Let’s start with this premise:
~You want to be able to do your dice-influencing thing in a relatively unmolested or maltreated sort of way.
~You also want to blend in with the gamblers at the dice tables, and not be immediately singled-out as an advantage-player.
~At the same time, you also want to be “leniently appreciated” by the dealers and pit-folks by way of what I euphemistically refer to as “dealer-courtesies”.
That is, you want to be treated as well if not much better than they would normally treat other players at the same table. That enhanced treatment includes a certain level “backwall clemency” if you should accidentally throw the dice short once in a while, as well as an improved tolerance for some of your betting patterns should they fall into what many dealers classify as the ‘high-maintenance’ category.
So if that’s the goal; then how do you accomplish it?
In a word:
I can tell you that I have invested a lot of time over the years in figuring out exactly how to tip or TOKE in the most cost-efficient and result-effective way.
I can also tell you that it’s not just a matter of how much money you spend on tipping or how frequently you do it; but rather HOW you do it and WHEN you do it, that makes a world of difference in terms of getting maximum return on each dollar that you toke.
So how what tipping method and amount (or percentage of your basic bets) will help keep the dealers on your side or at least not be antagonistic toward you as a dicesetter; and knowing that tipping eats into your net-profit; how much is enough, while not being too much?
Blending in with the gamblers; yet being treated far better than them is not as tricky as it sounds.
Let’s start off with our efforts to de-randomize the dice:
Here’s the thing about actually going through your pre-throw routine:
If a player anquishes over setting the dice just so...and then takes one or more practice swings...and then lines the dice up just so...and then rechecks his grip and re-squares the dice...and then pulls his visual focus to concentrate on the target-area...then rechecks his fingers/hand/wrist/elbow/arm-alignment again...and then does a couple of deep breathing relaxation exercises...and then rechecks his grip and re-squares the dice...it can start to get a little irritating to the crew. Hell, it gets irritating to me just watching it.
It’s no wonder that dealers razz so many players who do that. They make themselves easy targets. Your dice-influencing efforts should look almost entirely nonchalant, unstudied, and merely habitually routine…just like other random-rollers who do a BIT of a pre-throw routine, and NOT like the guys who school the dice and go through a 15-minute mumbo-jumbo pagan ritual every time the dice come to them.
I am not suggesting that any of you guys currently do that; rather, I'm just saying that I've seen many players from various camps who do it...and quite a few of them get an increased level of heat NOT BECAUSE of their perfect throw, but because of the will-he-E-V-E-R-thrown-the-damn-dice routine that they go through before every toss.
The longer you fiddle with the dice PREPARING for your eventual throw; the more heat and unwanted comments your actual toss will draw from the crew and pit.
I prefer using a nice casual looking set, grip and toss. No antics, no contortions, no practice swings, no mumbo-jumbo; and though the dice do leave my hand looking like they are glued together, the pre-toss lead-in is SO subtle, SO casual, and SO quick, that the whole toss-sequence is over and done with before many others have even gotten halfway through their pre-shot routine.
Have you noticed that we haven’t even talked about tipping yet?
That’s not accidental. That is because part of getting the most bang out of each tipped dollar is knowing how to behave when you are at the table.
My experience is that almost every dice-crew will extend a LOT more lenience and accommodation to a player who doesn't get on their nerves with his pre-toss sequence than one who does.
I find that this goes doubly so for TGS's and Pit-bosses who are charged with the responsibility of policing and enforcing loosely defined win-tolerance levels…and for making sure that the dice get thrown frequently enough to come close to the expected rate of decisions-per-hour that the corporate bean-counters say is necessary to keep the table staffed and operating.
Lately many D-I's are reporting growing signs of impatience from both the pit and other players if you set the dice quickly, grip them quickly...and then take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to actually launch them.
Some guys take the "breathe---exhale---focus" thing to such an extreme that EVERYONE at the table can't help but become impatient. That makes you a nuisance and I can tell you that you’ll need to tip way more than the guy who tips less but uses a much less aggravating and time-consuming pre-launch routine.
If you are considered to be low-maintenance, non-flea, well-behaved, no-hassle player; your toke money is going to get you much better mileage than a heavy-task, heavy-annoyance heat-magnet who tips much larger than you.
A Perverse Form of Dealer-Entertainment
Let’s face it; many dice dealers are bored as they pass the dice to the next shooter for the 18-millionth time. Some of them take perverse pleasure in trying to get under the skin of certain players. It’s kind of like the school-yard bully who will pick on just about anyone who crosses his path.
Many dealers have seen how easy it is to rattle wanna-be dice-influencers by razzing them about what they are doing, and they’ve also seen how many dicesetters will color up at the first sign of perceived heat.
For some dealers it’s a perverse form of entertainment to see how much they can taunt a player before he unintentionally 7’s-Out or just plain leaves…sometimes even in the middle of his own hand.
While I’m not saying that you should play in houses where you are unwelcome by the dealers, I am saying that immediately coloring-up at the first sign of unwanted dealer attention just reinforces the notion that we are a bunch of jumpy old ladies who are upset at the mere sight of our own shadow on a sunny day.
Toking goes a long way in terms of not only reducing that sort of loutish dealer behavior (especially when you point out to all the other dealers that this one particular butthole surfer is costing them tokes that they’d be normally earning off of your play); but it also sets the stage for future visits where you’ll be remembered more for your ability to toke (which is what the dealers REALLY care about) instead of your ability to influence the dice (which the dealers really DON’T care about in the grand scheme of things).
Avoiding Stick-Proximity Heat
A right-handed shooter who utilizes the SL-1 position is somewhat more likely to receive stick-specific "you-are-invading-my-personal-space" heat from a stick-person than a right-handed SR-1 shooter.
Well simply, proximity-mechanics is the reason. That's a fancy name for how close a major moving portion of your body comes to the stickman’s body.
~A right-hander shooting from SL-1 uses a backhand type release that is much closer to the stickman than a right-hander shooting from SR-1.
~SL-1 sees you using your "near" shoulder to make your throw, while SR-1 utilizes your "outside" (away from the stick-man) shoulder to execute your toss.
As a result, a right-handed SL-1 shooters shoulder, elbow, arm, and hand, all come much closer to the stickman than a right-handed shooter from SR-1 does; so it’s easier for them to feel that you are invading their personal space.
How do you have the dealer move out of your way without provoking any negativity on his part?
Well, you can start off with a dealer bet piggybacked on your Passline wager (a $1 chip off-set on top of your base-bet), and say something along the lines of, “I’m not trying to crowd you or anything when I throw; it’s just that I have a little trouble with my shoulder; so if I get a little too close, feel free to use your stick as a cattle-prod and I’ll get the message…umm, is it okay if I add piggybacked Odds for the crew when we establish a Point?”
That usually lightens the mood enough to have him move back to the far side of his stick-area, and even if he doesn’t move; it often buys you enough latitude to do what you need to do in terms of extending your arm at the proper dice release point. As long as you don’t STAY too close to him after each throw so that it feels like you are dirty dancing with him, you’ll get the toss-motion latitude that you feel like you need.
If all else fails, just take half a step back from your initial target area…and forget about piggy-backing any Odds for the dealers.
Indicators of Casino Discomfort
Before we move on to Part Two; I want make sure we all know what IS and what ISN’T pit-heat:
It ISN’T pit-heat if the TGS (Table Game Supervisor) comes over and starts watching you roll. You probably only NOTICE when they do it during your roll, but they come around quite often when others are shooting too.
They are in charge of rating everyone's play…they are there to ensure that the dealers are making the correct payouts (especially during a hot roll when the betting amounts have been ratched up), and they are there to note which new players have come to the table, which players have left the table, to check whether there are enough casino-cheques in the boxman’s chip-bank, whether the dealers are following proper protocol in terms of bet placement, stack maintenance, and payout techniques to name a few. Even if he comments on the way you are throwing, including a reminder to hit the backwall…THAT is NOT heat.
If you want to define what IS heat, the list could go on and on, but I’ll catalog just a few:
- They’ll have the stick-man lean way over the table when you are shooting…often having him plant his stick in the middle of the prop area with his forearm firmly blocking your sightlines.
- They’ll chant their endless “hit the backwall HARDER” mantra, but add “…and the dice have to come back at least a foot off the backwall”.
- They’ll “short-stick” you to make you s-t-r-e-t-c-h for the dice.
- They’ll “no-bet” your action just to piss you off.
- They’ll put your Come or Place bets in the wrong player-spots on the layout.
- They’ll conveniently forget to pay you your “change”, or they’ll cap someone else’s bet with your Press action.
- They’ll miss-pay your winning bets, or place your pay-offs in the wrong areas so that another player may accidentally pick up your money.
- They’ll encourage new players to squeeze in beside you when the table is filling up.
- They’ll bring in an often un-needed chip-fill, or change-out the dice in mid-hand.
- They’ll hurry your shooting and try to break your rhythm by saying something like, "No setting...just pick 'em and flick 'em shooter".
- They’ll have the stickman re-arrange a Prop or Hardway bet just as the dice are leaving your hand.
- The boxman will tell the stickman to “reduce your working stacks” by having him hand in a full-stack (20 cheques) to the box, just as you are about to throw the dice.
- The boxman will have the stickman “recall” the dice just before you pick them up so that they can be “re-examined”.
- They’ll pass you by the next time it is your turn to shoot again.
That’s just the beginning of the aggravation. They have a myriad of tricks in their bag to aggravate you, and they’re not shy about using each and every one of them. In fact, those are fairly mild forms of heat compared to what advantage-play blackjack players have to go through with back-offs, evictions, and expulsions.
In Part Two, we’ll be discussing some specifics about toke-sizing in relation to the average amount of your basic line-bet, as well as how often to do it in order to keep the dealers on your side…while not overtipping to the point where it is disproportionate to the additional latitude that those tips earn you.
Good Luck and Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.
The Mad Professor
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