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Mystic craps16 December 2010
Anyone who has performed an activity that relies on skill knows that the mind is a powerful focal point of success once you have the skill to actually be good at that activity. Athletes know this. There are days when you are on and days when you are off. I think of baseball players saying things like, "I just didn't feel right. The ball looked like a pea was coming to the plate." Basketball players saying, "The rim seemed the size of a thimble."
Being in a totally calm, relaxed and aware state of mind is the focus point necessary to achieve a high level of performance. Get nervous, get tight, start over-thinking what you are doing and you'll find yourself on the losing end. That happens to a lot of baseball players. That happens to a lot of skillful people.
When I was an actor traveling with a theatre troupe we had one actress who was quite good -- that is, when there were no critics in the audience. Bring a critic in on opening night and she froze. She had trouble remembering her lines; she'd sweat like the late James Brown singing "Only in America!" and she'd not know where she was supposed to go during the scenes. It was as if she had been possessed by a George A. Romero zombie spirit -- slow and deadly. In short, she stunk up the stage.
The next night, after a dismal review of her horrible performance, she'd be back; her mind clear, her ability to act completely intact. She had skill, she had confidence in her abilities, she was relaxed, and she was cool and dry (thank God for those actors who had to kiss her).
Now the same is true of being a controlled shooter at craps. Once a player has developed a competent level of skill, the mind comes into play in a big way. There is no difference between controlled dice shooting and any other athletic competition. The controlled shooter must be relaxed, focused, and allow his muscle memory to do what it does best, duplicate a throw the same way each and every time.
If a controlled shooter allows himself to get distracted or if he gets uptight or wound up about the behavior of other players or the dealers or the pit, then his ability is reduced markedly or worse, he loses his competence! He becomes a loser. His mind has deserted him. He is like the actress above.
With all that attested to by athletes and other performers has led to a serious idiocy in the world of craps, something I call "mystic craps," the belief that unfathomable energies are at work during a craps game. Yes, the "mystic crappers" think they have the ability to feel the energy at a table and deduce where that table is going.
They will walk around the casino waiting to feel "that spiritual feel" as they say. They sense that the dice will be hot at this table, so bet the rightside, or that the dice will be cold at that other table, so bet the darkside. Homing in on these energies, thought to be spiritual or quantum in nature -- whatever the heck that means in the world of a craps game -- will bring them to success.
In a random game you can "feel" all the spiritual energy you want, the mathematical probabilities will win out, not the mystic crapper's sense of the otherworldly. His or her feelings have no predictive powers. There is no such thing as mind over math in a random game.
The delusion that mystical elements can lead to victory in a random game is every bit as delusional as superstitious craps players thinking that random throwers are either good or bad. A random thrower is just a random thrower. He has no control over the outcomes of his throw.
The mystic crappers don't see it that way. Instead, they confuse the powerful mind-body connection of the skilled athlete, the skilled dice controller, the skilled actor as having validity outside the realms involving real skill. It is a serious mistake to do this since it gives a completely false appraisal of the real world.
So why are the mystic crappers desirous and desperately grasping of such an erroneous world view? I think it has to do with controlling things that can't be controlled. We want and need to have power. Once we see elements of life where we are essentially powerless and not in control -- as in just about everything -- it diminishes us. By asserting that there are mystical connections underlying all things and that the mystic crappers are able to sense the connections, it gives them a sense of control, a sense of power.
It is nonsense, sheer, utter nonsense that there is a spiritual element to a craps game but it is a nonsense that many believe and ascribe to. Many misguided ones also proclaim it in their writings too. Sadly mystic craps just doesn't work, even though those poor folks who advocate such mysticism cannot see (or "feel") this.
If you want to win at craps, chuck the mysticism, work on the true mind-body connection that enhances your skill and forget about controlling the uncontrollable. Just concentrate on controlling the dice. Do that and craps becomes a great arena for your performance, a real performance, not a hob glob of nonsensical ideas based on hope rather than reality.
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 email@example.com.
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