferred (and open) shooting spots.  The $25 table is empty, save for the crew who look about as excited as Ben Stein when he’s taking attendance at Ferris Bueller’s school.

I decide that the $25 table will be there, if and when I want it, and instead decide to head immediately to the open spot at the $15 table. 

       I hold my money (a $500 or $1000 buy-in) and my Player Card in plain sight, but only throw it on the table after the current player either makes his PL-Point or 7-outs. 

       With the dice now only one player away from me, I’ll make a one-hit and “off” Place-bet on the 6 and 8.  For me, that’s a token bet to get some money in action on the table in case the box-man or the casino itself has a policy that requires me to have a bet in action on the previous shooter if I want to be able to throw the dice when they come to me.   Otherwise, I’m not too anxious to put any money into play unless there is a discernable trend or streak that I’ve clued into.

       When the dice are passed to me, I quickly establish a PL-Point.   The first toss of the first hand of the first session of the day; is used to get a proper measure of my grip, motion, trajectory, backspin, target, distance, and rollout.  I don’t put too much emphasis on my “Game Within a Game” come-out action for my first hand.  Rather, I wait to see how my on-axis, primary-face results are doing before I permit myself any bets of real significance. Remember this is the first hand of my first session of the day, so I am proceeding on a fairly cautious basis until I re-confirm (re-qualify) my shooting ability for today.

       Normally I use a Steep Regression, but on my first hand of that first session, I’ll start out conservatively, so I’ll use 2x or 3x-Odds behind my PL-Point, and then only Place-bet the 6 and 8 for $18 each. 

Again, I want to groove-in my Precision-Shooting before I groove-in my Precision-Betting.  I’m not looking so much for immediate profit, as I am for immediate on-axis, primary-face results. 

If I’m getting the dice-outcomes that I WANT; then, and ONLY then, will I make the size and spread of bets that I SHOULD.

If I’m not getting the results that I want, then I’ll be making minute physical, as well as any necessary mental-adjustments on the fly.   We’re not taking about huge adjustments like shifting from right-handed shooting to left-handed shooting; or even serious adjustments like changing grips or dice-sets (or permutations).  Instead, we’re talking about tiny, almost imperceptible micro-adjustments to the tightness or alignment of my fingers, or a slight retargeting of the touchdown area, or perhaps adding or subtracting one-half or one-quarter of a backspin rotation to or from the dice.

MINOR adjustments sometimes make MAJOR improvements to your results. 

Those minor adjustments are LEARNED and refined on your at-home Practice Rig, and applied ONLY WHEN NECESSARY at the real-world casino tables.

If minor set, grip-alignment, finger-pressure, motion/toss/release, trajectory, backspin and target adjustments don’t work; then most times, a break from the action to further investigate and remedy the problem is usually much better than making any major changes to any of those factors, on the fly.

If the minor adjustments work, and my shooting gets grooved-in; then at the end of my current hand, I can re-survey the table situation vis a vis whether I want to move up to the less crowded (and still empty) $25 table, or whether I want to stick around for another go-round with the dice at the $15 table.  If I decide to stick around for additional hands at my current table; then I’ll definitely adjust my betting-levels to match my shooting-skills.

Can You Stand One More Look…

Many players have reported that they do better at the higher-denomination tables simply because their focus and concentration is better.  The more money they have in action, the more “involved” they feel in the game.

While that may be true for some players, it can also be a dangerous indicator that the “thrill and risk” factor of having more money in the game, is taking a higher precedence over your actual shooting. 

In this case, the gamble of the game has been given priority over the skill of your shooting.  It’s dangerous because the player psychologically needs to have more and more money in action in order to maintain the same rush and thrill on a continuing basis.   The old, lower levels no longer give him the rush and thrill, so he has to increase the amounts to regain that feeling...kind of like a junkie needing more and more drugs to achieve the same high. 

If that sounds somewhat compulsive, addictive and perilous…it’s because it is.  This is especially true of someone who is losing at the $5 or $10 table, but reasons that he’ll be able to hunker-down and focus better at the $25 or $50 table.

If stepping up to $25 base-bets when you are losing makes you focus more, then it IS NOT your shooting that is the problem...it's your concentration.  If you work on that, you’ll be better equipped to avoid the losses, and focus more on winning at ANY level of bet you choose to play at.

Hey, I’ll readily admit that my own shooting at a $1 or $2 table is a bit more ragged than it is at $15, $25 or $50 layouts too.  And though I realize I might be able to play-myself-into-shape and make some decent money at a $25 table; I also realize that I can LOSE much faster at the $25 ones as well.

Sooooo, under ideal circumstances, I’ll groove-in at the $5 or $10 table, and then step up to the $15 and then $25 table or bet-level.  In fact, I may groove in at a semi-crowded $10 table for one hand (and hopefully not have to stick around to get my shooting in shape on a second hand); then I'll immediately go to the $25 table to shoot.  Since the population is lower, and the rotation rate is higher; I am much more likely to STAY in that fine-tuned condition for longer periods of time at the more expensive layouts.

If I HAVE TO play at a $100 table, then I’ll start out with less of a spread on my bets.  Although my shooting is already dialed-in (otherwise I shouldn't and wouldn't be at the $100 table); I'll still only have my PL w/2x-Odds, and 6 and 8 Place-bets in action.  I'll also be up on the Hard 4 & 10 for $5 or $10 each.   If I hit the 5 or 9, then I’ll Place-bet them as well.  If I roll the 4 or 10, it might actually take me TWO hits before I give myself permission to Place-bet them for the table-minimum of $100 (plus the vig to buy it).

That may sound CHEAP, but it's actually GOOD money-management.   Although I have the bankroll to support playing at a $500 or even a $1000 min-bet table; it doesn’t mean that I’d be comfortable in doing so.  While I understand the advantage-play concept of betting into ANY shooting advantage that you know you have; it's also important to have, as Heavy would say, “the crap between your ears" under control as well.  For me, that means generally avoiding the $100 tables save and except for extraordinary circumstances; and completely steering clear of the rarer $500 layouts altogether.

As my shooting-skills evolve, my betting-skills continue to evolve right along with them, though perhaps not as quickly. 

By keeping close tabs on how fast my earn-rate increases as I implement more and more of the betting-methods and betting-levels that my Precision-Shooting skills dictate that I should be using; it allows me to maximize profitability without increasing my risk.  That factor, in and of itself is motivation enough to continue on this current path.

Current Success Fuels Future Bet-Increases

A number of years ago, I had to set up various rules or Precision-Shooting commandments, in order to increase my discipline (as well as my take-home profit).  One that really made a difference back then was in regard to increasing my base-bet levels.  I needed a hard and fast rule to live by so that I didn’t get overly optimistic on my own abilities, yet would allow me to push the profit-level of my talents, if and when they showed themselves.

The rule/commandment was:

Thou shall only use the PROFIT from thine PREVIOUS HAND or PREVIOUS SESSION to fuel any increased betting-levels. 

That way, I forced myself to use only TODAYS session(s) winnings to fuel higher current wagering-levels.  If my current success falls back, then my bet-levels also have to fall back to their original point.  In that event, my betting keeps pace with my skill, and protects me from the evils, vagaries and tribulations of poor performance.  Once I regain my Precision-Shooting stride, I can once again use a small portion of today’s winnings to feed future-session bet-increases.  The rest of the profit gets locked-up as retained earnings. 

Fresh Perspective

Taking what I just said as a guide, let’s take another look at the higher-bet/higher-concentration phenomenon.

When you have more money on the table at the beginning of your roll, it tends to sharpen your focus, increase your mental intensity and awareness, as well as ramp up your physical acuity and deftness.
I first experienced this phenomenon when I started using Steep Regressions as a way to lock up an early profit. Having a larger amount of money on the layout brought a greater sense of immediacy to EACH and EVERY roll of the dice that hadn't been there when I used the more traditional "hit-three-or-four-paying-numbers-before-reaching-profitability" approach.

Now, having said all of that, I want to quickly add that stepping up your bets BEFORE you step up your dice-shooting skills is a recipe for disaster!   That’s why I mentioned the idea of using a portion of today’s profit to fuel the next level of base-bet increases, instead of digging deeper into your static bankroll.

I still advise everyone to perfect their game and validate their Precision-Shooting skills and their Precision-BETTING methods on the CHEAPEST table possible BEFORE moving up to the next snack-bracket. It will keep your losses to a minimum, and your frustrations to their barest.

It is also essential that your discipline be well enough developed to prevent a major bankroll meltdown from happening. If you think it's easy to lose a couple of hundred bucks on a cheap table; just wait until you see how it can instantly VAPORIZE a much larger bankroll when you start playing at a more expensive table!

Likewise, even if you decide to step-up your base-bets at a lower-minimum table, your money can disappear with alarming speed.

The idea behind this higher-bet/higher-focus phenomenon is that if your shooting is geared-in, and your discipline is keenly honed; then you may find that a higher bet-level takes your focus, concentration and intensity to any even higher plane…but all of that presumes that your shooting-skill and discipline is in sharp focus to begin with. 

Dull performance does not instantly turn sharp just because you have more money on the table.  In fact, that is the WORST time to step-up your bets, not the best time!

Rather, if your sharpness and skill is obviously there, and is showing itself with unmitigated zeal; then you may find that the next base-bet level brings an even better and unanticipatedly higher degree of focus, concentration and intensity to your game.

When your shooting-skills have earned you the right to increase your base-bet levels; then your bankroll deserves the opportunity and prospect to grow.

On-Axis Consistency During LONG Rolls

I guess the first thing I would say about my own medium-to-long rolls is that beyond a certain point during a hand (15 to 20 rolls or so for me), I slowly transition from my on-axis consciousness (focus) as I go much deeper into a zone (or altered state) of physical and mental awareness.

As the hand progresses, I can usually tell as soon as the dice leave my fingers whether or not the dice will be on-axis, and especially if the dice are going to end up in an off-axis yaw or an on-axis double-pitch (7-Out) result. In that event, I almost always have to stop myself from calling the 7-Out BEFORE the stickman does.  When I do that, it tends to scare the children, the womenfolk, and the livestock, in addition to un-nerving the Pit Villagers because I was able to make the ungodly 7-Out beelzebub call while the dice were still in mid-air. 

That’s not exactly a good way to stay under their radar either.

Four or five years ago, a 7-Out to end a mid-to-long hand almost always surprised me. Back then, I not only wasn't expecting it, but I also wasn't as deeply aware of exactly what the dice were most likely going to do once they landed.

Now, my game-awareness and roll-intuition has developed to the point where I have to almost bite my tongue or the inside of my cheek to stop myself from calling out the actual result (one of the four primary-face numbers, or the ugly double-pitch, probable 7-Out alternative) depending on how perfectly or badly the dice left my hand.  Now that is what I would call being tuned-in, but in reality it doesn’t take that much intuitiveness to become so keenly aware.  Instead, it comes from the experience (both practice-rig and real-world) of having thrown the dice so often, and having observed the outcomes that I expect from the throws that I make.  No magic or hocus-pocus…just experience and increased awareness.

As I mentioned a few moments ago; as a medium-to-long hand progresses, the deeper I proceed from my on-axis consciousness (focus) and transition deeper into a zone or altered state of physical and mental awareness.  In that state, the physical task of actually bearing down to throw the dice, is surmounted by the function whereby my mind effortlessly controls the entire process, and my body merely carries out the signals that are sent to it. 

A Quick Admission and a Heartfelt Thank-You

I’ve been writing articles for Irishsetter’s excellent website for a number of years now.  When I look back to how far I’ve come in terms of shooting consistency and tangible revenue since then, it’s nothing short of amazing.

Although my Precision-Shooting was quite good way back then, I sometimes still can't believe the amount of progress that I have been able to make in the last five years. I've got to tell you that I can attribute a lot of that improvement to you guys. By asking the right questions, you've made me take an even closer look at the way that I play, and in doing so, I've been able to discover many, many, MANY areas where improvements could be made and more profit could be generated from my own game.

To a large extent, this series chronicles some of the ways that I have been able to continually increase my earnings as I continue to improve my Precision-Shooting and Precision-Betting skills…all because of you.

Without that inward look that all of your questions make me take, I doubt that I’d have been able to make so much continual improvement over such an extended period of time. 

You’ve saved me time, and you’ve made me money.

For that, I am profoundly grateful, and I thank all of you.

We’ve certainly come a long way from when we first started talking about and writing about Precision-Shooting, and admittedly some of us have got a fair distance to go before we actually get to where we want to be; but I’m glad to have you right here beside me as we make this journey together.

Until next time,

Good Luck & Good Skill at the tables…and in Life.

Sincerely,

The Mad Professor

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