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Dice Setter's Journal


How to Use Your Journal and Benefit




  • Begin now and then start at 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, even if you don't play or just watched 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 suggestions of things to record.


The date played


The Casino

The game played

Time of day

Length of session



Minimum bet

Units won/lost

Money won/lost


Running total $

Table Conditions

Mistakes made

Smart plays


How you rolled

Sets used


How you felt

Special notes

What didn't 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. This 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 is a sample journal entry

                                                                                                          + / -    YTD

                                                                                                        $ running total


02/27/20, Cosmopolitan, Craps, 7:00am, $25 unit, $1,000 buy-in, Pass line and 6/8 place bets. Played 1.5 hr., +28 units, 6-7 players. Head down, blinkers on kind of game. Guys fun to play with. Steady game, back and forth, no one really doing much, mostly short hands, 1 or 2 points and some quick outs, but treading water, (keeping even). 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 seven 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 rolling 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.

                                                                                                      +700   $ running total


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 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 90-minute game.


Profitable games are usually the result of catching a long craps hand. Play like a patient hunter, waiting for your time to come. Sometimes you have to play tight defense while waiting for your opportunity. Learn to recognize the difference between a game with promise and one that is going nowhere. Record your sessions and you will document the signposts and learn 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 time and investment.


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 eliminate the weaknesses that hold you back. The rewards will be evident, as you educate yourself, with the discipline of keeping a journal. $$$

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