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Volume VI :
Date October 2006
In This Edition:
A Word From Soft Touch
The Free Odds Fallacy
Biofeedback To Improve the “Zone”
Ed Wants to Know...
Queen Bee's Buzz...
A Labor of Love...
Newsletter Archive Links
Soft Touch Say's
September 30th has come and
gone. Our Dice Playshop was a wonderful event and it was great to meet
all those who attended. Thank you all so much for taking the time to join
us in Vegas to tune up, to hook up and to advance your game. And, a
million thank you’s to all who helped pitch in with “casino intel”,
transportation, and for helping all the new members of our growing
community. Surely, your networking with one another will prove to be
By the way, for those that came in the
party weekend for the Hilton Craps Tournament, it was great to hear some
of our party goers advanced pretty high up the ladder. I understand Dice
Coach placed ninth in the tournament and I am sure he will be writing
about his experience in his next month’s web page edition. So, check back
and read his tournament strategy that got him “in the money.”
Congratulations everyone. It’s starting to become a pretty common
occurrence to hear our members placing in craps tourneys. Keep up the
While I am on the subject of the Dice
Coach, he wrote an interesting article titled “Can a Blind Man Shoot?”
Here’s an excerpt:
During the class, I took a little extra
time to work with Carl. Knowing he could not see, I showed him how to
“feel” the dice and how they should be placed in his hand. Then we worked
on the throwing motion, showing him where to release the dice and how that
motion should feel each time he threw the dice.
You can read the rest of the article at
A special thank you goes out to my good
friend, Richard Madaus, author of the book
Think Logically, Live Intuitively: Seeking the Balance.
He was gracious enough to share his views on
how we, as players, should focus on balancing our energy between our mind
and our hearts to create positive outcomes at the craps tables. Quite a
few party attendees enjoyed their interaction with his software program.
He was kind enough to contribute a short article on biofeedback. Be sure
to read it. I hope he comes to more of our events to share his knowledge
One last thing before I sign off, I
subscribe to a great number of newsletters on dice play. Some are great
and educational. Others just serve as advertising pieces. One newsletter
for October that I found interesting was the one I received from my
wonderful friend, Michael Vernon of
www.playing4keeps.com. I was impressed with a couple of articles
written by the two Michael’s. Both Michaels write about “shooting for the
gap” and the “distance between the sevens.” If you don’t receive The
Professor’s newsletter, be sure to sign up for it at his Playing4Keeps
Last, last thing and at the last minute. I wish to
extend to my loyal subscribers, a reduced price for the last Dice Busters
program for the year (a $300 saving) November 4th.
Call Beth toll free to register. - 866-342-3626 -
Let her know that you are a subscriber to Dice Setter Newsletter to
qualify for the savings. That's it!
Until next month, Happy Halloween
everyone and be sure to,
Make your next craps session, no matter
what the outcome, your best session ever.
PS If you have any suggestions for the
new dicesetter.com website or newsletter please send them to me at
and I'll have a look and see how we can incorporate them into our future plans.
The Free Odds Fallacy
By: Mike In Hawaii
Gambling charges an ignorance tax. Much of Las Vegas and similar
places is based on this ignorance tax. People do not learn to play
the games right, or intelligently. Examples abound. Such as the
various pay tables on seemingly identical video poker machines which
make one Jacks or Better machine worth playing and another one a
terrible rip off right beside it.
The game of Craps is an amazing study. It contains some of the best
and worst examples of bets found in a casino. They all look alike
until you start taking them apart. The math is not hard, but the
exact wording of the problem and getting the calculations in exactly
the right way is. You can easily get turned around.
One example is the long stated belief that taking free odds behind
the line on pass line and don't pass bets decreases the house
advantage. You see this calculation bandied about everywhere. You
appear to be a fool if you do not take maximum odds behind on such
bets because such bets are paid at true odds, with zero apparent
house advantage. A dead even bet.
Zero Sum Games
A dead even bet is a "Zero Sum Game". That is where this all falls
down. Zero. When a gambling game is matched to a betting system that
exactly pays fair odds on the betting options, it must over time
total out to zero. You will win exactly as much as you lose on
either side of the bet. Unless something is not right, like crooked
dice, people pocketing chips or other kinds of cheating. Here let's
assume two things. First, no cheating. Second, square dice that are
a true random roll.
Ask yourself "why does the Casino allow free odds bets?" Is it
because they love giving gamblers a fair shake? Not bloody likely!
Since Casinos live and breathe by house advantage, even a slight
tilt in the game could derail the Casino's cash flow. A rake is
built into each possible bet, either by the definition of the way
the game is played, which can be even a small inconspicuous special
rule, or by just offering bets that do not match the true odds of
the game. House advantage.
Basic Craps at the pass line
In basic craps that house edge on pass line bets is 1.41%
approximately. For every $100 you bet on the pass line, the Casino
will tax you $1.41 for playing. That is their "rake" on this
particular action. This will happen because of many players playing
many "hands" of a game whose mechanics and rules are defined to
generate this slight tilt in the odds. Of course they offer an array
of really crappy [pun] bets that pay them much better per "hand" and
there are people betting on those, so overall the craps game cranks
out a better percentage than that.
It is a widely held belief that taking free odds behind the line
after the come out roll decreases the house advantage.
You can easily crank out a calculation that seems to "prove" this.
How it works is even easy to "understand". Any gambling calculation
that is easy to understand is suspect!
You are taking the basic craps pass line bet with its 1.41% house
advantage, and when you take odds behind, you are making a second
bet at zero sum, dead even odds. If you take single odds, one line
of reasoning says you now have (0% + 1.41%) / 2 or about 0.71% house
advantage at the point where you take the free odds bet behind the
pass line. Since you do not get a chance to make the free odds bet
on every hand (many are decided immediately by craps, 7 or 11) the
actual alleged affect on house advantage is a bit different.
But you get the fundamental idea. This is the basis of the taking
odds strategy more or less regardless of which original bet you take
odds on. The house loves it. This has to be a clue that something
does not gel. Why would the house keep asking you, helpfully and
cheerfully, if you would like to take odds?
The critical point here is you are making a SECOND bet and it is a
Zero Sum Bet. Bottom line? It ain't there! A zero sum bet is a dead
wash for both parties. It does not change anything. The house is
still going to extract that $1.41 from every $100 on the pass line
bet with or without the extra free odds behind. And the extra free
odds bet is going to exactly win and lose for you in a dead heat, so
it is going to end up being invisible in the long run.
What does change is the amount of money you are risking. This is
what confuses people. When you take odds you are putting more money
into play. This is the part the house loves. Why is it a bit hard to
You are now risking more money to lose the same $1.41 house
advantage on each $100 that winds up on the pass line. In a perfect
world it would all be a wash on the zero sum side, the free odds bet
part of this combined action. It is that "perfect world" part that
is the key.
The world is not perfect. That is where the Casino gets its
invisible edge on free odds bets. It is a derivative value for them.
They have the BIG pockets. They also look out onto an ocean of
betters for each hand, while each individual looks in and sees only
one Casino opponent. On any given hand there are winners and losers
for the Casino. Even on a single hand, life is evening out for them
towards their mathematically entitled $1.41 from each $100 bet on
the pass line.
Zero Sum Bet is a Contest of Bankrolls
But for individual players, they do not have deep pockets. There is
a limit to how negative an individual shooter can go before they
have to stop one way or another. When a player is busted and forced
out, it is all gravy for the Casino. Human nature causes winners to
tend to keep playing with the predictable result that they start to
drop back towards that inevitable house advantage equilibrium point.
Virtually no individual player quits right at his or her maximum win
point. But all players have to quit when they are hopelessly busted
and tapped out. Casinos eliminate human nature with strict rules and
highly trained and monitored employees.
What the free odds bets does is increase the money in play for
each player, the amount of risk they are exposed to, and increases
the volatility of their winnings, and more importantly their losses,
relative to their personal bankrolls.
This increased volatility increases the chances of them being busted
out in a given session. The Casino with its bigger pockets and its
array of players on each hand, and flow of assorted good and bad
players over just a 24 hour period, can handle the increased
volatility easily. The individual player is at much greater risk
from the increased volatility since he or she can easily be pushed
too negative to afford to stick around, waiting for the swing back
towards the equilibrium point for them personally.
In effect, a free odds bet is a wash over the long run if the two
sides of the bet are equally bankrolled. It is a zero sum bet. It
will equal zero for both sides. The casinos do not fear a zero sum
bet. They realize it increases volatility which they are
economically set up to tolerate.
But by encouraging players to bet more, it increases the individual
player's exposure and increases the absolute value of the positive
and negative swings they experience. It increases the chances of a
player being forced so negative they have to abandon a session as a
big looser, the best possible outcome for the Casino. Drain the
player, move him or her out, and slide in a new one with fresh
chips! The fewer hands it takes to do this, the better for overall
Meanwhile the other bet, the money laid on the pass line, is puffing
along like the "little engine that could." Cranking out its $1.41 of
each $100 bet on the pass line just like clockwork from the player's
pocket into the casino's stacks.
Think of it this way, by taking free odds behind the line, you are
risking a lot more money to loose that $1.41 of every $100 you place
on the pass line. You are ensuring a higher volatility, larger plus
and minus swings and the chances that one of those negative swings
will be large enough to bust you out of a session.
That is all. The $1.41 remains. It makes no sense to say because you
put $30,000 on the layout in odds and pass line wagers combined in a
session you reduced the house advantage vs. just putting the same
smaller percentage without odds (say $12,000) on the pass line
without making the free odds wagers. The only thing that really
"played" was the pass line wagers, and of that the house took $1.41
of each $100. All the free odds bets did was increase your exposure
to volatility, which is great if you got lucky, but ended your
session much faster if you did not.
What Does Make Sense?
Much of gambling strategy is clear thinking. Unfortunately gambling
calculations while they are very easy math, typically, are the
dreaded "word problems" that everyone learned to hate in High
School! The evil word problems center on formulating the question.
Stating them exactly right is key to the getting the correct answer
and very difficult.
You must decide in advance how much money you are going to risk in a
given session vs. the amount in your gambling bankroll. This is what
a casino does each and every moment of every day. They know
mathematically how much money they need in reserve for the risk on
all their games and are prepared to cover all the statistical swings
so they can keep cranking out the income the inevitable house
advantages guarantee to them. The individual must approach the
problem the same way. You have a certain bankroll to risk.
In craps, you must decide how much you can afford to risk on each
hand you participate in.
Once that number is decided, NOW you can decide to put a percentage
of that number onto the pass line etc. and then take the rest of it
in odds on the first bet. This is a good strategy!
What is NOT a good strategy is to be going along betting the $5
chips that your bankroll entitles you to risk on each hand, and
hearing that "odds will reduce the house advantage", suddenly start
taking an extra $10 in odds on each bet or whatever odds are
allowed. What this does is suddenly double or triple the amount of
money you are risking on each hand, without increasing your bankroll
by the same amount. You are now certain to be wiped out by the
increased dollar amount swings your bankroll cannot tolerate. Some
casinos offer up to 100 times odds. This is why.
So, first decide how much you can afford on each hand you participate in.
THEN and only then, decide if you want to take a percentage of that
number as odds. Done this way odds is a good tool for preserving
your bankroll and increasing your session life. As long as you keep
the total in original bets and odds equal to what you can afford to
risk on each hand based on your bankroll. The second you allow the
siren song of "Taking Odds" to lure you into doubling or tripling
your average bet, out proportion to your bankroll, the Casino has
you right where they want you. In over your head.
New shooter coming out,
Mike In Hawaii
© Copyright 2006
© Copyright 2006
It was great to meet
folks at the Playshop party at Beau’s house. Many thanks again to Debbie,
Beau, Beth and Michael for idea, the hospitality, and the opportunity to learn
and share together. There are so many interesting and knowledgeable people to
meet in the world of dice. There were a number of questions about the
HeartMath biofeedback computer program/device that I shared with those
interested during the party. I wanted to provide information about this piece
of equipment that I have found to be a great training aid to assist you in
remaining calm and fully present, a very valuable state in the noise and
excitement of the gaming environment.
This device is a
wonderful piece of technology that provides both instant feedback about the
level of stress present in the body and also offers a laboratory tested
approach to training yourself to instantly become calm in a way that is
necessary to enter the fabled “zone”, a place where long rolls seem to live.
The HeartMath group
offers the computer program (the Freeze-Framer), sensor, and training aids to
support their structured approach to moving your body into a stress free and
optimal performance state. They also offer a new PDA sized portable device
called the Emwave (www.emwave.com)
for mobile training and testing.
I talk about my
experiences at the HeartMath Institute in Chapter 20 of my book Think
Logically, Live Intuitively: Seeking the Balance. I have continued my
exploration of this technology and I’m now experimenting with the practiced
“coherent” state attained and the impact of performance at the tables. Early
results are very positive.
dice training programs contain an element referred to as “the zone”, a calm
and centered place where muscle memory takes over to allow all those hours of
practice to pay off. There are numerous stories about long rolls that took
place when shooters enter “the zone”. This technology provides a proven
training approach to the calm and centered state that is a prerequisite to
working in “zone” level of play. It’s a little pricey, but well worth it if
you will apply yourself to their techniques and practice attaining “coherence”
while practicing your throwing techniques.
Always more to learn about
Ed Wants to
Know... If You Know?
What Las Vegas Hotel/Casino was "home" to Elvis Presley?
What is the name of the Las Vegas Casino where Siegfried and Roy first opened
their magic act?
3. After the hit on Bugsy Siegel, the two trigger
men drove north to abandon the get-a-way car. What city did they drive to and what
did they do with the car?
Send your answers to
Last Month's Questions:
What is Bugsy Siegel’s claim to fame?
Who were the members of the “Rat Pack”?
What is the
name of the show room and the casino where the “Rat Pack” played?
Who said it?
"…the only way to make money in a casino
is to own one."
1. Bugsy Siegel was a mobster. He leveraged himself into Las Vegas and
opened the Fabulous Flamingo with the financial help of his friends back
east. Things did not go well for the Flamingo and after a brief two week
opening beginning December 26, 1947, it had to shut down. After several
months, it later reopened, this time with the hotel, top restaurants and
full-blown entertainment. The Flamingo began to show profit in May of
"47", but it was not enough for the east coast mob. Suspicious that Bugsy
was skimming, the mob put out a hit order on Bugsy. They waited for Bugsy
to leave Las Vegas. While visiting his girl friend in Hollywood,
California, Bugsy was gunned down gangland style at his girl friend’s
apartment, June 20, 1947. The murder of the mobster/casino owner made
headlines nationwide. Bugsy’s murder turned out to be one of the biggest
publicity events ever for Las Vegas. Bugsy's death put Las Vegas and
gambling on the map and in the minds of the nation. Curiosity brought
hundreds of thousand to Las Vegas to the see the casino that Bugsy built. There is no memorial or recognition in Las Vegas for Bugsy Siegel unless
you count Bugsy’s Café at the Flamingo Hilton. Bugsy's murder as mobster boss of the Fabulous Flamingo
Casino was his claim to fame. The publicity created in the wake of his death
made famous the little desert oasis and transformed Las Vegas into the world capital for entertainment.
2. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter
Lawford were the “Rat Pack”. Shirley MacClaine, Lauren Bacall, and Judy
Garland... sometimes as side kicks...
3. The Copa Room at the Sands Hotel and
Casino hosted the Rat Pack.
4. Steve Wynn said it!
Thanks to Jonah and Dice Governor for the
correct answers and good guesses by those of you that sent other answers.
Hey, Jonah, you are on a roll! Got all four of them right!
The Law of Win/Win says, "Let's not do it
your way or my way; let's do it the best way."
22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness
Queen Bee's Buzz:
Hi Queen Bee,
I have a couple of questions I hoped you could answer.
1.) Say I wanted to lay the 4 for $20 to hedge a $10 don't pass bet. If I call
it off during the point cycle, and back on during the come out, do I have to pay
the vig every time I call it on or only when there's a decision?
2.) Do you happen to know of or know of any
lists containing any Las Vegas casinos that only take the vig when you win on
lay bets? I know there are some, I just don't remember which ones or how many.
Thanks for your time,
1.) First of all, if you are going to lay bet, you should only play casinos that
collect the vig after the bet wins. Really, why do you want to pay the tax
before ever taking delivery on the goods? To answer your question, no you do not
pay the vig every time you call the bet back on. But consider this, once you
have made and paid for the lay bet, you have paid for the advantage that the bet
has over the casino. So, what's the point of calling off a lay bet? Why would
you want to have paid for the advantage and then give it back playing off and
2.) Sorry, such is list is not in my possession.
However, from experience, "real" casinos collect the vig after the bet wins. So,
in Las Vegas, you should not have to pay up front.... unless you end up in
"rinky-dink" joints. Why play there in the first place?
Thanks fro writing,
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