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Why Do You Do The Things You Do?

I recently received an e-mail from a regular reader:

“Hey, Mad Professor.  Why do you do some of the things that you do?

The biggest puzzle is why you play at the low-end tables with the cheap minimums? 

You are always complaining about crowded conditions.  Why not play at the more expensive, but less crowded tables.   With your level of rolling, and the size of your bankroll, I would think that you would love to leave the cheap tables, and play at the more exclusive ones. 

So I’ll ask you again, why do you do some of the things that you do?”

That’s a good question, and I have an even better answer.

The lower the table-minimum is, the lower the risk to your bankroll.  If you bet in moderation; then you have a higher likelihood of catching a good roll.  Since your bankroll will still be intact, you will have more ammunition in which to wage battle.

A low-minimum also acts to keep your blood-pressure and stress-level to the lowest amount.  If the table-minimum is $25; then your base Pass Line bets with full Odds and your Place bets will equate to a fair amount of money even if you stick with the smallest allowable ones. 

That being the case, your concentration will be partially distracted or at least diluted due to the higher amount of money involved.  In most cases, that also equates to a higher percentage of your session buy-in being on the table at one time.  Neither of those things are good for your stress-level, your concentration-level or your bankroll-level.

Remember the lower your bankroll exposure; the lower your risk.    The lower your risk; the lower your stress level should be. 

I’ll put it to you this way guys; there are two places where you don’t want to run into “performance anxiety”.  The first place is in the bedroom, and the second place is at the craps table.

Don’t put undue pressure on yourself or your bankroll.

Further, at a “cheap table”, I am more likely to try some newer or somewhat riskier strategies with either my Precision-Shooting or with my betting methods.  Let me qualify that statement.  When I say “riskier”, for a simple example, I am talking about increasing my Place bets by two or three units on a win, instead of my usual single unit pressure.  Of course, that is after ALL of my wagering action has been paid for, AND there is already a substantial profit locked-up on my rail.

In addition, if I am playing from the “cheap seats”, I might be willing to toss the dice from a different table position if none of my favorite spots are open.

Now, I’m not saying that you should get stupid with either your dice-tossing or your betting.  What I am saying, is that you can be a little more comfortable shooting from a new table-position if the cost-of-entry isn’t too high.  Again, you have to keep your bankroll-exposure to a bare-minimum, until all your bets have been paid for, and you have a profit to show.

In addition, if you get on a good roll, your betting can be a bit more aggressive without causing too great of a concern.  Again, I advocate locking up a profit before ANY bets are increased.   For me, that rule stands regardless of the price of the table. 

What you want to do is to keep the “stress elements” to a minimum.  The more uptight that you are, either because of the amount of money that you have on the table, or because there are other aggravating factors at play; then the more likely it is that your Precision-Shooting will not be as focused as you might hope for.

I’ll give you two examples of what I mean.

The first case in-point is from a relatively cheap $2 table at Sunset Station in Henderson (south Las Vegas).  I was there for a short meeting at the Gaudi Bar.  The craps tables are very close by, and as my meeting was ending, I was watching as a hot hand was developing.   There was only one spot open beside the dealer on first base, at the extreme end of the table.  This is one spot where I haven’t shot from in probably 10 or 11 years.  At that stage, I didn’t care because the hot shooter was still producing a grand hand.  Even though I only got onto the last sixteen or seventeen minutes of his roll; he produced a decent amount of coin for my bankroll.

I want to pause here for a moment to talk about getting in on hot rolls that are underway when you stake your place at the table.  PLEASE do not do anything to disturb the rhythm of the shooter.  Regardless of whether he is a Precision-Shooter, a Rhythm-Roller, or just a very lucky random-roller; try not to interrupt the game with your need to buy-in. 

So how do you avoid the need to plunk down your cash on the table to exchange for chips? 


Ask one of the fellow-players on either side of you, if they will sell you a SMALL amount of chips. 

Yes, I know that you are anxious to whack down that wad of fresh $100 bills. 

Yes, I know that you want to get your Players Card in the hand of the floor supervisor so that every second of your play is rated. 

Yes, I know that you want to get in on a good roll, especially because it comes along so infrequently. 

But listen pal, please do it as quietly and as unobtrusively as possible.  

You’ll have plenty of time to buy-in for your intended amount of money later on. 

You’ll have plenty of time to get your Player Card in to be rated.   You will have plenty of time to do all of that AFTER the roll is finished…PLEASE! 

It not only shows that you are VERY savvy when it comes to understanding other peoples superstitions about the game; it also shows that you understand the ebb and flow of the game, and that you recognize and respect a good thing when you see it.  To do so, shows a high level of professionalism on your part.

Okay, back to the main subject, which is, playing at low-limit tables.

As soon as the hot-shooter 7’d-Out at the Sunset Station, the table applauded appropriately, and then the stickman tapped his stick in my direction, and asked if I wanted the dice. 

Normally, I would have just colored-out and left.  I wasn’t in any of my “normal” shooting positions, and I hadn’t even intended on playing at all that particular afternoon.   Further, Station Casinos seem to favor the longer 18-foot and 20-foot tables, and this was one of those 20-foot giants.  I’ll bet if you painted that 20-foot table all in black; from a distance it would look like one of those early 70’s big-assed old Cadillacs. 

Anyway, I nodded my head and motioned the dice towards me.  From my end of the table, the far end-wall looked like some distant mountain range.  I wondered how hard I would have to propel the dice to get them past the 50-yard line of the stick-mans Prop-box. 

Normally, I would have used the Mad Professors “Long-Ranger” grip and release, but because of the angle of where I was standing, it was impossible.   Instead, I used my modified “All-Finger Back-Toss”.  It kind of looks like one of those back-handed pimp-slaps that you would see in a ‘70’s “blacksploitation” movie like “Shaft” or “Superfly”.  That is where my thumb and my little finger, lightly grip each one of the two outer-axis’ of the dice, while my three other fingers completely drape over the front faces of the dice.  It isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done relatively well.

Now, if this had been a more expensive table, I probably would have just cashed-out and moved on.  Instead, I decided to shoot, and I had a relatively good roll.  I made a number of Points, and a wheel-barrel full of Inside-Numbers. 

Again, if it had been a more expensive table, I would not have felt enough confidence from this shooting-position to “bet it up”.  As it turned out, I worked my Pass Line Odds up to the max-permitted 10x-level.  Again, at a more expensive table, my lack of confidence from this distance would have held me back.   I was able to add a respectable amount of profit to the sum already generated by the previous shooter.

Okay, let me give you another example.

I was at Mandalay Bay the other week, playing at a $5 table, and enjoying a number of good-hands.  It was pretty crowded, and it looked like it would be a while before the dice would return to me.  At that moment I saw a friend of mine step up to the $50 table.  Now “Al” has a superb Precision-Shooting ability.  I’ll be writing more about him in an upcoming article entitled, Raise Your Conscientiousness and Fatten Your Wallet”.  

Anyway, whenever I see him at a table, I want to get into the great things that usually occur when he gets the dice.  This session with him was no exception.  To my mind, the only problem was the high entry-fee of the $50 table.  While my bankroll can sustain it, I don’t like to start out at such a lofty level.  Sure I often raise and press my Place bets way, way, way, beyond that $50 amount, but I hardly ever start them there unless it is on my own hands.  Even then, it is done with the intention of regressing the bet to a more reasonable level after one hit.  From that point, I let some of the profit fuel further bet-increases, while I lock up a profit with each and every subsequent hit.  It was with all of that in mind that I stepped up with chips that I carried over from my previous table.

Surprisingly, the $50 table was almost as crowded as the $5 one!  I got a spot close to “Al”, without being close enough to infringe on his shooting motion in any way.  He shoots from positions that are diametrically opposed to my own “regular” spots, so I was nowhere near my own favorite shooting-locations. 

“Al” had a pretty good roll, and I made some decent coin from it, but to my mind, my pressing of winning Place bets was rather timid.  Instead of Pressing on every other hit; I would collect from three, or four or even five successive pays, before I Pressed my bets with any degree of significance.

I also hesitated to add Place bets on the outside numbers of 4 and 10, even though Al had hit them a couple of times.  It was only when I had built up a multiple hundred-dollar profit in my rail-space, that I finally added those high-cost Outside Place numbers, through Buy bets.   The upshot of all his shooting was that I made a fair bit of money, and I was totally pleased with the amount, but not at all pleased at how hesitant the $50 minimum had made me.

At the end of his hand, he asked if I was going to shoot.   Since my rack was fat and happy with profit, I said that I would give it a try.  I adamantly and firmly warned him to take it very easy with his betting on me, “because I hardly ever shoot from this spot, and I have NO idea what’s going to happen”.   If I was hesitant and cautious when I was betting on Al’s roll due to the $50 limit; then I was downright super-cautious when it came to betting on myself from this table position and because of the same high-limit.

My grip from “stick-right” is not even related to any of my normal dice-grips.  By the way, for clarification, “stick-right” is actually on the left side of the stickman when you are standing behind him.  I know that sounds backwards, but from the casino box-mans position, that is the casinos rating-card description. 

From stick-right #2, I use the four-finger front grip, with my thumb supporting the rear seam of the two dice.  I use a very light release that targets an initial touchdown point about eighteen inches from the rear wall.  I figure that I must look pretty spastic when I throw from this position, because I use a sprawling, side-reaching, exaggerated extension of my arm upon release of the dice.  My left leg extends out in the opposite direction from my right arm, and I use up as much casino-floor real estate as a mini-baccarat table.  Like I said before, it ain’t pretty, but it’s the only way that I have found any degree of success from this shooting location.

Surprisingly, “Al” actually followed my advice, and hung back on his betting.  Usually when I advise friends to hold off on my hands, they summarily ignore it.  Yes, it usually pays off for them, but if I don’t feel like I’ve hit my shooting stride; then I think it’s a safer thing to do.  That may seem overly cautious, but I don’t want my own or their bankrolls to be jeopardized by a quick and costly 7-Out. 

In this case, Al followed my advice.  I quickly repeated my Pass Line Point, and followed it up with three more Pass Line winners and a large handful of Place bets hits.  At the end of it when he was patting me on the back, he said, “Yeah right, ‘Don’t load up on me’.  Next time I’m going to bet heavy on you right from the beginning like I usually do.  By holding off, you cost me about a thousand dollars because you made me hesitant about jumping in on your roll.” 

Well, how the hell did I know that I was going to throw so well from that spot?  The consistency that I have previously achieved from this shooting-location has been less than stellar, and I didn’t want to jeopardize Al’s bankroll before I had found my groove.   Plus, the $50-minimum made me even more cautious and hesitant.

So, why do I do some of the things that I do, like playing at low-limit tables?

Well, I would rather err on the side of caution.  Low table-limits give me the flexibility and confidence to take bigger and faster advantage of a good roll.  However, it also permits me to keep the cost of my mistakes as low as possible. 

I know you understand that no matter how good you get at Precision-Shooting, there are always going to be losing sessions.  Low table-limits permit me to keep the cost of those losses to an absolute, bare minimum. 

Figure it this way. 

If things go sour at an expensive table, then obviously the base cost of the losses are going to be higher.  Why increase the risk to your bankroll if you don’t have to?

In Las Vegas, all things are relative.  For example, at the Gold Coast Casino, they may have four tables open.  Three of them will have $2 minimums, and be totally packed with players.  The fourth table will be empty due to the higher $5 cost.  Well, in that case, you can bet the farm, the prize cow, and your favorite pig; that I will be the lone shooter at the $5 table.  That’s one of the reasons that I favor playing in gaming-cities that have multiple casinos.  The ability to shop around to find cheap AND empty tables is very attractive to my playing style.

So that my friends, is WHY I do some of the things that I do?

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

The Mad Professor

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