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Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending

Ninja Craps Pro



Group Dynamics

Every so often a significant number of dice students come to Las Vegas around the same date. Although these players may be aligned with different shooting communities, it is understandable and only natural that they would want to socialize and share their knowledge for the betterment of their dice game. And it is not uncommon for these groups to make plans to play sessions together at the various casinos.

Still, this kind of group play can be tricky at best. More times than not the players' outcomes do not meet individual expectations. I also recognize that it is hard not to join in the dice sessions with a large group in town. I have "been there and done that."

Group play is a different aspect within our gaming approach and can have a significant impact on our individual playing results. The group thinking is that: "one good shooter is great - and more is even better. After all, we are precision shooters and at least one of us will catch a hand."

After one of these sessions, it is not uncommon for me to hear that a shooter caught a great hand and yet some of the group players left the table basically empty handed. Although there was a hot roll, the rest of the shooters did not experience the same kind of throwing results. The pressure to bet on everyone in the group leaves everyone's bankroll at risk. With this scenario alone, I just can't see why the casinos don't love us more.

I've had been asked for advice on many subjects, but the most prevalent question is "why are my session results not matching my player expectations during group play with other dice setters".

In this particular playing situation, it is important to remember that there will always be other playing opportunities. The key to group play is for each player to figure out how to best support the group, without feeling obligated to shoot or bet during any one particular session.

My aim is not to discourage anyone from joining a group session for play experience. Meeting and connecting with other players is a great thing. With the shared experience of group play, the player will evolve within their game, regardless of whether they win or lose. How other people play the game in real sessions can be very educational. Yet for me, group play just does not work in my overall strategy for moneymaking opportunities, especially when it involves a session with four or more players in a crowded playing environment.

In groups, there is a subtle influence or pressure on each player to accomplish more than what they could possibly do on their own at the tables. Everyone is vying for a position to shoot. The decision to play out of position compromises a player's confidence. Decision making at the table is different and tends to be based on what other shooters are doing.

After all, it seems that during group play; no one wishes to bet against someone in his or her particular group, even when the shooting climate dictates a change in direction. Normally there is no clear leader to influence a favorable direction for all at the table. And to leave a craps table early seems to be out of the question. As a result, tension often ensues and the decision on how to play is clouded. Such is the group dynamic.

Factors in group play that are seldom considered, yet still important, are the size of the group, male or female, age of the players, personalities, skill level, shooting style, cultural influences and even the mood of each individual player. With the size of the group in particular, imagine what your playing results would be if you decided to play craps with just one other person? Surely, your decisions of where to and how to play would be totally different versus playing in a situation with say a group of six to ten people. And, how much active communication amongst the group really takes place?

It is not enough to feel that craps is beatable just because you are playing with others affiliated with one particular camp or another. It is important to know as much as possible about your playmates. Qualifying your playmates becomes just as important as qualifying the shooter. And remember that each player has different goals.

This is a game that will require your full attention if you plan to make money through group play. Here is one idea I have discussed with a few frustrated players recently; Pass the dice, not everyone has to shoot. Pass the dice to the good shooters that have proven that they have some confidence with the dice today.

The mindset is that "everyone wants to be the hero", and the group influence seems to support that energy. Smart players know that, had all the players agreed to let the hot shooter keep the dice - keeping a potential "hot" hand alive as long as possible, - the outcome might be more profitable for all.

But, I have yet to see a table of ten precision shooters do this. Why risk giving your chips back to the casino, hoping to prove you are just as good a shooter as everyone else. Just pass the dice back to the hot "shooter".

I recently worked with another astute player who has elevated his game to a point that he does not have to participate in all the group sessions. Still, he loves the social aspect of getting together with other like-minded players. He has reached a point in his game where he doesn't have to play because, in his gaming reality, he knows when to pick playing sessions that are favorable for him and remains disciplined about it. If his fellow group members experience a winning hand he is there to congratulate and offer support. He knows there is always another opportunity just around the corner and it is nice to see that he has developed a deeper understanding of his own game. So, don't shoot or play if the game is not favorable for you individually.

To play in groups is never clear-cut. Yes, there is always a greater chance that someone may bust out a monster hand. The real test is whether you will know what to do with that monster hand to make your best money. Group play is challenging at best. It offers growth for the player and if done with an awareness of all the subtle influences in play, it can provide you with information on how best to play your game for maximum profit.

Have fun out there.

Soft Touch

In the casino, everyone thinks they're an expert. An expert is a guy who knows 47 ways to make love, but can't find a girlfriend. - From Wit & Wisdom To Help You Win, by John Gollehon -

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