Mad Professor's Mini-Table Craps Tour with the Vegas Ghost- Part XII
and I had two objectives as we headed towards the banks of our Colorado River destination
#1 was to win a reasonable amount of money from the mini-tub at the Colorado Belle
#2 was to discuss whether a skilled Precision-Shooter could make a decent living
by specializing in playing almost exclusively at mini-tub tables.
The Idea of a Mini-Tub Specialist
He and I
had already won a ton of cash by playing at almost a dozen mini-tables in Las Vegas during
this tour. Mel wanted to review the skills
and discipline that would be necessary for an average player to succeed at making a
reasoned that based on our current success on the mini-tub tour, a reasonably-skilled and
disciplined player could derive the lions share of their Precision-Shooting income just
from the tiny tables. He added that it was
quite obvious by now that the short distance on these tables made it much easier to keep
the dice on-axis and turn up mostly primary-face (as set) results for the effort.
agreed with his logic, the process for consistent profitability is not as linear as he was
making it sound. I followed that up by saying
that, although mini-tub Precision-Shooting was somewhat easier than it is on
a normal table; it still isnt an EASY thing to accomplish.
If It was
captured the essence of Precision-Shooting when he said, If it was easy
would be doing it. It was true when
he wrote it a number of years ago, and it still holds true today.
statement was especially apropos to the Mini-Table Specialist question. To further illustrate my point, I asked Mel why
his own shooting hadnt been significantly better on the small layouts than it is on
the normal ones. His simple answer was that
he hadnt put any effort into practicing or fine-tuning his toss AT ALL, let alone
tailoring it to mini-tables.
As I see
it, the first Mini-Table Specialist obstacle that came to mind, was the fact that
the small number of available mini-tubs would mean that you would have to show your face
at the same old mini-tub places time and time again.
That didnt appeal to me, simply because most of the casinos
where mini-tubs are found, are not known for being loss-tolerant.
casino has a LOWER loss-tolerance than other casinos, it means that it is
easier for them to associate the disappearance of THEIR money with YOUR face. When you combine that with the fact that they arent
in the business to lose money in the first, and that their own bankroll usually isnt
as large as the big guys, you have a situation that a savvy player would have
to diligently monitor to avoid detection.
casino corporation wants to lose money, the bigger ones are obviously more tolerant of the
whip-saw wins and losses that individual tables undergo throughout the day. They know that at the end of the month, they will
always emerge as a net-winner. At the smaller
places, they feel a higher need to come out of each new player-encounter with a net-win
from nearly EVERY customer.
hard as it is for some people to believe, there are a number of casinos out there that are
actually losing money. While management
inefficiency has a lot to do with it, specifically targeting the weak ones is definitely
NOT in anyones best interest.
it isnt obvious, Mel and I had a very spirited discussion during the
90-minute drive from LV, and I knew neither of us were finished with it. With all of those factors in mind, we wheeled into
the Belles parking lot.
The Colorado Belle
place is reminiscent of a late 1800s paddle-wheeler.
In fact, the rooms in the Mardi Gras low-rise portion of the hotel look
like they havent been refurbished since the late 1800s. The saving grace is that they have balconies that
are literally right ON the riverbank. I dont
know about you, but an early morning coffee or a late-evening night-cap out there as the
balmy breezes waft off the Colorados swiftly moving current, brings a certain
relaxed contentment to your mind. Its
little things like that which brings the whole Lifestyles of the
Precision-Shooter into proper perspective.
A female Pit Boss
recognized Mel (the Vegas Ghost) as we settled into our spot at their mini-table. I was about to say, Hey Mel, shes
got a fake smile with your name written all over it, but it was fortunate that I
didnt, or I would have been wrong.
She turned out to be
one of his former Table Game Supervisors from when he tended over the flock at Circus
Circus, Silver City and Slots o Fun at a time when unicorns still happily
frolicked about the earth. I smiled at the
thought that Mel had worked as a senior executive for every major casino corporation in
Las Vegas, and was still highly regarded by all of them.
When your competitors and former employers still hold you in the highest
regard and esteem, despite long-standing rumors of having dug a few holes in the
desert, it says a lot about the character and integrity of the man.
Ill start by
telling you that their mini-tub is VERY bouncy. In fact, most people are taken aback by
the trampoline-like effect that rebounds the dice into the ionosphere if they hit at the
right (or wrong) angle. However, with a
carefully adjusted throw, this table cannot only be tamed, but can also be turned
into a meek, mild and very generous benefactor. Setting
is allowed and even encouraged by their friendly dealers.
Just as youll
find at the regular table, the mini-tub is set at a $3 minimum and a $500 maximum bet. Dont feel insulted that they only offer
2x-Odds. If you can make consistent money at
a 5x, 10x or 20x-Odds table, then you can still make money on one that only offers
double-odds, albeit a little slower (or at least with LESS volatility).
Instead of whining
about the stinginess of the place, take what they offer and make some money off of it. When in Rome, its best to think like the
Romans do, and indulge in the riches of their treasury.
Our First CB Session
While each Vegas
mega-resort is like an ocean-liner on land, but without the sea-sickness, the Colorado
Belle is more like a wharfed paddle-wheeler that is trying just a little too hard to be a
party boat. Although all of the
party atmosphere accoutrements are there, most of the players just dont seem to have
the enthusiasm and energy to party 24/7. Thats
where the concept falls a little short. Since
you dont have the energetic, and never-ending foot-traffic that youll find on
the Strip, a Harrahs-type Party Pit just doesnt work very well.
The players that are
attracted to this place tend to be low-rollers on a limited gaming budget. Thats a segment of the market that the
Colorado Belle caters to perfectly, and the party atmosphere attempts to give them more
entertainment for their gambling dollar.
On the other hand, the speed at which their money erodes does not slow
down, so the good-times only lasts as long as their modest bankrolls do.
shooting at this table were nothing short of spectacular during our first session. As I mentioned above, the distance to the far side
of the table is so short that it seems that you can reach out and almost place the dice in
the desired landing spot. The benefit of
course, is that they tend to stay on-axis for a much higher-percentage of the time.
Ill give you an
There was an
under-endowed young lady to my right side. The
first time I saw her throw, she was as random as anyone could be. After I threw a hand that was good enough to fuel
some newfound-riches-giddiness from her and a few of our tablemates, she leaned over and
said, Im going to try doing that thing that you do with the dice the next
time that I shoot. I thought that
shed forget the idea by the time the dice came around again, but she set them and
gently reached out and released them with a super-slow backspin just as I had done during
my previous roll. The dice plunked down with
that distinctive solid, clunking sound that marks a low-energy landing that isnt
going to stray too far from its initial touchdown spot.
She turned to me and
asked if that was the way they were supposed to land.
I told her that she was doing fine, and to just to keep throwing the same
way. When the very next roll produced a
Pass-Line winning repeater, everyone at the table, including our dealer, looked at me as
though I was the one who threw the dice instead of her.
I just shrugged innocently and said, Thats the luckiest roll
Ive ever seen.
The point is, even
rudimentary setting by a total novice who takes the time to send out a nice relaxed throw
can catch on pretty fast. She went on to make
another PL-winner, which thankfully for my Place-bets, took many more tosses than her
Someone said, Shes
a natural dice shooter, while I added, Shes just a natural winner. I wanted to deflect any notion of dicesetting AWAY
from the other players (and dealer), and in its stead, replace it with an Isnt
she the LUCKIEST?! sort of consensus.
Now in fact, she
probably was luckier than she was skilled, but you have to put all of that
into perspective. The throwing distance from
where she was reaching out from, to the table sidewall/corner where she was aiming for,
was about 40-inches away. Were only
talking about three-and-a-half feet, NOT the eight or ten or twelve feet that most players
have to overcome on a normal table. That
small snap-shot of a beginners luck (or skill) really brought the entire Mini-Table
Specialist subject into clear focus.
I reasoned, if someone
with virtually no training at all can unleash a string of great on-axis tosses from a very
short distance like she did, could someone with practiced-skill do at least as good, if
not considerably better, and then continue to do it consistently. Further, could they do it on the variety of
mini-tables that are scattered around Clark County, Nevada.
The idea of
specializing in Precision-Shooting specifically at mini-tables remained intriguing. While there are less choices on which to play,
there are also many fewer variables between those small tables which a professional player
has to adapt to. Therefore, it is much easier
to shoot consistently as you move from mini-table to mini-table in your pursuit of
You Play Mini-Tubs Full-Time
number of readers have asked whether a semi-skilled Precision-Shooter could dedicate
themselves to mastering those small tables, and make enough money to sustain themselves
financially. They reason that the
short-length and relative numbers make it a likely combination for sustainable advantage
play. They further reason that if shorter
throwing distances make it easier to keep the dice on-axis AND end up on one of the same
four primary faces in which they were first set, then you could make more profit, more
that is true, its tempered by the fact that some of the mini-tubs are in
mini-casinos, and a few of them are much less setting-tolerant.
Belle- Session #2
had a light lunch at the Mississippi Lounge. I
made a meal out of several appetizers that populate their menu. I knew we were penciled in to the Boiler Room
Brew-Pub later in the evening, so I didnt want to carry extra baggage into my
our return to the table, there only remained one lone holdout from the previous group of
players. The sole survivor said that the dice
turned cold almost immediately after we left. I
inquired as to how our little sweetie did.
He replied that she continued to hold her own during her shooting, but
lost it all back on everyone elses random tosses.
a practically empty table, it was definitely a lot more comfortable now that there was
room to really stretch out when tossing the dice. In
fact, my non-planted foot extended far back in the air to allow an even greater extension
on my dice release. I made sure that there
werent any errant pedestrians behind me; otherwise theyd get a permanent
imprint of my Size 11s that they could carry around for the rest of their lives.
the amount of bounce that this table imparts, I find that the less backspin and the lower
the speed of the toss, the easier the dice will settle and stop immediately upon their
touchdown. By combining the long reach,
together with a super-slow toss, and about one full rotation of backspin, the dice just
stick wherever you throw them.
your minds-eye, it seems like your target is only about 18-inches away from your
release-point. While it is somewhat farther
away (about 38+ inches), the close proximity of the back wall instills confidence. A side benefit of adaptive Precision-Shooting is
that your confidence level tends to build much more quickly on the shorter tables than on
their longer brethren.
On these mini-tables,
you CONFIDENTLY FEEL IN CONTROL. Surprisingly,
your mind-set quickly changes from I HOPE this continues, to I KNOW this
Good Results Tempered
that second session, Mel and I collected on a profusion of Place-bets that we worked up to
some lofty proportions. I became conscious of
just how lofty, when during my last hand, there was a break in the action as two new
players bought into the game. That
interruption permitted me to actually look at the stack of chips on all of my box-numbers.
the Table-Game Supervisor didnt have a look of concern on his face, I didnt
want to find out whether he was just naturally unconcerned or whether he had learned to
put on a studied, tell-no-tales poker-face.
on the amount of my chips on the table, and the fact that I was even thinking those
thoughts in the middle of my hand, it was enough for me to reduce those bets back down to
more normal levels. When the dice were
reactivated, I continued to toss for another half-dozen Place-bet hits. I can honestly admit that there wasnt one
twinge of regret about regressing my bets. I
wasnt irked about the money that I was losing on each winning hit. Rather, I was satisfied that I was still
collecting money without any amount of consternation or concern from the pit.
figure that Im mature enough at this point in my life that I dont need the
ego-gratification of biting the hand that feeds me. I
derive my living from the tables, so why would I piss them off to the point where they
want to curtail my activities, or even make them uncomfortable enough to keep a
eye on my shooting activities.
the end of that hand, I decided that it was a good time to take another break from the
action. There was a shift-change coming up
shortly, and I didnt want the current Pit-meister to point out my purdy face to the
incoming suit. I also didnt want my
Rating Card to be carried over to the next shift. I
had been hiving off some of the green chips to shield a healthy portion of my winnings. See
Profit Skimming - 101
for more details about this concept.
Belle- Session #3
waited until after a new herd of dealers and suits came in and replaced the A-team from
the prior shift. Mel lagged behind as he
pursued some pretty young things that were playing at a nearby Let it Ride game.
he finally got to our table, he looked surprised at the amount of chips in my rail-space,
and asked how much I had bought in for. When
I replied that I had used my normal amount, he was even more astounded. I shrugged and said that the table had been going
fairly well with everyone making at least one, if not two points. I asked him if he had made any headway with the
two lovely girls at the L.i.R. table. He
replied with a slight negative shake of the head.
shooting for that session was passable, but not overly impressive. I fared about as well as everyone else. Id make one, two or sometimes three
PL-Points before sevening-out. The money was
steady, but there was no single hand that was outstanding, and we never got to the point
where our bets were pressed-up anywhere close to where they had been in our first or
Another Word About the
Normally I just
mention if the dealers are good, bad or indifferent.
In this case, I have to add that they are not just friendly at the
Colorado Belle, but some well-timed tokes on the Pass-Line with Odds, will bring about a
level of accommodation that you wont see very often in any other gaming
Let me put
that into perspective. If youve read my
TIPPING: Is There Two Sets Of Rules? article, you already
know the fifty or so great reasons to get the dealers into action when you are shooting. I now have one more to add to that list.
At the Colorado Belle,
the dealers will almost permit you to "place" the dice at the other end of the
table. I was stretching almost three feet
over the table towards the opposite end, and not one dealer on any of the shifts I have
played there on, have EVER said anything about it.
I will sometimes reach out so far, that I just have to virtually drop
the dice onto their target, and they still havent said a word. Now THAT is what I call accommodating.
For more information about the CB and its tables, you could have a look at my Laughlin Table Report.
Belle - Session #4
at the Boiler Room Brew-Pub ran significantly longer than I anticipated. Mel still wanted to throw the dice, but my heart
wasnt really in it. I should have
listened to my heart!
say that the fourth session was a losing one would be an understatement. For Mel, it was a total disaster. For me, it was an irritating punch that I could
have, and should have avoided. Playing when I
dont feel like playing, is the kiss of death when it comes to winning. I had consumed a few drinks at dinner, all with
the understanding that we were NOT going to be playing any further that night.
group that we dined with wanted to do a full-table take-over at the mini-tub. I was a reluctant participant, but no one held a
gun to my head to either bet or to throw the dice, so I only have myself to blame.
Im annoyed to begin with, a loss at the craps table only compounds it. Fortunately it also INCREASES my INTOLERANCE for
losing. That annoyance forces me to cut back
on my always-low loss-limit even further. I
figure, why in the world would I continue to let myself lose, especially when Im not
having fun, and I didnt want to play in the first place.
Mel, it was a total meltdown. He was trying
to recapture the good times that we had enjoyed at the previous sessions, and he was
prepared to lose his entire session bankroll in pursuit of regaining that magic. Alas, it was not to be. Although he ended the day with a net-win, that
last session cost him about 80% of his profits.
Luck & Good Skill at the Tables
and in Life.
The Mad Professor