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A Cold-Nosed Tale
March, 2002

In one phase of my life I was an avid hunter, particularly deer hunting. We used deer hounds to run the deer because most of the woods and swamps we hunted were nearly impossible for humans to negotiate.

The majority of the dogs were Walker hounds, a few Redbone hounds, and a few Black and Tan hounds. At one point in time, I had fourteen Walker hounds of my own. We trained our dogs ourselves and were very proud of them, arguing constantly about who had the best dog.  I had even taught two of my dogs to smile on command. Nobody would believe this until I showed them.

There were dogs we used to put on tracks that were discovered along or across a dirt road for instance.  Not knowing exactly how fresh the track was, we would put out a dog that was experienced and would follow the scent, working slowly and methodically until the scent got stronger. If he trailed the scent for a distance and began to bark frantically, we would put out the pack dogs, and gather up the track dog, for he had done his job.

Certain track dogs would gain a reputation for successfully following a track which was known to be several hours old.  The term, "cold-nosed", was commonly used in describing these dogs.

Two dog owners were overheard arguing about who had the best "cold-nosed" dog. One finally decided to bring the discussion to a head by saying, "My dog can take a track that is three years old!!!" They proceeded down the road.  "Three years ago, we ran a deer across, right on this very spot." The other owner couldn't believe what he was hearing, but decided to humor this rascal. "Prove it", he said with a grin. Without hesitation the dog owner gets his dog out of the truck and leads him to the area of the "three year old track". The dog sniffs at everything like a vacuum cleaner as he works his way into the woods. A few minutes passed. The dog started "opening up", sounding as if he was being kicked in the ribs.  Immediately, the two hunters jumped into their pickup trucks to follow as best they could without leaving the road. They could hear the dog barking as it ran through the woods and then out through a field not far from the road. They watched the dog running and barking his head off at the "three year old scent". All of a sudden the dog jumped about four foot in the air and continued chasing the phantom deer. "Convinced yet?", the dog's owner asks. "Yea, I guess so," says the other guy.  "But, why did that dog jump four feet in the air, in the middle of the field?"   "Well, you see, three years ago there was a split-rail fence that ran across that field!!", the dog owner replied.

When I began playing craps I was more worried about the rules and how to play the game correctly.  My standard bet was twenty two inside, no pass line.  I would let it ride until the shooter (or myself) would seven out.  I made money on occasion in spite of this, but generally only if the shooter had a very long hand.  It finally dawned on me why I didn't have much to show for my time at the table, even when the table wasn't particularly cold.  It would take four hits for me to get my money back from the table, and several more for me to make any appreciable profit on any one shooter.

We all know this doesn't happen on every shooter.  The average hand only lasts 2.7 to 4 tosses, depending on which book you read.  I knew I would have to regress down from twenty two inside after the first hit, to get part of my money off of the table sooner, but this would leave a couple of inside numbers uncovered.  The other method might be to raise my bets to forty four inside and then regress to twenty two inside after a hit. For the first hit, the initial bets will have done their job.  After regressing, all I had to do now was wait for a few hits to make some profit.  Eventually, I learned to press and pull.

This method seemed more sensible.  However, to double the bets that I was used to making would be a shock to my nerves.   It took a while to gain the confidence in my own shooting to use this method.  I still have no confidence in other shooters until I see them shoot consistently during a session. 

Only precision shooting and rhythm rolling has given me this confidence, but I will always remember that hurdle or split rail fence I had to overcome every time I step up to a craps table. 

Color Me Up!


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