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More Random Thoughts On…

Real Talent or Plain Old Luck (or…I'd rather be Good AND Lucky!)

That is exactly how you have to look at this game if you want and plan to use it as a "long-term" revenue-generator.  Is my Precision-Shooting just producing some lucky runs, or is actual talent being employed? 

 If a player can produce sustainable wins over a reasonable period of time or sessions, and ensures that he isn't just on a lucky streak; then consideration as to turning it into a full-time pursuit might enter into the picture. 

 No, I'm not advocating quitting your high-paying job, and selling your house, car, wife, goldfish, Pez-dispenser collection and your dog to bankroll your dreams.  Rather, if over a period of 200-300 sessions your profit out-strips your losses by a 10-to-1 margin based solely on your own shooting; then it might warrant another look as a way to augment and compliment your current job's income.


 Enjoyment of the Game (or…Are we having fun yet?!)

Please understand one thing.  Craps is a negative-expectation game.  The house-edge is just that.  I accept the Math of the game, and then set out to de-randomize the dice outcomes so that certain numbers show more often than they should, and vice-versa with one certain other number not showing very often at all. 

 Ever watch a professional Blackjack player?  They concentrate while trying to hide it.  They use their brains to the point of exhaustion.  They keep running counts, vary their bets accordingly, apply variances to perfect strategy when required, and they have to do all that while making it appear as though they are just another tourist out for some recreational thrills.    I have often asked them if they still ENJOY the game.  They look at me as though I am an alien from the Planet Dumb-Ass, or I have self-medicated a little too generously today using some non-ethical pharmaceuticals that I found in the local parking garage stairwell.

 Craps players can be the same way, ESPECIALLY those who do not make a living playing this game.  The sourest, most cynical ones seem to be the people who LOSE their earnings playing this game. As a Professional player, you would still like the game to be enjoyable, just like a job or career that you really find fulfilling and gratifying.

 In this case, the fringe benefits in the form of perks and comps are substantial, while the opportunity to travel first-class, eat at some of the world's finest restaurants, stay at some very fine hotels, and enjoy other gaming jurisdictions are multiplied.  I'm truly happy to play this game and enjoy all of the benefits.

 Likewise, this "career", played wisely and managed carefully, also puts you in a position where you can "work" when, where, and how long you want to, while affording you the opportunity to follow other pursuits that you previously may not have had time for.


 Practice Now (or…Pay for your education at the Tables)

Many people today have the added advantage of a practice table at home. You can buy them, or you can follow on-line instructions and build your own.  I unfortunately paid for the most expensive dice-shooting course in this galaxy...right in the casino...at the tables...in real play!


 Precision Shooting (or…I couldda bin a contenda!)

Roger Clemens, a former Boston Red-Sox, former Toronto Blue Jay, current New York Yankee pitcher is 40 years old, and plays a young man's game.  He is a dinosaur, and I mean that in the kindest sense of the word.  He has no "change-up", no slow curve-balls, and no "trick" pitches.  What he does have is a 98 mph. FASTBALL!  Two-seam fastballs which tail-in, four-seam fastballs that rise, split-fingered fastballs that sink.   

So as Roger Clemens fast approaches 300 career wins…you tell me…how come you can't do that?   What's that you say…just because you can't throw a 98 mph fastball means that no one else on this earth can either!  Are you saying it's impossible because you aren't capable?  Get a life…and go play the slot machines.

 John Fitzgerald Kennedy said "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie-- deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."


 Charting Tables (or…Is that a pen in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?)

If you are practicing at home, I might suggest that you chart every throw. That is, start a line on a paper and write down your come-out throw and markdown every subsequent throw until the 7 appears. Then start a new line.  Do that for several hundred "hands".  You may be surprised that you notice some "consistency" hidden in there. You may not repeat your Pass Line Points all the time, but you may be tossing several key Place numbers on a consistent basis before the 7 shows.

There were about 40 or 50 occasions on my last trip where I threw the dice for more than 30 to 40 minutes each time without ever repeating my Point. Some shooters would be upset by that...others simply are content to pick and bank the profit. On one particular hand I shot twenty-one 9's in a row. I didn't cry when I didn't make my Point. On countless other occasions, I would establish my Point then immediately come back with the same number. I actually enjoy...and PROFIT more from the longer non-Point repeating rolls.


Hot Tables turn Cold…FAST (or…Who left the fridge door open?)

A HOT hand is usually followed by a cold spell of ARCTIC proportions. More often I run into lukewarm or choppy table conditions, when the dice are behaving numerically exactly like they should.  In Craps, especially if the dice are being thrown in a truly random manner, the tables can be very streaky.

 That being the case, I would define a "lukewarm" table as when Player #1 establishes his Point and throws a fair amount of numbers (perhaps 5 to 10) before hitting his Point, followed by a quick 7-out after re-establishing his second Point number. Subsequently Players 2, 3, & 4 follow up by doing essentially the same thing.

 In my opinion, if the roll count since the last 7 is:

1-4 rolls.........…count is LOW or COLD
5-8 rolls........….count is NORMAL
9-15 rolls...........count is WARM
16-40 rolls.........count is HIGH or HOT
41+ rolls.......…..table chip-fill needed

 With very few exceptions, I have found that a VERY hot hand by one player is usually followed by several very quick "out-7" hands by the next 2 or 3 shooters. This is usually when Pass Line players will lose substantial winnings back to the house. It is of course also a window of earning opportunity that appears to open for the Don't Pass player.


Finding YOUR Table (or…Paging…Donner…party of 40.)

When I was in Mississippi and Louisiana in February, I actually "shopped around" for a "cold" table where I could play and further experiment with a certain method developed by Perry Benedik called "Stepladder". That is, I would play at one table, keep both ears and eyes open in tracking two or sometimes three nearby tables. If my turn to shoot wasn't coming up, I would park one chip on the rail to hold my position and notify the box-man that I'd be right back. I would then move into position at the "cold" table, institute a "Stepladder" assault, hopefully and usually pick up my winnings, and then return to my original table.

 Only the Pit Boss at the Horseshoe in Robinsonville (Tunica) stopped me once. I said "Gee, I didn't know that I couldn't play at two tables at the same time" and he didn't say anything further. Under those conditions, Stepladder provided handsome returns, while availing the 7-cycle count to the whims or streaks of 3 or 4 different tables. I would also go in on another table if a shooter was starting to put together a substantial string of 6 & 8's during his roll.


Streaks Exist (or…call it a Mack truck if you want; just bet or LEAVE!)

Scientifically, I don't have a fully-plausible explanation why streaks occur other than the Rule of Large Numbers and the standard realm of deviations which occur therein.

 However, I will quickly add that the strangest streak that I saw was at the Stratosphere in LV last September. With eight players at the table, it took 7.5 hours for the dice to fully circle the table. The SHORTEST hand at the table for one player was 32 minutes. Every one else had near 60 minute rolls. We experienced a grand total of thirty-three 7's (including come-out winners) in 692 rolls of the dice. There was a "dice-tracker" with a note-book playing at our table, that's how I know the exact numbers. Astounding!!.. I've never seen anything like it before or since.

 Was it a streak?  Of course it was.  Any roll of the dice could have ended it.  However, while it was happening, you could ignore it; or bet against it; or take full advantage (and odds) to enjoy the full run of that truly random, and rare, occurrence.

 Carl Sagan  said "Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage."


Superstitious Pit Critters (or…Change the dealer, the dice and sprinkle salt)

A lot of dice dealers play craps in their spare time.  Some Box-men play craps in ALL their spare time. A few Floor-men and Pit-Bosses are depraved, degenerate gamblers of the worst kind.  They are also even more superstitious than most players.  Some will put "lucky" dice into the "penalty box" drawer until the end of the shift; others will slip in new dice in the middle of a hot roll without most anyone seeing.  Some will even sprinkle salt around the feet of a lucky player.  Don't believe me?  Just ask Barney Vinson in the pit at Caesars Palace what they use the salt for around there for.  

 I have also seen casinos using both A & B-type dice at the same time. That is supposed to thwart dice-setters. 

However, the weirdest thing I saw was at Lady Luck in LV last September. They had both A & B-type dice, two different colors (red & green) and two different sizes of dice in play at the same time. The weirdest part was that the dice were so worn, there were actually large gouges, knicks, and cuts in the dice. The edges were worn to the point of being fully rounded. They looked like a bad side-of-beef, all maggoty and mutilated. I actually commented to my lady friend that I wouldn't be surprised if they were less than "square" if you know what I mean. Those dice combined with their land-barge-sized tables, led me away from there after 10 minutes. Hopefully the new owners will be able to afford new matching dice.

 Some casinos are trying out newer beveled-edge dice.  They do appear to roll more than sharp-edged ones, however they are easier to slide because they lack the sharp corners and edges that bite into the felt. They also are less prone to flopping over on their side axis when rolled straight ahead for the same reason.

 Modified Hedgehog (or…What kinda varmit is THAT!?)

I never bet against a Rhythmic-Roller. If a Shooter is displaying some form of skill at setting, tossing, etc. I use a modified Hedgehog method, wherein I Place the 6 & 8, collect one win and regress so that I have a profit albeit small already locked up, then use subsequent hits to finance 5 & 9 Place bets. Again I collect Place winnings, and then press on every other hit. Be mindful that once the dice have circulated once around the table, I will remember if any player had a SKILLFUL roll as opposed to a LUCKY roll on their previous round. There is a big difference.

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

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