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More Gain & Less Pain
( Extra Practice-Tips - Part III )


Let’s continue where we left off in Part II by taking a further look at how new dice compare to old or used dice.

Tip #18 – New Dice – Part II

Bruised, chipped, gouged, burned, ultra-violet damaged, and rounded-off dice are NOT what you normally find in a casino.  If you have used your at-home dice for more than 10 or 15 hours (of actual use), then they’ve probably seen better days, and it’s no doubt time to start thinking about changing them. 

If a dozen or so hours seems like a brief time span, you are correct.  However, in the short life of validly-random casino dice, that is the length of time where the casino is confident that the dice will roll properly and the integrity of the game (defined by true randomness) will be maintained.  Thereafter, the cubes are unceremoniously retired to the casino Gift Shop where they are sold to tourists for a couple of bucks.

To keep the game as honest and as random as possible, the casinos usually change-out the dice three times each day.  They understand that even the tiniest of flaws can change the game into the players favor, or at least de-randomize the game so that the expectation of occurrence (possible outcomes) gets skewed towards certain numbers.  The casinos realize this, and so should you. 

Randomness and house-edge is the foundation on which the casinos build their empires (alcohol is the fuel that keeps their perpetual-motion machine humming along, while greed and lack of discipline are the two most powerful weapons that feed it).

Let’s take a further look at your dice:

Tip #19 – New Dice – Part III

It may seem that I am beating this dead horse just a little too much, but the fact is, most people take the “I-seem-to-be-doing-okay-with-my-current-old-dice-so-why-should-I-go-to-the-expense-of-changing-them” routine.  This is similar to the “I-change-the-oil-in-my-car-every-three-YEARS-whether-it-needs-it-or-not” scenario.  The price you pay for laziness, delay, ignorance and postponement, almost always ends up costing you more in the long run.

Dice DO NOT age well!  If you want your at-home practices to more closely resemble real-world conditions, then you have to use dice that mimic real-casino conditions.  That means that you should be using new dice as much as possible.  Here are a few common defects that affect the dice:

Burned Dice” is when the cubes have been rubbed repeatedly on the felt-surface of the table.  If you routinely set them into your favorite set, then quickly rub them back and forth across the felt, you are “burning” that particular dice face.  The friction/heat that you create is detrimental and has a VERY big effect on the wear and randomness of the dice. 

To verify what I am talking about, just rub your fingertips very quickly, back and forth on the casino-felt.  If you "burn" each dice on a pre-selected face, the casino feels that you can mill the dice enough to affect their outcome. 

“Bruised Dice” occur when they make high impacts with hard objects. Just as a car-bumper can sustain a bit of damage and not “look” like it’s been hit, so too can a die take a hit that will throw off its balance.  You can’t see anything from the outside, but internally, the structure is damaged.  Bruising also happens when people set the dice, then bang or tap them hard on the table before their throw.  The best way to determine internal damage is to do a spin-test on each dice.

“Molecular Breakdown” occurs worst when a player uses petroleum-based hand-creams on a regular basis.  The petrolatum reacts with the cellulose-resin composition of the dice and starts to break it down.   Even the naturally-occurring oils in your skin will do the same thing, but it will take much, much longer

Cracking and chipping starts to occur at the edges and corners of your dice.   To the unaided eye, they’ll appear as little nicks, scratches and abrasions.  These little defects will “catch” on the felt fibers and act to skew, veer, change direction, unbalance or otherwise interfere with the roll.  In other words, the dice are no longer truly random.

Ultraviolet Degradation is caused by natural sunlight or ultraviolet radiation emitted from full or partial-spectrum indoor lighting. UV exposure causes a breakdown in the composition of dice on a molecular basis. 

PaulSon Gaming commissioned an exhaustive 10-year study that they conducted from 1988 through to 1998 on actual used dice (retired after eight hours of use on a hundred or so Promus/Harrah’s casino tables).  Of course the study may have been self-serving since PaulSon are in the business of selling new dice to the casino-corporations.  However, the decade-long study confirmed the continued need to switch-out casino dice after each 8-hour shift because the “performance-affectors” (bruising, chipping, scratching, chunking, rounding, and burning, etc.) had a deleterious effect on (legally definable) random dice performance.

Like I said, dice DO NOT age well!  If you want your at-home practices to more closely resemble real-world conditions, then you have to use dice that imitate real-casino circumstances.

Tip #20 – Uses for Old Dice

Here’s a couple of uses for your old dice:

       Use them to make one of DiceDoc’s Dice-Barrels.

       Use them for my “Tiger of a Different Stripe” method.

       Use them for Heavy’s “Horse of a Different Color” idea.

       Use them for Irishsetters “Pipless Dice” exercise.

Tip #21 – Irishsetters Pipless Dice

Every once in a while, someone comes up with a great idea, and I wonder to myself why I didn’t come up with it myself.  Of course, the answer is patently clear…they are obviously much more intuitive, or just plain SMARTER than I am.  Regardless of the reason for the oversight, I immediately adopt it.

So it is with Irishsetters Pipless Dice idea.  He uses them to “cycle-up” his throwing skills before a big casino adventure.  I’ll let him explain the reasons for using them in his own words.

I'll continue to hit the practice sessions hard for a couple of weeks, then back off the week of the seminar.  If I practice right up until a casino trip, I've found it can mess with my mind.  If I'm on fire in practice, I tend to be too cocky when I get to the tables.  If I'm throwing poorly the night before a casino trip, it can undermine my confidence. So the last 2 days before a trip, I'll only throw for about 15 minutes, and I use dice on which I've removed the pips.  I don't care about outcomes at that point, only whether the dice are traveling together, landing together, stopping together, etc....”

Irishsetter was able to peel off the white pips by first soaking the dice into paint-thinner for a minute or two.  In the alternative, you could use a permanent-type Magic Marker of the same color as the dice, and simply color the pips.  This might not affect the dice as much as de-weighing them by removing the micro-thin paint.

Tip #22 – Gradual Changes

If we “phase in” our grip, toss and target changes gradually, we can see how each modification and adjustment affects the rest of the outcome. 

Therefore, we make these changes ONE AT A TIME.  We tweak each one before moving onto the next.  It’s all part of the Ready, Fire, Aim method of improving our toss to maximize consistency and minimize aggravation.  All of the tips that we are looking at in this series can be very beneficial in providing key aids in that success equation.

Tip #23 – Building Muscle-Memory

Once we narrow down the elements of the Precision-Shooting toss that works best and most consistently for US, then we can turn our focus towards building muscle-memory.

Muscle-Memory is how we train our bodies to do things almost automatically.  I’ll give you a couple of ridiculous examples that I hope will illustrate the idea.

When you first step into a new car, the placement of all the driving, navigation, and entertainment controls are somewhat different than you are used to.  After a while, you get used to the new layout, and everything becomes second nature (it falls “naturally to hand” with human-engineered ergonomics). 

Now think about how you pick up and drink from your favorite coffee mug.  You can be doing a myriad of other tasks as you take a drink.  It doesn’t take undue amounts of concentration or focus.  Instead, we can do it practically without thinking or looking or making a conscious effort…all without spilling a drop.

Muscle-memory is learned by doing things over and over and over again until they become part of what seems like natural movement.

With muscle-memory, we train our bodies to do something so repetitively, that it becomes like second-nature to us, and our actions become virtually automatic. 

Once we train ourselves to deliver a CONSISTENTLY REPEATABLE throw, then normal casino distractions do not bother or irritate us.  In fact, in most instances, we regard them as part of the gaming-landscape.  They are there, but they have no effect on our actual performance. 

Moreover, once we get our muscle-memory properly formatted and locked into our “natural actions”, we can walk up to any craps table, pick up the dice and deliver a nice, predictable throw.  Muscle-memory helps build the consistency and the confidence that we can tackle virtually any craps table that we encounter.

Therefore, muscle-memory is built and perfected on the practice-rig, and profitably utilized when we step up to shoot at the casino table.

Tip #24 - Using WinCraps™

I know of no better software program that permits you to set up the most complicated of betting methods and to try them out over thousands (or millions) of rolls.  The variables that you can plug in, such as when to start betting, when to change a bet, when to call your bets “off” or “down”, or to match your wagering to various trends, streaks, or choppiness; WinCraps™ does it all.  You can specify how long you want to play (by the number of rolls/hour that you stipulate), and how much you are willing to risk on certain routines.

There is simply nothing else like it, with so many features including the ability to enter your own set of “occurrence parameters”, comp rates, SRR’s, Loss-Limits, Win-Goals, bankroll variations, and the added ability to run high-speed million-hand simulations to test out your theories and ideas.

Even if you are not a profound believer in the potential of Precision-Shooting, WinCraps™ lets you try to validate your own betting approach BEFORE you wager one red cent in a casino environment.  Many, many players would save untold amounts of money if they tried out their high-risk, “I only lose $300/hour” betting schemes on WinCraps™ first.

On the other hand, WinCraps™ will also prove out on a theoretical basis, methods that you’ve already perfected at the real-world tables.   For an excellent example of this, I would invite you to have a look at my Choppy Table Short-Leash Method that I wrote about in my Dodging Bullets As A Darksider article.

Stay tuned for “Part IV”.  Until then,

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Practice Table…and in Life.


The Mad Professor

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