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Getting the Most Out of Your Practice Sessions
Part Three

In Part II of this article, we talked about Warm-Up Exercises, and how to get the most out of your Practice Rig.  We discussed the merits of an “Enlightened” Exercise, and how to set ideal Practice-to-Play ratios to match your current abilities.

We still have a number of areas to cover, so that you can get the maximum benefit from your practice sessions. Today they include:

v     Why Make Session Notes?

v     Casino-Session Notes

v     Grip Notes and Mental “Check-Offs”

v     Practice-Session Notes

v     Using a Craps-Roll Calculation Program

Why Makes Session Notes?

Near the end of Part II, I mentioned that I have completed a series of articles entitled Mad Professor's Shooting Bible, it covers the various sets, grips, throws, sweet-spots, and targets that I use.  I mention that now, because in Part I of that article, we take a detailed look at how to make “actionable” session notes that WILL make a difference to your performance.

If you want to see the amount of detail that I put into those notes, and WHY they are so important for consistent profitability; I would kindly urge you to take a second look now.

Casino-Session Notes

When you are throwing well in the casino, you should be making numerous mental notes about EXACTLY what you are doing to make this roll so good.  When the roll is over, you can go to the washroom or a nearby slant-top slot machine to cool down and also make some quick, but detailed notes of WHY it worked.

While you may be in “the zone” during your good-to-great rolls, you want to make this a regular occurrence, right?  To do that, you have to figure out precisely what you are doing right.  If you want consistency, you have to do it, otherwise, those great rolls will be VERY infrequent and inconsistent. 

Your casino time will also show you all kinds of things that are wrong with your Precision-Shooting.  Your DETAILED session-notes will again point to each one of them.  It’s just as important to figure out what you are doing right, as well as what you are doing wrong.

In most cases, when you try to make mid-course corrections in the casino, your bankroll suffers miserably.  While sometimes a small in-casino adjustment, like rotating one of the dice a quarter-turn forward will help, most of the time, one of our fundamental throwing elements has taken a holiday because we neglected to do everything EXACTLY the same way that we do it in our at-home practice sessions. 

That is when you should cut your casino-sessions short, and revert to the practice rig for more fine-tuning and more ingrained pre-throw “check-offs”.

Grip Notes and Mental “Check-Offs”

What the heck is a “check-off”?  Well, we are not talking about the Eastern European navigator on-board Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise.  Rather, we are talking about mental checks or lists that you use before lofting the dice.

You can call them mental checklists that you review before every throw.  You can call them the Horizontal Mambo for all I care, as long as you use them ALL THE TIME.  I want you to check off or confirm everything about your set, grip, stance and throw that you know works.  The “ALL THE TIME” part is where your consistency will come from.

You perfect your grip and your throw on the practice table, so if you aren’t ready for primetime at the casino; then keep practicing. 

How will you know when you are ready for primetime at the casino?

As you keep track of your Sevens-to-Rolls ratio, and your Signature Numbers, those two items will tell you when you are ready to put  s-m-a-l-l  money down on the casino table as you test your skills in a real-world situation.

So what is on this check-list, and how do we check it off?

Everything about the dice-set, your grip, your stance, your target and your throw have to be near-perfect.  You want to throw successfully and you want to throw consistently.  You have to go through your check-list in as little time as possible. 

To accomplish this, you should have a pre-throw routine that you go through every time that you pick up the dice.  At first it will take some time to run through everything in your mind.   That is why we are practicing this at home.  

Once you go through several hundred or in some cases, several thousand repetitions, the whole routine will become ingrained in your mind, and the actions and the check-list will become second nature to you.  You should see improvements in the time that it takes to cover all these “check-offs” quite quickly.

What are some of the things that should ABSOLUTELY be on this check-list?

I would definitely include: 

      Alignment of the dice.  They should be perfectly flat and square on the table, and correctly aligned with the back-wall of the table.

      Finger placement should be exactly the same. 

      Finger pressure should be exactly the same.

      Body alignment should be noted.

      Body stance should be exactly the same for each throw.

      Breathing patterns should be included on this list.

      Arm, wrist, hip, torso, leg and foot movement and motion (or lack of it) is very important as well.  EVERYTHING has to be consistent.

That is just the tip of the iceberg.  The list can be as long or short as necessary.  What is really important is that your pre-throw routine should be the same EVERY time.

Practice-Session Notes

When you are relaxing in the peace, quiet and solitude with your practice table at home, you can refer to the notes that you made immediately following all of your casino sessions.  Your notes will remark upon the areas that gave you the most concern.  If you wrote about fatigue or distractions, you can deal with ways to overcome them.  If the notes addressed on-axis 7-outs; then you can also deal with that on your at-home rig.

Your notes have to be complete enough and insightful enough to shed light on what the actual problems are.  They should also highlight the positive aspects of your casino session.  Those notes are used to decode what is wrong with your game, and they should provide some clues on how to fix them.  At the same time, you want to be sure to include all of the aspects that were good about your dice-tossing and make them a permanent part of your routine.

If you determine that you have a throwing problem; then figure out a grip, or stance or release or targeting solution.  If it's a money-management problem; then use Monopoly money to track your usual betting moves to determine where the weakness lies.  If it's a chip-handling and bet-preparation problem; then buy some poker chips to practice with. If it is a fatigue problem; then start working-out to build stamina.

Whatever the problem(s) are, they are simply profitability-obstacles that have to be overcome.  You have to deal with each one, and you have to deal with all the new ones that are uncovered once you solve and overcome the first set.  That is the nature of consistent success in Precision-Shooting.  It is frustrating, but it is rewarding.

Like I said before, you perfect your grip and throw on the practice table.   If it isn’t quite ready for primetime at the casino; then keep practicing.  As you keep track of your Sevens-to-Rolls ratio, and your Signature Numbers, your Practice Table results will tell you when you are ready to put  s-m-a-l-l  money down on the real casino tables to test your skills.

So, how do we know when our Practice Table results are telling us that we are ready to put  s-m-a-l-l   money down on the real casino tables?   Ah, my friend, we use a…

Craps Roll-Calculation Program

A while back, two different guys came up with two different complex spreadsheet programs for doing some roll-frequency calculations.  These were specifically designed for precision-Shooters.  Both pieces of software are GREAT, and I would heartily recommend either one of them for your use.

Both of these programs are very effective, and any Precision-Shooter can do some quick and easy reckoning of how their own throwing is, compared to the regular expected random outcomes of the dice.  By using either program, the computer does all of the computations for you, so that you can concentrate on your actual shooting.  That way, your progress is much easier to assess, and problem areas, such as off-axis throwing or double-pitching, are easier to pinpoint and contend with.

Those two excellent programs are: 

      Pablo’s Toss Tracker which is available on-line directly from his site here.

      Porkchop’s Craps Tracker C-RAT program, which is currently in the beta-test phase of its development.


Toss Tracker is a sophisticated program developed by Pablo, which is slick and very easy to use.  It looks great and is superbly functional.  The fact that it has an on-line demo and some pre-loaded roll statistics makes it intuitively straight-forward, effortless and undemanding.  I like it a lot!  If you haven’t tried it, I would strongly recommend that you do so.

Craps Tracker C-RAT is a program developed by Porkchop, that is MS-Excel based.   This Craps Roll Analysis and Tracking program also has some pre-loaded roll statistics, and lets you specify different dice sets and individual dice-outcomes just like Pablo’s Toss Tracker.  While I had to do a lot more reading of the instructions before I felt comfortable with it, I became totally at ease as soon as I made my first few dice-roll entries.  The bonus part of this program is that you can hook it up to any commonly available voice-recognition software program, such as:

      Dragon Naturally-Speaking Preferred v6.0, or, 

      IBM Via-Voice Pro Enterprise v9.1

When you hook Porkchops Craps Tracker C-RAT up with a voice-recognition program, it’s strength and performance really shines through.  If your computer is nowhere near your practice layout…no problem…just use one of those mini digital tape recorders that are VR-compatible.   After your practice session, just play the tape for your VR-program, and all the data is entered and calculated automatically for you…no fuss, no muss, no bother.

Both Pablo’s Toss Tracker and Porkchop’s Craps Tracker C-RAT program are well thought out and enjoyable to use.  Moreover, they are important tools to add to your practice arsenal.

Whichever Roll-Calculation Program you select doesn’t matter to me.  What really counts is that they make easy work of figuring out EXACTLY where your strengths lay as far as Signature Numbers are concerned.  At the same time, both of these programs calculate your SRR and on-axis throwing percentages and much, much more. 

In addition, these programs will help you tailor betting strategies that focus in on your current Precision-Shooting strengths.  As your skill evolves, these programs graphically show you where new profit opportunities may be found.  That, my friends, is how real consistent profit is achieved.

Remember, the practice rig is where you fine-tune and align your game; the casino is where you make your money.

In Part Four of this series, I’m going show you how using ONE grip, but SLIGHTLY varying your finger placement and pressure will GREATLY alter results.  We’ll also look at how you can troubleshoot your own set, grip and toss.

Until the then, Good Luck & Good Skill at the tables…and in Life!

Written by:

The Mad Professor

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