By Mike In Hawaii
Starting from any initial orientation, it is only
necessary to rotate a die one quarter turn around a single axis in order
to get it "on axis". To set it up with a given side-to-side horizontal
axis for throwing. For a pair of dice that is just two flicks, two quarter
turns at most.
I believe that the side-to-side horizontal axis
selected is much more important than exactly which faces are on top or on
the front of the dice. It is certainly an essential first step in getting
ready to shoot. You should be able to get dice on axis quickly, with very
little movement. The key to doing this extremely fast is something most
people have heard of, but not really learned, not internalized. It is not
the conscious mind that needs to know this, it is actually the fingers.
Casino dice are precision equipment. One of their
specifications calls for opposite sides to always total Seven. This locks
the faces together into three pairs.
Since these are clear green dice, you can actually see
through to the bottom in these pictures. But you should be able to just
look at a pair of dice and immediately know where all the faces are. Even
if you can only see two adjacent faces, like the top and the front, you
should know exactly what is on the bottom and what is on the back. You
should also know immediately what pair of faces is on the right and left
You should be able to "see" the opposite face as easily
as it shows up in these two pictures of a giant red die. The One on the
front immediately makes you see the Six on the back. No need to flip it
around looking for the Six. Once you assimilate this, not just know it, a
glance will tell you what the horizontal side-to-side axis is on any pair
In the photo above, you should instantly see that the
two is on the back of the green die and the three is on its bottom. That
green die is on the 1-6 horizontal axis. The red die has the four on the
bottom and the five on the back. It also is on the 1-6 horizontal
side-to-side axis. It is in fact the All Sevens set. It is harder to know
where the sixes are, but personally I am not sure it matters that much,
just like I am not convinced it matters a lot what faces are on the top.
(duck and cover).
So what above the dice above? To get them on the 1-6
axis clearly you only need to flip each one a quarter turn around its
front to back axis. Suppose you wanted a 1-6 2-5 set? Well you turn one
die a quarter turn around its front to back axis to put it on the 1-6 axis
and then rotate the other one around its top to bottom axis just one
quarter turn to put it on the 2-5 axis. See? Only one quarter turn. Here
you are even lucky. You can put the One on either side of the 1-6 axis.
You can also place the Two on either side of the 2-5 axis.
Recently I heard a boxman rather pointedly grumble
"This is a game of chance, not a game of skill" in response to a shooter
fiddling with the dice for a clearly excessive amount of time, turning
them this way and that, flipping them again and again. Of course that
statement is total NONSENSE! Even if you were to completely rule out the
existence of dice control, there is still a lot of skill required in all
aspects of playing the game of Craps. But that boxman was responding to
the one thing a Casino definitely does not like, delay of the game.
Go to your nearest sewing supplies shop, the nearest
shop that sells things like cloth from bolts. They will very likely have
small squares of felt very cheap. So will lots of crafts stores. I had an
old picture frame sitting around without any glass in it. I just mounted
the square of felt in the picture frame to make a quick surface to let the
fingers fiddle on with dice. The old frame I had laying about had a thin
wood backing plate. I used several stripes of double sided tape to secure
the felt square to that to help hold the felt in place along with the grip
around the edge provided by the frame itself. I ended up with two layers
of felt and one layer of thick paper to get just the right thickness to
fit firmly in the old frame.
Another great surface for a quick throwing station or
to let the fingers practice orienting the dice without appearing to orient
dice, is a mouse pad. The photo below shows a nifty "Megapad" and two
regular sized mouse pads. The two smaller ones are the cheapest available.
The grey one has a surface quite a bit like felt and a rather stiff rubber
backing. Placed on any solid surface they have a nice look and feel under
the dice. The smaller ones are the rather standard 8 x 10 inch size. Of
course none of this is as nice as a real throwing station complete with
rail, but it is very portable and compact.
Get any pair of properly sized dice, bonus points for
having real casino dice like those shown above, and practice dropping them
into any random pattern. Then arrange them ready to shoot with as few
movements as possible, slowly and deliberately at first, and then going
for speed and fluidity. Practice until it looks like you are not arranging
them at all. Do this while watching TV instead of assimilating the stupid
commercials. Flick Flick. That is all it should take to get them on axis.
This is something the fingers and non-conscious mind have to sort out
between them, like touch typing. Eyes glance at dice, fingers
the dice are quickly on axis, adjusting them a bit more to get a
particular superstitious number on top is something the Casinos have been
seeing for probably as long as there has been the game of Craps.
BTW this little photo of the red die showing the Four,
Five and Six arranged around that particular vertex, increasing in a
counter clockwise direction, is the key to knowing which side of the
horizontal side-to-side 1-6 axis the Six is on without peeking. This is
left as an exercise for the user.
© Mike in Hawaii