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Diagonal Grip Questions

Please remember!  These are archives!  The Dice Setter message board was shut down. What is published here are just a few of the threads documenting the early days of dice setting strategies and opinions written by the pioneers of dice influencing.


While I'm not yet ready to reliquish the title of "point-seven artist," practice has been going better lately. Let's say I'm now "guardedly optimistic." An extra hearty thank you to Peg for the grip exercise. I love it.

I especially love it because I had switched to the diagonal grip recently, and had immediate success. Which, in hindsight, should have made me a little suspicious, or, at least, guardedly optimistic. Because then it all went to hell.

I realized now that I switched because the diagonal grip "allowed" me to be a little lazier...the grip felt more natural, and I on some level thought I didn't need to be as careful about my finger placement. Well, we all know that's not true...

The point of all this: A shameless attempt to benefit from the trial and error of others. Any fans of the diagonal grip out there? How far down do you drop your thumb? Do your three fingers (or just middle finger) have just their tips resting against the dice, or do you level the dice against the pads of your fingers? I of course know our mileage will vary.

And how do you minimize spin? When I first played with the grip, I got gobs of beautiful spin. The dice flew together like magic. When they landed, well, it was a different story.

Thanks for bearing with my ramblings.


My dearest niece, You have found the good and bad things of that grip.

#1 The good, Feels good in your hand because you are on the edge of the dice. You will have more control over where the dice land because of the edge gripping also. Because it tends to promote rotation the dice will stay on axis easier.

#2 The bad, Much less rotational control. What you have gained in control of your toss, in respect to landing zone and axis control ,you have lost in being able to control the rotation.
For me its a bad trade. If you perhaps had more tactile sense than I have, I might guess that you could adjust the grip to further rotational control but I cant. Its hard for me to roll the dice up on edge and then try to adjust the placement of my thumb. If revs is what you want then this grip is for you.


When I first started setting I tried the diagonal grip to reduce friction from the finger pads. As I became more skilled I found that it was not the best grip for me.

But, if you toss 'em like Yuri writes in his book, from the deck and not from the air I think you may be able to develop this toss.

Billy is right about the rotational factor. Now you have to find just the right amount of rotation without over doing it. Try the off the deck delivery and let us know how you fare.


Hey Kelly,

Sound like you are at about the same stage with this thing that I am. I agree with DiceDoc about off the table delivery. Besides the much publicized benefits (level dice, easier line up with back wall, etc…) It does seem to slow down the revs. Something else I do that helps me control the spin I developed because of something I do “wrong”.

When I first started experimenting with the diagonal, everyone said you should press the front of the dice with your fingers to tilt them forward, and then put the thumb on the lower back diagonal surface. Well, I just couldn’t make my fingers do it right. The dice kept sliding out from under. So, I reversed it. I pushed back with the thumb first and then added the fingers after the back tilt.

What this did was give me a sort of measuring stick for how deep to place the thumb. What I do now is start by pushing the thumb down on the dice first before the tilt, and measure how far down my thumbnail goes below the dice. For me it works like this: The deeper my thumb goes, the less spin I put on the dice. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it works for me.

Something else you mentioned about the depth of the fingers that I saw DiceDoc discuss on another thread somewhere. The ring finger seems to cause more problems with dice going off axis--at least for me. What I discovered was that when I put my fingers on the dice naturally, I had a tendency to place the ring finger to deep.

I kept getting a wobble in the right die (when shooting right-handed) and couldn’t make it stop until I experimented with raising the ring finger up a bit after I set. This seemed to work and I don’t have that problem any more. Which leaves more time to work on my 47 other problems.

Don’t know if any of this will help you, but that’s the way it’s happening for me—at least for now.


Kelly I experimented with the different grips on Irish`s grips page and most felt uncomfortable to me after using each for about a thousand tosses----Some , the perfect grip , I just could never make heads nor tails----I settled on the Diagonal because it felt comfortable to me and I could get good backspin and the dice remained on axis more often. I had an easy time picking up the dice off the table with this grip and had some good rolls from the end of the table with this grip and of course some bad rolls. I then began shooting from right of stick because everyone said to shoot from the shortest distance to the backwall. When I did shoot from stick right, I just couldn't get the diagonal grip to work for me from that shorter distance, plus I wanted a grip that would give me a softer landing from the shorter distance. Thus I started using the ice tong or two finger grip (middle finger and thumb) from stick right and stick left . If I ever shoot from the end of the table again, I will use the diagonal grip ---lately I only play from SR or SL


Do we really want backspin? Doesn't the knuckleball effect work better? I was talking to a physicist the other day about dice throwing and he said "with spin you get tilting." In other words, the spin causes the horizontal axis to tilt and hit the felt at a very slight angle causing collision followed by sideways inertia. The no spin knuckleball would not create any tilt and, thus, keep the dice on-axis after they hit the felt.

Make sense?


Rookie--- It makes sense ---But try this ---shoot the dice using the Hardways set ( 1..6 1..6 axis ) 432 times with the diagonal grip, the grip with ultimate backspin and then toss them 432 times holding them side by side or stacked and tossing them like you are tossing ice out of a cup while you are holding it (ultimate knckleball toss)----Add up on/off axis for both ways and report to us your results----


I'm a BIG fan of the diagonal grip. Thrown from the deck, it's pretty easy to control backspin, and the fact that you have very little flesh touching the dice assists in a smooth release....

I used to throw it from straight out only, but I've found it to be a consistent grip for any position, WITH ONE CAVIAT:

Do not use a wrist flick to impart backspin. Backspin, or lack of backspin for some grips, should be a natural result of your throwing motion.



Much to mull over...

While I admit I was lured by the beautiful, dice-stick-together spin the diagonal grip allows, and now realize there's more to it than that, I think I will practice with it a little longer. I don't seem to have trouble with my thumb placement, except perhaps for finding optimal thumb "depth." Using Irish's method of adjusting my fingertips against the table to ensure they're straight is really helpful in managing that pesky ring finger. Using the table method of thumb placement is still awkward, partly because it's unfamiliar and partly because Irish's hands are just shaped differently than mine. Good stuff, tho.

I have played with shooting from the table, but it really hurts my back. Dice Doc, is this something that you experience? Will it just be a matter of getting the muscles used to it? My first Vegas trip I had fears that I had somehow damaged my left kidney, the ache was so severe--then I realized I had been contorting from stick right at the craps table for hours on end! My first craps "injury."

My problem with the "Sharpshooter" three-finger grip, and perhaps you can help me with this, Billy, is that I have to grip it too tightly to keep the dice from falling out of my hands. And in order to keep my grip tight enough, I lock my wrist and end up "straight-arming" the dice down the table. It doesn't feel natural, and my hand tires more easily. Would dropping my fingers down toward the middle of the dice help with this?

Sorry so long. I really appreciate everyone's input--great stuff.



I'm trying to picture holding the dice too hard. As you know because of my baseball playing and coaching I will relate things to that sport. Pitchers will have problems when they squeeze the ball just as golfers will make bad shots when they squeeze the club. It seems to me that in all of these endeavors the player wants to relax and hold their particular instrument with care and loose enough to ALLOW that instrument to work in its own way without forcing the issue. When the pressure gets to any player they tend to tighten up and not relax, this translates into forcing the shot. When any of these players forces the shot (squeezing the club, ball, bat dice) the result isn't as good. The ball doesn't move the dice dont turn over the club or bat has no wrist affect.

As much as we've shot together I don't see the straight arm thing that you describe, I do see you being too mechanical sometimes read squeezing?) .and maybe too quick with the shot. I don't think that other than more friction holding the dice deeper will prevent the squeezing too much, it will only give the fingers more surface area to grip, which will alter the rotation.

You may not realize that I grip the dice much deeper than most because I cant feel them any other way. This presents other friction problems that have to be dealt with (note the two finger grip). For me it's easier dealing with the friction problems than loosing the feel of the dice. Having the "feel" of the dice is important just remember that when you change your grip and feel, you will change other things that you may not have thought about. It can be overcome.


Thanks, Uncle B. I've been revisiting the three-finger grip as I sit at my desk--if I hold on too lightly, the fall out of my hand (um, duh). Afraid of dropping them, I clench them. Especially at a table, where I get a little nervous still.

I'll work on it. Ideally, I would like to become adept at both grips--another arrow in my quiver.

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