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 On Dice…On Wong…On Ourselves

I know some of you will find this hard to believe, but there are actually some positive aspects to the recent entry of Stanford Wong into the advantage-play craps world.

Now before you start coopering up a rough-hewn cross on which to hang me, let me explain this seeming impious rail.

The Season of My Discontent

First of all, I’m none to happy that a respected gaming-author like Wong has published a tome like “On Dice”.  I’ve voiced my discontent in no uncertain terms and I still maintain that when a highly credible authority lends ANY integrity and substance to the whole dice-influencing debate, it does not auger well for undiminished and unaltered longevity to this game.

It’s not that I mind him being in our Precision-Shooting community.  Rather, I mind that his book is out there in the general community.  The slippery slope on which casino-corp managers base much of their specious and often gratuitous game-altering decisions got precipitously steeper with the release of his book.

Having said all of that though, there is actually a positive (but much more muted) upside to his presence on our stage.

Another Dawn of Opportunity

Wong’s various non-promotional postings on the Message Boards have raised a number of critically important issues that might not otherwise get the degree of attention or response were it posted by someone of a lesser public profile.

I think that greatly contributes to the overall learning process and knowledge-matrix of the game.

       The traditional gambling-world of craps is rife with superstition, outmoded playing methods and general gambling fallacies.  However, in the dice-influencing context, some of them actually prove themselves out as valid and sustainable methods…but please don’t try to convince Stanford of that.  There are far better ways to gain and benefit from his company.


       The traditional advantage-play BJ world is rife with overly bookish views that work quite well in purely mathematically-driven games like “21”, but falls seriously short when applied unchanged to a game like positively-influenced craps where you insert the physical act of actually having to throw the dice to gain that edge.   When you counterpose that against various throwing conditions like table-length, felt-condition and shooting-position; you have a situation that is far removed from the simple act of stoically counting cards…but again it is not our job to convince recent BJ-to-craps converts that what we do is far more sophisticated and advanced than their former pursuits.


A Little Perspective

It’s so difficult for most advantage-players who come over from the BJ side of the casino to understand that there is a huge difference between placidly sitting on your ass WAITING for the remaining undealt deck to become rich in count, versus having to actually create your own advantage by derandomizing the dice yourself.  

They reason that if a deck of cards easily offers up an exploitable edge for a player who is savvy enough to proficiently keep track of a mathematical count; then surely those same skillful card-counting attributes just as easily qualify them to know virtually everything there is to know about exploiting derandomized dice as well.

Sadly that type of painless, seamless and facile transition from one game to the other is hardly ever the case, but don’t expect any of them to admit something so unseemly and indecorous. 

As hard as it may be for you to show compassionate understanding and patient sympathy towards them; you have to remember that many of these BJ refugees, displaced players and foundlings are coming from a battle-scarred landscape where most of their time has recently been spent endlessly discussing quantum hypotheticals instead of actually playing their chosen game…simply because there are so few substantively exploitable blackjack games left. 

In their own missives from the 6:5 CSM battlefront, it appears that the ranks of adequately skilled blackjack players who are still able to eke out a middle-class living off of their chosen game is shrinking faster than Micheal Jackson’s room-mate list.

So please be as polite to them as your conscience will allow, and try to understand that their air of transcendence and superiority comes from decades of having mastered the ability to count…one…plus one…plus one…minus one…add one…minus one…subtract another one; while us mouth-breathing dice-hurling barbarians were figuring out how to beat an unbeatable game…the very same game where those very same players assertively declared for those very same decades…that it couldn’t be done.

Welcome them, but please try to understand that they carry substantial baggage that may not serve them as well as they might expect it will on this side of the casino.  On the other hand, a few of them have brought some suitable and adaptable wares that certainly merit a closer inspection.

So how does all of this relate to Stanford Wong’s presence in our community, and why do I consider it mildly contributory to our progress out of the stone-age caves that we are apparently living in?

He simply asks the right questions.

Introspection Often Leads to Self-Improvement

The substance and value of experience that Wong has gained from decades of advantage-play cannot be understated. 

Equally though, we have to recognize that the sheer size and weight of his BJ-dominated experience does not hold all of the answers; and in some cases, those experiences may act to weigh down and retard his dice-influencing progress. 

To his credit (or perhaps for his amusement), he has asked for us to justify or at least better explain some of the commonly used gaming-approaches that are diametrically  opposed to his current way of thinking.

Even through the slight air of superiority that most of his current Message Board musing have, there is a mild undercurrent of someone who is coming to understand, on an almost daily basis, that dice-influencing may hold even more potential for successful exploitation than blackjack ever did.  Additionally, it would appear (either by intent or by oversight), that there are some facets of the game that he hasn’t yet come to fully appreciate, understand and profitably capitalize upon.

To me, that indicates a smart and savvy player…one that we may be able to learn something from.

Disregard Motivation and Consider Enrichment

Now some people may rightfully contend that Wong simply poses those questions and puts forth those statements in order to reap fodder for his next book and they point to recent history as an excellent exemplar of their contention.   Regardless of the motivation on his part, I contend that we can STILL learn something from what he says or what he asks…or at least in the way we answer those inquisitions and assertions.

By responding to his well-asked questions, we put ourselves in a position where we have to at least rudimentarily examine just why it is we do certain things that we do when we play, when we bet, and when we shoot.

That’s not a bad thing.

By thinking about each of the elements that make up our current advantage-play strategy and tactics on a much higher-abstract level; we get the benefit of carefully examining some of our deepest held beliefs about the game we cherish and especially about the various ways we try to exploit it. 

In probing for weaknesses and justifying their place in our current game-plan, we get to examine our existing methods with a view of either justifying their continued use, or immediately excluding them on the grounds of now-proven obsolescence or superceded replacement by a more cogent formula and legitimate process.

In either case, that’s a serious benefit whose value to each of our advantage-play efforts should not be overlooked or underestimated.

To me, our posted responses to Stanford Wong’s queries are not so much for his edification and education, but instead offers an excellent way (and a good excuse) to examine, confirm and validate some of our current betting-methods and gaming-approaches; or in the alternative, to finally see some of them for the outmoded old-wives tales and gambling fallacies that a few of them really are.

By simply taking a more profit-focused and less gambling-oriented approach to our own game and by thinking about WHY, WHAT and HOW it is we do each of the things that we do as dice-influencing advantage-players; the more we can be the chief beneficiaries of that whole question-and-answer process.

The Best MAY Be Yet To Come

If we can derive that much benefit from Wong’s mere presence; imagine what we might gain once he has had more of a chance to become an integral part of the Precision-Shooting matrix.  Though I won’t cite the law of unintended consequences, I will say that the closer we examine, explore and scrutinize each one of our actions at the table; the better prepared and equipped we are to actually harness and utilize the advantage that our dice-influencing offers.

So Stanford, welcome to the wonderful world of dice-influencing, and thanks for asking those sharply pointed questions.  I for one have benefited.

Good Luck and Good Skill at the tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

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