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Reflections on The River

At the beginning, let me say, that I was definitely skeptical about dice setting.  So if you are looking for some can’t miss guidance from a grizzled veteran of dice setting, hit the back button on your browser, cause this is not the place!  Indeed, I always considered dice to be about as predictable as a slightly inebriated southern debutante on Prom Night, there was no telling what they would do.   However, after reading the information on Irishsetter’s site, I began to experiment with setting.  My first experience was in that city of glitz, glamour and bizarre architecture, Las Vegas.  I was there two months ago and on several occasions stood stick right, used a crossed sixes set and aimed about six inches from the back wall and tossed them gently into the corner.  Did I grind the casino to dust?  Of course not!  What did happen though, was that I had, in my opinion, a statistically significant improvement in the number of 7’s and an improvement as well in the quantity of numbers I rolled.   I did have some long hands, I think greater than 20 rolls although I couldn’t really track it.  One occasion in particular at the Flamingo, the money was moving from the house side to players faster than a dot com going bankrupt.  It was fun!  A lot of cheering and I don’t think there were even that many intoxicated players since it was only about 10:30 in the morning.

On my return from LV, I went to the web, bought some casino felt, dice and alligator bumper and built a table complete with curved sides, it looks just like the end of a real dice table.  I then built a little “throwing station” which allows me to vary the distance and change the side I am throwing from.  I recorded approximately 700 throws using the crossed 6, winged 3, and winged 2 sets.  It was enough to convince me that the dice outcomes could be altered with a controlled throw because the ratio of 7 to rolls and point numbers to rolls was way out of the statistically norm for that size of sample.  I did have a 43 roll hand during this practice period.   Woo hoo!  Keep in mind as well, this table I have is about as bouncy as an Up With People singer, hard to find a dead cat anywhere. 

So, I took off for a few days to Laughlin.  Here’s how I approached the gambling opportunity.  I looked at it like an athlete views his or her sport.   That is, I consider that a bowler knocks over the pins with a ball, a tennis player pops the ball into the right spot, a shot putter, well, you get the idea.  I believe that I am there to toss two six sided cubes to the end of a table and have them land and roll with some consistency.  When I do that, I want to get paid for it!  So, I go to the dice table as an athlete would, well rested, prepared and mentally alert.

To get started I looked for an uncrowded table, one with none or at most three players.  If I can’t find that, I look for a spot, next to the stick, which will be getting the dice shortly.   I drop my $200 down and get $100 in green, $80 in red and $20 in white.  The green is really just a little security blanket, because if I am not winning, I walk before I have to use it.  I like to press my fingers a little into the felt as I pick up my chips on an unknown table, that way I can get a preliminary feel for how hard it is.  Secondly, I listen to the dice hitting the table.  Over time, the sound of a harder or softer table is quite recognizable.  Prior to getting the dice, I am very careful not to pick up my drink glass with my throwing hand.  I don’t want to possibly get sticky 7Up on my fingers and I don’t want to be drying them on my sleeve like some yahoo from Missipalchacauga County.  Once the dice came to me, I would pick them up, positioned in the 3V set and throw them down to the other end of the table.  I worked to have a very soft throw with only a little arc, so they hit the deck about 6 to 8 inches away from the wall and tumble ever so gently to the wall, then minimally bounce away from the wall.  I aimed for a spot a 6 to 8  inches away from the middle of the back wall, between the wall and the chips on the pass line.  Like a ball player that follows the ball into the glove, I attempt to “look” the dice into my landing zone.  I try to have very little spin or rotation, almost a push through the air, just enough to get them tumbling to hit the wall and then die.  I want to have them come to rest at most only a couple of inches from the wall.  I also worked to really focus on what I was doing, that is to tune out the noise and reactions of other players.  Sometimes I would concentrate by not lifting my eyes above the rail until the hand was over.  I would just focus on picking up the dice and executing a proper throw down a “tunnel” into the landing zone on the table.  I think next time, I will be better able to do that and manage my bets.  I like to use the John Patrick up and pull method but sometimes I was concentrating so much that I just same bet all my numbers through my whole hand!

In my previous brief trip report on the forum, I posted that I did come back up $269, had 19 total table sessions, so that is how the money side went.   I would bet a $2 or #3 line bet with odds and place the 6 and sometimes both the 6 and 8.  I would move up the size of my bets or spread them across as each one paid off.  That is to say, the bet had to pay for itself before I would press it or spread out to the 5 or 9.  When I was not the shooter, I would bet both the pass and don’t pass, depending on the trend of the table.  Actually, don’t pass worked out pretty well quite often.  I never feel bad about betting don’t because, to paraphrase one of our esteemed contributors, it’s not you against the other players or even you against the house, it’s you against your own personal self!  I had losing sessions, of course, but I always walk if I am down below $160, or I am up and the “hot hand” ends or I have been at the table for longer than an hour and 15 minutes.  I never wager until it’s all gone.  As far as the bankroll, I sized it according to Mr. Heavy’s recent article and a little extra for security.  I felt like I had plenty of ammunition.

This trip was an opportunity to really test the reality of precision shooting. Real money, real tables, that is the true measure of its usefulness.  Setting, I believe, really did change the outcome.  I definitely can see the value of practice however.  Practice gives you the opportunity to try different sets, grips, arcs and landing zones at no cost.  With a practice table a person can make far more throws in short time than is possible in a casino.  Here’s why.  Even if you start on a completely empty $2 table, when the stick starts saying “winner 7” or “pay the front line” even when you are the only one there, the table starts to fill up!  I would have a good hand and then find that the table would have 8 or 10 people on it.  So, that practice table is a must.  I’d say that a person should spring for the $100 or so for the real felt, rubber and dice.  Personally, I want the practice to be as real as possible. 

How about heat?  I only had 3 times when the stick or box said, “Please sir, the dice must hit the end of the table”.  The dice didn’t always hit the back wall and most of the time, if those short rolls were interspersed with normal rolls, nobody even cared.  What certainly did matter though, is picking up the dice.  Neither the crew nor the players can stand it when a person takes too long, more than 2 seconds, to pick up the dice.  More than two seconds and everyone starts to feel like they’re waiting for their tax refund.  The pit crew will not let people delay the game for a dice set.  A quick pickup takes practice also.  I have a pickup and set method that works really well, which I’d be happy to post sometime.  Speaking of the crew, one thing that I did which also came from this web site is to be more generous in tipping the dealers.  I found very helpful to put a dollar on the line next to my bet, get a number up and then if the point is an outside number put a dollar or two of odds behind it.  Another inexpensive and easy bet for the dealers is a two way hardway.  The crew really appreciates it and I think it helps make the game go a lot better.  The dealers really seem to want the table to win when they are on the line or a hardway.

In conclusion, I would say that it definitely is possible to alter the outcome of a dice throw so that a person can use the alteration in the probabilities to make some pretty serious money.  The key though to making  precision shooting pay off is consistency with the throw.  That takes practice.  The consistency needs to be part of a larger strategy of appropriate bankroll size, strict loss limits and win goals.  The last part of making money at the table is crucial.  I didn’t come up with this little nugget by myself believe me.  It goes like this, when you have more money than you started with in your bankroll, you have to walk away from the table.  It’s pretty easy, and can become a habit.  Countless times I have seen people make a lot of money at the craps table.   I leave with my paltry little win.  When I return a few hours later, they are still there and with a lot less money.  So it goes.


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