Dice Setter Precision Shooter's Newsletter
Happy New Year everyone! I can look back on 2003 as a profitable and entertaining year. I hope you too found yourself on the right side of the balance sheet at years end. Midway through the year, I decided that I wanted to spend less time talking about dice influencing, and more time at the tables DOING it. In other words, I took my cue from Elvis, "A little less conversation, a little more action." That turned out to be a good decision, both financially and emotionally. Though I've got a seminar planned with Heavy early in 2004, and possibly one much later in the year with Heavy and , my plan is to continue to play more, and hopefully to continue to reap the benefits of the art form we practice.
Unfortunately, casino conditions for dice influencers have eroded a bit in the past year. Though not dire in any way, I believe that trend will continue into 2004. The economy is improving, so in most markets, casinos won't be as desperate for players, and the fact that dice influencing is being over-hyped by some gaming authors, well, in short, expect more heat in 2004. The truth is, we can't control what others do, but we CAN control how we conduct ourselves at the tables. So when you take your skills to the casino, stay low on the radar, don't overstay your welcome, and don't discuss what we do at the tables.
Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2004!
Just for the Record
by Michael Vernon
I have a suggestion for a New Years resolution - record keeping. Each New Year I pick up a pocket calendar or journal book. In it, I keep a record of each session that I play. I have one book for craps and one book for blackjack. I record each session that I play. I record the casino, the game played, (blackjack/craps) the time of day, the length of time played, unit bet, buy-in bankroll, units won/lost, table conditions, and a short account of each session. This is a required discipline for the player serious about improving their game. It is easy to keep a running count of profit and loss from each game, thus providing you with an accurate account of where you stand for the year. It keeps you honest with yourself.
Keeping a record is essential for tax purposes. Gambling losses are tax deductible against gambling profits. If you are going to itemize gambling income, you must be able to defend losses with a record. The casino is not going to write you a receipt for your losses when you cash out. It is up to you to be able to document your gambling history.
The most important reason to document your playing time is for reference. A journal can be a powerful resource in helping to identify strength and weakness in your game. If I get a call for help from a former student that is in a slump, the first thing I ask them is if they have been keeping their gaming journal up to date.
A player can review their journal, look at the losing sessions, and usually find essential elements that lead to the slump. When a player is experiencing an unsuccessful streak, some typical tell-tale signs would be playing too long, chasing a loss, engaging poor conditions, making mistakes, playing too tight, or playing too aggressive. Probably playing too long and playing carelessly are the leading telltale signs that will come from good journal notes.
Playing too long means to remain in a game that is going nowhere and ignoring the signs that the game has stalled. A game that goes back and forth - wins one, lose one, push - is a dead game. After an hour and half to two hours, the game turns cold and, in less than fifteen minutes, the entire betting stake is lost. (See Michael's article The Wall) Playing too long tends to lull a player into a trance-like state of mind, believing that the game is bound to turn around and become favorable.
Playing careless is usually a lack of discipline. The player gets in a game that they have no business playing. It often is a matter of ego or emotion that causes a player to think they are invincible and that they can walk up to any table and make it pay. Being too eager to play and getting into bad games is an unsuccessful habit for both experienced and novice players. Getting into a game that you have not assessed for positive playing conditions, will usually rack up a win in the casinos column. The idea of playing anytime, on any table, is what built the City of Dreams. The games are always on, you, as the player, must have charge of your game by being patient. You are a winner when you play at optimum times with optimum conditions. Realize that you are a hunter, if you are going to eat, you must hunt smart.
Here are sample journal entries.
1/27/00, Mirage, Craps, 7:00am, $5 unit, played 1.5 hr. +28 units, 6-7 players, Steady game, back and forth, no one really doing much, short hands, 1 or 2 points or quick outs, treading water, I broke the ice with a three point hand, next shooter rolled a six point hand, then back to the earlier game with the other players, colored 28 units up. Never down more than 10 units, good crew, game moved along, no one playing the prop bets.
1/28/00, Mirage, BJ double deck, 11:00 am, 10$ unit, woman dealer, two other players, 1 hr. 20 min., up 15 units profit. Good start, winning 1-2-3 units per shuffle. Count never broke away more than a exact plus 4, never got a big bet out, did well on doubles, defended splits, Only 3 BJs, made a fair amount of stiff hands without busting, hit the wall after about 1 hr of play (game stalled), table filled with players, I colored up.
3/18/00, Big Rock, 9:30 p.m., BJ double deck, 45 min., $5 unit, smart ass male dealer, down 23 units, played head to head first 15 min., always just out by one or pushed on my 20s, losing after each shuffle, 1 BJ & 1 BJ push, lots of 12s and 13s, could not pull a hand, few doubles and lost them all, smoker sits in at 3rd base, count went plus, lost on a 4-unit double, followed by a 4 unit loss, lost 12 units in two hands on a plus count.
My journal has shorter notes and cues, but they are enough to remind me of the session. The idea is to record the information for your benefit, and learn from it when you need a review. When beginning the journal, more information is better. Lets look at the second example. It details a winning blackjack session. Notice that although the count never really got good, I was consistently grinding out small profits after each shuffle. This was a good sign. It was an okay game to hang with until the energy shifted as the table filled with other players. I won my doubles and pulled stiff hands. Although I was light with the blackjacks, the game was encouraging enough to play.
The third entry documents a loss. It is a red flag when you are not receiving a fair share of blackjacks, (usually 5% of your hands or 5 BJs an hour). Pushing a blackjack is like an insult. Too many stiff hands that bust, and not winning the moneymaking doubles, are other red flags. The final blow was losing two hands with increased bets when conditions were favorable. It was not my day and the signs were present all along the way.
Here is what I could learn from the third journal entry. I ignored the early warnings. Losing doubles and blackjacks, the hands I should win, were warnings of trouble. I ignored the fact that the dealer was a jerk, which is also a no-no. Be it cards or dice, you can chose your playmates. It is one thing to get stiff hands and bust, but to keep seeing the same repeating combinations was obvious that the energy was trying to tell me something. When an undesirable player enters the game, I know that Id better be on my toes. Actually, it is better to be on my feet, walking away from the table. There were enough signals, before the 12 unit hit, telling me to leave this game. Ignoring or missing the early warnings was a mistake. The mistake cost me at least 12 units, plus whatever I lost after the smoker sat down. I should have played defense with these conditions and quit the game maybe 8-10 units down. I ignored blatant warnings and played too long.
Profit games are usually the result of hitting the plus count or catching a long craps hand. Play like the patient hunter, waiting for your time to come. Sometimes you have to play tight defense while waiting for your opportunity to come along. Learn to recognize the difference between a game with promise and one that is going nowhere. Record your sessions and you will document the signals. It will become clearer when it is time to bail out, and you will recognize the signs of a game worthy of your attention.
Keeping a journal and reviewing wins and losses can accurately paint the picture of your playing habits. You can honestly evaluate your play, recognizing those things that you are doing well, and the weakness that needs improvement. The rewards will be evident as you educate yourself with the discipline of keeping a journal.
2003 Michael Vernon
Heavy Goes To ShreveportHeavy's Axis Power Craps seminar in Shreveport, Louisiana is just one player shy of being a sell-out. It's still not to late to join Heavy and friends for an exciting weekend of toss training, tune-ups, and live casino play on Saturday and Sunday, January 10-11, 2004. But this last slot will go within the next couple of days, so move quickly if you want to attend.
This is the same seminar Heavy charges from $299 to $459 for in other parts of the country. But since this class is just a few hours from his home he's saving a bundle on travel expenses - and passing the savings along to the players.
The cost for this seminar is just $199. The enrollment fee covers the cost of the class and a special edition seminar play-book. You'll be on your own for hotel and travel expenses. At these rates there are no "book buyer" discounts or coupon specials. The pricing just doesn't get much better than this.
If you have any comments
or ideas for future issues, feel free to email me at
email@example.com And as always, I'm looking for contributors
with a fresh perspective. If you know someone who
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Setter Precision Shooter's Newsletter, tell them to send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good Luck!
If you have any comments or ideas for future issues, feel free to email me at email@example.com And as always, I'm looking for contributors with a fresh perspective.
If you know someone who would be interested in receiving future editions of Dice Setter Precision Shooter's Newsletter, tell them to send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org.