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The Hard Way  
BY:  Ramon - Hard Six Chicago

A win at the table sometimes never seems to come easy. No matter how many practice tosses you have made or simulated sessions on a practice unit, success seems to only come the hard way. I guess if it were any easier maybe craps would not be any fun. I have been trying to figure out why we make it so hard when we have all this training and practice under our belt. What can be done to learn from our mistakes, which each of us could probably write a book about, and always apply what we have learned.  
 
Reality at a craps table includes too many variables and distractions too list. Real money on a table, random rollers, waitress, box man, drinks, fatigue, and shooting out of position are all dice realities. What can we do to turn this negative situation around? Too bad there is not a dice switch to turn us into automatic. Are there triggers to take us into the "zone" or things we need to do before we hear "we are coming out" and you have two dice in front of you? I think so.  
 
This year I have been making notes of things that have worked for me (i.e. dice sets, table position, time of day, buy-in, average bet etc.) but most importantly what has not worked. The purpose seems too simple; do what works and avoid what does not. Comedian David Brenner at a recent Las Vegas show said "if 6 out of 10 people got hit with a bucket of paint every time they left their house more people would stay inside". He mentioned this when talking about divorce rates and why he did not want to get married again. This was a 90 minute show and before it was over he brought his girlfriend of many years on stage and surprised her with a Rabbi and they got married! He just mentioned why he did not want to do it and he did it anyway. There are parallels to this with craps. Have you ever played when you did not want to only to reconfirm why you should not have played (loss)?  
 
My first step has been the easiest so far- avoid what does not work for me. For me this has been buy-ins greater than 40 times my average place bet, too high of an initial place bet(s), waitress distractions, fatigue at the table, and playing when I really did not want to in a group session. By doing nothing else other than paying attention to negative triggers, I have been able to turn my game around. Earlier this year after having dinner, a time when I know I should not play craps because vital energy is diverted to help digestion, we were in a group setting and came across an empty table at the Mirage in Las Vegas. One hour later what was once a comped meal became an expensive dinner without wine! Another time after having a successful time at the tables at a different casino we returned to our hotel only to give it back.  
 
Just as we track our tosses or write down the numbers a shooter is rolling at a table, I encourage you to either make a mental or written note about what you should not be doing. What happened right before you heard seven out? Did someone want to buy-in right next to you? Were your bets not paid for yet and you were outside your comfort zone? Waitress asks you cocktails? Shooter called their bets off before their toss? Box man ask the shooter to hit the back wall? Your gut said come down to minimums across while your mouth said "press it"? If you make these notes, you will create your own set of "dice rules". This way next time you are at a table and a deja vu moment occurs, you can take your action down or stay off one roll. You might sacrifice a payout or save all your active action. Wouldn't you rather walk away from the table up $10 than down $1000? This obviously has not always worked. This is like a battle. It is better to go down fighting than be a deer standing in headlights?  
 
The second step in improving your game is executing what you have been trained to do. Have you ever been to a sporting event (i.e. MLB, NBA, NFL or Soccer) and seen the players warm up before a game? Baseball players use donut shaped weights for practice swings, NBA players get stretched by conditioning coaches while football and soccer players do sprints to warm up. John Hinds, a physical therapist specializing in Orthopedic and Sports rehab in El Segundo, California comments in a golfing article that Warm up prepares the body for activity by promoting more efficient movement patterns through increased flexibility and blood flow. Proper warm up helps tune the neuromuscular system, optimizing muscle force production (aka strength and power), coordination and reinforces proper movement patterns specific to the golf swing. Again, we have parallels to our game of craps.  
 
Have you ever warmed up at a table before you got the dice? I have lost my inhibition to warm up before I get the dice, but don't always do it as to not draw too much attention to myself. Sometimes we need to prep for craps in our hotel room or away from the table so that that we are good to go when it is our turn to shoot. It is up to each of us to figure out what our pre-game warm ups are. Ignacio Larranaga in his book Encuentro (a prayer book) says "Many people do not advance in their prayers because they neglect preparation prior to praying. If you do not relax prior to praying, not only will you be wasting your time but you will be nowhere near your desired results". This statement reinforces the importance of preparation.  
 
Last month at Bally's in Las Vegas, a fellow shooter and I were at a crowded table that was going nowhere. Situation sound familiar? We each had two rolls of the dice from our favorite positions. He was stick right and I was stick left. One my first toss of the dice the 3-V setup yielded a beautiful symmetry of a double pitched die that produced a point and seven out. The second time around I changed setups to compensate my double pitch and now flawlessly executed a quarter pitch point and seven out. In between these two tosses and about 15 random shooters I managed to sink myself into the red by more than 10 black chips. As the dice were headed around, now straight out right, the table minimum went up to $25 from $10 with no grandfathers allowed. Being optimistic I was not concerned because I felt that if he held the dice until sunrise we would never see the new table minimum. That did not happen. My partner stick right was out and everyone was coloring in. The box man wanted to close the table before I bought in for another $200. I figured that if everyone was leaving I now had a table to myself in Las Vegas, Nevada for a $200 buy-in with a $25 minimum bet. This was a deal! I have seen whales at a private table with $500 minimums and much larger markers.  
 
So what was next? It was put up or shut up time shooter as I like to call it. Without knowing it I was about to apply everything that has worked for me in the past while attempting to avoid negative pit falls. I first had a waitress bring me 2 bottles of water and tipped her before she brought them back and told her where to put them when she returned. Next, I went into an undulating spine stretch with my legs close together as if I were in a yoga class (which I do not do). As I brought my hands up from touching my toes I took very deep breaths and cleared my mind. I knew exactly what I was going to do next. Grab them dice and use a recently learned dice grip that the Dice Coach has christened "Aces Kissing". Have the aces touch and set them up so that I have a 3-5 on top and a 5-3 facing me. I had a stern look on my face that showed I meant business. My eyes were focused on my landing spot which was for the choosing since the only other player was my partner stick right. Over the next 45 minutes I managed to crawl out of a negative 12 black scenario to positive 25 black. The only time I missed the back wall, by inches, I was immediately reminded I needed to hit the back wall. This is a negative trigger for me. I placed a $32 across bet for the crew and added $1 action for the crew on my hard ways with a player control 2 way parlay. The crew made about $120 on the across bet because I kept them up after each hit. They were as happy as I was when a hard 8 that we parlayed hit (we started with $15 for me and $5 for them before the parlay). This brought a very rare high five from the box man and a hand shake "Thank You" from the dealers. The inevitable eventually happened but since I was so far up it did not matter. I did make a note that I threw them too high that last roll!  
 
When I reflect on this roll I realized what I had done. I was at a very comfortable place bet level collecting one black chip every hit. I had started at minimums across and worked my way up. I made sure my bets were paid for first saying "same bet" a few times. I was hydrated and not fatigued. The table was so hot the box man did not allow anyone to buy in. It was mine for the taking. I have tried to make the analogy that negative and positive triggers can repeat themselves. To test this I went back to the same table the next day and took a spot stick right. The dice were handed to me 2 shooters later and I added 24 more black chips to my positive side when it was over. I did exactly what I did the night before. Pre-game warm ups and focus on negative triggers. I don't know if this will always work but it is going to be a lot of fun finding out.  
 
Keep 'em in pairs and have fun making money the Hard Way!  
 
 
 

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Have you ever noticed that everyone in a casino seems to be in a hurry? Are they in a hurry to win, or a hurry to lose? - From Wit & wisdom To Help You Win, by by John Gollehon -

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