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Mad Professor's Shooting From the Don'ts
- continued

Stepping Up to Play

When I stepped up to the table, there were four other players who all acknowledged me, as well as getting an equally warm welcome from the crew and Pit-dwellers.  I handed my newly re-minted Players Card in along with a $500 buy-in.  I wanted my buy-in to be significant enough to the Pit as far as being recognized as a serious player goes, but not substantial enough to cause any undue concern on their part.

Even though my previous Gold Card from here had expired, the new one had the same serial number on it, so for the balance of my stay, I started handing in my old Gold one in anticipation that it might kick-start my bet-spread ratings by a couple of percentage points.  I know this sounds cheap and possibly even petty, but I like it when the casino pays for everything. 

Even though I make enough money from my craps-play to pay for all the freebie food, rooms and shows a hundred of times over; I still enjoy the lifestyle-perks that come with this so-called job.  And if the color of my Players Card makes even a small difference in the initial ranking or level of service that the Pit shows me…then all the more reason to use the comp-system in such an efficient manner.

One player to my right started throwing a decent random roll that I reluctantly jumped in on around roll-number ten.  I rode it semi-lightly until he popped off another dozen or so tosses; then I started spanking it quite a bit harder as he continued for another 29 box-number tosses.

To summarize his throw:

       I started out with $66 Inside ($15 on 5 & 9, $18 on 6 & 8).

       After one hit, I regressed it all down to $22 Inside.

       I did a collect one hit, then press one-unit on the next hit approach for the next 11 paying-wagers.  It seemed that all he could throw were Inside Numbers.

       From that point forward, I started using my stutter-step Press-Ramp approach where I increase a paying-wager by two-units, then collect in full on it’s next showing, then I press it by three-units on the hit after that, then I collect one more paying-wager in-full, and then on its next appearance I’ll up it by four-units and so on.  It’s a pretty simple collect one hit, then press by two, collect one hit, then press by three, etc. approach.

       Although this method tends to leave a lot of money on the table when the inevitable 7-Out appears; it also generates a very structured and ever-increasing amount of profit that makes its way into your rack.  Normally, I only get this aggressive on my own shooting (in fact I’m MUCH MORE aggressive on my own right-side betting now, but that’s an entirely different story), however over the past year or so, I’m finding that it is equally applicable to searing hot random-roller hands as well…and this random-rollers hand was definitely HOT.

       From the time that I jumped into the wagering pool, until the time he 7’d-Out, he didn’t throw one Horn Number or even one single solitary Outside Number.

When it ended, we all clapped loudly and I silently told myself that if I ran into just one good random hand like this each day (while not being sucked into making bad bets on every other random-roller who throws less inspiring hands); then I would easily make first-rate money from that angle alone.

That one-great-random-shooter-per-day profit-model would subsequently prove itself out again and again in Quebec, Ontario, New York, Michigan, Manitoba and beyond.  On the other hand, there were some days when a hot random-hand just didn’t materialize, and the vain effort to find it would end up eroding some of the profit that I had made on my own DP-shooting.

First Hand…First Session…First Day

I won’t repeat all of Heavy’s and Irishsetters cautionary tales that I mentioned earlier (although you can read about it in much more detail in my January 14th, 2001 article First Throw, First Session, First Day.  Suffice it to say that if you are not totally aware of the risks and easy pitfalls that lurk around every craps table…or what to do and how to handle them…then don’t be surprised if your bankroll deteriorates much faster than you ever anticipated that it would.

Armed with that foreknowledge, I knew enough to start out cautiously with my betting…even on my own throwing…make that…ESPECIALLY on my own throwing!

The first time I got the dice, I established the 6 as my DP-Point, and then on the very next roll, I tossed a 7-Out winner.  No time for Odds, no time for fanfare…next shooter please!   I guess that was the first thing I was unprepared for…the fact that success could be so damn fast.

It was all so…I don’t know…anti-climactic.  I drove 1200 miles for THIS?

Yes, I had some additional profit in hand. 

Yes, I realized that I wouldn’t have to unleash a mega-roll in order to collect a profit, but somehow…it seemed too easy…almost as if I hadn’t properly earned it. 

On the “Do” side of the dice, I’m normally required to throw some decent numbers and a couple of PL-winners to collect the loot.   In this case, all I had to do was to throw the 7 in order to ring the dinner bell.  Like I said, it felt a little anti-climactic…a bit of a let down in a “Is that all there is to it?! sort of feeling. 

Normally, I’d be holding the dice for at least a minute or two before having a decent profit locked-up in my rack (and before getting that self-satisfied feeling of accomplishment).  With this whole shooting from the darkside concept; gratification was instant.  For a child of the Dr. Spock generation, that should have been satisfying, but somehow it just seemed like too short a time to fully savor the enjoyment…it was over almost as soon as it had begun.

I knew then that this new approach would take a bit of getting used to.

Second Hand News

With few players at the table, it didn’t take long for the dice to return to my spot. 

Using the 180turned” Crossed-Six (X-6) set (with the 6/6 on top and the 2/4 facing me), I once again set 6 as the DP-Point.  Having learned a fairly good lesson on the first go-round, I immediately laid 1x-Odds beside my flat-bet.  Again, the intention was to add an additional unit of Lay-Odds with every subsequent non-7 roll, until I maxed-out them out.  And again, I never got to experience that on this hand either. 

When I switched to the All-Seven (A-7) iteration (6/1 on top, with 3/4 facing me) of the Parallel-Sixes (P-6) set for my anti-Point-cycle (with only one possible “6” on-axis possibility), the very next roll brought the 7-Out, and my DP-bet along with the single-Odds were paid while everyone else’s PL-bet was swept away.

Yes, I was pleased.

Yes, I had a bit more profit than my previous shooting opportunity had provided.

Yes, I was still thinking, “Is that all there is?”

In addition, I was now standing there thinking that it was possibly going TOO WELL and that I shouldn’t get overly confident that I was THAT good of a shooter in terms of being able to reel off a 7-Out so quickly. 

In fact, I had long prepped myself against becoming TOO smug about my DP-abilities, because I had seen more than my fair share of DP-shooters who had shot themselves in the foot and shot their bankrolls to smithereens as the DO-side bettors laughed their asses off by the seeming incongruity of a player betting “against” himself. 

I was determined not to let that happen (too often) to me during this sojourn.  On the other hand, I didn’t want to start feeling like I hadn’t fully earned the profit that I was making, and therefore start to feel unworthy of keeping it (which is the basis for MANY players losing back most of their profits on a continual basis).  I was determined to avoid any of those pitfalls at all costs.

It was in that light, that I wanted to keep my betting fairly simple especially during my first session.

I wanted to re-prove my skill before I tried to capture any sizeable profit. 

That is why I kept the Come-out set and my subsequent betting, ULTRA simple.  I decided earlier to keep my Game Within a Game Come-out roll profit-pursuits for later sessions.  For now I just wanted to validate my Don’t-shooting in real-time, under live-fire conditions without complicating things too much.

I got the dice five more times during that first session.   I did manage to work my Lay-Odds up to the 3x level on one hand before being able to bring the 7-Out to bear.  Otherwise, this whole wrong-way betting/shooting thing SEEMED pretty straight-forward and simple.

Day One Results

Not including the huge windfall I made off of that one good random-roller hand, my DP-shooting netted a modest $115 in just under ninety minutes of $10 flat-bet with 0x to 3x-Odds play.  However the fact remained, I made way more money off of that one random-rollers beneficial hand, than I did from my own DP-shooting. 

As a money-making venture, I knew that I would need to significantly step up the height and breadth of my DP-wagering in order to hit my daily win-goal of $1000.

I returned to my suite with the firm knowledge that I had surmounted that initial new-method obstacle, but there was also considerable bet-sizing issues that would still need to be resolved in the process.

The Hotel

I had called ahead a few days prior to embarking on this trip, and spoke with the Executive Host for the casino, and explained that I was a former Gold Cardholder, but hadn’t been to his operation in quite some time. 

I quickly added that I was a Gold or Platinum or Diamond cardholder at virtually every other Caesars Inc. (formerly Park Place) property on earth including all of their LV, Reno/Tahoe, A/C, and Mississippi venues as well as some of the more distant outposts of their empire like Punta del Este, Uruguay and JoBerg, South Africa.    Based on that, he was willing to comp my first three nights up front, and then take a look at my play to determine just how much more they’d be willing to offset on the food side of the comp equation.  He added that my previous play at other Caesar-family joints carried considerable weight, but not so much to put them into a position where they’d regret a too-generous upfront comp-decision.  To my mind, that was a fair offer, so I let him take care of the accommodation details. 

They put me in what they call the Park Place suite on the 5th floor of the hotels VIP Players Club area.  It’s right on the edge of the water, and overlooks Halifax Harbour.  The hotel itself (which started out as a Sheraton back when ITT was running the Caesars show) is linked to the rest of the downtown area by an indoor shopping concourse with about a hundred quasi-trendy stores. 

Every time you turn a corner in Halifax, it’s like you’re walking into a picture-postcard.  Just when you think you’ve seen the most outstanding example of early Federal or Maritime architecture, or the most beautiful public gardens, or the most incredible ocean vista; it’s immediately outdone by something even more outstanding or astonishingly picturesque.

A Short Geography Lesson

Halifax is located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s east coast Atlantic Ocean playgrounds.  The province is relatively small, about half the size of Tennessee, or the total size of New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island put together, with a population that mirrors Rhode Island (~ 1 million).

There’s enough for a first-time visitor to do and see to take up about three full days of vacation, but I’m not here for the sightseeing or the clean ocean breezes…so back to the tables.

My First Full Day as a Circling Vulture

To be fair, “vulture” is not really an appropriate moniker to use to describe this DP-shooting method, since it denigrates and casts aspersions on the often misunderstood vulture, without properly describing what it is this style of play really entails. 

To my mind, a DP- or DC-vulture is someone who seeks out the coldest of the cold-trending tables; then throws down a large No-4 or No-10 bet in hopes of capitalizing on the prevailing frigid trend for a quick 1:2 payout.  That in and of itself is not an altogether bad play, and I chronicled it in my MP Playbook article, as well as an actual play-by-play description of it in my Walking with a Vegas Ghost - Part Five extravaganza. 

Clearly that was not my method of play here.  Rather, I was creating what I HOPED would be a short-lived cold-trend based strictly on my own DP-shooting.

I anticipated that I’d run into some opposition from DO-side players who resented my presence at their table, or at least who didn’t cotton to the idea that someone was “betting against themselves and the rest of the players” by venturing onto the DP-line when they (I) shot the dice.  Surprisingly, I didn’t run into any of that.  In fact I ran into quite a bit of nodding approval and a clear sense of understanding from anyone who went so far as to comment or even acknowledge what it was I was obviously trying to do.

I was prepared with my “I’m shooting so bad from the DO, that I HAVE TO bet against myself” rhetoric.  However for the entire stay in Nova Scotia, I never once had to dig in my bag for that one.  On the other hand, during my subsequent play in a few other provinces and states, I had to dig DEEP into that “excuse bag” because the resentment in several other places was far from friendly.  Weeks later in Detroit it threatened to actually erupt into gun-play.  Somewhere off in the distance I could hear the ghost of Charlton Heston saying “Guns don’t kill people…but angry Do-side players in Detroit will”.  Like I said, I didn’t fully realize at the time just how nice the people of Halifax were…or how upset some of the urban gangsta’s from Ten Mile Road could get…but that fun and frivolity comes much further down the road.

Second Day Brings A Second Chance for Harvest

I can characterize the second day in six words:

Self-reliance eliminates random-roller dependence.

       If I were to look only at the money that my DP Precision-Shooting won on Day Two…then I’d say that I’m a genius.

       If I were to look only at the money that I lost on random-roller betting on Day Two …then I’d say that I am a complete moron.

       When I look at the net-profit that those combined efforts brought in…then I can say that it was a profitable day, but no where near the $1,000 per day threshold that I had set as the benchmark against which I was going to measure success or failure for this gaming-approach.

       If I had relied solely on my own DP-shooting (which I had now gotten quite aggressive with the Lay-Odds on), I would have netted just under $1700 over ~6 hours of play. 

       However, I got stupid in terms of looking for a random-roller who could replicate the hot hand that the one lucky R-R had thrown the night before.  Oh there were a few R-R hands that looked promising, but when I jumped in, that was the EXACT moment that the dice did what the dice just naturally tend to do…they 7’d-Out.

       Now if that had just happened to me once or twice when I bet on a random-roller on this day, or if perhaps I had LEARNED what not to do after it happened just once or twice or even three times; then I could say that it was a lesson well learned.

       Unfortunately that was NOT the case, and my ill-timed random-roller bets eroded all but $400 of my DP-shooting profit. 

       $1300 spent on looking for, but never finding the hot random-roll of the day was proving once again that winning can sometimes make you stupid.

Obviously I was not pleased with my RR-betting, which somehow seemed way out of synch to what it normally is.  Usually I can jump in at the right time, and jump back out at just about the perfect time, almost as if on cue. 

On this day, it was almost the complete opposite. 

       I would wait for the perfect time to jump in, and it would turn out to be the perfect 7-Out time to lay off. 

       Conversely, I’d second guess myself, and start pushing back the “start-betting” trigger for roll after roll until I couldn’t take the frustration of seeing the bets that I would have made come in time and time again.  Sure enough, as soon as I called my bet and got the money on the felt…bang…zoom…to the moon my money went. 

       Well it probably went to the moon ‘cause I sure as hell didn’t see any random-roller profit come my way on Day Two…and the boxman’s chip-bank sure looked about a quarter of a million miles away from my pocket at the time.

Not only was it time for a break, but time to call it a day as well.  My attitude had been jaundiced by the can’t-win-for-losing virus.  See my four-part Can’t Win For Losing series for the causes and cures to that pernicious casino malady.

I ended the day with $447 worth of DP-profit, but kicked my ass for literally giving away almost $1300 on ill-timed random-roller bets.

The Comp Situation

At the end of Day Two, I snagged a Crown Club Players Card for high-rollers.  Now to put that into proper perspective, a high-roller here is someone who spreads $25 to $50.   In most Atlantic City casinos that won’t even get you an ice-cream sundae, whereas here you’ll be treated like a king…okay for king status you actually need to spread about $75, but a $25 to $50 spread will get you crown prince and heir-apparent to the throne treatment.

In fact, it was a Pit Boss who suggested that I doubtlessly qualified for the Crown Club with my level of play.  He got on the computer and pecked a few orders, then came back and said I could pick it up at the Players Club booth whenever I wanted.  He added that it would enable me to bypass any line-ups wherever I wanted to go, and would also act as a free-admission pass to a number of local and extremely popular “target-rich” watering-holes in the always ready-to-party atmosphere that makes up Halifax’s downtown entertainment district.

Comps were easy.  In light of the casino being operated Caesars (home of the “Gee, you just need 27 more hours of play at the $200 level to qualify for a Celine Dion ticket.”), I was pleasantly surprised that the comp-threshold in Halifax was still as low as it was since the last time I visited here well over a year ago.

My Third Day

First Session

       Bought in for $500.

       There were three other players with a few chips in their racks.

       I started off with $10 base-bets and quickly progressed to maxed-Odds.

       My first couple of hands lasted 5 rolls, then 5 rolls, then 4 rolls, then 3 rolls, and 4 rolls.  None of them resulted in a PL-repeat, so I was quite pleased.

       I studiously AVOIDED betting on anyone else.  After yesterday’s fiasco, it didn’t take a whole lot of convincing for me to lay off of that black-hole of money-sucking anti-matter until I had my trend-spotting intuition back on track.

       I shot a few more hands then took a break to make a couple of phone calls.  I increased my flat DP-bet to $25, and worked up to max-Odds.  Those hands lasted as follows: 6 rolls, 2 rolls, 27 rolls, 3 rolls, 3 rolls, 4 rolls, 2 rolls, then 5 rolls. 

       Yes the 27-roll hand unnerved me a bit, and although I was tempted to switch over to Place-betting during it, I resisted the urge since I did have plans to integrate accidental medium/long-hands into my betting-methods, but not at this particular juncture.

       After my calls, I had a memorable lunch that I’ll tell you about in a second. 

Second Session

       In the meantime, I returned to the tables with an afternoon session that pretty much mirrored my morning engagement.  Happily I did NOT do a repeat of the 27-roll hand of this morning (or anything else even approaching that number).

       It was looking like my average SRR was running about 1:4 (if I excluded the 27-roll aberration), and 1:5 if I included it.  All in all, I considered that fairly representative of the P-6 (Parallel-Sixes) and S-6 (Straight-Sixes) All-7 Point-cycle sets that I had been alternating between (depending on what the actual DP-Point was).

       I’ll pause to point out an important resource here on dicesetter.com, and that is Heavy’s Dice-Set Distribution Chart that most savvy players have fully committed to memory.  For Point-Sniping, or in my case, Point-Avoidance, it is invaluable.

       I was surprised that the profit was accumulating so quickly in my rack and unlike yesterday, miraculously staying there.  I skimmed off the mid-denomination green ($25) chips, but left the blacks ($100) undisturbed.  To read more about the idea behind this, I would invite you to have a look at my Profit-Skimming 101 article for details.

       I had read some of the in-room promotional literature for the Interlude Spa.  I asked the closest Table-Game Supervisor if I needed reservations for it (as is most often the case at some of the tonier resorts around North America).  He shrugged and got on the phone to find out.  He came right back less than a minute later and said they were ready and waiting for me whenever I wanted to show up for a fully comped treatment.

       I threw one more 4-roll hand, and then colored out a handsome profit. 

       As I was walking away from the table, my two front pockets made me feel like some Peruvian pack-animal that was loaded down with this season’s bumper-crop harvest of skimmed $25 casino-cheques.  I cashed out the color-in portion of my winnings, but kept the two saddlebags worth of pocket-profit to be cashed out later in the evening.

       The Interlude Spa was quite good.  It was thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable, but lacked that over-the-top re-created Garden of Eden theme that some places try too hard to achieve.  I’m easy to please when it comes to that sort of stuff…I don’t need the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Third Session

       When I returned to the casino a few hours later, the table was fairly crowded, but there were some open spots that I could shoot from.

       I picked a convenient spot and decided to try a quick Hit’n’Run raid before heading off to dinner.  So I threw just one hand which lasted a grand total of two throws.  One throw to set the PL-Point, and one throw to destroy the PL-Point.

       Dinner was outstanding, and as promised, let’s take a brief look at what I would call...

The Down East Food…and Drink Experience

You cannot mention Halifax without talking about the food and the beer.  The North Atlantic gives up some of the best seafood in the world, and the center of the seafood universe on Canada’s East Coast is Halifax.  Cold-water shellfish such as mussels, oysters, lobsters, crabs and scallops compete for your appetite’s attention.

Nova Scotia cooking is straight-forward and uncomplicated.   That’s not to say that they can’t get fancy…it’s to say that they don’t have to hide the true flavors of the sea behind a lot of tarragon, basil, dry rubs or crushed chilies.  Instead of masking the flavor of their food, they let it stand on its own mouth-watering merits.

Casino Nova Scotia’s 44 North gourmet restaurant does justice to Halifax’s fine reputation for letting that freshness speak the loudest, without needing to cover up or disguise the natural taste.

The Fife and Drum Pub is located near one of the casinos entrances, and reflects the seriousness with which Nova Scotians regard their libations.  A wide variety of beers are available of course, as are a number of exclusive-to-Halifax micro-brews that are definitely worth the time to check out during your non-playing hours.

My Fourth & Final Session of the Day

       I ended up spending more time at dinner than I had planned…it was THAT enjoyable, but it also meant that I probably should cut my final session for the day short, because I didn’t want to overplay even more than I already had.

       Fittingly, the tables were fairly crowded, so I decided another Hit ’n’ Run grab-the-loot-and-scoot raid was in order. 

       It wasn’t a complete replay of the one I had shot before dinner.  In fact the 7-Out that ended this hand was what I would term more of a “lucky” roll than a skillful toss.  Both dice hit the wall and rolled back, but one of them hit an Odds-stack, while the other free-rolled for a further four revolutions and stopped on a primary-face 6/1 result.  A collective gasp from the other players was clearly audible.   Yeah, DEFINITELY time to beat a retreat to my next Darkside destination.

All Will Be Revealed in Time…

I know that a lot of you will be asking yourselves…

       What about Odds?  Isn’t he going to start Laying Odds in a more convincing manner, and how about stepping up the base DP-bets to reflect his shooting-advantage?  

       What about Don’t Come bets?  Why isn’t he using a DC or Lay-bet strategy to make more money?

       What about his much heralded Come-Out Game Within a Game concept that we’ve been hearing about?  Did he apply any of those ideas at Casino Nova Scotia or at any other subsequent stops along the way?

       How does he handle this theoretical situation, or that particular aspect of playing and shooting from the Don’ts? 

       What about the other sets and permutations that were used to intentionally establish a hard-to-repeat PL-Point, and then go about using a particular permutation to avoid it during the Point-cycle?

I can tell you that ALL will be revealed... 

This is a long journey that covers six of Canada’s provinces along with a handful of northern U.S. States.  We have a long way to go, and many, many things to discuss along the way.  We have lots of road time, so there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss all of those questions in detail, along with many things that you may not have anticipated.  That’s what makes it such a journey of opportunity and discovery. 

I appreciate your patience, and I think you’ll find that the journey and the lessons learned along the way will be worth it. 

I hope you’ll join me as we continue in next month's newsletter....

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