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Conquering Micro-Fiber Table-Felt

Is there a conspiracy to hide the truth about Precision-Shooting and craps? You be the judge. In our never-ending quest to bring you truth, justice, and profit in the Precision-Shooting way, it is time you knew the real words to a number of historical misquotes:

• Bill Clinton actually said: "I DID NOT play Crapless Craps with that woman."

• Humphrey Bogart really said: "Of all the craps tournaments in all the world, she had to enter mine."

• Confusious did not say, "If a million people do a wrong thing, it is still a wrong thing."

• Rather he said, "If a million people do a wrong thing, at least comp 'em a buffet or two".

• Ronald Reagan in the spirit of glasnost actually said: "Mr. Wynn, tear down that resort!"

• Winston Churchill's short, but sweet commencement address actually went...."Never, never, never, never, never exceed your Loss-Limit!"

• Anonymous: "If at first you don't succeed...the ATM machine is next to the cashier's cage."

• Forrest Gump while standing at the stick-right position (SR-1) commented: "Momma always said 'Life is like parlaying a Horn bet; you never know what you're gonna get'".

• That tense moment at the end of the movie, "A Few Good Men", Tom Cruise asked: "DID YOU ORDER YOUR BETS “OFF?!”" And Jack Nicholson replied: "YOU'RE #@! &%# RIGHT I DID!"

Okay, wipe off your computer monitor screen because I want you seeing clearly when I tell you about a new trend in craps table layouts…and that is Micro-Fiber (fibre if you are Canadian) table-felt.

What Is It?

There are some newer "lightning fast" felt that a couple of casinos in Las Vegas have installed on their tables. Something tells me that this could be the start of a trend in craps-gaming.

These new felt layouts are a "wool/polyester" blend that is much more durable and longer-lasting than the pure wool variety that you find virtually everywhere else, except European-based cruise-ships. These micro-fiber felts are NOT the cheap layouts that the Gamblers General Store sells at a discount. These are premium-priced items.

It is of a "lower-nap," tightly-woven material. If you think of ballistic-nylon (parachute material) or the new "micro-fiber" that is used in the "dance-club style" shiny shirts and pants that is popular with today’s youth; then you know the material that I am talking about.

The material is woven together, blending micro-fine polyester with pure high-tensile wool that has been mercerized (like polished cotton). The result is a fabric that is high-wearing, can be silk-screened or have a pattern woven right into it. It can also be stretched very tightly. In fact, it can be stretched about 300% tighter than conventional all-wool felt. That gives it some unusual dice-reaction characteristics.

Why Casinos Use It

There are two HUGE casino benefits in using the new micro-fiber felt:

They last two to three times longer than wool, but more importantly, they don't "pill" and shed like pure wool. Those little balls of worn-out felt are called "pills", like the little balls of wool on a cheap sweater.

The felt can be stretched much TIGHTER than normal wool felt. Think in terms of as tight as a drum-skin. That will give you some pretty unusual dice-reactions with higher-trajectory tosses, and in the casinos mind, this adds to dice-randomness.
The fabric is also spill and stain resistant. If you spill a drink on it, they don’t have to close the table and haul out the hair-dryer. Instead, liquid “beads-up” and they just wipe it down like a scotch-guarded “cloth-look” vinyl tablecloth.

This felt can carry unusual graphic designs. In fact, some have diagonal light green and dark green stripes, or medium green and medium-blue stripes that are woven right into the material.

Instead of having to silk-screen all of the Pass Line, Place Numbers, Field and Come areas, plus center-of-the-table Proposition area; all of these items and more can be woven right into the material. This element alone adds a flashier, trendier, more hip look to the layout. As we’ll see in a moment, this plays a big role in attracting new Generation-X, Gen-Y under 25’s, and Generation-Nexters.

Where To Find It

I first ran into these micro-fiber layouts at:

The Palms Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas.
This is one of the newer places that have opened up in the city. Located across from Gold Coast Casino-Hotel and The Rio Resort & Casino, it caters to two distinct and seemingly disparate markets.

The Maloof family who built this resort, first rose to prominence in the gaming industry by developing The Fiesta casino-hotel complex in North Las Vegas. When they sold their property to Station Casinos; they parlayed their profit directly into creating The Palms.

They correctly knew that there is a loyal, avid and huge base of Video Poker players who faithfully patronize gaming-houses that offer “full pay-schedules” on their VP. Similarly, they also liked the trendiness and sense of hip urgency that the Hard Rock Hotel successfully offered to a younger, more “moneyed” clientele.

With that in mind, the Maloof brothers built, fashioned and targeted The Palms to capture a significant share of both audiences. From the first day of opening, I can tell you that The Palms has succeeded beautifully in satisfying both segments.

You can also find more micro-fiber craps layouts at:

The Green Valley Resort.
It is another one of the newer places that have opened up in the city.
It was developed by Station Casinos and the Greenspun family of Las Vegas Sun newspaper fame. It is actually located in Henderson, which is in the southeast corner of the greater Las Vegas Valley.

It caters to locals and young suburban hipsters. The blended results are not as effective and comfortable as it is at The Palms. At the GVR, it’s a strange mixture that still hasn’t settled into any sort of relaxed easiness. There seems to be a more uncomfortable interaction between young and old, and the patrons seem to have developed a level of tolerance, but not complete acceptance of the others company.

What You’ll Encounter At These Tables

If you use conventional throwing methods on either the Palms or the Green Valley Resort tables, the results are “explosive” and I don’t mean that in a GOOD way!
The dice pop, scatter, hop and change direction for what seems like no apparent reason.

The Palms table games are concentrated in a small area around a bar in the center. Mid-day, mid-week action is decidedly subdued. At night, the place rocks both literally and aurally as the tunes-volume cranks up to meet and exceed the press and din of additional bodies.

Weekends are busy from Friday night at 5:00 pm through to 2:00 am Monday morning. There is nary a break in the action, or a shortage of eye-candy in this decidedly “target-rich” environment. Generally expect to find $5 table-minimums, but they tend to raise a couple of them into the $10 and up to $25 range if the weekend action warrants it.

The GVR table games are centered around the trying-too-hard-to-be-hip Drop Bar. It too is a “target-rich” environment, especially if you are into “bean counting” when the air-conditioning brings out the best in feminine interest and “readiness”.

Weekday evenings bring fairly full craps tables, as does weekend afternoons and nights. If your Precision-Shooting requires less crowded conditions; then late evenings and early mornings provide the best chances. In fact, mid-week, late evening (11 pm to 6 am) play may give you ample solo-shooting opportunities without the company of some local regulars who stake their place at the tables around 7 am.

Expect $3 or $5 tables most of the time, but they’ll accommodate your request for a more “exclusive” $10 table, which will pretty much guarantee only a few other players at your table even during the busiest of times. I’ll have more on this subject in my upcoming “Buying More Shooting Opportunities” article.

How To Conquer Micro-Fiber Felt

Now we are into the crux of this matter, and so it’s time to discuss exactly how to conquer these micro-fiber monsters?

“Normal” shots make the dice splatter and scatter like crack-whores during a police raid...you never know where they will go.

“Normal” shots usually result in one or both dice splitting-off sideways onto their sidal-axis, or bouncing haphazardly like random-rollers. However, for quick-to-adapt Precision-Shooters, there is a huge upside to playing on both sets of tables with these "skin- tight surfaces".

Using a super-low trajectory throw, the dice will actually slide up to two or three feet upon initial contact with the felt. Now, just think about that whole idea for a second! These "blended" felts are definitely CONSISTENTLY beatable; you just have to know how to skin this particular breed of cat!

My Own Experiences

When they first installed this new felt, I initially had a fair bit of success on The Palms tables. It didn’t take too long to adapt my throw, and it didn’t take too long before the profit started to really tumble in.

I didn’t fair nearly as well at GVR. With their longer tables, I couldn’t seem to adapt my throw enough to “best them” in any consistent way. My losses were never more than $20 to $40 per session, but on the other hand, I was never able to wring more than $50 to $80 in profit from them either.

I therefore didn’t spend any significant amount of time at the GVR for precisely that reason.

At The Palms, my consistency rose steadily as did my profit. I found that the length of my hands, in number of rolls, was gradually increasing, yet my comfort-level was never near my confidence-level that I have at “normal” wool-felt craps tables.

That all changed several months ago…

Table Results

I started to concentrate more time at The Palms because I was convinced that a number of other casino-corporations might follow suit, and install this new type of felt on their own tables.

I didn’t want to be caught flat-footed. In the event that MGM-Mirage (Bellagio, NYNY, Treasure Island, Golden Nugget, etc.) or Park Place (Caesars, Bally’s Paris, Flamingo, etc), or MBG (Mandalay, Luxor, Monte Carlo, etc.) had a mass “change-over”, I needed to ensure that my skill-level and earnings-level remained the same.

I’ll tell you right now that I was more than a little concerned in those early days, simply because it had taken me so long to build up my $400,000+ per year Precision-Shooting skills, that I didn’t want it suddenly taken away with a sudden shift in felt-installations.

My initial trepidation has turned into outright joy and excitement at being able to consistently profit from adapting my style of play to suit their tables. I haven’t had a losing session at The Palms in more that five months.

While I am careful to shield my profit as much as possible, they seem tolerant of winners and “premium-level” play. When other people are at my table, I’m rarely the highest-money player there. Even in a high-bet-tolerant house, it is still a good idea to maintain as low of a profile as possible.

How To Throw and Profit

Let’s review my “Low, Slow and Easy” toss that works perfectly for me on each set of craps tables in both of these casinos.

I go into much finer detail of this particular toss in my yet to be published “Mad Professor’s Shooting Bible-Part III” article, but here’s a preview:

“The Low, Slow & Easy" method…brings in consistent profit from otherwise "unbeatable" tables.

• The idea is to throw the dice on a low-trajectory, and upon touchdown, have them S-L-I-D-E to the wall under their own steam.

• Remember that the new felt is VERY low in friction.

• The fact that they use SLIGHTLY-bevelled-edge dice at both The Palms and Green Valley Resort definitely helps.

• The dice are THROWN and released about 4 to 8 inches above the table surface.

• By the time you fully extend your arm past the stickman, the dice are only about 4 to 5 inches off of the felt.

• The dice-grip that you choose for this toss doesn’t really matter. I favor the two-finger grip on this surface, but the three or four-finger front or top grips should work just as well.

Important success factors are:

• Low energy release

• Maintain a low-trajectory

• Use minimal back-spin (I use up to one full rotation)

• Use a “push” or “dart-type” follow-through instead of a “lob-type” pitch.
Of all the tosses that I use, this one uses the least amount of throwing-speed, because the dice slide like they are on ice.”

While the GVR tables use the same table-felt as The Palms, they are quite a bit longer, so again, you may have to re-target your touchdown area and/or adjust your throwing energy.

More Profit Opportunities

So I’m sitting in my suite at The Palms thinking about the “slide” factor of the tables downstairs in the casino as well as those at Green Valley Resort…

Remember I was still concerned about a mass change-over by other casino companies. While I was getting better and better with each session when I tossed from the SR-1, 2 and 3 positions, as well as the SL-1 and 2 positions, I wanted to be able to shoot successfully from even the farthest spots on any of their tables.

I ended up asking for an extra bedsheet from housekeeping, because I wanted to replicate the sheet-of-ice action that I found on these tables.

I started out by using four thickness’ of that sheet, but I knew right away that it was too cushioned, and not slippery enough. I ended up using just one layer of that cotton sheet laid over the marble tile on our Palms suite bathroom floor. I anchored it with a desk chair and a couple of bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Hey, despite what Frank Zappa said, necessity is the mother of invention, and I think either David Crosby or Ozzy Osbourne is the father.

The dice reaction on the 180-thread-count, Egyptian-cotton bed-sheet laid over cold marble is exactly the same as The Palms ice-rink surfaced craps tables.

Another Profitable Pitch

At the GVR, I found that the “Low, Slow & Easy” toss definitely does not work from long table distances. I have found that if I am further than either the SL-1 or 2, or SR-1, 2 or 3 spot, then the dice just don’t perform as intended.

This brings us to another profitable pitch that presents a supplemental earnings opportunity from this sort of table.

Remember that these techniques work best on the new micro-fiber layouts, and may not produce similar results on conventional wool or wool-blend felt found in virtually all the other North American casinos.

Here is my throw that works from longer-distance on these selected tables:

• Stand straight-out at the end of one of the tables.

• Aim for or parallel with, the FAR "2" or "12" circle (in the Field), depending on which end of the table you are at.

• Use a rather high trajectory with your throw. This looks exactly like any normal high-lob or “moon” shot.

• We want a 30 to 45 degree MAXIMUM touchdown angle. Again, this is fairly conventional in it’s approach.

• Because of the distance, it takes a fairly high-energy throw to launch them high and bring them down on the far "2" or "12" in the Field area.

• To accomplish that landing-angle from such a long distance, you pretty much have to shoot "eye-high" or higher as they pass the stickman.

• Otherwise, you have to throw them too hard to get the same angle but with a lower apogee. The apogee is the highest point or crest of the trajectory.

• With such an "eye-high" apogee, an early and steady stream of “realistic-to-hit-a-payoff” tokes is in order.

• Again, you can use your current grip and an exaggerated push-throw motion on the follow-through. You can apply a little more backspin to the dice as compared to the Low, Slow and Easy release.

• You have to gauge your throwing force VERY carefully. You may find that an over-the-table extension of your upper-body or full-torso helps considerably. It cuts down on the requirement for backspin and it assists in the “push” or “dart-type” follow-through.

• With careful in-casino low-cost experimentation, the dice should begin to hit that Field area, and S-L-I-D-E all the way to the back wall.

More Table Results

I had had a number of decent mid-morning hands at the GVR tables using the SL-1 position. Upon returning from lunch, one of my compadrés anxiously waved me over. He said that the current shooter was rolling a jumbo hand. I bought $200 in chips from him so that I wouldn't disturb the game. There was one open spot...straight out...two spots away from the shooter. I quietly bet and won and won and won. He eventually 7'ed-Out.

As you know, I don't normally shoot from that position, but the next two players immediately passed the dice when Mike the stickman tapped his stick in front of me. I nodded the dice towards me, and threw as described above...what a SIGHT!

Of the 31 rolls that I got in, only 4 including the last one (7-Out), rolled off-axis. But here's the more amazing part; of the remaining 27 on-axis rolls, 22 of them were Primary (non-rotated face) outcomes.

As long as my release was fluid and steady, the dice would hit on or near the target area in the Field, and proceed to SLIDE to the backwall. If I hadn’t been seeing it and doing it myself; that portion of the throw would have been unbelievable.

To prove it wasn't a fluke, I tried it again the very next afternoon. The results were virtually the same. I continue to use the SL-1/2 or SR-1/2/3 positions when they are available, but when they aren’t, the straight-out position at either end of the table delivers results that are nearly as good.

Oh, by the way, during every set of subsequent sessions, neither the dealers, boxmen or Floor Supervisor have said NOTHING about the “slide” effect! Again, I am careful to shield and skim my profit as much as possible, since the GVR is not as bet-tolerant as The Palms.

If you need to learn more about shielding your craps-profit and increasing your comp-benefits, I would invite you to read my Profit Skimming - 101 article.

Okay folks, that is the current low-down on micro-fiber tables in Las Vegas. I’ll wish you Good Luck & Good Skill should you wish to conservatively try your hand at these tables.

Sincerely,
The Mad Professor

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 5, 2007 4:31 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Oink! Oink! .

The next post in this blog is Adapting to Tables - Part One.

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