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Recent observations of various forums on craps have informed us that there are many enthusiasts of the game who believe that dice can be set and thrown in ways that are predictable and / or controllable.

If this were true, it would, indeed, be a fabulous skill; too-good-to-be-true for most experienced craps players, and potentially devastating to the casinos.

Information from very credible sources have informed me that in the “good old days” of craps there may have been a select few who could make certain dice combinations come up with some consistency over a comparatively short period of time. Bearing in mind that those were the days when dice tables were not constructed as they are today, a certain degree of credibility to this belief becomes mildly possible. However, with the innovation of equipment changes designed to make the throwing of dice as random as possible, this credibility begins to wane.

Smooth dice table walls have given way to “alligator” bumps, designed to interfere with any attempt at control when the dice make contact with them. Soft-felted, easy-landing, layouts have been replaced with smoother, billiard table-like cloths, providing more “bump-and-jump” when the dice land from any height. The dice themselves are manufactured with extra-sharp edges and corners to ensure maximum bite and rollover whenever they make contact with the cloth on the table.

So, what, if not dice control, accounts for a “hot roll”, consisting of the appearance, or non-appearance, of certain dice combinations during a specific time period? The answer is simply nothing more than mathematics. Over a long enough number of rolls, every possible combination of the dice will come up in pretty well the same percentages as they should, in accordance with their mathematical possibilities out of the 36 dice combinations that can be thrown.

When a “hot roller” throws the dice for 30, 45 or even as much as 60 minutes with no losing seven coming up, will that 60-minute time period be an accurate representation of what will occur in the long-range scheme of things? Of course not. It’s only a drop in the bucket when compared to the number of rolls that it takes to make up a true test of dice results. A shooter holding the dice for 60 minutes may throw the dice up to 100 times without throwing a losing seven. Quite an accomplishment! But, is anyone ready to offer a guarantee that it can be done every time up? A study of 3,600 rolls of the dice by the same shooter will undoubtedly yield very different results.

What usually happens in the next short period of time after a hot roll can empty a craps table more quickly than it takes to fill one. How many times have we all witnessed: Point, 7-out. Point, 7-out. Point, 7-out, for a period of perhaps only 5 or 10 minutes? It’s just mathematics equalizing itself, like ocean tides ebbing and rising, or rain pouring down until the lake fills back up to its normal level after a long dry spell.

Don’t get me wrong; I wish nothing but good luck to those who claim to be in control when the dice are in their hands. However, I find it much more believable that the ability to control the dice strongly exists more in their belief in their own powers of positive thinking, or “mind-over-matter”, rather than in actual physical skill. As long as the dice must make contact with the walls of the craps table, I will remain skeptical about dice control. It would be the same as asking Michael Jordan to make his television commercial’s “nothing-but-net” shots, or Randy Johnson to throw 95-mph strikes by bouncing the baseball off a wall, with any degree of consistency.

Despite my skepticism about dice control, however, I must honestly admit that I would thoroughly enjoy being proven wrong.

Read Mad Professor's Response

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