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Making Adjustments in Craps…and in Life

An elderly woman goes to the doctor and asks for his help to revive her husband's sex drive.

"What about trying Viagra?" asks the doctor. "Not a chance" says Mrs. Murphy. "He won't even take an aspirin for a headache." "No problem," replies the doctor. "Drop it into his coffee, he won't even taste it. Try it and come back in a week to let me know how you got on."

A week later Mrs. Murphy returns to the doctor and he inquires as to how things went. "Oh it was terrible, just terrible doctor."  "What happened?” asks the doctor. "Well I did as you advised and slipped it in his coffee. The effect was immediate. He jumped straight up, swept everything off the table, at the same time ripped my clothes off and then proceeded to make passionate love to me right there on the tabletop. It was terrible."  “What was terrible?" said the doctor, "wasn't the sex good?"  "Oh yes doctor, the sex was the best I've had in 25 years, but I'll never be able to show my face at that craps table again!"

“Just pick up the damn dice and chuck 'em!” said a player on the opposite end of the table.

So continued a hand at the Caesars Palace a while back.  My prompter was on the Don't Pass line, and had just lost six Come-Out rolls in a row.  His negative exhortation was enough to make me spend an extra second setting the dice, and then an extra ten seconds looking directly and unflinchingly at him before I unleashed another Come-Out roll "Winner-7".  He shook his head and put his last remaining chips on the Don't Pass again.  This time he yelled, "I dare you to throw another seven."  I set and tossed, threw a 7, and said with a laugh, "I double-dog dare you to dig deep in your pocket and bet against me again!"

Child-like taunts aside; the craps table can be a study of humanity in a microcosm.  All walks of life can be found at a craps table.  Some will cheer you; others will jeer you. 

I have one suggestion if you are thin-skinned: don’t let anyone bully you into playing to their own method, rhyme or reason, unless it is the same as yours.

The craps table is the ultimate democratic process…you get to vote with your DOLLARS!

Some craps table layouts are soft and padded, and look comfortable enough to make love on, while some are as smooth and hard as a bowling alley.  Different casinos have different base materials and adhesives, felt types, table sizes in numerous lengths, rail-heights, deck-heights, and occasionally under-lays to name just a few physical variables.

What is a Precision-Shooter to do?

I’ve mentioned previously that you can play at the Four Queens in Vegas on a high padded rail, thread-bare layout, with fresh "white-powder" dice that are sharp enough you could shave with them.  Then you could go to the Las Vegas Club where they have a fantastic padded underlay, that looks as comfortable to sleep on as it does to play on.  You could then venture across to Golden Gate and play at one of their land-barge-sized 24-player tables and feel the surface that is smoother than waxed-paper.  Or maybe you'd enjoy the Plaza, where at the end of the shift, the dice look more like a well-chewed Jolly Rancher candy than a precisely-machined block of high-density cellulose. 

For the Precision-Shooter, each table demands that adjustments be made.  Each table has it’s own unique "sweet-spot", and has to be handled slightly differently.  In a way, the tables are similar to women.  Each one has her own wants, needs, requirements, desires and demands.  Each one responds differently to various stimuli. 

We adjust, we improvise, and we overcome.  Just like the Marines, the Precision-Shooter has his objective, and is not easily deterred.

For me, each table seems to have a distinct sweet spot that faithfully rewards a consistent throw.  If every table is different, then how do I keep track of the particular “sweet spots” at every table at each casino in all the various gaming jurisdictions and destinations that I play on?

I’m glad that you asked.

I used to keep a small notepad where I would roughly sketch the dice-pit layout at each casino.  I would number every table, then make corresponding notes for each one.  For example, Table #3 in Caesars Olympic Casino would show that the sweet spot was just below the Don’t Come box, while the #2 table had a spot located between the letters “PA” and “SS” on the Pass Line.  In most cases, the target area is the size of a pack of cigarettes, sometimes larger, and often smaller.  Before starting play, I would look in my little pad to determine where my target area was.  

I progressed to using a computer-tablet-type device with it’s own pen-type stylus for drawing and electronic note-taking.  I now use a Palm Pilot-type device which is small, lightweight and powerful, and fully compatible with my laptop computer.

Why go to all this trouble? 

There’s only one reason:  M O N E Y ! 

The casino HAS it, and I WANT it!

I don't guarantee that I will throw the dice perfectly EVERY time even when I track the sweet spots, but here's something to consider:

My average hand up to mid-March of this year had progressed to 24 throws over last year’s average of 18 rolls.  My Caribbean adventure that started at that point and continued over the next eight weeks, improved my average to just under 28 rolls per hand.  Even the biggest idiot at the table should be able to make money off of that kind of roll, and if they don't, it's not my fault.  They should go bark at cars and sniff bicycle seats instead.

Sometimes I will have an "off" session where I just can't find my rhythm or settle on a spot.  Instead of trying to prove to myself that I'm made of cryptonite, I'll take a break and regroup.  If I'm tired, or irritated or unfocused, I don't play.  I won't play unless I feel fresh, relaxed, energized and focused.

Dice differ among vendors and most casinos switch brands regularly. The edges on fresh dice start sharp and become rounded during play. The cloth on the table and the bumps on the walls gradually degrade. Bettors stack chips all over the place; some droop their paws down over the rail.  If you don’t think that this has an effect, just think of the times when a Precision-Shooter is on a hot roll and the dice hit a stack of chips only to reveal the seven. 

With random-rollers, the dice should show once every six rolls, when I shoot, I am generally surprised when the seven actually shows up to end a hand.   Yes, it is inevitable; but no, I wasn’t expecting it just yet.  Obviously, my betting has to take advantage of the fact that I never know when the hand will end.  But as my shooting improves, I want to take ever increasing advantage of that skill, and my betting method has to keep pace with those improvements.

When I am starting a hand at a new “unknown” table, or a recently re-modeled one, I try one of my four “normal” target areas. If and when a target “produces” cash, I try to wring as much consistency out of that spot as possible.  If those don’t generate profit, then I’ll try three other alternative spots.  If success eludes me at that table, I will move on to greener pastures and more profitable green felt.  There haven’t been many tables where I couldn’t gain an edge, but there have been a few.  Rather than trying to conquer EVERY table, I find myself gravitating to tables where I have found the sweetest spots.

So for the full-time player, finding those sweet spots can greatly contribute to overall revenue production. 

One last thought about that hand at Caesars Palace; I'd had a fairly good roll with 31 tosses after my spate of Come-Out winners, and I made some decent money.   My final roll that sevened-out was a little short, and barely made it to the back wall.  One player who had been relentlessly pressing up his place bets chided, "Who taught you how to shoot craps? Everyone knows setting those “crossed-sixes” on the dice is a loser.  And next time hit the wall buddy!” 

That got me to thinking.  With all these electronics at my disposal, maybe I should start making adjustments for idiots!

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

By: The Mad Professor

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