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Shooting From The DontsA Journey of Opportunity Part 2


In addition to the normal Road Trip kind of report you are used to seeing from me, this article also focuses on many of the aspects of Come-Out betting when you are Precision-Shooting from the Darkside.

If you are looking to super-charge your WrongWay betting regimen or merely provide a bit more turbo-boost to an already robust Darkside game-plan, then this one is definitely for you.

Precision-Shooting success is easier to accomplish when shooting from the Darkside than it is when shooting from the “Do”.

If you have the “7” working IN your favor during the Point-cycle, as opposed to working AGAINST you; then you are in a much better position to take profitable advantage of it.

If your shooting-skills needn’t be nearly as good before you start to make some reliable profit; then in my books, Darkside-shooting holds even more merit for those who have had difficulty in converting their shooting SKILL into sustainable Rightside PROFIT.

If your dice-influencing skills are already highly developed; then Darkside-shooting can take your profit to new altitudes.

Achievable Goals

I wanted to establish and then achieve a continually higher set of goals for each stop along the way on this trip.

At Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax I had accomplished several things:

       I had been able to start with simple Don’t Pass bets and validate my skill as a Darkside-shooter.

       I had gotten confident, not only with the shooting, but also in my ability to fly SO LOW under the radar as to be almost invisible.

       I had carefully gauged how many rolls it was taking me, on average, to 7-Out.  This was critical information that I would use to further refine my betting-methods as my journey continued.

       I had gotten a reasonable amount of table-time in, yet no threats of bodily harm had been made against me by other players because of their perception that I was “betting against” them.

       Just as important, I had gotten a full-ride Comp on all of my daily living needs as far as food, shelter, shopping, parking, and entertainment was concerned.

       Moreover, I had an even better perspective on what I could accomplish by using shooting from the Don’ts.

 My goals for the overall trip were:

       To make the Come-Out segment of each hand as LONG as possible; and,

       To make the Point-cycle segment of each hand as SHORT as possible.

 My goals for my next casino destination were a little more refined:

       I wanted to average AT LEAST 3 rolls of the dice on the Come-Out before establishing the PL-Point.

       I wanted the PL-Point to be as tough to repeat as possible.

       I wanted to average a MAXIMUM Point-Cycle length of 5-rolls.

If I could increase my C-O roll-average and reduce my Point-Cycle roll-average; I figured my profitability would rise dramatically.

On the Road Again…

For someone that loves to be on the road, especially the craps-trail road; driving from state-to-state or province-to-province, gives me a chance to stay relaxed and to keep a balanced perspective on what it is I do for a living.   With Ms. MP’s ongoing illness, my travels hadn’t taken me as far afield as they normally do.  The trade-off of being able to spend some well-deserved time with her was obviously fully worth it.

The drive from Halifax’s Casino Nova Scotia to my next destination, gave me plenty of opportunity to plan my betting-methods, and especially focus on the Come-Out wagers that I was planning to exploit on the Darkside.

When shooting from either side of the line (PL or DP), I still treat the Come-Out portion of the hand as a Game Within a Game.  This approach is based on the premise that the Point-cycle, or in the case of Darkside shooting, the anti Point-cycle, calls for the use of one dice-set while the Come-Out rolls require an entirely different dice-set in which to exploit the various opportunities. 

Therefore, I treat ALL of my Come-Out action as a totally separate and distinct profit center.

Further to that, I also vary my C-O sets even WITHIN the same Come-Out cycle to maximize my Game Within a Game profitability. 

Simply stated, I may use one set for the initial Come-out Roll, but switch to another set if the Come-out phase is still in effect and I haven’t yet set a PL-Point.  The reason for this will become clear very shortly, but in essence it holds that if you can snipe out back-to-back (“bullfrog” repeaters) during the Point-cycle, then you should also be able to do it just as successfully during the C-O phase as well.  That being the case, sometimes I’ll change my C-O set in order to snipe out a back-to-back-to-back win on one of the higher paying C-O Prop-wagers.

No Dice…No Detour

I was hoping to make a detour to Casino de Charlevoix in La Malbaie, Quebec, but craps is not one of their currently offered games, so it was a straight-line push to the cosmopolitan city of Montreal.

It gave me time to ponder the long-bandied advice that some guys give about the “need” to be the master of more than one casino game.

Though I understand the requirement for some people to sit down and take a rest once in a while, I would rather not do it at a casino game where I don’t have an edge.  While you’ll often hear stories of how the Austin Powers slot-machine win saved the day for a player who had lost large on the craps table, I would think that there are many more untold stories of multitudes of additional players who gave back as much or even more of their hard-earned craps profit on the same machines because they had to sit down due to tired feet.

Listen, I’m all for taking the necessary breaks from the action when your health calls for it, but I think we have to be cognizant of how expensive those slot-machine “chair rentals” really can be. 

Okay, sermon’s over…let’s play craps.

Welcome to Casino de Montreal

Image – Casino de Montral

Located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, this casino is located in one of the hundred or so pavilions that were first used during the Expo ’67 World’s Fair, then Man & His World in 1968.  The man-made island that houses this operation (which was created by the use of excavation material from the subway system) also hosts the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix as well as a number of other attractions including a Buckminster Fuller designed Biosphere in the former U.S. pavilion.

The casino itself is open 24/7/365 and features just over 3,000 slots and 120 table games, so there’s plenty of action in what is decidedly one of North America’s few genuine 24-hour cities.

A Short Geography Lesson

With a greater Metro population of 1.8 million, and easy road, rail, and air links to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard; the 45-minute drive from the U.S. border makes Montreal a very popular tourist destination.

The Hotel

Since Casino de Montreal doesn’t have a hotel of its own, I checked into the Ritz-Carlton which was only a short distance away.  I wanted the freshest possible outlook when I headed for the tables, and at this point I knew I wasn’t at my sharpest after being on the road for quite awhile, so I hit their modest Fitness Center (instead of hitting the tables) and then settled in for the night.

Most times I use my down-time to totally relax and clear my mind of everything including this craps-business, but deep relaxation in a sauna, steam room or Jacuzzi also lets you consider certain aspects of the game from a more philosophical, less technical point of view.  In other words, it lets you look at the game from a more abstract, high-concept viewpoint instead of just running countless betting-play scenarios through your head. 

The Come-Out Roll

Profitably handling the initial Come-Out roll means that your current hand often gets an early start on the revenue front.

Though there are many hedge bets that a player can use to try to protect and insure his Don’t Pass line-bet against a Come-Out 7 or 11, I don’t normally use any of them. 

Instead, I use the C-O as a profit-opportunity instead of a high cost insurance-policy.

Using The Come-Out Roll as a Profit-Maker

Let me start by saying that shooting from the Don'ts can be INCREDIBLY lucrative.

Let me add that using the Come-Out roll as it’s own self-contained profit-center can be even more profitable on a throw-by-throw basis (when measured by how much money each throw contributes, on average, towards your net-income) than normal anti-Point throwing is.

Let me also add that there are differing philosophies related to this subject, and each one may or may not be applicable for your particular mind-set and game-plan.  You have to make your decisions based upon your current skill-set and appetite for risk, as well as your overall attitude to various types and styles of wagering.

Just because someone else is wagering the way that they do, does not necessarily mean that you should too.  It is very important that you can comfortably afford the bets you are making.

For me, I want to bet more on the results that bring in the money, and less (or none at all) on the ones that don’t.  I know that sounds like common sense…and it is…but judging by the way some people who have a discernable shooting-edge over the house bet and lose…that philosophy doesn’t seem to be as widespread as you might think.

My goal for this trip is to maximize my Darkside profit by way of semi-long Come-Out victories and short-duration DP Point-cycle wins.

So we have three somewhat conflicting objectives at work here:

       We want to make money off of Come-Out action on the Proposition-bets in the middle of the table.

       We want to make money off of instant winners (2 and 3) on the DP-line during the Come-Out.

       We want to establish a PL-Point that is a little more difficult to repeat, yet offers a decent payoff when free-odds are used to back up our DP line-wager during the Point-cycle.

You have to temper that last item just a bit insofar as wanting to establish “hard-to-repeat” PL-Points (4 and 10) in order to have a better chance of rolling a 7-Out before the PL-Point reappears.  That idea has to be moderated with the fact that the “easier to repeat” PL-numbers (6 and 8) have higher yielding payoffs in the Odds department when I laid in tandem with DP flat-bets.

On the face of it, those seemingly conflicting objectives sound like a difficult task.  In reality, certain sets and certain bets just naturally lend themselves to satisfying that particular task quite nicely.  We’ll get to those in a moment.  Right now let’s step up to the table.

Craps…a la Quebec

I guess the first thing that most people notice about craps games in the Province of Quebec is that the actual felt-layout and the game itself is usually called by the stickman in Canada’s two official languages, English and French.

Image - Craps table

Fortunately, all of the dealers that I encountered were fluently bilingual and communicating with them was not a problem.

You’ll notice the French/English layout is pretty much the same as a traditional one, so you can make and collect your bets as seamlessly as you do at any other casino.

First Hand, First Session, First Day

Although I was buoyed up with confidence coming off of my Casino Nova Scotia Darkside wins, I remained fully aware of the risks associated with playing on a set of tables that I hadn’t been on in quite some time. 

Though my Table Notes for this casino are quite extensive, there were some layout changes that affected the most fundamental of dice-impact characteristics, so I had to re-adjust to them.  Combined with the fact that I hadn’t thrown the dice on a regulation table for a little more 32 hours, I didn’t want to start out with any bet-the-farm sized wagers.

I eased into a semi-crowded table and bought in for $500 along with my Casino Privilges Club Players Card.  Food-comps at Casino de Montreal take on a whole new dimension and a whole new level of cuisine appreciation when used at a couple of their outstanding restaurants. 

My first hand was short and sweet…and from a Darksiders perspective, that’s a very good thing.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at the relatively sophisticated betting-skills that a number of the French-Canadian players displayed.   Quite a few transitioned effortlessly from betting with the dice to betting against the dice without equivocation or undue angst.  I noticed this portion of the player population was higher than in any other jurisdiction that I’ve been in.

Equally, I was impressed with the manner in which they pressed their bets when the dice started to trend strongly in either direction.  In most places, it takes a searing hot table to get virtually everyone betting heavily when the dice turn decidedly in that direction.  Likewise, when the table turned cold, they made the transition relatively seamlessly, and again didn’t hesitate to bet it up if a cool/cold trend continued.  In other words, they didn’t appear to have any of those inertial-hesitation betting problems that most Rightside-only players do. 

That refreshing observation was the good part.  However, one of their shortcomings was a strong resistance to betting anything for the dealers. 

Although the dealers here are unionized and are paid just a bit over $18 per hour; I was still surprised as to the total lack of tokes that were generated from even the hottest tables.  I learned later that casino-management has been an early opponent of allowing dealer-tokes in any way, shape or form; and therefore the strong non-tipping tradition had persisted into the present environment.

The Session Continues…

It was taking a while for the dice to cycle back around the table, but I was enjoying the quick re-acclimation of playing in a bilingual casino again.  It actually harkened back to a time when Haiti was under the rule of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier when there were a handful of casinos that offered craps (El Rancho, Royal Haitian, Le Plaza and Habitation Le Clere).  At that time, the craps game was called in Franco-Caribbean Patois, Spanish and English.  Of course, those tables are long gone…turned into firewood to cook someone’s meals for a day or two, but the quaintness of the stickman’s accent at my current table reminded me of a much more pleasant time on Hispaniola.

I ended up having five shots at the DP brass ring.  I made quick 7-Out money on four of them, but the fifth one was one of those hands that Rightsiders wet their pants over…I just could NOT 7-Out. 

In the middle of what seemed to be an interminable roll, I decided to transition my bets to the right-side, because all of my attempts to bring about the 7-Out had failed miserably.  At first I was a little unnerved…the dice were no longer doing anything I wanted them to do.  I resigned myself to the fact that if the dice were not going to do what I wanted them to do, I might as well take advantage of it like everyone else at the table was.

They all clapped and guffawed when I became a convert to the “Do-side” during what turned out to be the middle of my roll.

With across-the-board Place-action (including a sizeable wager on the PL-Point number to offset my base DP line-bet), I was able to pull in quite a bit of fresh cake.  I didn’t change my set from the one I had been using in attempting to 7-Out.  Rather, I simply let the current off-axis results spin some medium-carat gold.

I eventually removed my Don’t Pass line-bet altogether.   This was one of those hands where skill had NOTHING to do with my success, and only sheer luck and my lousy off-axis rolling was keeping me in the game.

When I finally did throw the 7-Out, I was as disappointed as the rest of the guys at the table, but I was equally disappointed that my on-axis tossing had disappeared completely within one semi-lengthy rotation of the table. 

A Bit of Reflection

I got a comp for the lunch buffet at Le Bonne Carte, and had a chance to think about my first session.

I had stuck to my DP plan and it worked 80% of the time.   I was using the Straight-Six (S-6) set on the Come-out and it was working quite well.  By my calculations, it was taking on-average about four rolls before I established the PL-Point.  To my mind, that was on track.  I wasn’t in a position just yet to predict what my PL-Point was likely to be, but some S-N trends were definitely starting to show themselves.  By focusing on C-O Horn-profit, I wasn’t as in-tune with what PL-Points were more likely to come up as I probably should have been.

On four out of those five hands, I managed to bring the 7-Out about within my goal of five-rolls or less, but the fifth hand had blown that average all to hell. 

At the point where I transitioned from the Darkside to making those across-the-board Place-bets, I had thrown no less than 27 times (including a three-roll C-O).  Sometimes I need to drink a cup of my own advice, and recognize an opportunity a little sooner.  In truth, I recognized the opportunity, but I was so chagrinned that I felt a little sheepish in taking advantage of it.  To top all that, I couldn’t figure out why my on-axis shooting had suddenly gone into the toilet.

Though I took consolation in the profit that I derived from that transition, I was somewhat stymied as to why it had happened.

I debated whether I should take a more extended break and go back to the hotel to do some practice-toss analysis.  Even though it was less than fifteen minutes away, I opted to give the tables another try.

Session Two

I joined another semi-crowded table, but I had no intention of staying there for anywhere near as long as I had played during my morning session.   Rather, I just wanted to be sure that my on-axis, primary-face shooting hadn’t permanently gone on hiatus.

This casino prefers that you have a line-bet or some other type of Place-action in play on the previous player when the dice come to you.  I don’t know how evenly they apply this rule or whether they enforce it on a haphazard basis in terms of whether you are a “regular” there or not; but I didn’t want to take any chances…besides the table certainly looked to be trending cool as a little less than half the players were on the darkside.

I used my Choppy-Table-Short Leash Method to good benefit for about thirty minutes before the dice came to me.  The deepest I got into the progression was to the fourth-stage, and that was due to a number of C-O 7’s and 11’s with a quick Out after that one particular players second PL-Point was established.

I started using the Early Trigger component of the C-T/S-L (as discussed in FAQ’s About The Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method Part Two) because most of the players were not even getting past their first Point, and I felt like I was missing out on even greater Darkside opportunities.

I’ll quickly interject that a lot of the guys who had been betting on the Darkside, converted to betting with the dice when they became the shooter.  In most cases, the trend (and their subsequent results) gave a strong indication that they would have been MUCH better off if they had stuck to the DP side of the dice and bet against their own shooting.

Much to my relief, my own shooting got back on track and my subsequent hands only required 3-rolls, 5-rolls, 2-rolls, 2-rolls, 7-rolls and 3-rolls (during the Point-cycle) to bring about the 7-Out.

My Come-Out “Game Within A Game” shooting faired equally well during this session.  It was taking just under four rolls before I established the PL-Point, and I used those pre-Point rolls to as much advantage as I could.

Here’s how:

Where Horn-Action Fits Into My Game-Plan

I use Horn-action in two, and only two instances when I’m shooting from the Don’t…when it’s the Come-out roll…and when it’s the Point-cycle roll.

During the C-O I use it to boost my pre-Point earnings.  With the S-6 set for instance, I can get enough Horn-paying repeats to use it as a stand-alone profit-center that is equal to or greater than my anti-Point rolling DP-bets (once the PL-Point is established).

During the Point-cycle, I will sometimes use Heavy’s “See A Horn, Bet A Horn” approach on the basis that some of the anti-Point dice-sets that I use do in fact spin off a lot of Horn-numbers as well as a preponderance of the desired 7-Out’s that I am looking for.

Notice that I don’t throw out money on the Horn in the HOPE that it repeats, but do so on the basis of frequent higher-than-average repeats.  If you find that certain numbers repeat in “clumps”, then straight-up betting on them can be a profitable thing.  However you have to keep a constant eye on how much you are venturing on those wagers versus how much you are collecting from them.  It does no good if you can report an astronomical win on back-to-back-to-back Horn-wins, yet STILL end up losing money because of what it cost you to get to that point.

Session Three

My third go at the tables offered a good opportunity to put some of that Horn-action philosophy to work.

My C-O roll-cycle was taking a minimum of three tosses, and averaging almost five throws if you include the roll that subsequently becomes the PL-Point.

My anti PL-Point cycle was in the same ballpark.  In most cases, it was taking about five rolls to 7-Out, although a few went in as little as two tosses, while one of them took sixteen throws before bringing home the DP-bacon.

My Come-Out Horn Action

I’ll be the first to admit that the following betting-method may not take as much full and absolute advantage of my shooting skills as it should.   To my mind, my Darkside C-O betting-approach is still in the formative stages of development, and I readily agree that it’s a long way from reaching its ultimate utility (and profitability).

Just as the rest of my betting has evolved over the years, and still continues to do so to this very day; my Darkside C-O action is a work in progress, and as you’ll see with subsequent installments in this series, it continues to advance and develop with each new day.

By this point, it had evolved to look like this:

       On my first Come-Out roll, I make a $4 Horn-bet.

       On the first hit I'll press the Horn by double (from $4 to $8) if a 3 or 11 rolled, and rack the rest of the profit.

       If the 2 or 12 rolled, then I'll quadruple it (from $4 to $16), and rack the rest of the profit.

       If a Come-Out 7 shows up during any of these progressions, I re-start my Horn-betting at $4.

       On the second hit (if a Horn-number comes right back), I'll do the same thing again. I'll double it if the 3 or 11 hits this time, and quadruple it if the 2 or 12 appear on this go-round.

       The third Horn-hit in a row poses an interesting problem.   Yes, the profit is tumbling in, but this is also the point where Pit-attention MAY start to kick in.

       If the same Horn-number has shown for three rolls in a row; then it can cause even MORE concern. If it's been three different, or at least non back-to-back same-number occurrences; then it usually doesn't give rise to too much concern and I'll press on.

       With that caveat in mind, I'll again do the double press (if 3 or 11 rolled this time) or the quadruple thing (if 2 or 12 showed up).

       Concurrent with that, I may put up a Lay bet against the 5 or 9.   I have found that with my shooting; three, four or five Horn-repeaters in a row is usually followed by a C-O 7.  Though my flat DP line-bet will suffer and my now semi-large Horn-bet will disappear; I take consolation in the fact that I’ve got a (usually much larger) payout coming from my Lay 5 and/or 9 wager.

       If a fourth Horn shows up; then I'll usually do that double or quadruple press again, but I'll be even more mindful of any untoward Pit-attention.  That doesn’t mean that you have to look around like an undercover junior G-man.  Instead, it means that you have to know the difference between mild curiosity and outright concern when it comes to any attention from the Pit- dwellers.

       Concurrent with the fourth Horn-hit in a row (and any further C-O Horn-repeaters from this point forward), I'll usually ratchet up the Lay-bet against the 5 or 9 by 25% to 50% on each subsequent non-Point-establishing C-O result. 

       Though the Lay-bet(s) on the 5 and/or 9 can get fairly lofty during the C-O cycle, keep in mind that I usually get a C-O 7-loser somewhere just after the C-O back-to-back-to-back-to-back Horn-bet wins, so from my perspective it makes a lot of sense.

       In fact, during this Shooting From The Don't's in-casino test-phase trip, there weren’t many times when I got past four Horn-hits in a row with the S-6 set before a C-O 7 showed up.  Like I said, during the C-O that’s bad news for my DP-bet, but good news for any of my Lay-action.   As you’ll see in a second, the reverse of that multiple-Horns-then-7 sequence can work just as well during the Point-cycle.

My Point-Cycle Horn Action

Once I establish the PL-Point that I’m shooting against, I usually give my Horn-action a rest until one of them shows up again, then I start a new Horn-bet sequence similar to the one I just outlined above.

       When a Horn-number appears during my Point-cycle, I use Heavy’s “See a Horn…Bet a Horn” approach wherein I make a $4 Horn-bet.

       On the first hit I'll press the Horn by double (from $4 to $8) if a 3 or 11 rolled, and rack the rest of the profit.

       If the 2 or 12 rolled, then I'll quadruple it (from $4 to $16), and rack the rest of the profit.

       On the second hit (if a Horn-number comes right back), I'll do the same thing again. I'll double it if the 3 or 11 hit this time, and quadruple it if the 2 or 12 appears on this go-round.

       The third Horn-hit in a row I'll again do the double press (if 3 or 11 rolled this time) or the quadruple thing (if 2 or 12 showed up).

       Concurrent with that, I may put up a Lay bet on the 5 or 9 if I don’t already have one in place (or ratchet it up depending on which one isn't the PL-Point if that is the case), and ask rhetorically (to no one in particular), "Where did all these Horn-numbers come from...all I really want is the 7-Out".

       If a fourth Horn shows up; then I'll usually do that double or quadruple press again, but I'll be even more mindful of any untoward Pit-attention.

       Concurrent with the fourth Horn-hit in a row, I'll once again ratchet up the Lay-bet against the 5 or 9, or I'll sometimes add an additional Lay-bet against the PL-Point (in addition to my DP with full-odds wager).

Like I said, this Darkside betting-approach is in constant adjustment.  I don’t mind risking more money if there’s a decent NET-payoff in it for me.  However, if it means LESS retained-earnings instead of MORE, then my bankroll doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.

Some of the tweaks that I’m currently employing is to ratchet up my No-5 and/or No-9 Lay-bets on almost every subsequent Point-cycle roll.

For example:

       Once I establish the PL-Point, let’s say the 6; then I start a Lay-bet against the 5 for $30 (plus $1 vig). 

       If the next roll doesn’t bring about the 7-Out; then I increase the Lay-5 to $45.  Keep in mind that we’re talking about a $5 minimum-bet table.  If the table-min is $10, $15, $25 or higher; then obviously I make all of my bets commensurately higher.

       If the 7-Out hasn’t shown by the next roll, then I’ll usually start Laying against the 9 as well.  Again starting at the $30 level, and then ratcheting it up from there.

       Once I get both Lay-bets up to the $150-each mark, I have to ask myself about how likely the prospect of delivering up a 7-Out is versus an accidental off-axis 5 or 9 which would wipe out one of my Lay-bets. 

       If the dice are staying on axis, but NOT giving me the primary-face 7-Out result that I’m looking for, then I’ll make a facial adjustment to the dice.  Though I’ll stick with the same basic-set, I’ll re-align the faces to coincide with the on-axis, but non 7-Out results that I’ve been getting.  That further sharpens my chances of getting a timely 7-Out.

       On the other hand, if I’ve been getting back-to-back-to-back repeating Horn-hits; then I’ll often do nothing at all as far as facial adjustments are concerned, and take consolation that my Horn-income is taking the primary lead on this hand instead of the quick-Out revenue-route.

Day One Results

I had achieved most of my D-1 objectives, but there was still a bothersome little problem of having one hand per session (usually the LAST hand of each session) that was going WAY too long in terms of the PL-Point cycle rolls.

I wasn’t getting as many back-to-back Horn-hits as I would have liked on those extra long rolls either.  I figured that even though I was having to throw the dice many less times per hand than if I was shooting from the Rightside, I was staying at the tables for one hand (one additional cycle around the table) too many.  The last hand was proving to be a bit troublesome, and I resolved to take a good hard look at in later on in the evening.

I had an indescribably good comped dinner at the casinos Nuances gourmet restaurant, and then headed off to the Ritz.

Meanwhile…Back At The Bat-Cave…

When I got back to my hotel, I did a little post-session dice-tossing. 

We first talked about the idea of making some after-casino practice-throws back in my More Gain & Less Pain (Extra Practice-Tips - Part IV) article.

The idea is fairly simple.

When you are finished playing a real-world in-casino session, it’s sometimes very illuminating if you have an at-home (or in-room) practice session. 

Yes, we are talking about doing some practice tosses AFTER you play.

As I mentioned previously, you won’t find this in any book or dicesetting manual, because it is one of those counter-intuitive things that at first does not appear to make any sense.  However, I can assure you that the insight that you can gain is worth its weight in casino chips.

After a session at the casino, the last thing you’ll probably be thinking about is practicing for your next session.  On the drive back home or the elevator ride up to your hotel-room, many people reflect upon the session they just played.  You may think about needing much more practice, especially after suffering a particularly cruel loss.  Or you may be thinking about how you plan to repeat the same skills that brought about a stellar winning session that you just completed.

Thinking about it is GOOD, but DOING something about it is even BETTER!

Since the just-completed real-world session is so fresh in your mind, you are tuned in to how things unfolded just a few minutes ago. 

That “real-world real-time” feedback is VALUABLE to a Precision-Shooter.

The fresher the experience, the better prepared to you are to assimilate recent events.  For a Precision-Shooter, that means that you can take your loss and figure out EXACTLY what went WRONG, or take your wins and figure out EXACTLY what went RIGHT.

Yes, you may be tired.  Yes, it may be days, weeks, or even months until you are planning on being in a real casino again, but this is the best time to correct what is WRONG and lock-in what is RIGHT. 

We’re not talking about a full-blown thousand-roll workout.    I am talking about a short set of throws.   Just see exactly how the dice are leaving your hand and flying through the air.  Observe how they are landing, and take a critical look at their outcomes. 

After you throw a dozen or so hands, I want you to ask yourself how closely these results mimic the ones you just threw in the casino.

       Are your practice session results better; the same, or worse than your just-completed casino-session?

       What is it that is nearly perfect about your throw, and what needs improvement?

       How would you have changed how you threw in the casino compared to how you are throwing now? 

       What has changed about the way the dice are leaving your hand and landing at the other end of your Practice Rig compared to the real table that you just played on? 

       If your real-world results sucked, and now you are hitting home-runs; what has changed?   What should you have done differently in the casino, and what do you think you should change now?    

The insight that you gain from an after-play session is tangible.  Any exercise that helps you figure out what EXACTLY went WRONG and EXACTLY what went RIGHT, puts you on the proper path to consistent profit.  When you do it AFTER a casino-session, it brings an immediacy and relevance to your game that a pre-casino practice session just cannot do.

If you rolled great in the casino, you’ll see if your results continue to hold water at home.  If you shot terribly at the casino, and you are back on track on your Practice Rig, NOW IS THE TIME to look at what has changed, or what was wrong with your throw in the casino that suddenly improved at home.

PRE-PLAY practice DOES tune-up and prepare you for battle.  However, an AFTER-PLAY practice-session gives you BETTER INSIGHT into what just happened in the casino. 

The just-finished experience is freshest, so it gives you an actionable ways to improve NOW.

Though I’ll admit that it’s an unconventional approach, it is designed to assist you on the path to exceptional Precision-Shooting consistency.

Practice BEFORE a session helps to PREPARE you.

Practice AFTER a session helps to IMPROVE you. 

Day Two – Session One

One of the reasons that I’ve kept my Horn-betting fairly conservative (relative to my shooting skill) is because I didn’t want to get caught up in the greed-factor by rationalizing it as a potential profit-factor.

In other words, I didn’t want to start second-guessing myself by saying stuff like, “If only I had parlayed that last Horn-bet, then I’d have hit my daily profit-goal in three minutes instead of three hours” or “I hit so many Horn-bets that I stopped counting them, but I still don’t have any profit to show for it ‘cause I spent more money betting on them than I did in collecting them”.

I didn’t want to get into the “stack ‘em, never rack ‘em until you’ve parlayed your bet to the moon and the casino to its knees” mindset where the parlayed-hits are the stuff that legends are built on, yet the hard-earned profits are almost never retained.

Instead I opted to go with a more gradual ratcheting up of my Horn-bet wins.  Though it may not build a legendary reputation, the conservatively-ratcheted retained Horn-bet profits will continue to build my bankroll.  However, I also realized that I still needed to do some MAJOR tweaking to my C-O betting in order to get more profit off of the table.  I’ll readily concede that I still have a LONG way to go in that department.

Each of my four sessions on Day Two reflected that philosophy.

As the day progressed, the duration of my Come-Out rolls drifted slightly upwards, while the average-duration of my Point-cycle slightly decreased.   It meant that my C-O profits continued to expand, and some of the volatility that I had experienced the day before (especially during the last hand of each of my sessions) had mellowed out quite a bit.

I was pleased with both of those improvements, but the somewhat shorter Point-cycle meant that there were less opportunities to run Heavy’s “See a Horn, Bet a Horn” progressions when I was shooting for the 7-Out.

A Frank Horn-Bet Discussion

The player-advantage of the Straight-Sixes (S-6 set) over the Horn-bet can become a three-way juggling act when it comes to wagering on it. 

ACDOC and Maddog have done some outstanding research on this subject, and I would strongly recommend that you take an in-depth look at their charts.

While a player can develop a discernable edge quite easily with even rudimentary on-axis S-6 performance; he has to make some choices about how much he will spend to validate it in the first place...and then once he does...what he will do with his profit-advantage once it comes in.

Let me explain:

Once you validate your S-6 on-axis skill in the casino, you have to balance how much you are spending in pursuing it versus how much you are making from it in net-profit (along with whether or not you are giving up profitability on any of your other bets).

These are the bankroll swings and other considerations that Irishsetter has long talked about, and they are CRITICAL to your overall profitability.  

Horn-bets and other Prop-action have a strong sex-appeal as well as a strong GREED-appeal.  They feel good when they pay off, but they can become addictive and habit-forming.  If they aren’t showing up often enough, then these bets can grind you and your bankroll into casino dust. 

You know those crop-circles that are in and around the boxman’s chip-bank?  Those are the dusty remains of players that came before you and got ground down into oblivion.  Those former players are now just tiny little tumbleweeds of balled up felt and bits of exfoliated skin.  You and your bankroll can meet the same fate if your center-of-the-table bets are not net-producers.  It may seem like you are only losing a few bucks at a time, but just like a giant salami…each thin little piece that gets sliced off and digested by non-profit-making Prop-bets leads to a slow but sure vanishing act no matter how big your starting bankroll.

When one of your Horn-bets hits, it becomes a matter of deciding how much to continue wagering on the Horn, as in...same bet...press it...parlay it...or "take it down".

You have to make the mature decision about how much of your bankroll can be dedicated to trying it out in the first place; and then how much of your S-6 winnings should be dedicated and re-invested in fueling further Horn-bet revenue-growth opportunities.

The reason I bring this up is because that is the same problematic equation that my own S-6 performance is having to deal with on an ongoing basis even today.

Though my S-6 Horn-pursuit has proven to be quite profitable up until now, and even more profitable during this Darkside journey; the attendant roll-by-roll volatility raises the question of just how much I should be pressing it with each subsequent hit versus how much I should be retaining as racked-profit.

Day Two Continued…

As I mentioned, I saw some strengthening in my rolls (longer C-O’s and shorter Point-cycles) with each subsequent rotation around the table. 

Better still, the final hand that I threw at the end of each session did not have that “Ohmigawd, how come I can’t 7-Out anymore” feeling to it.  I realized that yesterdays seemingly unending last hand of each session was likely due to a level of impatience that I was starting to feel after I had thrown a good (short) hand.  Though I was pleased when I got a relatively quick 7-Out winner, I was also somewhat perturbed and impatient about the fact that I would have to wait so long for the dice to come back around to me again.

As much as I love Casino de Montreal and all the great people who play there, the lack of low-population tables was wearing a little thin on me.   To combat that, I decided that if I was even beginning to feel the level of impatience like I was encountering yesterday; then it was time to end it. 

On Day Two, I actually left the table a couple of times even though the dice were fairly close-by in terms of the number of shooters I would have to endure until the dice got back to me.

Now I’m not saying that it saved me money, but I sure know that it saved me quite of bit of frustration.

I got another comp and tried out their outstanding Via Fortuna Italian restaurant, then headed back to the hotel.

Day Three – Session One

Having the Ritz-Carlton a short drive away from the casino was not as interrupting as you might think.  The drive actually gave me a good chance to prepare for my first hand of the day a little better than the usual elevator-ride straight into the casino would do.

My morning session yielded another win…albeit, not a big one.  I had a fairly large Lay-bet out against the 5, and a somewhat smaller one against the 9.  I unceremoniously whacked the 5, and in a moment of hesitation and uncertainty, I called down the Lay-9 out of concern that I might accidentally roll that one as well. Concurrently, I removed my Lay-Odds on the DP-Point of 4; then promptly threw the 7-Out on the very next roll.

It was one of those moments where if I had been a Rightside-player who had witnessed someone else doing the same thing, I would have had to stifle at smile at the irony of the whole thing.  As it was, I decided that a break from the action was required.

I took a fairly long circuitous walk around the island.

Session Two

I didn’t notice any grousing or grumbling from the other players or dealers when I was shooting from the Don’t-side.  Although I did continue to see avowed Darksiders change their stripes as soon as the dice came to them and convert into Rightsiders for their roll only.

I still hadn’t seen any discernably-skilled Precision-Shooters either.  In fact, I didn’t notice ANY dicesetters who were able to string together anything resembling a decent length hand up until Day Three – Session Two.  On this day, that would change as I did get to witness two fellows who quite literally shot the lights out time after time when they got the dice.

Fortunately for me, I had just got back to the table when I witnessed the first shooter, but due to the crowded conditions, I wasn’t able to get any money into action until he had thrown three PL-winners and a string of C-O winners in quick succession.  Needless to say, I was NOT betting against him.  I made a moderately sized profit off of him.  His buddy right beside him tossed next and managed to deliver just about as good of a roll.  Fortunately I was on this one almost from the outset.  Though I didn’t recognize either player, I did recognize their grip, set, motion and delivery as being very deliberate and studied.

Their shooting alone helped turn a few of my initial betting-unit pesos (that I had bought from a fellow player in order not to disturb the game with a cash-on-the-table buy-in) into some heavyweight krugerrand gold.  I was impressed with their shooting-skills, and my bankroll was looking fat and sassy before the dice even came around to me.

I had done a bit more of that after-session practice-tossing in my hotel room when I got back from the casino the night before.  It helped me two nights ago, and it helped me again today.   I also took a critical look at my dice-tossing motion in the hotel mirror to see whether I had picked up any tiny flaws or affectations along the way.  You can read more about this defect-detector in my Shooting Bible –Part Eight article.

By this point, I had been at the table for more than 75 minutes, but still hadn’t handled the dice yet.  When I finally got them, I did give some thought to shooting from the Rightside in order to keep the hot-hot-warm-hot streak alive, but I was determined to play my own game based on the regimen that I had set out in the first place.

It took quite a while before I actually established my PL-Point.  The come-out numbers went like this:


My Horn-bet pressure was stepped up in this order:


My DP bet on this sequence went like this:

$10(initial DP-bet)…$15…$25…$40…$10…$20…$30…$50(flat DP line-bet against the PL-Point of 10)

My intention was to wait for a roll or two after establishing the PL-Point before deciding whether or not I wanted to lay Odds on it.  As it turned out, the 7-Out showed up on the very next toss, so my procrastinating didn’t afford the opportunity.

To my surprise, the table resumed the warm trend that it had had up to the point where I got the dice. I felt just of twinge of sheepishness insofar as betting the Don’t side when I was shooting, but then resuming my betting on the Do-side when everyone else continued to deliver warm-trending results. 

The dice cycled the table a few more times, and the two outstanding shooters continued to strut their stuff.  My next three hands fairly echoed my first hand, but this time I laid Odds against the Point as soon as it was established.

At some point after my fourth hand, the two excellent Precision-Shooters at the hook of my end of the table slipped away.  They didn’t color up and didn’t use any fanfare to announce their departure.  I was impressed enough with their shooting to lock their faces into my memory, but I didn’t have a chance to have a word with them out of earshot of the dealers or the other players. 

When the table finally started to cool off, I noticed another table was almost completely empty, so I moved over there and told the Floor Supervisor where I’d be in order for my Rating Card to follow me.  I was definitely enjoying the comped cuisine, and I sure as heck didn’t want to pay for any of it if I didn’t have to.  Besides that, I was angling to get them to pick up my room-charges which I understood was going to be fairly difficult (based on my average bet); so I knew that every minute of my play needed to be logged for any chance of that happening.

Alternating Come-Out and Point-Cycle Strategies

When I got to the new table, the dealers forewarned me that the dice had been ice-cold and most Rightsiders had been driven away while most of the Darksiders had been ground down by the chop. 

One of the problems with trying to transition from either side is that choppy tables will literally slice, dice and julienne your bankroll like there’s no tomorrow.  I nodded appreciatively at their advice and asked if they’d mind if I shot from the Darkside in that case.  Though DP-shooting was my intention all along, I felt there was nothing wrong with appearing to hold their opinion in high regard. 

One of my current favorite Darkside-shooting plays is to continue using the S-6 set for the Point-cycle when the PL-Point is 5 or 9. I can then lay max-Odds against the Point, and also Lay large on the box-number twin to it.

I had the table all to myself for quite some time.  Once in awhile a player or two would venture near, but when they saw that I was shooting from the Don’t’s, they would do an about face and head to a different layout.

This was my first solo-shooting opportunity here in Montreal, and I was bound and determined to take full advantage of it.  With the dice coming right back to me after successfully 7’ing-Out, it gave me a chance to groove in my shooting as though I was in the middle of a hot-hand on the Do-side.  That is, since I was getting the dice in rapid succession, I was able to get a whole lot more accuracy and much greater on-axis, primary-face consistency than any of my sessions over the previous days had displayed. 

Though I still wasn’t able to throw a 7-Out on command, I was usually able to bring it about in shockingly short order.  Equally, I was able to extend my Come-Out rolling by nearly double over the average that I had been getting in Montreal up until this point.

I used that session as my final one for Montreal.  I had earned a pile of dough, but just as importantly, I had learned a lot more about seizing Come-Out roll opportunities.  I was anxious to try out my newly validated methods (and permit them evolve even further) at some less crowded tables in a different city.

I hope you’ll join me there.

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tablesand in Life. 


The Mad Professor

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