When most players look at the existing state of their Precision-Shooting affairs, they realize that even using their current skill-set, they SHOULD be making more money, and doing it more often than their recent patchwork of wins, losses and break-even sessions would seem to indicate. It’s an age-old problem in business as well as in the casino. Most players want to increase their profitability without escalating their risk.
So let’s take a look at how to get THERE from HERE…
Where is THERE?
By my definition, “HERE” means your current profit-level and win-rate, while “THERE” means bigger and more consistent wins with equal or reduced risk, from the same skill-set. So the idea is to get more consistent profitability from the game, and bigger wins from each session that you play, yet not increase the risk to your bankroll along the way.
That sounds like quite the task.
This series of articles will map out several routes that will show you how to get from HERE to THERE.
First, the Bad News…
You will not become a great Precision-Shooter overnight.
In fact, I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that you will probably not become a great shooter this year.
How do I know this without knowing you?
Precision-Shooting is a physical skill that must be combined with several mental aspects of the game. As you improve each element, you have to adjust, recalibrate and fine-tune all of the other characteristics.
You can’t do that in one fell swoop.
Rather, as you make incremental improvements in each segment of your skill-set, you’ll continually need to adjust and improve all the other parts. All of that takes time. Progress is neither linear (straight-line) nor ever-increasing. We find that improvements in one area often lead to setbacks and new obstacles to overcome in other areas.
We are constantly making adjustments to not only the physical side but also to the mental aspect of our game as well. For me, those adjustments continue to this very day, and I’ve been doing this a long, L-O-N-G time. Each casino, and each table for that matter, represents a unique set of circumstances, conditions, situations and opportunities. As conditions change from table to table, so too must we adapt to and overcome those differences.
Successful Precision-Shooting embodies the art and science of constant refinement; and unfortunately, all of that takes a tremendous amount of time, commitment, and dedication.
“Overnight” success in this pursuit sometimes takes many YEARS.
Now, the Good News…
If you look back to where your dicesetting skills were just six months ago, you should be able to see that you’ve come a LONG way since then. Similarly, your Precision-Shooting skills will continue to evolve to the point where you’ll be able to look back, six months from now to today, and shake your head in disbelief AGAIN, at just how far you have gone from here.
That’s the nature of this game and the evolution of your Precision-Shooting progress.
We steadily work at improving our skill-set, and each higher level of achievement brings in better results and steadier profits. Yet, even many professionals are often surprised when they look back to what they THOUGHT they knew about how to win just a year or so ago, and they too are amazed at how far they’ve actually come since then.
It’s that sort of thing that keeps my game-focus fresh and new profit-opportunities flowing.
So, What Does It Take To Make the BIG Money?
A reader recently asked:
“MP, I have been doing this Precision-Shooting now for over two years. I have read numerous books including all of your articles. My question to you is; what does it take to make the big money? By that I mean a session-win of $1000-$2000 or more.
Is it a large starting amount, and then a regression? I have had many sessions where I have held the dice for 30-45 minutes or more. However, my biggest winning session was slightly over $300. Most of my wins range from $50 to just over $100. My buy-ins range from $300-$500. So what am I doing wrong?”
First of all, I have to say that there is nothing wrong with winning ANY profit any time that you play.
Sometimes when I walk out of a casino with one dollar more than I walked in with, I am VERY happy. Based on my shooting during some sessions, it’s a wonder that I am able to make ANY profit at all, let alone hit my daily $1000 win-goal. Other times, I’ll walk out of the same casino with a $5000 or $6000 win, and wonder why I’m not walking out with MORE.
My hardest fought sessions sometimes render the meagerest of profits, while the biggest profits seem to come from sessions where it’s like a walk in the park. In other words, I sometimes have to STRUGGLE just to eke out a tiny win; yet the huge profits often come from just one seemingly flawless turn with the dice.
Having said all that; there isn't ONE particular thing that it takes to move up to the next snack-bracket in winnings. Rather, it is a combination of factors. So let’s take a look at the various aspects that contribute to your profitability when YOU are shooting.
These are the…
Elements of Higher Profit
If you know, on average, how long you usually roll for; then you can tailor a betting-approach that is best suited to YOU.
If you usually have, let's say, 10 tosses of the dice in the casino (per hand); then you know, on average, how long you have to extract maximum dollars out of your roll. If you happen to roll longer than that, then you can still exploit it, but you will have reduced your bets to a minimum in anticipation of a "normal-hand” 7-out.
It's important that you don't get into a mindset where you are thinking, "Oh oh, here comes my tenth-roll when I ALWAYS 7-out". Rather, you are looking through it and beyond it by making EACH and EVERY roll as the only important one that you are throwing. The last roll is ancient history, and the only one that matters is the here-and-now next roll.
If you are further interested in how to turn this concept into a reality, I would invite you to read my How To Get It, and How To Keep It - Part I article wherein we explore the ways that I keep the freshness and focus in each and every toss of the dice.
As far as exploiting short-rolls, you should have a look at these two articles:
Like I said, if we know the average-length of our rolls, we can determine how much time (measured by the number of rolls) we have to exploit our current Precision-Shooting skill-set. So it’s what you do with the numbers that are hitting during your average hand, which largely determines how often each of your turns with the dice will be profitable.
Even if your average-hand only runs to four or five or six rolls, yet you aren’t making much, if any money off of it; then it is the way you are BETTING, and not the way you are ROLLING that is causing the low-profit problem.
If you take that a step further and realize that you should be making acceptable profit even from your short four or five or six roll-hands; then imagine what proper betting will do for you when your longer rolls come along. Again, if you haven’t read the articles that I mention in this piece, or you’ve forgotten more about them than you remember, then a re-read is probably in order.
In knowing your average roll-length, you also are aware that some will be longer and some will obviously be shorter than “the average”. To that end, we want to get to the break-even profit-stage as quickly as possible during EVERY hand that you throw. That way, you are able to get to the profit more often, and with less risk, regardless of what happens later on in the roll.
To determine the average-length of your hand, I like to discard the GREAT rolls, and focus on the more usual ones. The long, mega-hands will tend to skew your roll-average a little too much to do you any good during your “normal” hands. Now at first glance, by eliminating your higher 20+, 30+, and 40+ roll hands from the equation, it will make your average-hand appear to be artificially low, but remember, the whole idea is to get TO profit, then maximize it for MORE profit once you get there. By keeping the “normal hand” bar quite low, we force ourselves to make the good decisions earlier during each and EVERY hand, and that keeps us out of trouble almost all of the time. You also have to remember that the less losing hands that we have, the balance of our winning hands don’t even have to be all that profitable in order for us to show a NET-profit.
Again, the idea is to REACH profit SOONER, and to have MORE winning sessions more OFTEN, and then once we get there; to make MORE profit from the same number of rolls than we did before.
That is what Precision-Shooting advantage-play is all about.
Quick and Steep Regressions
Now normally I recommend a very early and very steep regression, however you first have to determine your own ratio of Point-then-Out hands that you throw. That will determine how STEEP and how EARLY that regression should be used.
Let's say that out of 10 different opportunities with the dice, you throw 3 quick-outs where you aren't even able to collect ONE bet before 7'ing-Out. Well that 3:10 Point-then-Out ratio will help you gauge whether a Steep Regression is right for you, and it will also determine HOW steep it should be if you decide to go that route.
You have to sit down and figure these things out in order to get to the consistent profitability. Part of your job as an aspiring Precision-Shooter is to figure out what works best for your current skills, and then try to build on that skill-set based on the best advice of those who have traveled the same road before you.
If you are getting more than 33% quick 7-Outs (a third of your turns with the dice), then you’d have to take a VERY close look at whether this Steep Regression method is right for you. Of course it also depends on what normally happens during the other 66% of your hands that will make the final determination of what the best betting-approach is. Along with that, I would also suggest you take a long, hard look at your dice-throwing skills, and try to improve upon them to the point where the quick-outs are brought down to a more manageable (<33%) level.
If you aren’t willing to put the time-investment into figuring out those things for yourself now; then the high price you eventually pay at the tables will reflect the true cost of your decisions.
It is also critical to note that it does you absolutely no good if the bets you place all those Steep Regression wagers on, never come in. Your Signature Numbers largely determine WHAT you bet on, and your average roll-length should dictate WHEN to bet on them, and for how long you leave them exposed.
Your betting-methods validate the comparative advantage that your own Precision-Shooting skills have over the house. To that extent, I think we can agree that it is critical that you tailor each wager to correspond with your own current dicesetting talents. In which case, the following articles address that need:
You know I am always using that "C" word in my articles. To me, consistency is MORE important that the occasional big score. If you are getting steady $50 wins, then the big wins WILL come along. Please do not scoff at the small wins. I have made a TON of money by stringing together a bunch of small victories.
Let's take a look at a typical 4 to 5-hour day where I play 10 short casino sessions.
➢ Out of those 10 sessions, about 5 of them (yes 50% of them) will only garner small wins of around $100. However, let’s keep in mind that multiple mini-sessions that spin off $80 to $120 each, have a way of scaling up to very useable profits.
➢ Three out of those 10 short sessions will spawn a profit of around $150 to $300. Again, these numbers are based on my own dice-throwing; so it often makes little sense for me to stick around waiting to see if there are any random-rollers who are going to unleash a hot hand of their own. I’m more concerned with making as much money off of my own shooting, rather than hoping for random-chance to show itself in someone else’s lucky toss. Therefore, I’ll weigh-anchor and change tables to where the dice are approaching an open shooting-position (that I am comfortable with). In doing so, I’m increasing my shooting-opportunities, and making the most efficient use of my table-time. I’ll also let the Table Game Supervisor know where I’m headed, so that my still-on-the-clock Player Rating Card (with its attendant Comps) will follow me.
➢ I’ll usually only have one mega-hand out of those 10 short sessions which will register in the $500 to $2500+ win-category. You can look at this large-win/low-occurrence ratio from one of two perspectives. On one hand, you could say that the Mad Professor only throws one great hand out of ten turns with the dice (only 10% of the time); or you could say, that one $500 to $2500+ win out of ten short sessions is reason enough alone to justify the time and effort that goes into my average day. I guess I don’t have to tell you where my thinking is at on that subject.
➢ The other remaining session out of those ten, may be a break-even or perhaps produce a small loss of -$150 or less. While 10% of my sessions are unprofitable, and sometimes downright lousy; it’s what I do during the OTHER, more profitable sessions that determines how big of an impact my lousy break-even or losing session has on me and my bankroll.
YES, I DO LOSE, but it is critically important to realize when things aren't going our way and to cut the losing sessions SHORT. That way, any losses that I endure are a minor irritation, and not a major devastating body-blow.
I’ll have much more to say about win/loss ratios and strict, low Loss-Limits in my upcoming “Crop Circles and Other Casino Phenomenon” article.
Handling Small Wins
Listen, I HATE losing, and when I say that I am satisfied with a small win of $50; I do so based on the fact that in the past, MANY of my $50 wins turned into $700 and $800 LOSSES just because I thought I deserved and was capable of earning more during that particular session.
Greed and lack of discipline has ALWAYS cost me WAY MORE than house-edge and game-volatility ever could.
When I constantly harp on the idea of savoring those small-dollar wins, it is because they not only have a way of adding money to your wallet, but they also add confidence to your Precision-Shooting mind. It took me such an incredibly long time to realize that, despite what I had heard guys like John Patrick saying about small wins for years. When the realization finally sunk in, it really turned my game and my HEAD around 180-degrees.
Let me say it again:
Greed and lack of discipline has ALWAYS cost me WAY MORE than house-edge and game-volatility ever could.
When I reached the mature conclusion that not every session can be a mega-win, was the point when I realized that the sweetness of a small $50 win was much less bitter than a $700 loss. Concurrently, that was when I started tightening my session Loss-Limits to their current levels. I simply refuse to lose more than $150 during any session, and I know that I’ll be able to make up for it on the next one. In almost every event where I chased the small loss and tried to force a win, it resulted in bigger, more devastating damage to my bankroll, as well as to my ego.
So, losses WILL occur, but it’s how you handle them, which will determine how big of a hole you have to dig yourself out of, and how much damage you let them inflict to the mental side as well as the financial side of your game. If big losses sap your confidence and your bankroll; then lower Loss-Limits almost entirely keep you from ever having to deal with that again.
Let’s remind ourselves why we are discussing all of this today.
We want to get to more profit, more often.
One of the most efficient and quickest ways to get THERE is to minimize your losses and embrace the frequent small wins.
It’s difficult for most gamblers to even understand this concept, let alone adopt it as something they are willing to hold themselves to.
Small wins ARE NOT IRRITATING, and they don’t have to be frustrating! They are the stepping-stones that we use on our journey in getting us to the bigger wins more often. That’s the very nature of Precision-Shooting progress.
Concurrent with that; big losses don’t have to be a regular thing, nor do they have to be a devastating knockout punch either. The following articles address this subject in much greater detail, and contain many more actionable ways to stem your losses while still allowing your profits to flourish:
Can't Win For Losing series:
Can't Win For Losing Part II
Can't Win For Losing Part III
Can't Win For Losing Part IV
D'ya Wanna Win, or D'ya Wanna Gamble? series:
Discipline, Character & Consistency series:
Discipline, Character & Consistency Part III
Hunting for the “Trophy-Kill”
As far as the big, long, mega-rolls are concerned; it's a matter of recognizing them, and then taking full advantage of them when they do come along.
For that, I usually advocate a more aggressive approach by Pressing my bets AFTER EVERYTHING HAS BEEN PAID FOR and I have AT LEAST A 50% PROFIT LOCKED-UP (based on the total amount of money you currently have on the layout).
Now this 50% profit-threshold may sound too conservative before you start your aggressive Pressing, but remember you have to GET TO ANY profit BEFORE you can get to the BIG profit, and you don’t know ahead of time whether your next hand will be short, medium or long; so you have to start every hand with the aim of locking in a profit as soon as possible. From there, as it plays out, you can get more and more aggressive as it proceeds.
In chasing the big wins, most people are willing to suffer steady and often horrific losses. It’s hardly a noble goal when you weigh the overall cost of an occasional big-dollar “trophy-kill” triumph to the steady net-losses you endure while trying to get there.
That's not the way I play, however, you are free to sniff out your own profit-scent trail.
For me, I want the steady net-profit wins, and I’m willing to endure a few small losses, and still manage to get a couple of mega-wins (at loss-tolerant casinos) along the way. To accomplish any of that, I am NOT willing to sacrifice most or all of my session bankroll(s) in a futile attempt to bag the “big one”.
Bagging the BIG Game
So how do I turn medium-length rolls into BIG wins?
Once I get to that 50% profitability point during a hand; THEN (and ONLY then) do I start to press AGGRESSIVELY. I can afford to at that point, and I let my winnings fuel further and much larger wagers (all with the warm fuzzy knowledge that I’ve already got a decent profit locked-up).
By "aggressive pressing" I mean that I use an ever-increasing amount of bet-increases to foster higher-wins. For example, I will start to press my Place-bets in ever-increasing steps.
➢ On the first win (after making a 50% profit on the amount of money I have on the layout) I will increase a winning Place-bet by ONE-unit.
➢ On it's second hit I'll increase it by TWO-units.
➢ When it hits a third time, I'll increase it by THREE-units and so on.
➢ On some hits at or beyond that point, I'll make single or double-unit across-the-board increases on all of my Place-bets, even if one or two of them haven't been coming in as frequently as my most dominant ones have.
➢ All the while, I’ll continue to rack any residual profit off of the paying-wagers.
Here’s an example:
➢ Let’s say that I start out with my Passline-Point as 4.
➢ My PL flat-bet is $5, and it will be backed with $15 in Odds (on a 3x, 4x, 5x-Odds table).
➢ I’ll also Place-bet my most dominant Signature Numbers (5, 6, 8, & 9) for $220-Inside ($50 on the 5 & 9, and $60 each on the 6 & 8). Remember, I am planning a STEEP Regression after just ONE hit on any of my Place-bet action.
➢ My first hit on any of those numbers pays $70. I immediately steeply regress my Place-bets down to $44-Inside ($10 each on the 5 & 9, plus $12 each on the 6 & 8).
➢ At the same time I’ll reduce my PL-Odds on the 4, down to single 1x-Odds ($5). This is NOT blasphemy folks, it’s how I assure myself a quick locked-in profit no matter what comes next.
➢ At this point I have $54 on the layout, and a $16 net-profit already locked up in my rack. That reflects an approximate 30% net-profit on my now currently exposed money on the table.
➢ On the very next Place-bet win of $14, my net-profit increases past the 50% profit-threshold for my exposed wagers, so that means from here on out, I can start my Pressing.
➢ At first my bet-increase Pressing is fairly conservative. I Press the next winning wager by one unit ($5 or $6). If and when it hits again, I take the $21 payoff and use two-units ($10 or $12) to increase that winning wager, and I rack the balance of the net-profit from that payout.
➢ I MAY take a nickel ($5) of that new profit and use it to add one more unit of Odds ($5) to my PL-Point of 4. As the hand progresses, I will definitely cap-out (max) my PL-Odds, and might even add to the flat-portion of it in order to increase my Odds. Obviously, I’ll only be doing that if my hand continues to roll along.
➢ When it hits again, that pumped-up Place-bet pays $35, so I’ll increase it by three units ($15 or $18). That means it’s now at the $40 level for the 5 or 9, and the $48 mark for the 6 or 8.
➢ The next payoff brings in $56, whereupon I’ll increase that winning bet by four units ($20 or $24), OR I’ll make some across-the-board increases on all the box-numbers including a Place-bet on the 10 if it isn’t already covered (if the 10 makes a single appearance during my roll, it will prompt me to make a single-unit $5 wager on it). I make these across-the board increases for two reasons. First, I use it to “even out” some of the “wager/payout” norms. For example, I might “round-off” the 6 or 8 to a $60 wager instead of the slightly more complicated to calculate (for the dealer) $54 or $66 bet. Secondly, I find that once I pass a certain number of paying-rolls, I’ll often start to see a bit of a more level distribution of my Place-bet winners. Now that doesn’t always hold true, and sometimes, one Place-number will be so dominant as to be almost embarrassing for the frequency of times that it repeats for roll after roll after roll. But generally I’ll get a fairly even distribution of my Top Four most dominant Signature Numbers during a mid-to-long hand.
➢ On the next Place-bet win, I’ll increase it by five units ($25 or $30). For any subsequent hits, I will keep my increases at easy-to-calculate denominations. This is also the point where I sometimes “plateau” my profit-collecting. That is, I will stop Pressing for one or two hits at certain bet-levels so that I can collect more profit, and re-gather my confidence to step up to the next wagering-height.
➢ From that point, my Pressing becomes even more aggressive, and will be in at least units of 5 ($25 or $30), and then units of 10 ($50 or $60), and then units of 20 ($100 or $120), etc. Again, I am locking up profit at every step of the way, and I am plateauing my profit at certain levels to lock in even more.
I’ll go into more details about these betting actions in Part Two of this series, but before that, I want to give you a little insight into how I built up my shooting-skills BEFORE I ever considered raising my betting-action to these levels.
I think the perspective that you gain on the lower-wager Cheap Tables is invaluable in giving you the insight needed into this game and into YOURSELF as well. With that in mind, I would invite you to read the following articles which relate quite nicely to this very subject:
What WAS…What IS…What CAN Be
As I’m dictating this, I’m reminded of the words that one of our dicesetting community’s best-friends once said:
“In brewing beer I’ve learned that you can create a lot of different styles and flavors by giving a small tweak to a base recipe. You start by developing a very repeatable basic formula. Then by adding a pinch of this or an ounce of that, you can change the color of the beer, its taste, the amount of carbonation, just about anything you want.”
Those “hand-crafting beer is a lot like developing your Precision-Shooting skill” words came from Mike Mokoid (MickeyD), and they reflect the same approach that a Precision-Shooter has to take when wagering on his own rolls. We tweak, adjust and fine-tune our approach so that we can maximize profit while still minimizing risk. We need the money, the awareness, the discipline and the patience to wait until the good rolls come along, so when they do, we are ready, willing and able to take full advantage of it.
You’ll find all of MickeyD’s articles here , and a fitting acknowledgment to this fine gentleman in my I Never Met Ben Franklin Either... tribute.
Folks, the idea of taking a look at the existing state of your Precision-Shooting game, and realizing that your current skill-set SHOULD be generating more money, more often; often leads us to seek ways to get from here to THERE.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the advantage-play edict that I live by is to…
…REACH profit SOONER, and to have MORE winning sessions more OFTEN, and then once we get there; to make MORE profit from the same number of rolls than we did before.
We’ve just had a look at a few of the first steps you can take on that road. I hope you’ll join me as we continue this lower-risk, higher-profit journey together.
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor