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Dice Setter�s Journal

How to Use Your Journal and Benefit




  • Begin with the New Year, keep an annual journal, January though December.

  • Have one journal for each game you play, craps, blackjack, poker and so on.

  • Take your journal with you when you play, fresh memory means more accurate reporting.

  • Record every session, no matter how short, win or lose, and even if you don�t play or just watch a game.

  • Be honest with yourself. It will be to your advantage.

  • Make it your secret discipline to keep a journal.


Keeping Your Journal:


The purpose of a journal is to provide you with important honest information about your game. It will help you improve your game in many ways. It will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Your journal shows you how you are doing financially with wins, losses and with your year to date total.


When recording a session, you may have a short entry or you may use several pages. It is up to you to record what you feel are the important and necessary pieces of information.


Here are a few things to definitely keep track of:



The Casino

Game Played

Time of day

Length of session


Minimum bet -unit

Units won/lost

Money won/lost

Year to day total

Table Conditions

Mistakes made

Smart plays

How you rolled

Sets if any


How you felt

Special notes

What did not work

What worked


This is a required discipline for the player serious about improving their game. It is easy to keep a running count of profit and loss from each game. A journal provides you with an accurate account of where you stand for the year. It is important that you know if you are up or down for the year.


Keeping a record is essential for tax purposes. Gambling losses are tax deductible against gambling profits. If you are going to itemize gambling income, you must be able to defend losses with a record. The casino is not going to write you a receipt for your losses when you cash out. It is up to you to be able to document your gambling history.


The most important reason to document your playing time is for a reference. A journal can be a powerful resource to help you to identify strength and weakness in your game. If you find yourself in a slump, the first thing to do is refer to your journal. Read backward until you find a pattern or the place where your game started to break down.


A player can review their journal, look at the losing sessions, and usually identify essential elements that lead to the slump. When a player is experiencing an unsuccessful streak some typical telltale signs could be playing too long, chasing a loss, engaging in poor playing conditions, making mistakes, playing too tight, or playing too aggressive. This information should show up in the journal.


Playing too long is playing in a game that is going nowhere and ignoring the signs that the game has stalled. A game that goes back and forth - win one, lose one, and push - is a dead game. After an hour and half to two hours, the game turns cold and, in less than fifteen minutes, the entire betting stake can be lost. Better to leave early, cut losses and find another game. Playing too long tends to lull a player into a trance-like state, as the player believes that the game is bound to turn around and become favorable.


Playing carelessly usually shows a lack of discipline. The player enters a game that they have no business playing. It often is a matter of ego or emotion that causes a player to think they are invincible and that they can walk up to any table and make it pay. Being too eager to play, and getting into bad games, is an unsuccessful habit for both experienced and novice players. Getting into a game that you have not assessed for positive playing conditions will usually cost you money. The idea of playing anytime, on any table, is what built the �City of Dreams�. The games are always available. You must take charge of your game by being patient. You are a winner when you play at optimum times with optimum conditions. Realize that you are a hunter, if you are going to �eat�, you must hunt smart.


Here are sample journal entries.

                                                                                                          + / -    YTD



1/27/00, Mirage, Craps, 7:00am, $5 unit, $200 buy-in, played 1.5 hr., +28 units, 6-7 players � head down blinkers on kind of guys�fun to play with. Steady game, back and forth, no one really doing much, mostly short hands, 1 or 2 points and quick outs, but treading water, (keeping even). I broke the ice with a long three-point hand, my dice looked great from release to landing. Felt good too! Setting for points with 3-V, 2-V and modified 3-V for 5/9. Knocked down, a point of 6, 9 and 10� mostly all inside numbers. Set for 7�s on the come out rolled two back to back on the come out, total of five passes. Next shooter followed with a nice six-point hand, 6/8 progressions worked great. Then back to the earlier game with the other players� short hands. I didn�t wait for more, I colored up +28 units. Never down more than 10 units, I felt fresh and rested, had fun, good crew, hit a couple of hard-way tokes for the boys when I had the dice, game moved along at a quick pace, no one playing the prop bets. No heat.

                                                                                                      +140        $396


1/28/00, Mirage, BJ double deck, 11:00 am, 10$ unit, $300 buy-in, 1 hr. 20 min., up 15 units profit, woman dealer, two other players, Good start, winning 1-3 units per shuffle. Count never broke away more than an exact plus 4, never got a max bet out, did well on doubles, defended splits, Only 3 BJs, made a fair amount of stiff hands without busting, hit the wall after about 1 hr of play (game stalled), table filled with players, I colored up.

                                                                                                           +150         $546


3/18/00, Big Rock, 9:30 p.m., BJ double deck, $10 unit, buy-in $300, 45 min., smart-alecky male dealer, lost 23 units, played head to head first 15 min., always lost by just one or pushed on my 20�s, losing after each shuffle, 1 BJ & 1 BJ push, lots of 12�s and 13�s, could not pull a hand, few doubles and lost them all, smoker sits in at 3rd base, count went plus 7, lost on a 6-unit double (12untis total), followed by a 4 unit loss, lost 16 units in two hands on a plus count. Wasn�t working, not my night.

                                                                                                          <230>    $316


Your journal may have shorter or longer notes. You may create your own �cues�, but however you chose to do it, include enough information to remind you of the session. The idea is to record information for your benefit, and learn from it when you need a review. When first starting out with a journal, more information is better while you get into the practice. You will find your groove and the information most important to you.


How you can interpret information:


In the first example, the player identifies that the dice game was worthy of playing noting that he was not losing, but keeping even, (treading water). There were 6-7 players, this indicates a smaller game with the dice coming around for a dice influencer, more turns as the shooter. Note the shift in the game when it broke away from one or two point hands to his hand with three points, totaling five passes. Also, note that the seven-set was working, drawing out two sevens in a row on a come out. Nice to have the sevens appear at the right time. He is content with the way his dice are laying down. Playing early morning, the player is fresh, rested, and having fun with the other players. He indicates he is playing with a good group, including the dealers. With the game not costing this player, he was encouraged to continue, even though it was not producing much. Then that moment of �right time� came along and they caught a nice little burst. Seeing the game return to short hands, he made the wise decisions to quit and take the profit. Not a bad move for a 45-minute game.


The third entry documents a loss playing blackjack. It is a red flag when you are not receiving a fair share of blackjacks, (usually 5% of your hands or five blackjacks an hour). Pushing a blackjack is like an insult. Too many stiff hands busting is an indicator of trouble. Not winning the moneymaking double hands, are other red flags. The final blow was losing two hands in a row with pressed bets when conditions were favorable, confirming the negative game.


Here is what could be learned from the third journal entry. The early warnings of a tough game were ignored. Losing doubles and blackjacks, the hands that should be won, were warnings. Ignoring the fact that the dealer was a rude jerk is also an indicator. Be it cards or dice, you can chose your playmates. It is one thing to get stiff hands and bust, but to keep seeing the same repeating combinations; it was obvious that the energy was presenting warnings. When the smoker, an undesirable player, entered the game, the player should have taken notice. Shifts in the game are signals telling you to play on your toes. Actually, it is better to be on your feet. Walking away from the game would have been the better play. Ignoring or missing the early warnings was important information recorded here. The mistakes cost the player 23 units.


Profit games are usually the result of hitting the plus count right or catching a long craps hand. Play like the �patient hunter�, waiting for your time to come. Sometimes you have to play tight defense while waiting for your opportunity to come along. Learn to recognize the difference between a game with promise and one that is going nowhere. Record your sessions and you will document the signals and start to discriminate between the two types of games. It will become clearer to you when it is time to bail out, and you will recognize the signs of a game worthy of your attention.


Keeping a journal and reviewing wins and losses can accurately paint the picture of your playing habits. You can honestly evaluate your play, recognizing those things that you are doing well, and the weaknesses that need improvement. The rewards will be evident as you educate yourself with the discipline of keeping a journal. $$$


From: http://Playing4keeps.com



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