Do I Really NEED Another Craps Class?
By Steve “Heavy” Haltom
By Steve “Heavy” Haltom
Good question and one I get on a fairly frequent basis. In fact, it was the topic of a newsletter article I did for Dice Coach many years ago. The short answer is, “I don’t know.” The better answer is another question. “Are you satisfied with your current results?”
A while back I had the pleasure of having one of my former students sign up for one of my alumni craps clinics. He’d been having a run of tough luck at the casinos and was hoping for a quick fix that would turn things around for him. As often happens on these weekends, we ended up playing a pre-class session together at one of the local casinos. While we waited for the dice we talked about the other shooters on our table and the one adjacent to ours. There were several setters at the tables, and plenty of “Big Six/Big Eight and the Field” bettors who took the time to “school” the dice before throwing. For some reason the “chicken feeders” were under-represented this day, though there were a few in attendance. But there were no skilled shooters in the house. On this occasion, that seemed to apply to my friend and I as well.
The dice finally made it around to stick left and I took a turn at them. It was not a great hand, but it was what I call a “money hand” – around twelve rolls with plenty of time to get my place action “paid for” and a profit locked up for the series. When the devil finally reared its head I picked up my bottled water, announced to the boys that I was going to “change ends of the table and change my luck” and moved to make room for my companion to toss.
The stick moved the dice to him and he dragged them behind the pass line to set them. Then he carefully picked them up and tossed them toward the center of the back wall. The dice struck the layout, took a hard left and bounced off the wall at the first turn. The toss was off axis, but it still yielded a box number - not the seven. It was what we sometimes refer to as “bad roll – good results.” Bets were paid and the dice were again pushed to the shooter. Again he dragged them behind the pass line to set them, then picked them up and tossed them toward the center of the back wall. And again, the dice took a hard left and bounced off the wall in the first turn. But this time the results weren’t good. An off-axis seven-out. Line away.
“Where did you learn that?” I asked after we’d left the table.
He seemed confused and asked what I was talking about.
“You were setting the dice back behind the pass line, right next to the mirror. That’s not the way I taught you. Then you were picking them up and shooting from there – diagonally across the table to the middle of the back wall. It’s causing you two problems. One, your wrist is turned at the wrong angle so the dice are not level with the tabletop when you release. And two, since you’re tossing at an angle one dice is hitting the wall before the other, causing a double pitch.”
“You’re kidding,” he said. “I thought I had the toss down pat.”
“Don’t sweat it,” I replied. “You lost – what? Sixteen dollars? Cheap enough of a lesson. And it’s a quick fix. We can work it out on the practice rigs tomorrow.”
“Cheap?” he replied. I’m down around $3500 for the last three months. I was about ready to bust up my practice rig and burn it in the fireplace.”
The other question I hear frequently is, “How can I get more money off the table?” This often comes from skilled shooters who have no problem tossing what should be “money hands.” But when the inevitable seven shows up they end up leaving most – if not all – of their profits on the table.
Most of the time these players are simply either creatures of habit – or they’re just too close to the situation to be objective. I recall one student who had a strong signature on the 5 when tossing the V-3. The only problem was that he never BET the 5. He would establish a point of 4 or 9, then place the 6 and 8 for $30 each looking for a regression opportunity. But his typical series would run something like: 5 – 3 – 5 – 11 – 5 – 5 – 9 – 6 – 7 OUT.
Now, that’s a nine number hand – ten if you include the come-out roll. But with his betting strategy – Pass Line with double odds plus placing the 6 and 8 for $30 each – he would have lost money. On the one hit on the 6 he would have regressed to $18 each on the 6 and 8, leaving only $1 at risk dollar there. But he still had $5 on the pass line plus $10 odds. So when the 7 showed he ended this fine hand DOWN $14.
Now let’s consider how the savvy player could have taken advantage of the 5 had she been aware of her signature on that number. Instead of placing the 6 and 8 for $30 each let’s say the player placed the 5 and 9 for $25 each. The first hit on the 5 pays $35. The shooter collects his winnings and tells the dealer to “Make my 5 and 9 look like $15 each. She now has a $5 profit from his place bets in the rack.
On the second hit the shooter collects $21 and says, “Same bet.” She now has her Pass Line wager and free odds covered, and has guaranteed profit of $11 for the hand.
On the third hit on the 5 the shooter locks up $1 and tells the dealer to “Press my 5 and 9 back up to $25 each.”
On the fourth hit on the 5 the shooter is paid $35. She locks up the green chip and tells the dealer to go “up a unit on the 5 and 9.” The 5 and 9 are pressed to $30 each.
Next the 9 rolls and the shooter is paid $42. Again, she says “Same Bet” and her guaranteed win stretches to $72. Two rolls later the shooter sevens out – leaving $75 on the table – but locking up a $72 win.
Of course, in my favorite hangout – the “Perfect World Casino,” the shooter would have noticed the cocktail server making the rounds, realized she was out of the zone, called her bets off, picked up her free odds wager, and limited her “loss” on that final toss to $5. But that’s the subject of another article.
Do you need another craps class? Are you satisfied with your current results? A wise man once said, “Continue to do what you’ve always done and you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.” I’ve got to believe he was a gambler.