It is nearly impossible to step up to a craps table today without seeing at least one shooter attempting to set and toss the dice in a certain manner to get a desired result. Whether it is just setting a certain number on top or engaging in a protracted ritualistic pre-shot routine, dice influencing is tried in every casino, every day. This is the third of a three part series on the topic of DICE CONTROL. In Part 1 we examined the dice control controversy. In Part 2, we recounted the history of modern dice control as I remember it. Here in Part 3, we will look at the basic principles used by the dice control practitioner.
Part 3 – The Basics of the Craft of Dice Control
In my many years at the craps table, I have seen scores of people attempt to influence the dice. This includes some of the names in Part 2 of this article. Their success has varied. I certainly cannot definitively determine whether the long rolls I witnessed were skill or luck, but I have seen some very long rolls. I have also seen plenty of points established and then an immediate “seven out.”
In this section I am neither professing to be an expert on this subject or encouraging anyone to attempt to pursue this. I am only explaining a few of what I understand to be some of the dice control principles. I am recounting this based on what I have read about and seen in practice over many years. Please keep in mind that different “camps” have different philosophies so what one preaches, may be the opposite practice of another camp.
The distance from the shooter to the back wall of the craps table should be as short as possible. Therefore, the shooter should stand right next to the stickman so the distance he has to toss the dice is as short as possible.
Prior to tossing the dice they should be set so certain faces are in the most advantageous position for the desired outcome. On the come out roll, the “All Sevens Set,” is recommended to try to get a quick Pass Line win.
After a point is established, the recommended set varies by philosophy. Some believe in “The Hard Ways Set,” in which each face of the dice will show a hard way number, for example 2/2, 4/4, 3/3, 5/5. With the 6 and 1 on the right and left. There is also “The Flying V” a/k/a “3 V.” In this set, the pips for three are on the top of each die and the pair is angled so the dice take on a “V” shape. This is recommended for hitting points of 6 and 8.
Proper grip is considered essential. Like dice sets, the grip varies by each camp’s philosophy. Some recommend the “Two Finger Grip” in which the middle and ring finger are on the front of the dice with the thumb in the rear. Another recommends the “Three Finger Grip” with the index finger, middle finger and ring finger along the front of the dice and the thumb on the back.
There is also “Four Finger Grip” which has the middle and ring finger on the front of the dice, with the thumb in the rear as the index finger and pinky angle towards the rear, pressing the dice together. A more unusual grip is the two finger “Pincher” or “Ice Tong” grip which requires the shooter to use the thumb and middle or index finger, from the outside face of the dice, holding them together as they are tossed.
The key to a proper grip is to ensure the dice are square to the table.
Focus and aim is crucial to the dice controller. Some recommend aiming at the back end of the table, just after the Pass Line table markings and using the remaining area as a runway for the dice to roll to a stop against the back wall. Others recommend aiming to the bottom of the pyramids on the back wall of the craps table, so the dice gently touch the wall and die there without bouncing around.
Naturally the toss is the most important part of dice control. The dice controller wants the dice to gently fly through the air at about a 45 degree angle, spinning as if they were wheels on an axle, while sticking together as if glued. The goal is to land with as little bounce as possible. To accomplish this, a popular method is to swing the arm from the elbow and release the dice when they are 90 degrees from the table.
Another method is after picking up the dice from the felt, the shooter will keep his hand on or close to the table top and gently swing his arm to the back wall, releasing the dice in one motion when his hand is just a few inches above the felt.
To their credit, most dice control practitioners recommend staying away from the high house edge bets located in the center of the table. They suggest just sticking to the pass line with odds, come bets and one or two place bets.
Finally, I want to reiterate what I mentioned earlier in this series. If you are interested in this topic, there is plenty of dice control information available for free on the internet. You do not have to spend money for it. As for my opinion of dice control I take “the chicken soup for a cold” position. It may not help but it can’t hurt.
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Scott Roeben of Vital Vegas
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