In Part II we talked about improving your targeting skills by shooting the dice into a pan or a can, and how setting up the can at the appropriate angle can improve your trajectory-awareness by increasing the reliability of your accuracy. Those tools are primarily for improving your target-precision and touchdown-angle consistency.
Tip #27 – Close Your Eyes, Again
Let’s take that exercise one step further. Every once in a while, try doing that same target-throwing with your eyes closed. This exercise improves your spatial awareness and your intuitive skills. Simply set and grip the dice as you normally do, then sight the target. Then I want you to pause momentarily with your eyes closed, and throw the dice.
With a bit of practice, the dice should start to land in the target pan. What this exercise does is to assist you in being aware of when your set, grip and throw “feels” right. It also helps to eliminate a lot of second-guessing, and improves the confidence in your set, grip and toss. To do this right, it takes time and it takes practice, but the advancement that training like this brings to your Precision-Shooting is well worth the effort.
Tip #28 – Wash Your Hands
One of the biggest complaints I hear from players is that their hands are always sweaty and gummy when they are playing. The collective dirt, grime, filth and grunge that is part of the casino-experience can have a negative impact on your ability to not only GRIP the dice, but it has an even bigger effect on your ability to RELEASE the dice. The BEST method for getting a nice, clean consistent release is to have a nice, clean pair of hands.
EVERYTIME that you go to the washroom, wash your hands with soap and water. Do it before you start your session, and you may be surprised how much more control you can exert over the dice by making this one tiny, but important hygienic gesture. Do it at home prior to the start of any practice session, and do it in the casino before you begin any real-world session. It may even come as a surprise that the casinos don’t even charge for the use of hand-soap, so please use it liberally.
Tip #29 – Wash Your Hands – Part Deux
You’ve seen those free Handi-Wipe towelettes that the casinos give out at most of the cashier cages and slot booths. In mid-session, they are useful for cleansing your hands about three minutes before the dice are going to be coming to you. At home, you can practice using them before you shoot. Again, clean hands improve your dice-grip, but more importantly they help your dice-release.
Tip #30 – Irishsetter’s Square ‘Em Up
Irishsetter has a great way to ensure that the dice are square to the backwall on BOTH ends of the table. Not only does he look toward the far end of the table, and square them up, but he also glances behind him to the closer near-end backwall, where he further ensures that the dice are square with that one as well.
In Irishsetters words:
“That's why I throw directly off the table. I know that the dice are square to the table at the beginning of the throw, and as part as my pre-throw ritual, I also double check that they're square to the backwall before throwing too.”
If you throw from one of the side-rail positions (as opposed to a straight-out position), this is an excellent method that adds a bit of further insurance that the dice start out “square”, are targeted square and are therefore much more likely to land square.
Tip #31 - Irishsetters Coathanger
Irishsetter is definitely on a hot roll with this next idea. Here’s how he describes it:
“The aid that I go back to, especially if I've been away from the practice rig for a week or two is my coat hanger device.
It's a piece of 1" x 8" wood, approximately 12 inches long. In the center of it, I drilled a small hole. I then have bent the "hook" of a metal coat hanger so it's straight and insert it into the hole in the wood. I also bend the part of hanger that you put your clothes on into a large diamond shape. I place this device in a position on my practice rig such that if I throw the dice through the target (the diamond), then the dice will hit on my intended landing spot.”
I think you’ll find that this ingenious little device is great for developing consistent height and distance control.
Tip #32 – Heavy’s Grid Pattern
When your targeting skills improve, you’ll want to take them to the next level. A busy craps table can be full of obstacles, and the last thing that you want to do is hit a stack of chips at the other end of the table. While a bounce off of the chips does not necessarily guarantee a 7-Out, it certainly doesn’t improve your chances of staying on-axis and having the dice end up on one of the four primary faces that you first set them on.
Heavy mentioned a method that is excellent for improving your targeting accuracy while also letting you fine-tune your throw to minimize rollout and bounce.
Here’s how he described it:
“Here's one I do on a regular basis. I break out the chalk and draw a grid on the layout on my practice box. The grid starts four inches from the back wall and is sixteen by sixteen inches square. I divide it into four-inch squares. I practice tossing into individual squares and recording the results. Get your toss grooved in and you'll be amazed at the number of repeating numbers you'll get by repeatedly hitting the same sector on the grid.”
Heavy’s method helps you determine which Signature Numbers correspond with different target areas, and it teaches you how to change your target-area with the confidence of knowing that you are still in control of the dice. This is a great idea that pays higher and higher dividends as your skills continue to improve.
Tip #33 – Shooter57’s Limbo-Bar
Shooter57 has an entirely different approach to avoiding obstacles at the other end of the table, while at the same time, improving his targeting accuracy. His method specifically helps to develop a Low-Trajectory Dead Cat Bounce. For a very detailed discussion of the DCB, I would kindly invite you to take a thorough look at my Mad Professor's Shooting Bible Part IV article.
Here’s how Shooter57 describes this practice aid:
“I like to land the dice where the felt and backwall meet. It gives me that “dead in the water” effect.
I cut a 1” x 2”piece of wood to span the width of my practice table. At each end I put small blocks to raise it above the felt. One set of blocks is 2 inches thick and I also have a 3 and 4-inch sets.
The idea is to throw the dice so they pass UNDER the 1x2. If your throw lands too far out you bounce over it. If your throw lands too close, you hit the board.
The idea here is purely for accuracy and control. I don’t take any notice of the outcome. I use six sets of dice, and I just continue to throw them. This builds repeatability and consistency for your throwing. It also provides some obstacle-training in your target area.
The reason for the different thickness in the support blocks is that at various ranges, the dice must descend from different trajectories and heights.”
I recently tried Shooter57’s Limbo-Bar and it really does work. Because of the sensitivity to speed and trajectory, this device may take a little getting used to, but the results prove themselves out time and time again.
I want to thank Irishsetter, Heavy and Shooter57 for their excellent ideas. Their practice concepts each provide additional ways to improve your game in a meaningful way. In Part VI, we’ll take a look at some unconventional approaches that pro’s use in other sports that we can adapt to our own Precision-Shooting efforts on the practice-rig. Until then,
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Practice Table…and in Life.
The Mad Professor