How many times have we all
heard this phrase and not listened to it? Well, sometimes even the best of
us fall victim to not doing this before a craps session. Losing sight of
this "planning discipline" can prove disastrous when attempting to win at
A painful example of this occurred this past weekend. It had been some
time since I had met with my good friends Michael Vernon and the Dice
Coach in Las Vegas for Craps play. We were all so excited to see each
other that it felt like old school friends getting together for a reunion.
It was to be a time to catch up and to find out what had been going on in
each other's lives. But we also looked forward to playing Craps together.
Like "magnetic north", we pointed our bodies toward the casino, and
without giving another thought to a plan or strategy, we headed for the
Craps tables. After a few "point and 7's", you can guess how well we did
during that first session. This experience brought us all to a shuddering
halt. We were not even following the basic principles that we taught our
Communicate -Communicate -Communicate before starting your play. With whom
you might ask? Start with yourself and your play companions. Then talk to
the table crew. Get a sense of the energy and feelings you get from that
I know that my best sessions begin when I go through the mental mechanics
of establishing my buy-in, betting strategy and win goals. Sometimes I am
trying a new set, so my buy-in will be adjusted accordingly. Sometimes I
am trying a new betting strategy talked about on one of the message
boards. I actually have a different bankroll for that play. Plan your
bankroll and have it ready for the play you want to try.
I also ask myself "How am I feeling?" A mentor from way back, John V., was
kind enough to share his advice about the H.A.L.T. strategy. Never play
Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I do my best to try to remain mindful of
this acronym and it is something a serious craps enthusiast should always
assess before play. Doing this has served me well over the years.
When I play with friends and acquaintances, I try to communicate with them
before approaching the table. What are their goals for this session's
play? If they are setters, what set do they come out with? Knowing this
will save the heartache of parting with your hard earned bankroll. And I
try to remember that winning is not just about the dice setting. There are
other factors I have to consider if I expect a winning session.
Will a larger bankroll, either by me or some one at the table, cause me to
lose focus and diminished my shooting capacity? I have already planned for
my bankroll and buy-in, but I have to admit that I personally get a bit
nervous when I see other "high rollers" place thousands, and I do mean
thousands, on each of my rolls. This forces me to take my shooting focus
up a big notch, and I have to adjust accordingly. I have found that
talking to one another about how we plan to wager, helps us all maximize
our earning potential.
I also try to build a connection with the table crew, and even the table
itself. Our potential for playing compatibility should be established
early on. Does the crew seem grumpy? Does the crew's personality invite me
to the table? Look at the existing players. Do they feel neutral? Look at
the money racks. Are they full? I keep myself connected to the positive
energy of the table and it's crew when it exists.
While passing each craps table in the casino, I try silently, asking
myself this question, "Will this table support my play"? I pay close
attention to what I feel, and look for "signs" that will give me a sense
of what might happen at that table.
These "signs" come from
anywhere and everywhere, and vary with each session. Some examples of
"signs" that I have experienced are, a light shining brighter over one
table, more so than on the others. Or, a fire alarm that sounds off in the
middle of play.
Perhaps it is a table that has
more ladies playing than men. The list can go on and on. My point is that
table selection is all about feeling. Reading the "energy" in the casino,
from the moment I pass through the front door, all the way to the craps
pit and down to the box man and dealers.
And while shooting, communicate with the dice. Even these little cubes
have their own language. They tell me if I am on or off axis, rolling the
wrong way, or pitching unacceptably. They tell me to change my grip or
soften my throw. Or even change my position. While shooting, I carry on my
own dialogue with the dice. Sometimes I catch Dice Coach doing the same.
Well, after giving myself this much needed "tune up" in the communication
department, I spent the rest of the weekend paying strict attention to my
interaction with everything in the casino and dedicated myself to winning.
After all, this is what Dice
Coach, Michael and I teach and preach to our fellow students. So, this
weekend, as we say, was a great "learning experience."
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