Before entering any craps game in any casino, I always watch the play before placing a bet. With that stated, I generally chart the table with pen and paper to look for trends as our friend the "7" cycles around. The first six, twelve and eighteen rolls speak volumes about the table conditions. This information lets me know how best to approach a specific playing opportunity.
Now I recognize that many players just don't find charting with pen and paper that appealing or comfortable. However, even if players do not subscribe to the practice of charting, there are other tools at the table to help keep track of what is going on.
In our Dice Busters workshops we teach a number of ways to use your chips as a tracking tool. Tracking allows you to see what the table is doing. Is it hot or cold? Are there any noticeable trends? One very simple tracking method that will give you a sense of what the table is doing is as follows:
When you exchange your cash for chips, allow for the inclusion of extra chips in two different denominations such as white and red chips. Separate these chips from the rest of your bankroll. At the craps table, you have two racks for your chips. Use the rack directly in front of you for tracking purposes.
Your plan is to rack these chips in an arrangement by color that corresponds to the pattern of the roll decisions. For me, the red chips represent don't pass and the white represent the pass. When a shooter completes their point, rack a white chip. When a shooter seven's out, rack a red chip. As you begin racking and tracking what is going on between the seven cycles, you will be able to see how the table is either completing its points or trending toward cold.
Simply racking seven to ten decisions with chips will give you some very useful information. More consecutive reds will prove to be devastating for a pass line player. Wouldn't it be far better to know this information before playing the pass line?
This also helps players remain disciplined in an indirect way. It forces them to keep their hands busy tracking, rather than tossing the chips on to the table due to the subconscious pull to play as quickly as they can, without any consideration for table conditions.
Always recognize that you have a choice of betting approaches. Knowing the table conditions before you start betting will greatly benefit your overall game.
Remember, there is no single playing approach or system that is right for all table conditions. Therefore, a willingness to gather as much information about the game in the moment of play and being a flexible player once you have gathered your information, will pay you chips far more often than not.