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Getting the Edge at Craps: Part One31 May 2007
He strides into the casino, a gaming god, knowing he can beat the supposedly unbeatable game of craps. His controlled dice throw is superb and he knows how to bet on himself and on the random rollers he's forced to play with at the table.
The man is rested. He is ready. This is his 100th casino visit as the year of 2004 ends. The casino doesn't know what hit it. In three straight rolls, the man goes 30, 33, and 38 rolls before a seven out. The man is Dominator, one of the four best dice controllers of all time.
But the story of this day does not end with the dynamic Dominator. His partner, the "unknown shooter," has three hands as well. He goes 13 rolls, then 15 rolls and then in a crescendo of thunder and lightning from Mount Olympus, the "unknown shooter" launches a roll of 89 numbers before sevening out.
In six hands on this day at the craps table, the duo hit 218 numbers with only 6 seven outs. That's a seven to rolls ratio of 1 to 36. In a random game of craps, the seven to rolls ratio is 1 to 6 - one seven for every six rolls. In a random game, the casino wins. When the gods of dice control play, they win.
It Isn't So!
While diehards will say that all craps play is simply random and that no one can manipulate the dice in a legal throw, since such a throw does not allow sliding of the dice on the felt and must hit the back wall, Dominator knows differently. He states, "With practice and the right throwing technique, it is possible to get an edge at craps by controlling your throw. You can hit the back wall, do everything the casino wants you to do except one thing - lose your money at the game. Controlled shooting is a fact and some of us have been doing it a very long time."
While no controlled shooters have long-term seven-to-rolls ratios as awesome as 1 to 36, many have 1 to 7 or 8 ratios in casino play. Such ratios are more than enough to give them substantial edges over the house at craps - depending on which bets they choose to make and how much they choose to lose on the random rollers they are usually forced to play with.
Still craps skeptics take a dim view of dice control and of those, such as myself, who believe in it. States John May, author of Get the Edge at Blackjack and Baccarat for the Clueless, "Controlled throwing is the gambling equivalent of Bigfoot. Dice control is the phantom of advantage play. Everyone knows someone who has seen or even claims to possess this extraordinary casino-busting skill but hard uncontested facts never seem to materialize. Dice control, schmice control! Scoblete is completely barking mad to promote this preposterous dice control nonsense. He should kneel before the altar of gambling mathematics and do penance for his sins!"
Fred Renzey, author of Blackjack Bluebook and 77 Ways to Get the Edge at Poker, is another skeptic. He maintains that any throw hitting those pyramids on the back wall will be automatically randomized. "I believe the shooter would have to consistently bounce the dice off that 4-inch smooth rubber surface which runs just below the chip rail in order to not have his throw randomized by the pyramid shaped bumpers." To get the dice to bounce that high and that consistently, to Fred, seems next to impossible.
One former pit boss and current college instructor at the University of Nevada made his feelings plain during a taping of a Travel Channel show on gambling, "Controlled shooting? That's all bull***t. No one can do it. I've been in the casino business for almost 30 years and it is impossible to get the edge at craps by controlled shooting. There is no such thing. I don't even worry about it."
It Is So!
Just what is controlled shooting? Is it perfectly picking out what numbers you are going to hit? Do you have to be the equivalent of Annie Oakley to get an edge at the game?
Gambling expert and author Stanford Wong (www.bj21.com), who recently studied dice control with Golden Touch Craps, a school that teaches the skill, has brought his seven to rolls ratio up to a respectable 1 to 6.5 in six months of practicing at home and in the casinos. He has written a booklet, Wong on Dice [Pi Yee Press], about his new advantage-play skill. His summation about dice control is worth noting. He writes, "Unless you are as super coordinated as Michael Jordan, you will not be able to, for example, throw a 5-6 on demand; even Michael Jordan may not be able to accomplish that feat. The most you can realistically hope for is to reduce the frequency of certain dice outcomes. You won't be able to call your shots. But you should be able to reduce the frequency of sevens; and if you can do that, you should be able to get an edge at craps. The strategy for beating craps involves tossing the dice, knowing which bets to make, and getting away with it in a casino."
Wong is a recent adherent to dice control, but other noted authors and experts have also seen the skill in casino sessions. Casino Player gaming columnist Henry Tamburin, editor of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter, says, "I was skeptical that anyone could control the dice. However, after watching and playing craps with several members of the Golden Touch Craps instructors over the past year throughout the country, they've made me a believer. They can influence the outcome of their rolls. It takes a lot of practice to develop the physical skill of throwing the dice in a specific manner, but it's a skill that can be learned by average players as long as they devote the time to it."
Another well-known gaming writer and gaming mathematician, Dr. Don Catlin, author of The Lottery Book, began as a skeptic as well. But first he saw Sharpshooter shoot ("the guy was impressive") and then he saw the "unknown shooter" (who had the 89 hand roll above - okay, okay that's me!) roll for an hour in Tunica, Mississippi. Don then took a dice control course and says, "One student, whose name was Gary, clearly had the best delivery. The dice consistently came rolling out of his hand in unison, staying together, and landed softly a few inches from the end of the table. It turned out that Gary had taken the Golden Touch course a year earlier and had returned to take it again and sharpen his skills. He told me he had practiced every day for a year. Believe me it showed. He rolled 31 times before the seven showed and was the best in our class; yours truly only made 12 rolls before the 7 but that is better than average (6 rolls). I had seen, with my own eyes, a student become a really skilled shooter."
Catlin concluded, "Controlled shooting is a reality; I've seen it with my own eyes. If you are willing to put in the time and effort you too can be a controlled shooter. Don't expect instant success though."
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Best of Frank Scoblete