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Volume 9 : Issue 5

September 2009

In This Edition:



A Word From Soft Touch

Practice for Table Conditions...

Subscribers Write

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Today's Wisdom...

A Labor of Love...

Newsletter Archive Links


Playing With The Cause

When dealing with difficult, real time playing decisions at the table, most players who have worked and or played the game along side me will often hear me state: "Hey, If you don't like the direction you're going in, then change the direction you are going in."

How many point then seven outs do you need before you decide to change your approach? How many craps numbers will you continue to toss using a hard-way set, all the while betting the inside box numbers, before deciding to change something in your set, grip or throw?

When it comes to shooting the dice, it is no secret that I like to utilize a three finger front grip with a hard-ten dice set. With this set I can determine how my dice will react as a result of my delivery. I use the come out roll with this set as a gauge of future results, because my winning potential is based on my consistency at the tables. Am I consistently throwing box numbers? Or do I need to "tweak" my set or grip for better results?

If I toss a two or a twelve with this hard-ten set on the come out, I know that I have to change whatever it is that mechanically caused that result. I might focus on keeping my delivery parallel to the table surface and check my follow through on the next toss.

Or, I might experience a 5/2 seven on the come out with my hard-way set, which on the come out is profitable and yet not necessarily the result I was anticipating. This type of seven result was caused by my grip and I have to make sure my release allows the dice to roll off my fingers with equal symmetry on the next toss, focusing on what I did mechanically to cause that seven result.

If I didn't take the time to do this, I know with certainty that I would not get very far in the game. I like to look at the mechanical part of my game from a purely "cause and effect" point of view. While I am shooting, if I don't like the result I am getting from my toss then I simply have to change some aspect of my toss.

Again, "If you don't like the direction you're going in, then change the direction you are going in."

For the dice-influencing player who wishes to change the results of their game into a positive experience, it is essential to pin point and change what ever is causing the undesired results. Focus on the mechanics of the throw during the game and not on the results. As a player, start pinpointing what you do want to achieve with your toss. Work with what you know will net that desired point and concentrate on achieving it.

I see too many players reacting and getting caught up in the "effect" part of their game and they limit themselves to focusing on the wrong part of the game.

Effects, - such as seven outs, lost chips, dice bounced off the table, craps numbers instead of box numbers being rolled, - are all effects that we, as the shooters, cause with our various mechanics. These effects happen, we have caused it, and we can fix it. This is where our true dice-influence lies. We have to focus on what we can do to cause a desired number to appear.

If my financial results are less then desirable, I simply focus on what caused those results and work toward making changes to my game that will net me a different and positive result.

If you still seem to be getting a result in the game that is unfavorable to your style of play, then it is up to you to decide how long you wish to continue to experience those effects before you decide to switch to another game, table or venue.

The game has so many levels and dimensions that are being influenced by us as players. It is easy to see how players, steeped in the game, can lose sight of how they cause their gaming results to vary.

Until next time, focus on visualizing future results - not past effects.

Soft Touch

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Practice for Table Conditions"


Professor, I have posed my question to various "Dice Controllers" and the response I get leads me to think that I'm just failing at posing my question clearly.  So forgive me for the expanded explanation. First, I'll share with you how I have been posing my question, and then I'll expand to my new way of posing it.


Original question:  I'm building a practice rig at home and I want to create a surface that will have the same bounce properties as the average bounce in Las Vegas strip.  So what materials should I have on top of the wood surface to accomplish this average bounce?


Typical answer that I get:  Well there is no average bounce in Las Vegas because each table is a bit different than the others.  Some are very bouncy while others are not so bouncy and some are in between.


Modified new way of posing the question: Let me start by defining the word "Average".  Average means that you add up all the instances and divide by the number of instances.  So if you were to rate the bounciness of a Craps table in Vegas, you might for example rate each table on a scale of 1 to 10 given the same exact throw.  So a rating of 1 would mean that this table bounces less than any other table in Las Vegas while a rating of 10 would mean that the dice bounce more than on any other table in Vegas.  Some tables would have a rating of 1 or 2.4 while other bouncier tables would have a rating of 7 or 8.2, for example.  But all tables would be rated between 1 to 10.  One could calculate the average by rating all the tables in Vegas and adding up all those ratings and then dividing by the number of ratings.  The result would be a number between 1 and 10.  That said, I know that no one has ever done this rating task.  So my question is without going through the rating process of every table in Vegas, can you use your experience and knowledge of how tables are built and how dice bounce to give me some clue as to what I should put under my layout in my effort to simulate the average table bounce in Vegas? 

I have a casino layout that has the white linen backing that most of them have (called "rubber backed craps layout").  But under the layout, between the layout and the wood, there seems to be something underneath that somewhat adds to the bounce.  Is it 1/4 inch closed cell rubber foam or is it just a couple of layers of felt, or is it news paper under the layout, or something else.  What do you think I should use under my "rubber backed casino layout" to reach my goal?

Thanks, Alex


To reach your "goal" Alex, you need to change your paradigm about matching the average table condition for practice. Think of it this way; it is a bit like being an all season driver. Learn to drive your car on dry roads, wet roads, foggy roads, snowy roads, icy roads, in the dark and in the light. In the same way you must learn to adjust and adapt your play to different table conditions.

What lies under the felt is up to the casino’s whim, often there is nothing under the layout but the hardwood. Sometimes there will be a few layers of newspaper. Some tables have additional thin padding of some sort. However, too much cushion makes for a bouncy table and there is no profit in chasing dice for the casino. If it were me, I’d have nothing under the felt and advise you to set up your practice table that way.

The table is one inch solid plywood. The bounce is a result of the type of layout the casinos choose to use. What you find on a table today may not be there next month. Layouts get dirty, wear out and get replaced. Casinos do not purchase their layouts from the gambling novelty store down the street. There are several styles to choose from depending on the backing as well as a choice in surface fabric, natural and synthetic materials to consider.

I suggest that your home practice table is not directed to a specific table condition or “average” table condition. I suggest that you practice at home to become skilled with the art of dice influencing for any table conditions. When you have developed the skill adequately, it is then a matter of finding your preferred table. However, you are not limiting yourself in anyway. Last thing I’d want is to be limited to only one “perfect” table. You develop the confidence from having mastered your skill and as such, you know how to adjust your toss to best fit any table’s condition. In other words, you do not train to a specific table condition, you learn to drive on any road surface and be good at it!

Consider how the dice react on the table surface before playing and then decide if you will invest your time and money. If you don't like what you see, don't play.

Several years ago, a list of all Las Vegas casinos and their table conditions were ranked and posted on The source of the information in Las Vegas could not keep the information current because of the constant changes in tables and table surfaces. In addition, it was subject to one man’s opinion. Numerous readers disagreed with the findings that were posted. It seemed that craps players tended to be biased with their preference for casinos and tables. Who would have guessed? Example: I like playing at the Mirage. Dice Coach will not play at the Mirage, Soft Touch will play at Mirage, but prefers Bellagio. Who’s right?

In the end, it is not about being right or wrong but mastering the skill so you are able to adjust to the prevailing table conditions. You will never have home court advantage, that is, the same conditions in the casino as the conditions you practice on at home. Unless, of course, you have a table from that casino and the casino maintains their tables just like your home version. Broaden your concept to encompass a more holistic view of how to advance your game with dice influencing.

The Professor

Subscribers Write:

I had read how potential dice setters need to practice at least a couple times a day to get the muscle memory to throw consistently. Our local casino (we have several casinos here in my part of Washington, but this is the only one allowed to have craps tables in our area.) They just changed out their tables to a new surface-VERY BOUNCY-and really there hasn't been much money won since the new surfaces got put in. I had practiced the hardway sets and all the elements taught for controlling the dice, practicing at least 2-3 times a day for 25 minutes or more. I'm happy to report that I threw for about 50 minutes, hitting many points and making a couple high rollers a LOT of money. One even threw me a large chip and bet the place numbers for me. I was so in the zone that after about 30 minutes I hit a 7 and was so disappointed, I didn't even realize I had just hit a point the throw before and we all got paid for the 7! The stickman just shook his head and said "hey, you're still throwing". I hope I get the chance to do that again, because I really got to see what you meant about being "in the zone". As soon as the number was announced after each throw, I just looked at the dice and stared at them until they returned to me.
Great info on your site!

I just read August Newsletter and thought I would follow up on Editor's letter about table etiquette with a short story from my recent play. A somewhat radical solution – Don’t try this unless you are on very good terms with the table crew.


I was at my favorite casino on a Saturday night.  Table was choppy with just a few players  and I had been at the table off and on throughout the day.  The nigh crew had just come on board and we exchanged small talk ( am on first name bases with most of the crew, as we have been playing together for several years ) then a few more players showed up.  The table went from choppy to warm so the action was picking up.  The dice came around to me for the second time and I established a point, and was landing the dice where I wanted.  After the 2nd throw a group showed up at the end of the table and proceeded to lay there bets. The big guy in the center was one of those that leans both elbows on the rail with both hands, full of chips, dangling over the layout. I asked the stick to have him pull his hands back, the instruction was given and he pulled his hands back.  Two clear throws of the dice and he is back dangling over the rail.  Again the stick tells him to clear the area , and he reluctantly obeys. Two more throws and he is at it again.  Now the fun starts.  I figured obviously he has a hearing problem, so I purposely throw the dice hi and outside – missed him completely with both dice.  Now the whole crew knows what I am up to.  1 clear throw, and now my target moves back into position.  Another throw high and just off target and I make contact with one dice at shoulder height. I got his attention but obviously it didn’t sink in as he was back two throws later.  Ok, now I have the range, two dice and a  side arm throw, and right on target – both dice make contact in the middle of his forehead!!!   I was getting ready to run, figuring he was coming over the table after me,  but he just seemed a bit puzzled and decided he would step back a bit from the table so he would be out of range of the crazy guy with the dice.  Didn’t make much money on that hand, but provided a great story for the crew for the next couple of months.



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