have a love-hate relationship with the two casinos in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
love playing there, and the tables are fantastic as far as consistent on-axis performance
love the dealers, most of the box-people and Table Game Supervisors, along with a lot of
the Pit Managers, Casino Hosts and Shift Bosses
they treat me incredibly well.
love the incredible profits that Ive pulled off of the Niagara tables over the past
half-decade since dice games were legalized there. When
I look at the total sum, it staggers the imagination.
I HATE about both of those casinos are the crowded conditions that continually
money off of the Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Resort
tables is relatively easy
and obviously I love that; but making money fast
enough, even at their $25 or $50 tables, is somewhat problematic, and I hate
waiting around for another shooting-opportunity.
not that their dealers are slow
far from it
rather, with so many players and so
much betting-action; the dice usually take an excruciating amount of time just to make one
lap around the table.
decent money on the Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview tables
is a test of patience and its a test of discipline.
These layouts pay a huge dividend if you can show some controlled tolerance
and mature restraint, but they charge an equally hefty fee if you are impatient,
intolerant, impulsive or overly fervent.
casino here is fairly big (about 10,000 square feet larger than LVs MGM Grand or
roughly five times the size of the Golden Nugget casino).
Its only been open since April of 2004, so it still has that new
car smell to it.
was built to augment Casino Niagara which has been open for a little more
than ten years (although craps has only been allowed for just over half of that time).
has all the casino games that youd expect
and a few that arent as widely
known. Needless to say, their 3000+ slot
machines outstrip the number of gaming tables (~150) by a 20:1 ratio.
their all-suite hotel is relatively small, their run-of-the-mill Players Suites are on par
with Mandalay Bay, Beau Rivage and Borgata, but they seriously lack over-the-top gaudiness
if that is what you are looking for.
Galleria Shoppes have the usual array of high-end retail from Swarovski crystal and
Philippe Artois shirts to Dolce & Gabbana shoes and Havana cigars. If youre looking for cheap and tacky
souvenirs, youll find plenty of it in other areas around the city, but you
wont find it here
well, at least not for under $100.
entertainment runs the gamut from Wynona, Neil Diamond and the Doobie Brothers to REO
Speedwagon, Shania Twain and Bob Dylan.
are innumerable things to do and see around the Falls (in addition to exploring the caves
that are under the cataracts), like the countless museums and attractions that line
Clifton Hill and the Niagara Parkway, or the seventeen wineries that are minutes away, or
the Seneca Casino that is located within walking distance on the American side of the
Falls, or the many wildlife attractions that are within a five-minute driving radius.
were here to play craps
and in particular, to shoot from the Dont-side of
the dice. Lets take a look at what
were up against:
eight (8) of their tables are "short" 12-footers, meaning the nominal end-to-end
throwing distance is 10' 8".
sub-surface is cabinet-grade 1 & 3/4" plywood with a
melanine-bonded/arborite-type wood-grain veneer.
unpadded felt is an 80%/20% wool/polyester blend with no underlay.
their tables respond well to most types of throws from Low, Slow and Easy (<15 degrees
of landing-angle)...all the way to a high-trajectory (80+ degree landing) Dead-Cat Bounce.
is moderate, but definitely NOT lively. The table absorbs quite a bit of descent-impact
energy, but is less absorbent of forward-moving energy. The obviousness of that statement is revealed most
forcefully by the fact that at-the-wall type steep landings give very
little rollback, while landing-zones that are further out require a significantly higher
modulation of throwing-force.
greater clarity, that means that if you land the dice at or near (within 2-inches of) the
base of the backwall with a steep-descent low-energy throw; then the dice tend to
with minimal rollback, if any.
they land further out and roll into the backwall; then you obviously have to
regulate their forward-momentum quite a bit more in order for them to achieve the same
result. Both types of tosses
its just that the at-the-backwall-landings tend to require a lot less
effort and energy-input modulation to achieve consistency on these tables
course, your mileage may vary.
these layouts, excess backspin causes high-energy deflection (like a stone skipping across
the water) WITHOUT causing the dice to slow down enough before they hit the backwall. In other words, the tables do not bleed-off enough
energy if the dice are carrying too much backspin.
of the pros who play here regularly use a no-spin knuckle-ball type medium-angle
lob. They target the dice squarely at the
crotch of the table where the felt meets the backwall rubber. To watch it when their aim is accurate is a thing
of shock, awe and profit
but to watch it when their aim is off by just a little bit,
is to witness what appears to be a random-rollers convention.
is best advised when contemplating wagers on ANY shooter (even skilled ones who make their
living off of this game); it is important to gauge their right-now targeting
accuracy BEFORE you pony up your money on the layout.
If they are hitting their mark
then I pile on the shekels. If they arent, then my kruggerands stay right
where they should be
safely out of harms way and in my rail.
table-rails are about 1.5 inches higher than the industry-standard height of their
brethren at Casino Niagara, but the rail-width is ~1.0 inch narrower, so
that makes up for some of the difference if you are used to resting your hip or belly
against the rail when you shoot.
minimums are $10, but expect a number of layouts to be set at $15, $25, and possibly
$50/$100 depending on the time of day/week/month and season.
the early morning, not all the tables will be open but you should be able to find at least
one $10 game. Additional tables open at 12:30 pm (noon). Some of those MAY be $10, but
that's hardly ever the case during the late spring, summer or early fall. In the winter you are more likely to find more $10
tables more often. Obviously on the weekends
and during holidays (even during the winter) $15, $25 and $50 minimums will be the norm.
is a significant lull at most of the craps tables between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm. That period offers a good opportunity to select
from multiple open, but sparsely populated tables. It
is also the appropriate time to ask the Pit Manager if hell lower the price of a
high-denomination table or at least let you play at it (solo) for a less-than-posted
bet-amount until other players join in. We
discuss this approach in much greater detail in the upcoming
Shooting Opportunities Part Three.
you'll be limited to a $2000 max-bet, but they will raise the limit on a player-specific
basis. That is, the table sign will still show either a $1k or $2k-max, but they'll allow
you to go to $5k or $10k with prior consent first being had and obtained. If you are on good terms with either of the two
senior Executive Hosts; then theyll do all of the legwork
you just have to show
up with your money or Line-of-Credit.
the Salon Privée high-roller room, the $50 (daytime) table allows a $5000 (and sometimes
up to $25,000) max flat-bet with corresponding full Odds.
At night (from ~8 pm onward), this layout usually turns into a $100 table
except during mid-winter, mid-week blizzards when they may actually lower it all the way
down to $25.
offered at all tables are of the standard 3x, 4x, 5x variety.
the time you read this, they will be in the process of installing the Fire Bet
layout on their tables. Obviously a skilled
shooter will have to recalibrate his throw-dynamics to compensate for the felt w/slightly
find a healthy mix of tourists and regular locals at both Casino
and Niagara Fallsview Resort.
ratio varies from season to season and even varies by the day of the week and the hours
that you choose to play at.
locals who play here on a regular basis are easy to spot, as much as they are in any other
casino around the world. Equally, the well-heeled tourists look pretty much like most of
the locals, especially in light of the fact that security keeps most of the riff-raff away
(they of course make an exception for me due to my ungodly good-looks and effervescent
a little harder to spot the pros who ply their trade on these layouts on a nearly
daily basis because they blend in so well against the radar clutter of dicesetting
random-rollers. If you play here for a while
and spread your action across all three shifts; then an astute observer should be easily
able to identify at least a few of them. Most
of the pros have had their distemper-shots, so by and large they are a likeable and
havent done an official survey or anything like that, but I would guesstimate that
there are more pros who play here on a home casino basis than
most other gaming jurisdictions except A/C and LV. I
make that statement knowing full well just how many good players there are out there, but
equally cognizant of the fact that there are darn few who actually make their living
solely from Precision-Shooting.
before you start writing angry e-mails written in crayon under that swaying lightbulb; let
me qualify that.
are MANY MORE aspiring dice-influencers in MOST OTHER jurisdictions than there are in this
area. That goes without saying.
for some reason the Southern Ontario/Western New York market has more Precision-Shooters
who have broken through the good-enough-to-earn-a-living (~USD$60,000+ per year)
threshold than most other gaming-markets.
thought about why this is, and perhaps the best explanation is found in Heavys
year-end 2004 Craps Seminar review. Though
most people who take up dicesetting do so to expand their knowledge, very few are willing
or able to dedicate the time, effort and commitment to achieve dice-influencing
opting instead for the camaraderie of playing with friends and discovering
less volatile ways to bet on random-rollers. Most players who take up dicesetting never
muster the wherewithal to put it all together and apparently never aspire to actually make
any money at it; so they are quite satisfied in gaining a little more insight into the
game and developing their discipline as well as expanding the social aspects of it.
some reason, a number of the folks in Niagaras catchment-area have cast off that try-to-lose-less-but-play-for-fun
method, and instead have selected a more income-centered professional approach. I think theres merit in both camps;
its just that one is more entertainment-based while the other has an earnings-and-lifestyle
would guesstimate that the pro-player population for Casino Niagara, Niagara Fallsview,
Seneca Niagara, Seneca Allegany, Casino Rama, and Turning Stone is nearing a dozen players
who earn their living exclusively from dice-influencing.
fact that Falls Management Inc. (the Chicago Pritzger-family local arm of Hyatt
Corporation) that runs the two Ontario-side Niagara casinos are incredibly tolerant when
it comes to skilled dicesetters taking relatively large amounts of winnings from their
tables on a steady basis, makes the whole profit-extraction process quite a bit less
dramatic or traumatic. In addition to that,
for the most part, these pros maintain an extremely low profile and spread their
action across a wide range of casinos around the world even though these six casinos act
as their home-base.
discuss this issue a little further in a moment. Right
now lets take a look at a few of the high points and low spots during this leg of my
couple of things stand out as to my sessions at Fallsview:
was moving around from table to table in order to shoot more often, so I had to keep the
various dice-targets at different tables straight in my mind.
worked perfectly at one table managed to be just slightly off at another. More than ever, I found that it is the minor
adjustment differences that mostly mean all the difference between a winning-hand and a
updated my Shooting Notes during washroom breaks which were actually just
timely escapes from the table in order bypass and evade as many random-rollers as
the end of a session I summarized and refined what I had just learned, along with noting
win-rates, logging my longest and shortest hands, along with observations about various
toss-tweaks that I tried out, and whether or not they worked. These are the
actionable notes that we first detailed in
Bible One and
significance and importance cannot be overlooked if you are serious about putting more
winnings into your pocket
and keeping them there
as well as increasing your
hourly earn-rate in the future.
the first time during this road trip I ran into two huge losing sessions. I abandoned my loss-limit entirely and stayed long
after the point where I knew I should have walked. I
could blame it on the fact that Ms. MP was dealing with substantial health problems and I
was racked with concern, or I could fault the fact that I had been operating on minimal
sleep over an eight or nine night stretch, or I could say that my head just wasnt
into the game
and all of that would be true; but frankly none of that is a valid
excuse for staying in the casino and losing money. Neither
is it a legitimate reason why I ignored every warning-sign in the book, nor is it an
acceptable defense as to why I chose to continue doing battle during a couple of sessions
when I clearly shouldnt have been there in the first place.
ended up playing six relatively short sessions over two days, and although four of them
were profitable, the other two losing sessions were in the mega-ton damage range. My head just wasnt into the game, so my body
shouldnt have been in there either.
ended up taking a thirty-day leave from the game. Ms.
MP appreciated the extra attention
and it gave me the time and perspective to put my
head in a place where it needed to be.
that month away from the tables, I didnt even pick up the dice once. When I was ready to return to the game, I spent
three days doing some intensive practice-sessions that were intermixed with some deep
reflection about the amount of time I had been spending at the tables over the past ~14
years of pro-play versus the reduced amount of time I was now willing to dedicate to it. That decision was tempered with the goal of
maintaining (and actually increasing) my current Precision-Shooting income, while
concurrently allowing me to attend to Ms. MPs time-specific needs as well.
I got back to the tables, my attitude was so much fresher and my shooting was actually
much better than it was in the weeks leading up to my hiatus. My game-focus was sharper and my trend-awareness
was far more astute than it had been for months.
time away from the tables did me a world of good. My
game-plan was now more refined and developed, my betting-approaches were better mapped and
clearly plotted, and quite frankly, my less-playing-time/more-retained-earnings
profit-goals were within much closer and direct reach.
aid of that effort, I dedicated more money to only the strongest plays in my Dark-shooting
war-book, and focused each element of my shooting directly in support of the bets that I
had in action on the table.
quickly determining whether a particular wager was worth making during any given session
(based on the evident primary-face, on-axis outcomes that I was or wasnt getting
during each specific hand), I was better positioned to jump on real opportunities
and less likely to grasp at phantom ones.
my first day back at the tables, I played four sessions that averaged about 45-minutes
each. Each session covered several tables as
I moved from shooting-opportunity to shooting-opportunity and generally avoided every
random-roller in the house.
ended the day with a long and extraordinarily profitable fifth session by betting on a
handful of incredibly-skilled pro players who were absolutely burning up the $50 table in
the high-roller room. Even though I temporarily suspended my Darkside shooting during that
session so as not to disturb their astonishing streak; I didnt give in to the
temptation of momentarily abandoning my Darkside-shooting in favor of Rightside-gunning. Instead, I satisfied myself with the profit that
their great tossing was sending my way, while resisting the urge to join in their display
second day back in the saddle gave me a chance to bring about a little more of the
Come-Out-cycle profit that I had become quite fond of during my Casino Rama sessions (that
we covered in Part
Four). My confidence was now
back to the level that it had been at a couple of months earlier, and my profit-resolve
was even more transfixed on the Game Within A Game approach that had already
provided ample proof-positive that the Come-Out cycle can provide just as much (if not
more) steady revenue-production as the Point-cycle itself.
This holds true for Darkside-shooters as much as it does for the Rightsider.
was able to ratchet up my C-O World-betting to the sixth progression-level more than a
dozen times during Day Two, Three and Four.
Day Five, for the first time ever since adopting this aggressive progression, I actually
won the seventh-level C-O World-wager. That
was one for my record-books.
the Point-cycle side of the game, I was able to keep the average number of rolls needed to
bring about a 7-Out winner in the four-tosses range.
thing that I found particular success in was the idea of playing at the high-dollar
tables, but using a partial (2:1 ratio) Doey-Dont offset-method as a way to get higher-than-posted
free-Odds. In this case I doubled
Niagaras standard 3x, 4x, 5x-Odds (and straight 6x-Odds for DP and DC wagers) by
having twice as much money on the DP as I did on the PL, and then using the doubled-up
line-bet to effectively double the amount of allowable Odds without needing a
commensurately higher line-bet. That way, I
was able to artificially raise them to the Odds to 6x, 8x, and 10x if used on the
Rightside, and to 12x when used on the Darkside (as I was doing during this trip). We fully explore this innovative gaming approach
in the third installment in my
Creating More Shooting Opportunities series.
I used the same Odds-stretcher approach on an empty $10 table the next day, the
entire crew nodded their approval and commented that though they had never seen it done by
anyone for quite the same reason as I was (to extend the range of allowable Odds); they
all agreed it was an excellent way to turn mediocre Odds into slightly better Golden
by that endorsement and by the fact that my Darkside-shooting was still functioning mostly
the way I wanted it to; I extended the Doey-Dont offset-ratio from 2:1 to 3:2 then
eventually to 5:4 when I was on the cheaper $10 and $15 tables. Nary a word was said by
the crew, although it did draw a few curious questions from fellow players who
couldnt quite figure out how the heck I was being allowed to Lay up to 30x-Odds when
I only had a one-unit difference between my DP and PL line-wagers.
Three, Four and Five also saw a steadier stream of Darkside profit, but there were a
couple of unceremonious PL-Point repeating losers thrown in once in a while, which served
to keep my ego somewhat within check.
with the higher-value Odds-ratios and those few untimely DP-losers; my DP Point-cycle
profit easily outstripped what I had previously made during earlier segments of this
Darkside journey (where I had been using a much lower Odds-to-DP ratio).
Northern Outpost of Skilled Shooters
I mentioned a moment ago, the percentage of talented dice-influencers who frequent Fallsview
continues to surprise me.
dont get me wrong, the total community of adequately skilled dicesetters is
still quite tiny compared to the total number of craps players worldwide; but the number
of superior-to-great shooters who frequent casinos in this area is rather satisfying
especially if you are always on the lookout for other talented shooters so you can ride
their expert coattails.
there always seems to be at least one or two of them in the house at any given time,
youll often find them at the high-dollar ($25 and $50) tables instead of at the
cheapest and most crowded $10 layouts
although that is not always the case.
may be indicative of the fact that the better a shooter gets at mastering
dice-influencing; the more often youll find them seeking out additional shooting
opportunities that the $15, $25, $50 and $100 tables offer.
I previously mentioned, I explore this phenomenon in the recently posted
More Shooting Opportunities Part III, but back to my point, and
that is that youll almost always run into at least one exceptionally talented
shooter here. The problem is in
distinguishing them from the myriad pretenders and wannabes that youll find at
virtually every casino that you walk into nowadays. With the sheer number of players and
the multiple tables, its altogether possible that you could be playing in the
presence of outstanding talent and not even realize they are at a nearby table.
the upside of all this is that a player who has considerable Precision-Shooting talent can
still play with significant anonymity in this jurisdiction.
As I mentioned previously, casino management hasnt yet fallen into the
WE dont want YOU to win OUR money mindset yet. Lets hope they never do.
a report on the original casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario has become problematic. The conditions, as well as the number of tables in
play, continues to change.
years, Casino Niagaras 100,000 square feet had eight craps tables that saw at least
five or six of them in rip roarin action around the clock. Over time, that number diminished to seven, then
six to five, then to three and now its down to one.
the Hyatt Gaming folks drive as much of the craps-business as they can to their
crown-jewel Fallsview Resort just a couple of blocks away, they have made the conscious
decision to reduce table-game activity at the old casino and channel as much of it as
possible to the new place. In the process,
theyve alienated more than a few players, but their bottom-line reflects the
soundness of their decision, so I dont see any reversal of that verdict.
These days Casino Niagara usually opens a $5 table at 12:30
noon and it can stay that way for several minutes to several hours. If there are a number
of players already camped out waiting for them to count down the chip-bank and check the
dice; then you can expect it to open at $10.
consider their lone remaining craps table as one of the best-rolling layouts in North
America, as far as being the most dynamically-forgiving of slightly off-kilter landings,
energy-absorbing of excess into-the-backwall speed, and neutral response to straight-line
forward-spin dice-tracking and rollout.
They currently close this game down at 4 a.m., so youll have to schedule your
sessions around their timetable.
and Other Unwanted Attention
you dont have a Players Advantage Club card, they wont hound you to get one,
but if you wish, they will call over to the PAC booth and have one printed up in your
is virtually unheard of at both Casino Niagara and Fallsview.
Of course you have to touch the backwall with at least one dice, or they will warn you
that BOTH dice have to hit it. Enforcement after your second warning can be a little
stricter. Thats not heat
its just the rules.
seen their tables recurringly dump anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 on a fairly regular
basis to a number of the same players, while the dealers and the pit-guys cheer right
along with the rest of the table. Zero heat, zero sweat, zero concern.
seen their $25 table drop well over $350,000 in one hand (in a matter of 20 minutes or so,
where all the Outside-numbers would NOT stop rolling), and it hardly got a second look
from the Pit Manager (although they did need to restock their table-bank reserve of $5,000
chips at the end of it).
far as the talented pro-shooters who frequent the six local casinos and make their living
strictly by playing craps are concerned; Ive never seen any of them receive any
undue heat or unwarranted pit-attention at any of the places that I mentioned. Lets hope that their relatively low profile
helps to keep it that way.
a food comp at Casino Niagara is a bit easier than it is at Fallsview,
but the quality at both places is roughly the same.
However, be forewarned that the food-quality is fairly low on the totem-pole
unless youve spent an excess amount of time under the care and control of state or
federal authorities; in which case, youll probably be quite happy with it.
not saying that the food at either place is bad; it's just that it's generally
uninspired and dull (with one exultant exception).
Grand Buffet at Fallsview overlooks the Falls, and the wait-staff is fine. It adheres to the nicer-plate/same-old-crap
philosophy of trying to convince you the food is better just because the surroundings are
so nice. Sadly, it fails to persuade anyone
whose taste-buds are still functioning.
has some notable Asian fare, but is limited on the a la carte Continental/American side of
the menu. If you have to pay for it with your own money instead of a comp; then there are
more than 40 other local restaurants that beat it...hands down.
Market Buffet at Casino Niagara falls very short on the quality-scale. I'd
give it a 2.8 out of 10, but that rating is undeservedly high because I like a few of the
staff-members there. Most humans and a few
overly-pampered canines would give it a 1-out-of-10.
Twenty-One Club at Casino Niagara has a classically-trained chef who takes
food styling to a new pinnacle. I won't steal his thunder...but I'll just say that as each
course arrives...you won't know whether to eat it or just sit back and admire the artistry
of it. This hidden-in-the-basement jewel is
the only restaurant at either facility that is worthy of any uncomped dining-dollars.
Grand Cafe offers an intimate little club-like setting...the service is
GREAT...but the food just manages to eke out a barely-passable 5.0 in my book.
That All There Is?
mentioned this in Part One of my road trip report, but it bears
repeating again; especially if you are normally burdened with playing at crowded tables.
of the drawbacks of shooting from the Donts is the fact that your most successful
hands will be short
means at a crowded table youll have to wait until the dice circle back around before
you have a chance to re-prove your shooting prowess again.
also means that you have to use even more self-control so you dont unwittingly
surrender your hard-gained advantage back to the house by unintentionally losing some or
all of your winnings as the dice make another lap around the table.
hard to be patient when you make some decent money off of your own good shooting, and then
have to wait interminably for another shot at the cubes.
skilled dicesetters actually add to their frustration because they witness how fast they
can make money when the Darkside dice are in their hands, yet it drives them crazy knowing
that it will take so long before they can do it again.
used to take them 10 or 15 or 20-rolls to make the same amount of money when they were
shooting from the Rightside, is now often accomplished in just two or three Darkside
tosses. To their mind, it carries less of a
sense-of-accomplishment and more of a sense-of-impatience because of the now-extended
interval for when theyll be allowed to do it again.
the end of a short but successful Darkside-hand, theyll ask themselves, Is
that all there is?
realizing that theyll now have to wait for the dice to come back for yet another short
hand; they tend to get impatient and end up blowing their profit (and sometimes a
portion of their original bankroll) because of reckless impetuousness and their insatiable
need to bet on random-rollers.
Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Resort, your patience
will be called upon again and again, even at the high-buck tables. Fortunately, with their neutral-to-forgiving
layouts; resisting the urge to bet on anything that breathes, is rewarded when the cubes
finally make their way around to you again.
Good Luck & Good
Skill at the Tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor
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