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Don’t Confuse Me with the TRUTH

A man sits down with his 9 year-old son. “Listen son, I want to tell you about the birds and the bees.”  The son suddenly bursts into tears, and sobs, "I don't want to hear this."  The dad is puzzled and asks why. When the lad stops the tears, he whimpers, "Dad, when I was 5 you told me that cartoons weren’t real; when I was 6 you told me there was no Santa Claus; when I was 7 you told me there was no Tooth Fairy; when I was 8 you told me there was no Easter Bunny. If you're going to tell me adults don’t have sex, I've got nothing left to live for."

Shattering myths over the centuries have had an impact on many lives.  In most cases, we just didn’t know any better, and so we assumed that one thing or another was impossible.  When a child finds out that the universe doesn’t actually revolve around him, it’s probably more life-changing than when we found out that the earth wasn’t flat. 

In a couple of previous articles like, The World Is NOT Flat ... and Random Thoughts From The Mad Professor  we explored those myths in some detail. But what about the following myth:

 “You can Precision-Shoot to de-randomize the dice, but because of the house-edge, you can’t do it consistently enough to make a living at it.”

Then think about this.  Using rudimentary sets, grips, releases, lofts, trajectories, force (momentum), landing zones, roll-outs and final resting places, some people progress very quickly to a rolls-to-7 ratio of 8:1.  Jerry Patterson’s PARR graduates generally report an ascending ratio of 12:1.  Many Precision-Shooters that I know, average between 18:1 and 30:1.

If random-rolling gives you a 7-out chance of 1-in-every-6 rolls, and rudimentary setting gives you 1-in-8 rolls, then why is it so hard to get consistency to go from an SSR of 8 and progress to 12, and then on to 18, and even higher?

It’s a good question.  The answer is long and complicated, but simply stated, it’s a lot harder than it looks.   If it was easy, the casinos surely would close the games down.  When we watch the poise, strength and athleticism of almost any professional sport, we sometimes marvel at the ease in which some of these people perform.  That is one of the reasons that we have a rabid appetite for watching sports, either in person or live on TV.  Yes, we like the battle that competition brings, but we also get caught up in the awesome sight and spectacle that some athletes deliver.

Awe-inspiring as that may be, and as envious as some might be of their prowess, most, if not all of those spectators don’t have the physical attributes, skill, talent, commitment, dedication, maturity, and yes, even God-given ability to do the same thing. If every one was as good as Tiger Woods, Micheal Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, then you and I and your grandma would be doing Buick, Nike, and Wheaties endorsements instead of them.

A friend of mine is a world-renowned card-counter.  He mostly writes for a living now because he has been banned from a lot of major casinos.  Similar in style to the dearly-departed counter Ken Uston, we sometimes get together socially when I am in Southern California.  He thinks Precision-Shooting is a huge steaming, stinking pile of crap.  The fact that in less than 30-minutes, I showed him how to do it properly.   And despite the fact that he himself actually achieved an SRR of over 8:1 within a short period did not convince him.  He said, “The math just isn’t in it.  If you can’t show me how you can mathematically overcome the house-edge on any bet, then it can’t work.”  He used tainted-logic to explain that, “even when you win, you still lose because the house still has the edge on every bet, so you can’t overcome it.”  I thought to myself, how can a brilliant scholar of the game, not see the simplicity of what I am doing.

I countered his opinion with my particular wagering method which takes advantage of my Signature Numbers, and I further explained how I lock-in a profit before I press any bets, ad nauseum.  Looking at me as though I was the village idiot, he lost patience and said, “Look, you go and play your way, but there’s NO WAY you can earn a living at it.”  I was really offended.  I took out my wallet, and carefully laid out the ownership and insurance slips from more than a dozen cars in my collection.  I said, “Each one of these has been bought and paid for with the profit I earned solely from craps.  The cheapest one is worth more than the average worker makes in two years of labor.”  He replied with, “Well you must be the luckiest son-of-a-bitch that ever played, because you can’t beat a negative-expectation game.”

I told him that he was so stuck on the “negative” part of it, that he couldn’t see the “positive” aspect of it.  He said, “As long as they still pay only 7-to-6 on the 6 & 8, and 7-to-5 on the 5 & 9 Place bets, and the Pass Line still has a house-edge attached to it even with 10,000-times Odds, then it’s still a losing game and cannot be beaten over the long run.”  I started to explain how the house-edge was nullified if properly approached, and how we eliminated the 36 dice-outcome possibilities, and turned them into 6 highly-likely probabilities.  I felt the ground shake when the heavy-steel vault-door of his mind slammed shut in my face.

Exasperated, I said, “Well I’m heading to Primm, NV to make some money off of that “can’t-possibly-win” game, care to join me?”  He gruffly declined, and I took my leave.  On the drive through the Mohave (Desert) National Reserve, I felt un-nerved by his comments.  After all, he is the “High Priest” of the blackjack world, and he is a pre-eminent writer of high-regard and respect.  As I approached the CA/NV border, I thought about our previous discussions where he had talked about all the wanna-be card-counters.  And how many would try it, but very few had the dedication, mental fortitude and commitment to be consistently successful, despite the mathematical edge that counting gives to the player. 

It gave me a little bit of comfort knowing that even when you show someone how to de-randomize the dice, most will still lack the faith, discipline, commitment, maturity and resolve to stick with it, and dedicate themselves to truly succeeding at this game.   My friend proved that even if one small element like faith is missing, then the puzzle never really could come together for them.

Still, I will candidly admit that he shook my faith in my abilities, just a little bit.  I had a comped suite waiting for me at the Primm Resort (formerly Primadonna), when I got there.  I went through the usual routine of surveying the tables, as covered in my And The Survey Says.... article, before choosing one where I’d have an early opportunity to shoot the dice.  Thankfully, or luckily, if you believe Mr. Blackjack, I had a terrific hand.  I tossed 23 times before the 7 came up.  I collected money from exactly 19 of those rolls.  Yes, miraculously, I had a profit at the end of that hand DESPITE the house edge. 

I thought about all the aspiring card-counters who worship daily at the “Bleeding Wallet of the Sacred Mathematical-Edge Church”, and I wondered how many of them have had their prayers-of-money answered with consistent and sustainable profit.  It was a short thought, because the only other player at the table had thrown a quick, random-roll 7-Out.   It was my turn again to make some money off of this “can’t-be-beat” game.

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

By:  The Mad Professor

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