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Maddog's Journey - Part IV

(This article originally appeared in the Precision Shooter Newsletter. 

To subscribe (it's free), send an email to dicesetter@aweber.com with "subscribe" as the subject.)

Part 4: The Puppy’s First Hunt

Have you ever seen that show “COPS”.  You know how it starts out with “This program contains graphic contents.  Viewer discretion advised”.  Then it goes into that well known theme song; “Bad boys, Bad boys, whatcha gonna do…”

Well, that’s your warning for this issue of the Maddog’s Journey.  The contents are not pretty, so viewer discretion is advised.  If you have a weak stomach you may wish to skip this report and go onto the next article.   On the other hand, if you are one of those folks who can’t seem to look away from a train wreak… well, read on.

Here I was with my nice cardboard box practice rig.  I’d gotten the felt wrapped board into the bottom to keep the used casino dice from tearing up the box bottom.  I was practicing when I could.  I’d guess I was practicing one or twice a week.  I’d practice whenever I didn’t have anything else going on.  I’d say I was into the practicing for about 2 months then and I was recording enough difference in the occurrence of the 7 that I felt comfortable with continuing.  Enough difference to say “Hey, maybe this can work.” (I wasn’t practicing enough, but we’ll come to that.)

It seemed like I was tossing consistently.  The four fingered top grip (BTW, why isn’t this just called the 3 fingered grip and assume the thumb?) felt pretty comfortable and it seemed like I was getting pretty good at gripping the dice consistently each time. (I really wasn’t, but we’ll come to that.)

Oh, sure, the toss results were still a bit sporadic.  I still had dice dancing all around my practice box.  Sometimes the dice would hit the back of the box hard enough to roll back out the front.  There were quite a few occurrences of the dice kicking left or right and hitting against the side walls of the box.  Sometimes the dice would get stuck in one of the box corners.  I guess that’s one of the idiosyncrasies of a square cornered practice box.  But, still, I was getting used to tossing into the box and building up some “muscle memory”.  From the simple check-mark tracking I was doing I was gaining confidence. The results were showing that I was getting a slightly different result from the expectations tables. I felt like it was all good. Yeah, making progress. (I actually had a long way to go, but we’ll come to that.)

The things that I was reading on dicesetter.com were making sense to me.  Based on the many posts and articles it looked like I was heading in the right direction with my practice and results.  I’d read somewhere that I needed to read the material “till I puked and then read it some more”. (Famous words from Grits or Golfer?) I’d read several articles and I guess I felt like puking. Least wise everything was starting to sound the same so I figured I’d gotten the gist of what there was to read. (I might have gotten the general picture, but I hadn’t really pulled out the gold nuggets of info yet… oh yea, but we’ll come to that.)

I had moved from the “hardways” set that I had been practicing with based on SS’s book, and had switched to using the 3V (Hard-six Flying V) pre-set.  When you study the available craps bets, you’ll find that the 6 and 8 offer low vig, very similar to a straight Pass Line bet.  And when bet as a pair, they offer 10 ways of hitting (5 ways each for the 6 & 8) vs the 6 ways of hitting the 7, so that seems like a smart bet.  The 3V is supposed to be the best pre-set for hitting sixes and eights and so everything seemed to come together as a sweet little strategy.  The next chance I had to head to the casino; I had a “Plan”.  That plan was to use the 3V and to bet $12 each on six and eight, take one hit and regress, then press every other hit from there.  One hit would pay $14, I’d regress to $6 each on the six and eight for $12 on the table.  One hit and an automatic $2 win, with more to come. The plan was so perfect in its simplicity.  How could I lose?  (There are a lot of assumptions in that paragraph! Right, we’ll come to that in a few seconds.)

Well I finally got a opportunity for a day trip to the casino.  An chance to give this whole Dice Influencing thing a try.  This puppy was pretty excited about the “hunt” and to be honest I was also a bit nervous.  But all in all I was looking forward to a chance to give it a shot.

Took a bankroll of about 600 bucks and figured I’d split it into two sessions.

Well, I said this was going to be an ugly story, but now that I’m here, I don’t really want to relive the horrid details of that outing.  Instead of a blow-by-blow account, how about if I give ya just a couple of highlights (err, lowlights).  See if you’ve experienced any of these…

~ Get to the table and hands a bit shaky.  Can’t seem to get the dice into the sets as fast as I thought I could.  Seems to take forever to fumble the dice into position and it feels like you’re on trial for some crime with the judge and jury staring at your every move.  A couple of times it seemed like the dice had some pips missing, cuz I couldn’t ever find the numbers I was after.  A few times I’d get so frustrated trying to find the set that I’d just picked em up and huck em, too nervous to even toss them correctly.  Every toss was rushed and either tossed so hard the dice come banging off the back wall or over compensating and tossing so soft as to not get the dice to roll out past the pass line. 

~ How can you lose with the simple 6&8 strategy?  Easy, never hit the six or the eight.  Roll a 5 and a 4 and a 5 and a 3 and a 9 and a 7-out.

~ Damn, can’t hit the six or eight; let’s go back to the old betting strategy of $20 outside.  Oh nice, now I need 2 or 3 hits to get covered. Pressing? Ok, now you need 5 or 6 hits to get paid.  Oh look, here comes the sixes and eights.

~ Damn, getting low on ammo.  Let’s re-buy for a couple o’ Benjamin’s.

~ Point – seven. Point – seven. Come on, we can do this! Point – seven. (seems the records stuck). Ok, I’m broke, let’s take a break.

~ Ready to go for the second session.  Can’t buy in on a hundred, where is that ATM machine?

~ More of the same until, “Where did all my money go?”  Gotta give this one more shot and really focus this time, but first, where is that ATM machine?

Melt-down.  Blow-out. Wipe-out.   Bankrupt.  Idiot.  Call it what you like, all the terms fit, and I deserved to hear them all.

I had practiced a bit and I thought I had the thing figured out.  But that first session was a disaster.  The nerves hit, the conditions weren’t the same as I’d expected, and certainly the results didn’t turn out as planned.  I wasn’t prepared to fall short of my daydream and wasn’t mature enough to realize it wasn’t working and to stop the train.  I kept thinking I would turn it around on the next hand.  The result was Bankroll blow-out.  Never posted that trip report.  It was far too embarrassing to write up.  Now that I’ve put some distance between that experience and today, I’m a bit more comfortable about letting it out.

SIDEBAR Here’s an idea.  Approach your next outing with the “intention” to write a trip report.  It is interesting how feeling responsible to “report back”, even to a group of complete strangers, enhances your awareness and focus on the game.  Even if you don’t actually write a trip report when you get back (but, please do ‘cause I love reading them) you will find a heightened attentiveness of your tossing and somewhat increased concentration on your game.

After that session fiasco, I was at the proverbial “Fork in the road”.  I had to decide that either “This doesn’t work” or “I gotta try harder”.  I don’t accept failure very easily, so I decided to take the road of trying harder.  I wanted to really give this a shot, and I was going to really give it a shot.  I was going to work harder, study harder and learn more, and practice harder with the intention of becoming a perfect tosser.

I said we'd get back to some of those assumptions I was making.   Let’s take a look at a few of them.

~ Assuming once or twice a week is enough practice.  It might be enough if I’d been doing this for several years, but I was just starting out.  It just wasn’t enough to really develop the skills needed to be consistent.

~ Assuming that “better then Chicken Feeder” consistency was precision shooter consistency.  Seeing an improvement in SRR is a good sign, but alone, it falls short of indicating how you can perform at the table.  I wasn’t really tracking my results to know what numbers I should be throwing and betting.  Even with an SRR of 8,9, or 15, a Dice Influencer can still walk away from the table a loser if s/he doesn’t correctly bet the action.

~ Assuming it’s natural for the dice to jump about a bit. Dice popping left or right.  Dice crossing each other.  Dice bouncing out of the box.  All these are RED flags.  When I first looked at Yuri’s book and saw the picture with the pile of dice in a tight group, I figured he must have just put them there for the picture.  No way could he toss them all into a tight pile like that.  I’ve learned I was WRONG. With proper practice and training; we can get tight dice landings and groupings.  In fact, we need to be able to land the dice, keep them together and have them end up within an inch or so of each other. 

~ Assuming most articles, books, and posts contain the same information.  I’m going to follow up on this topic a bunch in an upcoming article.  There is so much material provided for us that it can become overwhelming.   Sometimes we might read an article with some really good information.  We think yeah that is correct and makes a bunch of sense.  Then, in the heat of battle, forget all about the good instruction and advice, falling back to old habits.  Go back and re-read the article again and realize “oh, yes. That is exactly what happened”.  Suddenly the information takes on new life and meaning.  As experience is gained over time, the articles begin to make more and more sense and provide fresh enlightenment.  The information is meant to be read and re-read, over and over.  It is certainly one thing to “read” the information and something else altogether to “learn and incorporate” the information.

~ Assuming any bet is a sure thing.  How many of you read betting strategies that say “after the first hit… on the next hit press the… the next hit…” and subconsciously are reading “after the next TOSS… on the next TOSS… the next TOSS…”   Oh, sure, intellectually we all know and understand the difference between a “HIT” and a “TOSS”.  But I gotta say it came as something of a shock that I could throw so many tosses with out a hit.  I don’t know why I was surprised.  Before I began attempting to influence the dice, I’d seen many a bet lose without hitting.  I guess for some reason I thought precision shooting was automatic and I would surely get at least one “hit” before a seven.  Since that time I’ve matured my perspective and realize that Dice Influencing is just that “Influencing” and not “Controlling”.   Ya still gotta watch out and be prepared for Mr. Pitchfork.

Well, like a young pup out on its first hunt, the Maddog needed to get his nose thumped a few times to settle him down and get him focused on business.   Even though that first foray occurred nearly a year ago, I still remember it like a zap with a cattle prod.  I like to think I’ve learned a few things since then and have worked hard to improve.  Once I decided that I wanted to really do this, not just play at doing it, I made some changes to both my approach to Dice Influencing and to how I approach the good ole game of craps.  We’ll talk about some of those things in part five of the Maddog’s journey.

Until next time, keep your toss straight and your rack full.



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