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Planning Your Play and Playing Your Plan

 

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 craps.

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 students.

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 particular table.

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."


Soft Touch

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