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When Opportunity Knocks...Answer the Damn Door!

Staying and playing in Vegas means many things to many people.   The other night I was playing the $1 craps tables at the Sahara.  The well-populated bar is less than ten feet from two of the tables.  It is a popular hang-out for ladies-of-the-night, and I’m not talking about female vampires, although I’m sure for the right price they’ll suck just about anything, including blood.

I had just finished a decent 24-roll hand that saw a strange lack of 6 & 8’s, but had an odd assortment of 4’s, 5’s, 10’s and of course, my other signature 9’s.  I had altered my betting method to take full advantage of the “outside” numbers, because when I hear opportunity knocking, I’m usually quick enough to answer the door before good fortune moves on.  I had moved a step-and-a-half away from the table so that the next shooter had plenty of “swing” room to shoot freely. 

It was then I overheard a conversation between several of the “working ladies” whose place of business and central booking office was at the bar, which is a couple of feet from one of the tables.  A new hooker apparently just finished her first trick. When she came back to “head office,” the seasoned veterans all gathered around to hear the details. She said, "Well, he was big, muscular and fairly handsome." "Well, what did he want to do?" they all asked. She said, "I told him that a straight lay was 100 bucks, but he said he didn't have that much. So I told him that oral sex would be 75 bucks, but he didn't have that much either. Finally I said, “Well how much do you have?”  He said that he only had 25 bucks. So I told him, “For 25 bucks all I can do is service you by hand.” He agreed and after getting the finances straight, he pulled it out and I put one hand on it, and then a second hand above the first and then the first hand above the second hand.  "Ohmygawd!" they all exclaimed, "It must have been huge. Then what did you do?"  She shrugged, tilted her head to one side, and with big open eyes, said, "What do you think I did, I loaned him 75 bucks!"

Opportunity presents itself in many forms.  When I was about one year into Precision-Shooting, one particular trip was starting to look downright disastrous.   I was using what was up until that time, the same successful set, grip, stance, delivery and so on, but the numbers just weren’t there.  I rotated one of the dice, because it seemed to be always landing funny, but that only made things worse.   I changed table positions.  I changed my stance.  I used a kind of “body-english” push-and-follow-through on my rolls. Still nothing seemed to work.  For seven hours, I tried just about everything and ANYTHING that I could think of to get my game back on track.   And for seven hours I poured money onto the table faster than a dictator of some piss-poor third-world country pours money into his military to prop up his debt-ridden, poverty-stricken corrupt regime.  The losses were staggering, and I couldn’t figure out what to do.  Stopping was the only rational thing I could think of.

I was totally disgusted with myself, because I thought this Precision-Shooting thing was unbeatable.  For one full year I had been reaping the benefits, and my cockiness had increased in direct proportion to my hat size.  I wandered around out onto Las Vegas Boulevard for a couple of hours, just shaking my head in disbelief.   I understood at that point how degenerate gamblers who mumble and argue with themselves must feel most of the time.

I kept wondering WHY I kept throwing “that damn SEVEN?”  I analyzed, I hypothesized, and I talked to myself quite bit.  I actually thought that perhaps I had a gambling problem, or that my “abilities” were just a lucky illusion. 

I speculated about what a “cold-blooded professional” would do in my shoes. THAT was when I grabbed opportunity by its scrawny little neck and squeezed it until it’s veins were popping out like big, pulsing pythons and that is the moment that I decided to change my betting method.

I sought out uncrowded tables as normal, but when I shot the dice, I bet against myself.  I shot from the “Don’t” and made a ton of money.  The dice would immediately come back to me.  I would silently curse when a hand exceeded five or six rolls before the 7 showed up.  

I did that for three straight days, and I felt like a man possessed. I shot and shopped around for tables for up to 18 hours a day.  I was a walking zombie, but I “knew” through my warped, exhausted perspective, that I could ride that “short-hand, 7-Out” wave until it couldn’t be rode no more.   I actually sent my winnings home by way of Fed-Ex, out of fear that I would go on “tilt” and do something incredibly stupid with the money.  During my last day, I consumed 34 cups of coffee, and my hands were shaking like Madonna’s tassles.

I forced myself to end that trip prematurely.  In retrospect, I think I ended it at just the right time.   I was on the road to a quick flaming crash, or at least a burn-out, perhaps even a fatigue-induced meltdown.  I had over-dosed on casino-action, over-dosed on ego-driven play, and over-dosed on caffeine. 

After several days of at-home rest, and de-toxification from coffee, I gained a new perspective of how this game COULD be played.  I realized I didn’t have to play ALL the time.  I realized that all things in moderation, wasn’t just a quaint old saying.  And I realized that opportunity could be found in even the darkest of times. It was then that I limited the amount of hours that I would spend at the tables.  I accepted the idea of switching “sides”, if the dice weren’t going my way.  And I really liked the idea of adapting my betting methods to suit what was happening at the tables, not just the one way that I LIKED to bet.  In fact, I still alter my play if the numbers are not lining up with my current betting approach.  I still limit the hours that I play, and I ALWAYS seize opportunity by the most persuasive of body parts, and I squeeze them until I am satisfied with the profit for that session.

The one thing that I won’t do anymore is to play to the point of exhaustion.  Even if the dice ARE going my way, I know when I’ve reached my limit.  On the other hand, when opportunity knocks, you can be sure that I’ll be there to answer the door.

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

By:  The Mad Professor

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