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Dice Setter Precision Shooter's Newsletter

Volume IV : Issue VIII

May/June 2005

First I have to apologize for the late newsletter.  Between Crapsfest last month and various familial and work obligations, the days and weeks just have not been long enough.  There have been some interesting developments in our little world of late.  Stanford Wong's book has been released (see review below), and the "Breaking Vegas" episode featuring Dominator aired, giving cause to question whether the "History" Channel has even one fact checker on their staff.  It's getting interesting out there folks....

Before I run out of time again, let's get on with the newsletter. Thanks for your continued support of Dice Setter.

In this edition:
Mindful Living, Mindful Shooting - Part II
Wong On Dice - A Review
Shooting From The Don’ts…A Journey of Opportunity - Part VIII
Upcoming Seminars


Mindful Living, Mindful Shooting - Part II of a series
(see part I in last months newsletter)
By Jeffrey47

The deeper you go . . .

Paraphrasing that pop-culture notion from a bygone era, the more deeply engaged in our practice we become, the higher our dice-influencing skills can evolve.   At the same time, the higher our skills evolve, the more deeply engaged we will be.

No matter what level of skill we achieve, we’re involved in an ongoing quest to reach a continually receding horizon of further improvement.  

Knowing our mind

It’s often said, and correctly, that it’s all about the toss.  We want it to be on-axis, and we want those primary-face outcomes.  It’s also about knowing the wagers that maximize our own advantage.  And it’s about leveraging our advantage further by acting on our current results, picking up the familiar sweet scent of our own skill-based trail at the present moment.  And its about discipline, and the qualities of character needed to overcome the primal drives threatening to turn all that skill into the mere wreckage of lost opportunity.

Ultimately, developing and executing our skills, no matter which ones, depends on just how well we know our mind, and how we use it.  Mad Professor recently put it to us this way: How we THINK has a direct and dramatic effect on how we SHOOT. 

We can’t escape the fact that our mindset is always a factor.   It’s especially true where our mental efforts are directed at accomplishing everything more effortlessly, without interference from between the ears.

But too commonly, I think, we relegate the mental processes involved to second-class accommodations as we navigate our paths, giving artificial preference to everything else instead.  If we’re going to be putting our mind to these tasks, it would seem foolhardy to minimize its role, whatever it may be.

We’re not discounting any of the myriad skills we’re so diligently involved with, by looking just as deeply into the mental side.  Optimum performance derives from a synchronous blend among all the fine-tuned elements we bring with us to the table.  Mindfulness might best be thought of as a framework for our efforts, geared toward maximizing the whole process.

Learning an appropriate precision-shooting mindset

I think most would agree that monitoring our thoughts and attending to our state of mind are abilities which, like any other, can be enhanced.  We can learn to become more consciously aware of what’s going on inside our heads as we develop our precision-shooting skills. 

Ultimately, we can learn to be more attentive, inquisitive and focused in everything we do.  In fact, our experiences in everyday life provide the perfect laboratory for finding an appropriate mindset that will assist us in reaching our precision-shooting goals. 

As we learn to more deeply engage in our everyday experiences, we’ll become better situated to excel in all our more esoteric endeavors.  Our enjoyment in meeting challenges, and the depth of our life’s passions; these are the source-pools for our inspiration in everything we do, including dice.

The party is just beginning

If you haven’t yet turned on your heels yelling “Run away!” like King Arthur’s knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I want to thank you right here and now for exploring with me some of the insights that the challenge of writing these articles is providing. 

So I do hope you’ll continue, because the party is just beginning. 

If consistency of our toss is the sine qua non of dice influencing, it should be obvious that consistency in our mindset will play a role.   So not only are we looking for the right mindset—we’ll also want to be looking for ways to maintain it more consistently, once something suitable has been unearthed.  Certainly, we’ll no longer want to be taking chances that an ambiguous mindset might somehow be working at cross purposes with all our efforts to take the gamble out of our game. 

Close Encounters of a Mental Kind: 

            The problem of Temporary Intensity —

            the feeling that we’ve got it all figured out

I want to begin with some examples of how an inconsistent mindset can lead to inconsistent precision-shooting results.  A good place to start is with the crucial and much-heralded mental factor of intensity.  

Mad Professor wisely alerts us that precision shooting depends on having a PASSION for making each roll as near perfect as it can possibly be.  Gratification from each of our newfound successes fuels our intensity.

Observation and emotion 

Notwithstanding our tireless efforts, though, our encounters with near-perfection can be rationed in such ridiculously fleeting episodes that it may seem impossible to maintain much “success-fueled” intensity.  We can be head-over-heels excited one day and then things might seem almost bleak the next.   It’s why such extensive practice and continued patient experimentation are a must.

Astute observation is fundamental in these endeavors.  Our vigilance to be on the constant lookout for any semblance of success is vital.  But maintaining precision and persistence in the process is itself a skill that takes a real commitment of time and energy to develop.[1] And unless our efforts are infused as well with the appropriate emotional capital—the right attitude—we’ll not likely be sustaining them long enough to achieve the results we intend.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise that maintaining the right observational mindset requires a commitment of emotional energy.  We’ve already noted there has to be passion behind our every roll.  Our resolve to succeed is buoyed by any successes in our current results while the increasing acuity of our observations helps fuel anticipation of further progress.  Only with a synergistic commitment of all this emotional and mental energy will we be taking full advantage of the efforts involved.

A balanced attitude

Yet, as Irishsetter has observed we instead tend to reduce our concentration and intensity after having some success, because we wrongly begin to feel as if we’ve finally gotten things “all figured out.”  MP adds that it’s because we’re no longer working on learning and perfecting something new and fresh.  And as our intensity lags, of course, our skills become less consistent again.

I’ll just add what is already well implied by those masterful observations; while we’ll always want to appreciate our dice-influencing insights as worthy rewards in and of themselves for all the time and effort required; we must simultaneously embrace them as perfect opportunities for further progress.  If we’re not maintaining our balance on this particular expanse of mental high wire, we’re simply not reaping all we should from our dice-setting pursuits.  It’s a juggling act requiring expert-level mental and emotional agility.

Seeing the future NOW

So it’s crucial to understand that our sometimes fleeting experiences with the “intensity of near perfection,” though perhaps not ideal precisely because they can be so abbreviated and unpredictable, nevertheless provide important, recurring points of renewed perspective and opportunity in our continued skill-development quest. 

It is thanks to these episodes that we are allowed our first quick glimpses of that receding horizon we’ve talked about, just when it looks to be, for a brief time anyway, right at our doorstep! 

These alluring experiences are the gentle onshore breezes from the horizon of our own next level of development. 

Making passage . . .

We’ll only be heading there, however, if we open up the storm shutters and let the fresh air in.  We must be paying extremely close attention, resolved to put our mind to the new tasks we’re continually involved with—we must maintain our intensity. 

We need to be blending a genuine feeling of appreciation for the sense of progress we’re experiencing with an unfaltering discipline of continued commitment and a mature expectation that further progress will be ours.

Only with such a balanced attitude and tuned-in state of mind will we be granted passage as each next-appearing portal of opportunity draws close. 

In later installments, we’ll explore how we might increase our sensitivity to these opportunities as they occur and allow the bloom of our passion for the process to take hold more readily and more deeply over time.  In the meantime, our attitude now is always going to be inexorably tied to the depth by which our skills will be enhanced later.

Close Encounters of another Mental Kind:

            The problem of Temporary Intensity

                        induced by impatience and frustration

There’s another temporary-intensity phenomenon that I’m nearly certain is also commonly experienced. 

How many times have you been working at the rig or a live game, and noticed that although you were warmed up and felt comfortable, the results were just repeatedly not up to your hopes and expectations?  And how many times when that has happened, have you said to yourself something like, “Okay, this is it; I’ll give it one more try,” and then you finally shoot the way you know you can.

Maybe the problem was simply having waited so long to “really get down to shooting. 

Recognizing a successful mindset

And before you respond saying, “I always shoot with the same intensity,” you have to first look very closely and honestly to ascertain the true qualities of the mind-states that prevailed during the first rolls that disappointed, and distinguish them from what went on in your mind during the successful later roll.  Doing this requires constant mindful observation of what’s going on inside our heads during both our successful and less-successful rolls. 

When we do this, we can begin to gather important additional clues for reducing the frequency of our mediocre rolls due to an ambiguous mindset, and to replicate the successes derived from properly controlled intensity more often.    

Far too often, in my estimation, shooters will go through exactly the scenario I mentioned, noticing and reporting only the mechanics—that they’d made a minor correction to their grip; or re-targeted; or changed their trajectory; or rotated the permutation of their set—but inevitably, they remember little regarding their mindset.

I’m suggesting it’s at least as likely that it was their elevated resolve to succeed and the resulting higher focus and concentration—their renewed intensity—that helped them clarify the mechanical adjustments required and then to execute them, thus bringing about the improved result. 

Yet, there is still a deficiency associated with intensity when it’s induced by our frustration with failure and our impatience to succeed.  When extra effort is required to arrive at an appropriate level of concentration and intensity, our overall effort is merely symptomatic of a still-not-yet-perfect mindset for optimal performance.  And like its earlier-discussed cousin, “temporary intensity due to spontaneous discovery;” short-term intensity as a mere antidote to frustration and impatience will be of limited service unless we ensure that it’s assisting us in our efforts to improve.

Replicating Intensity

We must, therefore, be taking appropriate steps toward replicating the same intensity in our mindset sooner, more frequently, and for longer duration, but also without requiring extra effort. 

But we can only accomplish these goals if our initial and continued insights are consciously recognized as the opportunities they are from the outset—no matter what seems to be their cause, and no matter how fleeting they may be.  

Then, we must be prepared to adroitly incorporate the fruits of our insights seamlessly into an ever-expanding precision-shooting skillset. 

Of course, all this is far more easily said than . . . begun. 

Unfortunately, the only alternative is suffering the sometimes chip-rack-purging symptoms of a malady we might appropriately call, temporary-intensity deficit disorder (TIDD).

                                                            ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope we’ve gained a foothold on the kinds of things we’ll continue exploring as we work to find a more consistent precision-shooting mindset.  When the feng-shui, voodoo, trance dances and mojo-oil begin to lose their powers, let’s just look inside of ourselves instead.

So we’ll be returning to the topic of intensity, balancing our assessment with attention to the effortless calm we’ll hope to find residing at its core.  And we’ll further explore why the most viable ground for cultivating a more consistent precision-shooting mindset is really just our everyday lives. 

In the meantime, please remember—in everything we do—the more deeply engaged we become, the higher the skills we will attain...  And vice versa!


[1]   For some insightful discussions of some of the skills associated with observation, see the late MickeyD’s articles,  Observations, or Is Your Game in the Toilet? and Notes, Notes, Notes as well as Part I of  Mad Professors’s Shooting Bible series and Irishsetter’s article,  Fail.  Fail Again.  Fail Better. 


Wong On Dice - A Review

Stanford Wong's new book, Wong on Dice is a genuinely difficult book for me to review.  Previously, the published work on dice influencing theory was written/co written by "popular" authors who were long on hype, and short on fact, or in Yuri Kononenko's and Heavy's case, their books have a cult following, but unless you're already somewhat familiar with dice influencing techniques, you may not even know the books exist.   So, to this point, the casinos have written off dice influencing basically because the folks representing the theory to the general public were not credible.  Now,   we have a very a prominent AND credible gambling author writing about dice influencing.  Frankly, I think this book will bring unwanted casino scrutiny to our methods.  At the same time, Wong tackles some dice influencing issues from a completely unique point of view.  It's also difficult to review this book because it primarily deals with using the hardways set in the context of being a sevens avoidance set.  As far as maximizing advantage play opportunities, we already know that the hardways set is not the proper way to go.  In fact, Wong alludes to the fact that a larger advantage can be gained using other sets provided the shooter can keep the dice on axis at a higher than random level.  We already know that, and unfortunately, the idea of using true sevens avoidance sets like the V-2 and V-3 are almost afterthoughts in the book.

The key to getting to the good stuff in this book is to not get hung up on the hardways set theory.  If you're going to get bent out of shape that he promotes the hardways set, don't buy the book.  Even though I disagree with a great deal in this book, I did find his analysis intereresting, and frankly, I could correlate some of it to the way I apply dice influencing theory. 

Coming from an advantage play background enables Wong to offer a unique prospective on money management, bankroll and wagering.  Again, I don't agree with all of it, but I did find it intriguing. The fact that he shoots down the 45 degree throwing angle and the big arm swing pendulum throw is an added bonus, despite the fact that we've already come to that conclusion years ago.    There are individual pages in this book that will be reference points for a long while to come.

The book is a quick read and has a good mix of facts sprinkled with war stories.  The "dice challenge" is particularly compelling because it was carried out quite publicly on his forum.  Give him credit, Wong puts his money where his mouth is! There are also some surprisingly insightful hidden nuggets in this book.  The one thing that I particularly appreciated in this book was the fact Wong was generous giving credit to folks like Yuri Kononenko, Sharpshooter, Dice Coach and others who have influenced or helped him along his dice influencing journey. 

Now for the negative.   Wong has been an advantage player for years, but he's really only been playing craps and attempting dice influencing for a comparatively short time.  I do not doubt for a moment his expertise in analyzing the game from a mathematical standpoint.  The weakness in this book is his limited experience as a dice influencer gives him a limited breadth of shooting knowledge.  I feel the book would have benefited from him being exposed to a broader range of philosophies.  In the relatively short time that he's been attempting dice influencing techniques, I feel he just hasn't yet been exposed to those philosophies.

Despite its weaknesses, and my general disagreement with the hardways set philosophy, I enjoyed the book quite a bit.  And having recently seen Wong shoot the dice, I can say without reservation that he practices what he preaches.

Shooting From The Don’ts…A Journey of Opportunity - Part VIII
by the Mad Professor

Daddy, How Many Stars Are In The Universe?

"MP, on average how many sessions per day, hands per session, and money per wager would it take to make $1000 a day shooting from the Don'ts?" 

In a nutshell...it doesn't take much…but it could take a lot.

It all depends on what your base-bet is and how much Odds (if any) you back your DP line-bet with...and of course, it really depends on how good your shooting actually is.

When you add shooting-frequency to those factors, it becomes pretty much a straight-forward calculation.

Let me give you a perfect world example:

       Let’s start with a $25 flat-bet on the Don’t Pass.

       We’ll ignore any Come-Out bets for a moment and get right to the Point.

       Let’s say we roll a 5 as the PL-Point.

       If you have a validated dice-influencing edge over the casino; then as a Darkside-shooter, full-Odds has to figure into your betting regimen.  If you don’t have an edge, then you are merely gambling and this discussion is moot.

       At a 3x, 4x, 5x-Odds table, the casino will allow your Darkside Odds to be wagered at up to 6x your flat DP-bet amount.

       If your DP line-bet is $5; then you are permitted to Lay up to $30 in Odds no matter what the Point is.

       In this example, our $25 DP-bet will be backed up with $150 in 6x-Odds.

       Let’s say that we can pretty well 7-Out almost every time we need to.  That’s not to say that we can 7-Out on demand, but rather that we can almost always 7-Out before accidentally repeating the PL-Point.

       A DP line-away winner will pay us $25 on the flat-bet and at a 2:3 payoff for the PL-Point of 5, our Odds generate another $100 in revenue.  In total, we now have $125 to the good.

       A PL-Point of 4 or 10 will generate $100 in net-winnings for the same $25 DP and $150 in Odds wager; while a similarly funded DP-bet against the PL-Point of either the 6 or 8 will spin-off $150 in total earnings.

       If we can manage to do that for just eight of our hands in a row ($125 average-win per hand times 8 hands), we’ll easily get to our $1000/day win-goal with very little problem. 

However, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes we can’t always 7-Out before unintentionally repeating our anti-Point number. 

Therefore we have to take our shooting-ability average (the percentage of times when we CAN intentionally 7-Out) and multiply that by our average-win per hand.

       Let’s say that we can intentionally 7-Out eight-times-out-of-ten.   That means that we’ll be able to throw a 7-Out winner 80% of the time without an accidental PL-Point repeater.

       We take our average profit-per-winning-hand ($125) and multiply it by our 80% success-rate.  This gives us an average profit-per-winning-hand of $100.  However those two-out-of-ten DP-losers reduce that figure even lower.  If our average bet per hand is $175 ($25 DP with 6x-Odds of $150); then 20% of that amount ($35) also has to be subtracted from our win-rate.  As a result, our weighted average profit-per-hand is $65.

       Of course, the simpler way to figure this out is to add up all your winning hands and subtract all of your losing hands and then divide the net-profit into the total number of hands thrown; that will give you the same average profit/hand figure.

       In either case, if our daily win-goal is $1000 and we know that we can generate an average of $65 in net-winnings per hand; then it’s easy to see that we’ll need to toss about fifteen (15) hands per day to reach that objective.

While $65 in net-winnings/hand may not seem like a lot of money when compared to the $175 that you have to put out on the layout to get it; you have to maintain a proper perspective and understand that that $65 net-amount INCLUDES your losing hands as well.

As always, we have to keep a steady eye on the volatility of our skills.  That means that we should be using a sampling of at least ten hands to figure out what our current average is.  For better accuracy, I like to use my last fifty hands as a sliding-scale measurement to determine where my most recent skill-level average is at. 

The more consistently we can produce our intended DP 7-Out, the more money-making faith we can put in our dice-influencing skills…and obviously then, the more money we can back those skills with.

In this case, a $65 net-profit derived from a $175 DP-with-Odds investment yields an average return of 38% on each and every hand. 

The closer we come to understanding how much money a modestly skilled Dark-shooter can make, the better prepared we are to shape our own compellingly profitable game-strategy.

We’ll return to this discussion in a moment, but it’s time to wheel the Stuttgart-powered chariot into valet parking at our next Darkside destination.

Rollin’ The Bones at Turning Stone

If it weren’t for the 135,000 cars that pass the Turning Stone Casino on the New York State (Thomas E. Dewey) Thruway on a daily basis, this place would be a hidden gem in the gently rolling landscape of NY’s Central Leatherstocking region.  Instead it is a lively and effervescent gaming operation that is hopping during each and every one of the twenty-four hours in a gambling day.

The Oneida Nation of Indians operate this 120,000 square foot behemoth without need or want of outside management from dark empire death-stars like Harrahs.  Instead, they run a tight, well-oiled machine which just happens to contain more than half-a-dozen incredibly neutral-rolling craps tables.

To be fair, my opinion of Turning Stone is a little biased.  

From the time they opened in 1993 to this very day; I haven’t encountered a bad (read: major losing) session there since, well, ever.   Now before you start looking around for your never-close-enough-when-you-need-it can of Bullshit Repellant, let me quickly add that a “winning session” can mean as little as a $1 net-win…and I can candidly tell you that more than a couple of those thousand or so Turning Stone sessions did end up only producing a buck or two…however most of them turned out to be significantly better than that.

The important point though, is that I go into every casino expecting to win…and I go into the Turning Stone Resort absolutely convinced that I’m going to win.  Like I said, some of those wins are downright tiny, but when you keep your perspective and you combine a winning attitude with level-headed betting and a relentless pursuit of steadily improving Precision-Shooting skills; an undeniable profit-making strategy inevitably emerges.  

Dead Horse There…Whip In  My Hand Here…Hmm, What To Do?

A significant part of that indefatigable profit-making strategy is the crucially important element of low-level Loss-Limits.

That simply means that if you keep your loss-limits low enough, you aren’t constantly having to fill in all of your previous losses just to break-even.  Unfortunately for most advantage-players, when that critical factor is missing from their game (or if it’s set too high); then they make the entire profit-making journey much more difficult and wrought with many more discipline-testing obstacles that they just don’t encounter (or have to deal with) if their loss-limits are set and maintained at a more reasonable lower level. 

If you lose $500 today, that means you’ll need to win at least $500 during your next session just to break even.  If instead, you restricted your loss-limit at say $150 or even $200, then your next $500 win would put you $300 or more ahead of the game. 

It ain’t complicated folks, it’s just common sense.  

       Most players know that they can accomplish significantly higher win-averages if they would apply lower loss-limits to their own game, but they lack the self-discipline to see it through.  If you let yourself down often enough, you’ll end up being convinced that it’s virtually impossible for anyone to do it.

       The shallower you keep your losses, the more you can use your subsequent winning sessions to produce tangible net-profit which can be used to build your bankroll and fuel your lifestyle…or at least fuel your car. 

As an advantage-player, you have to be brutally honest with yourself as to how deeply your own skills will allow your loss-limit to go. 

       To overcome half a dozen 50% of bankroll loss-limits, you have to be a pretty good shooter.  So you have to honestly ask yourself whether your customary loss-limit percentage is so high that your current win/loss ratio will make it almost impossible to ever produce a tangible overall net-win. 

If you fear the answer to that question; then you already know the solution.

High-percentage loss-limits actually limit your chances of EVER turning an overall net-profit.

Session One

I arrived at Turning Stone quite a bit later than planned.   A late-afternoon meeting with some associates in Rochester ran a little longer than I expected.

As usual, the mid-evening (9 p.m.) mid-week (Wednesday) tables were fairly busy, yet two of them were still set at $5.  Along with the two similarly full $10 layouts, there was a $15 one that only had a small handful of decidedly unenthusiastic players whose steadily decreasing bankrolls looked like they had been on the receiving end of a Mike Tyson punch-fest.

When I bought in at the $15 table and started shooting from the Darkside, my first Point-then-Out hand was the last straw for a couple of them.  Frankly I couldn’t blame them for leaving.  The table had obviously been brutal well before I even got there, but my appearance and of course the subsequent appearance of yet another quick 7-Out from somebody that was obviously TRYING to 7-Out, was more than enough to convince two…then three…then four of them to call it a night.

For one of the few times during this wrong-way journey, I was actually accompanied on the DP-line by two other intrepid bettors who joined me about fifteen minutes after everyone else had abandoned ship. 

I was doing fairly well in terms of fending for myself as a Dark-shooter.  I wasn’t making any hand-over-fist kind of money, but it was certainly steady enough to keep me interested. 

It was taking a range of two to eight rolls to throw my intended 7-Out.  Unfortunately I did manage to shoot myself in the foot on a couple occasions…one was even a bull-frogged two-throw PL-repeater.  Although any DP loss will put a slight dent into your session-winnings (especially when you have full-Odds out there), it’s the overall NET-win (or loss) that is the true barometer of how effectively your dice-influencing skills are doing.  Using that measure, I was sufficiently pleased with the outcome.

Just as a side note, Turning Stone recently discovered that the rest of the world has entered the 21st century and as a result, they now offer 3x, 4x, 5x-Odds on their tables.  For the Darksider, that means you can lay up to six times (6x) your flat DP or DC-bet in maximum allowable Odds.

My two back-line cohorts were doing pretty well with their own Don’t-shooting as well.  They were a little hesitant as far as laying full Odds against the Point, but their efficiency in terms of snapping off fairly rapid 7-Out’s made quick work of their efforts.

The three of us continued the same DP shooting routine for close to an hour.  Once I determined that their Precision-Shooting skills were for real, I joined them on the Don’t-line for each of their subsequent hands.  After a couple more go-rounds I even added full inverse Odds to my line bet.  They both commented on my apparent faith in them.  I simply replied that the dice cubes were behaving more like ice-cubes, so I had to “go with the trend”.  A knowing nod and subtle smile was all it took to acknowledge everything else that I wasn’t saying.

Post-Session Notes

I called it an evening after about two hours at the table.  

       Between fifteen and twenty minutes of that time had been spent solo-shooting while the balance had been spent with no more than five other players sharing the shooting duties. 

       Over that period, my initial red and green Christmas-colored chip-rail had blossomed into a more favorable shade of St. Patrick’s Day green and black with a sprinkling of Easter mauve (purple). 

       I resolved to either use a higher base-bet if I got back on that same table the next day, or to use my Doey-Don’t Odds Stretcher Method to generate more Odds-revenue and less Come-Out volatility.

Speaking of my C-O Game Within A Game approach; it was fair but definitely not great. 

       Less than 15% of my net-win from Session One resulted from Come-Out Horn-bet winners. 

       Further compounding that was the fact that almost all of my Horn-win-fueled pressed-up World-bets were negated by subsequent C-O DP 7-losers…followed by a Point-establishing box-number; so it had the unmistakable feeling of one-step forward and two-steps back dj vu…all over again. 

       I also resolved to shoot a few after-session tosses once I got squared away in my suite.

       Not a hint of heat, derision or contempt of any sort was detectable from the crew, box, pit-folks or the new-to-his-duties Casino Host who introduced himself about midway through my session.

       Though comp-levels at some of the more mainstream resorts have been curtailed to varying degrees, my host at Turning Stone was doing his best impression of Nadia Komenich as far as bending over backwards to assist all of my accommodation needs and wants.

       Unbeknownst to me, he had upgraded my previously offered Patio-suite to a slightly better one in their golf-centric Lodge.  Although I was pleased with the luxuriously appointed accommodations (which are reminiscent of a low-end Four Seasons…if there is a such a thing), the Lodge itself is a fair distance away from the casino, which means you should pack a lunch if you aren’t used to walking long distances.

       Hotel check-in took a grand total of ninety pain-free seconds to complete.

As intended, I did a few after-session tosses in my suite just to properly correct what I already knew was an on-axis double-pitch problem.  It was most annoying and obviously most troubling while using my C-O S-6 set.  I wasn’t perfectly satisfied with the immediate results from those adjustments, but I resolved to work on it again in the morning before heading over to the tables. 

Session Two…Me and you and a dog named “Boo”

The next morning I made one of those in-room coffees before I headed to the tables, but it tasted like the bottom of a moldy old golf bag…just don’t ask me how I know what that tastes like. 

I made a few cursory practice tosses, but without the stimulation of sufficient caffeine jet-fuel, I wasn’t surprised that my throw still looked a little ragged.

I hiked over to the casino and got a truly memorable cup of go-juice from their Stone Roast Coffee bar.  You can use comp-points off of your Diamond Club players card to pay for pretty much any food, merchandise or services that are found at Turning Stone.

I was surprised the tables were so busy at that hour of the morning.  Apparently a dog enthusiasts (Kanine Kollectibles) convention was being held in the nether regions of the resort, and it looked like half of them (including all of the eccentrically dressed ones) were sniffing around the table-games pit.  I got an SL-2 spot at a semi-crowded $15 table between two fairly sane looking players whom I was pretty confident weren’t going to intentionally mark their carpet-territory where I was standing or to start humping my leg without provocation, so I settled in.

These were not the carefully coiffed dog-handlers that you would see at the Westchester Kennel Club.  Rather, they wore gaily-colored brocade vests adorned with enough pins and patches to make a full-regalia outlaw biker look downright Republican.

I started with $25 on the Don’t Pass and rebuffed the idea of using my usual $25 matching World-bet because my warm-up had looked barely passable.  In its place I put out a $1 straight-up wager on the 12-Midnight, and instead of my usual S-6 Come-Out set, I opted to go straight for a Point-establishing number by using the conventionally arranged V-2.  I set the 8 as my anti-Point avoidance-number.  A couple of rolls later…up sprang the confidence-building 7-Out. 

Building Your First Hand Confidence

To my mind, the first hand of the first session often sets the tone for the rest of the day, and that’s why I always like to produce a first-hand profit (even if it’s a tiny one).  The more confidence you approach a session with, and the more that it is confirmed and bolstered by a first-hand win; the better you’ll be able to recognize and capitalize on each and every subsequent advantage-play opportunity that comes along.  In other words, you won’t be trigger-shy when the right situation presents itself.

That’s not to say that you can’t recover if your first hand is less than ideal.  Rather, it’s easier to get into the right frame of mind and to stay in the right frame of mind if your first-hand shooting produces positive results.  In light of the less-than-spectacular no-caffeine warm-up that I had shot just a short time earlier…that first-hand, first-session quick-Out was exactly what I needed to let me know that my Dark-shooting was dialed-in sufficiently to bring about those intended results.

Session Two…cont’d

A few players came and went over the next ninety-minutes, but the damp clouds of coolness hung over the table like a wet dog blanket.  

Everyone seemed to be throwing more money on the layout in apparent hope that things would turn around or at least warm up to the point where someone could throw more that four or five rolls before Mr. Ugly reared his head.  On the other hand, I was hoping that the steady coolness would drive away all the current players AND discourage any new ones from joining in, but that was not the case.

The upside was that the dice came to me about once every twenty minutes or so, and although some of my rolls ran a little longer than I would have wished for, they all ended with a 7-Out without any painful Point-repeaters in the interim.

After each hand, I’d take a quick chip-census to see just how big my current profit-population had grown to.  Surprisingly enough, I reached my daily win-goal after just one-and-a-half hours.  Although I wasn’t calling it a day, I did call it a session and got a comp to the Season’s Harvest buffet.

What Does It Take To Make Your Daily Nut…cont’d

I get a lot of mail from guys who just can’t seem to wrap their mind around the idea of consistently hitting a daily-win goal of $1000.

The reality is, the math is the easy part…it’s the execution that even the most seasoned of Precision-Shooters have the most difficulty with.

I know I’ve flogged the “match your bets to your shooting ability” horse until it dropped dead before it even hit the final five furlongs; but it is as true now as it was when I first started harping on it on the public dice boards seven or eight years ago.  Unfortunately some players are just too stubborn and set in their ways to adapt their game to properly suit their incredible dice-influencing talents.

A Darkside shooters plan of attack does not have to be complicated or contain all sorts of advantage-eroding hedges and non-performing props. 

Instead, let’s take a look at a straight forward wholly uncomplicated approach to determine HOW a very modestly skilled dice-influencer can achieve what at first seems like an ambitious daily win-goal.

       We'll ignore any Come-Out action for the time being.  While you may have a verified edge there too, we’ll overlook those bankroll-builders for the moment and focus on the most basic of requirements to turn some of the casinos money into your money.

       In this scenario, your flat-DP bet will always be backed up with 6x-Odds.  At a 3x, 4x, 5x-Odds table, the Don’t shooter only has to remember that his DP or DC can be backed with a max of six times his flat bet.

       We’ll also ignore the use of a full or partial Doey-Don't Odds Stretcher (which is fully discussed in previous chapters of this series).   Though that method is quite valid for a Darkside shooter to get more Odds and less flat-bet C-O volatility, we’ll keep this example as simple as possible.

Here’s where we can start to figure out how effective your 7-Out shooting has to be to cover that $1000 nut, and obviously how many hands its going to take to get there.

       You have to figure out how many times on average that you are able to intentionally 7-Out versus how often you shoot yourself in the foot by repeating the PL-Point.  You should figure this out on a percentage basis.  For example, if you can intentionally 7-Out eight-times-out-of-ten-hands, then your “first-point” effectiveness is 80%.

       Again, your first-point effectiveness percentage is based on the number of times with which you can purposely 7-Out without unintentionally repeating your DP-Point first.

       Armed with that information, you then take your typical DP w/Odds payout and multiply it by the “first-point” effectiveness percentage that you just calculated.

       Now obviously, the size of your base-bet will determine the amounts of Odds that you’ll lay, and therefore control what your average winning payout will be. 

       For this example we’ll stick with a flat DP line wager of $10 and $60 in Odds, so let’s determine how much a perfect 7-Out hand pays for each box-number:

         4 or 10 produces a net profit of $40

         5 or 9 produces a net profit of $50

         6 or 8 produces a net profit of $60

         On average then, a winning DP bet with full-Odds (at a 3x, 4x, 5x table) produces an average net-profit of $50

       Again, the reason we use our "first-Point" 7-Out percentage (80% in this example) is because any subsequent 2nd or 3rd PL-Point 7-Out winnings will obviously only partially offset the cost of your first PL-Point loss. 

Let’s see how those losing hands affect our average winnings-per-hand.

       Out of let’s say 10-hands, we have 8 winning ones and 2 losing ones (where we accidentally shoot ourselves in the foot before finally 7’ing out on our subsequent 2nd or 3rd attempt during the same hand).

       That means our 8 winning hands will produce an average payout of $50 each (for a total gross-win of $400), but our two losing hands will each subtract $70 from that figure (for a total of $140 in gross-losses).  Subtracting one from the other ($400 in gross-wins minus $140 in gross-losses) leaves you with a net-win of $260. 

       If you divide that net $260 win into the ten hands that it took to produce it, you get an average profit-per-hand of $26. 

       Now at first blush, a $26/hand profit doesn’t look all that great, but for a $10 DP with Full-Odds player (a $70 investment), that $26 represents an overall 39% return-on-investment on every hand (including the losing ones).

       Granted, a $26/hand profit doesn’t look all that great either if your daily win-goal is set at $1000 because it would mean you’d have to throw about 40 hands per day just to get there, but it also demonstrates that you clearly don’t have to pin your hopes on hitting all kinds of exotic parlays in order to make decent money either. 

       In a gaming jurisdiction where you have a wide choice of sparsely-populated tables, 40 hands per day (for the $10 DP bettor to reach his daily win-goal) is no big deal, but in a market with a limited number of casinos and few open tables, that could mean putting in a 22-hour work-day.  Obviously that isn’t practical, but you could use your steadily increasing bankroll to fuel a higher bet-level while concurrently seeking out higher-denomination, lower-population tables.

       Again, most players will look at the $26/hand profit figure and smirk at the lack of excitement that this type of Darkside shooting generates.  Admittedly it may not stir your loins and get you all lathered up with restless enthusiasm like an octuple parlay on the 12-Midnight would, but then again, we are talking about an every-hand profit here instead of a once-every-Supreme-Court-nomination-cycle kind of strategy.

Once you figure out your average-win/hand (based on your bet-amount comfort-level and your sufficiently-sized bankroll), you’ll be able to readily figure out just how many hands it will take to get to whatever your daily profit-goal is.

Session Three…“Ya Mean All I Gotta Do Is 7-Out?!”

My third session saw me playing at the same $15 session-one table for about forty-five minutes before one of my table-mates came to the realization that I was deliberately trying to 7-Out.  He said, “Hey, you’re intentionally trying to 7-Out…why would you wanna do that?  I acknowledged that I was at least HOPING that I would. 

By the look on his face, I knew that he couldn’t quite fathom why I was purposely “trying to lose”.  Even after explaining that my Don’t Pass bet would win if I 7’d-Out, he said he still couldn’t understand why anyone would play the game like that.   He said the idea of the game was to hold the dice for as long as possible…not to give them up as soon as possible, and wondered why I didn’t just pass the dice back to him.  I countered that I thought the idea of the game was to make some money regardless of how long anyone hung onto the dice.  I elicited a barely suppressed belly laugh from the two base-dealers and the box-lady when I explained to him that the planets weren’t aligned properly to allow for good shooting right now and that I knew the universe wasn’t in harmony so “why fight the cosmos…the dice WANT to 7-Out…why not let them”. 

He looked at me like some kind of weirdo and never said another word to me for the rest of his session which went on for another 50 minutes.  My bizarre dead-pan explanation apparently got the intended response that I was looking for.  During his remaining time, he lost his original $500 buy-in as well as two further $300 re-buys as well…mostly by betting against me.

I played solo on that table for another 25-minutes or so after he left.  A few curious players stopped by to observe the game for a while, but never bet.  I think Dylanfreak’s Scare ‘Em Off By Shooting From The Don’t’s method of keeping the table empty has a LOT of merit.   Though it may not empty out a full table, his “scare them off” concept has the effect of keeping a solo-shooting session just that way for much, much longer than you’d normally expect.  My hat goes off to Dylanfreak for that fine idea.

I was tempted to stay and play a little longer, but I had a meeting in nearby Syracuse with some former associates who aren’t used to being kept waiting.  After my cash-out at the cage, I walked past the still-empty table that I had been playing at.  The dealers and pit-folks tried to beckon me over for one more hand.  I cordially declined, but promised to seek them out at the same time tomorrow.

Session Four…Late Start…Early Profit

I didn’t get back to the craps table until late in the evening the following day.

For the first time in several sessions, my Come-Out “Game Within A Game” strategy finally got back on track.  At first blush, throwing Horn-numbers should be as easy as throwing a 7.  There’s six ways out of thirty-six for a random-roller to throw a 7, and there are also six ways to throw a Horn-number too (one 2 and one 12, plus two 3’s and two 11’s)…so it should be just as easy to throw one of those as it is to throw a 7, right!

As some of you know, the World-bet has formed the basis of my C-O game for a very long time (both from the Rightside as well as the Darkside); however, I had been in a Horn-shooting slump for almost a week and it was starting to weigh on my mind.  I didn’t have any problem whatsoever in throwing the “7” component of the World-bet, but the other parts (the 2, 3, 11 and 12) had gone on a disturbingly long sabbatical.  Much to my relief, it came back early in session-four…well rested…and ready to rock ‘n’ roll after an extended exile in random regions unknown.

My C-O on the first hand (using the S-6 set in it’s traditional configuration) produced a 3…then a 2…then a 3…then an 11…then a PL-Point of Hard-10.  Clearly that’s only one primary-face outcome in five results, but like I said it was the first time I had hit back-to-back-to-back Horn-winners in about a week.  A few rolls later, I got the 7-Out that I was looking for.

The C-O sequence for my second hand resembled a fraternal twin to the first one.  It produced a 3…then a 2…then three 11’s in a row before re-establishing the Hard-10 as the anti-Point again.  It took three more rolls before I was rewarded with my 7-Out winner.  By the way, two out of those three Point-cycle rolls were also Horn-numbers, but I wasn’t on any of them…DUH!

My confidence in terms of aggressively pressing the C-O Horn-hits after their first appearance had certainly returned.  It never fails to surprise me how much confidence just two or three good hands in a row can restore your shooting-faith and buoy the trust in your betting.

My C-O World-bet action typically looks like this:  I start with $25 on the DP and $25 on the World-bet

       If the first outcome is an 11...I keep the World-bet at its initial level and I replace my DP-wager.  That means that my first hit on an 11 generates a net-profit of $30.

       If the outcome is a 3...I double the World-bet to $50, and maintain the same initial $25 bet for my DP-wager.  That means that the W-B 3 (along with the DP even-money payment) generates a net-profit (after the World-bet is pressed) of $55.

       If the outcome is a 2 or 12...I once again double the World-bet to $50, but still keep the same initial bet for the DP-line.  That means that a 2 generates a net-profit (after the World-bet is pressed) of $130, while a 12 generates a net-profit (after the World-bet is pressed) of $105.

On the very next C-O decision...

       If the outcome is a 7...I keep the same bet for both the World and the DP.  If the World is at $50, then it stays at $50, but I almost always keep my DP base-bet at $25 no matter how large the World-bet grows.  Again, this acts to minimize the impact of an on-axis C-O DP 7-loser. 

       If my second Come-Out roll results is an 11; then I replace the DP and increase the World-bet by one $25 unit.

       If the outcome is a 3...I increase my current World-bet by two more base-units (of $25 each for a current total of $100 on the World), but I still keep the same initial $25 bet on the DP.

       If the outcome is a 2 or 12...I increase my current World-bet by three base-units (a $75 increase).

On any subsequent Horn-payers, I add one additional unit to the previous scale.

       I press the World with a further two-unit ($50) increase if the 11 rolls.

       I press the World with a further three-unit ($75) increase if the 3 rolls.

       I press the World with a further four-unit ($100) increase if the 2 or 12 rolls.

If I'm fortunate enough to get another Horn-hit, I do the same "add one unit to the previous scale" thing, as in…

       I press the World with a further three-unit increase if the 11 rolls.

       I press the World with a further four-unit increase if the 3 rolls.

       I press the World with a further five-unit increase if the 2 or 12 rolls.

The next progression (if another Horn-number repeats again), looks like this:

       I press the World with a further four-unit increase if the 11 rolls.

       I press the World with a further five-unit increase if the 3 rolls.

       I press the World with a further six-unit increase if the 2 or 12 rolls.

At this point, your World-bet could reach the $500 mark (using $25 base-units) if you’ve had the C-O results that see you using the maximum unit-increase on each one of those steps (like if the 2 or 12 has been rolling).  It is also the point where you will very likely reach the maximum allowable Horn-bet payout-level at many casinos. 

The C-O for my third hand finally started producing a few more of the primary-face 2’s and 12’s that make the Horn-bet so productive.   Again, I started out with a 3…followed by another 3, but then two 2’s in a row followed were by an additional 3 and an 11, followed yet again by another secondary-face 3, then a 12…and finally an off-axis PL-Point of 9.   My shooting went a little downhill from there as I threw every other number except either the hoped-for 7 or the hoped-against 9.  My tablemates were starting to think that things were finally starting to warm up.  It took another five tosses before I finally managed to throw the 7-Out.

My fourth, fifth and sixth-hand C-O were nowhere nearly as dramatic or profitable as the three previous ones, but my World-action still produced some sizeable earnings nonetheless. 

My seventh hand started out well enough with four Horn-winners on the Come-Out, but my Point-cycle offered up a near disaster as I managed to shoot myself in the foot twice.  I repeated my first PL-Point of 8 as well as my second Point of 6.  With another 6x-Odds backing up my line-bet, I was not feeling overly cocky…but my confidence wasn’t none too bruised either.  I knew that both of those Point-losers had been strong on-axis S-6 possibilities right from the start, so I wasn’t about to abandon my game-plan simply because the dice were mostly staying on-axis and doing pretty much what I wanted for them to do, albeit, not in the primary-face All-7 configuration that would bring about my 7-Out reward.  It took the Darksider’s prayer of “third-Point’s-a-charm” before I finally 7’d-Out around the twenty-fifth roll.

Fortunately my eighth through tenth hands didn’t reprise my seventh-hand disaster.  However, my Come-Out progression on the World-action during those next three hands didn’t come close to surpassing the C-O money that I made during my third hand either.  Though I did get back up to the third and fifth progression during my ninth and tenth hands respectively, so I was pleased about that.

Moreover, I was thrilled that my Come-Out Game Within A Game strategy of aggressive Horn-pressing was definitely back on track.  Added to the profit that my Odds-bets were generating during the Point-cycle, those two separate elements made the Turning Stone segment of my Darkside journey into the most profitable one yet.

I hope you’ll join me on the next leg.

Upcoming Seminars

Heavy's Motorcity Craps Clinic - Join Heavy in Detroit, July 16, 2005

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- Fall Edition!  Join Heavy, Dicecoach, Michael Vernon and Soft Touch! October 14 - 16, 2005.  It's not too early to start planning! Register now & Save!

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