Mad Professor’s Shooting Bible
Conquering Ultra Bouncy Tables
Let’s tackle a problem
that many players are running into on a much more frequent basis these days.
What We AREN’T Talking About
Now before we dive right into this subject, let me first say that we are NOT
merely talking about
tables that are moderately bouncy or
ones that provide a little extra rebound and jounce when the
dice make their initial contact with the
table. Most of the mild-bouncy or medium-bouncy layouts
can almost always be easily conquered by
using my conventional Low, Slow, & Easy Toss.
You will find a complete discussion of that throw here:
Instead, we are talking about the new breed of
ultra-bouncy trampoline layouts as
WYNN-LV, Borgata-A/C, a number of Illinois
boats, and LV’s Southcoast, to name a few.
The Why, What, and How of Ultra Bouncy Tables
Ultra bouncy tables are an intentional by-product of a new type of
In most cases the old-style open-cell ¼-inch foam-rubber that numerous
experimented with over the last couple of
decades, has given way to a newer high-density
closed-cell foam of either
1/4-inch (.250”) or 1/8-inch (.125”) thickness.
This new type of underlay is similar to the stuff that high-tech electronics
sometimes come wrapped
in. Its surface is relatively smooth (with
no open pores or cells), very dense, and provides little “give”
when pressed lightly.
Our friend, The Lion, has been doing some outstanding research on
this particular subject over the last couple of months. If fact my
discussions with him during that time have led to some very satisfying
improvements in my own shooting on these
Without getting into the behind-the-scenes cloak-and-dagger inquiries and
that went into learning all we could about
this relatively new D-I adversary; suffice it to say that most
of this padding is supplied to the casinos
by GPI (Gaming Partners International, which is the
combined operations of PaulSon, Bud Jones
and Bourgogne et Grasset); and it is quickly gaining
popularity among casino executives as a way
to protect the felt from cuts, the wood from spilled
drinks, as well as providing a side benefit
of perhaps impeding attempts at dice-influencing.
I have found that the best cure for ultra-bouncy trampolines is my recently
ULTRA Low, Slow & Easy Toss
Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you that most players who THINK
they are using a LS&E toss are
actually using more of an Egg Toss
Lob (as discussed here:
); which when used on a bouncy table makes the
initial touch down angle WAY TOO STEEP. So
even though they are throwing their ersatz Egg Toss Lob slowly and
with very little forward-energy, their initial landing is still
way too steep for super-bounce,
Obviously that is NOT what the basic LS&E is all about, and that is
certainly not what my recently
refined ULTRA LS&E is all
Instead, the ULTRA LS&E is in essence, a much L-O-W-E-R, much S-L-O-W-E-R,
E-A-S-I-E-R (gentler) throw than the
conventional LS&E toss.
It employs a much lower release-height that the LS&E (by 50%), and
much slower throwing-force
(about 40% less throwing-energy that the
LS&E), and a much more gentle and easier spin-rate
(using either backspin or forward-spin,
although ideally I like to use about two or three full-rotations-
The reason the ULTRA LS&E works so well on super-bouncy tables is
because it takes a proven
on-axis, primary-face performer like the
LS&E, and modifies it just enough to provide a
satisfactory degree of toss-outcome
reliability despite the seemingly extraordinary reaction that
conventionally-influenced tosses suffer
through on the very same surface.
Should We Even TRY To Tackle Trampoline-Like
Many players feel that tough, hard-to-beat tables should be avoided at all
costs; and to a degree I
can see their point, especially in
jurisdictions where multiple casinos offer multiple tables with
multiple kinds of layouts. However, many
people don’t have the luxury of choice, and I see a day on
the horizon when a wider number of casinos
will be installing these trampoline-type layouts; so it
makes sense to at least know how to deal
with them if you ever do encounter one.
The dice-grip that you choose for the ULTRA LS&E toss doesn’t really matter
as much as the
evenness and balance of the release
When dealing with super-bouncy tables; the height at which you
release the dice, the amount of
spin that you impart at the
point-of-release, the descent-trajectory angle that they first
table with, and the target-area
at which they are thrown to, is what makes all the difference
between a highly-reliable outcome…and
a truly horrific looking random result.
Now that’s not to say that your grip doesn’t matter.
Rather, it just means that your basic grip, no matter which one you use;
will usually suffice if it
already delivers pretty consistent results
on traditional layouts. On the other hand, if your grip is
lousy to begin with and you are getting
inconsistent results on normal tables; then it isn’t going to
magically cure itself and turn you into a
golden arm of proficiency when you audition it on a bouncy
Components of Victory
As I mentioned a moment ago, the height at which you release the
dice, the amount of spin that
you impart, the descent-trajectory angle
that the dice first impact the table with, and the target-area
at which they are thrown to; is what makes
all the difference on trampoline tables.
Those four elements are the keystone components of victory in terms of
conquering this type of
The flatness of the cubes flight-path in a very low, very flat
parabolic trajectory is a critical part of
the bouncy-table solution, as is the
maximal-reduction (in absolute terms) of the amount of
release-energy that you
expend when the dice are released from your hand.
If it can be said that my now-conventional Low, Slow, and Easy Toss uses the
least amount of
throwing-speed and release-point height
amongst the “traditional” D-I tosses; then it can be said
that my ULTRA LS&E uses about 40% to 50%
less of each of those directional inputs.
My conventional Low, Slow & Easy Toss is released about 6 to 8 inches
above the table surface,
but by the time you fully extend your arm
in its follow-through motion, the dice are only about 4 to 5
inches off of the felt. That means
that they are sent on their way in a relatively flat downward
trajectory towards their initial
touch down target.
On the other hand…
My newly-refined ULTRA Low, Slow & Easy Toss is released about 4 to 6
inches above the table
surface, but by the time you fully extend
your arm in its follow-through motion, the dice are only about
2 to 3 inches off of the felt.
That means that they are sent on their way in an even flatter
towards their initial touch-down target.
Please note that the dice are not BOWLED or ROLLED down the table. They are
THROWN in a
flat-trajectory to the initial target-area.
That means that there is very little descent-energy and therefore,
very little opportunity for the
high-density closed-cell foam underlayment
to impart a high degree of jounce or rebound, and so
the dice are more likely to continue on
towards the backwall in an undisturbed on-axis facially-
The LEAST opportunity you give to the HDCC material to disturb the initial
touch-down in any way,
the better your chances of a high
In other words, you have to minimize the rebound shock that the dice
initially encounter on their first
impact with the table in order to
maximize their continued axial integrity.
The less energy and the less undissipated descent-speed that
the dice impact the table with; the
more likely they are to end up with
a result that we intend instead of the random-rebound hopping,
popping, and scattering that high-density
closed-cell foam normally inspires.
The Function of Spin
As many players have discovered, these next-generation super-bouncy tables
are very touchy
especially if you use what at first blush
intuitively calls for a no-spin knuckleball toss.
Unfortunately that usually worsens the situation.
The fact is that a flat no-spin knuckleball landing will often result in a
surprisingly high rebound
accompanied with astonishingly
unpredictable uncorrelated forward hopping, near-vertical
popping, and sideways splattering. The fact
is though, you really shouldn’t be surprised because
the descent angle of most no-spin
knuckleball tosses invite and encourage the HDCC foam to
dispense that kind of random-inspiring
Why is that?
If the dice land flat with a no-spin knuckleball on a conventional
hard-neutral surface, you often end
up with a dead-cat bounce; however
on the super-bouncy layouts that we’re talking about today, the
dice will often times bounce right off of
For that reason, I have found that these tables need A LITTLE BIT of spin
instead of a no-spin
knuckleball. Again though, when I say “a
little bit” of spin, I DO MEAN a LITTLE bit.
When you combine a little bit of
with an ultra-low and ultra-flat
flight-path trajectory; you end up with an amazing level of axial
and facially-correlated integrity…and that
is what dice-influencing is really all about.
Why Use ANY Spin At All Or Why Not Use MORE
If the dice land with improper amounts of directional input (either too much
or too little); then the
axially-and-facially upsetting reaction
imparted by the table-surface itself contributes to the
randomness of subsequent movements.
In other words, we know ahead of time that the table will react differently
to the impact of the dice
depending on the trajectory it is hit with.
We also know that that reaction will be dictated both by the
force with which the dice impact the
surface, as well as the angle-of-incidence (the steepness or
shallowness) in which the dice hit it.
As a result we have two seemingly contradictory impact-elements to deal
with. On one hand, we
want to minimize the high rebounds
that are caused by steep descent angles, while at the same
time, we want to maximize the
directional stability as well as maintaining axial and facial-
correlation integrity of the dice.
To accomplish all of that in synchronous harmony, we need to input a
little bit of spin on the dice to
maximize the directional stability as well
as maintain their axial and facial integrity when they make
their first impact with the table,
but not with excessive spin so as to cause a high and erratic
rebound off of either the table or the
Equally, the flight-trajectory of the dice has to be low enough to
the table itself and shallow enough
in arc so that axial
disturbance and facial disruption is held to an absolute minimum.
Needless to say, adjustments have to be made to your throwing speed in order
for the dice to
exhaust all of their unspent energy just
after impacting the backwall (and hopefully at the smooth,
non-alligator lower portion of the backwall).
That means the dice should be rapidly slowing down
(decelerating) on their initial touchdown,
and just after they hit the smooth lower margin of the
backwall rubber, they should have almost
completely run out of steam as they gently rebound and
come to rest on-axis, and hopefully on one
of their four primary as-set faces.
Without a doubt, you will have to put considerable effort into
properly calibrating just how much or
how little throwing-force you can get
away with. My rule of thumb generally holds that you can
reduce your throwing-energy by 30%, 40% or
even 50% on most of these super-bouncy layouts,
and still have a nice gentle on-axis
impact with the backwall…
…or to put it another way…
If both of your dice are ending up further than 4 or 5-inches from
the backwall or from each other
when they come to rest; then you can still
dial-down your throwing-energy in order to better
subjugate this sort of table in a
consistent enough way and still live up to the casinos obligation to
hit the backwall with both dice.
Since we’ve already covered grip, throwing-motion, spin, release-height,
throwing speed, and
descent-trajectory for the
ULTRA Low, Slow, and Easy Toss;
let’s tackle landing zone target-are
as and how to troubleshoot your landings
before finally dealing with backwall rebounding.
Trampoline-Table Landing Zones
The Landing Zone is the initial target area at which you throw the
dice, and it is the spot where the
dice first make contact with the table.
Your landing zone is determined by a number
of factors, the first of which is how bouncy the table
is, and how low in trajectory your actual
Generally, the lower and shallower the flight-path trajectory is, the
further away from the backwall
you can throw the dice on these
super-bouncy trampoline tables.
For example, if you release the dice at the height that we previously
discussed; then you can land
the dice about 12” to 18” inches away from
the backwall because their initial contact with the table
will not decelerate the dice as much as a
higher-trajectory landing would, and therefore the dice will
maintain more of their forward-speed while
still usually maintaining their axial and facial integrity.
The big benefit to the dice in terms of using an initial landing zone that
is comparatively further away
from the backwall (than
traditional target areas on hard-neutral or soft/low-bounce tables); is that
(because of their still on-axis but unspent forward-energy) their second
contact with the table will be at the smooth lower non-bumpy margin of the
backwall instead of up into the random-inducing alligator-pyramids.
Needless to say, you have to experiment a
bit to determine exactly how close or how far from the
backwall your initial Landing Zone should
be in order to move their second contact-point lower
down right to the base of the backwall.
If for example, the first bounce launches them high into the backwall
alligator bumps; then obviously
you can reduce your throwing energy as well
as moving your initial landing zone quite a bit further
from the backwall.
If on the other hand, their first contact sees them barely dribble in and
almost fail to make contact
with the backwall; then obviously you can
move your initial target-area a bit further down the table
and closer to the backwall.
Equally, the higher and more parabolic (mortar-like in shape) your
flight-path trajectory is, the
nearer you can throw the dice to the
For example, as we discussed a moment ago, a super low-trajectory throw with
a low spin-rate can
generally be landed further away from the
backwall simply because the dice will seem to skip over
the surface after first making contact with
the table; and therefore they will travel a greater distance
while still maintaining their axial-set
than a pair of dice landed from a greater (steeper) descent-
trajectory angle with the same or lower
Because of that, it can then be said that if you are using slightly more
height with your throw (and it
has a somewhat steeper descent-angle
trajectory when the dice first impact the table surface); then
you can land the dice much closer to the
backwall. Again though, you’ll have to reduce your spin-rate even further
because, as the descent-angle increases (in a more mortar-like
parabolic trajectory); the dice will have a tendency to “jump” higher
as the spin-rate increases.
Less spin almost always equals less HDCC rebound, and that is especially
true as you move your
initial landing-zone contact-point closer
and closer to the backwall.
Troubleshooting the ULTRA LS&E Landing Zone
If you have trouble using an ultra low flight-path trajectory that is mere
inches off of the table surface
throughout its flight; then you can stick
with a slightly higher toss-height elevation but land the dice
much closer to the backwall.
In experimenting with the ULTRA Low, Slow & Easy Toss, I found that
you could land a perfect
Dead Cat Bounce right at the
base of the backwall and the dice would die a nice on-axis, primary-
Unfortunately though, on super-bouncy tables and especially where the
foam (HDCC) underlay is covered with a
super-slick micro-fiber layout instead of conventional
wool or wool-blend felt; that particular
DCB toss is unbelievably sensitive and requires a perfect
flat-and-parallel-to-the-table-surface landing; otherwise you’ll see
the dice do some acrobatic maneuvers that
would have a Quebecois contortionist from Cirque du
Soleil drooling with envy.
On the other hand, if the super-bouncy tables that you play at have a
traditional wool or high-ratio
(80/20) wool/polyester felt surface overtop
of the HDCC; then you may find that you can move your
initial landing zone target area much
closer to the backwall (about 2” to 5” away), but you have to
stay fully cognizant of the fact that you
do not want the dice to be vaulted high into the backwall
alligator-bumps (thus creating rebound
splatter). Instead, the idea is to either get the dice to die at
the base of the backwall or to gently make
contact with the smooth non-lumpy margin in order to
achieve an on-axis facially-correlated
You'll find a full discussion and explanation of the Dead Cat Bounce here:
In dealing with trampoline layouts that have a ton of spring and bounce, we
not only have to look at
controlling the inbound flight
and initial impact of the dice on the table, but we also have to
consider the outbound reaction
and travel-distance after they hit the backwall.
Backwall Rebound Distance
Think about all the times you've throw on bouncy tables when the inbound
absolutely perfect. Both cubes flew through
the air in perfectly matched mirror-like formation and
continued that way even after they first
hit the table. In fact, think of all the times when both dice
emulated each other in faultless
synchronicity and impacted the backwall together in what looked
like a flawless textbook throw…only to
witness each of them ending up with an entirely different
rebound path and distance from the backwall
(and to each other)…and with a totally different,
Let’s try to resolve the rest of that bouncy table dilemma right now…
Upon release, both dice should be flat and square to both the
table-surface itself as well
as to the backwall.
That means the dice should be perfectly horizontally level with the table
and vertically square with
the backwall. There is an excellent
discussion of precisely how to do this on each and every toss
that you make on your practice-table at
home and how to accurately transfer that skill to the real-
world tables. You’ll find it here:
By hitting the backwall squarely, the
dice should roll STRAIGHT BACK.
If they are moving IN ANY OTHER DIRECTION than straight back, then
they are NOT
backwall squarely, or they are hitting the wall too far up into the
letting it RERANDOMIZE your up-until-now-DERANDOMIZED throw.
If the dice are rebounding at any other ANGLE than straight back, then
the dice are not
in relation to either the table surface or to the backwall...or both.
In most cases the cure is pretty simple:
The bottom-plane of both dice have to be thrown perfectly horizontal to the
If the dice are tilted to the left or right to any degree; then their first
impact with the table is going to
send them towards the backwall in an
off-kilter orientation (if both of them get there at all). Then,
once they hit the backwall, that
orientation will almost always be random or at least they won’t be
facially or axially coordinated (which in
my book is as close to random as “damn” is to swearing).
Equally, both dice have to be thrown square to the backwall and they have to
be released from your
hand in a perfectly square manner too. That
means that one die cannot lead or lag behind the
other, and they both have to have exactly
the same spin-rate as the other.
As well, both dice have to follow the exact same flight-path trajectory. If
one die is flying slightly
higher or lower than the other, then its
initial touchdown point will be a little different from the other,
and by the time both dice hit the backwall
and rebound from it, they will be completely out of synch,
and therefore they will no longer be acting
in mirror-like formation to each other…and the outcome
will most likely be random.
Tied in with all of that is the amount of throwing-energy with which the
dice hit the backwall. If the
dice are bouncing off the backwall then
rebounding and traveling more than 4 or 5 inches from the
backwall or from each other; then you are
throwing them WAY too hard for my ULTRA Low, Slow,
and Easy Toss to work
properly or perform with any level of consistency.
The idea behind the ULTRA LS&E is to TAME a bouncy table with refined
subtlety, so a hard
throw that tries to beat it into submission
simply WILL NOT WORK.
Acute finesse is the rule, not the exception in
terms of conquering these layouts.
Trust me, you will not lose your virility nor will your patriotism be called
into question if you use a
nice and gentle toss…especially if it
produces some winning payouts.
A low-energy, low-trajectory, low-spin
toss that is horizontal to the table-top and square
backwall is what most super-bouncy tables need…and REWARD.
Mistakes Are Magnified, But Uniformity is
When players first encounter any of these super-bounce, ultra-jounce
trampoline tables, they are
almost always surprised to find that a
slight toss defect that they could normally get away with on a
regular hard, soft-neutral, or
unresponsive-dead table; is magnified and exaggerated on these
For example, if your dice-release normally imparts a tiny little bit of
wobble (that is almost
imperceptible unless you practice with a
laser or DiceDoc’s two-dice-glued-together DiceBarrel);
many less-bouncy table-surfaces are
somewhat forgiving and the dice will still remain on-axis and
in-phase to each other despite your
slight release-point defect. However, that very same toss on
these bouncy tables may see one die fly off
in a totally unexpected direction as soon as it hits the
table or rebounds from the backwall, while
the other one goes into a death-spiral spin that lasts for
what seems like minutes; or before it even
hits the wall, it just flops over dead like a Hollywood
Needless to say, ultra bouncy tables magnify your mistakes and turn
small errors into what appear
to be major throwing blunders.
These tables will either force you to get back to the very
basics of what dependable
dice-influencing is all about…or they’ll drive you completely
The choice is entirely up to you.
Though you can get away with a fairly sloppy toss on a lot of tables,
especially the dead, neutral
and unresponsive ones; bouncy tables will
take you to task on each and every toss that isn’t near-
There’s a benefit to that though.
To my mind, bouncy tables can make you
a better, more technically-honest, more
consistent dice-influencer in that you have to ensure that every toss is
flat and horizontal
table-top, and square and parallel to backwall.
Bouncy tables teach you how to meter, gauge and
regulate every element within your
finger-alignment, your muscularly-harmonious toss-motion, your
release-point and follow-through, your spin-rate, your throwing-
energy, your flight-path
trajectory, your initial target-area, and the proper vertical and
horizontal orientation of
your entire toss.
In other words, bouncy tables can help
you become a much better player…faster.
That is, you either master your grip-pressure, finger-alignment,
spin-rate, throwing-energy, flight-path
trajectory, initial target-area, and the proper orientation of the
dice quickly…or you’ll continue to
lose money nearly every time you pick up the dice.
Needless to say then, the side benefit of mastering your throw on these
super-trampoline tables is
that when you take your game back to
a normal layout, I can pretty much guarantee that
will be flatter, straighter and technically purer than it
ever was before you conquered these
ultra bouncy tables.
A Little More Clarity
The high-density closed-cell (HDCC) foam which is the underlay material that
a growing number of
casinos are installing or having
pre-installed by the table-supplier; is far removed from the old
open-cell foam-rubber that has
traditionally been used in the upholstery, automotive, and bedding
industry or as an old-school underlayment
in some casinos.
Rather, this new stuff is tough, resilient, and totally impervious to
In fact, the quickest way to determine if any foam that you are currently
using is of the open-cell or
closed-cell variety, is to see if it
absorbs any liquids. If it absorbs any water (as you would expect
most foam to do); then it is open-celled.
If it totally resists water with no penetration whatsoever
(because the cells themselves are closed
with an almost plastic flat-mini-river-rock-like finish); then
it is closed-cell.
…we’ve explored all aspects of my ULTRA Low, Slow, & Easy
Clearly it is sensitive to throwing-speed, release-point height, spin-rate,
landing trajectory angle,
initial impact-point, and backwall contact…just
like any other dice-influenced throw.
What it offers on a super-bouncy table, is a way for you to tame the
effervescence and random-inspiring liveliness that the HDCC-foam imparts and
contributes to the dice upon their first (and subsequent, if any) contact
with the table-surface.
Needless to say, this toss requires a fair bit of fine-tuning to get it to
do your bidding on a steady
and reliable enough basis, and I suspect
that some people can’t or won’t be able to dedicate the
necessary time or effort to do so. Still
others may find that even after sufficient trial and effort, the
Ultra LS&E still
doesn’t provide the level of dependability that they are looking for on this
For them I offer a significantly weaker alternative.
If All Else Fails
What I have found to be quite effective on the super-trampolines IF
my ULTRA LS&E doesn't work
after prolonged tweaking; is to
softly throw the dice in such a way so that they are gently trapped
and stopped right at the crotch of the
Essentially, it entails tossing a very soft trajectory-sensitive lob
with almost zero-spin, and making
a flat and square landing where the
leading bottom-edge of each dice hits the 90-degree
that is formed by the lower backwall lip and the table-surface
If the dice are thrown gently enough and they are landed
flat and square enough to the
backwall; then the impact stops both dice
dead in their tracks. It's different from my Dead Cat
Bounce in that the backwall/table-surface
combo "traps" the dice without any bounce or rebound.
In a way, it is similar to the “Trapshot”
throw that our friend Operator was experimenting with about
a year or two ago.
Without a doubt, this is a tough shot to make on a consistent enough basis
and I would actively
discourage players from even trying it on
trampoline-like super bouncy tables unless they have
completely exhausted all aspects of
my ULTRA Low, Slow, & Easy Toss first.
This last-ditch effort trap-it-at-the-base-of-the-wall kind of toss is tough
to master, and even tougher
to get consistent outcomes with because it
is so hard to get the landing-vector "just right" on a roll-
In fact, unless there is absolutely no other gaming-house choices for you to
choose from; then I
would recommend that if you can’t get the
ULTRA LS&E to work on the super-bouncy tables in
your area; then it might make more
economic sense to save your money until you can travel a little
further afield to gaming jurisdictions
where they do have a less challenging range of table choices.
Good Luck & Good Skill on those super-bouncy tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor
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