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    FEATURED ARTICLE 

        

You're Right Brain Sucks at Math  
BY:  Steve Haltom

Awhile back I wrote an article titled "Your Left Brain is a Lousy Crapshooter." You can find it in the archives here on Dice Coach's website. In it I addressed the fact that the brain is divided into two distinct hemispheres - each with its own well defined function. The right brain is the center of creativity. It's in charge of things like facial recognition, processing music, visualization and (yes) things like executing a controlled toss. In general, the left hemisphere is dominant in processing what you hear and how you respond to the information provided. It's also in charge of carrying out logic and exact mathematical computations. If we drill it down to use of the five senses, the right brain is dominated by the visual while the left brain is dominated by audio pictures and words.  
 
Now, imagine getting stuck in picture mode or audio mode. You've seen and heard this on YouTube and Facebook - a short video - say five seconds or so - that continues repeating endlessly. You see the dice. You set the dice. You pick up the dice and loft them down table, watching them rotate on axis. The dice strike the table. They tumble to the back wall, tap it gently, then roll back revealing your number. Loop that over and over and over and what do you get? A little something we call the "zone."  
 
Talk to players who have been in the zone and they'll tell you that the rest of the world just fades into oblivion. All they see are the dice, and the visualization of the roll happening again and again and again. And if you read these players trip reports they'll often include something like "I tossed the dice for a little over an hour, hit five to the Fire, and only made $117 for the hand." Why did that happen? Because he got caught up in that right brain loop and never got around to shifting into left brain mode so he could press his bets.  
 
Now let's talk about getting caught up in a left brain loop. Your self-talk might sound something like this. $10 Pass Line, plus $50 odds. Buy the four and ten for $25. Place the five and nine for $35. Place the six and eight for $42. Four or ten pays $50 for $1 - press the first hit to $50. Five or nine pay $50 for one same bet. Six or eight pay $50 for $1. Press the first hit to $90. And your inner voice is repeating these same words over and over in a continuous loop to make sure you get it right. And you do get the press moves down. But then you're stuck in a left brain loop and need to make the transition back to the right side.  
 
Now, when you actually roll one of the numbers you bet on it's not really that difficult to get into left brain mode - particularly if you are right handed. That's because your brain and your body are "cross-wired." Your left brain controls your right hand and your right brain controls your left hand. And since most of us are right handed - you'll understand that the left brain is dominant in most shooters. Just relax for a moment and you're brain will shift into left brain mode quite effectively all on its own. If it doesn't and you are stuck in "picture" mode instead of "word" mode you can initiate the shift yourself by simply thinking in words. You might say to yourself, "Let's pause that and come back to it in a minute. Right now, let's talk about something more interesting - like turning a profit." Actually, the exact words don't matter. The point is to shift from pictures to words.  
 
Can you run your betting strategy in right brain mode? Some people have trained themselves to do it. First off, they'll commit their betting strategy to memory so they can repeat it automatically without really thinking about it. Odds are they'll use some casino chips to practice their press moves before going to the casino. And it's likely they'll use different verbiage to instruct the dealer how to handle their bets. Instead of telling the dealer to "Make my eight look like $18" after a hit he's more likely to say "Up a unit." If he wants take full pressure he might just say "Stack it all up." Why do this? Because these are rote answers you don't have to think about. They are visual answers - the right brain can "see" the chips staying the same as they are - or being stacked up. For the most part, the right brain knows to get more action on the table, but can't be bothered with questions like "how much" or calculations like "how much sevens risk to I have now?" That's because your right brain is patiently waiting in the background for it's chance to control the dice toss once again, and in truth could care less about pressing a bet.  
 
I've done this with a press move I got from my friend "Wizard" awhile back. It's a play I've coopted to a degree and nicknamed the "Green Chip Goldmine." I used one version of it in the left brain self-talk example above. It starts with $66 inside or $18 each on the six and eight, depending on your initial sevens risk tolerance. On the first hit on the six or eight you drop $3 on top of the $21 pay off and say "Eight looks like $42." That's it. It's your one and only press on the eight. Every time it rolls after that it pays $50 for $1. Just be sure you have a supply of $1 chips so you can rack up those green chips. It's automatic. You do it and don't think about it. If the five or nine had rolled and you had them bet for $15 each then you'd say "Nine goes to $35." You'll get $1 change and, on subsequent hits you'll be paid $50 for $1 on it as well.  
 
My theory is that if you are pressing in right brain mode you should never press beyond this level. Why? Because the first time you think - Okay, I've collected three times on the eight, I should press it to $90. How much will that take? Let's see. Pays $50 for $1. The dealer will take the $1 off the cap and stack up $41 with the $50 pay off, set up the $90 bet and hand off the $1 change . . . (and that's exactly what goes through my mind in these situations) you'll find yourself firmly back in left brain mode and your hand is essentially over. Why? Because, if you remember from the last article, your left brain is a lousy crapshooter.  
 
In that last article I gave you a couple of suggestions on how to get yourself into right brain mode before going to the tables. Now let's assume you're at the table, you've just shifted to left brain mode as in the above example, and you want to get back into right brain mode. Remember what we did earlier? We "paused" the video loop. So now you want to hit "play" once again. You can do that any one of several ways. You may want to take a deep breath, blow it out, relax, and visualize the dice tumbling down the table again - just like they did before. Or you may simply want to close your eyes for a second, visualize that "play" button, click on it and continue that video. In the end - it's whatever works for you.  
 
Remember, it's not crappy dice that beats you at the tables - it's the crap between your ears.

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