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The Great Northeast Road Trip
Part Four

(read part I here, or part II here or part III here)

Entering the Province of Quebec is like entering a whole other world.  Yes, it’s part of Canada, and yes they use the same currency, but that’s just about where all the similarity ends.  While there is something strangely familiar about the place, it all seems just a little bit foreign.

French is the official language here.  It’s on all of the road signs, store signs, advertising and just about everyone’s lips.  Most people also speak English.  For me, that’s a good thing, because in spite of six years of French in school, I couldn’t speak French to save my life, or even to fill up the gas tank.  In truth, I can place more bets in Spanish than I can in French, but this trip gave me a good excuse to work on improving that skill.  Again, all the casino dealers speak English, and I never encountered a problem placing bets or making myself clearly understood.

Our first casino foray was at Casino de Hull, which is just across the Rideau River from Canada’s capital of Ottawa.  We stayed at the Hilton Lac Leamy’s, which is attached to the ultra-modern casino.

We subsequently played at Casino de Montreal, which of course is located in city of Montreal, on the former site of the World’s Fair of 1967, Expo ’67.  In fact, the main casino is contained in the building that used to house the pavilion from France 35 years ago.  The casino is located on one of three man-made islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.  It’s easily accessible and parking is fairly good.  By the way, this is also where the Canadian Grand Prix is held every year.

We also played at Casino de Charlevois in the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains.  It’s a renovated turn-of-the-century set of buildings that have been completely modernized.  They still have that early-Canadian charm, but with all of the modern conveniences that you would expect at a world-class resort.  All three casinos are well-managed and provide some excellent table conditions.  There aren’t too many Precision-Throwers here; at least I didn’t see any during our sessions there.

But you don’t want a travelogue about fine-food, cosmopolitan lifestyles, or French-separatists politics do you?

You want details of CRAPS play!

Okay, let’s delve into those details right here and now.

Let’s talk about dice grips.

As you know, my favorite one is the two-finger pincer.   By now you also know that I use many variations of that grip, depending on the table conditions.  I hesitated going into further and greater detail about them because there is not ONE correct way to grip and throw, at least there isn’t one correct way to grip and throw for ME! 

I find that table conditions vary so much, as do dice types, densities and age; that there is not one universal one-size, one-grip, one-toss approach that works all the time for me.  I use small and subtle variations of grip, release and spin to compensate for those variations from table-to-table and casino-to-casino.  It’s all in an effort to overcome those differences.

The other problem in writing about those variations is in the actual description of the subtle differences.  I’ll give you an example. 

(i)                               There’s the “deep-thumb, perfect-rotation” pincer whereby the two dice will spin perfectly freely between your thumb and fourth-finger.   Your fingernail length is critical.  The dice tumble side-by-side and on-axis with this grip, and a slow forward-spin is also the hallmark.  From medium shooting distances, this throw touches down in the furthest parts of the Field, and rolls gently to the base of the wall.  Obviously, a clear chip-free rolling lane is necessary for this one to work properly.

(ii)                              There is the “leading-edge, trailing-edge” pincer, whereby the outer grip (thumb and fourth finger) grip the upper rear corner of the dice, while the index and middle finger lightly balance the leading edge of the dice.  I have about three release variations for this grip alone.   Why? Well, some tables require it.  If the table has a soft underlay, the dice take full advantage of the cushioning and they simply refuse to “pop” or scatter when they touch down.

I know that some people will argue that I have suggested too many variations to learn and perfect.  Well, I’ve got news for you my friend.  

If you use just one grip, and one release and one target; THEN YOU WILL BE A ONE-TRICK PONY WHO ONLY RARELY AND INCONSISTENTLY SUCCEEDS.

Okay the cap-lock button is off, I’ve stopped yelling, but I hope that you get the message.  Listen, one baseball pitch does not strike everyone out.  One golf club and one swing does not conquer all golf courses.  And one dice grip and one toss does not get the job done when it comes to being successful at the craps table.  If you don’t believe that, then please believe this:  keep your day job because you are really going to need it now and until retirement. 

One grip and one toss will not get you to great casino profit.   Oh it may help you make some additional money, and that’s great, but don’t rely on it to pay the bills, buy the cars, and finance your retirement, cause it ain’t gonna happen!

Okay, can I tell you about two more variations before I give you some trip results from this particular part of our expedition?

(iii)                            I call this one the “lopsided dead-cat bounce”.   I want you to think about one of those cheap beach-balls that don’t roll true because the air-nozzle patch adds too much weight which unbalances the ball?  When you throw a ball like that, it kind of has a looping rotation to it.  Okay, that’s exactly how the dice react when you grip and throw them properly with this approach.  Your thumb and fourth-finger actually grip the dice very low on the sides and at the rear-most portion of the dice.  Upon release, I give them a pronounced backspin.  When they spin in the air, it’s like the dice are unbalanced.  When they land, they tend to slam down hard on the felt.  They usually stop-dead right there.  This is one of a few variations on my dead-cat-bounce throws.  My aiming point is about 2 to 3 inches from the back wall.   This is usually close enough to qualify as a full-length roll.  Sometimes one or both dice will flop forward one or two additional rotations.  This can be good if it’s both of them, or VERY bad if only one dice rolls twice.  Using the 3-V set, that almost always equals a SEVEN!  This grip and throw takes a lot of practice, but when it works perfectly (about 25% to 30% of the time); it’s a beautiful thing because of the predictability of the results.  I get one additional rotation from one or both dice about 55% to 65% of the time.  Unfortunately, the remaining balance of outcomes (5% to 20% of the time) results in that ugly bitch that we call SEVEN. I also occasionally use the Hardways set for this toss, especially if there is heavy action on the Hardways bets AND I have action on them too, AND the dealers have money riding on them as well.

(iv)                             The last variation that I want to tell you about today is the “one-hop, two-rollback” toss.  This is where the thumb and fourth finger GENTLY force the leading-edge of the dice into the first joint of the index and middle finger. A pronounced backspin is imparted on release.  I use this grip and toss where I want to hop over a Pass-Line or Don’t Pass bet that is near the intended target area.  The trajectory of this toss is a little higher than normal.  It’s pretty close to 45-degrees at both launch and touchdown.  The backspin aids in keeping the dice from rolling too far or with too much force.  After hopping over the pile of chips, they usually coast into the lower margin of the wall, and then rollback twice before stopping.  This throw yields good, consistent results, and if I was restricted to one universal toss that I was comfortable with while always hitting the wall; then this would be the one.

Now here’s the problem with all those descriptions that I just gave you.  It will probably spark a thousand questions about speed, trajectory, target areas, apogee, release points, etc.  Well I’ll get to all of those in the upcoming reports, but let’s absorb it one step at a time.

So, here are the results of the Quebec portion of our trip:

         Sessions:                          15        

         Total Playing Time:             22.0 hours   

         My hands:                          72        

         My Rolls:                           ranged from a low of 2 to a high of 41

         Sevens-Rolls-Ratio:             17.1:1  

         Total profit:                         $1780

         Profit-per-Hour                    $81.00

Here’s the MOST interesting fact of this trip so far.  I’m keeping track of the amount of money that I lose on random-rollers.  Even AFTER I have qualified them, my losses on random-rollers is running close to $100 per hour.  Yes, that means that if I laid off of all but the hottest of random-rollers; then my profit rate would have been in the $180 per hour range.  I’ll let you know if this trend continues. 

I’ve long known that less than 5% of my total income from craps is derived from random-rollers.  This may provide some concrete proof as to just how much they actually COST me.   That is, how much more money would I make if I didn’t bet on any random-rollers.  I’m keeping a close watch on that particular set of numbers.  Until next time,

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

The Mad Professor

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