The Big Easy - Part 1
BY: Pablo - DiceCoach Web Master
(Note: Here is a Trip Report that Pablo wrote when we were just getting DiceCoach.com started. It is a 3 part report and contains some sound advice. Enjoy: DiceCoach)
New Orleans, LA. The Big Easy. Home of the Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, The French Quarter, The Super Dome, Gumbo, Jambalaya, southern hospitality and friendly craps dealers!
This was my fourth trip to The Big Easy. My first trip was profitable but the other two were disappointments, and after the third trip I was almost ready to give up on dice setting. But, this trip was different.
The organization I work for decided that I needed to go to the Microsoft Tech-Ed meeting being held in New Orleans from April 9th through April 13th. By the time final approval came through the list of hotels had dwindled to only a handful, one of them being the "W" Hotel, right across the street from Harrah's Casino. Not a problem!
Harrah's in New Orleans is just a casino and does not include a hotel. They (Harrah's) utilize the "W" Hotel and I was told they also use the Hilton, which is only a block away. The "W" was ideal for us with the convention center only 4-5 blocks away and an easy walk for me. In addition the Aquarium of The Americas is only two blocks away as was the River Walk, a collection of some 60-100 shops (a delight for my wife.)
So much happened on this trip that I have decided to divide it up into three parts. This first part will deal with each day, the sessions, and the results. I'll also throw in a bit about the area and where we went. In Part II I'll talk about about precision shooting and how and why I think we can all profit from whatever level we are at now. I'll go into more detail in how I approached and prepared for this trip and the grips I used. In Part III I'll talk about how I played the $10 tables with only a $100 buy-in, and how I qualify shooters. You'll also see that I occasionally break my own rules. I guess it's like the preacher said, "Do as I say, not as I do."
That said, let's get started!
We arrived in New Orleans around 2:15 pm on a Tuesday and it wasn't until around 4:00 pm that we wandered over to Harrah's. My wife is a blackjack player, as I am also, and she headed for the BJ tables while I headed for the craps tables.
Session 1: Tuesday, 4:25 - 5:05 pm, $10 Table, Position: R1, $100 buy-in.
This is a rule that I'm sure most of us have trouble with, not playing on your arrival date. I know it's tough to do, just remember to be very, very, very careful! I was tired, as traveling always tends to tire me out. I'm also a morning person and my wife is a night person so when I'm winding down, she's getting ready to play! I only tossed the dice once and lost money on myself but did catch a random roller who hit 7 sixes. I was in on the last four.
We decided to get dinner, unpack and try later.
Session 2: Tuesday, 8:40 - 9:05 pm, $10 Table, Position: R1, $100 buy-in.
A little food and a little rest make a big difference! I threw mostly sixes and eights and hit piggybacked hard 4, 6 and 8.
Session 3: Tuesday, 9:40 - 10:05 pm, $10 Table, Position: R1, $100 buy-in.
By this time I was really getting tired and should have called it a day but my wife wanted to play awhile longer so I wandered back to the craps table. Rolled 3 times and couldn't hit anything.
Session 4: Wednesday, 8:50 - 9:15 am, $5 Table, Position: L1, $100 buy-in.
I was the only one at the table and after a couple of false starts settled in for a nice long roll in the range of 35-50 rolls. At one time the pit boss told someone, "Get in here, we haven't had a roll like this since Easter." I hit the hard 8 (piggy-backed) three times in a row! My energy level is always high in the morning and I play better, AND I make better decisions.
Note: In part III I'll talk more on my style of play, which is conservative to say the least. I'm an "up-as-you-win" type of player taking profit along the way.
This was a good spot to stop, as it was time to return to the Conference.
Session 5: Wednesday, 12:30 - 12:50 pm, $10 Table, Position: L1, $100 buy-in
Just a quick break at lunchtime, which turned out to be a mistake as the tables were full, and I had only 1 turn with the dice.
I had to head back to the conference and my wife and I planned to meet at the hotel between 4:00 pm and 4:30 pm to spend the evening on Bourbon Street. It wasn't until almost 6:00 pm that she showed up. So much for having shopping close by. We spent the evening wandering around Bourbon Street and the French Quarter.
I had been in New Orleans some 10 years ago and had found an Irish bar (I couldn't remember the name), but the night I found it Tommy Makem & Liam Clancy were there! What a find! We finally found it and its called O'Flahertys.
On the way back to the hotel my wife got in some dumb argument, I don't even remember about what, and it's never a good idea to gamble when you're upset about anything, so we called it a day.
Session 6: Thursday, 8:00 - 8:30 am, $10 Table, Position: L1 & R1, $100 buy-in
When I got to the table the crew and the pit boss greeted me warmly. I called the pit boss over and told him that I had forgotten to ask for a breakfast comp the previous day. He said he'd take care of it, which he did.
There were only four others at the table and they would only toss the dice a few times before they sevened out. On my first roll I hit a run of 15-20 numbers, which included a piggybacked hard 8.
Again, time to get back to the conference.
Session 7: Thursday, 3:30 - 4:00 pm, $10 Table, Position: R2, $100 buy-in
This was a cold table and I rolled only once with disappointing results. Everyone else was not getting past 5 or 6 rolls before sevening out. I decided throwing from position R2 (second position to the right of stick) was NOT my spot.
Session 8: Thursday, 4:00 - 4:20 pm, $10 Table, Position: L1, $100 buy-in
Again, there was nothing doing at this table. Table was crowded and I only shot once, point and seven out on 4th toss. I colored up.
I went to check on my wife and she was having a run at the BJ tables. She colored up $613 with a $100 buy-in for a $513 profit. She called the pit boss over and got us a comp good for breakfast, lunch or dinner at their buffet. She then proceeded to a Let It Ride table and won $25. At this point we took a break and got ready for an evening at the Aquarius of the Americas.
Session 9: Friday, 7:30 - 9:00 am, $5 Table, Position: L1, $100 buy-in
It was strange to find a $5 table as I was told on Thursday that they went up to $10.
It was up and down at this table and I tried both stick left (L1) and stick right (R1) with no luck at either position.
It was during this session that one of the dealers turned to the pit boss and said, "This table is really acting funny this morning." The pit boss asked what he meant and the dealer said, "A number of times the dice just stop, no bounce, no roll, no nothing!" I said, "I saw it too." The dealer looked at me and said, "You should have, it was when you were throwing!" To which I replied, "But I saw at this end also!" And, he said laughingly, "Yes, and that's when you were throwing from stick left!"
And, he was right, and I had noticed it. The dice would hit and just stop! No bounce, no roll, no nothing, maybe slide 1/4 to 1/2 inch. This happened to me maybe 8-10 times during this trip. This is the "dead cat bounce." It's interesting to note that during this short session I threw from both stick left and stick right and used two different grips. Again, I'll talk more about these grips in part II.
While I was at the tables I hit the pit boss up for a nice dinner in their Manor Room. The Manor Room serves double duty as an expensive restaurant in the evening and a room for the Diamond & Platinum players for breakfast and lunch buffets. He couldn't do anything but talked to one of the hosts who I was to call later that afternoon.
Session 10: Friday, 12:15 - 12:45 pm, $10 Table, Position: R1, $100 buy-in
I had one shot with the dice and bet on one random roller after qualifying them. Neither of us did good enough to stick around so I left.
By this time it was time to return to the conference.
After I returned from the conference I called the casino host and he set us up for dinner in the Manor Room. (Comp Value: $100)
Session 11: Friday, 3:45 - 5:30 pm, $10 Table, Position: L1, $100 buy-in
This session was to end up as one of the most interesting sessions that I have ever played!
The table was not really crowded and the dice made a couple of passes around the table. The first time I had the dice I made one point and hit one hard 6 before sevening out. The individual on my left was a newbie and was full of questions as to how to bet and where to put his money. He had questions about the difference between the pass line and come, etc. As each new shooter would get the dice I would qualify them before betting on them. As I explained to the individual on my left what I was doing, the individual to his left said no one ever held the dice very long and you had to get in early and hope for the best. His stack of chips was dwindling quickly while mine was holding it's own and had even increased slightly.
Then the dice came to the individual to the right of stick. As the dealer placed the dice in front of him he quickly grabbed them and literally flung them as fast as he could to the left. My thoughts at the time were that this would be a short roll and the people at the end of the table needed protection. I've got into the habit of mentally tracking each shooter, and after 8 rolls I jumped in. The guy threw for 15 - 20 minutes before sevening out!
By this time my stack had grown very nicely. The newbies stack had grown also. The guy to the left of the newbie who had been down to his last $40 was now smiling broadly. The newbie colored up and left (his wife came by telling him it was dinner time.) It was too bad for him, as you'll soon see. A new individual slipped into the space vacated by the newbie as the dice came to me.
I had a good roll, between 25 and 35 rolls, and hitting many numbers. When I finally sevened out I seriously considered leaving, as it's unusual to see 3 shooters in a row hold the dice for any length of time. I decided to wait and I again qualified the shooter and when he showed consistency, jumped in. Just another 15 - 20 minute roll!
Again I considered leaving as the dice passed to the guy who had been down to his last $40. But I stayed. I qualified him and finally jumped in for another 20 - 25 minute roll! When he finally sevened out, and before the dice had passed to the next guy, someone hollered, "That's going to be a tough act to follow!" The new shooter to be simply smiled and when the dice came to him proceeded to roll for 15 - 20 minutes! Again, I qualified him as a shooter before jumping in.
The next guy didn't make it past the 4th roll and almost everyone at the table colored up, except the guy who had been down to his last $40. He now had $2000 - $3000 in front of him. I never stuck around to see what happened to him. Everyone one of the shooters, with the exception of me, had been a random roller with no consistent set or throw. I have never seen this happen before in my life. Maybe it had for two shooters in a row, even three, but never five. That's why I always qualify a shooter, and if I jump in with them, I make sure to take profit along the way.
After a nice dinner we wandered over to the River Walk shops because I wanted to get a nice tie for the morning shift pit boss that had been taking care of us. Even though I may never return to New Orleans, you just never know. When we got home I also sent a thank you card to the host who I never met and thanked him for the very nice dinner. I also asked him to be put on his list. (Who knows, maybe a free trip back to The Big Easy!)
When we returned to the casino my wife wanted to play some more Black Jack. I checked the craps tables and they were packed. Only a $15 table was open. I decided to risk $100 at BJ, but no more. The first $10 table I sat down at the dealer drew to a 14 and to a 16 and beat me two hands in a row. The next table was almost the same, the dealer drawing a 20 and then a black jack. I tried a third table and again the results were the same, again only 2 hands.
On the 4th table I lost the first hand. What's wrong! Now in less than 15 minutes I only have $30 left. And then it turned ... and in 15 minutes I colored up $290!
I play BJ the same way I play craps. If you beat up on me I move quickly and if I hit a streak I ride it. But, I always set a departure point (money wise) when I get ahead, or down. The goal is to always leave a table as a winner, or at worst, only down a little.
I checked with my wife at the Let It Ride table and she was up $50. The craps tables were still packed so I found a $5 BJ table and 20 minutes later colored up $223, up another $123. And, that was enough for me. I found my wife and we retired for the evening after an incredible 24 hours.
Session 12: Saturday, 7:45 - 9:45 pm, $5 Table, Position: L1 & R1, $100 buy-in
Again I break my own rules. Don't play on your last day. If you must play then put strict limits on the amount you'll gamble with. When I got to the craps table my pit boss friend was opening up a BJ pit so I asked the pit boss (the box man from previous days) for a breakfast comp and got one. A little later my pit boss friend stopped by and I gave him my card and the tie. It created quite a stir in the pit and I'm sure it will be remembered.
I didn't really keep track of each table I went to as I roamed between 3 of them over the two hours. The tables were cold though and I was up and down. Nothing seamed to work until I realized I wasn't looking for the "sweet spot." When I finally adjusted my landing zone on a $10 and things improved. I had a 15 - 20 roll run right before we quit for the day.
Summary - Trip Results & Totals
Total Sessions: 12
(7), $7 + $75+ $210 + $54 + $49 + $613 + $65 = $1073
(5), $80 + $49 + $50 + $28 + $40 = -$247
Net: + $826
Hours Played: 9 hours 20 minutes
Hourly win: $90/Hour approx.
I made friends with the dealers early by piggy backing hard ways and with an occasional line bet ($1 with $2 odds) on the 5 and 9. I only saw one box person give a shooter any flack about hitting the back wall. I missed hitting the back wall a number of times and never, never a word. I also noticed the dealers leaning back so I always had a clear shot at my target zone.
Notice also that most of my sessions were short. Hit and run and have fun!
Remember, take care of those that take care of you and, ... any win is better than any loss ... any day.
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