We first discussed the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method in my Dodging Bullets As A Darksider article. To my surprise, it generated an immense amount of interest on a number of Message Board Discussion Groups as well as keeping my e-mailbox full for weeks upon weeks at a time.
That of course led to the unanticipated postponement in releasing other Darkside Methods in the series, and instead required the follow-up, Dodging Bullets As A Darksider Part II article. Now, months later, I STILL continue to receive a ton of e-mail, plus numerous I.M.’s and MB-enquiries regarding this hybrid gaming-approach.
To that end, I have a taken a few of the most Frequently Asked Questions and assembled them here. In most cases, I have melded several similar inquiries together, and edited the question to reflect the most general problem, request or query.
A Cautionary Word
It is CRITICAL for you to realize that the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method is NOT made to be used against EVERY shooter or EVERY table-situation. It WILL NOT work in EVERY situation or against EVERY shooter. It is designed to work on choppy or cool-trending tables ONLY.
If you choose to ignore this advice, YOU MAY LOSE, and your losses could be large and devastating.
Please properly qualify the table conditions and confirm that you are indeed betting against actual random-rollers, and NOT against Precision-Shooters, clever speed-setting dicesetters or too-casual-to-be-noticed rhythmic-rollers. This method is tailored to win against random-rollers at choppy or cool tables ONLY. Any other application can be extremely risky, and I urge you to use it with utmost caution and the most prudent and extreme of care if you choose to venture outside of those parameters.
Used properly, it can be a consistent winner. Used improperly, it can be a stone-cold guaranteed LOSER.
If you decide to “extend” the short-leash (5 steps) into a L-O-N-G Leash (8 or 10 or 12 or more progressions), please DO NOT delude yourself into thinking you are still playing the MP’s Dodging Bullet Short-Leash…you are not…your clothes are drenched in gasoline and you are playing with FIRE and NOT using a level of common-sense that God even gave to dogs.
So, being adequately counseled with that cautionary warning, let’s jump right into the most Frequently Asked Questions.
Hedging the Come-Out
"When I start getting to the upper reaches (the third, fourth and fifth betting-stages) of your C-T/S-L Method, I start to worry about getting knocked off on the Come-Out roll (to a 7 or 11). I know you aren’t a big fan of hedge-bets in general, but what do you think of using a bet on the Yo (“11”) when your wagers start to reach the higher bet range?"
Actually a hedge-bet to guard against a higher-level (bigger dollar) wager is not an entirely bad idea when you are using this approach.
At the low-money levels, those Come-Out hedge-bet Yo’s are a steady bleed on your bankroll, however, once you get to the $35 and higher level; then you can certainly consider adding a Come-Out hedge-bet Yo into the mix.
As long as you keep in mind the fact that your profit margin with the C-T/S-L Method is quite thin (it works out to just a bit over $13 per shooter you apply this against), so a $2 Yo-bet (at the $35 level), or $5 (at the $75 level) will have a way of steadily eroding your profit-margin. In fact, that $13/shooter average shrinks to around $9/shooter when you always use a Yo-Hedge on the Come-Out…and who said a buck here or there on the Prop-bets wouldn’t make a difference in your take-home coinage?
On the other hand, when my own wagering gets to the $75 and $155 bet-levels (on an initial $5 base-bet starting point), I will often use that somewhat costly $5 and $12 “insurance” hedge against the Yo. Yes, it takes longer to accumulate more profit and to stage a comeback after a session-loss, but it also makes the trip a little calmer.
Now that I’ve been able to profitably move up to the $25 base-bet level (strictly fueled by previous C-T/S-L revenues), I start the Yo-hedge once I reach the third progression. To my mind, it is part of the cost of doing business at that somewhat rarified ($175, $375, and $775) altitude. Even though it tends to grind down my average profit/shooter, it does bring me a lot more peace of mind along the way.
Why the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method Works
"MP, what is the “math” behind this method, and how does it all fit together to make it so strong? Why don’t more random-rollers make four or five or six PL-Points in a row more often? Why doesn’t this method fail more often?"
The "numbers" behind the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method were derived from the math of the game.
On average, a random-roller will throw a Come-Out winner (7 or 11) once every 4.5 Come-Out rolls. That means, ON AVERAGE, 22.2% of the Come-Out rolls will either be a 7 or 11.
Of course, this is partially offset with the occurrence of C-O 2's and 3's, which will show up 8.3% of the time on the Come-Out (1 out of every 12 C-O rolls). We don't factor in the Bar-12 because it does not affect the C-T/S-L Method.
Yes, sometimes a random-roller will throw a string of C-O winners (losers for us) during his Come-Out roll even on a properly qualified choppy or cool-trending table.
It CAN happen and it DOES happen. Just because something isn't PROBABLE, does not mean it is IMPOSSIBLE.
That is precisely where the Short-Leash part of this betting approach comes into play. We don't pursue the chase endlessly until we run out of money. Rather, we pursue it to a point where the strength of the math indicates we will rarely go. At that point (six PL-winners), you are witnessing a very hot hand, and you have to stem your losses and wait for the table to turn cool or choppy again BEFORE you reapply the C-T/S-L. Of course, if the table turns that warm or that hot; then there is an obvious betting opportunity in wagering WITH the shooter.
That brings us around to the math of the actual Pass-Line Point.
On an individual basis, a random-rollers PL-Point has the following chance of being repeated before a 7-Out.
For the 4 or the 10, there is a 33.3% chance he'll make it, and a 66.6% chance that he won't.
For the 5 or 9, there is a 40% chance that it will be repeated before a 7-Out, and a 60% chance that it won't.
For the 6 and 8, there is a 45.4% chance of being repeated, and a 54.6% chance that it won't.
It means that, on average, a random-roller has a blended 39.56% chance of making ONE PL-Point in a row. For ease of use and understanding, I rounded that number off to 40% in my original Dodging Bullets as a Darksider articles.
Now the 40% figure reflects the chances of a random-roller repeating ONE PL-Point. Then he encounters a diminishing chance of making TWO PL-Points in a row. That number is 16% of the time (1 out of 6.25 random-shooters will successfully roll two PL-Point winners before 7'ing-Out).
A random-roller who has made two PL-Points in a row has a 6.4% probability of making three in a row (about 1-out-of-every 15.6 shooters). That equates to about one shooter out of every rotation of the table.
Thereafter, a R-R has a 2.5% chance of completing four-in-a-row (1-in-40 shooters), while only 1% will roll five PL-winners in a row. Yes, that is only 1 out of 100 shooters who will make it this far. Out of them, only 0.4% of them (1 out of 250) will successfully complete their sixth PL-Point.
In the first “Dodging Bullets” article, I used even more conservative numbers to reflect and illustrate the strength of this approach. As you can see the numbers are quite strong.
Although it definitely DOES NOT mean that a random-roller on a cold or choppy table CAN'T throw six PL-winners in a row, it simply means that it won't happen that often. Remember we are holding off until AFTER he has made one-in-a-row PL-Points.
When you combine the 1-in-200 (actually 1-in-250) shooters who will make six PL-Point winners in a row, and factor in the power of the Sheriff and his Deputy (the Come-Out 7 and 11 losers balanced against the C-O 2's and 3's winners), you will end up seeing about 1 out of every 80 random-rollers (on a choppy or cool-trending table) throw a combination of enough PL-Points and C-O winners to take you to your max-bet with this betting-approach.
You'll get to that stage ON AVERAGE, once every 80 shooters on a choppy table, but it DOES NOT mean that you CAN'T see it happen several times in a row even when you re-apply it on a properly re-qualified choppy/cool table. On the other hand, you will also experience extended periods when there aren’t any random-rollers who manage to put together more than a couple PL-winners in a row.
On average, this method generates about $13 for each random-roller choppy-table situation that you employ the C-T/S-L at. It takes about 22 wins to offset a final-stage loss, so the rest of the 1-in-80 wins (approximately 58 net-wins) are kept as profit...and THAT my friends, is the math behind my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method.
I Love It…I Hate It…I Can’t Stand It
"MP, I love your Choppy-Table Short-Leash because it works, but I hate it because I can’t use it often enough to give me the kind of action that I want when I’m at the tables. It’s just too damn frustrating to stand there at a choppy table and wait for a shooter to make his first PL-winner before I can make a bet. I need more action, so I usually make some other bets that end up eating the steady but frustrating profit that the C-T/S-L makes for me. I can’t stand it anymore, so I guess I’ll thank you for introducing me to it, but pass on using it anymore because it’s just too annoying to use."
Although that is more of a commentary than a question, I can tell you that I also share your frustrations, but I also don’t really like many of the alternatives. I mean, I can avoid betting during those choppy periods, which I do quite often; or I can use some of my alternative choppy-table methods that aren’t nearly as good. That leads to another brand of frustration called: LOSING. As you know, the more “action” that you add to your betting, the more “risk” that you have to endure. Therefore, you have to make the personal decision as to whether you can put up with the annoyance of fairly steady but frustrating wins; or if you are prepared to endure the higher action and higher risk of other methods. At any table, regardless of the trend, it is important that you never let frustration overrule good judgment.
Can You Extend the Short-Leash to a Medium-Leash?
"I have applied your Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method to ALL shooters, from their first throw, while using WinCraps. When the table started to heat up I simply stop betting, reseed the RNG, and start over again.
By using a 7-step Medium-Leash, I got up to over $5,000 ahead even though I got nailed (maxed-out at the seventh betting-level) on the way there, and then got nailed again and was taken back down to still having a $3,000 net-profit.
When I shortened the leash to a 6-step progression on the Don't-Pass, it once again pushed my net-profit to over $7,000 again. My question is, can you use your method right from the outset, instead of waiting for the random-roller to complete his first PL-Point, and is the Grand Martingale a valid way to make money off of the darkside? "
Yes, you CAN make more money by using my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method against random-rollers on choppy tables right from the outset. However, it does add to the volatility (the up-and-down risks and rewards) of this betting-method, and most players tend to get gun-shy when they reach the most critical upper-limits of the bet-requirements.
For that reason, I recommend a very conservative starting point (beginning the betting sequence AFTER the random-roller completes his first PL-Point). While the average player won't make as much money, he also won't get to the final stage of his betting limit as often either. Psychologically, that makes a huge difference to many limited-bankroll players. In fact, I strongly urge limited-bankroll players NOT to use this method at all.
So, on one hand, a player using the “wait-until-the-RR-makes-his-first-PL-Point” method will make less profit (on average), he'll also suffer many fewer heart-palpitations, and a lot less crash-and-burn bankroll explosions than someone who extends the leash. It's a trade-off between using a conservative, low-risk, medium-stability approach VERSUS a riskier, more volatile and higher-risk tactic.
I'll readily admit that I often start my own C-T/S-L betting at an earlier stage when the table is quite cool and getting even COLDER. In situations like that, the profit-potential of this approach REALLY shines through, but again, you have to wield it carefully, and keep very close tabs as to what the table is offering up in the way of changing trends.
Again, the methods that I recommend to readers of Irishsetters excellent website (dicesetter.com), tend to be in the conservative and low-risk category, because I not only want to GET MORE players INTO the win-zone (with the least amount of risk); I also want to KEEP them there more often (with the least number of heart-attacks).
There are many others who belong to the “ALWAYS-Parlay, Always Stack ‘Em, Never Rack ‘Em School of Gambling” who tout the positive aspects of a “fear-no-evil, always jump in head-first” gambling approach. However, I personally dislike the “risk-for-the-sake-of-a-thrill” part of the old-style Wild West gambler mentality, and therefore focus my money and attention solely on consistent WINNING instead of getting wrapped up by the thrill of the chase.
Here’s the problem with starting the C-T/S-L earlier and at “less-than-choppy” tables:
The wider the range of tables (Hot, Warm, etc.) that you apply a Grand Martingale betting scheme to, and,
The sooner you begin the “leash” (by not waiting for a player to successfully make their first PL-Point), and,
The farther you extend your chain of bets (by using a higher 6th and 7th progression to your wagers); then,
The greater your chances of a catastrophic loss at some point along the way.
Most players have a hard time psychologically handling large losses, and their bankroll has an equally difficult time absorbing them. It also means that you have a bigger and deeper hole to dig yourself out of. Faced with a daunting task like that, most players make dumb and desperate moves which usually puts them into even deeper trouble to a point where it becomes impracticable for them to launch a recovery from.
"You mentioned in the Dodging Bullets series, that you strongly recommend a bankroll of at least $5000 for anyone contemplating using this method. Since the total session bankroll required for a full string of bets (using a $5 base-bet) is only $285, why do you require such a large bankroll?"
The Choppy-Table, Short-Leash Method is not for the faint of heart, the weak of stomach, or the light of bankroll.
Here's the thing:
You WILL DEFINITELY hit your $285 session loss-limit about once every four hours of play on choppy or cool tables (and much, MUCH more often if you don’t properly qualify the table), so you have to be prepared to handle it, both mentally and financially.
It is part of the game, and that is precisely WHY you CANNOT use this method against EVERY player by disregarding table-trends, shooter-skill or prevailing conditions.
Rather, the C-T/S-L Method can ONLY be safely used when the table is DEFINITELY choppy or cool. Even then, some random-shooters will come along and max you out on your $285 Loss-Limit, so the term “safe” is comparatively relative in this casino-gaming context.
Losing DOES happen, and it WILL continue to happen at (seemingly) the most inopportune times. You have to accept the loss as part of the whole wagering process, and your bankroll has to be large enough to absorb it without leaving any structural damage to your wallet or to your ego or to your confidence. For that, most people need a cash-reserve that is many times the size of any single-session loss, and that is why a dedicated $5000 C-T/S-L fund is strongly recommended.
Staging a Comeback
"Can you explain how your method is able to make a comeback after suffering a $285 session loss-limit?"
The true strength and validity of this method shines through in its ability to overcome those occasional losses with its steady and consistent winnings on choppy and cool-trending tables.
You WILL occasionally run into a lucky random-roller who will toss out a string of six Pass-Line winners (or a combination of Come-Out and PL-winners) even after he has made his first PL-Point. IT WILL HAPPEN, and once again, that is the reason why you have to have an adequate bankroll where the $285 loss will not make a significant dent in your wallet, your confidence, your mind-set or your ego. It is also the reason that we put a “short leash” on our bets. That way, you cut your losses short in the event that a lucky shooter does puts together the hand of the day.
As you know, you’ll get stopped-out at your Loss-Limit about once every 80 or so random-shooters. While the chance of a random-roller completing six PL-Point winners in a row is about 250-1; you have to factor in the C-O 7's and 11's, and so on a fully-populated CHOPPY TABLE you’ll encounter that situation, about once every eighty shooters (about once every four hours of 100-roll/hour play).
It only takes on average about 22 winning bets to offset that one-in-80 situation. So you end up with a net-gain of ~58 winning bets. Those numbers are based on a $13-per-shooter profit (22 winning bets X the average revenue of $13/shooter = $285 allowable loss-limit) when the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method is applied against a properly qualified table.
If you use hedge-bet Yo’s on the Come-Out; then your profit per shooter drops to around $9, so it takes substantially longer to stage a comeback. In this case, it takes about 32 winning bets if you use a hedge-bet on the Yo versus 22 winning bets if you DON’T use a hedge-bet.
The Validity of WinCraps™
"As you suggested, I used WinCraps to check out the validity of your C-T/S-L Method. It seems to work out really well with this computer simulator, especially if I manually track when the “table” gets choppy or cool. So, how closely does WinCraps simulate real-life random-roller dice results?"
Just as in a real-world casino situation, you will see some hot and cold streaks interspersed with LOTS and LOTS of choppiness. If you are ever concerned about the true randomness of WinCraps, you can manually re-seed the RNG (random number generator) on the "configure" page under the "Game" dropdown menu tab. For added “randomness” the latest freeware version includes a Mersenne Twister RNG, which generates dice results at the rate of 28.4 million random outcomes per second, all within the scope of only 36 possible conclusions. To my experience, this goes a long way to matching the streaks and trends that you’ll experience at the real-world tables.
Whenever I am considering a new betting-method or planning alterations to my current approach, I will often run it through WinCraps. In fact, I’ve manually logged several hundred thousand practice throws into the memory, so I’ll sometimes run high-speed simulations to try out various betting techniques to determine the best one based on my own throwing skill.
It was through experimentation like that that I developed my Come-Out action “Game-within-a-Game” betting strategy, wherein I use my C-O rolls as a totally separate and distinct profit department which is unattached and completely disconnected from my Point-cycle betting. So I strongly recommend WinCraps as an integral part of your Practice Session or bet-validation process…and, NO, I am NOT connected with, associated to, or compensated in anyway whatsoever by that software developer…I merely like the product.
"What is the profit potential for your method, and how do you arrive at those figures? Are they applicable in every casino that you play at?"
The quick answer is; it really depends on several factors. The long answer follows:
Generally you should be seeing about 100 rolls/hour, but this can vary widely depending on how many people are playing, what kind of bets are being made, the skill of the crew, and the skill (wagering wise) of the players.
If several players are giving press/parlay/regress/and hop instructions to the dealer at the same time, or doing so out of order in the payout sequence, then the game will be much slower (sometimes as low as 20-30 rolls per hour during prime-time in some jurisdictions).
Conversely, if there are only a handful of players and the dice are moving very rapidly; then you may get up to two or three times MORE rolls (180 to 300+ per hour) than at an average table.
Generally, you can rely on that 90 to 100 rolls/hour figure as a safe average in LV (and the rest of NV), MS, LA, ONT, NY, CT and A/C.
All of the calculations in both of my Dodging Bullets as a Darksider articles were based on the assumption of a $5 game.
On that basis, my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method generates ON AVERAGE just over $13.00 for each shooter that the table-trend indicates is a good betting situation.
I made a gradual transition from $5 base-bets to $10, then to the $15 starting-point, all built on the RELATIVELY predictable results of this approach.
I can tell you quite candidly that since completing those articles back in 2003, I have been playing quite a bit more at higher-denomination $25 tables BECAUSE of the excellent results that this approach has been generating, as well as the commensurately higher number of shooting opportunities for me because there are usually fewer players at the pricier tables. Keep in my mind that I developed this approach so I could stay at my favorite “dialed-in” tables and still make a little money on the choppy tables as I waited for the dice to cycle back around to me.
When I had sufficient profits built up at those lower levels, I moved up to my current $25 base-bet. I keep all of my C-T/S-L revenue totally separate from my main Precision-Shooting income. That way I can accurately monitor whether it remains as a valid choppy-table method, or whether I am just on a (now) 24-month lucky winning streak.
So to fully answer your question, I can only give you my own real-world results.
On an hourly basis, as calculated during my 18-month/2300-hours of actual play trial-period, at the $5 level; this method generated just under $40 per hour.
While it doesn't come close to rivaling what my Precision-Shooting can earn; to my mind, it does represent a valid method that can be employed ON A CHOPPY TABLE while waiting for the dice to cycle back around to you.
Raising Your Base-Bet
"You mentioned that you recommend that a player should start out with a $5 base-bet for this method. Okay, can you use the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash as a stand-alone betting method, and what do you do when you’ve built up enough profit to be comfortable? When is the right time to move on up to the next betting-level?"
If there were more $1, $2, and $3 tables spread across North America instead of being concentrated in Nevada, I would recommend that ALL players start the C-T/S-L at those lower levels. If cheap tables are indeed available where you play; then I would definitely suggest that you start out at the lowest possible base-bet. From there, you can let the profit drive any base-bet increases when you become comfortable and adequately financed for the next level.
Yes, you can use the Choppy-Table, Short-Leash Method as an independent, stand-alone approach (for betting on cool-trending or choppy tables only). I would strongly caution you NOT to step up your base bet to the next level until AFTER you have experienced two things:
Consistent and sustainable wins at the $5 base-bet level, over AT LEAST a month or two of steady play.
Experienced and validated (for yourself) the approximate 80-to-1 occurrence of hitting your $285 session Loss-Limit at least SEVERAL TIMES over. That is also an excellent method of determining if you are properly pre-qualifying a choppy or cool table before you venture your money.
Experienced the “comeback ability” of this betting approach. That is, it is very important to endure the losses, and then experience the ability for it to “self-heal” (overcome) and win back those deficits, and to see for yourself that it can and will legitimately register a net-win over a reasonable period of time.
BOTH of these things have to be experienced FIRST HAND MANY TIMES OVER, BEFORE you even CONSIDER ratcheting up your base-bet to the $10, $15, and then $25 level.
I'll tell you why.
It is CRITICAL that you build up your bankroll with WINNINGS (and not from your own kick), and build up the confidence in your ability to properly gauge the trend and temperature of the table. After that you can utilize those profits to fuel higher base-bets. To my mind, I would recommend that you at least DOUBLE your total dedicated C-T/S-L bankroll with this method (from $5,000 at the $5 level to $10,000 for the $10 level) before you even consider ratcheting it up.
Likewise, it is also CRITICAL that you experience the pain of hitting your $285 session Loss-Limit MANY TIMES OVER before you put any thought into edging your base-bet up. By enduring those losses, and seeing them offset and overcome with many more frequent wins, it will give you the required CONFIDENCE and the equally needed revenue-fueled BANKROLL to move on up to the next snack-bracket.
Origin of the C-T/S-L Method
"I’ve been using your method now for the past three months (29 casino day-trips and over 100 individual sessions). The numbers worked out almost exactly as you predicted. I’ve endured two all-out session losses, but my winnings have recouped those losses by a three-to-one margin. Now that is impressive although I still can’t quite believe it. How in the world did you ever come up with such a brilliant idea?"
First of all, every one of the concepts contained in my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method is NOT new, and they are not mine. In fact, some of them date back well over 300 years. That was long before buffet lines, Players Cards and 6:5 Blackjack; but some time after REAL pirate ships, REAL castles, and the REAL Roman Empire.
A “basic” Martingale is a “double-up until you win” concept that looks good on paper, but is doomed to failure in the modern-day casino. The Grand Martingale uses a “double-plus-one” concept that gives you one unit of profit for every loss, and not just the recouping of the original one unit profit that a simple Martingale would give you. Again, in a modern-day casino, the Grand Martingale usually guarantees eventual backroll-failure.
Up until now, Grand Martingale-style bets were traditionally applied against games of chance on a “wholesale” basis. That is, the trend never mattered, the type/side of bet (PL or DP in craps, Red or Black, and Odd or Even in roulette, Banker or Player in Baccarat, etc.) never mattered, and as a result, the long-term prospect was that there was never any long-term profit potential versus the house-edge and the volatility of the game.
Simply stated, when you use a GM-approach, most times you will win, but occasionally you will face a complete bankroll meltdown.
Applied on that “wholesale” (by disregarding the trend), bet-until-it-wins basis; a Grand Martingale will usually work for a while, but the bettor will often either run out of money before hitting a win, or he would be “stopped-out” by the table-limit maximum-bet. On its own, the GM can be a devastating loser.
I looked at the game and at the Grand Martingale from an entirely new approach.
I was not looking for a way to get rich off of any particular betting-method, and I certainly was not interested in blowing all of my hard-earned profit on an all-or-nothing “chase-a-loss-until-you-go-broke” basis. Instead, I was just looking for a way that would allow me to stay at certain “dialed-in” tables where my Precision-Shooting was particularly effective, and where it would permit me to wait until the dice cycled back around to my shooting position.
I found that choppy conditions were the most frustrating because few methods worked well, if at all, under those conditions. Instead of staying on the sidelines, I wanted a method that would let me have some action on the table even during the choppiest of times, and still give me a reasonable prospect of profit.
Obviously, there are several other quite valid betting approaches that I used then, and still use now; but I found that none of them were able to really capitalize on the random choppiness that I was encountering about 60% of the time. With that in mind, I set out to come up with something that would give me a sensible likelihood of reward. I knew that as a table heated up or cooled down I already had several excellent betting-methods that were proven money-makers, so if I could just weather those long and nasty choppy spells, I’d be all set. That way, my Precision-Shooting could pay the way, yet I wouldn’t have to pay too much “rent” while waiting patiently for the dice to return to my hand.
What is unique about the C-T/S-L Method is that it combines a Grand Martingale together with the “power-of-the-7” math for the Don’t Pass game, along with the comparatively reasonable risk/return prospects of a random-roller not being able to throw six PL-winners in a row.
When you properly apply this method against the frustrating choppiness and the pervasive never-quite-cool-enough-to-be-cold trends, which always seem to kill the bankroll of players REGARDLESS of whether they are betting “with” the dice or “against” them; you’ll find this method to be quite effective.
Math-Boy versus Real Player
"I’ve read all of your articles, and I’ve paid special attention to your Dodging Bullets series. I am a confirmed Darksider myself, and always have been. You use a lot of gaming math to back up your argument, but doesn’t that irritate a lot of regular players who don’t want to read about the “math” and would rather hear about gambling stories and trip reports? Below the surface, are you really one of those despised Math Boys?"
I don't think of myself as a "math guy", nor as an "anti-math" guy either. Instead, I look at craps in general, and Precision-Shooting in particular, as a business.
As such, the decisions of how, when and where I make my investments (bets) is determined by the best (highest) likelihood of a steady return on my investment. To get to that point (a profit ON my investment), I first have to get the return OF my original investment. I make very few high-risk bets unless I have engineered most of the risk out of the situation through my own (or others) Precision-Shooting.
When I'm betting on or against random-rollers, I take an even more linear (yet more organic) approach to the game, wherein I look at the current trend and try to closely match it with a corresponding betting method. On hot tables I have a couple of great methods that bring in the cash. Likewise, for cold-tables, I use other betting approaches that ring the bell very effectively, and so it is with choppy tables, where I use yet another totally different approach to generate a profit.
I’ll be the first on to admit that my Choppy-Table, Short-Leash Method is not a perfect approach, yet it provides a steady R.O.I. (with defined and limited risk), and when it comes right down to it...isn't that what we are all striving for?
Steady and reliable wins may be boring, but they’re much better than the steady and reliable thrill of losing.
Therefore, all of my craps decisions are based on the chances of achieving and maintaining consistent profitability, without exposing my venture capital (my session bankroll) to undue risk. While math surely has to figure into the decisions that a professional craps player has to make, you also have to be vigilant not to get bogged down by the math or blinded by it.
Hedge-Betting Risks and Rewards
"MP, I think that hedge-betting to insure against a Come-Out 7 or 11 is a good bet. In fact, I now make No-4 and/or No-10 bets on the C-O, to “cover” my DP-bet. Let’s say that I have $75 on the Don’t-Pass; I’ll wager $150 on the No-4 (plus commission), along with at least $5 on the Yo-11. This way I can’t get hurt unless a 4 or 10 rolls. What do you think?"
With my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method...the idea was to give you a good and VERY CONSISTENT shot at the brass ring of steady profit, WITHOUT undue risk or bankroll erosion.
By making all of those hedge-bets that you mentioned, your profit actually erodes pretty quickly, because your net-wins are always diluted and diminished by the losses that you endure on the other bets that are made in an attempt to cover your base DP-bet.
For example, I made an average profit of $13.05 against each shooter that I bet against while using this method over an 18-month trial period (using a $5 base-bet). If I had hedged my DP wagers as you suggest with No-4/No-10 Lays PLUS a Yo-hedge, I would think that I'd possibly only be at the break-even point, but more likely, I’d probably have registered a net-loss for my efforts.
When a new PL-Point is established (after the random-roller has successfully made his first Point ON A CHOPPY TABLE), we simply wait until a decision is made. On a win, we collect our winnings, and on a loss, we move up to the next step in the progression.
With this method, we don't make any Come-bets or Place-bets, we don't make any Lay-4 or 10 bets or Hardway-bets, we don't do ANYTHING but wait for the inevitable 7-Out. Yes, one shooter out of ~250 will actually make six PL-Points in a row, and we will lose our $285 loss-limit for that session. It does happen, but obviously, it doesn't happen often enough to offset our winnings. Again, I STRONGLY recommend that you PROVE IT TO YOURSELF with WinCraps™ or with any other simulator or roll-record. That way, you can compare it against the multi-hedging strategies that you are contemplating, and I think you will find that on choppy tables; the risk increases substantially, while your profit declines precipitously.
For a completely different view on hedge-betting, I would kindly invite you to have a look at my Bill & Ted's Excellent System article and at my A Fresh Look at Old Systems piece. In addition, you may want to have a peek at some alternative GRIND methods in my What Are You Doing When You Retire? article.
Handling Come-Out Wins
"When do I make my first DP-bets, and what is the plan when a Come-Out 2 or 3 is rolled? What happens if a new player throws a Come-Out winner 7 or 11 before he makes his first PL-Point?"
When the table is choppy, and a random-rolling shooter throws a series of Come-Out winners before setting and then repeating his first PL-Point, we don't have ANY bets on the table, so there is nothing to worry about.
If the table is still choppy after he successfully repeats his first PL-Point, that is the trigger for us to wager a DP bet against him on his very next Come-Out roll. At that time,
If the shooter throws a craps number on the C-O and our DP-bet wins; then we stop wagering the C-T/S-L against him. We do that no matter where we are in our betting sequence, and then we wait for the next shooter.
If the table conditions are STILL choppy or trending cool, and the next shooter repeats his first PL-Point; then we start the C-T/S-L process again.
If the shooter makes a couple of PL-Point winners and a couple of C-O naturals (losers for us); we simply move up to the next step in the C-T/S-L progression.
Handling Come-Out Losses
"How often do Come-Out Winner-7's and 11’s occur (losers for us), and how does it affect the odds of a player throwing six PL-Points in a row?"
When you factor in the C-O loser-Yo (11), you have to balance it against the equal strength (of occurrence) of the DP Come-Out winner-3's. That makes the 3 vs. 11, a wash.
You then have to diminish the "frequency of loss" for the Come-Out Loser-7's with the 1-in-36 occurrence of the Come-Out winner-2's. This effectively negates (erases or at least counter-balances) one of the 6-out-of-36 appearances of the 7 (on the Come-Out). On the Come-Out roll, a random-roller has an "effective advantage" of 5-out-of-36 rolls (13.88%) edge against (over) our DP-bet. Once the new Point is established, the odds turn in our favor.
In practical terms, when you factor in the Come-Out loser 7's and 11's (the Sheriff and his Deputy), and partially offset their effect with the Come-Out winner 2's and 3's; you end up with the following:
You will max-out (hit your $285 loss-limit on a $5 table) about once every 80 shooters that you bet against. So far it's been 83.4 shooters between session Loss-Limits for me. Of course your mileage may vary, depending upon many factors including how you define what a choppy or cool-trending table is.
The Break-Even Point
"On average, how many wins does it take to offset the losses that I’ll run into with the C-T/S-L Method?"
The “break-even” for this method is approximately 22 shooters. That means that you need to bet against and win on about 22 players between each session loss-limit where a shooter successfully makes all six PL-winners in a row and/or he throws enough Come-Out winners to blow you out of the water.
This is not a be-all-to-end-all betting-method. Rather, it is ideally suited for choppy table situations (which you'll encounter at least 60% of the time), and where you are awaiting the return of the dice to your shooting-position.
My own experience with this approach over the past couple of years is that the numbers are solid and the profit is steady. But again, I would urge anyone considering the use of this method to satisfy themselves FULLY as to the efficacy of this method before venturing dollar-one of their own money.
Obviously, if you add hedge-bets or any other supplementary wagers to the C-T/S-L, then you may find that it takes many more DP victories to overcome and win back the deficit incurred when you reach the self-imposed $285 loss-limit.
Modifying the C-T/S-L for Higher Table-Minimums
"MP, I only play in Atlantic City where $5 tables are rare, especially on the weekend. What I need to know is whether you can give me a modified progression for the C-T/S-L that starts at a $10 base-bet, but STILL stays within the $285 session-limit, if possible."
Yes it is possible, and there is a modified progression that is useable for $10 tables, but before I give you that, let me give you the “normal” progression that you would normally apply regardless of the table-minimum.
You simply use the following “unit” progression, and multiply it by the base-bet. The normal Grand Martingale progression is 1, 3, 7, 15, 31, 63, etc. So at a $5 table, you’d multiply each of the ”units” to determine your actual betting series ($5, $15, $35, $75, and $155), and at a $10 table the bets would “normally” be $10, $30, $70, $150 and finally, $305. Clearly, under those circumstances you need to have twice the bankroll at the $10 table as you would at the $5 table.
However, there is a cheaper alternative, which looks like this: $10, $15, $30, $75 and $150. While this progression is not as aggressive as the standard “double plus one-unit” progression that characterizes the Grand Martingale and guarantees one unit of profit for EACH loss along the way; it does deliver steady profit and only requires approximately the same bankroll. In fact, it requires a lower (by $5) total session-bankroll of $280.
The average profit-per-shooter for this modified $10 C-T/S-L is about 50% lower than you will earn at a $5 table using the conventional progression, and about 75% lower than you would gain at a $10 table while using the normal “double plus one-unit” progression. On the other hand, it allows you to play at a $10 min-bet table with a $280 Loss-Limit, and not require a larger bankroll.
Again, I would recommend a total dedicated bankroll of at least $5000 before considering this type or level of play.
Profitability of Higher-Bets with Hedge-Betting
"MP, I know you did a lot of experimenting and fine-tuning with this method. What is the profitably at a $10 table if I use a Yo-bet hedge to guard against a Come-Out 11 on your DP-wagers right from the start."
As I mentioned above, a Yo insurance/hedge-bet on the Come-Out, really dilutes your profit.
It does provide a somewhat valid, but expensive insurance policy when your bets start to get into the upper reaches of the sequence, especially on a $10+ base-bet progression.
In any event, when you use an offsetting Yo-bet hedge on every one of your C-T/S-L wagers at the $10 base-bet level, the profitability works out to about $4.30 per random-roller.
Now to put that into perspective, you’ll make about THREE TIMES as much profit at the $5 level if you DON’T use a hedge-bet to “protect” your investment as you will at the $10 level if you DO. The kicker is that you end up betting TWICE the amount of money to earn HALF the amount of profit.
Betting Without Waiting for the 1st PL-Winner
"Can you make more money by using the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method against random-rollers on choppy tables by betting against them right from the outset, before they make their first PL-Point?"
You can POTENTIALLY make more money by using my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method against random-rollers on choppy tables right from the outset, but you can also POTENTIALLY lose more money as well.
By starting your betting-process earlier, you substantially add to the volatility (the up and down risks and rewards) of this betting-method. Most players tend to get gun-shy when they reach the most critical upper-limits of the bet-requirements. If they suffer a session-loss at this point, they often become disenchanted with the method, instead of taking a long, hard look at themselves and their motivations.
For that reason, I have used a very conservative starting point (AFTER the random-roller completes his first PL-Point on a CHOPPY table). While the average player won't make as much money, he won't get to the final stage of the betting limit as often either. Psychologically, that makes a huge difference to many limited-bankroll players.
In other words, he'll make less profit (on average), but he'll suffer many fewer heart-palpitations along the way. It's a trade-off between conservative, low-risk, lower-profit wins, VERSUS riskier, more volatile, but potentially higher-profit wins.
I'll readily admit that I often start the C-T/S-L at an earlier stage when the table is quite cool and getting even COLDER. In situations like that, the profit-potential of this approach REALLY shines through.
Again, most methods that I recommend tend to be in the conservative-risk category, because I want to not only get MORE players into the win-zone (with the least amount of risk); I want to KEEP them there more often (with the least number of heart-attacks).
There’s one more thing you have to keep in mind if you start betting on a choppy-table random-roller from the outset, instead of waiting until he makes and repeats his first PL-Point, and that is that you will hit the fifth and final stage of the progression much sooner and much more frequently. That means that you can expect to LOSE much more frequently. For me, that’s not a very good trade-off.
On the other hand, you can add one more stage to your betting sequence, but that also raises the next required bet (the new sixth stage) to $315. It also means that your minimum session-stake is now $600, which commensurately raises your total bankroll requirements to about $10,000. For a $5 bettor, this might seem somewhat extreme, but it is necessary for sustainable success at these wagering levels.
Defining a “Choppy Table”
"I’m clear on what a hot table or a cold table is, and I’m pretty sure I know what a warm trend or cool trend looks like, but how do you define what a choppy table is?"
Well, when both sides are losing, and even the liars are complaining...the table is choppy.
That's the simple explanation.
The wider view is that if both PL and DP-bettors are getting killed (losing), and everyone (including DP/DC, Place, Come and Prop-bet players) are complaining about not being able to "get anything going"; then it's safe to say you are probably at a choppy table.
If you've stood at the table and seen sequences where roller after roller will throw a couple of Come-Out winners, only to 7-Out two or three tosses after establishing his PL-Point, and then...
A few guys will toss the dice, and it starts to look like things MIGHT be turning around, but just as nearly everyone is convinced that the table is finally trending "warm"; the dice suddenly remember EXACTLY where the "7" is, and a rash of players will find them almost immediately after making one or two PL-Point winners, or,
If the frustration level for ALL players is high, and the CHOP is steadily eroding the bankrolls of DP and PL players alike, because there is no dominant trend...
Then the table is choppy.
There are a hundred situations that I could use to describe what a choppy table looks like, but at the end of the day, we are talking about various situations where neither side is able to find or exploit any sustainable streaks.
You will usually see that "no-discernable-trend" situation about 60% of the time. In a back-and-forth game like that, my Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method works GREAT.
"What are the bankroll requirements for a $5 base-bet player? I say that a total minimum bankroll of $3000 would be needed to feel comfortable.
Also, it is my understanding that the Come-Out 7’s and 11’s are ignored until a shooter makes a PL-Point winner; at which time, you then begin betting against the random-roller on the Don’t Pass. It is only at that time that the Come-Out naturals enter the fray. Is that correct?"
You are correct on every count.
A proper bankroll for someone considering playing the Choppy-Table/Short-Leash Method at a $5 table, would be about $5000. While a player could try it with a slightly smaller bankroll of $3000 or so; they have to be much more psychologically prepared for the inevitable losses. I DO NOT recommend that anyone use this method with a bankroll that is any lower than the $3k mark.
Once you decide that the table is indeed CHOPPY or trending-COOL, and the random-roller has made his first PL-Point; THEN you start betting against him. Come-Out 7's and 11's are treated just like any other loss in the series, and you increase your bet to the next level after each loss.
For greater clarity; when we say, "makes his first PL-Point", we mean that he first ESTABLISHES a Point-number, and then successfully REPEATS his PL-Point number. At that juncture, if the table is STILL CHOPPY, we can start our C-T/S-L sequence against him.
By limiting the amount of money (the "short leash") and the number of progressions that we'll allow ourselves to wager, we still enjoy a significant opportunity for steady wins, yet we severely limit the downside losses.
Again, this betting-approach is NOT for the weak of heart or the queasy of stomach. YOU WILL SOMETIMES LOSE, even on a properly qualified choppy table. That is why it is critically important to have a sufficient bankroll, and to THOROUGHLY understand that once in a while you WILL make the fifth-stage $155 bet and lose it (thus ending your betting-series until you re-qualify another choppy table).
Is There a Comparable Method to the C-T/S-L?
"MP, that C-T/S-L of yours has changed my game entirely. I used to bet on random-rollers with the Three-Point Molly, the Power Press and Iron Cross until the cows came home and still continually lost. When I read your Dodging Bullets series, I was totally skeptical, but I tried it out on WinCraps and it actually worked. I then went to my local haunt and made some imaginary “air bets” as the dice rolled. The dang thing still worked there. I finally took the plunge with real money on real bets and it worked as well in the casino as it did on the computer simulator. I’m making about $45 per hour with it, which is triple what my job pays, but I have no intention of quitting. What I want to know is if you have more methods like this that you are going to share with us in the near future?"
YES, there are more methods that work just as effectively when you apply them in the right situation at the right time, and YES, I will be sharing them with you in the near future.
Well folks, that pretty much wraps up the first part of the most frequently asked questions regarding my Choppy-Table Short-Leash Method. It also means that there is indeed a “FAQ’s - Part Two” coming your way in due course.
In the meantime, I again would urge you to carefully gauge the table trend before you apply the C-T/S-L Method, and to keep a strict rein on your definition of what constitutes a choppy to cool-trending table. Don’t let GREED mislead you into thinking that ALL the tables are choppy ALL of the time, and therefore mistakenly qualify for this betting–method ALL the time. That is NOT the case, so please vigilantly guard against thinking that it is so.
Until next time,
Good Luck & Good Skill at the tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor