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Getting the Most Out of Your Practice Sessions
Part Four

In Part II of this series, we talked about making Session-Notes and Grip-Variation Notes; plus how to go through Mental “Check-Offs” and setting-routines.  In addition, we discussed a couple of excellent Craps-Roll Calculation Programs from Pablo and Porkchop.

By the way, I have no involvement or financial interest in either of those software programs, but I can tell you that they will make a world of difference in how accurately you gauge your Practice-Session progress. 

Both Pablo’s and Porkchop’s software programs track your evolution as a Precision-Shooter.  With them, your advancement is measurable and quantifiable with each Practice Session.  If you use a low-cost Voice-Recognition program; then Porkchops CRAT program is totally hands-free once you do the initial set-up.  That makes it the ultimate practice-session assistant.

Grip Development

Today, I want to cover “Grip Development”, and how each and every one of your Practice Sessions can be used to improve and hone your Precision-Shooting skills on an on-going basis.

Let’s start with some keen insight provided by Heavy.  He recently wrote:

I was standing straight out at the table at Green Valley Ranch when Bill (C.) first got the dice…When I saw that ice-tong grip and his first toss, I said, "That can't work”…Then I saw it again and started piling chips on the table…I would not have thought it possible to keep the dice on axis with that grip - but Bill did a hell of a job with that…Great job, Bill.”

Despite previously-published misgivings about the “ice-tong grip”, Heavy was open-minded enough to accept that there is more than one way to throw the dice, and more than one way to make good money from this game, no matter how “unconventional” it may seem. 

In some cases, the most unlikely of methods will prove to be the most profitable ones.  Sometimes the most “logical” of grips or the most “rational” of throwing methods is, in fact, the least reliable and the least profitable for some people, and vice versa.

You can take a look at a number of grips that are pictured and described on Irishsetter’s “Grips” page here.

When we talk about Grip Development, we are really talking about the small changes, corrections and improvements that you can make to almost any grip to make it more profitably consistent for you.

I get e-mail all the time from readers who want to know EXACTLY what grip will work best for them.   I gotta tell ya, that despite advertising claims to the contrary, there is not ONE IDEAL grip for every player, at every table in every casino, in every shooting position.  We are all unique…just like everyone else…so we have to adapt our grip to suit OURSELVES.

By the way…what size of shoes do you wear?

I’m serious.  What size of shoes do you wear…and at the same time I know that you won’t mind telling me what size of pants that you wear either.  Now, does everyone else that you have ever seen playing craps have the same height, and do they all shoot from the same position at the table?  Is every craps-table the same length, and does everyone have the same arm length and range of motion.  Oh yeah, while we’re at it, ask your wife if all men have the same size of…um…hands…she’ll know what I’m talking about.

Like I said, we are all unique…just like everyone else…and I’m sure you see the humor in that, but we still have to adapt our dice-grip to suit OURSELVES.

While we all have to send two -inch cubes down to the far end of the table, we all use somewhat different stances, sets, grips, throws, trajectories and targets to achieve our goal.

Okay, with that being said, let us agree that there is NO SINGLE grip that works best for everyone all the time.

What I am going to show you today is how you can take any grip that you are using now, and make genuine and significant improvements to it.  It will take some work, but the effort is rewarded with higher shooting-consistency and with proper betting methods; higher casino profits.

I’ve got to tell you that some of the grips that I use are not the most beautiful things around, and sometimes, depending on the actual bounce characteristics of the table, my stance and release isn’t a thing of beauty either. 

But I’m not shooting for beauty, I’m Precision-Shooting for PROFIT!

What is important to know is that what works BEST and most consistently for YOU is the BEST grip for you to use. 

That doesn’t mean that you can’t make constant improvements to it, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you will reject any new ideas or thoughts that other people may have.   It only means that you will continue to use and improve the one you have right now until something better comes along.

So why am I telling you what you probably already know?

Because there is a way to take a grip, and adapt it to your style of throw, and then make continual changes, corrections and improvements to it.  The goal is to end up with a grip and throw that is profitably repeatable in the casino. 

To my mind, Precision-Shooting is all about profitable repeatability.

Developing Profitable Repeatability.

The first step is to develop a “base-line” for your current Precision-Shooting efforts, so that you will have a strong foundation upon which to build profitability.  Let me explain why.

o        We know that the random-roller rate of Sevens-to-Rolls ratio is 6:1.

o        We know that with Precision-Shooting, we can initially improve our SRR toward the 8:1-to-12:1 range.

o        I like to call that initial improvement the “intermediate success” range, because consistent profit can be derived from it, but it can also provide safe-haven for some of the biggest bankroll-robbing pitfalls that a craps players can encounter.  We cover those pitfalls in a number of other articles that address bankroll, discipline, maturity, and betting methods.

o        Human nature dictates that we are always looking to improve ourselves, in one way or another.   With Precision-Shooting, that entails constantly tinkering with, and upgrading of our dice-grips.  We first need to reach that “intermediate success” level of SRR’s in the 8-to-12 range; then we want to improve upon it from there.

o        We put in a lot of time on our at-home Practice Rigs, but we have to be sure that we are producing optimum results that lead to ever-improving profits at the casinos, and not just reinforcing the mistakes or limitations that keep our shooting in that lower “intermediate success” range.


How do we produce better results, and reduce our mistakes?

Ah, that’s where “Grip Development” comes in.

We know that if we track, let’s say, 720 tosses using the same set, grip, release, trajectory and target; then we should get some tangible information about how good that particular “shooting-set” is.  It will give us a known SRR, and it will indicate which Place Numbers are most dominant.  That determines our Signature Numbers and assists us in developing betting strategies that maximize our profit while reducing bankroll-risk.

Okay, with that being said, we have to determine if there is any room for improvement within that particular “shooting set”.  The answer is always “yes”, but we have to determine where we are in our current progress before we can determine where we are going to go, and how we are going to get there.

That is where having a “base-line” or benchmark for each grip will give us a firm foundation upon which to improve our Precision-Shooting.

A “base-line” means our current level of performance using our best, most consistent grip and toss.

In my case, my various grips and tosses evolved over a period of time.  Some worked great, and I kept them in my arsenal and gradually improved upon each one of them a little bit at a time.  Over the past eleven years or so, that continual grip-development has meant that I could make lifestyle-changing profits from craps.

On the other hand, some of the other grip-variations that I tried were stone-cold losers which I discarded before they could do serious harm to my bankroll.

Keep in mind, that all of this grip-development, and constant refining, tweaking, and improvement was done right in the casinos at “live” tables.  Sure, having money at risk made the evolution-process a “profit-or-perish” situation, but I now realize that I probably rejected some grips that could have shown more promise had I tried them and developed them under less risky conditions. 

In fact, I never would have developed my “Long Ranger” grip (as discussed in detail in my Long Tables = Po$$ibilitie$ series of articles) for use on long tables or distant and far-flung throwing positions, were it not for my use of a jury-rigged practice set-up in the deserts of Utah, Arizona and Nevada just after the events of 9-11-01. 

Had I experimented with and tried to develop that “Long Ranger” grip and toss in a real casino; then I probably would have discarded it long before it had a chance to bear any fruitful profit.

Developing a “Base-Line” for a New Grip


       First we have to determine a “set” to use.

       Are we using a “7-Avoidance” set, or are we using the “hardway” set so that it is easier to determine if one or both dice have gone off-axis when we throw them?   Are we using two different colors of dice to achieve the same effect?

       Each set will determine our “on-axis” 7-probability.  The 3-V has an 8:1 on-axis 7-probability, while the Hardway set has a 4:1 on-axis 7-probability.  That’s a big difference that you have to take into consideration when making the choice.  I’ll discuss those dice-set choices further in an upcoming article entitled, “Blasphemy…courtesy of The Mad Professor”. 

       We may decide to use the Straight-Six (S-6) or Parallel-Six (P-6) set for our Come-Out Roll grip-and-throw development.  We may choose the Crossed-Six (X-6) or Mini-V (V-2) set.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, and of course it’s own unique set of uses.

       We select the one set and one throw-release that we want to focus our primary development on.

       Next, we grip the dice based upon the way that we see them on the grip picture page, or in a way that we “think” they should be gripped.

       Keeping the dice, and our throwing motion, as “square” to the backwall as possible, we make a number of tosses.

       It will probably take you a few throws just to have an idea how the dice are supposed to be released using this particular hold.

       After a few practice lobs, we start to make mental note of the dice outcomes.

       If you are a fast learner, you should see steady improvement as you become more comfortable with this particular grip.  Initially, our primary focus is in looking for smoothness in the release and landing of the dice.  After we attain a comfort level in the nice, easy and smooth dice-action; then we can take a closer interest in the dice-outcomes

       At this point, you may want to start tracking your rolls by recording the results.  Again, we are looking for a smooth reliability in our release, flight, trajectory, target-accuracy, and roll-out distance.

       You may find that even small samplings of your rolls will yield interesting results, which indicate you are on the right track.  Even if they don’t, it is important that you continue to focus on the “quality” of your rolling. 

       The objective of having a smooth release from your hand and the proper arc of the dice in flight, is so the dice travel side-by-side in a mirror-like formation.  The closer they travel the same path with the same number of rotations; the greater the likelihood that they will not only stay on-axis, but higher the likelihood that they will end up with the same primary faces that you initially set them on.  That is real and measurable progress.

       “Quantity” of throws is not as important as making each throw as “standardized” as possible. By making each roll an exact replica of the one before, and the one before that, you are starting to lock in “muscle memory” and that builds throwing-consistency.

       We put “quality” of the throw ahead of “quantity”, but you really need to have a high number of throws to lock in that muscle-memory, and to determine if you can extend your throwing consistency over numerous opportunities.  The only way to do that is to practice a lot…and then practice some more.  

       You may be surprised at how you will begin to “feel” how good or bad a roll will be as soon as the dice leave your fingers.  That means that you are building a keen awareness of what it takes to make steady and reliable throws.   Precision-Throwing is as much a mental feat as it is a physical one.

       Part of your job while you are practicing is to carefully observe how the dice are leaving your hands and how they are landing.  You need to look at how the dice react when they hit the felt, and what happens to them as they are traveling to their final resting place on the table.

       These observations are key to determining if there is additional fine-tuning that your current grip requires.  Here’s what I mean.  If the right-dice wobbles nearly every time that the dice leave your hand; then no matter what the outcome is, your release requires immediate repair.  However, if the dice leave perfectly and touch down perfectly, but veer off in one direction or another; then you know that your hand and/or arm alignment may be the culprit.  Likewise, if upon landing, one dice is rolling much more than the other; then one dice is probably getting slightly more pressure or contact from your finger(s) than the other one.  In each case, you must determine and correct the problem before progressing to the next step in profitability.

       We continue to make small improvements and refinements until we are satisfied that our grip and throw outcomes are showing repeatable consistency.

       At that stage we have determined the basic mechanics of our new grip.

       We then start to fully chart our throws.  I’m a big proponent of using low-cost Voice-Recognition software for this task.  When you hook it up to a Roll-Tracking program like Porkchops CRAT; then you forego pen and paper, and simply call out the results, and the program does all the calculations for you as it tracks your progress.  You get to concentrate on your game.

Okay, that’s how we develop an initial base-line of a certain grips potential.  When we track the rolls, we are able to determine our Signature Numbers.  We are also able to determine how frequently we roll Box-numbers (Place numbers).  Plus, we can determine how frequently we roll Inside-Numbers that may form the heart of our betting methods.

While assembling all of that “base-line” work is a time-consuming effort, it brings us closer to the objective that we took up Precision-Shooting for in the first place…profitable throwing consistency. 

Even though establishing all of that “base-line” information is just the first step; it’s an important one, because it develops our awareness of what MAY eventually work best for you.   It also makes us more attentive to the whole grip development process. 

When we are in the casino, we are then better prepared to determine exactly what we are doing right, and what we are doing wrong.  That knowledge and awareness allows us to make tiny (usually very tiny) corrections to our throw without jeopardizing our bankroll.  Keen awareness develops at the same time as we cultivate more and more profitability into our game.

Remember, we are using our Practice Sessions to improve and hone our Precision-Shooting skills on an on-going basis.  That leads to more profitable consistency in the casino.

In “Part Five”, we’ll look at fine-tuning your grip and your throw WITHOUT throwing off your game.

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

By: The Mad Professor

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