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Volume 9 : Issue 6

October  2009

In This Edition:


Words From Soft Touch

To the Editor...

Learning From Books...

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Today's Wisdom...

A Labor of Love...

Newsletter Archive Links


Game Breaking Words…


Take a moment to flash back to watching cartoons in pajamas. Do you remember “Good Conscience” and “Bad Conscience”? Sure you do! Sitting on one shoulder whispering in the right ear was an angel and on the other shoulder a little devil was whispering misleading words of mischief. Consider the words Can't, If, Try, But, Maybe, Never, and Won't as Seven Game Breakers coming from our little devil. I hear these pesky little words all the time, and in this economic environment, I hear them with greater frequency at the tables more than ever.  Take a moment to think about what kind of energy these words bring to your game and how they determine your success.


Now, I'll be the first one to admit that at times I am just as guilty as the next player for including these sabotaging words in my playing vocabulary. I know that voicing these words will not achieve favorable results for me at the craps table. As winning players we have to always be mindful of what we casually voice to ourselves or to other players because it will definitely influence the course of our gaming performance.


I feel that it is always beneficial to teach my students how important it is to remember that words and the energy behind words can be very powerful in the course of their game.  What we say determines our actions.  Whether our words are perceived to be positive or negative, they definitely play a part in fueling our gaming outcomes.


The words we use consistently in the game and to a greater extent, in our lives, definitely shape our experiences. This fact alone should prompt us to become more aware of what we say and eliminate the sabotage from this group of game breakers from our vocabulary to achieve a win. In other words, we cannot afford the luxury of a negative word.


I know when a player uses the word "can't" with frequency he or she has blocked their performance.  This particular word is so crippling, leaving the gaming potential dormant.  Whatever dreams and desires a player has for his or her session, they will be kept locked or buried within. With frequent use of this word, all the player is left with is a blank slate. Completely eliminate the use of this word and he or she will see a positive change in their game.


Confidence and intentions are big words and are qualities essential to our performance at the tables. "If" is such a small word that breaks down these essential qualities. The word brings doubt and uncertainty.  I do not believe there is any one player out there that will argue with me that, when it comes to winning at craps, confidence and intention are two qualities essential to our success. 


The word "try" is a big pet peeve with me. You know, either we do something or we don't. It is as simple as that. No judgment. When a player tells me he will try, rarely will he achieve what he attempted.  I stress again, that whenever the player states "I'll try", rarely, if ever, is anything likely to be achieved. All you have to do is replace "I'll try" with "I will." Or, to quote the wise Yoda, the fictional character from the Star Wars Universe: "Do or do not...there is not try.” Hmmm..?"


"Ya, but..." It was the wise Mr. Michael Vernon, The Professor, who taught me long ago that using the word "but" would only negate what I wished to achieve.  In relation to the game, when we use this word conjunctively, we are basically diminishing our potential. I've repeatedly heard this statement in my workshops, “I want to be good at shooting craps, but it will take a lot of hard work." In essence you are telling your mind to not focus on your desire to become a good shooter; you are telling your mind to focus on the hard work you will need to perform. That's a chore. Replace "but" with "and" to get to where you wish to go. Does this make any sense?


"Maybe" is a confidence breaker. "Maybe I should stop playing at this cold table..." The energy of doubt, indecision and uncertainty over what to do surrounds this word. It just does not exude positivity and stuns us. Perhaps, in place of this word we could rephrase and state: "I will stop playing at this cold table." And, you will save lots of chips too.


When players use a word like "never" it feels so absolute. True, in life, there are some absolutes.  Yet, in the game, using this word suggests to me that I am interacting with a closed minded player. Seriously, your effort to evolve to greater heights is hindered. It would be far better to use a term that keeps the door to the winning opportunities open.


A close relative to "never" is the word "won't".  When a player conveys to me that something "won't work" I get the feeling of unwillingness that can be quite harmful to expanding their game. This is sad, in my view, the use of this word, also suggests a narrow mind, which also hinders the efforts to continue to develop winning ways.


Let me close by stating that I can add more words to these “Seven Game Breakers”… words like, "should, maybe and someday." My point is that when you have the desire to be a winning player, it is so important to notice how many times you say or hear these words at the tables and be aware of the extent how they can influence your game.  In my mind, the energy of the words represents the difference between winning and losing. It is your responsibility to be mindful of them… "when," not, if," winning is what you desire.


Quite a few years ago I wrote a short article for my corner of the website. It was titled: Minding Your Language. You can find it here:  Back then, I probably used a few of the words that are the subject of this piece or, "maybe" not. Get the point? 

Soft Touch

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Dear Ed,

The first question I have is why do they always give you a choice when you begin to roll the dice? Are some of the die fixed?  I am just learning the game but the casino I go to in West Virginia has a unique thing. It seems like the rolls always favor the house. Let me explain you can have 12 to 14 rolls and really think your rolling the dice, but I have seen shooters roll craps, elevens and the hard to hit ones like the 4 and the 10.  Although you have the impression you are throwing the dice a lot, the house has very little payout when this occurs. Although I just learned how to play a few months ago I never see this when I go to Vegas but I always see this in Mountaneer. Is it possible that the dice are crooked.  Any advice on how to bet this when it begins to occur?  Waiting for advice.


Dear P.D.

Answers to your questions

  1.    The dice are not fixed or crooked. In part having five to six dice in the game is to keep the image of a random game. Also, If a die flies off the table, the game does not have to stall while the box man inspects the die. Of course the player is given the opportunity of asking for same dice which will stall the game just the same. Dice are manufactured and numbered sequentially and it is the casino’s way of keeping track of their inventory among other things. If one die is lost under the table then what? Having five to six dice in the game keeps things moving as well as comfortable for all concerned.
  2.    Yes, the house does have the advantage and it is a simple matter of understanding the odds. Check out our free dice lessons for the math at
  3.    Crooked dice is not a secret. In fact, one of the most notorious locations for cheats and cheating equipment is located not far from you. Phenix City, Alabama. Don't get excited as it is no longer the case. Phenix City was cleaned up mid 1950’s. Casinos do not have to cheat. They already have a substantial advantage over the player. Perhaps you notice your example give above, more in W.V. because you play there more often than Las Vegas. Promise, it happens everywhere. Why do you think it's called a crap shoot?
  4.    How to bet a random game is what you are really asking. You describe, for the most part, a random roll. How are you going to recognize a hand with crap numbers and outside numbers before they roll? You have to accept the fact that just because you have bet other numbers, there is no guarantee for those bets to win. I have other suggestions too. Until you are more knowledgeable of the game, invest your time watching the game. My friend, you need to keep reading the articles posted on this web site to better understand the game of dice. In your pursuit of knowledge, you will find that there are countless ways to apply strategy to this game of chance. What you need to understand is you do not play for what you have seen before, but play using a strategy that minimizes your risk and one that fits random games as well as times when the dice bounce in the players favor.
  5.    Craps is not an easy game and since you are new to the game, I recommend that  you also spend some time visiting DiceCoach  and Playing4keeps.

Ed Jones 

Learning From Books...


Hi Michael, thanks for keeping in touch.  Vegas was great as always because I live in Florida.  I'll be in Vegas again from October 21 to 26 for World Poker Tour.  If you're there I'd like to at least meet you in shake your hand.  Do you happen to know anyone that will be there or lives there that I can play craps with?  I built a really nice practice rig for craps.  My game improved but I didn't devote the practice time necessary because i got discouraged when I lost money in Vegas.  But I still love to play craps and will continue to play.  I just hope one day I'll devote the time to practice.  I'm sure I need some coaching or a good video.  The only thing I've ever learned from is two books. Sharpshooters book and Frank Scoblete's book.  Thanks, Alex


Hi Alex,


Learning from books can be kind of tough. Dice influencing is a hand-eye exercise and trying to learn a kinesthetic process using a linguistic approach is just one reason you are having difficulty with your game.


Regarding your trip to the City of Dreams,  I do not have plans for Las Vegas this month, but something could pop up… you never know.


Being discourage is easy to understand because of the practice time involved and, you will still have sessions when the dice look great but the results are lousy. Regarding practice, it really comes down to ether being excited about it or having the discipline to just do it.


Try to have a set time to practice. You can keep it short. 20-30 minutes. Maybe during the evening news for example.


You can get in about 100 rolls. In order to do this however, you will need about 10 dice. Depending on you rig, you can toss five times before retrieving the dice. Now, the benefit shooting ten dice is that you will have to position each toss so as not to hit the dice already down there. Challenge within a challenge but, it forces you to really “control” your toss. Consider, in a live game, with players’ chips, you will have to do the same thing. ( for casino dice)


I do not know of anyone going to LV at your appointed time. Look, I know the motive behind joining up with someone to play with. Sure it makes it more fun socially. But craps is really better played as “Lone Wolf” in the end.


I have, on several occasions, met up with a craps player by chance and seeing that they were a dice influencer, made their acquaintance. In a way, it almost works out better that way. Sometimes it has simply been a solid player with good  results or just sharing a laugh during the game. After a beer in the lounge, we may have played another session or agreed to meet the next day.


Losing is part of the game Alex. Do you keep a journal? I have information for keeping a journal at Playing4keeps.


It is important to identify why you lost following each losing session. Not excuses, but reasons for mistakes you made. Hard to be honest sometimes, but if you can train yourself to be objective, it will greatly help your game. 

Michael Vernon

"The Professor"

Playing 4



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Today's Wisdom:


Not all of life's lessons will appear to you as having any great importance. That is because you may not recognize the lesson until you have had to suffer experience several times.



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