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Craps Play- It’s A Mental Thing

By Soft Touch

In these past few years, I have had the honor and privilege of playing and working with some wonderful people. Their approach to the game is business like, investing their time and money in an effort to gain an advantage in their craps play.

I have witnessed many of them excel in their game, and share their pride and joy when they report their steady successes.

But, not everyone wins. From time to time, I hear the stories of fellow players experiencing tremendous disappointment in their play. They become disenchanted and seek answers to what went wrong at the tables.

It is these individuals that I care most about. I want everyone to be a winner. What stops these players from succeeding?

While I’ll never claim to have all the answers as to what ails players at the craps tables, I can say that my experience these past few years has taught me a thing or two about the “power of believing.” Winning starts with believing.

Our own worst enemy can be the beliefs we harbor in our mind. It is those subtle negative thoughts that simmer just below the level of our consciousness that trip us up on the path to winning. We often sabotage our own play by not assessing what is really in, or on, our minds during a craps session.

In my observation, our fellow players who are losing more than they are winning are placing undue pressure on themselves. They attempt to play up to the standards of some mythical golden shooter. You know, the ones who always report fantastic or monstrous rolls on every session. Or, who state that they are making a huge financial score every time they walk up to the craps table.

First and foremost, I strongly believe a craps player has to recognize that this game is not a team sport. Unless we formally form a team play situation beforehand, we come to the craps table as individuals. We each play with our own separate bankrolls. We buy in and “color” in individually. And, winning or losing is solely based on our own ability to make decisions founded on what we know and what we feel.

With this in mind, here are some of the subtle ways I believe we sabotage our play. If we experience any one of these concepts during our play, our success will be difficult to achieve. If two or all three are present, I can guarantee a losing session. Being mindful of these points has kept me on the winning side of this game.

First, accept that no session can ever be perfect. Expecting perfection is an impossibility. Anyone can walk up to a craps table, at anytime, and apply a strategy that can win. But, will that strategy work every time? You can practice your grips and throws religiously, but as the Dice Coach often says, we are not machines and can not always duplicate the same perfect throw each time we roll the dice.

Don’t get hung up on the “perfect grip, set or throw.” We sometimes terrify ourselves with our efforts to be “perfect” every time. A perfect throw or strategy that works each and every time we play simply does not exist.

Before everyone starts debating the concept of “striving for perfection”, understand that I am not saying that we should “not intend to have good rolls.” What I am saying is that placing the burden of “expecting perfection” every time you walk up to the craps table is unrealistic, and we are missing the real key to winning. As I have heard Michael Vernon of “Playing For Keeps” state countless times, the key to winning in this game is “being at the table when the hot roll comes along.”

So, winning has nothing to do with “expecting perfection”, but has everything to do with your ability to read the table and put your own knowledge and skill to work. Detaching ourselves from the burden of this concept keeps us heading in a positive direction.

Fear would be next on my list. Fear of not being able to perform. Fear of losing. The fear of being judged by those around you. The tensing, jaw clenching, palm sweating thought of not being able to simply toss the dice from one end of the table to the other side. What are we afraid of? If we break this game into simple and small steps, we won’t bog down the process. Free your mind, and the dice will follow.

And be yourself. We have to stop and realize that no human being can possibly be exactly like another. I cannot shoot the dice like Dice Coach, any more that he can shoot the dice like me. As an academic exercise, you can mimic someone’s style of shooting and play when you start. But you have to evolve and create your own unique style. To not develop your own individual style of play, will in the long run, work against you.

And, for those of a metaphysical nature, it is extremely important to remember that fears are nothing more than beliefs projected into the future. And, our experiences become consistent with our beliefs.

Do not take the “baggage” composed of “experiences and expectations” with you during a session. In other words, while playing, forget for that moment all the things you wish to accomplish should you win. Remove the “if I win, then I can have….” mentality from your game. Pinning your hopes on winning creates what I call “craps drag.” Uncouple yourself from the subtle thoughts of what you will do if you win. We all want to win, so for the moment, just “play.”

And lastly, play for fun. Relax, enjoy the game, and don’t become so focused on techniques, systems or strategies that you lose the excitement of the game.

So, as we all continue to journey to new discoveries in our craps world, please remember that the only obstacle that comes between you and winning, is YOU.

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