In Part I of this series we looked at ten ways to decrease the pain, and increase the pleasure of our Practice Sessions.
How These Tips Work
The objective of course, is to make the home-to-casino transition easier, and to make your actual in-casino sessions yield more profit.
Amongst other things, we can use our practice-sessions to:
Fine-tune our grip
Re-target our aim
Rework our release point
Modify our throwing force
Adjust our backspin
Alter our trajectory
Build a consistent toss
The more that we refine our talents in practice-sessions; the more our skills are likely to shine through once we get into the casino.
I want to tell you about THE MOST OVERLOOKED ASPECT of Precision-Shooting:
Tip #11 – Dominant Eye
Here is a useful tip if your current dice-targeting skills are less than perfect. This is one of several practice-tips that I have never seen mentioned anywhere else.
Choose any spot on a wall that is about eight-feet away from you.
Extend your arm fully and hold up your thumb so that it covers the chosen spot.
Now close your right-eye. Did the target seem to shift?
Open your right eye, and now close your left-eye. Did the target seem to shift this time?
While your arm remains aimed at the target, does one eye seem to “move” your thumb off-target?
Conversely, does only one eye keep the thumb on the same spot as when both of your eyes are fully open? If so, then one of your eyes is more “dominant” than the other.
If you try the “close-one-eye-and-open-the-other” exercise, and the target moves the same distance (or remained static) to the left and to the right as you alternated between closed eyes; then you are “neutrally-sighted” and neither eye is more dominant than the other. That is a good thing, and you can skip over to the next tip.
If one of your eyes is dominant, it may lead to targeting errors. In normal day-to-day activities, this disparity between your eyes doesn’t make any difference.
However, where fine-motor control, distance-reckoning, depth-perception and hand-eye coordination is required, it definitely becomes a factor. When “targeting” of an object comes into play, then it becomes critical.
Let me make matters a little worse for you before I make them better.
Your dominant-eye becomes MORE DOMINANT as your stress level rises. In our basest fight-or-flight instincts for survival, this can be a good thing if you are battling a woolly mammoth to the death.
However, in the even wilder casino-world where our bankrolls survival is on the line, and where fine-motor control is required, the stress level of increased endorphins sometimes causes our targeting accuracy to be LESS ACCURATE.
Some people find that as the amount of money on the layout increases, so does their stress-level. What happens is that as your stress level rises, your dominant eye becomes more dominant. Under those circumstances, if you “sighted” your target with both eyes, then there is a good chance that your accuracy and precision will not be on-the-mark.
Depending on where you are standing at the table in relation to the distance and angle of the target, your dominant eye can either assist your accuracy or hinder your aim.
To overcome this obstacle, we first determine if one of your eyes is dominant; then when you are at your Practice Rig:
Look at your chosen touchdown-target with both eyes.
Set and grip the dice as you normally would.
Quickly look at the target again.
Briefly close your subordinate eye, and keep your dominant eye on the target.
Use your dominant eye the same way you would if you were using a scope on a hunting-rifle.
Now, with both eyes open, throw the dice.
Determine how closely you came the target.
Use Tip #9 - Target-Practice from Part I to orient your hand-eye coordination from ever-increasing distances. This guarantees near-100% accuracy despite your current vision limitations.
Continue repeating this process until your aiming-skills improve to the point of high-reliability.
By understanding which eye is dominant, you should be able to work around it and improve your targeting skill-set. With that in mind, we’ll be looking at this Dominant Eye subject in much greater detail in a dedicated article in the future.
Tip #12 – Shooting to a Target - Part Deux
This is a great supplementary idea that coincides with the tip of the same name in Part I. I’ll give Heavy credit for this one.
While it might first appear to be off-the-wall, it’s actually a good piece of advice that has a couple of practical purposes.
Practice throwing the dice into a shallow pan of flour to see if the dice are landing flat. It’s a bit like checking the sand in the long-jump pit to determine where you first landed, how deep you sunk, whether there was more weight on one foot over the other, and where your body tumbled after its initial touchdown. When you see how the dice initially land, and what they do after they first hit; then you can make quick corrections to your toss-mechanics.
Moreover, you can also mark a small spot in the pan of flour, and from your normal throwing distance, see how close and how often you can hit the chosen spot. This exercise can tell you a lot about your current skills or lack thereof.
If flour seems a little messy, you could use fine-grain kitty litter or any other non-dusty material. However, it’s best to use FRESH kitty litter, otherwise the dice may hit some unseen obstacles that are buried under the surface.
Tip #14 - Quality vs Quantity
The quantity of practice throws that we make in each session strongly comes into play; when we are focusing on developing a reliable and consistent throw; when we are determining our Signature Numbers; and when we are trying to build muscle-memory.
The quality of our practice throws comes into play during ALL OF THOSE ACTIVITIES.
Throwing the cubes without resolved focus and concentration just to increase the number of tosses is pretty pointless.
Don’t waste your time if you aren’t going to throw with the same level of concentration, dedication and focus that you use in the casino. If your at-home throw is haphazard for whatever reasons (no stress, no money on the line, not in the mood, etc.) then you might as well not practice at all.
If you want repeatably profitable performance in the casino, then your Practice Toss has to closely match the QUALITY of your in-casino toss.
Tip #15 - Tracking Your Success
I’ve written about a couple of Craps Roll-Calculation software programs that are specifically designed for Precision-Shooters.
Both of these programs are very effective in helping a Precision-Shooter do some quick and easy reckoning of how their own throwing is doing. Toss Tracker has an on-line demo and pre-loaded roll statistics, and Craps Tracker C-RAT lets you specify different dice sets and tracks individual dice-outcomes. You can also hook it up to voice-recognition software.
Why use a Roll-Calculation Program?
~They make easy work of figuring out EXACTLY where your strengths lay as far as your current Signature Numbers are concerned.
~They calculate your SRR and on-axis throwing percentages on a forward-rolling basis.
~They help you tailor betting strategies that focus on your current Precision-Shooting
strengths, and help you to avoid unprofitable betting approaches.
Tip #16 – Practice-to-Play Ratio
This is one of the most under-rated ideas that I know of, yet it provides the most bang-for-the-buck. If you are willing to invest your time, this tip will pay steady dividends. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of being willing to put in the time on the practice layout.
The best athletes do it in their chosen games, and if you want your game to be on par with the pros, then you have to put in the time and effort to achieve it. I strongly recommend 10-hours of practice for every 1-hour of actual casino play.
How long should you maintain the 10-to-1 practice-to-play ratio?
I would recommend that you maintain that regimen to the point where your in-casino sessions are CONSISTENTLY PROFITABLE. Once you reach that level, you may choose to slightly scale it back. Thereafter, if your casino-performance continues to improve, and your profitability continues to increase; then you may choose to carefully decrease your practice hours.
While a 10-to-1 ratio of practice hours to in-casino hours may seem excessive, it makes excellent economic sense. The better you get in your at-home sessions, the easier the transition to profitable in-casino play will be.
The more money that you save by improving your game at home, the better positioned you will be to take advantage of it once you go to the casino. When your money is in action on the real tables; that is when all of the hours that you invested on the Practice Rig will begin to pay dividends.
Put another way: “If you want the rainbow…you have to put up with the rain.”
Tip #17 – New Dice
(see related article on this subject in the April 2002 newsletter. If you're not a subscriber, it's free, click here to subscribe)
If there is one culprit that will prevent you from transferring your at-home brilliance into real-casino consistency, it is the problem of practicing with OLD DICE.
In most cases, the dice that you use in the casino are less than eight HOURS old. That means that all five dice in the dealers-bowl have been in use for less than eight hours…not eight days, eight weeks or eight months…less than EIGHT HOURS old. So let me ask you this:
How long have your practice dice been in action?
How many times have they been dropped on the floor or impacted a hard object?
How many minute chips, scratches, and nicks are on the surfaces?
How rounded have the edges become?
How many corners have tiny pieces missing from them?
How long has the natural oil in your skin been interacting with the cellulose acetate in the dice?
If you’ve read my New Dice, New Opportunity article, you know that:
New dice have sharp edges that bite and dig in.
New dice are much more lively than dice that have been in use for even three or four hours. Just as tennis balls, golf balls and baseball gradually change after they have been hit several dozen times, so do dice.
Even after moderate use, dice have less bounce than brand-new ones. On tennis-balls, the "nap" or fuzz wears down. On dice, the polished and hardened surface also wears down. The wear is especially prevalent on the edges and corners first.
Old dice just don’t roll like new dice. That may go a fair distance in explaining why at-home practices sometimes yield far different results than your real-world casino experiences.
Because new dice are livelier, they tend to “go” farther. If you have dialed in a great sweet-spot while using "old" dice, you may have to re-target the initial landing area some inches further away. You will even experience this in a casino when they bring in new dice during a shift change. Your sweet-spot can turn SOUR after new dice enter the picture.
If we see such a dramatic difference between 8-hour old dice versus a set of brand-new, fresh-out-of-the-foil dice; imagine the difference between new dice and ones that you’ve been practicing with for months on end.
With normal random-roller use, it takes about 90 minutes of play before new dice are "seasoned" by normal use and by the tempering effect of human-skin-oil. They then maintain their “neutral” bias for another 4 to 6 hours depending on their useage, after which true-randomness steeply declines.
So, let me ask you this:
If new dice do all of the things that I just mentioned; then how accurately do you think the old set of dice that you are practicing with at home reflect real-world conditions?
We’ll take a much closer look at a pair of dice, along with another dozen or so more practicing tips in “Part III” of this series. In the meantime,
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Practice Table…and in Life.
The Mad Professor