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 Dice Setter Precision Shooter's Newsletter

Volume III : Issue IX

April 2004

Welcome back to another edition of the Precision Shooter Newsletter. I've kept this issue short and sweet, after all, spring has sprung and I'm sure y'all have better things to do than sit in front of a computer.  The one issue of note is, Stanford Wong's recent comments on dice influencing have caused a bit of a stir in our community.  Check out the message board to read the comments on this subject.     

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at ed@dicesetter.com.  

Thanks for your continued support of dicesetter.com !

 

In this edition:
Cautionary Words for the Novice Shooter - A Roundtable
Maddog's Journey - Part 2
Upcoming Seminars

 

Cautionary Words for the Novice Shooter
a roundtable discussion with Jeffrey47, Shootitall, TinhornGambler, Stevan and Maddog

Jeffrey47

Field of vision has sometimes wreaked havoc for me. At a stick 1 position, the presence of the stick person can be a huge distraction, affecting the visual field in surprising ways that never occur to you at home, even sometimes actually blocking the target area on the felt, depending on your stance, the size of the personnel involved, whether they are willing to stand out of the way or not, whether you lean over the rail or not, etc. I don't lean in, preferring to keep my body balanced standing straight up, and hence the stick person is often a problem if I want to shoot from close in.

Early on, I would suspend a hanger on a string from the ceiling with a lightweight robe on the hanger to simulate the stick person, and learned to shoot if necessary with a large portion of my visual field blocked. Kind of like driving with a blind spot. It really helped prepare for this problem when it sometimes occurs at the tables.

Shootitall

Well, I would tell him to make the passline bet and odds only. When he has maybe 20 shoots under his belt, then maybe one or two place bets. Probably just one. I can tell you even an experienced guy like myself get flustered when dealing with poor dealers so if he can concentrate only on the passline he will not have dealer distraction. Second, he should have a plan of what set (singular) he is going to use and work that plan. What he does when not shooting is a horse of a different color.

TinhornGambler

Although there is a lot of information about starting out. My take is - Risk little until you find your comfort level, confidence, concentration and are in control. Start with a minimum Pass Line bet and single odds and no other bets. Evaluate and assess your casino throwing performance. Use your back rail rack, track your tossed numbers using chips. Don't let this process distract you.

You can't be tense, stressed out or overly anxious to see if you can get those pips to tumble in space and land perfectly. Trembling hands and jitters are a sure way to crash land your hopes. Every situation is unique, every table, so my recommendation is go slow, until you can grasp and influence the PIPS table performance.

Assess -What's happening, are you on target, are the signature numbers hitting, is the table giving or unforgiving? When you feel the four C's, comfortable, confident, in control, and the concentration is on, it's time to start phase two; betting the signature numbers or the numbers being rolled. For new shooters, again my recommendation is to start small. Developing the skill should not be an expensive casino lesson.

Guarantee survival- Learn from the mistakes and where improvements can be made. Evaluation is a part and parcel of longevity - do it regularly, CREW, TABLE CONDITIONS, ATMOSPHERE, and what went RIGHT and what went WRONG. There are many things that can be evaluated, YOU decide? Writing it down soon after the session makes review easier.

I'm a firm believer that Performance Consistency makes Winning possible and there is no one magic bullet that works for all tables. It's trial and error.

Go easy until you know yourself and your playing field.

Jeffrey47

Following up on Irish's lead post above re: setting the dice with alacrity:

I wish I'd realized earlier that when it comes to setting the dice, we all have the X-RAY VISION of Superman.

It is often noted that the dice pips are distributed in "7's" - that is, the sum of each pair of opposite sides equals 7.

This information is very helpful in anticipating your set as the dice are slid to you. You can always see three sides, and hence, you always know what is on ALL sides, even the ones you don't SEE.

Also, the dice can usually be "set" by moving only ONE of them into position to get the faces or axles you want lined up correctly, even if occasionally this means stacking one die on top of the other, then putting them down flat in order to grip. And, as MP mentions in relation to "stealth" setting in houses barring the practice, you can speed things up by doing more than one thing at a time. When you pick one die up you immediately begin twisting it in your fingers to the proper alignment and then, wham, you set it down next to the other die, ready to pick em up in your set. Almost invisible.

Also it may be helpful for novice shooters to realize that their set is probably sufficient without worrying about what FACES are up or front (that takes a further step in setting the dice up), unless their rotational control is so good that they EXPECT different results depending on that variable, in which case they are probably not novices at all.

So, better than a pure quick set (axles only, with no care regarding aligning the FACES) is the set with faces in correct primary alignment, but without regard to the orientation of the two faces together. Maybe this is most easily explained by example: At present, I use the 3V set mostly. Until and unless I'm really grooved in, I don't worry if the hard 8 or 3V is on top or bottom, front, or back. Once I see any primaries coming in THEN I begin looking for more particularized outcomes based on the orientation I started with.

Stevan

One of the worst things I've seen in brand new precision shooters is overbetting their bankroll and their skill. For newbie practice, a pass line bet is sufficient and if you're really conservative, the old "doey-don't" will keep you covered even more.

You've got to get that casino experience somehow and you've got to keep those losses at a minimum. Because the worst thing that can happen to a gambler, is losing his bankroll.

Heavy

Well, it looks like we have a theme going here so let me just pile on. First, on betting. Use the "personal trainer" rules. Start low and go slow. If you're brand new to this stuff there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing a pass line bet and (initially at least) not taking odds on that bet. Likewise, there is nothing that says you have to place the six and eight right off the bat. You might want to get a couple of tosses behind you before you go into the box numbers. And when you do decide to move into the place numbers there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a regression strategy that includes a place-to-come option like my Heat Seeker. Let's take a look at some options.

We're off to my favorite place, Perfect World Casino, where all of these things always play out perfectly to demonstrate my point. It probably won't happen like this in real life.

So, you walk up to the table for your first attempt at precision shooting. You set up and the dice come to you. You make a pass line bet and pre-set the dice to the All Sevens. ANY all sevens as long as the 6-1 6-1 are on the side faces of the dice. You take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and gently toss the dice down the table - JUST LIKE IN PRACTICE. Seven winner. It's a beautiful thing.

Now you're going to follow the Heavy Rules and PARLAY all naturals. Stack it don't rack it. $10 on the line. Same good set and toss. Eleven winner. Yep, you scored an off axis natural. Dame fortune smiles. You collect your $10 win then REGRESS your line bet to $5. What a country!

Once again you set to the All Sevens and gently toss the dice down the table. You double pitch and toss a hard 10. Ten is your point. You do not take odds. You want to get past the next roll. So, you take a deep breath, focus on the landing zone and the dice, set 'em to the Mini-V and forget 'em, gently toss them down the table. Nine is the call.

Dice come back to you. Again you set 'em and forget 'em, take a deep breath, let it out, focus and gently toss them down the table. Eight easy.

The dice felt good and their moving down the table nicely. It's not just like it was at home because the felt is different and the table is a little bouncier. But still, you decide it's playable. You drop a $25 cheque on the table and bet $12 each six and eight. The dice come to you again, you set, focus, toss. Six is the call.

The dealer cuts out $14 to pay your six. You tell the dealer to "make my six and eight look like $6 each. You have a $2 profit for the place action plus a $15 profit from the come-out naturals. You cannot lose on this hand.

At this point you have a lot of options. One might be to play the Heat Seeker. You drop $5 in the Come box. Set the dice. Focus. Breathe. Toss. Five is the call. Again, you have options. My choice would be no odds at this point, or to take down the $6 eight and use that as odds on the five. Why the eight? Again, rules. I like to take down the bet that's farthest away from my last come. There's no science to that - it's just a personal rule that helps me be consistent.

Let's say we do that. Take down the eight and play $6 odds on the five. We now have the five plus a $6 six - plus the line bet with no odds. You still have a guaranteed profit in the rack. Drop another $5 in the Come. Bet. Set. Forget. Focus. Toss. And of course (despite the fact that this is perfect world casino) you toss the eight. Yeah, it always happens. Again, you have options. My choice would be to come down on the place bet on the six and use $5 of it as odds on the eight.

Repeat the process. Boom! The five repeats. You're off and on for $14. All of your action is paid for and you have a nice profit in the rack. And again, you have options. My choice - at this point take single odds on the line bet and continue with your game. However, I would think about cutting off the come bets at this point. You have a line bet with single odds and a wager on the five and eight - both with single odds. Just continue to toss until one of your numbers hits. If the eight hits it will pay you $14 and down. Immediately place the six and eight for $6 each, then play another $5 come bet. Once you have three numbers covered with single odds - following the same basic strategy - again, stop betting until you collect and lock up an additional win.

Again, start low, go slow, incorporate a regression when you do get on the numbers, utilize the hedging effect of come bets, and don't let them convince you that you have to immediately take odds on every flat bet.

No, you're not going to get rich with this strategy. But you're not going to crater either. And not losing is just as important as winning.

Stevan

It appears that the thread here is telling the novice to take it slow and learn to throw in the real world. I would even go so far as to tell the novice to take 4 or 5 units with the express intent of "investing" them in this real world workshop. In other words, he is paying rent in the form of 4 or 5 units on this real world table with real world dealers and real world pit people. If he loses these units, fine, it's an investment in developing his skills as a dice thrower. If he breaks even, that is as good as a win in this situation because he got all this great real world practice and it didn't cost him anything and if he actually wins money, then this is as good as it gets. Keep on doing what you've been doing.

But most of all, bet with your head and not over it! (and not with it stuck in a very dark, smelly orifice).

Maddog

Patience. Give yourself a chance…

Dedicate at least one “session” (not necessarily your whole trip) to being a real world “practice” session. Bet only the pass-line, no odds, and just focus on the toss/roll. Really watch the dice and see how they are landing, can you tell if you’ve tossed on-axis or not (you should know your set well enough by now to tell). Are the dice landing smooth and square, or are they kicking left, right, or splatter? Look at what numbers are rolling. Are you hitting the numbers you expect? Are you getting repeaters?

The key here is to be willing to not bet the numbers and live with that simple PL bet. By doing this, you will be able to focus on all of the above. Once you start betting and pressing and regressing and planning your moves, forget it.

If, as the session goes along, you have determined that you are indeed tossing “just like in practice”, you might be ready to place more money into action. I would suggest ending this “practice” session and taking a break for an hour then come back and start your second session with the plan to start betting your hands.

Now, I know many would say that if you are tossing well, that is the best time to start betting, not the time to stop and cool off. I agree with that, but we are talking first time out here. Once you start putting money on the line and have to start dealing with instructing the dealers on your bets, well, that is a whole ‘nother set of distractions to challenge the shooter.

I’d rather suggest walking away and enjoy for a moment that you were able shoot with skill. Accept that accomplishment. Then after the break, return to the table with confidence in your skill and a plan and determination to play the next level of your game.


Have a betting plan.

Once you have determined that you indeed are tossing to your expectations, it’s time to try betting your hands. At this point it is critical to have a betting plan. You should have this plan well understood and well rehearsed through “virtual” casino session played on your practice rig.

It is already hard enough to focus on getting your pre-set done quickly and tossing the dice correctly and smoothly. Add to this the decisions required to make correct bets, and maintaining focus becomes a real challenge. If you aren’t sure what to do when you hit that 6; press it, same bet, take it down? Then you will naturally loose your toss focus due to having to shift your thoughts to “bet focus”. Have a betting plan, and bet to that plan. And here is the key: no plan works every time. If you’re not having success with your plan, go back to the PL only strategy and re-examine your toss. I would even consider ending this session and taking another half hour to hour break.

Pick the proper time.

My final bit of advice would be to try, try hard, to get to the table when there are the fewest shooters. Early morning hours (3am-6am) seem to be universally “least crowded” playing times. This gives you greater opportunity to shoot and establish a rhythm. There are fewer “eyes” watching you and causing nerves. The rest of the casino background noise will be at its minimum and cheers from other tables are less likely to distract your attention.

Damn, I wish there was just one thing you had to do to get a good/great hand going, but, “if it were easy, everyone would be doing it”.

Maddog's Journey
by Maddog

Part 2: Learning the theory of dice influencing
(part 1 was in last month's newsletter)

I’m not sure when it happened really.  One day I decided I needed to better understand the game of craps if I was going to keep playing it. 

Just like about 80% of the people who play the game, I had been playing without really understanding the concepts.  About the only thing I knew about the game, was what I had learned from playing some casino software simulation on my home computer.  I’d originally bought the software to practice counting cards for blackjack.  The software had several casino games like slots, roulette, and poker.  And it had a craps game.  The craps simulation is fun.  It comes with a “Hint” mode that would recommend what bet to make.  I bet you can’t guess what the hint always was?  Either bet the PL or DP and two come bets or two DC.  Funny thing was that even in the sim, using its hints; I’d have more losing sessions then winning ones.  After playing around with the sim for a bit it seemed like the best strategy was to bet a DP and follow that with a come bet or two.  In fact the very first time I played the game of craps in a casino, that’s how I played.  It was amazing how well that strategy worked.  I seemed to toss a lot of point then seven-out, giving me a double winner of the DP and the come. (Just shows, any strategy can work some of the time).

Anyways, at some point I decided it was time to get a better handle on this game, so I did what many people do when they want to get information on something; I headed off to my local library.  I live in a small town and our library carries a total of about 15 books.  You usually have to knock on your neighbor’s door if you want to check out one of them.  Just kidding, but it is a small library and they didn’t have any books on the game of craps.

Next, check out the internet bookstores and see what there is to be found.  Searched on “craps” and got the usual listing of books; “Be a craps master in 10 days”, “Joe's never fail craps strategies”, “Craps for ding-dongs”, etc. etc.  As I perused the list, trying to decide which of the many books might actually have some meaningful information, a couple of book titles jumped out at me.  The first was “How to control the dice”, the second was “Dice Control for Casino Craps”.  I’m thinking, “This is interesting”.  I’d stumbled across some books that were written about ways to throw the dice to ones advantage.   This was amazing.  Here were books on a subject that I was playing with in my head and didn’t even know that there was already a language and school of thought, let alone publications.

Well, I forgot all about the reason I was looking for a craps book (to learn the game.  BIG mistake, I’ll discuss that mistake later on) and started reading the information on these books.  Time for a choice.   Which book should I get?  In the end I bought Sharpshooters book.  The title “Gambling Disciples of God” in Yuri's book, just seemed a little too weird for me.  (I did end up getting Yuri’s book later on, but that’s another story).

When SS’s book arrived I was all over it.  I think I read the entire book in one evening.  The stuff written there just seemed to make sense.  Set the dice a certain way, grip them a certain way, toss them a certain way, and achieve a certain result.  Sounds simple, sounds like it ought to work. 

Some folks simply can’t see how this could possible be done and don’t give Dice Influencing a second thought.  Others think that maybe it can work and maybe they’ll give it a try (the “what can it hurt” group). I suppose I had a pre-disposition to believe in the concept of Dice Influencing from the get-go.  From the moment I read SharpShooters book, I was hooked and jumped into the whole dice influencing research phase with both feet.  Oh, it’s not like I went out and bought a real full scale craps table to practice on in my living room (I wish).  I’m much too cheap to do that.  Heck, I couldn’t even bring myself to spring for both dice control books to start.  It’s not that I can’t afford them both, like I said, I’m just too cheap to lay out serious money until I’ve done my research and as they say “drunk the Kool-aid”.

After reading through the book, I realized I’m going to have to practice a bit to see if I can really influence the dice.  I’m gonna need some equipment; some dice.  Where do you get dice?  Casino Dice?  The internet of course.  You can find anything and everything on the www.  Well you can find anything, but everything has a price.  The cheap side of me just won’t let me spring for the price of a stick of dice.  So, where’s the next place to look?  Why not check the world’s largest flea-market.  I point my browser over to EBay and search for casino dice.   After some searching and choosing through the many pages of the query results, I pick up 3 pairs of used Las Vegas Hard Rock Casino dice, each pair in a different color.  Very cool. (I still have these dice and carry ‘em around as a good luck charm).  Now, remember, I’m new to all this stuff.  I still haven’t found Dicesetter.com or AxisPowerCraps or any other craps boards.  I’m unaware that used casino dice aren’t the best selection for my Dice Influence practice.  I’m just excited to give this a trial with the best tools I have available.

I’ve read the book, I’ve got the basic idea behind Dice Influencing; the purpose of the axial sets, the idea of the on-axis toss, use of proper grip, hitting the proper landing zone.   Now, I’ve got some dice.  The only thing left is to find somewhere to toss the dice. 

There are plans for a practice table in the book, but I don’t think I want or need to go to that much effort at this point.  For now I figure any ole box will do.  I searched around the garage and basement a bit and found the box my printer came in, an old cardboard box.  The box is about 2 feet wide and about a foot deep.  I took and cut off one of the wide sides and lay the box down on the remaining wide side.   The bottom of the box becomes my “back wall”.  The remaining wide side becomes my “table” and the short sides perform as the side walls.  About a simple as you can get.

Cool, I have some dice, I have a box.  Let’s get tossin’ and that’s just what I did for about 3 nights.  I quickly discovered two things about using a cardboard box as a practice table.  First, the dice tend to slide, not roll, when they hit and second the dice edges where digging the hell out of the cardboard.  Hmm, cardboard, not such a good idea.  Time to upgrade this toss box. 

Look back to the opening sentence.  The plan had started out as learning the game of craps.  I’d forgotten all about that.  I was now going to learn the game of Dice Influencing. 

Notice that I word this like there are two separate games, a game of craps and a game of Dice Influencing.  I believe that they are separate activities.  Yes, they directly influence and impact each other.  You need to have knowledge and skill in both to make this work.  But, it is easy to get caught up with one without heed to the other.  I focused on learning one without the other to my detriment.  But that’s another story.

In the next article I’ll discuss how my practice rig evolved and how I began tracking my rolls. 

What have I learned since those early beginnings?  What advice would I give to someone just starting?  If I could go back in time, with what I know now, and do things differently to get the most effect, here is the advice I would give myself:

~ Buy Heavy’s Axis Power Craps manual first.  Of all the Dice Influence manuals I’ve read, his is the easiest to read and does the best at explaining the primary points.  If after you’ve read that, you want the others, fine, get them.  They do add some points and compliment the information.  (I personally prefer Yuri’s to Sharpshooter's)

~ Buy your dice from the Dice Coach.  His sticks of 6 die is the best deal on new dice.  You’re going to need those new dice for truer results and you will go though all 3 pairs in short order.  I would recommend a stick of red and a stick of green to give you six pairs and allow you to mix colors for tracking purposes.

~ Build a simple box to start with (out of wood, not cardboard).  It is worth the effort and even if you are not that handy with the tools, it can be a simple process with the major cuts done at your local hardware store (i.e. Lowes, Home Depot, etc)

Until next time, keep your sixes crossed and your rack full.

(Part III will appear in the next Precision Shooter Newsletter)


Upcoming Seminars

Heavy and the Dice Coach's June Reunion Craps Clinic - June 11 - 13, Las Vegas

Dice Coach and Michael Vernon - Dice Busters! - July 3 - 4, Las Vegas

Heavy's Motorcity Craps Clinic - August 20 - 22nd, Detroit

Keep an eye out for the official announcement for the Las Vegas Crapsfest! - October 2004
A very special weekend with Heavy, Soft Touch, Dice Coach and Michael Vernon. 

If you have any comments or ideas for future issues, feel free to email me at ed@dicesetter.com

And as always, we are looking for contributors with a fresh perspective.

If you know someone who would be interested in receiving future editions of Dice Setter Precision Shooter's Newsletter,  tell them to send a blank message to dicesetter@aweber.com

 

Good Luck!

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