DAY 1: Mom taught me to make my OWN tea
Touchdown in Vegas was at 2PM on the dot. All I had was a duffle bag and my briefcase so I was in my rental car and heading downtown on Paradise by 2:15.
Checked in at the Nugget and made my way down to the sports book where I had a meeting scheduled with a craps dealer friend in town. While knocking back a 16 ounce Starbucks coffee, the dealer called and said he was running a bit late, so I had 15 minutes to kill. I made my way to the craps pit in hopes of running into Billy/Heavy and South Shore Swamie, but all I found was one relatively empty table. I bought in for $50 in hopes that I might see the dice, but no such luck. Cash out 15 minutes later for $60, drop five on the table for the boys and head back to the sports book for my meeting.
My dealer friend indicated that HE hadnt been hearing anything about a large contingent of dice setters hitting town, so I was somewhat relieved by that. Meeting with him concluded, back to pit I go.
I buy in again for only $40 this time. Ive got 10 minutes to kill. Still dont get the dice. Color up for $41.
Im still waiting to run into Billy, Heavy, and South Shore as were sharing 2 connected rooms. I wander around a bit and then decide to buy in again, and this time after about 15 minutes, I actually get the dice for the first time. I like the tables at the Nugget, though I find the staff to be efficient but cold.
About half way through a 20 + hand, I notice South Shore standing behind me watching. When the devil finally shows I color up at +$94. Im not making a killing here, but I was determined to play it low and slow all weekend. Im pleased with the results so far. Its time to meet the guys.
After a shower and a change of clothes, were off to the meet and greet at the Mardi Gras. The conference room is buzzing when we arrive. I quietly pick up my packet and name tag and begin to shake some hands. With every person I introduce myself to, I get a larger and larger impression that I was not what people were expecting .. I dont know what image people had in their minds for Irishsetter, but I can tell you, I WAS NOT IT.
The meet and greet was uneventful, although I found out I had a long lost twin in yoscooter, we look a lot alike. Introductions, instructions .yada yada yada.
We all pile into cars and head back downtown. Standing in the center of Fremont street, a contingent of about 10 or 15 of us are standing between the Nugget and Binions including Sharpshooter, Dominator, Long Arm. We start trekking through every casino downtown looking for a heads up game. Nothing doing. Every place is packed. Besides that, the Pied Piper routine (following the PARR guys) is annoying the F*cK out of me.
A couple of us split off. First we hit the 4 Queens. We actually get decent positions at the table. Buy in for $160. We have some uneventful hands and color up. Im down $25 for the session. We wander over to the Fremont. Here I buy in for $80. The first table here proves to be my nemesis all weekend long. After a pretty short hand, yoscooter and I move over to another table. The tables are packed and it takes about 45 minutes to get the dice each time. We both are hovering around the break even point for a good hour and a half. Generally at least one of us strings together a little something so that were up a bit before the dice take their loooong journey around the table again. I have to say, yoscooter has a sweet throw, very consistent and soft. FINALLY, we both string together decent hands back to back, were up and we quit. Cash in for $200, up +120.
In addition to playing low all weekend, I promised myself that I would qualify shooters, random rollers and precisions shooters alike all weekend. This paid off SO many times I cant tell you.
It was when we were walking back toward the Nugget that I decided that if the weekend was going to be profitable, it was NOT going to be from getting in on one of the Big Boys hands. I was going to have to make my own way. In my mothers words, I was going to have to Make my own tea .
Day 2: The bigger they come, the harder they fall
Many of us woke up early Sat. Heavy had arranged for a wake up call at like 5:30 or something. He was already out of the shower and heading out the door when it came. I followed suit and went downstairs and found a heads up game. Many of the guys were already playing. Juan, Psion Theory and several others were there. In addition, the worst kind of Dont players were there. The nickel dont players who shout at the shooter. I dont think anyone really made any headway one way or another except, one of the dont players who SHOT from the dont kicked his own ass, making a couple of passes. Im pretty sure Juan had a good hand before I arrived, but the table trend was choppy, only slightly favoring the do side. Dont get me wrong. I dont mind wrong bettors. In fact Ill play the dont. But if youre going to play the dont for a nickel at a time, shut the hell up because you dont have the balls to REALLY play the dont. These two guys who were shouting and trading barbs with Psion Theory are the reason craps players dont like wrong bettors. Decided a cup of coffee would be more enjoyable, color up +$5 and its off to PARR class.
Details of my impressions of the class will come in other articles.
At lunch time, my PARR team leader, Psion Theory and I drove down to Fitzgeralds for a quick game. Blech! Id never been in Fitzgeralds and probably wont go back. The table conditions were awful. I threw poorly and the staff and clientele were not my cup of tea. The entire time we were shooting, the Boxman was telling us about the perfect playing strategy, AND keeping a running tally of how it would be fairing if he was playing it. A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G!!! Buy in $200, color up at $135 for a loss of $65 and glad it wasnt worse. On my way back from the cashiers booth, Psion Theory was still shooting so I dropped $5 into a slot machine and on my second pull, hit for $450. Even though the craps gods had been unkind, lady luck gave me a nice little pinch in the ass.
When we returned to the classroom, (an hour late. Oops) I caught all sorts of hell for playing the slots, but frankly, Ill take my little slot score.
5:30 PM. Class dismissed for the day. Everyone evacuates the Mardi Gras and heads for the tables. Im tired and listless and decide coffee and a shower and some time with my feet up would make me feel better. I find my way back on to Fremont street at 7 or 7:30. Im on my own. The Fremont looks promising so I belly up to the table I had had poor results on the night before. Several of our guys were at the table when I step up. Buy in for $100. JustMikeF demonstrated how its done on the come out. I dont know how many sevens he threw in a row, but I was in on the hop for the last couple of them. He had been there (on the hop) from the beginning so he made a nice score. When it came to be my turn to throw, again this table was NOT friendly to me. I hit a box number or 2 but couldnt make my point. The other guys left and I decided to abandon my nemesis table and moved to the table Id won on Friday night. Ahhhh much better. Like the previous evening, I qualified shooters which meant I spent a lot of time on the sidelines watching seven outs. I threw the dice 6 times over the course of 3 hours. Three of those hands were over 20 throws. The kind folks at the Fremont gave me two of those sharpshooter slips for long hands. I really enjoyed playing here. The tables have lower rails and the dealers and box were friendly. At one point, a new stickman came to the table in the middle of one of my longish runs. After about 5 throws, he leans over and says, You know what youre doing is cheating. The woman in the box gets his attention and gives him a lethal stare. When he moves to one of the other positions at the table, she has a serious word with him. I assume it went something like this:
Leave the guy at stick R-1 alone. He hits the wall and more importantly, hes contributed a good hundred bucks to the tokes box.
Which was true. Not only had I been making bets for the dealers, I was actually HITTING their bets. Heavy meanders into the casino and after each of us throws a couple of unimpressive last hands, we leave. I colored up for $300, for a profit of $200. I exchanged my 2 sharpshooter slips for a couple of Fremont Casino T-shirts. Heavy and I walk back to the Nugget.
Its late. 1AM or so. We decide it would be a good idea to go upstairs and wake Billy and South Shore and drive over to Palace Station. OK, so theyre not asleep, but they ARE in bed. It doesnt take much to convince them to join us. On arrival, South Shore calls up to roadrunners room to have him come down to join us. The tables here are HUGE .MONSTROUS. Each table has a smattering of players. I buy in for $300. The table surfaces are great, but the length is wreaking havoc with my throws. Each of us has a turn throwing the dice with no results to speak of. Down a few bucks we change tables. Again, I have an uneventful toss. Not a point seven, but in the 6 to 8 throw range. Cant string anything together. Heavy gets the dice and starts a nice run, but then the box starts hassling him. I think the guys name was Glen, and he was determined to be a dickhead. Heavy decided to stay and continue his throw, I on the other hand moved back to the original table, where roadrunner has made an appearance. If youve never seen roadrunner throw, its a beautiful shot with lots of backspin. I give my normal shot another go without success although I did have my most unusual hand. It went something like ace-deuce, YO, YO, YO, 5, seven out. Luckily Im on the ace-duece/yo from the start so even with the short hand, I make a little profit. The dice travel around the table quickly. Heavys joined us again. He had a good hand at the previous table, but the box was too much of an a-hole for him to stay. Neither he, nor Billy, nor roadrunner have much of a run. I get the dice again. Im down about $100. At home, leading up to the PARR weekend, Id been practicing the diagonal grip and heavy on the backspin, so I thought Id give it a try on these freakin large tables. Last hand of the night for me. In short, the grip worked like a dream. I made 4 or 5 passes. If you ever play with roadrunner, youll find this out, but he records every roll at the tables. So, when I finally sevened out, I colored up and went over to talk to him. He opens his notebook, does a quick calculation and says, That last hand of yours was 37 rolls.
The bigger they come the harder they fall. Cash me out for $550 (+ 250)
Day 3: The Come Down --&-- wrap up
On a whopping 2 hours sleep, I arose, took a shower, packed and finally succumbed to my hunger. As others have indicated, when on a gambling expedition, I dont believe in eating. My last meal had been Thursday evening. Thanks to a comp from the Nugget given to Heavy, I had my fill of breakfast at the Carson Street Café.
Before journeying over to the dealer school, I thought Id take one more run at the Nuggets tables. I got in on a nice run by a shooter who was using the straight sixes AFTER come out. He threw the 6-2 six of ten throws, many of which were for point. An empty table opened so Heavy and I took our positions but could put nothing significant together. I DID however get the feeling that we had worn out our welcome with the Nugget. Nothing overt, just the feeling I got from the box. Decided to cash out, -$35. South Shore comes down and says that he just got a call from the dealer school, and apparently we were late, so we head over.
When it was my turn for evaluation from Sharpshooter and Dom, I was on or otherwise in the zone. Threw and threw with no sevens to be seen. In hindsight, I think I used up my good throws for the day here. Haha. It was at the dealer school though that I had my indoctrination to some of Dr. Hellers work for the PARR folks. The right brain/left brain exercise that John Vance had me do, BLEW ME AWAY! It really was awesome. Ive already created my own version of the eye chart for my practice area out in the garage.
Now its off to the casinos for some team play. Again, I cant say enough about the team leaders. Our team leader Beau was fantastic. First stop was the Fremont. Theres a $2 game available on empty table, the ideal situation, but sadly it was on my NEMISIS table at the Fremont. (The table I had good runs on here was not open) I wish I could have put something together here for my teammates Mark and Ralph, but it was not to be. Its ironic, my worst loss of the entire weekend was on a $2 table. My teammates both had really nice throwing technique, but none of us could do anything on this table. Buy in $100, Cash out $5 for a $95 loss.
We hoof it up to Las Vegas Club, where Beau has gotten a call from a pal who says the tables are empty. The only other time Id played here was on a Friday night where every idiot in town seemed to be playing. I was a bit reluctant to play there, but in the light of day in the calm of Sunday morning, it was quite pleasant. The blue felt here is springy as all get out. There was a lot going on here. Just as we buy in theres a big stink at the other end of the table over a payoff, which has the dealers REAL edgy. I STILL couldnt put anything together here. My teammates also seemed to have difficulty with the bouncy tables. Fortunately, Beaus pal went on a long run before we called it a day. Buy in $100, Cash out $201 for a $101 win.
The rest of the team headed for lunch, for me it was time to get to the airport. I have a VERY LOW threshold for gambling. I have never played for more than 2 days at any given time. I always seem to be too mentally drained to play more than that. I think its the DOG YEARS thing. 2 days in people years equals how many days in dog years ..?
OK. Now, after the resumption of normal eating and sleeping habits, I can look back on last weekend with some perspective. Overall, it was an incredibly positive experience. Between the players from the site and the PARR staff, I dont think I could have wished to meet a nicer bunch of guys. The players came to learn, the PARR staff couldnt have been more prepared to teach. Again, I cannot say enough about the team leaders. I sure with I would have had the opportunity to shoot more with you guys. Well save that for the future. I hope you all got as much as I did from the class and enjoyed the comeraderie and good company as much as I did.
And finally, a shameless plug. You saw Billy sporting the dicesetter.com t-shirt on Friday night. I hope youll all consider supporting the site by purchasing a shirt to commemorate this past weekend .. just click the dicesetter.com /WEAR button on the main page.
(Youll note, I played LOW LOW LOW all weekend due to bankroll deficiencies)
Total stake for 2 days of gambling $1000
Friday: (arrived 2 PM)
Net For FRIDAY: Up $195
Net For SATURDAY: Up $390
(* In addition, while waiting for Psion Theory to finish his hand at lunchtime, I put $5 in a slot machine and hit for $450.)
Net For Sunday: -$39
13 sessions Buyins: $1360 (avg. $185) Total
Craps Income: $546 ($42 per session)
Casinos played: Golden Nugget, 4 Queens, Fremont, Fitzgertalds, Palace Station, Las Vegas Club. I got my ass kicked at Fitzgeralds. At the Fremont I had one table I could NOT win at and one table I couldnt lose at.