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D'ya Wanna Win, or D'ya Wanna Gamble?
Part V

read Part I here or Part II here or Part III here or Part IV here


A professional Precision-Shooter goes to the casino with the INTENT of MAKING MONEY. 

A recreational player goes to the casino with the HOPE of MAKING MONEY. 

Both a Precision-Shooting pro and a serious recreational dicesetter can take in the all of the free concerts, sporting events, comped food and room-nights that various casinos may offer, but for the serious player; everything about the entire casino experience takes a backseat to the fact that he is there to WIN MONEY and not merely PLAY. 

 While taking full advantage of the hedonistic Comped lifestyle (as I DO), the pro, semi-pro or serious recreational player is there chiefly and principally FOR THE MONEY.  Everything else about the gaming environment comes in a distant second.

The casino has the money, and I want it. 

Those who are able to extract steady profits from this game have to don the same attitude.

By using disciplined Precision-Shooting and proper betting…we WILL get it!

Frankie Says, “Relax

Now some people may think that I take this game way too seriously.

They preach the gamblers mantra…

“Loosen up buddy…have a few drinks…we’re here to have fun…so what if you lose your money…we’re in a casino…you’re supposed to lose…geesh, it’s only money!”

If you golf once in a while, you probably play it recreationally, and therefore, you’d never take the game too seriously.  But if golf was your chosen profession or career, or in the case of my professional Precision-Shooting; my chosen lifestyle: then you’d probably have to take it somewhat more seriously if you had any intention and desire of making, or in my case, CONTINUING to make the kind of lifestyle-changing money that some people aspire to.

In the grand scheme of things, I think I take this game as seriously as any other non-suspended or non-indicted pro athlete or any other professional businessman worth his salt takes his or her own career or profession.

While tossing a baseball around with your kids is fulfilling as a parent; doing so surely doesn’t give rise to any plans of your making it into the big-leagues.  Likewise, I certainly understand when people look at the game of craps in the same casual entertainment sort of way.  In fact, I actively discourage novice-to-intermediately skilled Precision-Shooters about having ANY thoughts of turning pro or even semi-pro.

Getting good enough in order to make consistent money as a craps player is hard work.  It takes tremendous amounts of dedication, commitment, discipline and patience.

As I explained in The Toughest Way to Make An Easy Living; the stress of using craps as your sole source of income is often too much pressure for most people to make the jump from being a serious recreational player into the pro ranks.  It’s much tougher than it looks, and for most medium-skill craps players, it makes a great second income stream; but remains a lousy primary source.

While the path that I’ve chosen may be less traveled, and certainly isn’t for everyone; I think there are some valuable lessons and tips that are applicable to even the most casual of dicesetters.  That’s the whole premise behind this series.

Just how serious you want to take or apply the advice is entirely up to you.

Loss-Limit Perspectives

Irishsetter started an excellent thread on his Message Board a while back. 

He asked:

Do you have different Loss Limits based on your buy-in amount?

I want to reprint a portion of my response along with some additional thoughts that I have on this subject.

I replied:

Generally NO. I usually buy-in for $1000 at mid-level casinos, and $500 at lower ranking ones, but my Loss-Limit remains at $150 per session.

However, there are two exceptions to that.

       At top-rung casinos that are loss-tolerant (as in, more profit-tolerant of my winnings), I'll buy-in with $2,000+ or better still, I'll draw down an equivalent Marker from either my Line-of-Credit or Front Money account. In this case, I'll probably be playing at a higher-denomination (higher minimum-bet) table, meaning that my Loss-Limit has to be commensurately higher in relation to the base-bet amount for the table.

       Likewise, at one of the lowest-rung casinos (and especially at a Mini-Tub or Crapshooter sit-down craps game), I'll almost always use a smaller buy-in (~$200). In that case, my Loss-Limit will be $100. Obviously that represents a much higher percentage of my buy-in, but it also reflects the lower table-minimums that I'll often encounter on the mini-tubs or cheap tables.

Irishsetter went on to ask:

Is your Loss-Limit strictly a monetary/percentage value? Or will you quit after say, three straight losses even though you're not close to your monetary limit?

To my mind, it comes down to how I FEEL about the loss that just happened.

       If my throwing isn't grooved in, and I don't feel it will correct itself immediately on the next go-round; I'll often cut the session short after just one loss.

The reason I do that is because my dice-shooting is so sensitive to the way I feel; that a quick exit is usually much cheaper than sticking around and re-confirming what I already knew after just one loss.

Simply stated:

I no longer compound my losses.

That one Loss-Limit move has KEPT more bread on the table, more gas in the tank, and more cars in the garage; than a quadruple parlay on a 20-cent base-bet Midnight could generate...yes, THAT BIG of a difference (...you do the math).

Continuing that same train of though, Irishsetter inquired:

Does your loss limit change if you get ahead?  Let's say you buy in for $300 and your LL is $150 (50%). You get ahead $120.  Is your Loss-Limit 50% of the total in your rack, or do you have a new LL based only on the "excess" a la John Patrick?

That’s an important question, because we’ll often be faced with the dilemma of try to figure out how much is enough to KEEP, and how much is enough to give ourselves a fair chance into growing our newly-won profit into something bigger (without giving too much of it back).

I like to plateau my winnings.

As we've discussed in my How To Get THERE From HERE series, as well as the How To GET It, and How To KEEP It series; I use certain profit-milestones to lock-in additional profit. From that point onward during the remainder of the session, I refuse to lose back even one dollar below that new level.

       Taking Irishsetters example where I have $120 in current winnings; I would lock-up my original buy-in, plus $50 of that new revenue. I'll work with the unencumbered balance of $70 to see if I can spin it into more gold. Once I build it up by another $50, I'll lock-in that amount as well. Once that $70 "excess" is gone...so am I.

       I won't even make any bet or combination of bets that would see me having to dig into that new level of locked-in profit.


Because I know ME, and if I don't use iron-clad L-L's, and ever-increasing win-plateaus, I'll likely give back all or at least a major portion of my winnings.

If I break my own rules, I pay the casinos intended consequence...I'll likely suffer a LARGER loss.

All of these questions and their accompanying answers are leading us somewhere very important.  Let’s continue: 

Irishsetter posed the following:

You're planning a trip to the casino. You've got three sessions planned for the day, with three $300 buy ins ($900 stake), with a $150 LL. After your first session, you're up $200, what is your buy-in and Loss-Limit for session two?

Ahh, that's an easy one for me...

Same buy-in...same Loss-Limit...same discipline is required...so the same L-L and Win-Plateau rules apply for me.

He then asked:

You're planning a trip to the casino. You've got three sessions planned for a day, with three $300 buy ins ($900 stake), with a $150 LL. In your first session you play undisciplined and LOSE $250. What is your buy-in and Loss-Limit for session two?

Ahh, that's a not-so-easy one for me...

I'll use the same buy-in, however my Loss-Limit is now MUCH lower.

In this case, I'll allow myself just ONE losing hand, and permit myself a grand total of $50 to be put at risk in doing so. If things haven't been working for me in both the shooting-department AND the discipline-department; then I have to force an early exit if that disturbing trend continues.

This is the critical juncture where a downward spiral of losses is likely to begin to get out of control. Most players can relate to this scenario.   Instead of letting that happen, I'll enforce a self-imposed early departure (through that extremely low Loss-Limit), and then retreat for a timely break from the action.

After sufficient rest and some obviously much-needed practice; I'll return to the tables, but my L-L will now be one-half of what it normally is ($75 instead of $150). My Loss-Limit only rises back to its normal level AFTER I've had a winning session.


I want to re-validate my advantage over the house BEFORE I bet like I still have one.

That's series of questions and answers led to even more thought-provoking queries:

If your loss limit is set at $150 whether you buy-in for $500 or $1000; then what do you do since you like a big Steep Regression, if you bet say $110-Inside and you go Point-then-Seven-out? At that point you are nearly at the $150 Loss-Limit.  Do you leave?   Do you give it one more try at a lower level?

Those are all excellent questions.

All of my answers assume a $5 minimum-bet table. If I am playing at a $10 table, my L-L will be double ($300), and at a $25 table it will be $750, but of course my buy-in will be commensurately higher (although not in a linear 5-times amount).

If I am at or near my $150 Loss-Limit at a $5 table, I won't make ANY bets that would put me below that figure. In the case of a $110-Inside plus PL w/Full Odds loss, that IS the end of that particular session for me.

No, I'm not very accommodating or forgiving when it comes to losses, but that is all the more reason why I warm up before I get to a table (see First Throw, First Session, First Day), and it is also why tight Loss-Limits like that prevent subsequent downward spiral (out of control) losses.

Now, I'll be the first to tell you that I STILL battle with discipline on a daily basis. Although I'm getting better in fighting that particular war, some skirmishes still result in my self-control (and session-bankroll) taking a bit of a beating.

One Precision-Shooting axiom that I live by is:

My SKILL determines my winnings, and my DISCIPLINE determines my losses.

That reply led to the inevitable question related to my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method:

Since your loss limit is $150, how do you prepare for the likelihood of a random-roller taking you for the $285 while using your Choppy-Table Short-Leash Method?  Do you separate your chips in the rail to reflect your shooting and those of a random-roller?  If so, how?

Ah, that's two different things.

If I'm using my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method against random-rollers, then that money is separate and distinct from my Precision-Shooting bankroll. In that case, I have a Loss-Limit of EXACTLY $285 (when used on a $5 base-bet level).

I keep those chips separated from my Precision-Shooting bankroll (by using a couple of $1 cheques, or using the second rail-slot), as it helps me to keep track of how my shooting is doing, in total isolation to how I'm doing when betting against R-R's with the C-T/S-L.

To read about my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method, I would invite you to read the following articles:

       Dodging Bullets As A Darksider – Part One

       Dodging Bullets As A Darksider – Part Two

…and the Frequently Asked Questions about the C-T/S-L is here:

       FAQ’s About The Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method – Part One

       FAQ’s About The Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method – Part Two

Since you buy-in for a smaller amount at the low-tolerance or low-budget casinos, what is the starting amount for your Steep Regression bet at those places as it relates to your buy-in?  Do you go $44-Inside or $66-Inside instead of $110 or $220-Inside to initiate your Steep Regression?

If it's a $2 or $3 table, then I'll start with $66 Inside.   If it's a $5 table at a low-tolerance casino, then I'll start at $88 Inside before regressing.

Why I Take Such a Hard-Line on Loss-Limits and Discipline

I get a lot of e-mail asking why I take such a hard line on Loss-Limits and discipline and why I’m always harping about playing with an adequate bankroll and why I am so dead-set against encouraging fellow dice-setters from betting with “scared money” or inadequate bankrolls.

I’m going to keep this one simple:

I take such a hard line on Loss-Limits, discipline and properly-funded bankrolls because I hate losing, and I hate to see others (who have earnestly asked for advice) lose too. 

Listen, my Precision-Shooting is good (it’s actually freakin’ outstanding, but since I’m not promoting any books or video sales, I can afford to be somewhat modest), but if I don’t hold the line on my losses, they tend to spiral out of control during the session where my shooting ISN’T so great. 

I have absolutely no difficulty whatsoever admitting that my dice-tossing isn’t always world-class.  In fact, I’ll plainly admit that sometimes it downright stinks.

What I have great difficulty doing, is allowing those losses to be so big, that I need more mega-hand wins just to claw my way back up to the break-even surface, BEFORE I can even start racking any net-profit for the day.  

That’s just plain stupid and it pisses me off when it happens.  

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to stop it…but it DOES take strict Loss-Limits and strict discipline to DO IT!

I’m not some degenerate gambler who can’t stem the flow of losses…I’m a professional Precision-Shooter, so I have to behave with self-control, willpower and resolve. 

That brings us right back to Loss-Limits and discipline.  

I need to impose and enforce those low, but ultra-strict loss-limits in order to KEEP them low.  That way, I can use my small-win sessions to offset them, instead of needing huge-win sessions to do the same.  That way, I use the medium, long and mega-roll wins as net-profit RETAINED-earnings, and not as an offset just to get back to break-even.

Again, you always have to be asking yourself the same question:

D’ya Wanna Win, or D’ya Wanna Gamble?

I go into the casino with the intention of WINNING. 

The casino has the money, and I want it. 

By using Precision-Shooting, tailored-to-skill betting, strictly enforced LOW Loss-Limits, and iron-clad discipline…I WILL get it!


Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor


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