I want to give you some tips that will decrease the pain, and increase the pleasure of your Practice Sessions.
In actual fact, the additional pleasure and reduced pain will come when your practice sessions pay dividends in the casino. The objective of all of these practice-focused articles is to make the home-to-casino transition easier, and to make your at-home practices yield more benefit from your actual in-casino sessions.
I’ve developed some of these tips myself, while the rest have been gleaned from other like-minded Precision-Shooters over the past number of years.
Tip #1- Build or Buy a Practice Rig
I have to admit that I was a late-bloomer as far as this idea was concerned. I had somehow convinced myself that there were so many various table-surfaces out there in the real world, that there was no way that I could reasonably replicate all of them, or even more than a few of them at home.
I WAS WRONG!
See how easy it was for me to say that? The reason it’s so easy, is because the huge benefit of changing my mind, has been the overwhelming financial rewards that steady at-home practice has given me.
I used to think that my game had reached it pinnacle, in terms of my own dicesetting skills. My SRR had reached a plateau, and I didn’t think it could get any better than that. Having a practice table to perfect my craft has actually raised that performance level by nearly 28%.
Before Ms. MP gave me a regulation craps table as an early Christmas present, I usually only took a few practice tosses on our hotel-room bed or carpeted floor before challenging the various craps tables throughout North America. This “practice” was aimed at grooving-in my throwing motion more than it was to measure on-axis accuracy, determine Signature Numbers, to try out new grips or to improve flight trajectories, landing targets, or stuff like that.
To me, the other major benefit is that I have saved untold amounts of money by not having to do that “perfecting” on any real-money games. In addition, the practice table allows me to tweak my throwing motion and lets me experiment with a variety of grip permutations that I would not have tested in the casino because of the high inherent risk.
I can now say, without reservation, that the Number One way to perfect your Precision-Shooting is to have an at-home Practice Rig.
You can intersperse your LONG practice hours with VERY SHORT, low-risk, low-cost real-world casino-sessions to try out what you have learned at home. This will either validate your skills, or it will point out a need for further fine-tuning and additional tightly-focused practicing.
Tip #2 – Define Your Success
Precision-Shooting is more of a journey than an actual destination.
I define success as the point where you start to make predictable amounts of money off of your own crap-shooting skills. When you look at the steps that you go through as your skill progresses, it becomes clear that in a lot of cases, you will see achievement and accomplishment BEFORE you start to see steady profit.
That is part of the process that you have to endure on your way to profitable consistency. Most players are so anxious to progress, that they try to skip over some critically vital steps due to impatience, eagerness and a lack of discipline. Sooner or later, they crash and burn because they lacked the proper solid foundation on which to build reliable and SUSTAINABLE success.
They become disillusioned by what seems to be undependable Precision-Shooting results. In fact, what was actually undependable and unreliable is their lack of commitment in following a relatively safe and logical path. In opting for the quick fix, they abandon hard work and commitment, and place all of their trust and faith (and bankroll) in an “I-had-a-few-good-practice-sessions-so-I’m-going-to-the-casino-this-weekend-and-I’m-betting-the-whole-farm-and-my-prize-cow-too” sort of kamikaze raids.
The flaming embers of burned-out bankrolls from players who lacked the commitment, maturity, patience and discipline are enough to light the night sky over every gaming jurisdiction in the world. What would make someone think that they are the only exception to the rule?
If you are interested in seeing what phase your Precision-Shooting skills are currently in, and what each critical step along the path to sustainable success is; then I would kindly invite you to take a look at my How Good Is Your Precision Shooting? series of articles.
I realize that most people will never play craps professionally, and most people would never even want to. In most cases, it’s not an appropriate lifestyle for most players for any number of reasons. On the other hand, if you want to augment your current income, or use Precision-Shooting as a second-income; then there certainly isn’t anything wrong with setting achievable goals and defining your own personally tailored definition of success.
If you want to read more about this subject, I would invite you to take a look at my The Toughest Way to Make An Easy Living article, along with my four-part series entitled, Can't Win For Losing.
In the meantime, no matter how rigidly or loosely you define your own success at Precision-Shooting, we are all looking for ways to reduce the pain of losses, and increase the pleasure of profits. So let’s move on to the next tip.
Tip #3 - DiceDoc’s Dice-Barrel
This idea WILL help your game if you currently experience any MID-AIR WOBBLE when you throw the dice.
Simply take two matched dice; make sure that they are “square” with each other and then super-glue (Crazy Glue™) them together. This creates a dice-stick or a dice-barrel.
The idea is to use your normal dice grip, and then loft them as you usually do. Watch as the dice-barrel streams through the air. If it consistently tumbles smoothly and effortlessly, without any discernable wobble, then your dice release is good. However, if the dice-barrel does wobble, then it means that your release could use some improvement.
Likewise, if the dice-barrel lands and then veers off to one side or the other (instead of rolling straight or stopping dead), then they are landing off-square, and you need to straighten your toss so that they land evenly and squarely with the backwall.
Think of it this way.
If your release and landing isn’t correct; then the outcome won’t likely be correct either.
The idea behind Precision-Shooting is to have consistently REPEATABLE throws that stay on-axis.
The dice-barrel permits us to experiment with:
Various Grips and grip variations.
Back-swing and From-the-Table releases.
Release angles and arm-extensions.
Different amounts of backspin.
Varying degrees of release and descent trajectory.
As we tweak each element of our toss, we need to ensure that the dice are moving through the air without undue shake, vibration, tremble or wobble. The important thing that you have to remember about a smooth, even release is that if you eliminate mid-air wobble; then the down-stream results (trajectory, target area, roll-out, etc.) will have a better chance of completing a successful and more consistent (less random) outcome.
Likewise, if the dice land squarely to the backwall, then both dice are traveling an equal distance. When dice veer off in one direction or the other, then one dice is traveling much further than the other. This often results in the much-dreaded DOUBLE-PITCH. The dice-barrel is one of the tools that allow us to quickly correct those shortcomings BEFORE our money is on the line.
Tip #4 – Alternating Dice Pairs
This is a follow-on to using the DiceDoc’s Dice-Barrel. Have two or more sets of dice at your Throwing Station. First toss the DiceDoc’s dice-barrel, then immediately follow it up by throwing two non-glued dice with exactly the same grip, release, trajectory and target.
If you use this “alternating pairs” method (one glued set, and one unglued set), your muscle-memory locks in much quicker because you are immediately following one good throwing motion with another. When you throw the dice-barrel correctly, then throw two conventional dice, and you do it often enough, you will quickly lock in the correct motion. This leads to REPEATABILITY.
Tip #5 – Re-Read the Articles
There are currently more than 300 well-written articles on this site. From Aparadim and PerryB, to Irishsetter, Heavy and the late MickeyD, you will find some of the most informative, well-written pieces anywhere. These articles are where you can get free information to “put it all together”.
I know that you’ll agree that reading them, digesting them, and then putting all of the information into an actionable plan takes a tremendous amount of hard-work, organization, dedication, perseverance and commitment.
There is no easy path, or as our friend Irishsetter is fond of saying, “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it”. You have to be willing to put in the time to improve your game and focus on continual development and progress. Consistent profitability comes to those who work at it. Minimal efforts get minimal results.
We cover that aspect of the game in my How Much Commitment Are You Willing To Spend? article. The amount of effort that you put into practically anything that you pursue in life is usually reflected in the results. If you make a half-assed effort, you’ll get a half-assed result. The decision and the commitment, is completely up to you.
If you try to skip a step or two, don’t be surprised when you slip and fall over your own impatience. Your ego won’t be the only thing that gets bruised, so re-read ALL of the articles on this great site. There’s a ton of hidden nuggets in virtually every piece. Your bankroll will certainly thank you.
Tip #6 - A Tiger of a Different Stripe
I’ve recommended my favorite troubleshooting tip ever since I started posting on the long-extinct casino.com message-board a number of years ago. This tip works so well because it helps you visualize what is happening to the dice as they fly through the air.
Simply take two dice and arrange them in your main Point-cycle set. For argument sake, let’s say that you favor the 3-V set.
Use a black magic-marker (Sharpie™) to draw a THIN straight striped line around the forward tumbling axis on each die.
When you throw them, you should see two straight thin rings of black as they fly through the air.
If there is any undue wobble, then you have to straighten out your toss, because your release-mechanics are at fault. You should concentrate on correcting this problem before tackling other aspects of your toss.
Striped-dice also help to quickly determination whether the final outcome is off-axis.
The stripe also assists in finding out whether the dice are skewing, popping or spinning sideways upon landing. If one of your dies are spinning, popping or scattering off-axis; then the stripe helps determine how, why and when it is actually happening.
You can use this idea after you have perfected your toss using the DiceDoc’s dice-barrel. People are always surprised at how a little tip like this will have a dramatic impact on bringing about a consistent wobble-free throw.
Tip #7 - A Horse of a Different Color
I’ve seen this tip mentioned by Heavy a number of times, and it too is a good one.
You simply use two dice of different colors (preferably from the same manufacturer, and ALWAYS of the same size). If you are experiencing undue bounce, pop or scatter upon touchdown, then the two different colored dice make it easier to watch as each individual one flies through the air and touches down. Having two separate colors help you determine which one is the likely “culprit” that is causing all of the trouble.
Tip #8 - Practice ‘Till You Puke
I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t over emphasis it. This is where you push yourself past the point beyond which you don’t think that you can go any further. By pushing your own performance boundaries, you find that you are capable of new, higher limits. It is at junctures such as this that we find unbeknownst inner strength, character, wisdom and true insight.
Tip #9 – Target Practice
This item will help you improve your targeting accuracy, and will increase your consistency and roll-reliability.
A lot of guys use chalk to mark different target areas on their Practice Rig, and that is an excellent idea. If you mark 2” gradations on your table-felt like a number of other players recommend, it will help you to “bracket” your targeting. By doing so, you can learn how accurate your target-sighting actually is.
The second part of applying this tip is to start throwing from a distance that is close enough for you to hit it virtually 100% of the time. Once you achieve that, you can gradually increase your distance from the target.
As your accuracy improves, you keep moving farther and farther away. This method improves your Hand-Eye-Target coordination, and gives you continual feedback on your progress. When your accuracy starts to diminish, you simply move in a little closer until it improves back to 100%; then you start the increasing-distance process all over again.
As you can see, these tips form part of a cohesive plan to instill repeatable Precision-Shooting performance. They are actionable pieces of advice that actually work. They are NOT quick-fixes, but rather exercises to aid in your process of continual improvement.
If you aren’t hitting the target accurately in the casino, then your roll-consistency will suffer. Even if a table has one of the sweetest target-spots in the entire universe, but you aren’t able to hit it consistently; then it doesn’t really do you any good now does it?
Put another way; if you are hitting a different spot every time that you throw; then how consistent do you think your results will be?
Tip #10 - Trajectory Practice
This tip takes the Target Practice idea one step further. Once you can consistently hit the same target, then you can move on to practicing your “Trajectory Targeting”.
Trajectory-variations help to control the roll-out of the dice once they hit the felt. I borrowed this tip from Heavy and a number of other shooters who have adopted it.
You will need an empty 2lb. coffee-can (or empty 1-gallon paint can) with a small face-cloth or something similar in the bottom of it to prevent the dice from chipping.
Next, we angle the empty can OVER our dice-target at an angle appropriate to what we are trying to achieve. The best STARTING angle for this exercise is 45-degrees.
On a lot of tables, a 45-degree landing angle gives you the most predictable results. Other tables demand a much shallower Low, Slow, and Easy approach (see my Mad Professor's Shooting Bible Part III article for full particulars on the L, S & E method). Still other surfaces react kindly to the Dead Cat Bounce type of high-trajectory throws (see my Mad Professor's Shooting Bible Part IV article for much more detail on the DCB).
By angling the empty can and throwing into it at the correct angle, we can improve our throwing exactness AND our trajectory accuracy.
Again, we are looking for accuracy and repeatability to bring home the casino-cash. So the best route to steady profit is through practice methods that instill the right skill-sets that will to come through, time after time when they are called upon.
As we learn to adapt to different table surfaces and underlays (see my two-part series entitled “Adapting to Tables”), we can use different trajectories to achieve the desired on-axis primary-face results, no matter what is on or under the table-surface.
As always, remember that the practice rig is where you fine-tune and align your game; and the casino is where you make your money. We still have twenty tips (yes, 20 more!) to come in Part II and III of this series. Until then,
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Practice Table…and in Life.
The Mad Professor