Your current practice determines your future profit, so it’s pretty easy to see how and why the time you spend on your at-home rig today can pay bigger dividends at the casino tomorrow.
Clean Hands Revisited
You'll notice that several of my articles recommend that you wash your hands EVERY TIME that you go to the washroom, in addition to doing it before and after each session. This not only makes sense from a health and hygienic standpoint, but it makes sense for your Precision-Shooting consistency as well.
Clean hands provide the best tactile feel of the dice without imparting undue slipping or sticking. If you start out with not-quite-clean hands, and then apply too many additives like talc, corn starch, chalk, hairspray and deodorant; you often end up just making grimy gravy.
The more “insulation” you put between your fingertip nerve-endings and the dice; the less likely your toss will be consistent from throw to throw let alone session to session.
Even if you don’t use any of those “additives”, dirty hands often take away just enough on-axis control to render your slim dice-influencing margin…VOID.
Many times, a player will throw an outstanding hand and then follow it up with a lousy one. Sometimes you can blame it on one thing or another, but often it’s just a matter of how clean your hands were when you were tossing the dice. Sometimes the most obvious cause of an off-axis throw is the most easily overlooked one.
Wash your hands when you first walk into the casino. The contact with your almost-never-cleaned steering wheel, the "stuff" you picked up from the door handle of the casino and various other contact points along the way; all contribute to that "sticky fingers" feeling.
Even if they don’t feel sticky, you’d be amazed at the amount of dirt and oily crud that your hands come in contact with in everyday life. Each new layer of mostly-invisible grime that gets deposited on your fingertips adds one more coat of nerve-numbing insulation and takes away one more degree of on-axis dice-control.
When you wash your hands, always use soap...IT IS FREE in most casino washrooms. Take a look at the color of the crap coming off of your hands when you wash them well. All that stuff was going to come between you and the dice. You want to control the dice, not disconnect from them.
Warm water also helps to keep your fingers and joints limbered up and loose.
If you’ve had a chance to read Shooting Bible, Part 8 you’ll understand why too light of a grip doesn’t impart enough control to get the dice to do what you want them to do. Equally, if the dice leave your hand without enough input from you, then you can hardly expect them to do what you want them to do…or at least for them to do it on a steady basis.
To have control you have to get control and maintain control. That means you have to put enough input into your throw in order to get a consistent output. If your hands aren’t clean, then your input won’t be reliable…and neither will your dice-outcome.
While you are at the craps table, keep your shooting-hand as clean as possible. Don't shuffle your cheques (chips) or handle your drinks with that hand.
Keep a small supply of those free Moist Towelettes that are available from most Slot Attendants and at Coin Redemption/Casino Cashier booths. If you can find the premium ones that contain Benzalkonium Chloride in addition to alcohol, all the better.
When the dice are about two or three shooters away from you, a quick hand wipe with one of those towelettes will wash away quite a few insincerities of the soiled and grimy craps world, and give your fingertips just the right amount of unadulterated grip and release contact.
Guys, this isn’t overly complicated…clean hands give you more consistency. The reason why I included in into this Practice Tips series is because it’s a good idea to get into the habit of washing your hands on a regular basis.
If it’s not in your nature, or your upbringing or your social mores to wash your hands every time you go to the washroom; then accept the fact that you’re needlessly giving up a portion of your on-axis consistency…not to mention the fact that you are about to pick up the dice from the guy who was just standing at the urinal next to you who also didn’t wash his hands either. If that thought appeals to you…then why not skip the middle-man and just stick your shooting-hand directly down his pants?
Clean-hands…clean contact…clean on-axis results.
Tuning Your Rig and Tuning Your Session
We first talked about doing this in Shooting Bible – Part Nine, but it bears a little further examination.
Tuning Your Practice-Rig to Match Problem Tables
You could continue to completely avoid them, or you could “tune” your practice-table to mimic the bounce characteristics of the layouts that are causing you the most off-axis strife.
Let’s say your chief nemesis is a bouncy, trampoline-like table.
You could temporarily convert your home practice-rig to match those bounce specifications and then fine-tune your shooting to correspond with it. The idea is to become experienced on as many different layouts as possible WITHOUT killing your bankroll in the process.
Many savvy players craft a couple of different at-home landing-surfaces to mimic hard/bouncy, soft/bouncy, hard/lifeless, soft/absorbent and medium/neutral tables. Now obviously you don’t have to go that far especially if you only run into one or two different kinds of tables where you play.
In any event, if you properly tune your rig, you can use your at-home sessions to figure out what works best on the most troublesome layouts, and then use your in-casino time to profit from them.
Let’s take a look at how one player does it:
Astute dice-influencers agree that at-home practice-rigs, especially the self-designed ones, can be tweaked, tuned, modified and tailored to match the bounce-and-roll landing-area characteristics of their favorite or most-dreaded casino tables.
Here’s how Jeffrey47 does it:
Various layers of felt, underlay and padding can be added or subtracted to give you the landing-zone characteristics that you want. Thicker or thinner felts made of cotton, wool, polyester/wool blends and micro-fiber can be tried, as well as thin layers of neoprene rubber, foam rubber, newspaper, sizing/lining and terrycloth underlay.
A board with different characteristics can be placed on top of the existing surface (if you don't have the option of dismantling the rig and substituting different wood). Some base-materials mentioned previously include linoleum-tile inserts, drywall, masonite, arborite, melamine, marble and of course varying thicknesses of plywood (from as thin as 1/2” all the way up to the industry standard of 6/4”). Some players go so far as to fine-tune the wood by using a tar-like automotive undercoating for resonance control.
Jeffrey47 has also experimented with placing heavy weights around the corners of the rig which also changes the resonant frequency of the surface (much like damping a speaker or other hi-fi gear). As a result you can deaden or “liven” the bounce to best reflect the real-world table-characteristics that you are trying to replicate.
Jeffrey also placed small "risers" underneath the rig, creating a void between the wood/felt surface and the base of the table that it sits on. Doing so re-created the lively high-rebound effect that frustrates many skilled dice-influencers to no end.
Though there's nothing like the real thing, each casino table that you encounter will be somewhat different. The closer you come to tuning your practice rig to match the ones you’ll most often encounter or to mimic the ones you have the most trouble in consistently profiting from; then the closer you’ll come to understanding what it takes to beat them.
Make the Comparison for Yourself
Let’s resolve to start each Practice Session (as well as each casino session) with one of the most overlooked and easily dismissed consistency-tricks that are used religiously by pro’s and smart players alike.
Clean hands and clean fingers provide reliable grip-feel, grip-pressure and grip-consistency.
If you’ve run into on-axis consistency problems but nothing seems to work consistently; then starting each session with clean hands will give you a baseline of performance upon which to build a better grip.
Once you solve your basic finger-alignment, finger-pressure, and dice-release problems, it’s probably safe to say that unclean hands are one of the MAIN CUPLRITS for ongoing off-axis shooting difficulties. The problem is, that if you start out with dirty hands, then all the grip-tweaking in the world likely won’t solve your session-to-session inconsistency.
Many players have a local casino that they call “home”. That is, it’s not only near and convenient, but it’s also one where they’ve adapted their throwing because of the constant play that they get on those tables.
In that case, it makes tremendous sense to “tune” your Practice Rig to reflect the bounce-characteristics of the tables that you encounter most frequently in the real world; then you’ll be better prepared to take full advantage of them as soon as you step up to buy in.
The less acclimation, familiarization and adaptation you have to do when you play at your local haunt; the faster you can get to the actual task of making money.
If your local casinos have soft, spongy, trampoline-like tables, yet your at-home rig is hard as rock; then how is that helping your game?
If your practice-rig has ¾-inch sized alligator backwall bumps, yet your local joint uses the smaller ½-inch or bigger 7/8th diamond backwall material; then how is that helping your game?
If your local casino has micro-fiber layouts on their tables, yet your rig is set up with all-wool felt, then is that contributing to your profitable adaptation of local conditions?
If you’ve been practicing all kinds of new throwing techniques at home, then you’ll have to re-adapt them to match your favorite local table. Doing so takes quite a bit of time and quite a bit more money. If your Practice-rig is tuned to match the type of casino table that you regularly play at; then the transition from at-home play to casino-play will be much more efficient.
If your local casino changes out the dice at each shift-change; then why are you still using crappy old played-out year-old dice that were purchased used from a casino gift-shop?
The idea behind our practice sessions is to build our on-axis consistency one step at a time to a point where it generates profit consistency one session at a time. That often means tailoring your practice sessions, your Practice Rig, your throwing distance, your throwing-stance, and as many other throwing-dynamics and table-conditions as possible to replicate what you encounter most often at your local gaming joint.
Just as it is a good idea to tune your practice-rig to mimic the table- conditions at your most-frequently-visited casino; so too does it make sense to replicate the table-stance and shooting-conditions as well.
Mull this over:
The next time you are standing at the casino table…ask yourself if this is how you stand at home when you are practicing.
Do you anchor yourself against the table-padding the same way you do at home?
Do you heavily lean over the table when you are shooting for real, yet can’t duplicate that at home? Do you think that influences the effectiveness of your at-home sessions?
If you’ve been slumped against the rail for the last 45-minutes while you’ve been waiting for the dice to cycle back around to you in the casino; then ask yourself how that is going to affect your posture compared to how you normally stand at home?
If your in-casino shooting sees all of your weight pressed against the rail when you release the dice; then how well does your at-home shooting-station let you replicate that situation?
Do you think any of that might have a bearing on how well you are able to keep the dice on-axis when the dice finally come around to you in the casino?
If you are doing things differently in the casino than how you are doing them at home; then don’t expect your real-world results to accurately reflect your at-home practice sessions…and vice versa.
You can take that rig-tuning idea even further if you know of a type of table that gives you the most trouble. Many players avoid certain types of tables because that is where they run into their biggest on-axis consistency troubles.
Once you tune your practice-rig to reflect the characteristics of the tables you want it to imitate; then it’s a matter of closely tracking your practice-session “casino-simulation” rolls to determine where your best profit-prospects lay.
When aspiring shooters do that, they are often surprised to see the math-verification of their actual advantage over the house on certain wagers…along with some eye-popping “discoveries” about previously unbeknownst-to-them reliable-revenue betting-opportunities.
A careful review of your ever-evolving roll-stats often reveals “hidden” profit-potential that you never would have discovered otherwise.
Often times you’ll hear a dice-influencers say something like, “Gee, I never knew I had such a strong advantage over the 5 and 9.” or “Wow, I’ve been avoiding the Horn-bet because I didn’t realize that I had such a big edge over it!” or “Had I known THAT, I would have been betting a lot differently than I have been up until now!”
On the other hand, you’d be surprised at the number of semi-skilled dicesetters among us who are reluctant to keep track of their practice-session rolls simply because in doing so, they would have to confront their own Precision-Shooting shortcomings…and then be forced to either take adequate measures as far as doing something about it…or to admit to themselves that they (or at least their betting) hasn’t been nearly as good or as tuned-in as they thought it was.
As a Precision-Shooter, your on-axis progress and development (along with your betting-opportunity awareness) will mostly be slow and gradual.
Because of that, you may not fully appreciate your existing dice-influencing capabilities or the current combined potential of your Precision-Shooting and Precision-Betting to where it was just a few short months or even a couple of weeks ago. That’s a pretty compelling reason to vigilantly and thoroughly track your progress to determine which bets and at what level they are best suited to properly match your current skills.
Your accurately-tracked at-home practice sessions will supply a large amount of that information.
It is up to you to sift and sort through all of it in order to determine whether or not using some of the thirty or so additional dice-shooting opportunity methods that we’re discussing in my five-part Creating More Shooting Opportunities series are worth your while.
Moreover, your up-to-date roll-stat information helps you determine what is right for YOU and for YOUR bankroll…under your CURRENT skill-conditions.
When the dice are in your hand, that is where the lion’s share of your money can be lost or found, and that is where the bulk of your advantage-play profit will come from.
It is up to YOU to find out where YOUR best wagering-opportunities are, and then to use them to your benefit instead of letting any of your current non-productive betting-methods be to your detriment.
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor
Your current practice determines your future profit, so it’s pretty easy to see how and why the time you spend on your at-home rig today can pay bigger dividends a the casino tomorrow.
In the next installment of this series, we’re going to jump right into those roll-stat numbers to figure out what they are trying so hard to tell us…and we’ll explore how to make better sense out of what they are saying.