Here’s The Fishing-Pole, Here’s the Bait…There’s the Lake
A short while back, Irishsetter started a thread on his Message Board that asked, “If there was one single piece of advice you would give to a new aspiring dicesetter, or if you had to go through the learning process all over again, what is the one thing you would change?”
I didn’t post a reply to that thread because most of the great answers that other players supplied pretty much covered any thoughts or advice that came to my mind.
However upon reflection, there is one major thing that I would definitely change about my game if I was first starting out again and it is also something that I would suggest to most new open-minded players…and that is to learn to also shoot from the Darkside as soon as possible.
To my mind, IT IS FAR EASIER to become proficient (and profitable) MUCH SOONER as a Darkside-shooter than it is to get it right and steadily profitable as a Rightsider.
Ø The less frustrating the learning-curve is, and the sooner you reach tangible profitability; the less likely you are to go off on all kinds of non-productive mismatched-to-talent wagering tangents and the less likely you are to waste your time and money chasing down the Holy-Grail of random-betting.
Ø To my mind, it’s often easier for an open-minded player to prove to himself the immediate money-earning efficacy of throwing more of the already-dominant 7’s than it is to convert his at-the-frustrating-cusp-of-dice-influencing-success Rightside-shooting into in-yer-pocket profit.
In other words, Darkside-shooting frequently offers a far more compelling “Here’s the fishing pole…here’s the bait…there’s the lake” sort of sustainable-earnings option for beginners and open-minded veterans alike.
Seneca Allegany Casino
Welcome to the southern-tier of Western New York.
Seneca-Allegany Casino in the city of Salamanca is equidistant from Buffalo, NY (to the north) and Erie, PA (to the west).
The Seneca Nation of Indians operate this gaming-house as well as its sister casino in Niagara Falls, NY. (see Shooting From The Don’t’s – Part 6 for a complete profile on Seneca’s Niagara casino). The Seneca’s are also the only sovereign nation to host a U.S. city within their tribal boundaries.
Although this casino isn’t nearly as big as the other nearby casinos to the north and east, it does offer some equally outstanding playing conditions.
My first Allegany session for this trip was at a fairly busy table with a dozen or so other players.
Either the table had been fairly cold for all the right-side bettors who were there…or they had all recently bought in for what looked like an average of $17 each. Judging by the looks on their faces, I’d opt to guess that their original buy-ins were much larger, but the relentless erosion of the back-and-forth win-some/lose-some tide had diminished their collective bankrolls to the miniscule amounts that were now in their racks.
Two out of the three dealers recognized me and asked where I’d been lately. I gave my standard “too much work…not enough play” reply which is usually good enough to shield the fact that I do this for a living. When the stick-guy noticed that I was shooting from the Don’t, he asked if I had changed my game plan since the last time I was there. I answered with my other standard, “I got tired of losing on the rightside, so I thought I’d try it from the wrong-side” reply. Again and as always, I want to maintain the appearance of being a “gambler” and not that of an advantage-player.
The table was excellent to shoot on. The dice were landing with a confident on-axis thunk and rebounding off the backwall by no more than three or four inches. Although both die didn’t always end up side-by-side, they stayed in relative five to six-inch proximity to each other. It wasn’t what I would call “picture perfect”, but the outcomes were within the realm of expectation and my intentional DP 7-Out’s showed up pretty much as often as I needed them to.
On the other hand, my Come-Out strategy of aggressive World-betting was not providing anything more lucrative than a barely break-even proposition. That is, I was rolling many more C-O 7-losers than I was in producing the higher-paying W-B 2, 3, 11 or 12-winners. The long delay between shooting opportunities may have contributed to those slow-to-start results.
The dice were moving around the table fairly slowly even though the conditions were choppy as hell. By the end of my third hand, I was ready for a break. I counted my winnings, and although they were pretty hefty thanks to some wind-falls from my heavily-laid DP-Odds (and no-thanks to my Come-Out Game Within A Game strategy); the nearly two-and-a-half hours that it took earn it didn’t seem at that particular moment to justify such a big time-investment. That is, when I divided my winnings into the time that it took to earn it, I didn’t get any giddy delusions that my hourly earnings-rate was on par with O.J.’s lawyers or Michael Jackson’s therapist.
When I start to think that way about any positive cash-flow, it’s definitely time for a break.
I grabbed a coffee at Seneca’s Java Cafe and sat down to update my Table Intel notes for this casino. I use these notes to reproduce replicable session-after-session positive results on all sorts of tables that I haven’t played on in a while. The less research, experimenting and fine-tuning that I have to do to re-acclimate myself to each table, the sooner I can reach sustainable profitability no matter how long it’s been since I last played on it. If you are interested in what a typical set of my detailed notes look like, you could have a peak at Shooting Bible-Part One for an illustrative example.
Although my profit results from Session One were substantively positive, I noted that there was significant room for improvement on that table as far as getting the dice to do exactly what I wanted them to do. I also noted that one of the positive offshoots of using the Straight-Sixes (S-6) set for my Come-Out efforts was the fact that although my C-O World-bet profit was lagging far behind it’s normal production-rate, it was producing an extraordinary number of easier-to-beat PL-Points of 4 and 10.
Setting An Easier-to-7-Out Point
Is it possible for a Darkside-shooter to consistently establish an easier-to-7-Out PL-Point like the 4 or 10 instead of a tougher-to-avoid box-number like the 6 or 8?
Yes it is.
When you look at the Random Dice Distribution chart, you’ll see that there are five ways to throw a 6 or 8, four ways to throw a 5 or 9, and three ways to throw a 4 or 10.
On the face of it then, it should be easier (even for a random-roller) to throw a 7-Out winner if the PL-Point is a 4 or 10 as opposed to let’s say a 6 or 8.
For a Precision-Shooter, using a Come-Out dice-set that favors the 4 or 10, and then switching to a 7-Dominant set (that concurrently has the lowest occurrence of that current PL-Point); means that your chances of predictable success increases considerably.
Here’s the problem though…
There are two sets that favor the 4 and 10 equally.
Ø The Parallel-Sixes (P-6) set has two on-axis 4’s as well as two on-axis 10’s. However, it also has four o/a 7’s which kind of offsets your Darkside Come-Out intentions. Further complicating that is the fact that the P-6 set only holds two on-axis Horn-outcomes (just one 2 and one 12) that further frustrates any notion of making some pre-Point Horn-bet profit (or even-money C-O DP-line wins).
Ø The other 4 and 10 favorable Come-Out dice-set is the Mini-V (V-2) arrangement. Its combined on-axis offerings of four possible 4 or 10 PL-establishing outcomes far outpace (by 2-to-1) the o/a occurrence of the 7. For a Darkside shooter that’s a good thing. However, just like the P-6 set, the V-2 dice-arrangement has an equally small number of even lower-paying Horn-number appearances (just one 3 and one 11). Clearly, there is a substantial trade-off when you are try to establish a hard-to-repeat PL-Point versus trying to use the Come-Out cycle as its own profit-center.
Tougher-to-Repeat, Easier-to-Beat PL-Points
As you can see from the above discussion, you often have to make a trade-off between trying to make immediate Come-Out profit (with let’s say the S-6 set with only one each on-axis 4 and 10, but two 3’s and two 11’s plus one each of the 2 and 12) versus trying to establish an easy-to-beat PL-Point.
When you take a simplified approach to this game, it often means that you have to make a compromise between the two. Now obviously there are other C-O strategies like using the S-6 set with a Lay-bet against the 5 and/or 9; or using that same set for a higher-risk Across-the Board working-on-the-Come-Out (WOTCO) Lay-bet against all of the box-numbers.
However, for this discussion we’re focusing on the single aspect of trying to establish either of the two hardest-to-repeat box-numbers to achieve our PL-Point-defeating Darkside goals.
There are two main reasons why I’ll occasionally opt for this tougher-to-repeat, easier-to-defeat approach instead of using my usual Come-Out cycle “Game Within a Game” World-bet profit-generator.
Ø If for some reason I’m receiving an abnormal amount of attention from the Pit or I’ve already taken considerable money off of the table (during the same shift with the same crew) by using high-visibility, high-action World or Horn-bet raiding; then I’ll often choose to forego my usual Horn or World C-O progression (see previous articles in this series for an in-depth discussion of exactly how I do that); and opt instead to go about setting a lower-profile tough-to-repeat PL-Point. My reasoning is that if there isn’t a lot of piled-to-the-sky middle-of-the-table Prop-action in a place that sweats the money or one where I’ve already taken a huge chunk of Prop-action cash from; then the Pit-monkeys have less reason to scrutinize the game or my shooting.
Ø The other reason I’ll eschew that type of Prop-action is simply if it isn’t working, or it isn’t working well enough to justify the outlay. To my way of thinking, if a bet isn’t pulling its own weight and contributing to the bottom-line of MY earnings; then it shouldn’t be made. I’m not in the casino to contribute to THEIR bottom-line; I’m in it to improve MINE!
In either case, if I’m trying to establish either the 4 or 10 as my tougher-to-repeat/easier-to-beat PL-Point; then my choice of weapon is the V-2 (mini-V) set.
Once any Point is established, I then switch over to using a “7-rich” set (like the S-6, P-6 or All-7’s set) to snipe out the “7-Out Line-away” call. Which one of the “7-rich” sets that I choose to try to beat the PL-Point will be determined by the actual Point-number itself.
Ø If the Passline-Point is the 4 or 10, then like I mentioned a moment ago, I’ll use the S-6 to shoot for the 7-Out (although the All-7 1/6-1/6 set will also suffice).
Ø If the Passline-Point is the 5 or 9, then I definitely use the S-6 set since its on-axis results preclude both of those numbers entirely.
Ø If the Passline-Point is either a 6 or 8, then I always use the Parallel-Sixes (5/5-5/2) set since it has four on-axis 7’s, but only one each of the 6 and 8.
A Rarer Species of Bird
If my Precision-Shooting is really grooved in on a semi-empty table, then I’ll actually use a somewhat different C-O and Point-cycle approach.
I will sometimes use the V-3 set for my Come-Out rolls and actually try to establish a primary-face 6 or 8 as my DP-Point. Since the DP-Odds on a 6 or 8 pay much better (5:6) than it does on a 4 or 10 (1:2) or even a 5 or 9 (2:3); then the true value of shooting from the Don’ts can really shine through.
If you normally don’t use any Odds to back up your flat DP wager; then obviously you’ll probably want to stick to establishing as many hard-to-repeat PL-Points like 4 and 10 as possible and avoid setting tougher-to-beat PL-Points like 6 and 8.
However, if your shooting skill justifies it and your bankroll can amply afford it; then laying Odds on your validated-skill DP-Points (no matter which number it is) makes a strong and compelling argument. Using Odds to back up your skill-established DP-Points can actually multiply and leverage your Precision-Shooting earnings well beyond anything that even higher-skilled shooting combined with strictly flat-betting ever could.
Again, your current shooting-skills and bankroll limitations should dictate the type and size of the wagers you make.
If my shooting is grooved in and I am fortunate enough to establish the 6 or 8 as my PL-Point; then for my anti-Point-cycle shooting, I’ll employ the rarely used Parallel-Sixes (P-6) set because, as I mentioned a moment ago, it only has one each of the on-axis 6 and 8, but four o/a 7’s…so my prospects for an early-out are pretty darn good. When you add in the benefit of a higher-ratio (5:6) Odds payout, the validity of this approach comes through loud and clear…and profitable.
We’ll explore the whole “Odds/no Odds” argument a little further in a moment; but first let me catch you up with my second session at Seneca Allegany where I applied this approach with quite a bit of success.
Second Session, Second Table
When I returned to the dice pit, the second table was open at the $10 level…and with only two other players at it.
You’ll recall how I mentioned in Part Six of this series that the Pit-meisters at Seneca Niagara were reluctant to raise the table-minimum much past $10 or $15 except for the busiest of times…well, that certainly does not hold true for Seneca Allegheny. In fact, it’s often just the opposite at this place. They’ll often test the market to see if a $25 table will hold its own even when the $5 table isn’t completely filled.
With only two other players to share the $10 table with, the dice were cycling back incredibly quickly. That duo’s Do-side shooting was nothing short of dismal. Their scowls and growls kept any potential new players from joining in, which was just fine with me. After the fourth go-round of seeing me establish a Point and then knock it out a roll or two or three (or even SIX) later; they decided to lay off of any betting whatsoever when I was shooting. However they certainly waded right back in with both cash-spewing barrels blazing on their own shooting despite their continuing Point-then-Out performances. Hell, I was starting to think that they were far better at unintentionally 7’ing-Out than I was with intentionally doing it. They were certainly far quicker in doing it than I occasionally was, though while I was at the table, I suppressed an internal smile at the irony of that observation.
It took four more rounds of the dice before both of those guys tapped out their bankrolls completely. They left shaking their heads in disbelief, while the weight of having to do all the 7-Out heavy lifting was left entirely to me.
The mood of the crew lightened considerably after that. The stickman kindly cooperated when I asked him to call the 7-Outs as loudly as reasonably possible to keep any potential interlopers and inquisitive players safely docked at the other table.
Allegany’s Tables, Players, and Dice
Ø Both of Seneca Allegany’s two 12-foot tables are neutral-rolling, non-bouncy layouts that offer a good-to-very-good prospect of keeping the dice rolling true and on-axis. Obviously this is predicated on a square-to-the-backwall release and a low-energy (minimal rebound) toss.
Ø I've noticed that the corner radius of each table is quite large, which means the "curve" of the corner doesn't completely straighten out until it is a good 8-to-10 inches away from the sidewall. As a result, you may have to be a little more careful about where you aim the dice in order to get a "square" hit against the backwall. For example, if you traditionally use the Passline as your alignment tool for a straight throw; then on these tables it will see the dice hitting the backwall while it is still transitioning out of the sidewall curve.
Ø For the SL or SR shooter, that means that the middle of the Don't Pass Line is the nearest-to-the-sidewall rolling-lane that will see the dice track straight into a flat portion of the backwall. Any closer than that to the sidewall, and the dice track into the still-curved transition section.
Ø The dealers at Allegany are rapidly getting better as far as their chipping-skills are concerned. Most of them have only been at it since this place opened in May of 2004, and though they still have a ways to go in that department, their people-skills make up for quite a few of their other shortcomings.
Ø The players here are fairly knowledgeable about the game and the proper payoffs, but mostly restrict their game to the usual PL-bet backed up with less-than-full Odds and a few Come and/or Place-bets. An infinitesimally small number of players ever venture over to the Darkside even when the table is trending colder than a Buffalo winter.
Ø One thing that you may have to slightly adjust your game to is the fact that the dice they use here are of the slightly larger 13/16th’s size rather than the more conventional 3/4" variety.
I had a comped dinner at the Thunder Mountain Buffet which is reminiscent of the old Lone Mountain Buffet at LV’s Sante Fe Casino (about three renovations ago). The food quality is outstanding for what is decidedly a non-typical gaming-resort. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will be more than happy with this fine spread.
For my third and final session of Day One they raised the table limits on the former $5 layout to $15, while my Session Two $10 table was now standing empty at $25. The $15 one had a few openings, but the prospect of having the $25 layout all to myself was irresistible.
I’d love to report that my Come-Out cycle back-to-back-to-back Horn-hits got back on track…but that was nowhere near the case. Not deterred, I stuck with the tougher-to-repeat, easier-to-defeat approach of intentionally setting (or at least TRYING to set) the 4 or 10 as my anti-PL-Point.
Frankly though, I wasn’t always successful in establishing the much-vaunted 4 or 10 as my Point. I used the Mini-V (V-2) as my C-O set which has enough other on-axis alternative outcomes with two Across-the-Board appearances of not only the 4 and 10, but also two each of the 5, 6, 8, and 9 (not to mention two DP-defeating C-O 7’s) as well as a single on-axis appearance of both the 3 and 11, to make the Point-establishing exercise somewhat interesting.
What was even more interesting was that the dice were in such total synch with the way I was shooting during Session Three that I was actually on the verge of getting too anxious to get the dice right back into my hands no matter how fast the base-dealer made my Line-away payouts.
The TGS and box-lady consented when I asked that the dice-bowl not be dumped after each and every 7-Out. Like I said, the dice were coming back as fast as I wanted and I was shooting on total auto-pilot for a good 50 minutes.
After three or four straight Point-then-Out hands, I’d intentionally take a fifteen or twenty-second drink-break…and then get right back to it. It was also the point where I increased the base amount of my DP wager. I had started with $25 on the line (backed with full Odds), but after each string of three or four wins, I increased it by another $25 unit. I continued this method of flat-bet escalation along with the fullest allowable Odds for that entire solo session.
About fifteen minutes into this four-to-six rolls a minute tossfest, I was aware that my heart-rate was a bit higher than normal, but no more than climbing three or four flights of stairs would do. My breathing-rate was normal and there wasn’t even a whiff of anxiety or stress in my brain (unless you include that almost insatiable feeling of in-the-groove eagerness), so I kept up what some might consider a fevered dice-tossing pace.
I wasn’t paying any mind to perfectly organizing my chip-rail or seeing exactly how far ahead I was during the early part of this session. I knew instinctively that my Odds-generated revenue was climbing by about $100 per hand (at the $25 base-bet level), and double that when I increased my flat DP line-wager to $50…and then triple that amount when I ratcheted it up to $75 and so on.
I don’t actually know how many times I threw the dice during that session, but at four to six rolls per minute and a 50-minute run, I figure it was probably in the 200 to 250-roll-range inclusive of those mini beverage-break/ratchet-up-my-flat-bet breathers.
I was into my fifth hand at the $275 flat-DP level when a couple of new players came up to the table and bought in. I had been having a subconscious discussion with myself about whether or not I should ask the TGS to raise the table limit to $50 in order to keep any fresh players at bay. I knew peripherally that the nearby $15 table was now full and there were at least of couple of players waiting for any vacated spots to open up at that one, but the new players arrival put an end to that self-debate.
The new players at my table actually provided a bit of a respite for me. Though I was into an unbelievably sustained groove where I was making anywhere from four, five or six tosses per minute, I knew it was a good idea to let my firing-on-all-sixteen-cylinders neurons cool down a degree or two. While the other players were shooting, the stick-guy was carrying on a solo discourse about how he wished he could shoot like that…in what he described in detail as a totally unconscious “the world could be crashing down without being bothered by it” dice-shooting state of mind soliloquy. I complimented him on his philosophical take on the whole thing.
Before I could make any obscure Faustian references that would give him pause to reconsider his viewpoint, the dice had come full circle back to me. I threw one more hand that actually lasted for eight post-C-O rolls before I was able to finally summon the required 7. I knew that the automaton groove that I had been in was no longer beckonable at that moment. After my line-bet and Odds were paid off, I called it a night.
Betting More to Win Less
The argument over whether you should lay Odds to back up a Don’t Pass bet is often discussed, but it’s hardly ever talked about in the advantage-players Precision-Shooting context.
Frankly, when it comes to the question of whether or not you should or shouldn’t be laying Odds on a random-rollers DP-Point…my reply is that the less money you bet on random-rollers…the more money you’ll have left over to bet on your own advantage-shooting.
Now please don’t misconstrue that as an endorsement for the “DP without Odds” proponents. Rather, it’s to indicate that any bets that you make on any random-rollers would be better invested on your own validated-edge dice-shooting.
For the talented dice-influencer, free-Odds that are used to back up your flat DP wager can actually leverage and multiply your Precision-Shooting skills just as much as it can for a Rightsider with equal skills.
If you have the edge; then LAY THE ODDS.
If you don’t have the edge; then you are merely gambling.
I was planning to make my Seneca Allegany sortie a two or possibly even three-day event, unfortunately I cut it short to attend to some much more urgent commitments. Though I don’t play at this house as often as their excellent tables justify, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for decent, neutral-rolling 12-footers with slightly over-sized 13/16th–sized dice.
Obviously the whole Odds or no Odds discussion, especially from a Precision-Shooters perspective, merits a little more discussion. We’ll pick this up in the next installment…