WHAT I Do…WHY I Do It…HOW I Do It
The objective of this series is simple:
To elevate your game to the next level, and to accelerate the profitability, without increasing your risk.
The method for realizing that objective it is equally simple:
I’ll tell you What, Why, When and How a professional Precision-Shooter makes consistent money on a day-in, day-out basis...
…Then you can decide if my route suits your purposes, or whether you’d prefer to follow a different, but equally valid path.
Like I’ve said many times; there are numerous ways to make steady money off of the casino tables, but I can only tell you about the ways that work for me. Obviously my ways aren’t the ONLY ways, but they’re the only ones that work steadily enough, and dependably enough, and PROFITABLY enough for me.
This series, and in fact, all of my articles here on Irishsetter's excellent website for that matter, provide the WHAT I Do…WHY I Do It…HOW I Do It approach to Precision-Shooting. Like I just mentioned, there are other professional craps players out there, and some of their playing and betting methods contrast starkly to mine…if and when any of them decide to publish their tactics, strategies, and methodologies…it will make for an interesting comparison. Until then…
…Let’s continue to map out a safe, but expeditious route for you to get from HERE to THERE.
There have been countless milestones that I’ve reached with my Precision-Shooting.
Ø Some were goals that I had previously set for myself, and when I reached them, it provided a sense of accomplishment.
Ø Some of them were turning points where my game changed to such a significant degree that it catapulted me way past the next level, into the one beyond that.
Ø Some of those milestones were much more subtle but nonetheless important to my game.
Ø A few of them were only recognized AFTER I achieved them, and only then did I suddenly realize their significance.
I mention all of this to illustrate the importance of setting achievable milestones.
While major lifestyle changes might be your long-term, big-picture Precision-Shooting objective; you’ll find it easier to accomplish all of that if you break the ultimate goal down into individual components; and then set reasonably accomplishable tasks and improvement-targets in order to achieve them. That way, your small but numerous accomplishments quickly add up to sustainable, overall success...and your long-term objectives draw ever nearer to certainty.
In setting easy-to-reach targets, you keep your forward progress going…forward. A sense of steady accomplishment does wonders for not only your mental well-being and positive can-do attitude, but it doesn’t hurt your bankroll none too much either.
By avoiding that “my game is stalled-out and going nowhere” feeling, those steadily reached mile-markers along the dicesetting highway help to show that you are indeed making progress, no matter how similar the terrain always seems to look. Once you’ve dialed-in your shooting, most of your Practice Sessions SHOULD start to look the same! It is the repetitive nature of practice and refinement which permits you to bring steady reliability to the real world tables, time and time and time again.
THAT is what consistent profitability is all about.
That’s how it’s done, and that’s how we get there.
It’s in the setting (and the reaching) of those small, incremental improvements to our current skill-set that brings the steadiest and most consistently rewarding results. Yes, we will still have those “eureka!” breakthrough moments when everything just seems to come together and suddenly everything makes sense; but please understand that if you’ve executed your plan properly, and you can maintain that success; then those eureka moments have mostly been accomplished by design and not by accident.
Overnight success with Precision-Shooting usually takes many years of hard work, determination, commitment and dedication.
Where Is This Applicable?
I won’t list the hundreds of places where this incremental-step approach can be applied to your dicesetting efforts, but I’ll list a few.
Ø Look to increase your on-axis percentage by one fraction point at a time. To make it easier, make sure that the sampling size for the number of rolls that you are looking at isn’t too large. For example, you could assess the most recent 360 practice tosses, instead of using the last 1080. From there, you can use a forward-rolling, and always current 360-toss-average to gauge your on-axis progress. That gives you actionable feedback of your current skill-set, and provides a steady-cam, real-time video-feed of your progress from here on out, instead of a one-time out-of-date snapshot.
Ø Similarly, your Point-cycle SRR can be measured using a like-sized sampling, especially if you have been tweaking your throw-mechanics lately. Again, doing so doesn’t dilute your current skills with ancient history (with what you were achieving several thousand rolls ago). Rather, it shows you where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you can go as to your next Point-cycle SRR fractional milestone.
Ø The more up-to-date your skill-assessment is; the better you’ll be able to measure your progress. Where your shooting is at NOW is where the profit-opportunities are also at NOW. We don’t ignore the past…we just don’t dwell on it.
Ø Chart the frequency of Inside Numbers that you throw on average during each practice hand. One of the ways that a quick pre-casino warm-up will tell me how good I can expect to do during the first hand of the first session for the day, is to count the number of Inside Number hits that I get before 7’ing-Out. If it’s 12 or higher, then I’m good to go. If it’s 10 or lower, then perhaps the real-world table should wait until I’m a little more warmed-up. You can do the same thing.
Ø Set achievable goals and then stick to them as your “safe-to-bet/prudent-to-play” measure. Some people snicker at this concept, but usually end up playing at their own peril (yet they never have quite figured out just why they can’t seem to get anywhere with their overall game-profitability).
Ø You can apply those same ideas to your Practice Sessions as well. Pick up the dice and start throwing tosses just like you would in the casino. Without being overly analytical, see what the dice are indicating to you, and make “air-bets” that reflect the results you are getting. See where it takes you. By doing so, you learn to clue in faster and become more intuitive as to taking advantage of what is happening right now in front of you on the table. This “instant-feedback-from-current-bet-choices” exercise helps you look at your skill-set from an always-fresh perspective, which in turn produces an increased ability to seize opportunities when they present themselves to you in a real-world casino situation.
Ø If your current roll-averages are diluted with the results you were getting when you were still developing and tweaking all the various aspects of your toss (set, grip, motion, release, backspin, trajectory, target, roll-out, posture, table-orientation, etc.); then your current on-axis, SRR, and CoR numbers are tainted and contaminated by illegitimate, or at least old, out-of-date and corrupted data.
Ø Take some of your freshest practice-roll data, and apply a couple of different betting-methods against them. Often times, a player will discover that there is money to be made, even on the short-lasting rolls if a Steep Regression was employed; or you may find that your average roll-length (as measured from new PL-Point to 7-Out) holds great promise if you only use the first four or five tosses as profit-collectors, and then turn your bets “off” until you get past a certain (your usual) roll-ending hump. Your roll-data often holds a treasure-trove of wealth-opportunities just waiting to be mined. It is up to you to dig and sift for them.
Ø The idea is to look at the dice-results you are currently getting, but from a totally different point of view. That new vista often uncovers hidden profit-potential. If you permit yourself a wide-enough view of your current Precision-Shooting talents; you’ll likely see a few prospects of hereinbefore unrealized revenues that had been hiding in plain sight.
Ø Take a fresh look at what you think your Signature Numbers are. Again, use a smaller sampling, like your most recent 108 tosses, to see how much variance they are showing against the normally expected frequency chart.
Ø The more in-tune you are to your CURRENT skill-level, the more able you’ll be to take advantage of it when you are shooting for real in the casino. If we can expect to see fifteen 6’s and 8’s each in that stream of rolls, but you manage to steadily produce two or three or four more than the frequency chart indicates; then your CURRENT betting in the casino should reflect that edge. The bigger your variance is over normal, the greater your opportunity for profit is in the casino.
Ø On the other hand, the numbers that you THOUGHT were your S-N’s, may turn out to be ancient cave drawings that were linked to long-abandoned grips, sets and toss-mechanics that you used to use back in the Paleozoic Period of your dicesetting evolution.
Ø Likewise, if the same frequency chart indicates that you aren’t throwing as many Horn Numbers as you thought you were; then your real-world betting can’t reflect the fact that you HOPE you could. Your SKILL (and not your HOPE) should dictate your betting.
Ø If discipline is your biggest enemy, then make some efforts that are outside of the ordinary. Again, we’re talking about small, incremental steps that lead to overall achievement.
o Perhaps you could use a TINY buy-in with the rest of your dough stowed safely away; or,
o The total elimination…for one session only, of ALL Prop-bets; or,
o A short-span time-limit where you will leave the table at a certain time, no matter what.
o If you can successfully use any discipline-building exercises for just ONE single, solitary session, and end up feeling good about the fact that you stuck to a higher level of self-control just once; then it gives you the knowledge and the power to do it again and again if you so choose.
Like I said, the list of possible mini-goals is endless, as are the reduced loss-probabilities and increased profit-possibilities that come with them.
The important thing is that you give yourself a chance to actually SEE the steady progress you are making.
Ø The smaller your steps, the easier your improvement is to chart.
Ø Fractional increases in your On-Axis percentages, or your Sevens-to-Rolls Ratio, or your Point-Cycle roll-length, etc.; provide some of those achievable milestones that are directly convertible into profit.
Ø The more you can see consistent improvement; the steadier and more resolute your discipline will become. The stronger your discipline; the more likely you are to stay away from last-ditch desperado moves that usually precede an unrestrained bankroll-meltdown.
Setting and achieving incrementally-reasonable goals and milestones allow you to validate your methods and reconfirms the appropriateness of your route for getting from HERE to THERE.
The Card-Counter Approach
More and more, I've adopted some of the fundamental aspects of card-counting BETTING-strategies for my own hands at the craps table...and it's worked out quite well.
I talked about this a bit when Irishsetter brought the subject up on his Discussion Forum, and it clearly merits even further examination.
If you take the fundamental idea that a skilled card-counter raises his bet-spread when the count is high (the undealt remainder of the deck is rich in high cards), and apply it to your own Precision-Shooting advantage; then it makes sense for the skilled dicesetter to increase his bet-amounts and/or his betting-range when his roll-count (SRR), Box-number hits or any other actionable indicators of CURRENT skill-level shows a discernable advantage over the house.
Equally, when the "count" is negative, and his throwing-skills are looking suspiciously random; then it is time to cut those bet-levels and bet-spreads back to their absolute minimum; or better still, take a break from the action.
In each case, this betting-approach is similar to those used by professional card-counters.
ü You INCREASE your bets when the advantage is in your favor.
ü You REALLY pump up the volume when your skill-level and focus are especially dialed-in.
ü You DECREASE or eliminate your bets when it isn’t happening.
That means if your shooting isn’t up to par; then your bet-levels as well as the range of bets that you are making, is cut back to it’s lowest possible point or you back away from the game completely.
On the other hand, when your shooting is grooved-in; then your skill-level demands that you take proper advantage of it. You already know how difficult it is to gain an edge over the casino; so when that edge is apparent, it behooves you to reap the benefits.
A Player-Advantage Does Not Always Equate to Player-PROFIT
Now, having said all of that; let me quickly add some qualifying criteria.
I have an over-riding concern about the idea behind "betting to your advantage", and that is that the relative "advantage" that a player THINKS he has, may in fact NOT ALWAYS BE convertible into profit; and therefore a larger bet-level or bet-spread results in higher-volatility and risk, but often WITHOUT the anticipated dividend.
We took a preliminary look at this phenomenon in How To Get It, and How To Keep It – Part VI, where two players each had a validated 20% edge over the house through their various dicesetting methods, yet one was spinning his wheels by essentially breaking-even despite that huge edge; while the other player was profiting handsomely…yet both were specifically and ONLY betting on their apparent advantage over the house.
That brings us squarely back to the "I have a proven 20% advantage over the house, but I'm still only breaking-even" phenomenon.
Irishsetter related an example where the Precision-Shooters first couple of hands are decent (in the 5-12 roll range), and the dice are looking good during all aspects of their release, flight, touch down and final outcome (AND the player is SUFFICIENTLY bankrolled using nearly the same risk-of-ruin rules that a professional card-counter would use). I agree that that is PRECISELY the proper time when a player SHOULD be making bets of an enhanced value in order to take profitable advantage of his CURRENTLY demonstrated skills.
Yet in many cases, a player will fail to pull the trigger on the opportunity, and that particular prospect for increased profit passes on by.
In some cases it’s because they are sticking to a betting-regimen that others have recommended, but is wholly inadequate to take advantage of this particular players edge over the house. Or worse yet, he has in fact tailored his bets to properly suit the edge he has worked so hard to develop; unfortunately he can’t bring himself to make the right bets at the appropriate time without raising his blood-pressure and unsettling with his game-focus
At other times that same player will try to force the issue by betting with increased bravado without having the proper foundation of CURRENT skill showing itself with any level of conviction at the point of wagering. That too is costly, in the sense that he is gambling with his money just as a random-roller does; instead of deploying it when, and ONLY WHEN he clearly has a currently validated “right now” advantage.
In all of those cases, player-advantage does not always equate to player-PROFIT.
Betting In Proportion to Your Advantage
In the coming months (and probably years), you’re going to be reading a lot about maximizing your Precision-Shooting advantage by betting in a proportion that reflects your true edge over the house. If this once again sounds strangely reminiscent of card-counting advantage–play concepts, you are not mistaken.
While card-counters recognize that when the count is high, they have an advantage; they never know when that advantage will show itself during the course of a session.
For proficient dicesetters it is just the opposite.
They know that when the dice are in their hands, they usually hold a distinct advantage. Now whether or not they’ll be able to turn that advantage into a net-profit on THIS hand is the yet-to-be-determined factor.
So how do we even begin to wrap our minds around this whole “bet in proportion to your advantage” concept?
You can start by betting in proportion to what your Signature Numbers and your current on-axis dice-set percentages indicate will be the most likely outcomes. If you also know (as a percentage) how often you will end up with one of the four primary-faces (that you initially set the dice on before you threw them); then you will also know how much additional betting-weight can safely be placed on those four possible outcomes too.
We’ll be exploring this concept in much greater detail in upcoming articles, but for now let me give you an example.
Let’s say that you are using the V-2 set, and your Signature Numbers with that set indicate an "even-spread" of box-number outcomes (where the 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, & 10 are showing up with equal distribution as they should with that particular set); then obviously it makes sense to bet MORE on the Place-bets which will give you a higher payout.
Now all of that assumes that each of those Box-numbers ARE hitting with equal ferocity, and you are looking at it strictly from an advantage-play situation. For most players, the "confusion" comes from bet-decisions that are based on old-wives tales and superstitions or "I always bet more on the 4 and 10 because they pay more...but they never seem to come in for me" tainted-logic standpoint.
The whole premise behind Precision-Shooting or at least Precision-BETTING (used in conjunction with your capable dicesetting); is that you bet on the numbers that you throw the most of, and you adjust your bets so that they reflect the most likely routes to consistent profit. If that means betting on the Outside Numbers (4 and 10, then 5 and 9) in a heavier weighting than you bet on the 6 and 8 because they all have the same hit frequency (as verified by your own Precision-Shooting V-2 roll-tracking); then that is DEFINITELY where the lion's share of your money will be made.
As I mentioned, we will be looking at this concept much more closely in the near-term, but I wanted to give you a small taste of it now. A number of other players are doing parallel studies on the same subject, so it should be interesting to see how we can profitably integrate all of these findings into our future game plans.
Remember that we are determining the best and safest way to get from HERE (where your current skill-set profit-making is right now) to THERE (the place where your current skill-set profit-making SHOULD BE).
Loss-Limits Are MORE Critical for Advantage-Players Than Random-Rollers
On the surface, that statement may sound ridiculous...but it’s not.
Many players reason that if you have a small but discernable advantage over the casino; then you SHOULD be walking away with a hefty profit from almost every session.
That in fact is a complete and utter fallacy.
Even when you have a measurable advantage over the house; skew, volatility, and kurtosis will invariably ensure that you’ll also have just enough losing sessions to keep you from believing that you too can walk on water. That is the reason that most proficient blackjack card-counters were (and are) never able to make consistent money (or BIG money) even though they play with a significant advantage over the casino.
Yes, some players can and DO make hefty profits from their dicesetting (or their card-counting), but there are many more who play with an advantage (and sometimes a HUGE advantage at that), yet they DO NOT make more than a couple of bucks to show for all of their efforts.
Why is that?
By holding onto the fact that they HAVE an OVERALL advantage; it keeps them in many sessions where the losses just keep coming and coming and coming. While the fact remains that they DO have an overall Precision-Shooting advantage, occasionally in some sessions, they’ll often find that they just can’t seem to get anything going. It is during those sessions when overall profitability, and not overall advantage is determined.
Your LOSING sessions determine how many WINNING sessions you’ll need to bail out the losing ones.
In simple terms:
Ø Your losing sessions determine just how big the winning ones will have to be just to get you back to the break-even point.
Ø Your losing sessions determine just how much net-profit you’ll be able to extract from this game on an overall basis.
Ø Your losing sessions determine your destiny MORE than your winning ones do.
Ø If you have one mega-hand each month that spins off a $10,000 profit, but all the other losing ones consume $12,000 of your bankroll just to get there, you are STILL turning in a net-loss. Oh sure, you’re $10k win will make for good reading and the stuff that legends are built on, yet you’ll still have to keep your daytime job selling Size 6 shoes to women with Size 12 feet (and egos).
How does that happen?
Well like I said, even though you are an advantage-player…you don’t always have the advantage.
Ø I’m not just talking about any of the bets that you decide to make on random-rollers, although they too definitely figure into your overall earnings-equation.
Ø I’m not only talking about bets you make on yourself that are overall net-losers for you, although those too play a critical role in determining the flow of your overall revenue-stream.
Ø Instead, I’m talking about the fact that sometimes your shooting will be for shit, and those are the times (and the losses) which will determine just how good (net-profitable) you have to be during your next session (and probably the session after that and the next one after that as well) to be able to fill in the hole that you dug for yourself on this particular occasion.
If your Precision-Shooting isn’t working during any given session, and you find yourself in a hole…STOP DIGGING.
Having Said All of That…
…And acknowledging that there are some similarities between the way we approach our respective games…you have to remember that there are also some huge differences between pro-Blackjack players and pro-Craps players.
Ø The professional card-counter watches the cards, while the professional Precision-Shooter actually has to throw the dice.
Ø The cards are shuffled and delivered to the card-counter (without much player intervention); while the Precision-Shooter has to deliver his own good outcomes without any outside assistance.
That brings us around to the whole bet-sizing-and-money-anxiety-tied-to-shooting-performance question again.
The whole concept of betting big when you have an advantage makes a lot of sense, and in it’s most elemental form, that is what savvy dicesetters do. However, there is a certain psychological competence as well as physical skill involved in successful Precision-Shooting.
Ø If a card-counter is nervous, it doesn’t affect the way the cards are shuffled or dealt.
Ø If a much-needed paint (a 10-value face card) or an Ace is coming his way; it doesn’t matter if his heart rate is 250 over 120, or if he is raining perspiration all over the felt and his hands are wetter than a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit-edition photo-shoot; the same card that left the shoe or the deck will still be the same one that is delivered to him regardless of how nervous or excited, jumpy or animated he is. He just has to sit there and look at the cards as they are dealt. His anxiety won’t affect the flight of the card to his position; and even if it did, it would still be the same card no matter what.
On the other hand…
Ø The Precision-Shooter is the one who has to deliver the good results before he can receive the good profit.
Ø It is up to him to perform well…not the cards remaining in the shoe or the dealer’s shuffle-point interlacing.
Ø No one else is going to do it for him, unless he’s riding on another talented dice-shooters coattails. He has to throw them properly and get the correct outcomes that he has wagered on BEFORE he gets to collect a cent.
That “psychological-competence and physical-skill” difference is important to understand and deal with, not only from a “competent to let your throwing-skills and your betting-methods stand trial at a craps table” point of view, but also for that entire bet-sizing and money-anxiety tied to shooting-performance concern.
For that reason, I want to revisit something we discussed in How To Get THERE From HERE – Part Four:
If I HAVE TO play at a $100 table, then I’ll start out with less of a spread on my bets. Although my shooting is already dialed-in (otherwise I shouldn't and wouldn't be at the $100 table); I'll still only have my PL w/2x-Odds, and 6 and 8 Place-bets in action. I'll also be up on the Hard 4 & 10 for $5 or $10 each. If I hit the 5 or 9, then I’ll Place-bet them as well. If I roll the 4 or 10, it might actually take me TWO hits before I give myself permission to Place-bet them for the table-minimum of $100 (plus the vig to buy it).
That may sound CHEAP, but it's actually GOOD money-management. Although I have the bankroll to support playing at a $500 or even a $1000 min-bet table; it doesn’t mean that I’d be comfortable in doing so. While I understand the advantage-play concept of betting into ANY shooting advantage that you know you have; it's also important to have, as Heavy would say, “the crap between your ears" under control as well. For me, that means generally avoiding the $100 tables save and except for extraordinary circumstances; and completely steering clear of the rarer $500 layouts altogether.
As my shooting-skills evolve, my betting-skills continue to evolve right along with them, though perhaps not as quickly.
I mention all of this again because when you are at a high-denomination table, or even at a cheap table but you are betting at levels similar to what you would at the expensive ones…then it is up to you to perform on cue as needed and required in order to bring home the bacon.
To a large extent, that is my own reasoning for not using large ($500) base-bets and maxed-Odds of let’s say $1500 to $2500, even though I know how great my own shooting is. As terrific as I am as a dicesetter, I still have great reluctance to put more that $100 on the Passline at the start of one of my hands.
At a bet-tolerant casino, I MIGHT work it up to that point and beyond IF my shooting starts looking brilliant, but most times, I’m satisfied with a $25 base-bet and maxed-out Odds, plus all the initial high-dollar Place-bet action that I usually spread around. Obviously all of this assumes that I am in a bet-tolerant casino that doesn’t have any qualms about fairly large bets on the layout. Clearly at lower-rung casinos I have to bet with my head, and not cause them undue concern about the level of action that I have in play.
Remember, we are setting ACHIEVABLE objectives, goals and milestones that will not only give us a sense of accomplishment, but also give us some steadier occurring profit. As each new milestone is achieved, we set our sights on an even higher standard as well as a heightened level of consistency and profitability.
Ø When your dice-shooting skills are exhibiting their full prowess; that is the time to bet it up.
Ø When your dice-shooting skills are exhibiting their unreliability; that is the time to cut your losses short.
Ø However, ALL of this has to be done under bet-levels and bet-spreads that are comfortable for YOU.
Ø It does you absolutely no good whatsoever if you are the worlds greatest shooter, but the mere thought of having more than $22 on the layout causes your knees to go weak and your stellar dice-throwing prowess to turn to crap. In that case, betting in proportion to your advantage will actually bring about a level of anxiety that will surely turn your good shooting to bad.
Let me put it another way…
Ø Yes, you have to use your Precision-Shooting advantage to your benefit, and in most cases that means betting more when you have the advantage, and less when you don’t.
Ø However, it also means that you can’t continually bet beyond your comfort-level without first either re-adjusting your anxiety-level or surrendering some of your advantage over the casino, in favor of increased mental comfort and peace of mind.
Ø For me to overcome that particular problem, it took a somewhat slow ratcheting up of my bet-levels so that I gradually got desensitized to the heights that my base-bets were reaching. Of course it’s easier to accomplish that added sense of calm detachment when you are winning; but foolish and senseless to continue doing it when you start to lose.
Ø I’ve always found that a quick drop back to my next lowest comfort-level (until my shooting consistency has been restored) is the best way to not only stem losses, but also to restore winning, anxiety-free confidence.
Folks, let’s remember, we are on a journey from our current profit-levels (HERE) to a place of higher-earnings and equal or lower risk (THERE). So the route we take has to be carefully mapped out to avoid not only the biggest potholes, obstacles, pitfalls and known roadblocks; but also take into consideration any of the unforeseen inclement weather and unanticipated wash-outs that we’ll likely encounter along the way.
Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor