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Part 14 - Shooting from the Don’t…A Journey of Opportunity

As soon as you look at a map of Canada, it’s easy to figure out why most sane people who decide to go to Calgary, Alberta usually fly there instead of driving.

Picture 1

Well, they don’t call me the MAD Professor for nothing…so of course I decided to drive; which meant traversing a lot of prairie wheat-fields where it takes an average of two weeks just to walk to your neighbor's house.

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Strippers Union (Local 518) blasting in the CD-player (yes, that really is a musical group), I pulled into the Elbow River Casino parking lot.

Building First Hand Confidence…and First Hand SUCCESS
When an advantage-play dice-influencer first walks into a casino, it is important that his enthusiasm to play doesn’t overwhelm his ability to win.

Please understand that I am not talking about the mindset of a normal gambler here; however having said that, it’s not unusual for many advantage-play craps-shooters to fall into the same giddy rush to get their money on the table just like any other run-of-the-mill gambling desperado.

With the anticipation that is built up on your drive to the casino combined with whatever interlude there has been between the last time that you played; it’s human nature to want to “
get ‘er done” as soon as possible.  However, it is in that headlong rush to get into the action that many players do not slow down enough to fully compose themselves before taking the dice into their hands…and putting their money at due risk.

During my first session in Calgary, I too fell into that very same trap.

Though we’ve long discussed the importance of taking it easy on the first day of a multi-day stay and
especially about carefully easing into play during your first session on the first day; we often think that we ourselves will be immune to those oft-cited, but oft-ignored afflictions.

Yeah, I’ll be pleading guilty to that charge Your Honor, so please make the fine a big enough penalty so that I won’t be tempted to do that again.

The first thing that we have to keep in mind as dice-influencers, is that
without influence, we will NOT be in an advantage-play positive-expectation situation…and neither will our money.

HOPING for influence is not in the same money-making league as actually playing, betting, and profitably exploiting our advantageous influence.

Our edge over the house is not static, and therefore it can’t be presumed or invariably depended upon if we don’t nurture, cultivate and continually foster its healthy survival.  That simply means that if we don’t work at it and continually keep our skills sharp and keen; then our results will be as lackluster and uninspiring as our efforts to maintain it.

In Calgary, I not only immediately rushed to the table to throw my first hand during that first session on my first day at Elbow River Casino, but I also continued to rush my D-I efforts during the second, third, and fourth hand of that inaugural Alberta session too.  You would think that since I was betting on the Darkside, my hasty impatience would turn out to be a good thing and I’d 7-Out almost by default.  Unfortunately that couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Instead, every time I set my anti PL-Point, I would invariably bring it right back within just a couple of rolls.

I’m sure I had a bemused look on my face during this process.  In truth, there was absolutely no reason to be mystified as to why I was having such bad hands, but at the time, the immediacy of the problem was blinding any sort overall perspective or mature objectivity.

Now if that only happened to me once or twice during that first session, I could pass it off to just a little bit of shooting-acuity dullness that I picked up from 1800 miles on the road; however, repeatedly shooting myself in the foot for four full and complete hands in a row was obviously way more than I should have tolerated before taking a break.  I’d love to blame it on too many miles or too much coffee or too much enthusiasm; but in the end I really have to take full responsibility for not first decompressing, resting up, putting in a little bit of in-room practice, and then composing myself as I usually do before picking up the dice before that first session.  As well, I also have to take full responsibility for not cutting that first session short when it was clearly obvious that my shooting-proficiency was nowhere near where it should have been.

Even more obvious during this particular session was my complete disregard for practicing what I preach.  So I’ll say again what I’ve said in previous articles, not so much for
your benefit, but to reinforce and buttress my own commitment to shooting quality:

Our first hand of our first session on our first day in a new destination should be used to build confidence in our shooting abilities.

That means we should put a fair amount of preparation into that first session since it can cause reverberations far into subsequent sessions.

If we start out on the right foot, it is easy to build on that success during subsequent sessions.  Equally, if we start out on the wrong foot, a bad first session not only puts us into a deficit position on the financial side of the ledger, but it also puts us behind in terms of knowing exactly what it takes to successfully beat the particular tables we are currently playing on.

In other words, the first hand of the first session on our first day in a new destination should be used to not only establish the basic throw that will take us to subsequent victories, but to also put us into a justified expectation frame of mind for subsequent winning sessions.

When an advantage-play dice-influencer first walks into a casino, it is important that his enthusiasm to
play doesn’t overwhelm his ability to win.  That first session in Calgary was more than a wake-up call for me; it was analogous to snorting an ampoule full of weightlifters ammonia.

I was now officially and inexorably awake and aware of what I needed to do to get back on the winning track, and that process began with a good meal, a good sleep, a good workout, and a good in-room practice-session.

Sounds like good advice to me.

Elbow River Inn & Casino
I checked into my room at the Elbow River Inn.  Though it wasn’t comped up front, I knew from previous action here that it wouldn’t take very much play to get that taken care of.  The ERI is not akin to your typical casino-hotel at all.  It’s a three-level motel-type operation that is modest in its décor, furnishings, and food offerings; but top-class in how they treat their guests.

I used this as my home-base for the ten days that I spent in Calgary.  Though their small rooms do not offer much expanse to stretch out and expand your mind, it was comfortable in a
country-within-the-city sort of way.  In fact, for a city with a population of a million people, the rest of Calgary has that same cowboy-in-a-city mindset.

Elbow River
is a very small gaming-house that is comparable in size to Casino Royale, Nevada Palace, Slots-o-Fun, and Westin Casuarina.  It has one 12-foot craps table that opens at noon and remains sparsely populated until closing time at 2 a.m., and has a $5-to-$200, 2x-Odds betting-limit.

They will easily comp your room and food for about four hours of play at the $50 bet-spread level.  The table-felt is a little worn, but I find that a nice, easy, low-spin, low-trajectory, low-energy throw that targets the white double-line that separates the PL from the DP gave me incredibly consistent on-axis, primary-face results.

Sessions Two thru Six
To my relief (and practice-validated expectation), I did significantly better at shortening my point-cycle roll-durations during the next five sessions.  Admittedly my shooting was still far from perfect, and though I never once managed to establish a PL-Point and then immediately throw a 7-Out, I only shot myself in the foot a total of three times with an unintentional Point-repeater in 42 hands; so I considered that a HUGE improvement over my first session.

Clearly though, some of my winning throws were not the kind of picture-perfect works of art that would warrant being hung in a Precision-Shooters gallery of excellence.  One of my winning hands during Session #2 contained so many non-Point rolls, that it would be considered a mini-mega hand by any Rightsiders standard.  A couple of hands during my third session contained more non-Point rolls than the skip of the Finnish national curling team, Markku Uusipaavalniemi, has letters in his name.

Still though, I wasn’t discouraged.  I was hitting my intentional 7-Outs although during the second and third sessions it was sometimes taking much, much longer than normal.  The further I went in these next five sessions, the less and less rolls it was taking to throw my hoped-for 7-Outs.  For example, in Session #2, it took an average of 12 point-cycle rolls to 7-Out, and by the end of Session #6, it was taking a much-improved average of just under 4 point-cycle rolls to accomplish the same objective.

The fact that it had taken seven full sessions to get back into proper shooting shape provided enough evidence that putting well over 1800 miles on my shooting arm during the drive to Calgary wasn’t such a good idea after all, or at least a decision that should not be done without full consideration of the consequences.

Influence-Rate Determines Opportunity-Rate
Dice-influencing success starts with an influenced toss.  So when we alter the expectancy-rate of certain numbers, we alter our opportunity-rate.  The more influence we exercise over the dice, the more profit-opportunity we gain.

Not quite so obvious to most dice-influencers is the fact that the
FEWER numbers that we try to influence (based on the number of wagers we spread on the table at any one time); the greater our chances for net-profit success on the wagers that we actually hit.  For example, if your wagers cover four or more different Rightside bets on the table; then you have to hope that the strength of your influence is spread wide enough to hit those bets often enough to pay for that widely-spread risk…and still emerge with a profit.  If you have followed my Regression Avoids Depression series, you know that multiple-wagers usually require multiple hits before reaching net-profitability if you aren’t using a regression-style of betting.

Darkside-shooters use the much simpler concept of needing to influence just
ONE number (the 7); and for them, it requires as little as ONE point-cycle roll to reach that objective.

Think about it this way…

Let’s say a Rightside-bettor wagers $22-Inside ($5 each on the 5 and 9, and $6 each on the 6 and 8), plus $5 on the Passline with $10 in Odds.  He will need
six Inside-number hits to derive a profit on that spread of widely-placed wagers before emerging with a net overall profit of just $5 after six winning-payouts; so it’s little wonder that most talented dice-influencers have very little profit to show for all of their efforts despite an obvious edge over the house.

For dice-influencers, the
ONE paying-hit-only requirement for profitable Darkside-betting is often the most overlooked aspect of their advantage-play potential.

Stampede Casino
Picture 2-30

Nothing defines this city more than the annual 10-day Calgary Stampede.  Outdrawing the U.S. National Finals N.F.R. in Vegas by a margin of eight-to-one, the Stampede combines the traditional 140,000-cowboy rodeo with the excitement of NASCAR racing with thirty-six 4-horse chuck-wagons racing against each other and their accompanying outriders.

The Stampede Casino is located on the same fairgrounds where all of those rodeo events are held.  As with the other casinos in Calgary, the craps tables here open at 12-noon and close at 2 a.m.  Similarly, betting-limits are set at a $5-minimum and a $200-maximum flat-bet with 2x-Odds.  The casino recently doubled its floor-space, and is comparable in size to both the Western and Wildfire casinos in Las Vegas.  Although it doesn’t have its own hotel, it is right across from Elbow River Inn & Casino as well a number of equally close non-gaming hotels.

Overall, the Stampede Casino is a relaxed place with a very enjoyable atmosphere, except in July of each year when it is a madhouse of activity.  The last time I played here during the annual Stampede, the crowd was three deep when I started shooting...by the end of it, I had to wade through a throng that was thicker than a 20-cow corral stuffed with 3,000-head of boozed-up bovines (and all of them wearing big-assed belt-buckles)!

Though they have two 14-foot tables here, only one is usually open; however the crowds are typically so sparse throughout the day and well into the evening, that it’s not unusual to shoot solo or nearly-solo for hour upon hour at a time during the week.

I spent an entire Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and a good portion of Friday, from table-opening at 12-noon to early evening around 6:30 p.m., with never more than four table-mates at any one time…now
THAT is what I call “near-solo” shooting!

In my four days of play at Stampede Casino, I shot literally hundreds upon hundreds of hands, and as a result, my point-cycle Darkside-SRR dropped to a new all-time low.  In fact, I stopped counting the actual number of hands that I threw by early Wednesday afternoon, and instead just kept track of hands-won, hands-lost, and point-cycle rolls-to-7-Out.

Casino Calgary has one 14-foot table that is busy only on the weekend.  It too opens at 12-noon and closes at 2 a.m. every day.  I was surprised that the table-bounce was so neutral, even when shooting from the straight-out position. With a $200 max-bet, you aren't going to run into any high-rollers at their $5 minimum-bet 2x-Odds table.  Equally, odds of running into another skilled shooter in Casino Calgary or any of the city’s other gaming-houses, is extremely low. Similarly, as with the other two casinos, they have no problem with dicesetting, and the dealers are all competent and extremely friendly. Tipping is allowed, but don't be surprised if one of them faints at the sight of a toke...they aren't used to receiving them...EVER!

Casino Calgary is the same size as Vegas’ Plaza Hotel-Casino, El Cortez and Las Vegas Club.

You have probably noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned any restaurants so far.  Well, the truth is that Calgary is a beef-town just the same as Dallas is.  In fact, the parallels between those two cities are strikingly similar.  Calgarians take their beef very seriously, and as such I pretty much stuck to steak and prime-rib for my entire stay.

There are three other casinos in Calgary, but they don’t offer craps, and therefore in my book, they don’t warrant further mention other than to tell you that they are:

Frank Sisson’s Silver Dollar Casino…no craps

Cash Casino…no craps

Baccarat Casino…no craps

I hope you’ll join me when we continue our Darkside-shooting journey of opportunity.  Until then,

Good Luck and Good Skill at the tables…and in Life


Mad Professor

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 26, 2007 8:51 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Creating More Shooting Opportunities - Part 4.

The next post in this blog is Practicing For Perfection - Part II.

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