My Dad Was a Fisherman
BY: Michael Vernon
Have you ever wonder how or why some individuals excel at certain tasks? Using the same or similar equipment and basic techniques, these individuals just seem to have something special; they seem to have something in their favor that always has them out-doing the rest of the field.
My dad was a fisherman and fishing was not just a pastime hobby or a passing fancy of his. In the early days this fisherman made his own fishing poles from spit bamboo blanks. I still have some of his equipment, ferules, guides, colored thread and cement and some of the poles. He fished rivers, streams, and lakes. He fished from the bank and he fished from his boat. He fished in the summer and he fished in the winter. If there was a body of water and if there were fish in the water, my dad would find a way to catch fish.
Before I was old enough to handle a pole and line, my dad would take me fishing with him. Wearing an orange life vest, I was clipped in with a dog's leash tied to my dad's belt, with the belt running through the loop of the leash. It did not matter if he was fishing a mountain stream or trolling from his boat that is how my memories of fishing began. I am quick to recall visions childhood fishing with my dad in his boat every time I am around a high mountain lake marina. I am instantly taken back to the times with my dad with the aroma of gasoline, oil and the wetness of lake humidity mixed together.
When I became old enough to fish, my dad made my first bamboo fishing pool and I stepped into the apprenticeship of learning how to fish like my dad. There was only one thing about fishing that I missed. I never came close to the talent my dad had for catching fish. I learned all the mechanics of fishing, how to tie on the leader and add hooks and weight, baiting, casting, setting the hook, playing the fish and landing it without a net. But the one thing I never mastered was my dad's mystical talent for catching fish. How can I explain this in writing? Only to say, my dad had a certain special knack enabling him to catch fish when and where others could not. It was more than just the way he would quietly sneak up on a "hole" like an Indian. It was the careful, methodical manner in which he dangled his line over the water, swinging it just so, keeping it clear from snagging in the willows, and then not dropping the bait into the swirling depths until he had the line right where he wanted it. Then he patiently waited and moved the pole as the bait drifted to his quarry. It was like a ballet following the current until suddenly the tip of the pole would bounce hard indicating a strike, fish on.
I recall a fishing trip to the Rio Grande. It was one of my dad's favorite rivers to fish. After the war, the limit was twenty trout a day he use to tell me. At the time of this trip it was but six. I fished a spot for what seemed like an hour, although it was more like ten minutes, without a strike. My dad told me it was a good spot and I should catch a fish in that hole. A few minutes later my dad came back to check on my progress. I told him, with the frustration of a twelve year old, that there were no fish in the river. My dad said, "Let me see". He cast in his line and on the first try he pulled out a big Brown trout out of dark waters of the Rio. "How about that Mike!" He exclaimed, as though he was surprised. He loved to catch fish and each catch was as exciting as his first. To my surprise, he added that trout to four others he already had in his grass lined creel. I was too young to cuss.
Playing craps and trying to share the metaphysical side of the game is a bit like sharing fishing with my dad. It is harder to explain the process than it is to demonstrate it. Recently I received a compliment from a player that had purchased my Do's and Don'ts of Dice Playbook. (See below) He was impressed not only with my strategies but with the clarity of my writing and how the playbook was easy for him to understand. He went on to say how reading my playbook inspired him to think deeper about what he was doing while playing the game. He was contemplating smarter betting as he understood how a bet's risk to exposure related to return on investment. Wow! Exactly some of my intentions for those exposed to what I share about the game... deeper thinking for more understanding. In a way it is like peeling an onion to get to the core of it all. That lead me to this article about fishing with my dad and how learning something is not so easily mastered by just doing it.
Playing dice is like fishing. Any table, any game, has the potential for "fish". It is how the player approaches the game, either like an Indian sneaking up on it or like a galoot smashing through the briar. It has to do with the sum total of skills, knowledge and prior experiences. It is more than just throwing money onto the table and waiting for a strike. It is something deeper that a successful fisherman knows. It is that special knack that makes a player a master and not just a hobbyist passing time while on vacation. It is about placing the bait where the fish are biting. There is a deeper process, as it is with all things, and it is really up to the individual to decide the depth of the game that they honestly are willing to pursue. Just like watching my dad fish, there is more to the game than meets the eye.
From a Playing 4 Keeps Reader:
Hey Professor, I saw this bit of information on MSN.com. What says you?
MSN.com: Better Odds In Good Times or Bad, Craps Cannot Be Beaten.
Never forget, the dice are law, two nasty little lumps of mathematical certainty. Still the best bet in Vegas is on a craps table, the odds bet where - when the bet is maxed - the house edge is reduced to as little as 0.3 percent. Always make the odds bet. Max it out when possible. Simply put, it's a second wager, placed after the come-out roll, in a weirdly unlabeled area just behind the pass line. Casinos hate it because it pays true odds, and it's the only bet in Vegas that does. If the point is 10, the maximum odds bet are usually an additional wager of three times the original bet (paying 2 to 1 for a roll of 10). When the world is flush and the Strip is packed, downtown hotels and casinos routinely entice low-rolling bettors by offering higher limits on the odds bet, sometimes as high as a hundred times the pass-line bet. But when things get tight, even the Strip casinos are known to reach out to gamblers by creating more favorable returns on this classic bet. Hence the axiomatic paradox: Casino gambling is more fun when times are bad, as table minimums are nudged downward and limits creep up on the odds bet. Bet them. Max them. And hope the law leaves you in peace. - Tom Chiarella
From The Professor:
Most, if not all the strip casinos in Las Vegas offer raiser odds, 5X, 4X, 3X and they have offered raiser odds for many years now. A few joints offer 10X odds or more. I played 20X odds at Palace Station years ago. Once upon a time Binion's offered 100X odds and there are others that still do. The author in the MSN story misses the point of multi-odds. It is not about something good for the player. When the odds bet is made, sure it pays true odds but the casino still has a distinct advantage with the required pass line bet. Multi-odds is really slick advertising, just a way of making the player think they are doing better if they wager more. When you look at it from the casino's point of view, the purpose of raiser odds is to entice bettors to make an additional bet using more money. Read Mike In Hawaii's article, Fair Market Value.
Think about this statement, "Casinos hate it because it pays true odds..." Really? In all your years of playing craps, did you ever get the feeling the casino hated it when you made the odds bet? Here is the reason why it's no. Sixty percent of the time when a point is established, the point is not rolled before the seven-out (14.25454/24). No matter how much a player stacks behind the pass line, there is no denying the math of probability. Even as the math is manipulated to reduce the vig on the pass line bet with multi-odds, the point is still a dog by almost 3 to 5.
Multi-odds is nothing new or a result of economic hard times and craps can be beaten otherwise no one would play. The one tip about dice law and the math in the article is true, however the dice never made it past the third grade and really do not know how they should act according to probability. Dice do and will act out of probability and is at these times the savvy player armed with knowledge and skill will take advantage of the opportunity. For the record, I do not recommend nor do I bet more than double odds with the exception of 6/8 in which case I bet the special allowance of a five unit bet as described in Avery Cordoza's book, "Casino Craps for the Winner". It is a bit more than double odds. I figured the special allowance by dividing the pass line bet by two, round up if necessary to a whole number and then multiply by five. Although somewhat convoluted, it is the simplest method to get there. So, a $15 line bet on a 6/8 would have $40 in odds bet instead of $30.
Do's and Don'ts of Dice Playbook - A Testimonial
"First, allow me to salute you sir for your effort in providing a hard hitting no nonsense depictions regarding various plays. Regarding the subject of craps I've acquired various books from some twenty plus authors and I will say to you Do's and Don'ts would be ranked at the top of the books heralded for the serious player. I sure would be honored to shake your hand one day. Thank you Michal, thank you so very, very much."
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